It started out, like with any relationship, as a transactional one, said John Garmendi, manager of strategic business development at Sony’s Professional Solutions of America in Park Ridge.
After having supplied projectors, cameras and other equipment to the school for a long time, the school asked the company about a potential partnership.
“We realized that Dr. (Susan) Cole’s vision for the university, along with (Daniel Gurskis’) vision for the school, was one we knew would allow us to have a partnership that would be meaningful to both parties and for us to provide school with technology on par with any broadcast network,” Garmendi told ROI-NJ before a ribbon-cutting at the university Tuesday.
Gurskis, the dean of the university’s College of the Arts, said that, as higher education becomes more dependent on technology and active learning, the university must adapt to those changes that foster collaboration across the spectrum of educators and students.
“The days of a college professor standing at the head of the classroom and speaking at students are dwindling,” he said.
At the ribbon-cutting for the new School of Communications and Media building Tuesday, university President Cole, Gurskis and Keith Strudler, new director of the school, were joined by Sony Professional Solutions Americas President Katsonuri Yamanouchi, school leaders and state politicians and business leaders.
Yamanouchi said the company is proud to play a key role in the innovative educational strategy Montclair is using.
“Sony is really proud to play a key role in these efforts. Our technology product and knowledge of media industry helps create … active learning solutions,” he said. “This building has often been described as being beyond state-of-the-art. This learning space demonstrates our shared commitment to educational excellence and technology innovation. I believe it is just beginning.”
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Giblin (D-Clifton) were in attendance.
“After your education here, and after being privileged to have this kind of facility, you are going to go out and, I know, change our world for the better,” Weinberg told students assembled at the event.
She also pitched her bill on film tax credits, which “will also contain a partnership with a public university in that bill — not that I want to put in a plug that I might be standing in the right place for that partnership, but I am. And, with Sony’s help, we are going to get that bill passed and signed by the next governor of New Jersey.”
Garmendi said the partnership with the school is also beneficial for the company.
“The school is allowing us to bring forth products that are not yet ready for prime time. The vision going forward is to support the school and university with respect to the School of Communication. We intend to partner with school, and, (in return), the school will make facilities available for training for our customers, product launches, announcements and so on.”