‘11 Convocation Speech
Good morning and welcome back.
I thought that this morning instead of giving a traditional
speech, I would tell you a story. This story is not the
kind that begins with “once upon a time” and ends with “and
they all lived happily ever after”. This story is also not
about a fat man in a red suit who rides around dropping
presents out of a sleigh spreading good cheer wherever he
This story is a tale about a house, a very special house
according to the residents of Plandome Manor, a small
bedroom community nestled on Manhasset Bay, in an old area
of Long Island’s Gold Coast. The house was a small,
charming 1920’s style ranch house that sat on Leeds Pond
with a spectacular view of the bay.
As the story goes, the house was sold in 2008, much to the
concern of the neighbors and residents of Plandome Manor.
Excavation began and a new structure, twice the size of the
original house emerged. The longtime residents were very
concerned about what would be built on the site, given the
size and the enormous amount of construction. They were
concerned that a new cold, poorly constructed and
ill-fitting structure would emerge lacking the charm and
character of the original house.
There was even talk about signing a petition to stop the
construction. No one is absolutely sure whether a petition
was circulated or not, but construction on the house stopped
and the house remained dormant for close to eighteen months.
When construction did begin again, it began with a twist.
The owners being very wise people, worked with an architect
and a designer to preserve the landscape of the property
down to maintaining the integrity of the gazebo from the
original house out back.
Every step of the way, the owners never lost sight of the
qualities that had made the original house so perfect for
the community, and incorporated those qualities into the new
construction. They took pride in the details they added
creating a wraparound porch, majestic windows, and stone
covered foundation and a flagstone walkway.
In the end, they created a charming, beautiful home
perfectly suited for Plandome Manor. The same concerned
neighbors and residents were the first to comment on its
beauty and how the house looks as if it has been there all
So why am I telling you the tale of the house in Plandome
I believe that FIT is very much like the house and the
residents of Plandome Manor.
As faculty, we have always felt that we know what is best
for FIT; after all, this is our community. So when the idea
of talking about the faculty of the future was announced we
were apprehensive and concerned that FIT would change and we
would be told who we needed to hire, rather than being part
of the decision making process.
When we were asked to participate in a variety of venues,
play an active role and offer our input it became clear that
we were not being left out. We attended the roundtable
discussions and dinners and gave our opinions. The
discussions were lively and informative.
At the recent Summit held in December, we learned that five
general visionary competencies had emerged from the
roundtable discussions, those areas being Technology,
Learning Enrichment, Globalism, Instructional Design and
At the same Summit, we also learned that the word,
“technology” in FIT’s name, according to the students and
faculty alike, appeared to be spelled with a small “t” but
Greg Chottiner was quick to assure us that it was changing.
From the faculty we learned that the faculty of the future
need to employ special talents as mentors, guides, magicians
and actors in order to keep the student’s focused. A
year has passed since we began our discussion about the
Faculty of the future. The faculty has been involved in the
change every step of the way. Now it is time to move
forward to replenish our ever-diminishing ranks.
We have identified the broad themes that the college feels
are important to the overall make-up of the new faculty.
Each school has begun to focus on the additional qualities
and qualifications for new faculty hires in keeping with
their respective industry requirements, and departments will
be asked to fine-tune those qualities even further as they
relate to their own specific needs.
As long as we continue to work together, as long as the
faculty remain an integral part of any change to the
college; then we can continue, as a collective entity, to
move FIT forward towards 2020.
In this way, we can, as a whole, create a college that is
true to its mission, and like the house in Plandome Manor,
we will have kept our integrity, our charm, our mission and
our character intact.
Thank you and have a wonderful semester.