Internet2 Mourns the Loss of James Werle
James Werle, executive director of the Community Anchor Program at Internet2, passed away peacefully on September 19 after a two-year battle with cancer. He had a passion for education and was keen on working collaboratively with stakeholders to promote research and education in the United States. In this sense, Werle embodied the true spirit of Internet2.
In 2000, Werle joined the Internet2 community as a graduate student working alongside the Internet2 K20 Initiative’s founding directors. After graduate school, Werle joined the University of Washington’s Office of Educational Partnerships and Learning Technologies where he contributed to numerous successful efforts aimed at broadening access to university research and education expertise and creating new opportunities for community-based research and learning.
For the past seven years, Werle served as director of the Internet2 K20 Initiative, helping to launch the Community Anchor Program (formerly the U.S. UCAN program). His commitment to supporting schools and libraries in their quest for better broadband infrastructure is evident from his work with the Presidential Primary Sources Project. This annual program was developed in partnership with the National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of Presidential Libraries, and other presidential and historic sites and museums. It enables classrooms from around the country to connect to each other, presidential historians, and National Park rangers in real-time, via interactive video conferencing, to learn how various presidential administrations helped shape our nation’s history.
Most recently, Werle helped develop the Toward Gigabit Libraries project. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the project engages rural, remote public, and tribal libraries across the nation to improve their community broadband services and become stronger advocates for their libraries' broadband infrastructure needs. He had been leading the efforts to roll this successful program out to library communities nationwide.
James was appreciated and admired by his peers and colleagues in the community and he will truly be missed by all.