Although I knew for some time that it was in the works, I was very pleased to read this week’s announcement from the iSchool at Illinois, my alma mater and where I teach part-time, that its first endowed professorship has been established. The Mildred M. Luther and Kathryn Luther Henderson Professorship in Preservation and Technical Services has been established in honor of my longtime mentor, dear friend, and former professor, Kathryn Luther Henderson, and her sister, Millie. I am thankful that I knew Millie personally. Unfortunately, she passed away about two years ago.
It is the first endowed professorship in the school’s history. As the announcement notes, it is not the only major gift that the Hendersons and Millie have made to the school. I am unaware of an endowed professorship like it anywhere else. The iSchool at Illinois is justifiably ranked as the #1 program in the country, and has been for a long time. This news serves to bolster a very important aspect of that program.
Today I received a handwritten letter from Kathie Henderson containing a copy-edited version of the public announcement that she had recently ok’d for the iSchool to distribute. In her distinctive handwriting that I remember so well, she wrote: “You have exemplified tech services. Hope you are as happy about the recognition of TS as I am.” Yes, I am, and what an honor to receive this praise from her.
Almost every year since 2003, I have had the privilege of teaching an online version of the technical services functions class that she originally developed. In fact, I am teaching it again right now, this summer. There is no way that I could ever match Kathie’s abilities as a teacher and mentor, but I try to follow the example she set for me. Each time I teach the course, I think of her and appreciate anew what she taught me.
I can’t wait to see how this generous gift will benefit the school going forward. Below is a photo taken when I visited the Hendersons and Millie four years ago.