The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries Announces 2018 Honor Roll Winners

From left to right: Draupadi Pradhan, Rachel Wayne Nelson, and Suzanne De Gaetano

The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries is pleased to announce this year’s Honor Roll award recipients: Draupadi Pradhan, Suzanne De Gaetano and Rachel Wayne Nelson.

The honor recognizes those who have made a sustained, outstanding contribution to the Cleveland Heights/University Heights community by promoting literacy or by educating through literacy. The awards were inspired by the Heights Libraries’ mission of “Opening Doors, Opening Minds.” A Door Opener is someone who provides access to education, literature, and opportunity through literacy. A Mind Opener is someone who stimulates the minds of community members through literature and thoughtful discussion, or connections with though provoking ideas or individuals.

Pradhan, a Nepali refugee, works tirelessly to help the refugee community in Cleveland Heights. She has served as an interpreter, advocate, and liason and has been instrumental in working with the Noble Neighborhood Branch Library staff to offer services for refugees. She will receive a Door Opener award from the library foundation.

DeGaetano, owner of Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry, has hosted a monthly poetry reading since 1984, one of the longest running poetry series in the country. The store hosts dozens of author and book events a year including book clubs, writer’s workshops and community programs. She has encouraged and supported new and established writers in Ohio for decades. She has partnered with the Coventry Village Branch of the Library on numerous fundraisers and is an organizer of events in the Coventry district. For this and other ventures she will receive the Mind Opener award.

Nelson was the director of the Heights Libraries from 1978 until 1988, and currently serves on the board of the Rainey Institute. Rainey Institute develops positive growth for Greater Cleveland’s youth through education and engagement in visual and performing arts.She was the director of the Cleveland Children’s Museum and an instrumental board member for Project Learn and the Global Issues Resource Center. She remains an avid community volunteer and mentor well into her 90s. She will receive a Lifetime Achievement award.

Chosen recipients will be officially inducted at a dinner banquet on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at the Dolan Center of John Carroll University at 5:00 p.m. The Heights community submitted nominations this past summer and the FFHL Board chose the award winners from among community nominees. Tickets are available at

Last year’s inaugural recipients were retired teacher and longtime Friends of the Heights Libraries volunteer John Jarvey, and dedicated teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages Marilyn McLaughlin.