Farewell Fionna, Welcome Jonathan

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Farewell Fionna, Welcome Jonathan

In a bittersweet gathering, Whitecliffe bid fare well to Fionna Scott-Milligan, a longtime veteran of Whitecliffe as she departed to pursue new opportunities. We have no doubt she will go from strength to strength and look forward to the next stage of our relationship even as we begin a search for a new Dean.

In the meantime, we are fortunate and pleased to welcome Jonathan Block back to Whitecliffe as Interim Dean. Jonathan’s relationship to Whitecliffe dates to 1992 when he joined us as Dean of Faculty, charged with responsibility for gaining NZQA approval and accreditation to offer the BFA degree. His ‘fingerprints’ can be found throughout Whitecliffe today – from the basic design of the BFA and MFA degrees, to the two-semester calendar and the Heath Robinson device that we still use to build our timetables.

Jonathan came to us with training in Industrial Design, Glassblowing and Sculpture; 20 years of tertiary teaching experience; and author of two textbooks on Foundation Design.

He returned to the US in 1999 to set up US operations for New Zealand’s world leading 3D software company, Right Hemisphere and went on from there to a successful career in financial planning and asset management.

“I can’t begin to describe how impressed I am by the achievements of Whitecliffe, its staff and its students in the years since I left. In 1999, we had aspirations. Today Whitecliffe is truly world class. I’d love to take credit, but beyond designing some of the programmes, all I did was hire exceptional staff. It’s their loyalty to the institution and its students coupled with Michele’s commitment to realising the vision she shared with Greg Whitecliffe that has brought Whitecliffe to its current level. I’m looking forward to renewing old acquaintances and getting to know our current staff and students.”

*If you’re curious, Jonathan has public profiles at

Couchsurfing: www.couchsurfing.org/people/dayeinu and

Linked-In: linkedin.com/in/jonathanblock

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