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Lily Li and Dorothy Li

Dr. Richard Tze-Chung Li and his wife, Dorothy In Lan Wang Li, dedicated their careers to library science and academia.

Today, through their support of Dominican University, an academic scholarship and the third-floor pavilion of Rebecca Crown Library bear their names.

A dedication of the newly named Richard Tze-Chung and Dorothy In-Lan Wang Li Family Pavilion took place on Nov. 2.

Dorothy Li MALS ’68, MBA ’81 and daughter Lily Li, a former Dominican trustee, were present for the event, which was also attended by family, friends, representatives of the School of Information Studies and other university leaders.

“I’m hoping people will feel this is a place to celebrate the legacy of Richard and Dorothy Li,” said Sara Acosta, vice president of university advancement.

The pavilion features a wall sign and a display case of photographs and honors that “serve as a living acknowledgment of the Lis’ special gifts to the school,” added Kate Marek, director of the School of Information Studies at Dominican.

Born in Shanghai, China, Richard Li taught at Rosary College/Dominican University from 1966 to 2000, becoming the first Chinese American dean of a graduate library studies school in the United States. He served as a visiting professor at universities in China and Taiwan, authored more than 20 books, and was an early advocate of computer science and hybrid online-classroom learning, said his daughter Lily.

He passed away in April 2020 at the age of 93.

Dorothy Li, who studied law in Taiwan, served as executive director of the Oak Park Public Library and as library director of the Brooklyn Law School and John Marshall (now UIC) Law School.

During this month’s pavilion dedication, Dorothy Li noted how her Dominican education allowed for the advancement of her career.

“Without these degrees, I wouldn’t have gotten the library director positions at Brooklyn and John Marshall Law Schools,” she said.

Together, Richard and Dorothy Li founded what would become the Chinese American Librarians Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association. CALA promotes communication among Chinese American librarians, provides a forum for discussion, and promotes the development of Chinese American librarians through scholarships and grants.

The couple also formed the Li Educational Foundation, which awards grants to non-profit organizations for the advancement of Chinese education, culture and librarianship.

“Richard and Dorothy saw education as a bridge between cultures,” Marek noted.

To ensure access to education, the Li family established the Richard Tze Chung and Dorothy In Lan Wang Li scholarship at Dominican University to attract students seeking a graduate degree in library information science.

“It is our mission to ensure that countless Asian or Asian-American students, armed with their highly respected Dominican University degrees, will make a meaningful and measurable impact on society,” Lily Li said.

The Rebecca Crown Library pavilion is named for Richard Tze-Chung Li and his wife, Dorothy In Lan Wang Li (pictured), both leaders in the field of library and information science.
Dorothy Li looks at the display recognizing her late husband, Richard, and herself in the Rebecca Crown Library third-floor pavilion.