The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awarded degrees to 51 students at its Winter Commencement held in the Pleasants Family Room of the Wilson Library on Dec. 16, 2007. Degrees were given to SILS students who completed their studies during either the summer or fall 2007 terms.
The ceremony began with a welcome from graduating student, Emily Daly (MSLS '07). She welcomed and thanked those in attendance for their guidance and support, and spoke about the dramatic changes that technology has brought.
"In a world of ever-increasing personalization — why, we may create custom Google searches and iGoogle homepages; we are made privy to sales and new releases based on online purchases and demonstrated interests on Facebook; we may even have our news pages customized for us based on the types of articles we tend to read — I think that it is fitting that we graduates have customized our experiences at SILS, as well," said Daly.
Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, dean of the School, discussed the value of the education the graduates received and noted that the graduates are those who are creating the future.
"Never have the knowledge and skills you possess been more needed in the world than they are today," said Griffiths. "Modern technology now extends the library or information center from a single room or building to the global village. Regardless of where you end up working, you will be connected to and have the opportunity to impact the rest of the world — and the rest of the world may show up at your doorstep, unannounced and possibly more than a little confused, looking to you to make sense of their information chaos."
Dr. Laura (Lolly) Gasaway was the guest speaker for the commencement ceremony. Dr. Gasaway is the associate dean for Academic Affairs and professor at the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor of practice at SILS. She spoke with the graduates about the future of continuous change.
"Virtually every profession, every job has been changed by the Internet and the information revolution," said Gasaway. "What do we know about this? Only that the changes will continue at a very rapid pace."
In addition to speaking about how the profession had changed and continued to do so, Gasaway shared the following five tips for success:
- If you want to be treated as a professional, act like one. If you behave immaturely, dress like a teenager and treat your job as if it is drudgery and do only the minimum required, you are not a professional.
- Do not punch a time clock! As professionals you are not hired to work 40 hours a week but to do a job. That job is something in which you should take pride.
- When you are asked to do something by your boss, please never, ever say or complain “it is not in my job description.” This is the kiss of death!
- Accept new challenges with enthusiasm. You never know where they may lead.
- Recognize that the most important skills we have is the ability to think and analyze, to organize and plan. The librarians and information professionals who can look toward the future and plan for change are the ones who succeed.
During the ceremony, SILS Alumni Association president, Jean Ferguson, presented the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award to Maurice York. Maurice is a 1978 MSLS graduate of SILS and he is currently the head of Special Collections at J.Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University.
The SILS Alumni Association hosted a reception after the commencement ceremony. It was held in the lobby of the Wilson Library.