NYIT Faculty Member To Be Honored At Communication Arts Gala

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For more than 35 years, Dr. Adrienne O’Brien has been a member of the NYIT faculty as a professor of Communication Arts. Earlier this year, O’Brien announced her retirement after a successful career in many capacities. She will be honored at this year’s Communication Arts Xtreme Gala on May 11th for her career at NYIT which was very successful. Many of the current NYIT students in the Communication Arts program know her as the professor they had for COMM 101, but there’s more than just this course about the career of Dr. O’Brien.

Dr. O’Brien came to NYIT 35 years ago to head a new Master of Arts program. For more than a decade she served as the first Dean of NYIT’s School of Media and Arts which besides Communication Arts, also included Fine Arts, an accredited Interior Design program and the Education Department. Her leadership brought new degree programs to the school, and emphasized scholarship and community service. She believes college students have a richer learning experience when it is related to the real world.”She’s a professional working woman with a gifted mind and an incredible work ethic,” says Associate Professor Robert Sherwin.

Among Dr. O’Brien’s many achievements was the creation of the B.S. degree program in Advertising which was originally based at NYIT’s Central Islip campus, and now offered as part of the Communication Arts Department at NYIT’s Old Westbury and Manhattan campuses. Among the degree’s innovate features was its Agency Workshop capstone class. This became a student run advertising and public relations agency known as “The Carleton Group” which started in 1990. It is now one of the longest running agencies of its kind at any college or university in the United States. This student agency is offered every semester through the Communication Arts Department on the Old Westbury campus.

Dr. O’Brien is a Hunter College graduate with a degree in history and later completed two Master degrees in political science and educational administration. Both of these degrees came at Villanova University. Her most recent accomplishment is a 2010 Telly Award for writing, producing and editing a seven minute mini-biopic on her husband Dr. David Salten, “The Man Behind the Hall.”  Salten died in 2006 and from 1969 to 1990, Dr. Salten served as executive vice president and provost at NYIT. He was instrumental in expanding the school campuses both in New York City and on Long Island to accommodate the growth of the institution. The building “Salten Hall” located at the academic quad is named after Dr. David Salten. This winning video introduces the former NYIT VP and Provost to another generation of students at the annual Xtreme Gala, which is an event to reward creativity that both he and Dr. O’Brien, his widow, sponsor through the school’s Creativity Fund.”What a great way to make an exit, being honored by students who are celebrating creativity,” says O’Brien.

Dr. O’Brien received an NDEA award while pursuing doctoral work at the University of Southern California and completed her Ph.D. at Syracuse University. She also served three terms on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County board of directors and she accepted the Girl Scout’s highest award – The Juiliette Low Award of Distinction–three years ago. She also served more than 14 years as VP and on the board of Women on the Job and is currently on the advisory committee of The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. Local groups have honored her including NYIT’s Patrons of the Arts and the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, who presented Dr. O’Brien with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Long Island Business News also named Dr. O’Brien as one of its Top 50 Long Island Women twice in the last ten years.

Many of her colleagues in the Communications department credit O’Brien for where they are in their career today and many of these faculty members were hired by her. “Dr. O’Brien hired me, she always challenged my thoughts and my goals for the department and kept me thinking about the future,” says Associate Professor Jim Fauvell, “If it was not for her, I would not be here at NYIT.”

“I have known Dr. O’Brien  since 1974 when I started as an adjunct professor in the Communication Arts department and in 1984, as dean, she hired me as a staff member,” says Associate Professor Dr. Anthony F. Piazza. “I consider Dr. O’Brien to be my friend and mentor; she contributed to the halls of higher education with her intelligence, creativity and her sincere desire to improve the outcomes of a college education. I will miss her sharp mind, business acumen and enthusiasm she has for higher education,” Piazza also added.

Dr. O’Brien has touched the lives of many by her sharp mind and dedication to the NYIT community and with her creativity in the media. All of these things plus more will be mentioned in her honoring on May 11th at this year Communication Arts Xtreme Gala.

 

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NYIT Faculty Member To Be Honored At Communication Arts Gala