1970s: Karen Gavigan

Karen Gavigan (’78) always knew where her path would lead: there were no circuitous routes or first careers, just a beeline to librarianship. She had role models, including an aunt…

1980s: Shali Zhang

Shali Zhang (’80) may have entered the library profession somewhat unpremeditated, but her trajectory since then has been very intentional. She’s worked her way up from a community college library in Kentucky to her current position as dean of Auburn University Libraries in Alabama.

1990s: Scot Smith

Scot Smith (’98) has touched the lives of many middle school, high school, and graduate students over the past two decades as both a librarian and a teacher of librarians. He not only serves as a school librarian at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but he’s also a long-time lecturer at the School of Information Sciences.

2000s: Theresa Venable

Theresa Venable had been a school teacher for many years when she was approached by her principal about a program offering scholarships for the MLIS program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, specifically for people from underrepresented populations.

2010s: Danny Hussey

Danny Hussey (’16) went from a web design job in Tennessee, to just a few years later overseeing technology at a unique public library on a Floridian island known as a vacation spot for the rich and famous—all because he decided to go back to school for an MSIS degree.

2020s: Alvin Blount

After more than three decades of working in sacred music and performance, Alvin Blount (’21) says he was bitten by the information sciences bug. At the time, he thought it was only archives that held his interest. All it took was a few classes and four faculty members to forever change the direction of his career and his life.