Campus memorial service for former SU School of Information Studies Dean Raymond F. von Dran scheduled for Sept. 7, fund established
Campus memorial service for former SU School of Information Studies Dean Raymond F. von Dran scheduled for Sept. 7, fund establishedAugust 08, 2007Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
Syracuse University will honor the memory of former School of Information Studies Dean Raymond F. von Dran in a memorial service Friday, Sept. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. A reception will follow in the Hinds Hall lobby.
Von Dran, who stepped down as dean last month after 12 years of service and was named dean emeritus, died from a sudden illness July 23 at the age of 60. He had planned to return to the School of Information Studies (iSchool) as a professor following a year of administrative leave, during which he was to travel the world with his wife, Gisela, who recently retired as assistant professor and director emerita of the iSchool’s master’s degree program in library and information science.
Elizabeth D. Liddy G’77, Ph.D. ’88, Trustee Professor of Information Studies, became interim dean effective July 15.
Throughout his career, von Dran broke new ground to help bring library and information science schools into the Information Age. A founding member of the I-Schools Group — a national consortium of academic institutions focused on the relationship between information and people — von Dran was among a core group of visionaries who helped define the newly emerging academic field of information studies, examining how information, in all its forms, expands human capabilities.
He led the iSchool at Syracuse through a 12-year period of unprecedented productivity, during which the number of faculty and students nearly tripled, sponsored research increased five-fold, and four of the school’s programs earned top-four rankings from U.S. News and World Report, including the top-ranked master’s in information systems.
Among his most striking legacies at the school is the notion of a “faculty of one” that has no traditional departments or divisions between the various degree programs and that encourages faculty to teach across disciplines. This unique culture supports innovative collaboration and a family-like environment for school members to teach and learn from each other.
Prior to joining SU, von Dran served as dean of the information schools at The Catholic University of America and the University of North Texas.
He received a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and history from Seton Hall University and master’s degrees in library science and French intellectual history and a Ph.D. in information science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
To support von Dran’s vision and to continue the success he created at the school, an account has been established in von Dran’s name at the School of Information Studies. In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to send donations to the “SU Raymond F. von Dran Fund” c/o SU School of Information Studies, Office of the Dean, 343 Hinds Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244.
His family, in conversation with the school, will determine how best to support von Dran’s vision for the iSchool.
For more information on von Dran, see http://sunews.syr.edu/story_details.cfm?id=4227 and http://ischool.syr.edu/ray/. At this latter site, the School of Information Studies offers a tribute to its late dean, including a photo album and dozens of remembrances from friends, colleagues and former students.