UMSI celebrates U-M Bicentennial with information symposium

Technology executives from The Walt Disney Studios, Google and Microsoft Research. The President of 2K Games. A Library Journal Librarian of the Year and frequent NPR commentator. The creator of

These experts and many more will speak at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) Bicentennial Symposium on Information, Technology, Libraries and Entrepreneurship, Friday, October 6, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at U-M’s Rackham Graduate School, 915, E. Washington Street in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Symposium, which is open to the public, is UMSI’s contribution to the year-long celebration of U-M’s Bicentennial.  Speakers will be addressing various aspects of the present and future of information and society. 

Following a welcome by Dean Thomas Finholt, the first event of the day will be “A Conversation with Nancy Pearl” at 10 am. Pearl was Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year in 2011. She is the author of the Book Lust series and the just-published novel George and Lizzie and is frequently heard discussing books on National Public Radio. She will speak with Josie Parker, Director of the Ann Arbor District Library. Both women are alumnae of the School of Information.

"I’m really looking forward to coming back to Ann Arbor for the Bicentennial Symposium,” Pearl said. “Library school curriculums have changed dramatically since I received my MLS waaayyy back in 1967.  What I believe hasn’t changed is the profession’s commitment to free and open access to information for all people and the importance of books and reading to the survival of a democratic society."

Symposium panel topics following Pearl’s appearance include “Entrepreneurship and Information,” “Libraries of Today and Tomorrow,” “The Future of Information,” “Remembrance and Records” and “Law Librarianship: Reflections on the Pat, Ruminations on the Future.”

The panelists are drawn from some of the top industries and organization in the field of information and communication. Among them are David Ismailer, President of 2K Games; Deb Fallows, national journalist and author of Dreaming in Chinese; Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research; Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Products for Google; Jamie Voris, Chief Technology Officer at The Walt Disney Studios; and Roger Ehrenberg, Founder and Managing Partner of IA Ventures.

“This is an outstanding roster of experts in the areas of information, technology, libraries and entrepreneurship,” said UMSI Dean Thomas A. Finholt. “We are gratified that so many notable individuals have volunteered their time and expertise to join us for the day. And we’re proud to say that several of our guest speakers are alumni of UMSI.”
A “Student Lighting Talks” panel will showcase the work of five students as they present their current research. An accompanying Student Posters Exhibition will be held in the Assembly Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

UMSI faculty and administrators participating as panelists or moderators include Finholt; Beth Yakel, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Francis X. Blouin, Professor of Information and of History, and seven other UMSI faculty members.

Also involved will be James Hilton, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation, and Dean of Libraries; and Barbara Garavaglia, Director of U-M Law Library. 

Lunch-time addresses will feature UMSI Associate Professor Kentaro Toyama, author of Geek Heresy; and Joyojeet Pal, Assistant Professor and producer of the film, For the Love of Man.

It will be a full day – and a day to remember, said Finholt. “Through this symposium, we will salute those visionary, dedicated individuals who contributed to the creation of our school and our institution. And we will reaffirm our mission to find solutions that address the challenges of our increasingly interconnected world.”

The event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is requested for those wishing to attend. The agenda and the reservation link are available at

The UMSI Bicentennial Symposium is supported by the John Seely Brown Symposium Fund, the William Warner Bishop Lectureship Fund, the Martha Boaz Distinguished Lectureship Fund and the U-M Office of Academic Innovation.

Posted September 21, 2017