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Friday, April 08, 2011

Melissa Johnston Wins Top Doctoral Student Award at Florida State University

Dean Larry Dennis - Melissa Johnston - Lulu - Larry Johnston

Outstanding Doctoral Student Award - FSU - Melissa Johnston

It is deja vu all over again for me. It was 20 years ago when our family spent a year at FSU and Tallahassee so that Lulu could get her doctorate. Lulu had just completed several years as a school librarian at Tamaqua and Freeland. She chose FSU because it was one of the best library doctoral schools in the country. At the time - Bill Summers was the president of the American Library Association. He personally opened the School up the day after Christmas - so Lulu could look over things on the way to the Citrus Bowl.

Now - another blonde cutie is making her mark. Melissa Johnston has been Lulu's advisee for the last two years. She took a leave from her job as a school teacher and came to town with her husband Larry. Many folks thought she was foolish pushing so hard to get her PhD done in two years. Many folks thought she would, "return to Georgia and just be a school librarian."

Lulu - her advisor is the president of the American Association of School Librarians. She has been cheering Melissa on to finish now. So many students come here to take the doctoral coursework - only to let life get in the way of finishing their dissertation.

Lulu also had to push hard getting her degree. One professor had the nerve to call her "Miss Hot Shot." Lulu showed them - AASL gave Lulu a special award for the best library science dissertation in the nation at the convention in Chicago. We had a little chuckle as the name was read of the winner of the Madge Hutcherson Award. 20 years ago that award paid for Lulu's scholarship at FSU. Thanks Madge.

But just like the blonde coal cracker of yore - Melissa spun their heads at FSU. She will be awarded her PhD in August after two years. And Melissa is not returning to the classroom in Georgia. She has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Library Science at the University of Kentucky.

Although Larry and Melissa are Georgia Bulldogs through and through - they will have to find a little room in their wardrobe for some Kentucky Wildcat blue garb.


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