After 35 years at The New England School of Art & Design, it may come as a surprise to some of you that I might ever leave the school, under my own steam anyway. But the time has come and I regret, in some ways, to tell you that June 19th will be my last day here.
The school has been to me more important than I can say, for all those years. One of my very dearest friends, and matron of honor at my wedding, was a fellow employee. Some of my favorite people on this planet went to NESAD. And I will honor Bill Davis – and be grateful to him – forever. I’ve watched the school metamorphose from a small, struggling art school on Newbury Street in 1978 through its early associations with Suffolk University, to its current place as a respected department of that university.
I’ve seen countless students come and go and, because we used to do all the admissions and registration work without benefit of computers, I can still remember some of your home addresses from 30+ years ago. I’ve seen countless changes in facilities as we’ve grown and prospered and perhaps my only regret is that I didn’t see the school move into a building of its own, which it richly deserves.
I’ve also met and known countless faculty members over the years, some of the smartest and most talented artists and educators one could ever wish to have on any staff. Some I’ve worked closely with and I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.
So what now? Haven’t a clue. Travel I hope, perhaps a chance to get my house in order, more time with my husband. Projects that have been languishing in the basement, more biking, more gardening. Maybe I won’t get up at 4am anymore or ride the bus for two hours. Perhaps I’ll no longer be disappointed if it rains on a weekend.
Whatever I do, and whatever you do, my best wishes to all of you. You’ve really done the school proud and you’ve brought me great joy and many friendships I’ll treasure always. I hope your careers flourish as you wish and that you continue to find happiness and fulfillment in what you learned at NESAD.
Though we at NESADSU knew it was coming, the official news of Bill Davis’ impending retirement, after 42 years at the school, came in an email from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Kenneth Greenberg, on Monday, April 29th. Always a fan of Bill’s and a vocal supporter of the art department, Dean Greenberg noted that Bill would be with us through June 30th, at which time the position of Chairman would be passed to Steve Novick, Professor of Art and Design in the Foundation program.
Because I thought Dean Greenberg’s assessment of Bill’s time at NESADSU was so thoughtful and appropriate, I wanted to share his observations with you:
“Rarely does one person become so closely identified with a single institution. Bill was there to give direction to NESAD before the merger with Suffolk and he has remained at the helm until the present moment. He was the person who guided the school and the department to national and international recognition. Over and over again he skillfully handled both the grand and the minor problems of a great group of students, faculty and staff — always winning the admiration of those he worked with by demonstrating over and over again a kind, caring, and extremely careful approach to all people and problems. Bill will be leaving a great legacy behind and he will be taking with him our deep gratitude.
“It should also come as no surprise that I will be appointing Steve Novick as Bill’s successor as department chair. Before I made this appointment I spoke with every faculty member of the department and I can tell you honestly I have never seen such an outpouring of support for the choice of any leader. Uniformly, the faculty noted his tireless energy, conscientious attitude toward any responsibility, his talent as an artist, his ability to solve complex problems, his love of NESAD and his extraordinary sense of humor. I have no doubt that the NESAD community will give full support to their new leader. He already has mine.”
It’s sometimes difficult to remember how far NESADSU has come under Bill’s guiding hand. When he started in 1971, the school was called New England School of Art (NESA) and was housed over a McDonald’s on Huntington Avenue, a block from Symphony Hall and a few doors from a porn shop. Nearly all the faculty were part-time and, though they were experienced, dedicated and hard-working, they were also grossly underpaid. Then, in 1975, the school moved to what I’m sure seemed, by comparison, stunning new quarters at 28 Newbury Street, at the “right” end of the poshest street in Boston. As the economy waxed and waned, and students and faculty came and went, graduated and found work, the school’s fortunes yoyo’ed as well.
In 1991 NESAD (“& Design” had been added in 1975) established an articulation agreement with Suffolk University, largely orchestrated by Bill, to allow our students to take courses at Suffolk, which was followed, in 1991 by the establishment of a jointly-taught Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program. In retrospect, the joint BFA program served as the “engagement” before the two institutions were formally joined in 1996. That too was Bill’s doing.
