Michèle Cloonan (MS '84, PhD '88) and Sid Berger (MS '87) have a special connection to the iSchool, one that is professional and personal.
"When I was in the doctoral program, I edited an issue of Library Trends, 'Recent Trends in Rare Book Librarianship,'" said Cloonan. "My advisor, Don Krummel, suggested Sid Berger as a possible contributor. Sid and I have been collaborators ever since, as husband and wife and as scholars."
Cloonan, a research associate professor at the iSchool, is a professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University and was the School's dean from 2002 to 2012. Previously, she was chair and associate professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked at the Newberry Library, Brown University, and Smith College as a conservator, preservation librarian, and a rare books curator, respectively.
Berger is director emeritus of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum and an adjunct professor in the iSchool, where he teaches courses on rare books and special collections. He is also a faculty member at Simmons University, where he has taught in library and information science, English, and eCommunications. He holds a PhD in Medieval English literature and bibliography from the University of Iowa.
"I got a superb education at the iSchool," Berger said. "I met Michèle there, and it has turned into a fabulous marriage—of minds and in other ways. I love teaching there because of the great students and staff, fine facilities, imaginative curricula, and flexibility for faculty and students. It is an all-around superior program."
The couple have provided generous financial support for the School. In addition, Cloonan is chair of the iSchool's campaign committee for "With Illinois," the Urbana campus' most ambitious fundraising campaign to date. The School's priorities for the campaign are to offer an accessible education, enrich the student experience, and provide faculty support. The goal is to raise $15M with the support of alumni and friends. Cloonan received financial support as a student thanks to the kindness of donors and wants to see that tradition continue.
"The iSchool has a lot to offer and can increase its offerings only by having the resources that it needs to do so," Cloonan said. "My time at Illinois changed the course of my professional and personal life. I have had a wonderful career, and I have a fabulous spouse. The iSchool was the source for both."
Alumni and friends are encouraged to join the couple in giving back to the School during the With Illinois Campaign. For more information or to contribute, visit the iSchool's online giving page or contact Diana Stroud, Office of Advancement, at (217) 244-9577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.