Monday, June 4, NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Gamma Chapter of Gamma Epsilon Tau, the international graphic arts honor society, presented Gamma Gold Key awards to Hoag Levins (Advertising Age) and Thomas Saggiomo (Agfa Corp.) at a ceremony last Friday (June 1).
Inaugurated in 1956, the annual Gamma Gold Key Awards salute exceptional achievement on behalf of industry education and professional development. The Gamma Chapter of Gamma Epsilon Tau is chartered at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT), a branch of City University of New York.
Levins, executive producer of AdAge.com, was cited for his involvement in an Advertising Age editorial campaign to increase diversity in the hiring practices of New York City advertising agencies. Saggiomo, president of Agfa’s graphic systems business in North America, received the award in recognition of his leadership as chairman of NPES and in many other management and executive positions during his 30-year career in the graphic arts industry.
Joel Mason, chair of NYCCT’s Department of Advertising Design and Graphic Arts (ADGA), praised both recipients for their ability to “look around the bend” at emerging trends that are reshaping the industry and creating new opportunities for students seeking to enter it.
Don Carli, senior research fellow at the Institute of Sustainable Communications and an adjunct member of the ADGA faculty, introduced Levins as an “ardent advocate” of NYCCT who led an editorial effort at Advertising Age to spotlight the advertising industry’s failure to hire significant numbers of people of color. Levins, who said the industry had been a “last bastion” of hiring limitations of this kind, told the gathering that the campaign prompted New York City’s Human Rights Commission to pressure the industry for change. As a result, said Levins, agencies now are competing with each other to recruit in ways that reflect the ethnic diversity of the metro area.
Saggiomo was introduced by another ADGA adjunct faculty member, Annette Wolf Bensen, who noted that his many voluntary efforts in support of industry education include serving on the board of directors of the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF). Saggiomo described himself as a 1970 graduate of Voorhees Technical Institute, a New York City trade school later absorbed by NYCCT. He said his training there inspired a lifelong commitment to education that is not as widely shared as he would like it to be.
“We have a problem in this country,” Saggiomo declared. “We do not fully appreciate the role of education in our society.” It is particularly wrong to undervalue the work of teachers, he said, because “teachers reach out and touch everyone.”
The award ceremony also featured the installation of Gamma Chapter officers. The society includes students and alumni of ADGA, a 61-year-old institution that offers two- and four-year degrees in design and production management. With an enrollment of 1,200 students, the department is the largest learning center of its kind in the New York metro area.
Many ADGA graduates have gone on to achieve senior management positions in ad agencies, printing firms, and other media businesses throughout the metro area. “We are producing people who work,” said Lloyd Carr, program director. “We are providing content creators with a knowledge base and a skill set that will enable them to work with the content producers.”
Dr. Russell Hotzler, president of NYCCT, saluted graduating ADGA students and others who will receive their diplomas tomorrow (June 5) and pledged that the college will continue to work with employers to create career opportunities. “We are only relevant if we are relevant to the industry,” he said.