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.

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