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In the fall University Magazine

Not long after I joined the University News staff 10 years ago, I was assigned to write the first news release about a new venture for RIT: The launch of a college in Croatia. RIT’s American College of Management and Technology opened in Dubrovnik in September 1997.

It seemed like a bold but somewhat risky venture at the time. From 1991 to 1995, Croatia was regularly in the news because of a devastating civil war resulting from the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. I remember telling friends about RIT’s plan. Typically, the reaction was incredulity. “RIT is opening a school where?”

Indeed, the threat of conflict in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina was still very real back then. Plus, no one knew for sure if enough students would enroll.

But RIT officials believed deeply in the project. Bill Dempsey, who had been RIT’s vice president for finance and administration since 1984, along with Francis Domoy, chair of the School of Hospitality and Service Management, and others, had been working on the concept for two years with representatives of the Croatian government. Dempsey became ACMT’s first president and dean.

“This is an opportunity that comes once,” Domoy said that summer. “We feel we can contribute to their success—and to our own.”

History has proved him right. ACMT was successful from the get-go, immediately exceeding enrollment projections and growing steadily since then.

The cover story of the fall issue of RIT: The University Magazine—now in the mail and online—provides insights into RIT’s college in Croatia. University News staffer Kelly Downs had the opportunity to travel to Dubrovnik in April to get the inside story.

She also participated in the Big Shot photo project, which is also detailed in the magazine. Kelly posted blog entries about her adventures every day on this site, in case you’d like to find out more.

I hope I’ll get a chance to visit Dubrovnik someday. Everyone who has ever been there is captivated by the gorgeous scenery. The magazine provides a glimpse.

But more than the picturesque landscape, I’m impressed by the country’s success in getting beyond an ugly war and rebuilding, honoring the past while moving into the future. I’m proud that RIT has had a hand in that.

The fall magazine is loaded with other stories—personally, I think this is the best issue we’ve ever published. If you’re among the 120,000 who receive the printed magazine, look for it in your mailbox this week.

The online version will also go live this week, but I think the print version offers a richer experience. The Web is wonderful, of course, but I completely agree with the following from Brian Doyle, the brilliant writer and editor of the University of Portland’s acclaimed magazine:

“. . . a magazine made from paper and ink and heart has many dozens of access points, requires no electricity, persists through time, can be shared by many readers consecutively, can be read supine, can be read anywhere in the world, and has a tactile, personable, warm, friendly, immediate, face-to-face style that will, I predict, become ever MORE valuable and savored as the years they do sprint by. My theory is that as the world digitizes and electronifies and miniaturizes and technifies, the things that can be touched and felt and pawed over, flipped through and smelled, taped to the fridge and saved for later and mailed to daughters—those things will be ever more sought after and cherished; so books and magazines, not to mention handmade tables and shirts and drawings and etc., will not die but boom. In the future we won’t yearn for the past, exactly, but we damn well will yearn for the real, not the virtual.”

Plus, who among us totes our laptops to the bathroom?

And so, if there’s anyone out there who would like a printed copy of the magazine, just let me know and I’ll mail one to you.


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