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SoIC, library science merger celebrated


By Hannah Alani



IU has inspired students in the field of informatics and computing science for years, said Peter Lee, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Research.

He spoke at Friday’s inauguration ceremony to celebrate the merger of IU’s School of Informatics and Computer Science and the School of Library and Information Science.

The SoIC merger took full effect July 1.

Lee delivered the keynote address at the inauguration in the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union.

The SoIC is one of the broadest and most extensive informatics and computing programs in the country, IU President Michael McRobbie said in his opening remarks at Friday’s ceremony.

“By combining the two programs, IU now has the largest program of its kind in the United States and maybe the world,” McRobbie said. “In the coming years, the IU school will become a model for informatics and information science programs across the nation.”

The IU School of Informatics was founded in 2000, according to the ceremony program.

IU offered the first Ph.D. in Informatics as well as one of the first master’s degrees in cybersecurity.

Enrollment for the SoIC includes 950 undergraduates, 851 graduates and 86 faculty members.

Information science professor Katy Börner and SoIC Dean Robert Schnabel joined McRobbie, Lee and Byers as speakers at the inauguration ceremony.

In addition to the merger, the SoIC will offer an online degree in January 2014, Schnabel said.

Informatics major and senior Logan Lynch will not be directly affected by the merger, but said he is excited about the possible opportunities and resources for future informatics students.

“Currently, the school has a small feel with a faculty that is eager to help and is invested in their students’ success,” Lynch said. “I hope that the school will still be able to keep the same feel.”

Lynch’s fellow senior Julie Byers is a computing science major and presented at Friday’s ceremony.

“Everyone in the school works hard to cultivate a community,” Byers said. “This merger is sure to increase the opportunities and resources that the school will offer.”
Byers said she hopes the merger will increase female representation.

The SoIC student body is currently 18 percent women. The school has a Women in Informatics and Computing organization.

Lee closed his keynote address Friday with words of advice for students.

“All scientific foundations originate within universities,” Lee said. “None of this would have been possible without the rich interplay between universities, industry and government in technology innovation.”

Follow reporter Hannah Alani on Twitter @hannahalani.

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