SLIS honors alumni, friends

Nick Boone

The School of Library and Information Science is honoring its recent graduates and friends at the Celebration of Alumni and Student Success annual awards celebration in Columbus and Kent.  

This celebration has been split between the two cities — the Columbus event took place on April 1, while the he Kent event will take place on April 21 on the third floor of the University Library.

“The point of the event is to, once a year, honor our graduates who have either received a scholarship or awarded a graduate assistant position,” said Miriam Matteson, Library and Information Science assistant professor. “We recognize students who received any alumni awards.”  

There is an awards committee made up of faculty in which they send out an announcement in the beginning of the semester telling the faculty and professors about the awards and asking people for their nominations, said Flo Cunningham, marketing and PR specialist for SLIS.

Any 2014 graduate is eligible for these awards. Some of the awards recognize recent graduates for their leadership, scholarship, service and creativity.  

“It’s nice because so much of our program is online now,” Matteson said. “It’s a chance to actually get together and congratulate folks and shake hands.”

 The three main awards include the LIS (Library and Information Science) Alumnus of the Year, IAKM (Information Architecture and Knowledge Management) Alumnus of the Year and Friend of the Year, which go to alumni who have graduated from the program at anytime. Cunningham said the Friend of the Year award doesn’t necessarily have to go to an alumnus.  

The two alumni awards go to graduates who have made a significant contribution to the profession.  

This year’s winners are Catherine Hakala-Ausperk, faculty part-time for the School of Library and Information Science and Don Jason III, a 2013 graduate who earned a Master of Library and Information Science and a Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management with a concentration in Health informatics. 

Jason now works at the University Cincinnati Health Sciences Library. 

“It (the program) provided a lot of great opportunities, and SLIS is a very big school, so it gave me the opportunity to develop my independence in library science,” Jason said.  “But, there were always faculty and staff there for assistance.”

The winners of the two awards said they enjoyed their time in the SLIS program and feel honored to be recognized in this fashion.  

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk graduated in 1991 and has been honored for the LIS Alumnus of the Year Award. She also received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and wrote for the former Daily Kent Stater.  

“I saw a lot of potential in libraries,” Hakala-Ausperk said. “It’s kind of the best kept secret, everybody thinks it is boring and dull job, and its really just the opposite,” she said.  

She said she enjoyed the content of the classes and made lifelong friends who were in a shared situation, going back to school with young families.

“It was pretty tough to juggle grad school and a life,” Hakala-Ausperk said.   

Currently, Hakala-Ausperk is the Director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System. She said they do anything to help the libraries in the area be successful.

Contact Nick Boone at [email protected].