Sunday, September 18, 2011
The Park School of Communications radiates creativity, enthusiasm, energy, a sense of social responsibility, and a passion for innovation. It's not by chance. Those qualities were among the many important character traits of the founding dean, John Keshishoglou. Dr. Kesh, as most of us called him, passed away on August 24 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Kesh took a few boxes full of equipment and a fledgling TV-radio curriculum and transformed it into the School of Communications in the mid-70s; he also established the Instructional Resource Center at the college. An accomplished producer himself, he taught film and photography and produced instructional and documentary films around the world, including one about the monks at Mount Athos in his native Greece. Kesh built up the faculty and the curriculum and was instrumental in bringing Rod Serling to campus as a regular visiting instructor. And I'm not sure how he made time to do this, but he completed dozens of multi-week consulting and teaching trips to Singapore, India, Nepal, and the Middle East. Recognizing the power of the media to improve education, he was instrumental in setting up government broadcasting capabilities for clients such as the Sultan of Brunei.
To honor his legacy, we've launched the John Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation at the Park School; this center will run an annual Media for Social Change mini-course and competition, will provide funding for student and faculty research internationally, and will eventually house a global executive master's degree in communications innovation.
Throughout all the many changes in communications technologies and practices, Ithaca College's School of Communications will always stay true to its roots. Kesh's energy and vision is still with us.