Wayne State University

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School Recognizes Outstanding Students and Alumni

July 24, 2015

SLIS celebrated its best and brightest April 23 at the Annual Recognition Ceremony held at the McGregor Conference Center on the Wayne State campus.

Alumni, staff, students, faculty, and donors were all recognized for their support of the School by Dean Sandra Yee and Associate Dean and Professor Stephen Bajjaly.

“We provide $80,000 annually in scholarships to our students,” Bajjaly said. “I’m very proud of that and grateful to our donors for providing that level of support.”

During his State of the School address, Bajjaly reported that one third of students lived outside of Michigan, and that SLIS students reside in 41 states and three Canadian provinces.

“We have a wide reach, and we need to keep growing,” he said.

More than 44 students received one of the School’s 26 scholarships; among them was Ashley Rossetto, one of four recipients of the Margaret Hayes Grazier Endowed Scholarship. A resident of Novi, Mich., Rossetto attended the ceremony with her parents Alan and Jill Witucki.

“We’re big Wayne State supporters,” said Alan, an instructional design consultant who served as an adjunct instructor for Wayne’s introductory instructional systems design course in 2006. “I knew the campus, knew it had great faculty and thought it would be a great fit for Ashley.”

Rossetto is pursuing the Library Services pillar and hopes to work with youth in a public library setting.

“Even though I’m local, I like how the classes are completely online and that they offer really tangible lessons,” she said.

Professor Robert Holley was recognized for his 27 years of service to the university by Associate Professor Hermina Anghelescu, who called Holley an “intrepid traveler notorious for finding the best deals.”

Holley, who said he was “almost” at a loss for words, was told he would be at Wayne State for about five years.

“That was in 1988, and I got my foot caught in the door,” he said.

Katherine Lester (MLIS ’01) received the Professional Service Award for her work in obtaining support from the Michigan State Board of Education to require school libraries to be staffed by certified school media specialists.

“Michigan has lost more school librarians than any other state,” Lester said, urging a Call to Action while adding that she had great respect for the SLIS program for its support of the library profession.

Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award was Kathleen Roe (MLIS ’79), Director of Archives and Records Management at the New York State Archives and current president of the Society of American Archivists.

Roe challenged archivists and archival students to spend a “Year of Living Dangerously for Archives” to focus on raising awareness of and advocating for archives. For current SLIS archival students, she said that would be aided by having a mentor.

“Find that mentor, reach out to them and they will reach out to you,” Roe said, citing the “life-changing relationship” she had with Wayne State University Professor Emeritus Philip Mason.  A noted historian and author, Mason taught American History and Archival Administration and is the founding director of the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs.

“He was an incredible educator, and made me understand that I was changing people’s lives by what I was helping them with,” she said. “As information professionals, we can make a difference in the world.”