Professor Emerita Marta Dosa passed away on Thursday, January 8. She joined the faculty in 1962, after receiving her master’s degree in library science from Syracuse in 1957, and served for 34 years.
At the iSchool, Dosa taught courses in international information policy, environmental information, gerontological information and government information. Her interdisciplinary approach to the field of library science appealed to a wide range of students, and helped to set the tone for the progressive spirit that endures at the iSchool today.
In Your Words:
She was the most wonderful person I have ever met and so glad that our paths crossed through this life. Every time I look at that beautiful picture she gave me, I will always think of her. I will miss her wisdom and caring soul.
Submitted By: Bridget Crary, Graduate Recruitment Coordinator, SU
I took class form Marta when I was a Masters student, and one thing that was so memorable was that first thing in every class, Marta would have the students rearrange their chairs in a circle versus rows. This was so indicative of her focus on communal vs solitary participation.
Submitted By: Liz Liddy, Dr., Syracuse University
Marta was one of my favorite teachers when I was an LIS student and, 20 years later, became one of my most cherished colleagues and mentors. She was a warm, kind and caring person, yet strong and determined when needed. She held a deep affection for her colleagues and her students that continued long after she retired. Her commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship left an important and lasting stamp on our school’s philosophy and programs. We shall all miss her. My deepest condolences to Nienke and family.
Submitted By: Ruth Small, Dr., iSchool
Marta Dosa was one of the best loved and respected faculty members at the Syracuse iSchool. Alumni everywhere in the world always mention her influence on their personal and professional development and particularity her international focus and reach. Because of her caring personality many alumni spoke of their lifelong friendship they developed with her and their continued interest in her well being. She will be missed on every continent.
Submitted By: Gisela von Dran, Dr., Syracuse University
Marta had the ability to make each student feel special as she nurtured our souls to embrace fundamental human rights to information. The knowledge and morality she imparted in me has carried me through many difficult situations, both professionally and personally. I was blessed to know her, sit in her classroom, and call her friend.
Submitted By: Cara Burton, Executive Director, Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History
I wasn’t a student at the iSchool until after Marta retired, but I was interested in environmental information and international work, so she generously took me on as an independent study student. She became my mentor, and what I got from her as the centerpiece of my education was incredible and invaluable beyond words. Interacting, listening, and learning from her at that stage was an immense privilege; I would tell people it was like listening to a tribal elder impart endless words of wisdom. I was in the distance program, and I would drive from Vermont to Syracuse to meet with her; our meetings would take place at IHOP, or in local coffee shops, always over food, and our conversations would always span the range of both intellectual pursuits and family well-being. In between we would correspond by mail, and I believe I still have her letters. As a teacher/ scholar/ mentor, Marta was absolutely brilliant; as a kind, compassionate, generous and caring human being even more so. What an impactful and inspiring life, and what a privilege to have known and learned from her.
Submitted By: Laurie Kutner, University of Vermont
I first got to know Marta when I was stuck by a blizzard an extra 2 days in Syracuse when I came for a job interview. She was kind and caring, yes; but most of all she stretched my understanding of the possibilities of the field of information studies. Her work with environmental science broke traditional boundaries in both areas. She shared with all her colleagues and friends her deep love and concern for others.
Submitted By: Leigh Estabrook, Long ago faculty member, Syracuse University
I am a proud native Syracusan, who grew up in the University section. In 1975/76 I took Government Documents with Marta. My future sister-in-law, Edna Wolff, another Nottingham HS & IST graduate, was Marta’s graduate assistant after I received my degree. Antje Lemke and Marta are the most influential, intelligent, accomplished, world renown women I’ve ever met. Their claim to fame is their humanity. Their legacy is a testament to how much one person can make a difference. The materials taught aren’t as important as the lessons learned. SU IST was always cutting edge, but what makes it special are the people.
Submitted By: Renée (Kavanagh) Susman, Elementary School Librarian, East Lake School, Massapequa Park, NY
Marta Dosa was one of the most knowledgeable teachers I’ve ever known, and one of the kindest, most encouraging instructors. She will be missed and always remembered by those who were fortunate to have been her students and friends.
Submitted By: Sandra Rowe Stone, Retired librarian, Orchard Park (NY) Middle School; The Strong Natl. Museum of Play
Prof. Marta Dosa was a great teacher with a beautiful heart. I am honored to have had the chance to meet and work with her. She will be deeply missed by many in this far away land .. Malaysia
Submitted By: Rosliza Abdul Rahman
It’s because of Marta Dosa that I had a productive and enjoyable library career. She didn’t hire me when I interviewed for a position with her in the late 1970s but she furthered my interest in public librarianship so that I became an SU Library & Information Studies student. Thankfully, and joyfully, she was my professor in Gov. Docs, which I thought would be boring but due to her liveliness and knowledge was interesting. I too feel privileged to have known her!
