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Office of the President

Past Events

Darci Lane Williams, Director for the Center for Women and Gender at RIT, May 14, 2014

Darci gave a presentation on the goals and activities of the Center in helping students overcome obstacles by providing them with financial help, interventional counseling and mentoring services.  Darci explained that the Center started out in 1993 as a women’s resource center but has slowly evolved into helping both women and men on campus.  Their services are free of charge.  Their CARES program has a 24-hour hotline and offers advocacy, response and support to students that come to the center for help.  Darci cited some chilling statistics – 25% of the women on campus are sexually assaulted every year, 90% of these cases go unreported simply because women do not have the necessary assertiveness training or the ability to set boundaries.  The center provides developmental counseling on a one to one basis to mentor women.  “It is important to make them understand the difference between sexual misconduct and sexual harassment,” Darci said.  For those too shy or hesitant to speak to a counselor, the center offers informational packets and free condoms. There are Billboards and Jill Boards with posters and information. 

Sally Reich, Beekeeper, April 16, 2014

Sally Reich has been a hobbyist beekeeper going on 6 years.  She had no forethought about raising bees and did no research or planning and knew little about it before making the decision to get her first hive.  Sally took free beekeeping classes given by the Ontario-Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association and the rest is history.  She has taken Master Beekeeping classes through Cornell's Dyce Lab and has become a knowledgeable beekeeper.  She told us that the most popular hive currently used in the U.S. was invented in the mid 1800's by Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, the "Father of American Beekeeping," and is know as the Langstroth Hive.  Sally covered the basic tools needed for beekeeping and the schedule for adding the next wooden box to the hive for maintaining a healthy hive.  Honey has a very long shelf life and doesn't go bad.  Sally told us that all pollinators are in danger and asks, if you can, to avoid pesticide use, plant native flowers, shrubs and trees, and create habitat-friendly landscaping.  Even though wasps and hornets can be a nuisance, they do provide a useful role and she suggests letting them live if they aren't in a place where they can cause danger or harm; they will typically die off in the winter.

Dr. Bill Destler and Dr. Rebecca Johnson, March 19, 2014

Drs. Destler and Johnson presented a fascinating commentary on their recent Gandhi Legacy Tour of India.  The tour was led by Dr. Arun Gandhi and Tushar Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi's grandson and great-grandson) was an inspirational encounter with the "real" Gandhi, as experienced at places of historical significance to Gandhi's life and through spoken memories of the grandson who loved him and learned from him.  The Gandhi Legacy Tour also introduced visitors to several nonprofits that are continuing Gandhi's legacy in India today; working humbly, courageously, and innovatively to improve the lives of women, children, and people living in poverty.  The Gandhi legacy continues in the U.S., as well.  In 1991, Dr. Arun Gandhi and his wife, Sunanda, founded the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee.  The institute moved to Rochester in 2007, where Dr. Rebecca Johnson currently serves as Vice President of the Board.  The Gandhi Institute offers programs aimed at using nonviolent strategies to bring about a peaceful world, including conflict resolution, anger management, diversity appreciation, trauma resilience, environmentally sustainable living, and more.  These programs are offered through workshops at the Institute and in schools and orgainzations in and around Rochester.

Dr. Caroline Easton, RIT Professor of Forensic Psychology, January 15, 2014

Dr. Caroline Easton is focused on changing the face of addiction/abuse treatment by exploring the links between substance addiction and domestic violence, understanding that one cannot be treated successfully without treating the other, and advocating for individualized treatment.  Dr. Easton is working with a multi-disciplinary team at RIT to develop innovative methodologies for treating addicts/abusers.  The team will extend beyond RIT's campus, engaging outside partners such as the Monroe County Office of Mental Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Easton's expertise will enrich RIT's College of Health Sciences and Technology students, as well as those who will benefit from her treatment plans.

