Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez started as President knowing only the Cabinet & Furniture Making program, but over the years he has come to appreciate what a diverse community North Bennet Street School is. In the process he’s noticed that each program has its own personality and contributes in its own way to the extraordinary mix that makes this school so great.
Miguel shared this as part of his 2018 Commencement speech.
I have had the privilege to get to know all of you, and not just this graduating class but a dozen graduating classes. Over the years I have come to appreciate what a diverse community that we have the privilege to be a part of. In the process I have noticed that each program has its own personality and contributes in its own way to the extraordinary mix that makes our School so great.
The Locksmiths are problem solvers. You love puzzles. You have a sense of purpose, because you provide security. Your work is needed. The rest of us wish we were as needed.
The Jewelers are focused and exacting, working on a scale that requires magnification. You work with expensive materials, often at the edge of disaster. I know it is stressful, I have seen it, and I think that yours is the most intense program we have. You, perhaps more than the rest of us, have had to learn patience.
Carpenters are high energy and action oriented. You are gregarious, you are team players. You are the only ones who leave here with the confidence that you can actually put a roof over your head.
Furniture Makers, on the other hand, prefer to work alone. You are more artsy than most of us, but meticulous in your attention to detail—spending vast amounts of time on interior details that no one will ever see, because it is the right thing to do.
As for Piano Technicians, no one will see your good work either, but they will hear it. You are the kind and caring people here. You work behind the scenes. You work hard to make it possible for someone else to look good.
Preservation Carpenters are our historians, our academics. You love research and investigation and documentation. You are more laid back than many of us, but just as serious. You look out for our future by taking care of our past.
Bookbinders are academics as well, and also concerned with our cultural history, but I think, more cerebral. The world that engages you is the world of printing and the printed word. That must be the reason you seem to have more tattoos than the rest of us. You are a quirky group and proud of it.
Violin Makers are perfectionists. You are probably the most confident of all of us. I think you are the School’s rebels because you seem to need to challenge authority. You don’t want to accept the constraints that other people play by, but you are willing to impose upon your selves the most exacting standards possible.
This article is part of the Summer 2018 issue of Benchmarks magazine. Read more of Miguel’s Letter from the President here, outlining lessons he’s learned in his tenure. You can also see more Benchmarks stories here or download a pdf of the entire issue.