Commencement - A Happy Time for All

May 14, 2014

The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrated the 2014 graduates on Sunday, May 11th during the commencement ceremony held in the Great Hall of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.

SILS Class of 2014

Beginning with a class photo on the steps of Manning Hall, the graduating class and their faculty joined in a procession to the Great Hall for the ceremony.
Erin HolmesGuests, faculty, students and staff were welcomed by graduate Erin Holmes (MSIS '14) who spoke about SILS as a top-ranked School and her desire to be surrounded by excellence, which includes the faculty and her fellow students. She encouraged her colleagues to continue on in the tradition of excellence and to remember the “enriching relationships” formed during their time at SILS.

Dean Gary Marchionini welcomed the audience to Chapel Hill and wished all the mothers in the audience a happy Mother's Day.  He reminded the students that they are now prepared to go into positions that could change the world.

“You’ve invested in your education and you can undoubtedly meet the challenges of the ever-changing fields of information and library science head-on,” he said. “The faculty and I are confident that the talents and skills you now possess will lead you to exciting and interesting careers.”

Demetria TuckerDemetria Tucker (MSLS ‘78), senior family and youth librarian at the Pearl Bailey Branch Library in Newport News, VA presented the commencement address. She described some of the tasks information professionals face as similar to those confronted by superheroes who sometimes must deal with kryptonite, such as budget cuts and other problems. She noted that as professionals the graduates will sometimes need to navigate through rough waters, but can also leave their mark and truly make a difference.   

Dean Marchionini presented Tucker with the book, The First State University: Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina, written by SILS alumnus, William S. Powell (BSLS  ‘47).

SILS graduate students, Lucy Vanderkamp (MSLS '14), on the harp and Peter Shirts (MSLS '14) on clarinet, provided a musical performance of “Sicilienne" by Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759–1824).” 

Several awards were presented to acknowledge the many achievements of students, faculty and alumni during the academic year.

Dr. Claudia Gollop, SILS associate professor, director of the SILS Summer School program and chair of the Diversity Committee, presented the Diversity Advocate Certificates to Erin Carter (MSIS '14) and Dawn Dvorak (MSLS '14), two students who had completed the requirements. The certificate is a formal recognition to students who are active participants in making the School, the University and the field of Information and Library Science a more diverse-friendly learning environment. She thanked the students and commended them for their commitment to improve diversity.

Dr. Brian Sturm, associate professor, presented the 2013 – 2014 Elfreda Chatman Research Awards and the Dean's Achievement Awards. The Elfreda Chatman Research Awards are presented at the beginning of each semester to allow recipients to use the funds for their research during the academic year. The Elfreda Chatman Award was created by the SILS Alumni Association in 2002 to honor Dr. Elfreda Chatman's interest in original research. Chatman was a former member of the SILS faculty. The Fall 2013 award went to Lindsay Conway for her proposal entitled, “Comparing delivery timing of information literacy instruction: a citation analysis of undergraduate music classes.” The recipient of the spring 2014 award was Erin Nell Morris, for her proposal entitled, “Comparative usability testing of role-based and topic-based menu structure in health information websites for researchers and older adults.”

The Dean's Achievement Awards are presented to students who produce the highest quality masters' papers. Dr. Sturm presented a Dean’s Achievement Award to Curt Arledge for his paper “Filled-in vs. Outline Icons: The Impact of Icon Style on Usability.” The Selection Committee also chose Meredith Lewis for her paper, “Learning Styles, Motivations and Resource Needs of Students Enrolled in a Massive Open Online Class.” 

Dr. Robert Capra, assistant professor, presented the Deborah Barreau Award for Teaching Excellence for full-time faculty to Dr. Jaime Arguello, assistant professor. The person selected for the full-time faculty award has been called “an amazing teacher who makes things not only interesting, but leaves you with a hunger to go out and learn more,” said Capra. “He has a gift to take complex theories and topics that are studied and break them down in ways that are both manageable and easily understood.”

"The person selected for part-time teaching award was Rachael Clemens, teaching fellow and doctoral student at SILS. Referring to her class on Library Instruction, one nominator said “it was the best learning experience for me since I began my program at SILS.” 

William Cross (MSLS '11), president of the SILS Alumni Association (SILSAA), congratulated the graduates and welcomed them as the newest members of the SILS Alumni Association.

He presented the Outstanding Service to the School awards, which are awards that recognize students who have contributed outstanding service to the School. The recipient(s) are selected by the faculty and a member of SILSAA. This year’s recipients are Marcos Prieto (BSIS ' 14), who the faculty says “is always ready to do whatever is necessary to help the School;” and Erin Holmes (MSIS '14), the first new student outreach coordinator for the Information & Library Science Student Association …   also known as ILSSA and the coordinator for the Community Workshop Series… the award-winning volunteer program that allows SILS students to get valuable instruction experience in a public library setting.

Demetria TuckerCross presented the Distinguished Alumna Award to Demetria Tucker (MSLS ‘78). Those selected for the Distinguished Alumnus Award exhibit a strong commitment to librarianship or information science and for the outstanding professional library or information science achievements at national, state or local levels.  

“She was selected by the American Library Association to receive the 2013 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement,” said Cross. “She also received a national lifetime achievement award from the Newport News City Council.

Out of a pool of 350 finalists from across the nation, Demetria’s Youth Program was one of 12 selected as a winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. This award is the highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.”

Tiffany Harris, undergraduate student services coordinator, began the recognition of degree recipients by calling the names of the 29 receiving their BSIS degrees. Lara Bailey, graduate student services coordinator, followed by calling the 97 names of both MSIS and MSLS students receiving graduate degrees. Doctoral students, Chad H. Morgan, Lorraine L. Richards, Heather Marie Ryan and Laura Ann Sheble were hooded by their faculty advisors who included Drs. Joanne Marshall, Diane Kelly and Cal Lee. (The program for the day can be accessed here.)

Dean Marchionini closed out the ceremony by asking the students to turn their tassels. A reception was held immediately following the ceremony.

Photos prior to, during and after the ceremony may be downloaded from the SILS Flickr account at:

For those who were unable to attend the University's commencement ceremony held in Kenan Stadium by Dr. Atul Gawande, professor, surgeon and author. The video is available on YouTube at: