December 2015

Print this page ›

December 2015

News From Mark Shanda, USITT President

Spread the Spirit of the Season with a Thank-you

Mark Shanda USITT President

The most wonderful time of the year?

Holiday decorations have been in the stores since early October. For some, that A Christmas Carol set has been re-assembled for the 15th or 20th time, sugar plum fairies are literally dancing (and not just in “sweet little heads”), and there is likely either some time off or double/triple time income as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all get celebrated.

Some of our members may have taken on the outdoor light display challenge and are the banes of their neighborhoods and darlings of the power company. After all, 45,000 LED light still have some appreciable power draw.

However you are celebrating or working the holidays, I would like to challenge each of you to take just a few moments and express your thanks to someone who has made a difference in your life this past year or who assisted you in becoming the person you are. Be it a colleague at work, a teacher from your past, or even a family member who said the right word at the right time, take the time to drop them a note, email them, or even just post on Facebook your thanks for the impact that they have had on your life.

Oftentimes it is suggested that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and I believe that is true throughout the entertainment industry. All of us owe a large debt of gratitude to the pioneers of our field who conducted research, documented production solutions, wrote textbooks, or spoke inspiring words we took to heart. We may have said “thank you” to them at the time, but in the spirit of giving that surrounds this time of year, be intentional about reinforcing that thanks with a brief moment of outreach.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this challenge upon myself and express my profound thanks: to the National Office Staff in Syracuse for all that they do for the day-to-day operations of the Institute; to the officers and Board of Directors who devote so much time and energy to advance USITT and the entertainment industry; and to all of you for the work that you do in your daily lives that reflects well on this calling that we know as theatre design and technology.

Be intentional about thanking someone this month whom you haven’t been in touch with for a while. Reach back out to that special teacher who helped to lay the foundation for your life’s work. Spend just a few extra moments with your family who supports you in so many unnamed ways. And look forward to an exciting new year, filled with new possibilities and challenges not even imagined at this point.

This can indeed be the "most wonderful time of the year" as we celebrate our blessings and acknowledge those who have had an impact on us. Peace to each of you this special season!

Mark Shanda

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail Mark at