Justice’s ‘east-west experience’ will help college grow globally

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A. Sue Weisler

Lorraine Justice hopes that her leadership will positively impact curriculum and the local economy.

Lorraine Justice, the new dean of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, went to Hong Kong in 2004 to learn about Eastern culture when, in fact, the opposite happened.

“I really learned about the West,” says Justice. “I was able to look back and see what our strengths were—what our weaknesses were.”

Justice is hoping her view as an outsider looking in—on Western culture—will help propel the college as a world leader in art academia. Justice arrived on campus in August and is no stranger to art education.

She comes from a background of higher learning. Her previous post was director of the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Justice took little time to turn the School of Design at PolyU into a top 30 design school in the world as named by BusinessWeek, doing so in seven years.

Under Justice’s leadership, PolyU thrived—and that’s exactly what excited the RIT community.

“Lorraine Justice brings proven leadership to our College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and her background in design fits perfectly with RIT’s mission to blend art and function to the benefit of all,” says RIT President Bill Destler.

Justice’s vision goes beyond the brick and mortar sprawl of RIT’s campus. It’s her experience in design that she hopes to use to build bridges in the Rochester community and a path to economic success. “Design and art can sometimes totally revitalize an industry,” says Justice. “I came to Rochester to help local industries and impact curriculum.”

Art can drive an economy, Justice explains. She watched design help China become a powerhouse in the global economy. In fact, Justice’s book, China’s Design Revolution, will be published next year and documents exactly that.

“The international experience has certainly added to my understanding of how things can be. I was inspired by seeing what new technologies, what new materials were coming out,” says Justice. “That leads to innovation, which in turn leads to the economy improving.”

It was bittersweet for Justice to leave Hong Kong, but RIT’s credentials made it an easy choice, she says. “RIT has all the pieces of the puzzle that can serve as a model to all other universities. RIT has such a great foundation.”

Age: 56
Degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Edinboro University, Pennsylvania Master of Design and doctoral degree in communication, Ohio State
Hometown: Pittsburgh
Family: Husband, Steven; daughter, Alexa