Cristine Rom (GRS '80, American studies)
Degree: Master of Arts, American Studies
Graduation Year: 1980
Current occupation: Library Director, Cleveland Institute of Art
Brief description of current company/organization:
The Cleveland Institute of Art, founded in 1882, is a premier college of art and design, and for more than 125 years, it has been a national leader in arts education. It currently offers 19 majors in studio arts and design. The Institute provides a rigorous, studio-intensive visual arts education, supported by a strong art foundation and enriched through a comprehensive curriculum in visual arts, craft, design, integrated and digital media, and liberal arts. The curriculum is enhanced by a gallery, the Cinematheque film program, acclaimed continuing education courses, and an annual series of public programming. The Institute owns two buildings and leases a residence hall from Case Western Reserve University.
Company/organization website: www.cia.edu
What do you like most about your company/organization?
What I like most about the Cleveland Institute of Art is working with a diverse group of very creative faculty, students, and staff who are lively, dedicated to their craft, and eager to engage others through their art and design. While much of my professional life entails activities common to other academic library jobs, I have been given the opportunity to work directly with students on their projects, to participate in studio critiques, and be broadly involved in the activities of the Institute. A professional art college is so very different from my traditional liberal arts education, and this experience has challenged me and enriched my work life.
Awards + Achievements:
Phi Beta Kappa; Beta Phi Mu; Phi Alpha Theta; University of Wisconsin scholarship; National Honor Society scholarship; Cleveland institute of Art’s Medal for Excellence
Any advice for future CWRU alumni?
It is important to have goals and career plans, but life is seldom predictable or controllable, so one must always be ready for the unexpected and willing to go in a different direction. I had always intended to work in an academic library, but the opportunity to work in an art college was not what I had ever anticipated.
What does being a Case Western Reserve University alumna mean to you?
I am profoundly grateful for the American Studies program at CWRU which allowed me to design my studies around my interests in American culture, alternative publishing, and the arts and which also allowed me to do research at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Western Reserve Historical Society. I cannot imagine another university that could have offered such rich offerings for research.
As library director, I am pleased to have forged a formal arrangement with the university’s Kelvin Smith Library to share an online catalog and provide service to CIA and CWRU patrons. It is truly a win-win situation that brings value to both organizations and highlights the benefits of collaboration and the amazing richness of University Circle cultural and educational resources.
What did you do immediately after graduation?
I began working at the Cleveland Institute of Art as the Special Collections Librarian.
Where do you live and how do you like living there?
I live in Cleveland Heights, which I love. The commute to work and to University’s Circle’s rich cultural offerings is quick and simple. I can walk to many fine restaurants, a great public library, and the Shaker Lakes. I like the racial and economic diversity of Cleveland Heights and the architectural variety of the houses.