As the saying goes, we’ve “come a long way, baby” in the years since. One new undergraduate program (Illustration), three new graduate programs (Master of Arts programs in Interior Design and Graphic Design and a Master of Fine Arts program in Interior Architecture), two Certificate programs (now one, in Graphic Design), a pre-college program for high school students, and a third physical home, at 75 Arlington Street, all thanks to Bill.
Now, bursting at the seams, with an international cohort of over 300 students, 21 full-time and over 74 adjunct faculty members, national rankings in Interior Design, and more student and faculty awards to our credit than we can list – that’s Bill’s leadership too.
As alumna and long-time faculty member Marg Dion (Interior Design 1973) once said about Bill, in accepting an award on her own behalf, that he is “the most compassionate, understanding and dedicated person on the planet. After nearly 40 years, he is, among other things, a one-stop shop of retention services. Bill is committed to saving not only floundering students, but those who froth at the mouth and speak in tongues. When most people would have opened a window and either jumped or pushed, Bill has remained calm and rational through it all – a rock, unchanged.” That pretty much says it all.
I’m certain Bill would like to hear from any and all alums, so please email him at email@example.com. If you truly want to tell him how much you apreciate all he did for you and all he’s done for NESADSU, the most meaningful gesture you could make would be to contribute, in his name, to either the Cox Scholarship Fund or the new Chadwick Speaker Series, both of which benefit NESADSU directly. You can do so by going to www.suffolk.edu/giving, click on “donate now”. When you enter your name, etc. and click on “continue”, you’ll be presented with a list of Areas of Giving. Under “other”, type in “NESADSU”. It’s a little awkward but give it a try. If all else fails, write a check! (Sorry…)
The survey that NESADSU emailed in February to our alumni of the past ten years has provided some very interesting and gratifying information which will be used in advertising and recruiting, on our website, and as bragging rights to anyone who wishes to listen. (Of the 607 alums who received the survey, 251 responded, an impressive number.) Designed by NESADSU’s Bill Davis and Sara Chadwick, with lots of help from Megan Daley of the University’s Office of Institutional Planning & Research, the survey asked questions about employment, further education, professional recognition, and positive and negative aspects of the NESADSU educational experience, in addition to updated contact information. (If you graduated between 2003 and 2012 and didn’t receive a survey, it’s probably because you’re not in our alumni database. You can fix that by sending your current home and work information to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
We’re still looking at and organizing the data returned to us and we’ll have information on that in the near future. What we can tell you are the names of the winners of the $50 American Express gift cards, who were chosen at random from the lists of responders. They were:
Melanie Stack (Interior Design 2011)
Bethany Burns (Interior Design 2012)
Aaliah Al-Aali (MA in Graphic Design 2011)
Nicole (Dagle) Morse (MA in Interior Design 2008)
Mariano Conejo (MA in Graphic Design
Jennifer Virden (Decorative Arts 2007)
Justin Marquis (Graphic Design 2008)
Nichole (Kaye) Vatcher (Fine Arts 2004)
Greg Frye (Graphic Design 2009)
Holly Coutu (Fine Arts 2011).
(That’s one in every 25 who responded to the survey by the designated date.)
Thanks to everyone who took part! Stay tuned for the results. `
Long-time NESADSU Professor Lydia Martin is the latest recipient of a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Faculty Fellowship, which will enable her to spend a month this summer in Paris on a research project of her own devising. Of the 118 applicants for Whiting Fellowships, Lydia is one of 36 recipients.
May 29, 2013 marks the centenary of Igor Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet, the Rite of Spring, which premiered in the then newly constructed Theatre des Champs Elysees and which was performed by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. Lydia’s study project will involve researching the circle of artists that participated in that event. The Russian art director Serge Diaghilev drew upon a rich network of composers, painters, designers and architects to produce a multi-media event that led to further collaborations among such artists as Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Leger and others as well as composers such as Debussy, Ravel and Satie.
Upon her return from Paris, Lydia will give a presentation to her students on her research and will incorporate a variety of creative explorations in drawing and painting into her curricula.
Have fun exploring your creative side while developing a portfolio for college admission.
