I have spent more than 34 years at FIT teaching in the Interior Design Department, as well as having a practice in architecture and interior design. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Educating, nurturing, and guiding young people to enter the professional world of interior design has probably been the highlight of my career.
Endowing a scholarship was an idea I had for over 20 years, and I always thought that I would establish it later in life. Then I thought, this is ridiculous—why don’t I do it now so I can see a student move on and use this money to pay for his or her final year of education and help to alleviate some of the financial burden of their senior year. My scholarship recognizes their success in our program and rewards them for outstanding work.
Out of about 36 scholarships that are awarded from 15 Art and Design departments, Interior Design has established almost a third of them. Some are by current faculty members, some in memory of faculty members lost, and one recognizing our alumni.
The Interior Design Department is unusually giving because we think and act as a team and we recognize the importance of education and the high expenses related to certain course work in our curriculum.
Generosity can be contagious. Students and alumni recognize that many of us have given generously and they in turn have helped to fund our Alumni Scholarship and the Lawrence J. Israel Endowed Scholarship. Several years ago a student who had won a travel scholarship did not use all the money and returned the balance to the department to be reinvested for future travel scholarships. So what goes around comes around.