Holiday Tea - December 18, 2013

The Women's Council of RIT had a wonderful holiday tea at Oak Hill Country Club.  We nibbled on cucumber sandwiches, tea cakes and other scrumptious desserts as we listened to enchanting holiday music played by harpist, Kathleen McAuliffe.

Professor Elizabeth Lane Lawley, RIT Professor and Director, Laboratory for Social Computing, November 20, 2013

Elizabeth Lane Lawley, a professor in RIT's School of interactive Games & Media as well as the director of the Lab for Social Computing in the new MAGIC Center, talked about the ways that she and her colleagues have experimented with using games and game mechanics both within and outside of the classroom experience.  Her current teaching and research interests focus on social computing technologies, including collaborative information creation and retrieval, and social aspects of game design and play.  Professor Lawley became a visiting professor at RIT/ACMT-Dubrovnik, teaching classes on technology transfer and needs assessment to Croatian students in the Information Technology degree program!

Bakar Ali, RIT Student, October 16, 2013

Bakar Ali is an NTID senior student at RIT, majoring in Urban and Community Studies and International Studies. He is the recipient of the Bruce R. Jame '64 Distinguished Public Service Award for his work with the Center for Youth in Rochester.  Bakar grew up in Mogadishu, Somalia and lost his mother in a mortar attack when he was 7.  On his own since the age of seven, he never gave up his passion and drive for going to school, even while going through difficult times.  Bakar lost his hearing due to medicine given to him to treat malaria and had to struggle to get an education.  He persisted nevertheless and got the opportunity to come to the U.S. in 2009.  In Lansing, Michigan, Bakar took a factory job, learned English, became a team leader and subsequently received a scholarship, loans and financial aid to attend RIT's NTID.  Bakar hopes to attend law school after he graduates from RIT and use his skills and education to improve the lives of deaf people both in the U.S. and in Somalia!

Dr. dt ogilvie, RIT Dean, Saunders College of Business, September 18, 2013

Dr. ogilvie gave and impressive presentation about the new entepreneurship initiative and the launching of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship.  She stressed that it is important to provide entrepreneurship training to children, beginning in schools, just as Junior Achievement has done.  Encouraging them to set up a lemonade stand, for instance, teaches them to put out a quality product, manage money, price their product, sell to customers, pay their suppliers and make a profit!

Dr. James Myers, RIT Associate Provost of International Education and Global Programs, May 15, 2013

Dr. Myers shared with the Council that on campus, RIT's international student population has grown from 1500-2200 with students from over 100 countries.  Thes numbers put the university in the top ten colleges in the country to host a significant number of students from foreign countries.  Dr. Myers has his hands full coordinating this exciting programming!

Donna Rubin, RIT Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness, April, 17, 2013

Wellness includes so much more than fitness.  Wellness at RIT is defined as programing that includes physical, emotional, environmental, career/academic, spiritual, social and financial aspects.  The mission of RIT student wellness is to support student success and promote a campus culture that encourages a healthy lifestyle through collaborative education, programming and support services.

Dr. Bill Destler, RIT President, March 20, 2013

Dr. Destler presented his beutiful banjo collection, which was displayed on all the walls of his home probably over 200 of them.  He spoke about the shistory of the banjos, dating back to the early 1800's and how he acquired them and restored them over the laast 30 years.

Michael Peres, RIT Associate Chair of the School of Photgraphic Arts & Sciences, January 16, 2013

Professor Peres wowed us with the twenty-six year story of RIT's endeavor to "Paint with Light."  Updating an idea originating with the Sylvania Company and bringing it to modern-day fruition, Michael teamed with Dawn and Bill DuBois from the photography department at RIT to teach students how to shoot with a flashlight.

Holiday Tea - December 13, 2012

The Women's Council of RIT had a wonderful holiday tea at Oak Hill Country Club.  We nibbled on cucumber sandwiches, scones and scrumptious desserts as we listened to enchanting music played on the dulcimer by Gail Hyde.

