Suresh Ponnappa, (SIS ’84), provided the large audience at the Gary R. Purcell Memorial Lecture with a series of fond remembrances of his friend and mentor. The Wednesday October 31 lunch lecture kicked off the series of events celebrating the School of Information Sciences’ 40th year of ALA accreditation. Dr. Purcell was instrumental in leading the school to the first accreditation and as the audience heard at the lecture, he also provided the vision for the future.
Students today are beneficiaries of Purcell’s leadership and guidance. Ponnappa described many occasions which illustrated Dr. Purcell’s focus on high academic standards and deep intense compassion for the students and faculty of the school. Many of Ponnappa’s antidotes were humorous and some were very poignant but, all of them helped those in attendance know Dr. Purcell’s SIS legacy.
Dr. Bill Robinson followed with his remembrances of his friend Gary Purcell. He told of his early years as a new faculty member and the important guidance Dr. Purcell provided. He outlined some of the ways in which Purcell guided the school from training librarians to a broader scope and scale encompassing information sciences as we know it today.
The audience included guest of honor Carolyn Purcell (wife of Gary Purcell), current SIS students and faculty, Hodges Library staff, Dean Steve Smith, Dean Mike Wirth, and many SIS alumni such as Janet Drumheller, past SIS Advisor Board Member.