When Robert Bruce Jenkins died in December his widow, Libby Jenkins, knew it was his wish to share the insect collection with an organization that could best use it. Bruce was a two-time alumni of Clarion University earning his teaching certificate in secondary biology in 1974 and an associate degree in nursing in 1994.
He also was an avid cyclist and cycled with his friend, David Lott, a professor in the biology department at Clarion University – Venango. Lott was Libby's initial point of contact for making the donation. However, the Clarion University Foundation, Inc. facilitated the large donation of insects which filled about 10 handcrafted wooden displays. The insects, which are from North America, were professionally mounted and sealed.
"Although financial contributions to scholarships are a top priority in helping our students to defray the cost of education, not every donation to the university is financial," said Colleen Sherman, foundation development officer. "Contributions such as this are valuable in their augmentation of our students' educational experience and in their assistance in recruiting new students to Clarion University."
The plan is for the collection to be incorporated into the biology department's current entomology collection.
"With nice collections, we tend to use them for displays when we have visiting students/families," said Dr. Andrew Keth, a biology professor who teaches entomology at Clarion. "The collection is fantastic for teaching and outreach."
The collection also spotlights the hobby of insect collecting.
"I think that's wonderful that he collected a lot of insects, and wanted to share the fun of collecting with others" said Dr. Steven Harris, interim dean of the Colleges of Arts, Education and Sciences. "It's great that alumni stay connected with Clarion University and our students."
Harris, an entomologist, said Jenkins did a fine job in mounting the specimens and they will get a second life in educational purposes.
There is one person who probably won't be visiting the insects, however.
When asked if she was a fan of the insects, Libby said, "No," with a laugh.
Libby thinks that her dislike of the critters and the fact that she allowed them to be in her home is a testament of her love for Bruce.
The insects, which were in her home for 30 years, will have to get used to being in Clarion's permanent collection.