Roger Dube, RIT Research Professor, College of Science, November 14, 2012  

 November 2012 was designated as the Native American Heritage Month to pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.  In keeping with this theme, the Women's Council of RIT invited Professor Roger Dube to give a talk on the Iroquois White Corn Project at th Ganondagan Stat Historic Site.  The goal of the White Corn Project is to grow, process and sell Iroquois white corn, by resurrecting ancient farming practices of the Seneca Indians.  The native white corn is a low glycemic index food with a stonger flavor than the white corn sold in supermarkets.

Juliana Johnson, former RIT Women's Council Scholarship Recipient, October 17, 2012

On Wednesday October 17th, RIT Women’s Council members heard an inspiring guest speaker, Julianna Johnson. She is a courageous young woman who talked about her life and how she went from homelessness, drug addiction and prison to hope, to success through scholarships, and to the joy of giving back to the community.

Deciding that neither prison nor homelessness were to be an option for the rest of her life, Julianna proceeded to pull herself back together by enrolling in RIT’s Graphic Design Program, and by paying her way through scholarships, one of which was the scholarship she received from the Women’s Council of RIT.

David Schnuckel, Visiting Professor, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, September 19, 2012

David did a great job explaining the complicated process the students undertake in making those beautiful glass pumpkins that are sold each year at the Red Barn on Campus. We watched in fascination as a long steel rod was first inserted into the furnace to pick up a glob of molten glass. This was then dipped and rolled in colored glass powder, then shaped by dipping into a mold and by blowing air into it to form a rounded pumpkin-like shape.  Finally, a separate piece of glass was molded on the top and shaped to form the stem. It was then gently placed in an enclosed cabinet to cool down. Mesmerized we watched as, again and again, the process was repeated to make more and more pumpkins.

Enid Cardinal, Senior Sustainability Advisor to the President, May 16, 2012

Enid introduced us to the all-encompassing concept of sustainability and she did it with lots of energy and enthusiasm. We learned of concerns with over-fishing and the loss of Omega 3s in our diets, the lack of irrigation in the lowlands in the west due to too much water being diverted, and the crisis of our unsustainable world population growth.  On the brighter side, we then were informed of the state of affairs on our campus. The new Golisano Institute of Sustainability will be a prime example of a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) building, complete with a green roof. Thirty-four percent of the food served on campus will be from local sources and only “Green” cleaning products are used daily. In addition, the use of all sustainable sources of energy is being pursued.  RIT will be an Idea Lab for Innovation, a Clean Energy Incubator, and a producer of Outreach Curriculum that will be used worldwide. This approach to Sustainability meets the needs of the present situation without a negative impact on our future. We look forward to an update from Enid and a possible tour of the new Golisano building in the future.

Hans Witt, Caretaker, Liberty Hill, April 18, 2012

Hans educated us on growing a beautiful garden without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Most of his talk centered around selecting and using plants native to the region as opposed to imported plants, also being vigilant in keeping away pests and insects. Hans said the key was to enrich the soil with a natural fertilizer such as horse manure, which would provide a fertile ground for growing healthy plants.  Hans recommended a good book “Bringing Nature Home” by Doug Tallamy if we wanted to further educate ourselves on growing healthy and beautiful flowering gardens.

Rebecca Johnson and Kit Miller, Board Member and Director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence, repectively, March 21st, 2012

We learned that Restorative Justice is a practice used around the world to save money and lives. It is a way to resolve conflict, not by exacting retribution, but by bringing the victim face to face with the offender in an effort to set things right.  The focus of Restorative Justice is to assess the victim’s needs and the offender’s obligations to obtain a just resolution.  We are encouraged to live restoratively, to take relationships seriously, to envision ourselves as an interconnected web of people, institutions and environment. As we learn to transform conflict we will indeed be able to build our community.

