University establishes first endowed professorship named after African-American woman in Texas

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In 2004, the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences began a campaign to raise $350,000 for an endowed professorship to honor Fort Worth resident Hazel Harvey Peace, a longtime educator and advocate of children's literacy for decades, even after teaching her last English class. Peace's friends and former students at I.M. Terrell High School assisted in creating the endowment.

Last week, during a luncheon to honor Peace on her 100th birthday, SLIS announced Dr. Barbara Stein Martin, a faculty member since 1984, as the first Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children's Library Services. The professorship is the first at a four-year public university in Texas to be named for an African-American woman.

Dr. Herman Totten, dean of SLIS, said the Peace Professorship in Children's Library Services will ensure that Peace's personal mission to make a difference in the lives of children "will be reflected in the work of the next century's youth librarians."

"It is a special privilege, as the first African-American dean of SLIS, to proclaim the first professorship in Texas to be named for an African-American woman. I have known of Mrs. Peace's contribution to the education of youth all of my professional life. This professorship honors a woman who exemplifies character, leadership, scholarship and service," Totten said.

Martin said she was "honored and humbled" to receive the Peace Professorship, noting that Peace "serves as an inspiration in our profession for all she has done for youth and education."

"UNT is pleased and grateful to be able to use her name to promote excellent programs and inspire the next generation of librarians. As the first person to hold this prestigious professorship, I

intend to promote children's librarianship, building an educational foundation that is responsive to the needs of the professionals in our area," Martin said. "It will be a challenge to live up to the high standards established by Hazel Harvey Peace; I am honored to be associated with her name."

Linda Allmand, former director of the Fort Worth Public Library, said the idea for the professorship developed from a capital campaign that UNT launched in 2001. At that time, SLIS was the only one of the university's schools and colleges without an endowed, named professorship.

Allmand, who had met Peace when Peace served on the library's advisory board, met with former Fort Worth city manager Robert Terrell to discuss a fundraising campaign for a professorship in SLIS.

"Fort Worth was committed to being the first city in Texas to honor a lifelong citizen with a permanent legacy," said Allmand, a 1960 graduate of SLIS.

Martin, a former school librarian in Colorado, Kansas and Texas, directs SLIS' school library certification program, which was the first in the nation to be entirely available online. More than half of the teachers currently applying for certification as school librarians in Texas are enrolled in the program.

Martin is the author or co-author of several textbooks, including "Running a School Library Media Center," "Children's Media Market Place," and "Fiction for Youth." She was the editor of "The Texas Technology Connection Journal" and on the editorial board of the "Journal of Educational and

Psychological Research." She currently serves on the advisory board of the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries and on the boards for the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries and the Cody Institute for Western American Studies in Cody, Wyo.

For nine years, Martin created a one-day conference, "Children's Literature in the Curriculum," which brought nationally recognized and award-winning authors and leaders in the area of children's literature to campus.

Martin received her bachelor of arts degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, master's degree in educational media and teacher certification from the University of Nevada at Reno and doctoral degree in education from UNT.

Peace, a Fort Worth native, is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and

Columbia University. She also studied at the University of Wisconsin, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Hampton University in Hampton, Va.

She began her teaching career at her high school alma mater, the Fort Worth Colored School, which was later known as I.M. Terrell High School. She was a teacher, debate team coach, counselor, dean of girls and finally the vice principal of the school. After leaving Terrell, Peace spent nine years as the director of student affairs and coordinator of financial aid at Bishop College in Dallas, later known as Paul Quinn College.

Peace has received numerous awards, including the President's Cup Award from Tarrant County Junior College (now Tarrant County College), the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Fort Worth

Independent School District, the Hercules Award from the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County and an honorary doctorate of humanities from Texas Wesleyan University. In December 2001, she was chosen to carry the Olympic torch for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City as the torch passed through Fort Worth, and she was named an Honorary Alumna of UNT in 2005.

Dr. Phil Turner, who was the dean of SLIS when the Peace Professorship was established in 2004, said one of the high points of his tenure as dean was to play a leadership role in raising the funds to create the professorship.

"It was an honor to work with Mrs. Peace and with the Fort Worth community to establish this fund," said Turner, now UNT's vice provost for learning enhancement and a professor in SLIS.

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