Let’s have a moment of silence for our last J-Term (#RIP). While Jen was teaching our (then) freshmen how to rock their next presentation in Public Speaking for the Fashion Industry, I was attempting to empower our future #GirlBosses in my Professional Development course. It was a success made for both of us.
We hosted one of our absolute favorite events – our Day in Fashion! On that day several high school juniors and seniors braved a cold, snowy trip to Erie to spend a day in the life of the #HouseofHurst. Which of our attendees fell in love with us that day and later committed to Mercyhurst you ask? Jenna, Gabby, Maggie, Genevieve, Caitlyn, Tori, Connor, Mari, and Dechlyn are now all freshmen here.
Two words – SPRING BREAK! Now let’s be honest here; we all know I went nowhere exciting for spring break, so let’s move on to something that happened that was truly exciting. On March 25, I received the first of many emails from some of our (then) juniors sharing the wonderful news that they just received their acceptance letters to our Visiting Student Program with the Fashion Institute of Technology! Every one of our students who applied, was accepted. I am so happy for each one of them, while also fully knowing that meant it was my last semester with them on our campus.
About mid-month, I received a surprise visit of a lifetime for those in academia. I want to share with you an excerpt from the acceptance speech I gave at the Annual Year-End Faculty Reception on May 13… Grab the tissues.
“So it was about three weeks ago now, that I was about mid-lecture in my Merchandise Planning & Control class, when there was a knock at my classroom door. To be honest with you, I would have bet it was one of my colleagues popping in with a quick question, which is a common occurrence on the third floor of Old Main. The last thing I expected was to see David Dausey, Andrea Barnett, and Karen Meyer at my door! It is a complete understatement to say that I was shocked when David proceeded to announce that I was the recipient of this year’s Teaching Excellence Award.
I do not know why that day or specific class was chosen to make the announcement in, but I am glad that he did. I say that because the students in that class are my upperclassmen. I have taught these students already for at least four classes before (if not more), and many of them have also traveled with me on one or more of our departmental trips, whether it was to Paris or the Garment District in Manhattan. As such, these students and I already have quite a bond and know me very well not only as their professor, but also as a person. I could not have chosen to share that moment with a more amazing group of students. After David, Andrea, and Karen left, the students excitedly began to chat about what had just happened. I recall one student asking a fellow classmate, “who was the guy, he looked familiar?” One other student commented on how much I was blushing, and that she had never seen me so surprised. And she was right, I have never been so surprised in my entire life. It is a day I will certainly never forget.”
Undoubtedly the craziest month of the year for the fashion department! The month first started out with the official launch of the House of Hurst blog thanks to the hard work of Jen Craven and the students in her Fashion Journalism class. In tandem with the blog’s debut, our epic lip dub video was revealed. The month was rounded out with our annual Senior Soiree – Finals – Grading – Graduation – Topped off with flying across the pond to spend a week with 25 students in London!
June and July
Let’s just sum up these two months of summer vacation as sad, depressing months with none of my students around to entertain me. I received the occasional panicked email from a couple of my advisees who were already reevaluating their course choices for the approaching fall semester.
We interviewed Ashlee Rzyczycki for a full-time faculty position in our department and she hit her interview out of the park! Seriously, I am pretty sure the ball hit the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse on East Grandview Blvd. Ashlee rounds out the awesomeness (OK, craziness) of the fashion faculty. We seriously need our own reality TV show.
Does anyone ever remember anything that goes down during the month of September on a college campus? Writing, reading, grading, repeat. I think the word “partying” would replace “grading” in that sequence for most students.
October involved a little bit of friendly completion between our department and the Art department. There was a competition on the best Halloween mask or fascinator. The votes were neck and neck up until the end between myself and Sarah Altilio. In the end, Sarah’s creation came out on top.
On November 10 I had the honor of celebrating the academic achievements of some of our students at the Dean’s List Reception. I never pass up an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students (while also devouring tasty hors d’oeuvres). Besides that, I’m pretty sure that the U.S. Presidential election overshadowed anything and everything else that happened this month.
Over 50 fashion students braved the snowstorm to head downtown to attend our annual Christmas party. Students and faculty alike, would never pass up an opportunity to avoid the harsh reality of the impending week of final exams.
As chair of the Fashion Merchandising department, I’ve enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane. Thank you all for the memories. Let’s raise our (imaginary) glasses and bid a farewell to 2016, and welcome in 2017. I wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy New Year! Cheers!