Margaret Reek, Professor Emerita Computer Science, January 18, 2012

Margaret treated us to her amazing involvement in the small village of Maai Mahiu, just 30 miles from Nirobi, Kenya.  Her love and expertise in sewing combined with an interesting notice in a newsletter lead her to join Comfort the Children.  She took a break from creating award-winning quilts and immersed herself in the culture and the people of Maai Mahiu where she worked with a team to teach mothers of disabled children how to sew simple products and establish a cottage industry. Margaret encouraged us all to follow our passions and  find meaningful volunteer possibilities.

Holiday Tea - December 14, 2011

Once again the Women's Council of RIT had a wonderful holiday tea. This year we were charmed by the RIT a Capella group, 8 Beat Measure, who delighted us with their holiday sounds.

Jerry Argetsinger, Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature at NTID, November 16, 2011

Dr. Jerry Argetsinger, gave a wonderful talk on Theater Initiatives for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He sketched the progression of culture for the deaf, starting with silent movies with captions and progressing through mime and the creation of hand signs, to the establishment of the American Sign Language. NTID’s Panara Theater is a totally unique theater and Dr. Argetsinger has been responsible for many productions there, done entirely by deaf students. They construct the set, design the lighting and costumes, and thoroughly enjoy playing all the roles on stage. The plays they produce are award winning and are offered for all audiences. The deaf students are the stars but hearing students voice the parts and are cleverly included in the production. 

Cindee Gray, Managing Director, RIT-Rochester General Health Alliance, October 19, 2011

Cindee Grey gave a presentation on the recent RIT/ RGH alliance and the tremendous potential benefits both the institutions and the community at large would derive from this partnership.

Her talk was very informative and focused on the past history of their shared collaborative research projects, and it elaborated on the newly created Institute of Health Sciences and Technology. This would act as an umbrella organization which would oversee a host of training programs geared towards improving health care and filling a void left due to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Various research projects would also come under this umbrella.  Cindee concluded by saying that some very exciting possibilities were opening up in the future with this alliance.

Albert Paley, Sculptor, September  21, 2011

Dr. Paley talked about the giant metal sculpture ‘The Sentinel’ that he created and installed in the RIT administration circle. His talk addressed the challenges of creating the sculpture, from the meticulous, detailed drawings and plans to the giant sheets of steel and metal he had to mold and bend to create his masterpiece.

The presentation was preceded by a luncheon and we had a great turnout – almost 50 members – this year.  RIT went all out to make the event enjoyable to the Women’s Council members – from providing beautiful facilities including the Dyer Arts Center and Panara Theatre to providing a parking attendant and helpful signs throughout the building.

Becky Simmons, RIT Archivist, April 20, 2011

As a result of an archival research project, Becky gave us an overview of women at RIT from 1885-1946. We traced the progression of traditional female courses in home economics and domestic sciences to career-oriented programs.

Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, Senior VP for Academic Affairs, RIT, May 18, 2011

The presentation summarized the diversity in RIT’s changing student population and outlined areas for new opportunities for RIT’s division of Student Affairs. Dr. Cooper said that she envisions the division of Student Affairs to become more focused on the wellness of RIT’s campus populations and has reorganized her division to become more proactive than reactive in keeping our students well.

Tony Bannon, George Eastman House, March 16, 2011

Tony pointed out the many ties between RIT and the George Eastman House, including a unique current project to package art objects for safe transport. He told us how close Rochester came to losing the great collection of films and photographs to the Smithsonian, and how the community rallied and raised twenty million dollars to keep it here. Tony stressed the availability of the collection to the community. Diverse exhibits from the Eastman House travel to museums around the country, cementing its reputation as world’s preeminent museum of photography and film. 

Kevin McDonald, RIT Chief Diversity Officer, January 19, 2011

Kevin McDonald, RIT’s Chief Diversity Officer, gave us an interesting overview of RIT’s diversity efforts. From the many diversity activities and celebrations on campus, to RIT’s visibly committed leaders, the college is definitely on the right track to achieving a diverse mix of students, staff and faculty.  By utilizing an inclusive excellence framework, RIT will grow and sustain a diverse and inclusive learning, living and working environment. 

