MCCC Laid Foundation for
Alum Michael Gronsky's Architecture Career

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Historic homes have always fascinated MCCC alumnus Michael Gronsky, Jr. The Victorian and colonial American houses that dotted his boyhood neighborhood in Clinton Township, N.J., were sources of great intrigue for the future architect.

"What added to the interest was that I thought some of them were haunted," recalls Gronsky. In grade school, he spent hours photographing and sketching the dwellings and, in his eighth grade yearbook, he identified architecture as his career goal.
Today, as a project architect for Fitzgerald Architecture Studio in High Bridge, N.J., Gronsky has made his dream a reality. With more than 20 years of experience in retail/commercial and residential design, he is the point person for a variety of residential and office renovation projects in north and central New Jersey. To his delight, some of his current work is in historic preservation.

Gronsky is responsible for drafting overall master plans, assembling the appropriate technical team, and following through on every step and detail of his projects. "I anticipate the needs of my clients and tailor approaches to meet their specifications. The process is challenging and exciting," he said. A current assignment is the renovation of Beaver Brook Homestead, a colonial era farmhouse located in Annandale, into a multi-use office and restaurant complex. Prior to his present position, he gained expertise as a project manager at Greenberg Farrow Architects in Somerset and at other small firms.

Gronsky praises Mercer for giving him a solid foundation in all aspects of the field. The North Hunterdon County native selected Mercer's program since it was one of the few community colleges in the region to offer an Architecture program at the time.

"I was nervous about keeping up with the architecture curriculum at a four-year university so I tested the waters at a two-year school first," Gronsky said. "In addition to gaining insight about mathematical concepts, I had the best hands-on learning experience at Mercer. The professors were great. They emphasized the art of proper drafting and made me think about what I designed and how to present my ideas. I received a lot of personal attention."

Gronsky recalls pearls of wisdom from Architecture Professor Marilyn Dietrich. "She told us, 'Some things won't mean much to you now, but they will later.' I understand what she means when I encounter issues involving different designs, materials and construction techniques."

After graduating from Mercer in 1983, Gronsky transferred to Penn State and earned his bachelor's degree in Architecture in 1986. He has continued to grow professionally, mastering computer-based AutoCad applications and mentoring college interns, who in turn, share their fresh perspectives and technical skills.

Gronsky remains passionate about early American history and historic preservation, even in his spare time. He serves as president of the Union Forge Heritage Association and Solitude House Museum, a non-profit organization in the Borough of High Bridge. He is currently leading the effort to restore the Solitude House and one of the borough's historic office buildings. In 2008, he received an award from the Hunterdon County Culture and Heritage Commission for excellence in historic preservation.

"I couldn't be happier with my career choice," Gronsky said. "I encourage all of today's students to pursue their interests. Your career will follow."

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