Deborah Balsamo is SILS distinguished alumna

February 22, 2011

Deborah Balsamo (MSLS '97), has been named a 2010 distinguished alumna by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The award was presented by SILS Alumni Association president, David Woodbury, during the School's winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 19, 2010.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed to its alumni. It recognizes alumni who exhibit a strong commitment to librarianship or information science and demonstrate outstanding professional achievements at the international, national, state or local level. The SILS Alumni Association acknowledges alumni “who demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and outstanding service to our profession and to the School of Information and Library Science.”

Balsamo is the National program manager for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Library Network where she has the responsibility for coordinating the operations of the agency’s 26 libraries, overseeing the implementation of policies and procedures and leading the strategic direction of EPA's information services.

She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and served as president of the North Carolina Chapter. Her achievements have been recognized by professional awards from both organizations; and this past summer she was named a Dialog Quantum2 Info Star, one of only three awarded in North America. She holds a BA from Florida Atlantic University and earned her Master of Science in Library Science from SILS at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of Beta Phi Mu International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. 

The commencement speaker for the ceremony, Balsamo provided insight to the graduating class into how her career unfolded at the EPA. She noted that students should be careful for what they wish for, because it truly can come true - as it did in her case. Among several words of wisdom, she offered the following advice to the graduates: 

  • Be confident. You have prepared yourself with a superb education here at SILS.
  • You have an amazing toolbox of knowledge and skills that any organization would be lucky to get.
  • Keep your eye on your goals, but keep an open mind so you don’t miss other great opportunities that come up. 
  • Be open to change and new opportunities. Keep your eye out for change. Let change be your friend.  
  • Retain your passion for the work you do.
  • Maintain your relationships with your classmates and your colleagues. 
  • Tend your professional networks. 
  • And stay connected to this great School.

The Alumni Association selects the distinguished alumni from nominations submitted to the organization throughout the year. Those selected are announced during the spring and winter commencement ceremonies. To nominate an alumni who meets the criteria, please contact the SILS Alumni Association president, David Woodbury. Click here for a list of previous SILS Distinguished Alumni.

Photo: David Woodbury, president of SILS Alumni Association, presents the certificate for Distinguished Alumna to Deborah Balsamo during the 2010 commencement ceremony on Dec. 19, 2010.