I’m a bit of a ‘map geek.’ You’ve never heard that expression, I’m guessing. That’s because I just now made it up. It’s not particularly clever, but it fits me.
I was reminded of this on two occasions this weekend. The first came during a family gathering. My older siblings reminisced about my uncanny sense of direction. Even as a little kid, I could accurately dictate the correct route to vacation destinations. I would confidently point out my father’s mistake as he was about to pass up a needed exit. He did what any man would in his situation—he ignored me. Then, while trying to navigate our way out of inner city Baltimore (a common misstep on route to Ocean City, Md.), he would begrudgingly have to admit that I was right.
I’m pretty sure my laser-sharp sense of direction resulted from my love affair with maps. I would study them religiously before trips out of town. Even without a vacation pending, I always enjoyed looking at maps. One of my favorite Christmas gifts as a kid was my first globe. Yep, map geek!
So, I was reminded of that again today during RIT’s New-Student Orientation Resource Fair. For the third straight year, University News was represented at the official kickoff to a week’s worth of orientation activities. (Above, my colleagues Bob Finnerty and John Follaco chat with incoming students at the University News table.) It’s a great opportunity to inform students and their families about our role in keeping the campus community informed. It’s also just a lot of fun to interact with families and share in the excitement of their important milestone.
One question I almost always have to ask is, “Where are you from?” Well, I have to tell you, I was in heaven this year! The giant map in my head was scanning all corners of this great country. It was amazing! I’m used to more familiar responses that encompass New England and the mid-Atlantic regions. But this year’s class undoubtedly extends our reach. I heard North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Utah, California—even Alaska, among others.
This year, 54 percent of RIT students come from outside New York state. That number is consistently growing, and nothing about my experience today contradicts that. Clearly RIT is providing the programs and academic experience that appeal to a more geographically diverse student population. And that makes for a richer campus experience for all of us.
So, please, further humor this map geek. I’d love for students and family members to share your stories from orientation, the trip to Rochester, and your impressions of our campus.
Regardless, allow me to join many others in welcoming you to the RIT family.