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A Milestone Celebration for the Division of Library and Information Science

Monday, November 18, 2013

It was a night of celebration as St. John’s alumni, friends, professors and administrators gathered at the New York City Municipal Archives to honor the 75th Anniversary of the Division of Library and Information Science.

“This is the information age, when society depends upon the efforts of you and so many other alumni more than ever before,” said Jefferey E. Olson, Associate Provost and Director of Library and Information Science. “This profession is more valuable than it’s ever been, and tonight we celebrate that as we honor some of our outstanding graduates.”

Honorees included:

Patricia (Pam) A. Berger '79G
Director
Southern Westchester BOCES School Library System

Angeline Djampou '93G
Chief of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Library
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (Nairobi, Kenya)

Tom Fearon ’88G
Senior Vice President
Global Market Data
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Ralph Monaco ’71UC,‘73MLS
Executive Director
The New York Law Institute

Kevin Verbesey ’93G
Director
Suffolk Cooperative Library System

Bella Hass Weinberg, D.L.S.
Professor Emerita, Division of Library and Information Science
St. John’s University

Guests had the opportunity to tour the Municipal Archives – a location sponsored by the New York City Department of Records and Information Services – and even check out a special exhibit about the history of St. John’s. Honorees mixed and mingled and spoke about how their college education impacted their careers.

“As recently as yesterday, I was doing work in the office that ties back to the St. John’s Library Science program,” said Fearon, who, on a personal note, was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his graduation from SJU. “I can honestly say that what I learned still applies to what I’m doing on the job. And the work has drastically changed from traditional libraries to online environments, so it’s been fun to watch that shift happen.”

Monaco, meanwhile, shared a story about the unlikely way in which he discovered Information Science. While studying Political Science at St. John’s, he decided to take a part-time job in the University’s School of Law library, and soon enough he had found his calling.

“I took the job because it seemed convenient, and I ended up liking it a lot,” he explained. “I had never even known this was even a career, so it was really quite serendipitous how I got into this profession. Four decades later, I’m glad I can be here for this celebration, because this Division has adapted with the times and continues to play a vital role in the lives of students.”

Indeed, as Verbesy noted, celebrating the Division of Library and Information Science is important, not only because of the impact it’s had on students and alumni, but because of the role it plays throughout society.

“St. John’s, in particular, provides a vision and philosophy that is quite significant,” he noted. “They teach professional ethics in addition to the practical training. And when you have milestones like this, it’s important that you take a moment to step back and recognize those achievements. And based on what I’ve seen in my 20 years within the program, I have every bit of confidence that the next 75 years will be even more successful than the last.”

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