I was so proud to learn that this year, FIT had three Fulbright scholarship winners—our highest number ever. It was so high in fact, that FIT was included, for the first time ever, in the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the highest number of U.S. Fulbright scholars. The Fulbright, like the Rhodes and the Marshall, is one of the most competitive and prestigious scholarship programs in the world.
So congratulations to awardees Joseph Antee, associate professor of Fashion Business Management, Brenda Cowan, associate professor and associate chair of Exhibition and Experience Design, and Deirdre Sato, dean for International Education. Each was chosen based on academic merit and leadership potential.
I am equally pleased to see FIT, with its growing global reach, recognized by so important and influential an organization as the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which makes the awards. Since the goal of the Fulbright program is to improve cultural relations among nations, it makes sense that FIT would rise to the top. Fashion, after all, is a global enterprise. That is one reason why globalism is such a vital part of the FIT mission. We are worldwide with our robust study abroad and international internship programs, as well as our long standing campuses in Florence and Milan, and our recently established presence in Incheon, South Korea, as part of SUNYKorea. We also have a dual-degree program with Istanbul Technical University.
Complementing these programs are our numerous study abroad offerings in China, England and Europe as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, as part of our pedagogy, we teach students to navigate, appreciate, and forge business and cultural connections in countries unlike their own. These connections are particularly important in times when friction dominates the international landscape, as happens all too frequently.
The Fulbright awards represent a powerful statement about FIT’s growth and promise on the international stage. I am confident that our students and the rest of the FIT community will be enriched by the experiences of our Fulbright awardees on their return.