Virtual Convocation Celebrates 2016 iSchool Graduates


Toby Greenwalt will send graduates off on their next journey with his convocation address during the iSchool’s synchronous virtual convocation ceremony at 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

It is graduation time at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool), and several events are planned in celebration of those who have completed their studies in the past calendar year.

The iSchool’s virtual convocation ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, May 21, 2016. The celebration will include live synchronous speeches from Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director of the iSchool, from Dr. Mary Schutten, dean of the SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts, from guest convocation speaker Toby Greenwalt, and from student speaker and Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Promise winner Kayla Figard. The special event will be held via Blackboard Collaborate and can be joined via phone, desktop, or mobile device.

For students in the San José area, the iSchool is hosting a reception from 4:00-5:30 p.m. PDT on Friday, May 27, 2016, in the 4th floor foyer of Clark Hall at SJSU. Graduates can invite up to three people to attend the reception. San José State University is also hosting a commencement ceremony at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, May 28, 2016, for graduates of the entire university. Students planning to attend the university-wide commencement are asked to submit an intent to participate by May 27, 2016.

The iSchool created a Virtual Convocation website that features profiles of graduates and messages from Hirsh and Schutten, as well as an audio presentation of the degree and a collection of curated social media posts about graduation.

In her message to graduating students, Hirsh stated that she was “very proud” of the successes of iSchool graduates and that she “felt honored” to have been a part of their journey. She also noted that “our school is fortunate to have a vast network of talented alumni,” adding, “Today you join these Emerging Leaders, Movers & Shakers, I Love My Librarian award winners, and a host of other prestigious titles bestowed upon our alumni.”  

Schutten also had a message for iSchool graduates, and said, “You chose a dynamic profession, one that will continue to change as new technologies emerge and society evolves. You have been well prepared to thrive in positions that will be in place in the future.” She also reminded graduates, “Keep learning and adapting, both on the job and through postgraduate programs, and continue to foster the learning of others as you move forward in your careers.”

Guest convocation speaker Toby Greenwalt is well positioned to speak to graduates about the myriad opportunities for technology specialists in the information professions since he is currently the director of digital strategy and technology implementation at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He also serves on the advisory committee for the American Library Association (ALA) Center for the Future of Libraries.

Friends, family, instructors, and classmates of graduates are invited to sign virtual guest books that are located on the profile page of each graduating student on the Virtual Convocation website. Many of this year’s graduates have already posted their wishes and encouragement for their classmates, such as graduating student Julia Wells who took the time to congratulate Sylvia Aguiñaga and added, “Keep up the excellent work teaching coding to girls!”

The social media celebration is ongoing on the Virtual Convocation website also, and by including the hashtag #SJSUiSchool2016 in their tweets, graduates can have them featured on the site. Kerry Purvis took advantage of the opportunity to express her thoughts, tweeting, “Working on my final assignment, hard to believe the long road to my #MLIS is coming to an end! #SJSUISCHOOL2016.”

The end to iSchool studies is bittersweet for many students who are justifiably proud of their accomplishments but will miss the joy of their learning experience at the School of Information and the camaraderie of their classmates. Luckily, iSchool Connext, the School of Information’s official alumni and student organization can help students continue networking and further their professional development even after iSchool coursework is completed. Current graduate students and alumni are automatically welcomed to participate in the group.

As Schutten told students in her message, “You chose a vital, 21st century profession, and it is my honor to recognize your dedication to such critical work. We are so proud of you.”

 Congratulations, graduates!