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For the Record

Ming Cho Lee discusses a design idea during the 2005 Conference. His work is the subject of the second in USITT's Monograph Series, to be published in 2006.

Photo/Tom Thatcher

by John S. Uthoff
USITT President


Happy Holidays, USITT!

As I sit to write this month's column, the holiday season is rapidly approaching. My last production just closed, and I still have one week of classes. Final exams are next week, so the students will soon depart. Other than taking a big breath and hoping to survive this last flurry of activity, there has been time to reflect on all the wonderful events that have happened in USITT this last year.

The credit for all this goes to all the members of USITT for creating and participating in the activities of the Institute. Without this willingness to share talents, ideas, and financial resources, there would be no way this wonderful organization could exist.

Let's look at just a few of the things that have happened over the last year. At the last Board of Directors meeting, USITT welcomed its newest Regional Section - the Intermountain Desert Section - providing programming and activities in Nevada and Utah. This gives us more Regional Sections than at any time in our history. All of the sections busily schedule programming and activities between the National Annual Conferences and allow members in specific parts of North America to share ideas and fellowship during the year. We also have many student chapters that help serve our student members on a much more personal level than we can at the Conference. Both Sections and Chapters are important to the overall USITT experience, and your work makes these activities possible.

Last year at the Toronto Conference, USITT Treasurer, Larry Hill announced a new campaign with a goal "Honoring Our Past/Securing Our Future." This will allow USITT to reliably fund its awards and special projects, offer better grants and fellowships, and improve publications. So far, you, the members of USITT have responded wonderfully, and the Institute has raised more funds than for any similar time in its history. Several of the YD&T Awards have been fully funded, and a new award, the Rising Star sponsored by Live Design, is also fully funded. New awards are being created and funded for underserved parts of our industry, and we hope to have several by our 50th anniversary.

During this last year, we also saw several exciting projects come to fruition. The most notable events were World Stage Design and the OISTAT World Congress. However, there also was a USITT tour of Greece, a study tour to Southeast Asia, a Costume Symposium, the appearance of the first in the USITT Monograph Series which featured Willa Kim, book signings by USITT authors, participation in the creation of ETCP and the successful administration of the first rigging skills tests, continued work with industry standards, and the largest Stage Expo in our history.

In addition, several projects are moving closer. These include our Prague Quadrennial Exhibit in 2007, the next Costume Symposium, the USITT Monograph about Ming Cho Lee, the 2006 Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, and a book about 50 years of USITT. All these projects happen because of your support and time.

USITT has been and continues to be blessed by the energy, resources, and ideas of all its members. This all happens because the Contributing, Sustaining, Professional, Organizational, Senior, Individual, and Student members work together. All of you are the major resource of USITT, and I have been thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you and the leadership of USITT for these last 12 years.

May you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

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The CN Tower is highlighted behind Cuban guests Maria Luisa Figueredo and Jose Antonio Prades Hung for the OISTAT World Congress hosted by USITT and CITT in Toronto in March 2005.

Photo/R. Finkelstein