Founded in 1948 as the Graduate School of Library Science, the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin hosted a 75th anniversary celebration where alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends were invited to reflect on the school’s rich tradition of leadership in the Information Age and explore the ways we’re pioneering new tools and technologies to harness the power of information and make the world a better and fairer place in the next 75 years (and beyond)! The event was hosted at the Austin Public Library and featured a video presentation recounting memories from the first doctorate student to graduate from the school, remarks from Professor Emeritus Philip Doty, and a panel of guest speakers who engaged in a stimulating discussion on the importance of information professionals in an ever-changing information and technological landscape.
Shannon Hickson, the iSchool’s Director of Development and Alumni relations, served as the emcee for the evening. The event kicked off with a journey down memory lane as guests watched a video recounting experiences of alumnus Calvin Boyer, the iSchool’s first PhD graduate. Professor Emeritus Philip Doty also shared a few words about the essential role of information schools in society and the characteristics they share: an adherence to standards of excellence in research and pedagogy as well as a commitment to making the world a better place.
Following dinner, the iSchool’s Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor for Librarianship R. Dr. David Lankes led an engaging panel discussion with Dr. Angela D. R. Smith, Assistant Professor at the School of Information; Gloria Meraz, Executive Director and Librarian at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Stephen Straus, Co-Founder and Managing Director of KungFu.AI; and James Green, Chair of the Board for Knowbility. The panel shared their thoughts on how iSchoolers are prepared to tackle challenges of the future, particularly regarding the ethics and social impact of artificial intelligence. Panelists emphasized that the interdisciplinary skills and research explored in iSchool programs prepare graduates to confront important issues like accessibility and inequitable access to technology while working in a diverse array of professional fields.
“I can only imagine what the next 75 years of innovation and interdisciplinary scholarship that emerges from this institution looks like, but I am confident that however information and technology evolve in the future, our school will maintain an unwavering commitment to information excellence,” Dean Meyer said.
Dean Eric T. Meyer concluded the program by reflecting on how much the school has changed during his tenure as dean. From the launch of the iSchool’s undergraduate program in 2021 to the opening a new location on main campus, the school is rapidly growing in both size and impact. “I can only imagine what the next 75 years of innovation and interdisciplinary scholarship that emerges from this institution looks like, but I am confident that however information and technology evolve in the future, our school will maintain an unwavering commitment to information excellence like we are celebrating today,” Dean Meyer said.
In honor of 75 years of information excellence, the school launched a 75 for 75 campaign to raise funds to support students. Contributions to the iSchool’s fundraising goal of $75,000 will directly impact generations of information professionals for years to come. The funds will contribute to student scholarships and fellowships as well as other financial support for students to pursue professional development and experiential learning opportunities, attend conferences, and more. Donations to the 75 for 75 campaign can be made on HornRaiser.
Thank you to all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters for contributing to our rich legacy of information excellence over the past 75 years. What starts here changes the world! We are changing the future by engaging the present and preserving the past. Our research and teaching changes the ways that we interact with information and technology, changes how information can make the world a better and fairer place, and changes the ways we protect and preserve our collective memory. As one of the top-ranked iSchools and a leader in the information field, we look forward to celebrating the iSchool’s impact in the next 75 years (and beyond!).