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Academic Affairs records Marcus, Gladys
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Annette Piecora interview, 1994 December 1

Annette Piecora joined FIT in 1977 as a clerical assistant under Gladys Marcus and Jean-Ellen Gibson, the chair of the social science department. Piecora would work in both the personnel department and faculty services department before finding a long-term position in the president’s office. Piecora mentions meeting her husband, Professor Steve Harrington of the social services department, through FIT. Piecora worked with Marvin Feldman and Allan Herschfield, and discusses how she began working for the Board of Trustees as assistant secretary of the college. Piecora expresses excitement for recent funding which would allow distance learning and talks of planning an upcoming 50th anniversary holiday party. She then lists many changes at FIT in faculty and student make-up and also mentions how its rapid growth and budget cuts have led to a loss of community in some senses. However, she credits the important work of the union in restoring gain-sharing relationships and holding the college together. Picora describes her work with the Student Faculty Cooperation which determines funding for various arms of Student Life. Finally, she remembers the dedication of the Marvin Feldman Center and goes on to discuss budget cuts and her own work on the union’s executive committee.

Piecora, Annette

Web Boodey and Audrey Meyer interview, 1994 November 10

Web Boodey and Audrey Meyer discuss their time with the Social Science Department. Boodey was a world affairs professor and Meyer a professor of sociology who, though retired, still taught as an adjunct at the time of the interview. They talk about the dress code upheld by Marion Brandriss in the 1960s as well as FIT’s former requirement of 30 hours of mandatory volunteer work. They discuss when FIT’s faculty shared a large office, each with their own cubicle, and the beginnings of the school's union. They talk extensively about the social justice movements of the 1960s and 1970s, especially in the aftermath of the Kent State Massacre. They mention the formation of the Soul Club and the Black Student Club, which published a paper called “Black Rap.” They also discuss the formation of an ad hoc committee on race which advocated for more faculty of color. Boodey and Meyer talk about the affective education movement and the growth of their department. In 1971 Meyer put on a one-day conference called “Dialogue on Women,” which brought in myriad activists including Florynce Kennedy and Bella Abzug. Boodey discusses his time as the chair of the faculty association. The two remember Marvin Feldman and Gladys Marcus fondly, and then discuss other professors in their department when it was coupled with Art History. They touch on linkages with the United Nations as well as student trips, including one to Riker’s Island. They have invited formerly incarcerated people to speak to their students and frequently host lectures on human rights. The two also talk about the growth of environmental activism and clubs in the 1970s.

Boodey, Web

Edith Sancroft interview, 1994 November 22

Edith Sancroft, professor of health and physical education at the time of this interview, and former Dean of Liberal Arts, joined FIT in 1964. She immediately began a large expansion of the school's dance program and talks about the introduction of an intermediate level of dance for her more advanced students. Sancroft sees choreography and dance as a natural partner to fashion design; her students benefit from the knowledge that body movement has to offer. She pays homage to the 1960s as a period of great growth for FIT. With the formation of the union and the presence of the Civil Rights Movement, the curriculum offerings at FIT grew in variety and scale. During this period, she was also able to offer master classes in dance with guests such as Syvilla Fort, Charles Wiedman, and Mary Anthony. Sancroft talks about how her department has changed and its eventual separation from the Math and Science Department. She also discusses the growth in diversity within the student body. Sancroft laments the loss of intimacy at FIT and remembers its former familial nature. That being said, she gives a lot of credit to faculty members such as Mildred [last name unknown] who wrote a series of grants to support the creation of the educational skills program, an invaluable part of FIT’s curriculum.

Sancroft, Edith

Jack Rittenberg interview, circa 1994-1995

Dean Emeritus at the Department of Business and Technology at the time of this interview, Jack Rittenberg discusses his many roles while at FIT between the years of 1963 and 1992. He talks of the development of degrees within the baccalaureate program such as those in advertising and menswear, the latter being a degree that Rittenberg co-developed with Ted Roberts. He talks extensively about the school’s early existence in the C Building and the growth of the physical campus as FIT became more than a commuter school. Rittenberg remembers the building of the library and how space for the clothing collection allowed them to split from a storage arrangement with the Brooklyn Museum. Formerly a buyer for Bond Stores, Rittenberg has enjoyed showing FIT’s collections off to friends and visitors. Though Rittenberg was retired at the time of the interview, he was still teaching a spring merchandising course as well as industry seminars. He talks about strong relationships with alumni of the school and how retirement has allowed him to keep in touch with many of them through travel. Rittenberg talks about the faculty tendency to continue to work in the Industry so as to remain current. He also discusses the uniquely driven nature of the FIT student body. Rittenberg then goes into detail about the liberal arts program and gives a deep history of the founding and development of FIT from its roots as the Central High School of Needle Trades. He briefly discusses international students and changing demographics of the school and then launches into a discussion of the evolution of attitudes within the industry in regards to race and sex. The interview ends with a brief discussion of the decline of the fur industry.

Rittenberg, Jack

Jean Ellen Giblin interview, 1994 November 21

Jean Ellen Giblin, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the time of this interview, explains how she came to FIT as an economics professor in 1970. She was later Chair of the Social Science Department as well as the curriculum committee. After a time, she was asked to work on the development of the new upper division program which had a marketing option in international trade. She talks fondly of that creative work and how it led her to become the acting Dean of the Business and Technology Department, and ultimately led to her role at the time of the interview. Giblin reflects on the intimate nature of FIT when she joined and how that has evolved due to the growth of the school and its development of a 4-year program. Industry pushed for the creation of a 4-year program, though FIT maintained an upside-down approach to education wherein specialties were taught before general liberal arts. Giblin discusses FIT’s approval by the Board of Education and SUNY, and then talks about the support provided by the Educational Foundation. She talks about how industry advisory boards keep each program relevant, and then launches into a discussion about FIT’s international and domestic student body and how it has evolved through the years. FIT has also evolved its own programs to serve a wider array of industries in the city. Giblin praises the wide-ranging work of unions at FIT. She then discusses statutory campuses and FIT’s graduate program launched by Bob Gutman. Finally, she talks about the inherent creativity of the faculty and discusses the future of the school.

Giblin, Jean Ellen

Barry Karp interview, 1994 October 12

Psychology professor Barry Karp began at FIT in 1968 and was tenured in 1971. Shortly thereafter he became active in the FIT union. Around 1986 he became administrator of the Welfare Fund. Karp discusses changes in the department’s coursework and the introduction of classes such as the Psychology of Color. He talks about changes in the student body over his time at FIT and states that FIT has more non-traditional students than at its inception; many students are coming back to school instead of coming straight from high school and the college has gained international appeal. Karp remembers the familial atmosphere of FIT in the 1970s and shares a yearbook from 1969. He mentions FIT’s growing global perspective, and talks about the appeal of their art-oriented Saturday classes for high school students. Finally, Karp discusses his daughter’s time at FIT and how it has led to a successful career in packaging design.

Karp, Barry