In the field of animal behavior, perhaps none are as well-known or celebrated as Dr. Jane Goodall. The renowned primatologist is best known for her work studying chimpanzees, beginning in the 1960s at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania and, at 80 years old, remains an active conservationist, anthropologist and public speaker.
Recently, Goodall visited Franklin & Marshall College, a private liberal arts college located in historic Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The animal rights activist spoke to a sold-out crowd of 2,700 at Franklin & Marshall’s Mayser Gymnasium and delivered a message of hope, conservation and the virtue of pursuing one’s dreams.
Franklin & Marshal College Assistant Professor of Psychology Elizabeth Lonsdorf first became acquainted with Goodall when she conducted her dissertation research on chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park in the late 1990s. Lonsdorf and Franklin & Marshall’s Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment played a key role in bringing Goodall to the college. “Other faculty had been trying to get her to come here for many years, and in fact, last year she was nominated to be this year’s commencement speaker by the students,” Lonsdorf said. “Through working on the commencement visit, which didn’t end up working out, we were able to get Dr. Goodall to agree to squeeze in one last visit before she went home for a week’s break. We found out she was coming with less than a month’s notice, but we were all really excited about it.”
With the knowledge that Goodall would be promoting her most recent book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants, Sarah Dawson, Director of the Wolhsen Center for the Sustainable Environment (sponsor of the event) and Lonsdorf approached the Franklin & Marshall College Bookstore for help with the event.
The campus bookstore prepared tables showcasing seven of Goodall’s books. Bookstore Manager Debra Schwanke said the event brought in more foot traffic, quantity of books sold, and highest income generated than any other event she has been a part of. The store sold over 300 books, selling out of all but two of Goodall’s titles, and generated record sales for the store. “This was a big deal for the Franklin & Marshall campus,” Schwanke said. “We were so thrilled to able to step in and be a part of this exciting event.”
Franklin & Marsh student Ashley McIntosh, a graduating senior studying animal behavior who also works in the bookstore, attended the lecture and helped with the event. Distributing books and facilitating the long lines, McIntosh and the bookstore staff helped manage the crowd of eager fans who wanted to purchase Goodall’s books. “We were really busy the day of the event, but we kept things under control,” she said. “We were commended by several people for how smoothly we ran the event and how much they appreciated being able to buy their books beforehand or pick them up easily afterwards.”
Assistant Bookstore Manager Ray Fulton said the event demonstrated just how closely Barnes & Noble College bookstores work with their partner schools. Fulton, who worked for the Franklin & Marshall College Bookstore before Barnes & Noble College took over management of the campus store in 2003, said this level of partnership and cooperation did not always exist between the bookstore and the college. “The bookstore works more closely with the campus, now,” he said, “and that great relationship with the school has allowed us to partner on great events like Dr. Goodall’s visit. It’s an event the campus will remember for a long time.”