Justice joins ‘I’m First’ lecture series to talk career

Category:  News
Friday, October 11th, 2019 at 11:04 AM
Justice joins ‘I’m First’ lecture series to talk career by Amber Chisholm
Justice worked in teaching and administrative jobs, while she also wrote ‘The Future of Design: Global Product Innovation for a Complex World.’ | Photo: Amber Chisholm

Giving her third presentation in one week at Edinboro, Dr. Lorraine Justice, who earned her degree in painting from Edinboro University in 1977, discussed the trajectory of her career and answered questions in Alexander Hall on Friday. This also served as the second part of the “I’m First” series, which celebrates the accomplishments of first-generation students and similar alumni

She was first introduced by Allison Flynn, director of regional development at EU, who described Justice’s credentials.

“She’s an internationally recognized designer, author, speaker, consultant and professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology, which is where I earned my undergrad,” said Flynn.

The first part of Justice’s speech, titled “Factories to Faculties,” discussed her experiences before and after high school and how they led to where she is today.

Justice is from a Sicilian-American family in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, in which it was believed that women should only leave home to get married. Despite this, she’d enroll at Edinboro in 1973 with only $200 in her pocket.

“My years here were just so much fun but a lot of pain,” she said, reflecting on paying her way through school and awkward family relations due to her decision.

She took on several jobs, including at the campus admissions office, a steel mill that is no longer in operation and even a Tastykake factory.
While difficult, working at the steel mill provided her everything she needed for school and her main thought throughout the tough situation was: “I have to do this. I have to get an education.”

She chose Edinboro because of its reputable art program, yet her original plans focused more on being an artist than an educator.
“In fact, I got here and I said, ‘I’m never going into art education. No way am I gonna be a teacher,’” explained Justice.

The results were not only in the education field, but also working various administrative positions at educational institutes like Ohio State University, Georgia Tech and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“I also wonder if Edinboro had something to do with that,” she said.

During this time, she was also asked what her art style was, something she rarely thought about until she met her husband after Edinboro. He held a career in design that she eventually switched to.

This change has dramatically affected her life ever since.

“I had the most amazing life once I got into design. I became a professor, I started design research, I got to travel all over the world, I met the most amazing people and I still do,” said Justice.

She has delivered several TED Talks. One was about the art and design trends in China, while another concerned learning another language.
In this time, she’s also met people such as Zaha Hadid, Luciano Benetton (an Italian businessman and co-founder of Benetton Group), Thich Nhat Hanh and Bill Gates.

Her latest book, “The Future of Design: Global Product Innovation for a Complex World,” reflects on the fast movement of the design field due to cultural and governmental shifts, along with technology. On the latter, she referred to technology as, “just another tool in our bag of, you know, ‘What do we want to create? How do we want to create it? What tools will we use?’”

Justice also revealed two lessons she’s learned along the way:

1. Never give up. “Just keep going. We’re the ones stopping ourselves in most cases,” she said.

2.) There is no such thing as perfection, as in: “Sometimes you have to stop. Stop revising, stop recreating, stop doing any finishing and just stop.”

The importance of knowing one’s thoughts in order to combat negativity was also stressed, as this helped her to develop both self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, she believes both her personal and professional struggles have helped her get to where she is now.

She is also glad to have attended Edinboro. “I look back and say, ‘I’m so lucky I didn’t go to another school,’ [and] that this was the school that I went to because it really helped me start out and pick and choose where I can go.”

She concluded with: “Edinboro is a great place. You get a good education here and it can take you anywhere you wanna go.” Justice also presented “The Future of Design” on Thursday, Oct. 3 in Frank G. Pogue Student Center.

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