Lorrie Frear is an associate professor teaching various courses in the B.F.A. program in Graphic Design at RIT. Throughout her teaching career, Lorrie has worked with and for many departments to create innovative and challenging collaborative learning experiences for students.

What brought you to Rochester Institute of Technology?

This is kind of a long story…. I always knew that I wanted to teach at some point. I moved from San Francisco to Buffalo in 1998, and began teaching at Villa Maria College at night. (I worked as a designer during the day) I really enjoyed teaching. One day, I received a phone call from the chair of the Graphic Design department at RIT, asking if I would like to serve as a sabbatical replacement for one quarter, spring 1990. I said yes, and I then served as an extended part time instructor for the next 14 years. I then became a Visiting Assistant Professor for one year, became tenure track, and finally was tenured in 2011.

What is your role within your department?

I consider myself a bridge between Graphic Design and other departments within the School of Design, CIAS, the Institute and beyond. I love collaboration and teach many interdisciplinary courses, including packaging design and editorial design. I also enjoy working with the Graphic Design faculty formally and informally on our courses.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, please briefly describe:

The general topics covered in my research interests include interdisciplinary collaborative learning experiences, typography, calligraphy, contemporary lettering, and how designers can make it easier for children to learn to read. I am also passionate about design for social change.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Working with students is the reason for what I do. Everything I do is for the benefit of my students.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

I am not a political person or a terribly diplomatic person, so for me, meetings and administrative duties are the most challenging parts of the job.

How do you like to spend your time outside of RIT?

I am passionate about fitness and wellness, so some of my time is spent outdoors or at the RIT gym. I also enjoy traveling and doing lettering for clients and colleagues.

What advice do you have for current or prospective students?

I think the best advice I could give a prospective student is to select a school where you feel you will feel at home, and where you will take advantage of every opportunity to grow as a designer and as a person. For a current student, I would suggest taking the widest selection of classes you can so you are a well-rounded visual problem-solver. Try to embrace what is offered by every instructor and just soak up information! Join a club, get out and meet people and take care of yourself while working as hard as you can throughout the experience.

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