We had the chance to interview Professor Bruce Leonard, who was hired this year as our latest Full-time Lecturer in the Industrial Design department.
Student: What is your position at RIT?
Bruce: I am completing my first full year as a Lecturer in the Industrial Design department. Before that I was an adjunct faculty member.
Student: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from originally and what did you study in college?
Bruce: I grew up outside Philadelphia in a small town in New Jersey. Moorestown was settled by Quakers in the early 1700s and remains a “dry” community even today. I am the oldest of four children and left home to attend Syracuse University and study industrial design under Arthur Pulos, FIDSA.
Student: Where did you work before coming to RIT?
Bruce: I worked in many places during my professional career- all in industrial design. I have experience working for the federal government where I designed office and institutional furniture. Arthur Pulos offered me a position at his Syracuse office to work on his client accounts which included Piper Aircraft, Disston and Dictaphone office equipment. An offer to join Harris Corporation followed in the late ’70s where I stayed for three years and finally landed at Eastman Kodak Company in 1980 where I remained for 32 years designing office equipment, medical products and several different types of cameras.
Student: What made you choose the path of becoming an academic?
Bruce: It probably started with my work as a design manager at Kodak where I was responsible for recruiting and managing some of our interns. I have always been impressed with their energy, speed and desire to learn.
Student: What has been your favorite part of teaching industrial design students?
Bruce: I am learning so much about the world of design as expressed by students and faculty alike. I gave up so much to be focused on singular product areas for so long.
Student: Are there any projects you are working on outside of school?
Bruce: I have participated for the last two years in the Syracuse University 360 program coaching 3rd year students to use Design Thinking on team projects to benefit a social cause in an upstate New York community. An ID management colleague of mine who has been my mentor has asked that I help him prepare a presentation of his career while at Xerox and other companies. We plan to show this at Syracuse University in the fall. I also play trombone in the Kodak Concert Band.
Student: If you could choose one experience from teaching in RIT that stands out so far, which would it be?
Bruce: I have treasured each and every opportunity and I have taught a wide variety of students from freshman to graduate students during my short tenure. The most gratifying so far has to be working on the T-Minus planning team and helping to mobilize the Industrial Design department to be successful with this amazing project. I am really looking forward to v2.0 and the new design challenge T-Minus will bring.