Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding a Sense of Place is the third of a trilogy of documentaries about the unique history of Johnson & Wales University by filmmaker Marian Gagnon. WSBE Rhode Island PBS is proud to present all three films in February. Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding a Sense of Place debuts on Sunday, February 20 at 9:30 p.m., and as part of the ongoing WSBE series, Rhode Island Stories, airs on Saturday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. (re-broadcast Sunday, February 27 at 11:30 p.m.)
Under Dr. Yena's tenure, the university formally established the College of Business, the Hospitality College, the College of Culinary Arts and the School of Technology. A new emphasis on general studies was introduced in 1992 with the development of the School of Arts & Sciences. During the Yena years, Johnson & Wales expanded and realigned some its two-year programs of study, introducing new four-year degrees.
Johnson & Wales expanded geographically as well as academically. Yena took the institution's name recognition and its reputation as a career university to an international level. Yena also led the charge to establish campuses in North Miami, Denver, and Charlotte, giving Johnson and Wales University a "sense of place" for the first time since its founding.
The first documentary, HERstory: The Founding Mothers of Johnson & Wales University, describes the revolutionary spirit and devotion to women's business education of Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales, founders of what later became Johnson & Wales University. The film was nominated for a New England Emmy in 2005. WSBE Rhode Island PBS airs the documentary during Rhode Island Stories on Saturday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m.
A former journalist, filmmaker Marian Gagnon is a Johnson & Wales University Arts and Sciences faculty member. She wrote, directed, and produced the documentaries, and established her own independent film company, Goodnight Irene Productions.