Financial assistance is available for new SUNYLA members to attend the annual conference. The Sylvia Chu Memorial Scholarship aims to encourage involvement with SUNYLA and to provide opportunities for professional growth for its members.

The Award is a voucher covering:

  • Registration fees
  • Conference meals
  • One pre-conference continuing education session

You qualify if:

  • You have not been a SUNYLA member for more than three consecutive years
  • You have paid current year’s dues
  • You have never received a Sylvia Chu Scholarship

If you are applying for a scholarship, please do NOT register for the conference until you receive notification from our committee. You will need to apply a discount code that will be enclosed in your letter of notification if applicable.

For 2024:

To apply, please provide a letter (1–2 pages) that describes why attending this SUNYLA conference will benefit your professional development. The letter will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Clear presentation of why attending this particular conference will further the applicant’s professional development
  • Overall presentation (e.g., appropriate style/tone, grammar, and punctuation)

Please submit your application letter by March 25, 2024, via this online form:

The SUNYLA Scholarship Committee will review the applications and present awards by April 15, 2024.

Questions? Contact the Scholarship Chair:
Morgan Bond
SUNY Oswego

Who was Sylvia Chu?

by Alice Harrington and Carol Anne Germain

Each year, the SUNYLA Professional Development Committee presents scholarships to the SUNYLA Annual conference to new SUNYLA members. This award is the Sylvia Chu Scholarship. But who was Sylvia Chu?

Sylvia Chu was a native of Beijing, China and arrived in the United States in the early 1960s. She received a Bachelors degree in Accounting Statistics from Chung Hsin University, Taiwan and an MLS from George Peabody College for Teachers in 1964. She worked as a librarian in Florida and Illinois before arriving at SUNY Oswego in 1970 to work as a part-time media cataloger. In 1979, she began to work full-time.

Mary Loe described how Sylvia became involved in the SUNYLA Professional Development Committee. “Had Penfield Library (Oswego) not started a program that put all librarians at the Reference Desk, and made almost every librarian responsible for some library instruction, Sylvia might have continued to carry on quietly with cataloging and not mix much with public services. But she suddenly had new expectations to meet, and she proved to be a willing and persistent learner. Blanche Judd was Head of Reference then, and I credit her with thoughtful support for librarians like Sylvia. Blanche spearheaded a series of in-house reference education sessions, and these helped all of us bone up on subjects like reference in law and business sources. Sylvia made good use of those sessions. As Sylvia was asked to grow professionally, she also grew interested in the professional development engendered by SUNYLA and became active on some SUNYLA committees. She would be very pleased to know that she’s remembered in connection with educational growth that broadens and deepens librarians’ abilities in their profession, especially as that profession changes! Thanks for the opportunity to remember Sylvia. She was a very good colleague to us at Penfield.”

Nancy Osborne, a retired librarian from SUNY Oswego wrote:

“The first time I remember Sylvia I discovered that she was a person of genuine commitment, intelligence, and good spirit. The chair of our Chemistry Department sent a visiting scholar from China to me to research Oswego in the framework of nineteenth century normal schools. I called upon Sylvia to interpret his research questions, and we subsequently set up weekly meetings to assure success with his research project. This was just the beginning of our working together on aspects of our profession of importance to both of us: cultural diversity in librarianship and women’s studies.

In the fall of 1989, my partner and I had the opportunity to canoe the Canadian wilderness in Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario with Sylvia and her husband James. Sylvia approached canoeing against the wind, finding obscure firewood, and telling scary stories around the campfire with the same enthusiasm that she brought to all of her interactions with others. She worked hard for SUNYLA and would be delighted to know that a scholarship in her memory offers colleagues the opportunity to attend and be involved in conferences.”

On March 2, 1990, Sylvia lost her battle with breast cancer and died. Sylvia was survived by her husband James, a Professor of Sociology, daughter Joanne, and son Gerald. Since Sylvia’s death, Joanne has achieved a PhD in biology and Gerald has received PhD and MD degrees. Sylvia would be very pleased.

Originally published in the October 2000 SUNYLA Newsletter, v. 31, no. 1, p. 13.