Mike Fink


I came to RISD in 1957 out of Yale with an AMT from Harvard as a Brown graduate student. The English department had an established curriculum of freshman and sophomore requirements in American Literature, World Literature and Freshman Composition.  As electives replaced those courses general to all area faculty, I taught a course on the new diverse voices of minorities.  That option grew into my Jewish Narrative.  The RISD Film Society turned into my Hollywood History class, and eventually my Freshman sections metamorphosed into my Journalism workshop.  My art form seems to be the newspaper column as a genre of classical essay and memoir mixed with reviews and interviews, and I publish a wide range of such pieces in local, national, and international magazines.  In cooperation with the FAV area and in particular in partnership with Professor Peter O’Neill I have produced and directed, or participated in, several documentary films, most notably Here We Live Again, a study of Holocaust Survivors who came to work and build families in Rhode Island.  That project was funded by RICH and the Rhode Island Foundation.  We also, with Professor Merlin Szasz, created a video portrait of my uncle/cousin Herbert L. Fink, who first brought me to RISD (where he had studied  and was teaching) for the collection in the RISD library, which also houses a movie collection  dedicated to me by my college friend, Joel Freedman. These are a few of the highlights I can measure and underscore from my half century and more at Rhode Island School of Design, a blessed place of promise and fulfillment, of dream and reality.