By: David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

July is another one of those “start of the year” moments at USITT. We have a few. July is the start of our financial year, January is the start of our calendar year, and March is the start of the year in the sense that people do tend to think of things from Annual Conference to Annual Conference.

In this coming year, we have lots of things coming round. From the fiscal year point of view, we are in the middle of our Setting the Next Stage fundraising campaign. Through the generosity of our donors, we are well on our way to the goal of $600,000 to shore up some of the programming and activities at USITT. For example, during this campaign, we have been able to rescue the Undergraduate Scene Design Award through the generous gift of Richard Hay. Instead of almost going away, that award will now exist for years to come.

The calendar year brings us to 2020, which represents the 60th Anniversary of our Institute. As I’ve been working with others to celebrate that milestone, I’ve been reading the words from our founders and looking at the Institute that they created and we now care for. It was filled with symposia and learning opportunities throughout the year. That’s what we are coming back to. The Digital Media Symposium in September will bring together professionals on the cutting edge of this segment of our industry. That’s just what our founders worked to do and I’m excited that we can honor their vision by continuing it.

Finally, the Conference year that culminates with our 60th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Houston will be the result of the work of dedicated volunteers and staff to bring together some of the best education and learning opportunities along with exhibitors for networking. The Houston team is preparing labs and hands-on experiences along with some incredible speakers. The main hotel is connected to the convention center so there is a seamless flow of networking opportunities.

The coming year will give us a chance to celebrate and learn, network and collaborate, and research and share. These were some of the goals of the Institute in its first 10 years and are why we are vibrant today. Please be sure to keep reading Sightlines and the information you get from USITT. It will be a way to continue to open doors for the coming year.