3rd Annual December Tea, December 9, 2010

Sixty two women attended our 3rd annual holiday tea at the Chatterbox. There was delicious food and singing. Everyone had a marvelous time! 

Matthew Wahl, Forsythe Jewelers, November 17, 2010

Our November meeting was not only about jewels, but the mystery surrounding some of the world’s most expensive diamonds. We learned about the curse of the blue (Hope) diamond as well as how one owner used the diamond as a dog collar! It was a very interesting meeting.


Susan Rogers - WXXI,October 20, 2010

At the October Women’s Council meeting, Susan Rogers (Executive Vice President and General Manager of WXXI) made everyone a confirmed WXXI enthusiast! She told us how WXXI is the ultimate partner to many organizations (libraries, universities, public schools, and museums) who are working to improve our communities. In addition, she mentioned the tremendous impact the station has had on our community (and many other communities as well). With programs like Homework Hotline, which impacts some of the youngest and poorest students, many with no one to help them study, and with initiatives that have helped over 600 students every year obtain their GED - we came to realize that WXXI holds themselves (and us) to a higher standard.

Susan’s speech embodied WXXI’s mission statement “WXXI engages the community with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse issues.”

Roberley Bell, September 15, 2010

Bell gave an enthusiastic and informative presentation. Roberley explained that she is a sculptor, landscaper and professor of first year students at RIT. She has done outdoor projects worldwide. The presentation focused on Roberley’s gardens as her view on the world. In Russia, Roberley wanted to engage the public with her gardens. She described it as “paradise remade.” It was a creative experiment that merged site, artwork, and audience participation. By dressing a building in flowers, placing flower boxes below each window, and giving away flowers to the viewers, Roberley touched the participants in a unique and distinctive way. In Roberley hands, beautiful gardens become outdoor rooms. Her curiosity and passion goes beyond language—her visual presentation was enjoyed by everyone.

Dr. Destler, May 12, 2010

Our luncheon with Dr. Destler was truly informative. With a peek into the RIT of the future it is clear that we are indeed, "Moving Forward." For the alumni in the audience, it was a whole new RIT. Dr. Destler has a vision and mission for the college that will showcase RIT for the powerhouse it is and will become.

Gallery r, April 21, 2010

We held our meeting at an art gallery, this month. Gallery r is RIT’s metro gallery and learning laboratory for art students and alumni. It is managed by students under the direction of Zerbe Sodervick. The downtown site was chosen because the graduate and undergraduate students expressed their preference to be part of the artistic landscape downtown, close to museums, galleries, and art centers in Rochester.

Seeing the art work of the talented RIT students gave us a new appreciation for how very lucky Rochester is to have such up and coming artists in their midst!

Bella Bleu Color, March 17, 2010

Kerry Sticher, of Bella Bleu Color, showed us how to improve our color choices for everything from clothing to make-up to accessories. Bella Bleu’s twelve-tone color analysis provides a greater range of colors than color analysis that women may have had done in the past, since roughly 85 percent of the population do not fall into the original warm and cool color categories. We will all be more color conscious after this informative meeting.

Dr. Betty Perkins Carpenter, January 20, 2010

Dr. Betty Perkins Carpenter, the creator of the 6 step balance program, shared invaluable information on keeping mobile, flexible and balanced as we “age & sage.” Simple things we can do to help keep us from falling or losing our balance such as stretching in bed, walking while talking on the phone, & balancing activities are but a few exercises she suggested. Through humor and audience participation Dr. Betty delivered her serious and important senior fitness message and left us uplifted with a feeling of “I can do this!”

Holiday Tea, December 11, 2009

Our annual “Holiday Tea” was a great event again this year. The Chatterbox was beautifully decorated for Christmas, the treats were delicious, the conversations interesting, and we sang Christmas carols to the piano playing (and encouragement) of our pianist, Kathleen Toole! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Carol Samuel, November 18, 2009

Carol Samuel and the “History of the Carousel” was so interesting we all left wanting to learn more! The history and artistry behind these wonderful creations (horses, tigers, even pigs and rabbits!) captured our imagination. I’ll bet we won’t look at a carousel again without remembering this talk.

