A Glorious Day for SJSU iSchool Graduates

iStudent Blog

Published: May 25, 2016

San José State University’s School of Information honored its August and December 2015 and May 2016 graduates on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

This special moment in time for our graduates involved a live online presentation with student and faculty speakers and a keynote address by Toby Greenwalt. Profiles and messages from convocation speakers as well as the graduates can be viewed on the iSchool’s Class of 2016 Convocation pages.

School of Information Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh commiserated and celebrated with students in her message on the convocation website saying, “At times it may have seemed this day would never come. But here you are on convocation day—a day in which we come together and celebrate your achievements. Your passion is to be commended.”

Like Hirsh, my favorite thing about iSchool students and graduates that seems to unite them, regardless of time zone, life challenges or area of focus is their determination and their passion. “Our graduates are truly serving our global community,” said Hirsh.

During her address to students on Saturday, she greeted graduates and their family and friends, knowing that so many graduates were dependent and grateful for the support of their loved ones. “As San Jose State University graduates,” she said as she finished her address to listeners, charging graduates with a mission as they go out into the working world, “you bear responsibility today and tomorrow for demonstrating the impact that librarians and information professionals have on the well-being of their communities.”

SJSU iSchool Graduates are in Good Company
Dean Mary C. Schutten of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at SJSU wrote a message to graduates, reminding them of what a great choice they made in the award-winning iSchool. It was a choice they made along with fellow classmates from all 50 states and 18 countries. “You’re in good company,” she writes. Commending our 2016 graduates, Schutten went on to write, “You chose a vital, 21st century profession, and it is my honor to recognize your dedication to such critical work.”

A Glorious Day for SJSU iSchool Graduates

Let it be known iSchool graduates of 2016—your fellow students are proud of you, too! You inspire us to keep up the hard work in our studies and look for ways that we can make a difference while pursuing ingenuity in the information world.

If you’re proud like me, you can share the sentiment with individual graduates by writing sweet somethings on their profile pages or take the party to social media where students, faculty and grads will be celebrating with tweets using #SJSUiSchool2016. 

Graduate speaker and winner of the 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Practice Kayla Marie Figard spoke of the ups and downs, obstacles and achievements of all the graduates. They all worked hard and persevered despite difficult circumstances and deadlines to achieve their goal of a Masters degree. She talked about the iSchool curriculum, online format and use of a variety of technologies as having more to do with just taking classes. “Having the knowledge is great,” said Figard, “but having the experience and confidence to execute that knowledge is just as important.”

Figard stressed the goal of lifelong learning and the role that librarians have in communities to change the image of libraries. “We will need to learn as we go,” said Figard, “learning from our communities and helping to make them better.”

A Charge for Today’s Information Professional
Convocation 2016’s chosen speaker was Director of Digital Strategy and Technology and Implementation at Carnegie Library of Pittsburg, Toby Greenwalt. If it takes you a while to comprehend his job title, just visualize the guy that makes technology understandable, accessible and useful to his library and the community beyond. Aside from speaking at this year’s convocation, Greenwalt also gave a keynote address at the Library 2.015 conference.

Greenwalt began by congratulating this year’s graduates and appreciating both the hard work that they’d done and the support of the iSchool staff, faculty and graduates’ friends and family. “It takes more than just a village,” said Greenwalt, giving the common phrase a 21st century definition, “it takes a whole network.”

Greenwalt went on to discuss the way libraries and information professionals are valuable and connected. He related quotations and anecdotes about what it’s like to field questions about the validity of the profession and the value of both print and digital materials, the latter not being an either/or proposition.

Greenwalt also discussed the personal, one-on-one interactions that many patrons have with librarians and the meaningful impact these relationships have on the community.

“My role at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is to re-envision the library’s role in a changing world of information,” said Greenwalt, before going on to cite examples of the way this is happening and charging graduates with a similar responsibility. “It’s our job as librarians to do all we can to make this impact known to our communities.”

A big, hearty and bloggy congratulations to all of the 2016 graduates—you’ve accomplished much and are set to change the world. To all iSchool students and graduates– have a wonderful (and hopefully more relaxing) summer!

For related iSchool content, check out:
The iSchool’s Best Resources for Networking and Planning Your Career

Get the Most of Your Professional Conference Experience

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