iSchool graduates go forth

Ferguson, John  |  May 24, 2017

News Image: 
UT commencement
Image Caption: 
The University of Texas at Austin's 134th Spring Commencement
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Christian Schley
Image Caption: 
Christian Schley

In his final convocation address as dean of the School of Information, Dr. Andrew P. Dillon urged the iSchool’s most recent graduates to seek greatness through daily choices and self-discipline, to speak truth to power, and to follow Ghandi’s advice to be the change they want to see in the world.

“Greatness is not to be confused with power or with wealth,” Dean Dillon said. “It is the refinement of standards, the application and the will to tackle problems, to skip easy options in preference of the right option. Greatness is the choice you make to speak up against injustice when all around you stay silent, to make another’s life better because they met you.”

The iSchool awarded approximately 80 degrees for Master of Science in Information Science and six Doctor of Philosophy in Information Studies degrees. 

Dean Dillon, who has announced that he will step down in August and return to the iSchool faculty in 2018, expressed confidence in the value of collected knowledge and the record of human achievement as a guide in present times. He called on iSchool graduates to choose to act thoughtfully, with an eye on what really holds value in life, and to spread the values of their education widely.

“The advance of civilization springs from seeking and using data with insight, with balance and with intelligence, with effort,” he said. “It is about turning data into information. This means of course, it is about you. We need graduates like you.”

Christian Schley, a 2007 graduate of the School of Information and the iSchool’s Advisory Council Chair, delivered the May 20 commencement address. In each stage of life, Ms. Schley said, we find ourselves in an information bubble that isolates us intellectually and limits our exposure to conflicting viewpoints.

“If you only use or seek information that is the same as what you have always used,” she said, “or read books that are similar to what you have always read, or only listen to like-minded people, then you will close yourself off to new ideas and miss what might be critical information, or fail to expand your thinking or your experience, or worst of all, not serve your clients or your family with your best efforts.”

Following career changes from teacher to lawyer, company manager and headhunter, Ms. Schley said the mission of the iSchool spoke to her “loud and clear” when she became a student.

“The school’s mission and its focus on human-centered information systems and processes,” she said, “to make sure the ever-increasing volume and complexity of information is accessible to all and serves to maximize human potential: What a powerful purpose and message.”

The iSchool’s doctoral graduates from Spring 2017 and Summer 2016 are:

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