11 October 2019
1:00PM — Cowgill 300

Jason Cusack

IDS Thought Leaders Series

“The LONG VERSION More? Well, I started on this path round about the time I entered high school. I was very quiet and wore glasses, and not in a good way. Then I did two things that changed everything: I joined the track team and I made my first knife. Eventually I got pretty good at both of those things—my times secured me a walk-on spot with Virginia Tech’s track team, and long hours spent hacking away at bits of metal and wood gave me something to study. Things really couldn’t have turned out better. In four years I grew from a scrubby high school runner into an ACC champion in the steeplechase (on UVA’s home turf no less), was a member of four ACC championship teams (including three on our home turf and *ahem* one on UVA’s), and somehow—thanks to my incredible faculty—came out the other side with a piece of paper from one of the best design schools in the country. Now, after three grueling, fruitless, and utterly gratifying years as a semi-professional track runner I get to return to my alma mater (I never left) and impart the skills I’ve acquired on a fresh crop of budding designers (I’m also supposed to get another piece of paper out of the deal). Oh, and my old coaches are also still letting me come to practice—maybe as an example of what happens when you stop running, and maybe just to drive a van, but so far it’s been a blast. Actually, it’s always been a blast, and I always intend it to be.”