Our 5-week Pre-College Summer Program is designed for high school students and new graduates who wish to study art and design at the college level. In addition to studio work in 2- and 3-dimensional design, drawing and painting, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the city’s galleries and museums as well as the studios of professional artists and designers.
The program offers:
A great location that is accessible by commuter rail, subway and bus
A convenient Tuesday through Thursday schedule
Small classes and a low student-to-teacher ratio.
An opportunity to apply for a portfolio waiver for students hoping to attend one of Suffolk’s BFA programs in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration or Interior Design
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
July 9 – August 8, 2013 from 10am – 3:30pm (half-hour lunch break)
For more information, including schedule, cost, and how to register, please visit:
Jill Garzik (Interior Design 2006) is the latest NESADSU alum to be honored by Suffolk University as a recipient of the 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10” awards were created to recognize and celebrate alumni of the past decade who have enjoyed major professional success, made a difference in their communities, or have been loyal supporters of Suffolk. Jill was nominated by Interior Design program Co-Director Karen Clarke for the major success she has had as a professional interior designer, for having been recognized by AIA New England, and for her commitment to giving back to and supporting NESADSU students.
Jill started her career with Io Oakes Interiors (IOI) in Boston before moving to Tsoi Kobus & Associates in Harvard Square. She is now an NCIDQ-certified interior designer with Perkins Eastman in Boston, specializing in the healthcare, science and technology, K-12, college and university, and senior living market sectors. Her prior work includes Suffolk’s own Cafe 73 and she has received such honors as the 2011 AIA New England Awards ‘Special Citation for Excellence in Architecture’ for her work on the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center at Boston Medical Center.
During her time at Suffolk, Jill received the 2005 ASID National Student Design Award for her competition entry of a holistic spa and treatment center for multiple sclerosis patients. Also pursuing a minor in Creative Writing, she was passionate about connecting writers and visual artists on campus and served on the board of Suffolk’s Venture Literary Magazine as Editor-in-Chief (2004-05) and Art Director (2005-06).
Since receiving her BFA in Interior Design in 2006, Jill has remained active within the design community. She currently sits on NESADSU’s Interior Design Advisory Board and actively participates in alumni panels and studio critiques at Suffolk and other area universities. She will also be giving a gallery talk at NESADSU during the upcoming fall semester.
Jill, along with the other nine outstanding young alumni, will be honored at an awards reception on Thursday, April 4, 2013. Our heartiest congratulation to Jill!
2008 – Emily Eichhorn (Interior Design), who relocated to Chicago from San Diego where she was lead designer with a kitchen and bath remodeling company, has recently taken a position with a new design build remodeling firm in Chicago, Design Build 4 U. Starting as a contract designer, it took her only six months to become their full-time lead designer and design team manager. Now she’s being charged with building a team of her own and, to that end, contacted NESADSU to see if we had alums in Chicago who might be interested in a position with her firm. If you’re interested, check out the firm at http://www.db4uchicago.com. In addition to her design job, Emily has done some freelance logo design work for two local non-profits. She’s also “exploring Chicago and loving everything this new busy city has to offer”. You can get in touch with Emily at email@example.com.
2005 – Marianne Wilson (Interior Design) posted a career update on LinkedIn in February, detailing her new position as a commercial real estate broker at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) in Washington, DC. Her new position focuses on tenant representation which means that “essentially, I help clients find office space [in the greater Washington area] ….and represent the tenant in lease negotiations”. You can reach Marianne at firstname.lastname@example.org or through LinkedIn.
1982 – Velicia (Gourdin) Waymer (Fashion Illustration), whose work appeared in last year’s alumni illustration exhibition at NESADSU, decided, with everyone’s urging, to make a more public display of her illustration work by becoming a part of the online Directory of Illustration (http://directoryofillustration.com/VeliciaWaymer). Velicia, who currently works as a training design and development specialist for a Virginia credit union, had gotten away from more traditional illustration, in favor of body painting (and other creative endeavors), photos of which she exhibited at NESADSU and which can be seen at www.besitosbodypainting.com. Check out her work and get in touch with her at email@example.com.