The late Reno resident Betty Heaston has donated more than $1.7 million to the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center to benefit programs, staff and operations. Heaston also made an additional bequest of more than $57,000 to create an endowment for student scholarships.
“Betty particularly loved her life in Reno and championed all the city had to offer,” said Forrest Bolles, Heaston’s nephew. “But she had a particular feeling for the University of Nevada, Reno, and was very proud that the city had a world-class institution of higher learning.”
Heaston graduated high school during the Great Depression. Out of financial necessity, she immediately joined the workforce, rather than pursue her dream of attending college. In adulthood, she became a strong supporter of higher education, always encouraging young people to continue their education past high school. The Vermont native moved to Reno in 1960 with her late husband, Jack, an engineer who invented the early rolling-cage equipment and secure ticket system for Keno games. Heaston was the bookkeeper for their business.
“Out of Mrs. Heaston’s gift to the Knowledge Center, $1.5 million will be used to establish the Betty Y. Heaston Memorial Endowment, which will create a permanent, ongoing source of funds for Knowledge Center programs, acquisitions, personnel and other needs,” said John Carothers, vice president of development and alumni relations. “The balance of the gift, $210,000, will be used to meet current needs and opportunities at the Knowledge Center, and we are extremely grateful for her support.”
Heaston’s additional bequest of more than $57,000 will be used to establish the Betty Y. Heaston Scholarship Endowment. This scholarship will be available to entering or continuing students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and who are full-time students with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
“We are honored that Betty would remember us in her estate plans, and both endowments will keep her legacy going strong here at Nevada,” said Kathlin Ray, dean of University Libraries.
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center opened in 2008 and is one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the country, encompassing all facets of the digital age in a single, multifunctional, exemplary facility.