Alumni and Giving
Jean Key Gates Distinguished Alumni Award
The Jean Key Gates Distinguished Alumni Award of the USF School of Information is named in honor of our USF Professor Emerita of the same name. Gates wrote respective librarianship texts such as the Guide to the Use of Libraries, Information Science and Introduction to Librarianship. The award is presented annually to a alumnus whose outstanding professional career achievements serve as a role model for all information science graduates. The award was started in 1993 and has been given out almost every single year since.
Buenaventura "Ven" Basco is the Engineering and Computer Science Librarian at UCF. He has a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering, an MBA and a masters in library science. He was just recently promoted from associate to full librarian this year after working for the University of Central Florida Libraries for over two decades. He held many titles and responsibilities during those years. In addition to being a subject librarian, he also coordinates the library’s research consultation services and Ask a Librarian service, two of the services that the library provides that made a tremendous impact to the type of services that the library offered during the pandemic. His interest and many years of involvement with international aspects of libraries through ALA's International Relations Committee, and ALA's International Relations Roundtable committees made him aware of the various opportunities to meet and network with a lot of librarians here and in Asia. He was the past president and Executive Director of the: Asian Pacific American Librarians Association for seven years. He was the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Librarianship Award at UCF and also the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) Distinguished Service Award.
Phyllis Gorshe has worked in libraries since 1997. Upon graduating from Loyola University-New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in Religious Studies, Phyllis did post graduate studies at Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland. She then started her master’s degree in Library Science at the University of South Florida. While in graduate school, she worked as a Graduate Assistant at the USF library and then worked at Safety Harbor Public Library and Dunedin Public Library. After graduation, she worked as a Law Librarian until returning to Dunedin Library. Her time at Dunedin has included work as a Reference Librarian, Youth Librarian and now as Library Director for the past 10 years.
Tomaro Taylor is Director of Special Collections at the USF Libraries. A 2002 graduate of the USF School of Information's Master of Arts in Library and Information Science, Tomaro joined the USF Libraries in 2003 as the inaugural Dr. Henrietta M. Smith Resident Librarian. After completing her term of residency, Tomaro was appointed to a faculty position as Special Collections Librarian. A Certified Archivist for more than 15 years, Tomaro has actively served the professional archives community as President of the Society of Florida Archivists (2012-2014), President of the Academy of Certified Archivists (2020-2021), the Academy's Regent for Exam Development (2012-2016), and the Society of American Archivist's DAS Exam lead co-manager (2019-present). In 2012, Tomaro received the Society of Florida Archivists' Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to the preservation of Florida's documentary heritage.
Carrie Hurst is an Administrative librarian who has worked for 20 years within the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library system. Ms. Hurst is a community activist, city culture keeper and mentor of future library workers. She currently manages the historic Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library.
Alyce Diamandis ('95) is the Director of the Resource Center at Yellow Shoes Creative Group Disney’s in-house advertising agency. The Resource Center is responsible for digital and physical multimedia collections including photography, b-roll, TV spots, style guides, logos, original art and more and contains over 4 million assets.
Andrew S. Breidenbaugh ('96) is the director of the Tampa-Hillsborough library system. He has been principal librarian for the John F. Germany Public Library, chief librarian for the South Tampa region, manager of library technology and collections, and manager of library technology and collections for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries
Todd Chavez has served as the Dean of the University of South Florida Libraries
since July 2015. Hisresearch focuses on the intersection between library and information science and interdisciplinary research, with projects spanning the geosciences, medieval studies, environment and natural history, and digital heritage.
Roy Balleste ('02) is the Law Library Director and Professor of Law at Stetson University School of Law.
Mika Nelson ('01) is the Library Director at City of St. Petersburg. Mika also serves on the USFSI LIS Advisory Board.
Angie Drobnic Holan ('10) is the editor of PolitiFact. She was a member of the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election. She has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2005 and previously worked at newspapers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico.
Courtney Crummett ('06) is a Biosciences Librarian at MIT Libraries. National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, 2006-2008.
Cecelia Solomon ('87) 2009-2010 president of Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME), the school media specialists’ association.
Lauren Christos ('00) is a FIU University Reference and Research Librarian. 2009-2010 Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).
Deborah P. Robinson is the Director of Library Services at Tallahassee Community College.
Patricia Bauer is the President of the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to teaching those aged 16 and older literacy skills using individualized curricula to enhance their self-esteem, increase occupational and social opportunities, and to enrich lifestyles.
Bill Johnson was the former Director at the New Orleans Public Library.
Dr. Barbara Stites ('88) recently held the rank of University Librarian and served as the Associate Dean, Library Services for Florida Gulf Coast University.
Samantha Hastings is Director of School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina for the state of Florida. She was elected as the Director for Region V in the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).
Sonja Garcia ('77) was a former USF Library administrator and a former member of the USF Board of Trustees. She was the first African-American woman on the 12-member board.
Shirley Duglin Kennedy was an internet pioneer and edited Best Bet Internet: Reference and Research When You Don't Have Time to Mess Around as well as the editor for InfoToday.com.
Mike Dahn is the Global head of Westlaw product management at Thomson Reuters Legal and previously served as the chief marketing and product development officer for Westlaw U.S.
Lucía Martínez Gonzalez ('91) was the Library Director at City of North Miami, 2010-2011 and past president of REFORMA. She is the author of the award-winning bilingual books The Bossy Gallito, winner of the Pura Belpré Children's Literature Honor Medal and named one of New York Public Library's 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know.
Jonnie B. Sprimont was an influential Pasco County librarian Director of Media Services.
Anne V. Ellis was the first Librarian Relations Director at Thomson Reuters and the former Chair of the Private Law Libraries division.
Dorothy M. Schirtzinger was the former library director at the Lee County Library System (LCLS).
Winona Jones Ms. Jones, who earned her library degree from USF in 1969 and worked 28 years as a library media specialist for Pinellas County schools. Winona also served as a president of American Association of School Library Librarians and Florida Association for Media in Education, a counselor for the American Library Association, and a delegate to the 1991 White House Conference on Libraries. She also has served on the Information Power writing committee, Florida School Library week institution and Florida Sunshine Young Reader's Award program.
Lydia Acosta was Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian Nova Southeastern University and was responsible for setting the strategic direction and managing the daily operations of the NSU library system, including the Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center on NSU’s main campus, a joint-use facility between the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and NSU. As the largest library facility in Florida, the Sherman Library is a national model for a successful public-private partnership.