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UT iSchool celebrates accomplishments of 110 graduates at convocation

Although the main commencement ceremony at the University of Texas was canceled because of severe weather on May 23, the university’s School of Information continued with their convocation festivities and proudly celebrated approximately 110 graduates.

School of Information alumnus Robert A. Walton gave the convocation address, titled “Plain Talk” at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

Currently, Walton serves as the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Prior to moving to the East Coast, he worked as CEO of the Claremont University Consortium in California for six years and as president of CLSI, an educational software company in Massachusetts later sold on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the 1990s.

Walton received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UT. He earned a master’s degree from the iSchool, formerly known as the library school, when it was located at the Harry Ransom Center in 1980. For several years during this period, he was also an adjunct professor and lecturer at the UT Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In the 1980s, the school shifted away from offering classes geared toward traditional library roles and focused on more preparing students for more alternative roles they are now pursuing.

“I have fond memories of the iSchool,” Walton said. “Congratulations to the members of the Class of 2015. I hope that as you move forward you will trust your instincts. I hope that you realize you might have some failures along the way and if you never failed you never tried. The most important thing is you value your journey, realize this is your own journey, value your own opinion and be honest with yourself. Be intentional about your career and I congratulate you and wish you much success.”

Walton shared with graduates and convocation guests four takeaways from his 40-year career. These takeaways were:

  • Learn to see past the caricatures of your coworkers
  • Learn to embrace and manage risk
  • Aim higher
  • Be the go-to gal or guy in the organization

“The No. 1 barrier I have seen of my peers and people I have grown up with professionally is the inability to take on risk,” he said. “All of us will make mistakes but we will recover. The ability to take on risk is the fastest way to advance your career. I encourage you to take on risk. Every bad company or project has hope if people will take on risk to improve upon it. You’ll find you have unlimited potential for almost any organization you’ll work for and will prosper.”

Walton summed up his address with pieces of advice he gives to students he mentors through the Harvard Business School.

  • Use humor only at your expense
  • Learn how to write effectively
  • Be kind, don’t gossip, don’t take sides and give everyone you work with the benefit of the doubt

UT School of Information Dean Andrew Dillon presented Walton with the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award during convocation. Walton is also a member of the iSchool’s Advisory Council, a board of appointed volunteers who actively assist the dean in the school's advancement efforts. Advisory Council members made a $10 gift in each new graduate’s name to the iSchool, totaling approximately $1,100.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the graduates of this program,” Dillon said. “This is a day we like to celebrate – our students, their successes and their futures.”

“There are many hearts that are bursting with sheer joy as they look at a child or loved one succeeding in this way,” he said. “I want to remind you of Dewey’s statement that education is a social process. The myth of succeeding on your own is exactly that – a myth. You don’t succeed without your own input but you’ll never succeed without the input of others. Graduating is a measure of so many people and their efforts.”

Whatever their future endeavors might be, Dillon challenged graduates to adopt the practice of greatness.

“Greatness comes from a refined set of choices, practices and commitments made every day to do the right thing,” he said. “You have to aspire to be great. Don’t be afraid of it. No one is born great. Greatness is a habit and a choice. It’s tackling a problem, fixing the problem and wondering why it became a problem in the first place. It’s the ultimate act of self-discipline, practice and routine.”

2015 iSchool doctorate in philosophy in information studies graduates are:

  • Lorraine Alison Dong – “The Institutional and Archival Social Ecologies of a State Mental Hospital’s Records 1870 to Present” - Committee Chair - Dr. Patricia Galloway
  • Yeolib Kim – “A Meta-Analysis of Online Trust: Examining Main and Moderating Effects” - Committee Chair - Dr. Randolph Bias

The 2014 doctorate in philosophy in information studies graduate is:

  • Ji Hyun Park – “Flow in Multitasking: The Effects of People, Artifact and Task Factors” - Committee Chair - Dr. Randolph Bias

May 2015 master of science in information studies graduates are:

  • Katrin Ania Abel
  • Grace Elizabeth Atkins
  • Graham Thomas Austin
  • Bridgette Kristen Balderson
  • Daniel Louis Berra
  • Griffin Anthony Brown
  • Megan Alyss Carey
  • Katharine Suzanne Carroll
  • Matthew Blas Cepeda
  • Xiaoning Chen
  • James Cheng
  • Joseph Andrew Costello
  • Kathryn Irene Darnall
  • Lisa Marie Ellis
  • Xiaojing Feng
  • Gayle Renee Fischer
  • Roberto Julian Flores
  • Susan Carol Floyd
  • Laura Fry
  • Lauren Elise Gaylord
  • Jaclyn Marie Georges
  • Andrew Montana Glass
  • Andrew Lloyd Gordon
  • Nathaniel David Hutcheson
  • Emily Kay Johnson
  • Sarah Elizabeth Kainth
  • Katherine Anne Kapsidelis
  • Alice Louise King
  • Ashleigh Suzanne Knopp
  • Pearl Yixin Ko
  • Ashleigh Michelle Kuertz
  • Lauren Renee Lansford
  • Gretchen Alice Lecheminant
  • Stephanie Christina Lopez
  • Megan Marie Martinsen
  • Jessica Lynn May
  • Amye Rae McCarther
  • Joseph Daniel Olivarez
  • Ashley Mai Summer Orr
  • Rebecca E. Pad
  • Rachel Marie Panella
  • Lyndsey Nicole Raney
  • Sowmya Sadhasivam
  • Ce Shang
  • Michelle Dore Sizemore
  • Katie Jean Thomas
  • Heather Renee Walter
  • Jingya Wang
  • Rachel Elizabeth Winston
  • Ran Xu
  • Antoinette May Yost
  • Yinglong Zhang
  • Zhang Zhang
  • Haofeng Zhou

December 2014 master’s graduates are:

  • Sarah Jane Alger
  • Katrina Grace Ashton
  • Elana Ann Barton
  • Melissa Renee Brown
  • Catherine Lilly Carrel
  • Claire Cella
  • Andrew Ryan Florance
  • Jennifer Ann Garfield
  • Donna Carol Habersaat
  • Colleen Adele Hobbs
  • Katherine Elizabeth Isham
  • Tiewei Liu
  • Charles Patrick Maples
  • Katie L. Miles
  • Jan Lea O’Donnell
  • Aizul Ginizaret Ortega
  • Shanda Kay Ransom
  • James Rizkalla
  • Michael Solomon Salvador
  • William Robert Vandendries
  • Amy Christine Vo
  • Stacy Lynn Wilson

August 2014 master’s graduates are:

  • Amanda Rae Berg
  • Mark Andrew Davidson
  • Timothy Jace Furches
  • Rachel Elizabeth Gibbs
  • John Scott Hollis
  • Keelee Janelle James
  • Steven Dennis Kantner
  • Tessa Eileen Klink
  • Jonathan William Koehler
  • Anne Margaret Kofmehl
  • Elizabeth Marie Lovero
  • Rachel Mae Lynch
  • Kendra Leigh Malinowski
  • Zoe Catherine Marquardt
  • Nicole Marquis
  • Emily Marie McDonald
  • Jordan Paul Desanto Mitchell
  • Amanda Gail Moon
  • Kate Mabry Neptune
  • Laura Jean Norris
  • Kathleen Marie O’Connell
  • Benjamin Royce Philbrook
  • Josephine Louise Ragolia
  • Andres Ramirez
  • Roger Frank Simon
  • Shaun Adam Stalzer
  • Yalin Sun
  • Jana Denyse Tate
  • Laura Jean Treat
  • Diana C. Vieira
  • Xing Wei