UArizona iSchool Celebrates Inaugural Spring Convocation with Inspiring Address by Alumna Teresa Miguel-Stearns

May 30, 2024
School of Information bachelor's Spring 2024 graduates.

Bachelor's graduates at the Spring 2024 School of Information Convocation. Photo by Michael McKisson.

On May 10, 2024, the University of Arizona School of Information (iSchool) celebrated its inaugural Spring Convocation. The event honored the achievements of more than 300 bachelor’s and master’s students, marking a significant milestone ahead of the organization’s renaming to the College of Information Science in July.

“This event is a time to give thanks for everything we have and for the people who have dedicated themselves to supporting our graduates in their studies and in their lives,” said Interim Dean Catherine Brooks, highlighting the collective effort behind each student’s success. Brooks underscored the importance of resilience, perseverance, adaptability, strength, concentration and courage, qualities that have defined the journey of the Class of 2024.

Dean Catherine Brooks with Edidiong Ekpoh

Dean Catherine Brooks with Edidiong Ekpoh, BSIS '24, recipient of a Spring 2024 Undergraduate Leadership and Community Engagement Award. Photo by Michael Chansley Photography.

Leadership and Responsibility

A highlight of the ceremony was the keynote address by Teresa Miguel-Stearns, director of the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, professor of law and 2006 graduate of the iSchool’s Master of Arts in Library and Information Science and its Knowledge River Scholars Program.

In her inspiring speech, Miguel-Stearns shared her journey from practicing law as a public defender to her current role as a law library director and educator. She recalled the words of late U.S. Representative John Lewis: “You must lead. You’re never too young to lead. We need your leadership now more than ever before.” This, she said, is the message she wanted to impart to the graduates: the urgent need for their leadership.

Miguel-Stearns emphasized that the future is in the hands of the graduates. “Each and every one of you will fundamentally shape the future. Your future and my future… everyone’s future,” she said, reminding the graduates that their education has equipped them with the values, skills and intellect needed to ethically and significantly impact the world.

Teresa Miguel-Stearns delivers keynote address

Professor and Director of the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library Teresa Miguel-Stearns, MLIS '06, delivers the keynote address at the Spring 2024 School of Information Convocation. Photo by Michael Chansley Photography.

“Shaping the future of our society is a responsibility that will require courageous, compassionate and ethical leadership—from the moment you enter the workforce,” Miguel-Stearns continued. She encouraged graduates to see leadership as an attitude rather than a title, urging them to be present, contribute to a mission larger than themselves and trust their instincts. Drawing from her own experience of leading a strategic planning committee early in her career, she illustrated how taking on leadership roles, even when feeling unprepared, can lead to substantial personal and professional growth.

Miguel-Stearns also highlighted the importance of embracing failure. “It doesn’t matter if you fail—everyone who’s ever taken the lead has failed. Those who haven’t failed haven’t led,” she said, emphasizing resilience and learning from mistakes as key components of effective leadership.

A Call to Action

The keynote address concluded with a powerful call to action. Miguel-Stearns urged the graduates to lead with courage and values from any position they find themselves in. “Lead. You are never too young to lead. We need your leadership now more than ever before,” she reiterated. Her message was clear: the world is facing numerous challenges, and the graduates are uniquely prepared to meet these challenges head-on with their iSchool education and Wildcat grit.

Celebrating graduates

Celebrating the graduates of the Spring 2024 School of Information Convocation. Photo by Michael McKisson.

Celebrating Achievements and Looking Forward

Following Miguel-Stearns’s impactful address and brief speeches from two award-winning iSchool students, the ceremony continued with the presentation of graduates. Master’s students in the Data Science, Information Science and Library and Information Science programs were hooded and recognized first, followed by undergraduate students in the Game Design and Development, Games and Behavior, Information Science, Information Science and Arts and Information Science and eSociety programs. Emcee and Associate Dean Diana Daly shared highlights of the iSchool’s programs and achievements, emphasizing the college’s commitment to exploring the intersections of people, data and technology to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive world.

Convocation concluded with heartfelt applause for the graduates and a reminder of the strong alumni network of which they are now a part. “Our alumni family is one of our core strengths, and as I look out upon you today, I see just how strong our family is,” Daly remarked. The ceremony ended with a recessional that symbolized the graduates’ transition from students to alumni, ready to shape the future of information—and so the world—with the skills and values instilled in them by the UArizona iSchool.

Watch a replay of the full Spring 2024 School of Information Convocation, or learn more about supporting School of Information students and faculty.