When Susan Dingle (MSLIS '75) was researching various career paths in high school, she came across a pamphlet about librarians. The pamphlet's description of reference librarians piqued her interest and set her on a path that eventually led to her enrolling in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (as the iSchool was then known).
According to Chandra Prabha (PhD '84), in traditional Indian culture, a student offers a gift in gratitude to the teacher who has played an important role in his or her life. This practice, called "Guru-Dakshina," inspired Prabha to make an estate gift to the University of Illinois in honor of the professors who most influenced her PhD studies—F. W. "Wilf" Lancaster and Linda C. Smith. Her gift will be split between the Wilf Lancaster Scholarship and the Linda C. Smith Doctoral Student Endowment Fund in the School of Information Sciences.
Xochitl Quiroz decided to pursue an MSLIS degree because she wanted to help college students develop information literacy as well as assist students and faculty with their reference needs. As she crosses the stage at the upcoming iSchool convocation, Quiroz will have the satisfaction of knowing that she is on her way to meeting her goal. This summer, she will begin her new job as a humanities and first years' engagement librarian at Smith College.
Fortunately for Chad Kahl, a PhD in political science wasn't in the cards. As a graduate student in political science at the University of Illinois, he wasn't certain that he was in the right field. His advisor, Professor Paul Diehl, suggested that he take a class in the iSchool to see if it was a better fit—and everything fell into place. Chad not only ended up earning his MSLIS degree, but mutual friends in the program introduced him to fellow classmate (now wife) Stephanie Davis-Kahl.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 10,000 full-time school librarian positions have been lost nationwide over the past two decades. This loss is especially felt by students, since research suggests that reading, writing, and graduation rates improve where schools employ certified school librarians. Thanks to a new program cosponsored by the iSchool and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), five school libraries that had been shuttered for five or more years now have a school librarian in place, with more to come.
Since she was a child, Myriam Ramos has enjoyed helping organizations that give back to her community. Over the years, she has volunteered in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, mentoring players in the Holy Cross Marimba Ensemble and planning and hosting book giveaways for youth.
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 MSLIS online (Leep) program.
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.
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.
Julie Yen (MS/LIS '07) wants students to receive the same quality educational experience that she enjoyed during her time at the iSchool. For this reason, she is a loyal donor to the iSchool Annual Fund, which provides dollars for scholarships, annual student awards, new technology, and conference travel.
According to MS/IM student Zheng Zhang, being the recipient of a scholarship from the iSchool gave him confidence that he was in the right field. Zhang holds a BS in electrical and computer engineering from New York Institute of Technology and a BS in communication engineering from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications. It was during his undergraduate study that he was advised by a tutor to pursue a degree in information management because of his interests.
BS/IS student Sam Hwang is grateful to be the recipient of an iSchool scholarship. Hwang, a junior from Glenview, Illinois, decided to major in information sciences because of his interest in data science and data analytics. He is happy with his decision.
After a few years in the workplace, it took a "leap of faith" for Callan Miranda to decide to return to school for an MS/LIS degree. A full-time employee at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, Miranda is happy with her choice to enroll in the iSchool's Leep (online) program and thankful to be the inaugural recipient of the Nancy and Dan Balz Scholarship. Nancy (BA LAS '70, MS/LIS '72) and her husband Dan (BS Media '68, MS Media '72) established the scholarship to help make education more affordable for returning students like Miranda.
When Lucille Belcher applied to the Graduate School of Library Science (now the iSchool) in the 1960s, she was met with some uncertainty, or at least concern, regarding her ability to complete the program. After all, Belcher was a middle-aged housewife and mother, and at that time, there weren't many women of her age and situation heading back to college.
The iSchool has surpassed its $20 million goal for the "With Illinois" campaign, the Urbana campus' most ambitious fundraising effort to date. Gifts toward "With Illinois" will continue until June 30, 2022. The School's priorities for the campaign are to offer an accessible education, enrich the student experience, and provide faculty support.
A new scholarship in the iSchool will support students who are interested in pursuing a career in academic libraries. Thomas Wilson established the Kuang-Hwei "Janet" Lee-Smeltzer Scholarship Fund in honor of his wife, Janet, who passed away on November 28, 2015. Lee-Smeltzer (MS '93) had a distinguished career in librarianship, working in academic and public libraries in several states. At the time of her death, she served as head of Cataloging and Metadata Services at The University of Alabama Libraries in Tuscaloosa.
Thanks to a new scholarship at the iSchool, David Alegre has been relieved of some of the stress in financing his education. Alegre, a junior from Chicago, is the inaugural recipient of the CNH Industrial Information Sciences Scholarship, which supports continuing BS in information sciences (BS/IS) students who have financial need. He chose the iSchool for his undergraduate study because of his interest in becoming a data analyst.
For MS/LIS student Eunice Kang, receiving the Carl Volkmann Scholarship from the iSchool allowed her to focus on learning and "taking advantage of all the opportunities that the University has to offer," while also lightening her financial burden. Kang realized soon after earning her bachelor's degree in advertising from the University of Illinois that she did not belong in that field. After spending time teaching English to lower income children in Korea, she decided to pursue a career where she could help children.
Thanks to the generosity of Edward Koval and his family, MS/LIS student Claudia Farris can stop worrying about finances and simply focus on their studies. Farris is a recipient of the iSchool's Anna Mae Koval Scholarship, a need-based scholarship for students interested in youth services and literature.