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.
By the time that Nancy Balz (BA LAS '70, MS/LIS '72) decided to become a public librarian, over twenty years had passed since she had received her LIS degree. She had worked in an archive, academic setting, and bookstore, serving as a word researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary and as a researcher for book authors. While she was interested in working in a public library, she wondered if she was up to the task, with so much time having passed since earning her degree, along with the increasingly online nature of library work.
Leep student Laura Fruhauff was on the verge of emailing her advisor to rescind her fall 2019 registration when she received notification from the iSchool that she would be receiving the Helen T. Stewart and Mildred Stewart Scholarship. During her undergraduate studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago, she sometimes worked 80 hours a week to stay in school. According to Fruhauff, “This time around, in graduate school, I cannot do that. In addition to my full-time job, I have caretaker responsibilities to my parents and to my partner that occupy those other hours and funds I had originally designated to school. I cannot impress enough how crucial receiving a scholarship was and is for me and how grateful I am.”
For more than a century, the iSchool has been, and continues to be, a top-tier school for preparing leaders for the library and information professions. Now the iSchool is pleased to announce the establishment of a new endowed professorship, the Professorship in the History of Libraries and the Information Professions. The professorship was spearheaded by Laurel A. Grotzinger (MS '58, PhD '64), who passed away in 2017; Don (PhD '72) and Avis Davis; and Mark (PhD '83) and Barbara Tucker.
Donna Bessant (MS '70) wants today's library and information science students to succeed in their chosen profession and experience the "joyful rewards" of working with young people, as she did during her career. To lend them a hand, she has directed a portion of her estate to establish scholarships for iSchool students in need. The scholarships will support everyday expenses and advance the short- and long-term goals for students who plan to work with children and young adult services in libraries.
To her many students, Professor Emerita Selma Richardson (1931-2019) was not only a dedicated teacher but also a mentor and role model. At the iSchool, she taught classes on children's literature and served as an advisor to students pursuing careers as school librarians. An authority on school library media services, Richardson worked in a number of school libraries, including Oak Park and River Forest High School, before joining the University of Illinois in 1974.
As a young professional working to advance her career, Leep student Erica Halpern appreciates the flexibility and convenience of the iSchool's online MS/LIS program. She also is grateful for the George Bonn Scholarship that she received from the School, which removed a "huge financial burden" and has allowed her to focus on her studies.
A travel grant provided by the iSchool will allow MS/LIS student Morgan Sherlock to present her research with Laurel Post (MS '19) and Affiliate Professor Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (MS '94) at the Charleston Conference without the extra financial stress. In the paper they will be presenting, "Behind the Gate: Early Career Researchers' Motivations for Using ResearchGate," the coauthors examine the motivations behind why early career researchers use the academic social network site ResearchGate and how publishers and librarians can use these findings to better understand and support their user communities.
Professor Emerita Linda C. Smith was the first person that Richard Pearce-Moses (MS ’01) contacted after discovering that Illinois offered an ALA-accredited library and information science program online. He was interested in pursuing his MS/LIS degree through the School’s Leep program but had missed the application deadline by a few days.
The iSchool is pleased to announce the establishment of its first endowed professorship, the Mildred M. Luther and Kathryn Luther Henderson Professorship in Preservation and Technical Services. The professorship was established through the generosity of Mildred Luther (1926-2017), a loyal Illinois employee and alumna with a special family connection to the School.
Cesar Ortega fell in love with libraries at the age of thirteen, when he joined the Aurora (IL) Public Library's Teen Advisory Board. The board was composed of a group of teens from around the city who created programs for the library.
For Kelly Ferreira, receiving a Leep Scholarship has made "a world of difference." When she enrolled in the MS/LIS program, she was employed at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois. However, she had to leave her position when she recently moved with her partner across the country. Now working as a library technician at Eastern Florida State College's Palm Bay campus, Ferreira appreciates the flexibility of the Leep online option as well as her scholarship.
A $1-million dollar gift from Lionelle (BA, LAS '66; MS, LIS '67) and James (BS, Business '66; MS, Business '67) Elsesser will both expand the iSchool's academic programs and support the recruitment of promising students. The gift will be invested in the School's new programs, and that investment will generate $50,000 annually for the Katharine L. Sharp Scholarships, which will be available to students in all iSchool programs.
As a new master's student in library and information science, funds were tight, and Curt McKay (MS '88) hoped for an assistantship to ease his financial burden. Leigh Estabrook, dean of the School, noticed that McKay had been a teacher and offered him an assistantship in the learning resources lab. "At Illinois, not only did I start learning a new career, but I got carried away by this wonderful atmosphere," McKay recalled. Instead of completing his degree in one year as he had planned, he decided to extend it to two years, then in April of his first year, a job opened up in the School, and McKay was encouraged to apply.
Current student Warren Lambert began his journey to the iSchool six years ago, when he first visited the Urbana campus in November 2012 to find out more about the MS in library and information science (MS/LIS) program. At the time, he was finishing up his bachelor's degree in art history at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL).