Words and Pictures

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A. Sue Weisler

Frank Argento ’64, ’70 continues to teach a full load of art and design classes at NTID.

Professor has hands in captioning technology and art education

When David Strom was growing up, he was disappointed there were no programs on television where people communicated using sign language. As a student, he wanted to change that.

With the help of Frank Argento, director for instructional technology for NTID, Strom in 1982 set up the Student Television Network on the RIT campus, which presented programs in American Sign Language, covered campus news and provided educational and student entertainment programming.

“He was my mentor,” says Strom ’89, ’92 (manufacturing engineering, career and human resource development). “Frank was delighted to see extracurricular opportunities created for students outside the classroom.”

Argento has spent his career creating opportunities for students. He helped build the former Educational Technology Center for NTID, which included closed-circuit television facilities for the classrooms and the residence halls. His team captioned thousands of instructional materials.

“The technology made a contribution to the learning outcomes to our students,” Argento says.

He organized one of the first captioning symposiums in the country in the 1970s, which contributed to standards for captioning across the United States. And he produced and directed a 16mm movie about deaf education called Deafness & Communication that became one of the first recruiting tools for NTID. (The movie is now in the Wallace Library archives.)

Argento ’64, ’70 (art and design, MFA) began working at RIT in 1965 in the Instructional Resources Center. He moved to NTID in 1973 after getting his MFA with a focus on visual communications and filmmaking. By 1980, he was teaching classes in film and television and helped students produce their own news shows for the Student Television Network. When he wasn’t teaching, Argento was pursuing his own interests. Over the years he established a television production company, a marketing communications firm and an advertising agency. He is an award-winning artist who has written two books.

Today, he continues to teach a full load of art and design classes at NTID and he pursues his own art on the side. He also is working on another book. “I always worked,” Argento says. “That probably summarizes me.”

Strom, a customer relationship manager for Sprint Relay and Sprint CapTel in Universal City, Calif., says Argento clearly shows a passion for RIT/NTID and the programs he has been involved with over the years.

“In today’s world, where having anywhere from seven or more different jobs over the course of one’s life is the norm, it’s amazing to see Frank still dedicated to NTID after 48 years.”