Submitted By: Joyce Cook, Retired Director, Fulton Public Library
Marta always made each of us feel special. In my last semester in library school, she asked each of us in class what we would we doing with our careers once we graduated. Most of my classmates told of their lofty, glorious, sparkly new library jobs and assignments. Marta spoke of how exciting they would all be. I was expecting my first child, and told her I would be staying home with a newborn for a while. Her words have stayed with me since then stating : “You will have the most important job of all!” I have remembered and cherished those words for over 30 years, which proved to be correct. She truly touched everyone she met.
Submitted By: Elizabeth Young, SUNY Oswego
There are many adjectives I could use to describe Marta but if limited to only one, it would be “kind”. She was an amazing woman who inspired each and every student to do his/her best. It was a privilege to have known her. May she rest in peace. …and yes Liz, I remember rearranging the chairs!
Submitted By: Douglas Michael, IST Graduate 1970 & 1985
I was a student of Dr. Dosa’s in 1980-82. She was not merely knowledgable in her areas of expertise, but possessed of a vision of openness and access to information that has inspired me to this day. She was a kind soul, who practiced thsi openness with her legendary potlucks! The library world is the less for her passing.
Submitted By: Chris Gorsuch, Head, Technical Services, LeRoy Collins Leon County (Florida) Public Library System
Marta was a wonderful and caring person. My former wife and I became friends with her in the early 1970s when I was a masters student and newly married. She is the godmother to my son. We visited her home, enjoyed her Hungarian cooking, joy of life, and vast knowledge of the information needs of developing nations for whom she so frequently consulted. I was always intrigued by the amount of work she did abroad and the complexity of the tasks involved. I am very sad today and greatly regret my personal failure by not keeping in touch with this marvelous and loved woman.
Submitted By: Charles Martell, Dean & University Librarian Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento
I had Marta for several classes back in the old days when the iSchool was the School of Library Science. I learned a lot from Marta and gained insights into libraries providing services way beyond the walls of the building. She was a very warm person and enjoyed talking with my Rosemary, my spouse, at various receptions. Whenever we talked she always asked about Rosemary. I use tease her by saying, “library science is the only science.”
Submitted By: Paul Adalian, Dean Emeritus, Southern Oregon University
Marta was my mentor, my advisor, and a good friend. She helped me get established with work in the Cataloging Section of Bird Library, and also helped me move over to the Upstate Medical Library. She was an enormous influence in my career. I will miss her.
Submitted By: Peter Moon, Manager, Virtual Information Ctr, Hartford Steam Boiler
Marta was an inspiration for me at my time at the School of Information Studies. I was going through a rough patch near the end of my time there and she pulled me out of my slump and helped me through it. I owe her a lot of gratitude for helping me complete my education and achieve my degree. May she rest in peace.
Submitted By: Sue Padgett (Hinaman), Librarian
Marta was a wonderful person. She was a scholar, an educator and most of all a librarian. Her generosity, warmth, and humanity touched the lives of all who knew her and countless others who benefited from her commitment to sharing learning. We are here to say goodbye but also to say Thank You Marta – Michael W. Andrews ’72 and Karen M. Andrews ’07
Submitted By: Michael Andrews, Librarian, ITT Technical Institute – Springfield, Virginia
I took an independent study program for International Information Policy with Marta Dosa in the early 90s. She became a mentor and friend, unselfishly offering her time and resources through out my Masters program. As an international student from Africa, I benefited a lot from her encouragement and guidance. Marta was a caring, kind, and generous person. It was an honor and privilege to know and learn from her. My deepest condolences to the family, and may her soul forever rest in peace.
Submitted By: Esau Mavindidze, IronData, RTP, North Carolina
Marta was my advisor. She asked us students to call her Marta, not Dr. Dosa, because we would be colleagues soon. She kept up with us after graduation too. Several years after I graduated I received a postcard from her. She was at a conference somewhere and heard about a job she thought I would be interested in. She was kind, thoughtful and very caring. IST has lost a treasure. I am sad.
Submitted By: Mary Lou Reape (Caskey), retired, Mid-York Library System
I had the pleasure and privilege of taking Marta’s Government & Info class back in the seventies (as IST 607, I believe) and it was an wonderful exemplar of how to conceptualize and convey the intellectual infrastructure of a difficult domain to students within a single semester. (As well as a plethora of hands-on “finding” information!) Marta was a master teacher and a lovely, kind person that I am so glad to have had the pleasure of having known in my years at the School. Thank you, Marta!
Submitted By: Betsy Martens, Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma Schoool of LIbrary & Information Studies
Marta was my Advisor when I started my MLS program. I was very new student at that time, working full time and taking part time classes. She was very supportive and helped me to adjust to this new way of education and encouraged me to do IRM, which was newly started that time. I will always remember her and her kindness. It is a great loss to me. Peace Martha. Love you.
