Spring 2001 | Fall 2000

A Message from the Dean

Our Sesquicentennial Celebration
Election 2000 in Retrospect
Like Father, Like Daughter: Rebecca Lieberman L’97
A Case Study in Pro Bono Public Service
A Legal Thriller:
Lisa Scottoline L '81

The Master Builder Retires: Professor Elizabeth S. Kelly

The Board of Overseers
Philanthropy
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

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Penn Law

Liz Kelly will retire at the end of Academic Year 2000-2001. The reviews are in and the critics are unanimous in their praise for how she met that goal beyond anyone’s imagination.

“The Library is now on a firm financial footing,” Professor Burbank elaborates. “The librarians and staff are highly competent, friendly and proactive. Biddle has led Penn Law into the new information age with a confidence in the capacity of technology to transform the dissemination of information tempered by both appropriate respect for tradition and healthy skepticism about that which is merely new.”

Kelly demurs that it was not she alone who turned around the Biddle. “It was a partnership,” Kelly explains. “The Law School had to put up a lot of money, find and commit resources that they had not been able to find in the past. So it was not something that I could do without that huge commitment…There are only a few law libraries that have the horizon to be great law libraries, and Penn was one of them. That was one of the most exciting parts about coming here.”

While it wasn’t too hard to successfully argue that the Library needed money to restore its reputation, it was more of a challenge to prove the intangible point - its relevancy. “But that’s something that we could control,” Kelly explains. “I’m a big believer that a library has to matter to its constituency. It has to be relevant, and that’s something that has to be looked at continuously. It has to merit investment.”

To answer the call for help the “Friends of Biddle” was born. Headed for many years by Sylvan Cohen L’38, the Friends, made up of alumni and true friends of the Library, have made annual gifts that in fiscal year 2000 alone totaled nearly $92,000. Cohen and his wife, Alma, co-chaired, along with Glen (W’63, L’66) and Lynn Tobias, the Campaign for Biddle Law Library in 1985-86.

Cohen pays tribute to Kelly this way: “Liz Kelly is one of the first law library directors to fully appreciate the importance of technology to the operation of a modern library and law school. She helped develop and expand the information technology and media services departments. Finally, she was responsible for making Penn Law one of the few law schools with an archivist on staff which has enabled us to take on unique resources that make Penn Law a destination for scholars.”

Two such important acquisitions were the archives of The American Law Institute, and the National Bankruptcy Archives, which were donated to Biddle by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in 2000. Continued . . .

 

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