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Past President and USITT Fellow Richard Arnold, far left, presented the special USITT Golden Anniversary Award to Dr. Joel E. Rubin, also a Past President and Fellow. Dr. Rubin received the award after presenting the 2010 Fellows Address.

Photo/Richard Finkelstein

Dr. Joel E. Rubin Honored

Introduction to Dr. Joel E. Rubin’s USITT Fellows Address

Randy Earle
Chair, USITT Fellows and
USITT Past President

The Fellows of USITT are proud to have Dr. Joel E. Rubin present this year's address on the special occasion of the Institute's 50th anniversary. Joel was among the individuals who founded USITT in 1960. If you haven't read Joel's article, My Nominations for Godmother and Godfather of USITT in the current issue of TD&T, it's your homework assignment after this address and spells out in more detail than I have time available the genesis of our remarkable organization.

Joel was our second President from 1963 to 1965 serving during a time of many challenges and uncertainty. In addition to his USITT service, he was one of seven founding members of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) where he served eight years as president. Joel is also a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, a Fellow of the American Educational Theatre Association, and a lifetime member of USITT where our highest award for service is named in his honor, the Joel E. Rubin Founders Award.

My first stage lighting text, after McCandless, was Theatrical Lighting Practice, co-authored by Joel and Lee Watson. After receiving his doctoral degree from Stanford University, Joel began a long professional career at Kliegl Brothers Stage Lighting where he served for over 20 years as executive vice president and guided development of much of the entertainment lighting technology we continue to use today.

My introduction to Joel was on the stage of the San Francisco Opera House, in the early 1970s, where he introduced one of the first major memory lighting control consoles. I remember asking Joel about the projected cost which seemed prohibitive at the time. He then said relax, in time cost will come down and even a poor college theatre will be able to afford a memory system. He must have been very effective as I bought my first Kliegl SCR dimming system a few years after, although I must admit it had a five-scene preset.

Subsequent to Kliegl, Joel became a managing director and principal consultant for ARTEC Consultants and later founded his own firm, Joel E. Rubin and Associates where he is principal consultant providing services in theatre facility and equipment planning. Current projects include design of production lighting systems for a number of international clients plus others in the United States. It's a long list that reflects his continued reputation as a world leader in the fields of theatre and lighting equipment design.

One of Joel's most recent honors is to receive the 2009 Wally Award named in honor of his friend, Wally Russell, with whom he worked very closely in the Institute. Joel is joined by his wife Lucille and other family members this evening, and I would ask that they stand for recognition at this time.

May I now ask Joel to come up to present his address "USITT: How It Began Two Generations Ago and Who Made It."

Remarks Made for the Presentation of the Award.

Richard Arnold
USITT Fellow and Past President

Thirty years ago this very month, the 20th USITT Conference was held just a few miles from here in Overland Park, Kansas. At that Conference I had the great privilege of presenting the USITT Award to a giant in our field, to Theodore Fuchs.

I thought my opportunity at presenting such a distinguished award would never be equaled or surpassed.

Well, here I am again before you, 30 years later, presenting an even more impressive award and to a giant of giants in the Institute. This award is the USITT Golden Anniversary Award, a unique award honoring this most special occasion in the history of the Institute, and the recipient of the award is Dr. Joel E. Rubin.

It is very difficult to summarize the enormous achievements of this man. He is the Washington Monument of the Institute. In the words of a noted wordsmith, his service to the Institute has been a veritable plethora of stimulatory brilliance. So, I am pleased to read to you the citation on this award.

On the event of its fiftieth anniversary, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology hereby recognizes founding member Dr. Joel E. Rubin for his visionary leadership, stalwart support, wisdom and passion that have contributed so greatly to the success of the Institute today. Dr. Rubin's service as the Institute's second President inspired his successors to continue the growth and development he began. Over the past fifty years, he has continued critically and thoughtfully to challenge the Institute, in International Liaison and PQ Design Exhibitions, Finance and Awards Committees and Board memberships, toward a future that honors past accomplishments with a vision of even greater success.

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