Jim Fugate

How did a summer job at Camp David after high school lead Industrial & Science Technology Instructor Jim Fugate to RIT/NTID? According to Fugate, it was his interaction with two “fascinating” deaf co-workers that led to his wanting more exposure to the deaf community. They suggested he attend a college with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and because Fugate, who is hard-of-hearing, was interested in architecture, he enrolled at RIT/NTID.

“This made perfect sense to me,” he says. “I got the best of both worlds — majoring in the technical program I was interested in and being with the community I wanted to associate with.”

After receiving his degree in Architectural Technology in 1987, Fugate worked for a Rochester architecture firm for 11 years. He trained himself on computeraided drafting (CAD) technology and grew into positions of increasing responsibility. During his last few years with the company, he had the opportunity to design facilities at RIT/NTID.

His ongoing relationship with RIT/NTID didn’t stop there. Fugate frequently presented at NTID’s annual Summer Vestibule Program, a two-week orientation for students to sample the programs offered at RIT/NTID.

When the Computer-Aided Drafting Technology (CADT) program was added to NTID’s Industrial & Science Technologies Department in 2000, Fugate was asked to teach in the new department.

“Coming from the corporate world to the academic environment has been challenging, but so rewarding,” says Fugate. “Before, I worked independently and with other professionals. My goal was to design a building to the right specifications. Now my goal is to work collaboratively with the students to motivate them and to prepare them for the workplace of the future, which is constantly changing.”

Fugate continued his education once he joined RIT/NTID, earning his master’s degree from RIT in Information Technology.

Outside of the classroom Fugate enjoys spending time with his wife and with the “joy of his life,” his 3-year-old son. Fugate also enjoys playing piano, reading, gardening and attending church.

“If I can connect with my students and help facilitate their preparation for a successful career, then my own career change will have been worth the effort,” says Fugate.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

More Success Stories

This St. Croix, Virgin Islands, native, who was born deaf, has worked at RIT/NTID since 2004 and enjoys the fast-paced nature of his position.
“I really love to put a smile on everyone’s face,” says this fourth-year Applied Arts and Science major.
Volunteering leads to opportunities, and no one knows that better than this RIT/NTID alumna.
A passion for science has helped forge a path of success for Canadian Tina Feng.
RIT has been a great fit, both inside and outside the classroom, for this fourth-year Environmental Science major.
This Information Technology major says of attending RIT, "This was my dream, and I am now living it."
It only took one quarter as an adjunct professor at RIT to convince Smith to pursue teaching full-time.
Aaron led a diversified career before settling in as program director for NTID's Performing Arts program.
This faculty member sees parallels with quilt making and teaching at RIT/NTID.
Raja Kushalnagar has visited a dozen countries, has five academic degrees from four universities, has worked in three states, has taught at RIT for two years and had one unforgettable mentor—his father.
Students call Davis “the most caring tutor I have ever had” and praise “her clear whiteboard drawings that demystify the most challenging physics problems.”
Siebert used her experience in the Information Technology program at RIT to prepare her for her career at IBM.
Jerry Nelson, SVP ’69, ’74, believes in taking on challenges and pushing limits, a talent he developed during his years at RIT/NTID.
A childhood love of "building things" prepared Stowbunenko well for his engineering major at RIT.
This biomedical science major accepted a co-op position at Columbia University, where he will perform biomedical research.
Advice from this Nigerian-born student: "Don’t give up on your goals and don’t fear to ask others if you need help."
Burton lives by his slogan, "Don't be Afraid to Dream".
Flanagan excels on the diamond and has plans to help others succeed as well.