President Brown Welcomes New Students

To kick off New Student Orientation, President Joyce F. Brown welcomed FIT’s newest class of innovators, creators, and leaders. Her remarks, which can be seen below, challenged students to explore their new environment, make everlasting memories, and uphold the values of good citizenship. 

On behalf of everyone in the FIT family—and that does include everyone: faculty, administration, staff and our thousands of continuing students—let me welcome you to the Fashion Institute of Technology.

I want to welcome you not only to FIT but to orientation. It is a pleasure to have the entire entering class together in one room. We wanted to gather all of you here so that you could get to know as many of your classmates as possible—and not just the ones you will see daily in your programs or in your residential halls.  From the start, we wanted you to feel that you are welcome members of the entire FIT community and that you can be active in a wide spectrum of activities.

This is a day of great excitement for us, as well as for you. Having been president of FIT for many years, I know what kind of journey you are starting today, as well as what a jolt of new talent, new energy and new ideas you bring to FIT. I spent some time earlier this morning at a convocation for faculty—the professors you will meet in your classrooms, studios and labs—and they are as eager as you are to get started.  As one professor told me, “I am teaching my own future colleagues.”

Now some of you may wonder whether you will be able to live up to these high expectations. The answer to that question is absolutely  “yes.”  You belong here.  You would not be here today, right now, sitting in those seats, if you were not academically qualified; brave enough to test yourselves in one of the greatest, most competitive cities in the world; and above all else: talented.

You see, at FIT, talent is a basic student requirement.  It expresses itself in many different ways and in every discipline FIT offers:  in our business classes as well as in our art and design classes.   And we are very good at recognizing it. We accepted you as students because of your potential and because we know you can excel in FIT’s special environment.

Part of that environment, of course, is our location in the center of New York City.  We are surrounded by the city’s commerce, its cultural treasures, its dazzling shops and restaurants, its iconic landmarks, its buzz.  Equally important, we are closely linked with New York’s diverse business community.

You will find that many of your professors are professionals who have carved out successful careers here in New York.  FIT is a very important resource for them and their colleagues, and that makes you a part of a vital New York connection.

I hope you will take advantage of every opportunity that New York offers. Whether you are a “new” New Yorker or a lifetime city resident, you will find studying here in the heart of the city exhilarating, challenging, and never ever dull.

But in order for you to use all of the opportunities you are offered, in order for you to really succeed in your time with us, you must focus on your work.  We want you to be active learners, aggressive participants in your own education.  Ask questions, listen closely and thoughtfully, especially to the ideas of others.  We want you to be open-minded and curious. We want you to experiment, innovate, take risks, break boundaries, collaborate with your classmates and professors.  We want you to leave FIT excited about what you have learned and eager to always learn more.

We also want you to learn to be good citizens: citizens of the FIT community, citizens of New York City, of the country, and indeed, citizens of the world. You happen to be coming of age in a world filled with fear and distrust, war, terrorism and bias—not to mention cultural misunderstanding and anxiety. That is quite a challenge, not just for your generation, but for all of us. We want to help you learn to navigate this difficult terrain and come to understand people and cultures unlike your own. This will be important to you not only personally, but also professionally. One pathway will be the liberal arts courses we offer and the array of fascinating minors available—many of which illuminate these very issues. You will find at FIT values such as tolerance, inclusion, compassion, civility are perhaps our most highly regarded.  These are the building blocks of good citizenship. We encourage you to participate in all of the extracurricular activities you will learn about during orientation, including student government, which offers you a real voice in the life you live as a student at FIT.

I hope you have an exciting and productive first year, and I look forward with great pride to watching your progress at FIT.