In Kansas City, on the closing day of the 2010 Annual Conference & Stage Expo, I symbolically handed the gavel of office to Joe Aldridge, who will become our organization's 25th president on July 1.
The words I used on that occasion bear repeating: "With a new Executive Director in the wings and the Board of Directors' exciting strategic plans in place, the membership has chosen you to usher USITT into its second half century and assure for the next generation that USITT is vital, visible, sustainable, marketable, and innovative in 21st century style."
At the same time, to assist in dealing with all of the "hot issues" that he will face during the next two years, I handed him a large bunch of chili peppers, one of Joe's favorite spices, along with my best wishes and congratulations.
We have much to celebrate in 2010. We are moving toward goals that were developed by USITT members in response to recent internal and professional external organizational assessments, to meet the needs of USITT members in the next half century.
Our new Executive Director is working with our volunteer leadership and professional staff to achieve even more of the ambitious goals which we set for ourselves and each other.
Our Board of Directors is reviewing existing policies and procedures, and updating as necessary, to guide us through the coming decades.
In addition, to support for a number of ongoing Commission projects, the Board of Directors approved funding to support two projects brought forward by the Grants & Fellowship Committee which are described here.
At the same time, USITT is supporting and funding participation in the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space where our National, Student, and Architectural exhibits will join a broad spectrum of contemporary performance design disciplines and genres.
Our international colleagues, so many of whom were on hand in Kansas City to wish us well, are a valuable part of our collaborative efforts.
All of our momentum in these and many other areas is driven by the membership – student, individual, senior, professional, supporting, sustaining, and contributing.
Thank you all for making USITT a dynamic, forward thinking, and collaborative Institute. The ideas and support of you, our members, have made us vibrant and will continue to be the driving force as we move into the future.
USITT Presidents, past, present, and future, line up to pass the gavel of office starting with Dr. Joel E. Rubin who held office in 1963-1965, far right, Dr. Richard Arnold, Randy Earle, Richard Devin, Sarah Nash Gates, Richard Durst, Christine Kaiser, Bruce Brockman, John S. Uthoff, Sylvia Hillyard Pannell, leading to Carl Lefko, current USITT President, and Joe Aldridge, who will take office on July 1.
The gavel passing took place at the conclusion of the 2010 Fellows Address in Kansas City, Missouri.