RIT honors Dane R. Gordon with seminar room dedication

Beloved philosophy professor taught at RIT from 1962 to 2000

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A. Sue Weisler

Professor emeritus Dane R. Gordon in the seminar room that now bears his name in Liberal Arts Hall. He taught philosophy at RIT from 1962 to 2000.

Dane R. Gordon, who retired as professor emeritus from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2000, cut the ribbon Friday at the Dane R. Gordon Seminar Room in Liberal Arts Hall, dedicated to him for his many years of outstanding service to RIT and its students.

Gordon, a Presbyterian minister who will turn 91 in June, came to RIT in 1962, where he taught philosophy and served as department chair and acting dean.

“I always asked questions, even as a child,” he said in the British accent he retained from his homeland. “Teaching is sharing. And if you are very excited about the topic, it’s something you will enjoy sharing with others.”

In 2014, Gordon, who lives in Pittsford with his wife, Judith, committed $300,000 from their estate plans to create The Dane R. Gordon Endowed Fund for Philosophy Student Success. The fund will provide support to students conducting research and scholarship, students pursuing academic internships and for initiating a lecture series to host distinguished philosophy scholars.

RIT President Bill Destler, who gave his tiger lapel pin to Gordon, called him “a great man” whose contributions to RIT were many throughout his career.

“I’m pleased your name will be here in perpetuity. And it will be recognized much more than for a contribution, but for a lifetime of making this institution so much better,” Destler said.

James Winebrake, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said Gordon has “a very accomplished career and a very full life.”

Born in London, Gordon became active in theater and writing poetry and served with the Royal Navy. He attended Trinity College in Cambridge and London University, became a Presbyterian minister and moved to Rochester where he was associate minister at Central Presbyterian Church, in the building that now houses Hochstein School of Music.

His career with RIT began when he was asked to fill in for a philosophy professor, and soon was invited to join the faculty. He remained for 38 years and received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1997.

Gordon wrote two volumes of the history of RIT, has written books on poetry, philosophy and religion, and has others set for publication this month and in 2017. It was announced at Friday’s dedication that RIT Press will publish a limited edition hard-covered book with many of his writings.

Gordon wrote a poem for the dedication, and it was printed on a plaque now adorning the wall of Room 2102. Titled All That is Left, it tells the tale of his encounter of an elderly woman returning to campus.

It concludes:

“How we should value our
family, our friends, one another.
We know them for just
a moment, and they are gone,
and we are gone, and all that is left are
memories of kindness
or not.”