Submitted By: Charulata Chawan, SU LIbraries
Dear Marta Dosa…she was so good to me, always believed in me, she was 1 of 2 professors whose research interests made me choose Syracuse University School of Information Studies over UC Berkeley and Chapel Hill. She let me run the UNESCO information Clearinghouse with her, I authored a paper with her on environmental information, she was instrumental in my landing a major consulting gig fresh out of graduate school! With her confidence I never doubted I could do it—now it almost makes me faint to think what I took on (and succeeded at!) And for her, I tutored students in English whom she’d taken under her wing. Marta and I would take walks in the snow or the pretty fall or spring, and have tea with other students with shared interests. Marta, so Hungarian–so very strong brave and wise–her family was in hiding for many years, she told me, her father deemed an enemy of Mátyás Rákosi, leader of one of the harshest Stalinist dictatorships in Europe enacting horrid political and economic pogroms. Emerging from that, not bitter, she always did good for others. I’m so grateful to have known her. These people who believe in us…bless them. And people who say they did it all themselves without anyone else are either blind, lying, or mistaken. We all need each other so much, and we help each other along. It’s the way things go. Marta was one of those…for me and many others…and one of the most ethical, thoughtful, principled people I’ve ever known, who cared about all people on the planet. She is the person who sternly, but not unkindly, corrected me for saying “3rd world”–she said “Vee are all from vun verlt. And they are NOT Developing Nations. They are FAR more developed than vee are, in farey many respects. They’re simply *economically* developing!” I remember when my grandmother died…Marta put a hand on each of my upper arms, and said warmly and directly: “My heart is vith you.” It was one of the most simply compassionate things I’d ever heard anyone say. Marta, my heart will always be with you.
Submitted By: Susan Doran, Principal, Living Archives
Taking a course with Marta Dosa, means you become a family member with her. Beyond the class, she used to give additional care to her international students, were she invites us in small group at a time to make-us feel at home although we are far away from home. Whenever Marta hears about an international alumni being in Syracuse, she used to invite them to talk about their experiences in her classes which adds value to her current students. Not only, I’ve learnt from Marta about the subject matter but also about life and family values. An amazing human, even after her retirement she kept in touch. Her cherished memory will always be celebrated here in Palestine.
Submitted By: Nadira Alaraj, Consultant, Freelance
Marta was always the most gracious and thoughtful of colleagues. She made us all more caring and aware. I joined IST in the late 1970s, first as an adjunct, then staff, then doctoral student, and finally faculty. Marta helped in each of my transitions. She was an informal mentor and role model.
Her commitment to people and the people/user perspective helped shape our field. Marta was a champion of what we might call today, Gerontological Informatics, and it’s an important emerging area.
Thank you, Marta. We will all carry you in our hearts and actions.
Submitted By: Mike Eisenberg, Dean and Professor Emeritus, iSchool, Univ of Washington
Marta was the kind of human being there are too few of in the world. Kind, generous and a passion for making things better.
Submitted By: Terry Fleischman Russo, Analyst, National Grid
Marta’s generosity and deep empathy for people touched every student who came through the school while she was teaching. Her commitment to information for developing countries, and increasing access to gerontological, environmental and health information are just a small part of her legacy to our field. Most of all she had a huge heart and always had time to listen and advise the many students who were far from their homes and family. Marta was one of a kind, and she set a glowing example of how a faculty member can change peoples’ lives.
Submitted By: Barbara Settel, Executive Director, Alumni Relations, SU iSchool
I met Marta in the early 70’s when I was one of the PhD candidates in the brand new Information Transfer program. I never had the privilege of being one of her class room students, but I served with her on committees, including a Dean’s search committee. I came to know her as a person of huge intelligence and curiosity, thoughtful demeanor, and a consummate sense of what others were thinking and feeling. We were, I think, friends. She tolerated my attempts to be outrageous with humor. Marta – I can’t resist. You were one classy broad!!
Submitted By: Dave Davidson, retired, work
I met Marta in 1976 while studying my MLS as an international student from Mexico. In fact I was part of a group of students from Mexico attending SIS. Marta always showed a special interest and care for all of us. In our group, we used to call her “Godmother” as a sign of respect and thankfulness. I will always have Marta deep in my heart. Thank you Marta for all you gave me. God bless you!
Submitted By: Luis Guadarrama, Information Security Consultant, Baryon Technologies
It has been almost forty-five years since I studied at Syracuse, but I still have vivid memories of Marta. She could make even government documents into a fascinating subject. But of course what was most unique about Marta was her true interest in and concern for her students. I corresponded with her for many years after I left school and got a job half way across the country. She always responded with long, thoughtful letters full of encouragement. As my life got more complicated I guess at a certain point I stopped writing. I am the poorer for that. But I am enlarged by having benefited from her intellect, compassion, and humanity.
Submitted By: Paula Watson, Retired, University of Illinois Library
Besides being an excellent teacher, she also had a great sense of humor. When I arrived in September and being from Maryland, I casually asked if they closed the university due to weather. She happened to hear me and went into a gale of laughter, saying we never close. That year SU was closed for a week due to a snow storm.
Submitted By: Margaret (Morris) Apostolos-Peters, Librarian (retired), Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA