Batista gift to support iSchool and University Library

Emily Batista

When planning their estate, Emily (MS/LIS '77) and David (MS/LIS '83) Batista wanted to give back to the university that prepared them for their successful careers as librarians. For this reason, the Batistas' $1.2 million estate gift to the University of Illinois will be directed to the iSchool and University Library.

"We have no children, so when we began to discuss our estate planning, we agreed to split our joint assets between the University of Illinois and Iowa State University," said Emily, who earned her bachelor's degree in German from Iowa State before earning her MS/LIS from Illinois. "We both enjoyed our careers as librarians, and we both felt strongly about the importance of the academic library within the university. Our education at Illinois was a great foundation for our successful careers."

After graduating with her MS/LIS, Emily worked as a reference librarian in a public library in the Chicago suburbs. She was quickly promoted to assistant director and managed the library's conversion to automated circulation. After two years, she accepted a position at another library, where she managed their move to online circulation. This experience prompted her return to the University of Illinois, where she earned her MBA, majoring in management information systems, and David, who held a JD, pursued his MS/LIS.

The couple moved from Illinois to St. Paul, Minnesota, where David worked as a law librarian, and Emily worked at the State Law Library. Soon after, they moved to Philadelphia, where both accepted positions with the University of Pennsylvania—David with the Biddle Law Library and Emily with the Lippincott Library of the Wharton School of Business.

"I started at Penn as a business reference librarian at the Lippincott Library, but after three years, I was promoted to the head of circulation of the main library, where I, once again, managed the transition from one circulation system to another," said Emily.

She worked at Penn for 37 years in a variety of roles, including interim director of library systems, head of resource sharing services, and head of access services. Since her retirement in 2021, Emily has enjoyed traveling, exploring Philadelphia with her walking club, sewing quilts, reading with her book clubs, and following the Philadelphia Phillies. David left Penn in 1990 for Rutgers Law School-Camden, where he obtained tenure as an associate professor and served as the faculty research services librarian. He passed away from cancer in 2018.

The iSchool fund created by the Batistas' estate gift will support faculty, staff, and graduate student professional development.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Information access a priority for Leep Scholar Alex Brown

It was while she was serving in the Peace Corps that Alex Brown's eyes were opened to the need for reliable access to quality information and education. She didn't realize it at the time, but this experience would one day lead her to the iSchool, where she is now a student in the MS/LIS online (Leep) program.

Alex Brown

Get to know Ved Upadhyay, Senior Data Scientist

Ved Upadhyay (MS/IM '19) serves as a senior data scientist for Walmart Global Tech. He enjoys working with different teams at the company and "designing impactful data science solutions" for customers.

Ved Upadhyay

Dietrich transforms lives as 21st CCLC director

As a single parent raising two young children, Stephanie Dietrich (MS/LIS '18) needed a career where she could balance her family life and work life. After working with foster families in Chicago on the Children's Supplement Security Income (SSI) Project, she also knew that she wanted a career where she could serve her community. Dietrich, who holds a bachelor's degree in sociology, decided to make the jump to public education, returning to school for her MS/LIS degree with a K-12 teaching certification.

Stephanie Dietrich

Navsaria combines love of pediatrics and early literacy

Not too many medical students would take a year off from their studies to learn more about an area that interests them. Of course, Dipesh Navsaria (MS/LIS '04) was not your average medical student. He entered the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana with three degrees—a BA in biology and English and a master's in public health from Boston University and a master's in physician assistant (PA) studies, from George Washington University.

Dipesh Navasaris

Diggs grateful for financial support from iSchool

As Perry Diggs pondered the next step in his academic journey, he asked some of his former professors for advice. Recognizing his love of research and archiving, they encouraged Diggs to consider a degree in library and information science. Now enrolled in the MS/LIS online (Leep) program, Diggs is grateful for their counsel as well as for the support he has received through the iSchool's George S. Bonn Scholarship. 

Perry Diggs