March 2, 2011

Library Science Professor Leaves Money to School for Scholarships

The late Mathilde Rovelstad, a professor of library and information science who taught at Catholic University for 30 years, left a bequest in her estate of more than $892,000 to add to the largest scholarship in the history of CUA’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

The Dr. Mathilde and Howard Rovelstad Endowed Scholarship Fund provides tuition support for graduate students in SLIS. It was established with an initial gift of $287,000 by Mathilde Rovelstad and her husband Howard, a former library administrator. As the fund now exceeds $1.3 million, it is one of the most generous endowments in a library and information science program in the United States, according to Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, acting dean of the school.

Rovelstad passed away on July 2, 2010. Her husband Howard preceded her in death in July 2004. Her daughter Lisa Swei, who helped care for her parents, lives in Seattle.

“SLIS is honored to receive this tremendous gift and grateful for the support of the Rovelstad family to help educate new generations of leaders for the library and information science field,” says Hsieh-Yee.

“Dr. Rovelstad valued education and strived for excellence all her life,” she adds. “The scholarship will ensure that her values and example live on. This gift is a strong endorsement of the field. It helps current and future students see that people are willing to invest in it and in students’ future.”

Rovelstad migrated to the United States from Germany in 1951 with a doctorate in linguistics. In 1953, she became an American citizen. She received her master’s degree from CUA’s Department of Library Science in 1960 and joined the faculty upon graduation. Rovelstad retired from CUA in 1990 as a professor emeritus of the School of Library and Information Science. During her tenure at CUA, she encouraged library science students to bring an international perspective to their profession.

“I really love Catholic University,” Rovelstad told CUA Magazine in fall 2004. “My husband was fond of it too. He used to marvel at the bond that I had with my colleagues at Catholic.”

For more information about the scholarship, visit