Dr. Sam McQuade. October 21, 2009

Dr. Sam McQuade and his research assistant, Sarah Gentry from the RIT Center for Multidisciplinary Studies, spoke to us Cyber-safety and Ethics. He explained to us the difference between “Digital Natives” - those youth who have never known a world without computers and cell phones and “Digital Immigrants” - those of us born prior to 1994 and the commercialization of the web. Some of the statistics Sam shared with us included: 56% of women started using computers at 10 years of age; 30% prefer to chat in-person rather than online; 35% reported feeling more comfortable and in control when using a computer. In addition, some more frightening statistics of these college women included: 37.8% have posted their schedule, 34.1% have posted their contact information, 58.8% have posted their real name, 8.5% have posted their home address, 72.2% have posted a real picture of themselves and 44.1% have posted their screen name online.

One final message from Dr. McQuade: “Students, educators and parents need help in learning how to be safe, secure and responsible when they use computers, cell phones and the Internet. Education is vital. RIT continues to work with area school districts and prominent national organizations to make a difference; and envisions creating a National Center for Cyber Safety and Ethics Education.”

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, Sepbember 16, 2009

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer gave us a fascinating overview of what is in store for Downtown Rochester. Although in years past there was a rush to the suburbs, the downtown is now beginning to make its comeback. As young people are now making a lifestyle choice towards big cities, Rochester needed a strong downtown. With Paetec committed to building by 2012, the Eastman Theater renovation, Alexandrer Park (the old Genesee Hospital) gearing up to be a health services center, and housing like the Lofts at Harmony, Rochester is well on its way to once again being "the" place to be.

Dr. Margaret Bailey, May 20, 2009

Dr. Bailey, P.E. is the Kate Gleason Endowed Chair and Associate Professor within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and is a wonderful advocate for women in engineering. Charged with leading faculty efforts within the College to improve gender diversity, she created WE@RIT. Dr. Bailey discussed some of the exciting programs that have been developed in order to entice young women to consider engineering as a profession. "We Build" and "We Explore" and TEAK (Traveling Engineering Activity Kits) which target girls as young as 4th and 5th graders, are just a few.

Jeff Tyzik, April 22, 2009

Jeff Tyzik gave us an overview of the intricacies of managing the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra including its financial status and how it compares to the New York Philharmonic in size, budget and salaries. After his presentation, the Women’s Council enjoyed the “Live at Hochstein” concert in the Performance Hall conducted by Tyzik and narrated by WXXI’s Julia Figueras.

Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide Overture” was followed by Jeff Tyzik’s own lively and melodic compositions - “Bravo Colorado” and “Pleasant Valley Suite”, all beautifully executed by the RPO.

Kate Bennett , March 18, 2009

Kate Bennett, the CEO of the Rochester Museum and Science Center talked about the future of our city in addition to sharing some of the important facts about the RMSC.

One of Kate’s favorite quotes was from Alan Kay, which states, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” It sounds as if, from Kate’s activities at the RMSC, that she is trying to do just that. From some dire facts (i.e., that the U.S. ranks among the lowest of 50 countries in math and science) to some really positive Rochester facts (that Rochester hold 890,000 patents - and almost as many festivals!) it was an interesting and inspiring speech.

T. Jane Doctor, January 21, 2009

Our January Event was a special treat - a presentation by our own, T. Jane Doctor. Jane gave an outstanding presentation of her culture and the ways of the Haudenosaunee. As a matrilineal society, the clans are passed on from mother to child. One quote that seems to embody Jane and her philosophy, is ”Our energy is the combined will of all people with the spirit of the natural world, to be of one body, one heart, and one mind."