Who's Who Top Educators

Dr. Sylverna V. Ford

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Title: Professor
Company: University of Memphis
Location: Germantown, Tennessee, United States

Dr. Sylverna V. Ford, Professor at the University of Memphis, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in library science.

Dr. Ford grew up in Prince Edward County in Virginia. The county closed the schools in 1959 because its officials did not want to integrate the schools. While her older siblings went attended school in Baltimore, Dr. Ford her younger brother stayed in Virginia with her mother, a teacher who home-schooled Dr. Ford for a year. This early introduction to education helped inform her to become an educator. In addition, she worked at the Enid Pratt Public Library in Baltimore while in high school and enjoyed the experience so much that it aided in her decision and choice of study. Since 2017, she has been a professor of university libraries at the University of Memphis. She served as the dean of the institution’s university libraries since 2000. Prior to this position, she served as the Chief Information Officer and Dean of Information Services at Minnesota State Library.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Ford served as the Executive Director of the Oakland Library Consortium, the Head of the Hunt Library at Carnegie Mellon University and a Coordinator of Reference and Circulation at the University of the District of Columbia. She also explored her roles as a reference librarian with the Washington Technology Institute, and as a coordinator of recruitment and special programming at the University of Maryland. In her own academic pursuits, Dr. Ford received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in 1972, an MLS from the institution in 1974, and a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. She holds a certificate in management of nonprofit organizations from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Ford has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work and recently received the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award from the University of Memphis in 2016. In 2010, she received the Educational Freedom Award from the University of Memphis Chapter of the NAACP. In addition to these accolades, Dr. Ford has maintained professional affiliation with Circles of Success Learning Academy, the Black Caucus American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the American Library Association among many other organizations.

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