Rochester Institute of Technology

"RIT" redirects here. For other uses, see RIT (disambiguation).
Rochester Institute of Technology
Former name
Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI)
Motto The making of a living and the living of a life
Type Private doctoral university
Established 1829 (1829)
Academic affiliation
Endowment $761.9 million[1]
President William W. Destler
Provost Jeremy A. Haefner
Academic staff
1,544 (Full-time, part-time, adjunct)[2]
Administrative staff
Students 16,842[3]
Undergraduates 13,711 [3]
Postgraduates 3,131[3]
Location Henrietta, New York, U.S.
43°05′04″N 77°40′30″W / 43.084412°N 77.674949°W / 43.084412; -77.674949Coordinates: 43°05′04″N 77°40′30″W / 43.084412°N 77.674949°W / 43.084412; -77.674949
Campus Suburban 1,300 acres (5.3 km2)
Colors Brown and Orange[4]
Nickname Tigers
Mascot "RITchie" the Tiger[5][6]
Sporting affiliations



Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a private doctoral university within the town of Henrietta in the Rochester, New York metropolitan area.

RIT is composed of nine academic colleges, including National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The Institute is one of only a small number of engineering institutes in the State of New York, including New York Institute of Technology, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It is most widely known for its fine arts, computing, engineering, and imaging science programs; several fine arts programs routinely rank in the national "Top 10" according to the US News & World Report.[7][8][9]


The Institute as it is known today began as a result of an 1891 merger between Rochester Athenæum, a literary society founded in 1829 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and associates, and Mechanics Institute, a Rochester institute of practical technical training for local residents founded in 1885 by a consortium of local businessmen including Captain Henry Lomb, the co-founder of Bausch & Lomb. The name of the merged institution at the time was called Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). In 1944, the university changed its name to Rochester Institute of Technology.

RIT's traditional seal

The Institute originally resided within the city of Rochester, New York, proper, on a block bounded by the Erie Canal, South Plymouth Avenue, Spring Street, and South Washington Street (approximately 43°09′09″N 77°36′55″W / 43.152632°N 77.615157°W / 43.152632; -77.615157). Its art department was originally located in the Bevier Memorial Building. By the middle of the twentieth century, RIT began to outgrow its facilities, and surrounding land was scarce and expensive; additionally, in 1959, the New York Department of Public Works announced a new freeway, the Inner Loop, was to be built through the city along a path that bisected the Institute's campus and required demolition of key Institute buildings. In 1961, an unanticipated donation of $3.27 million ($25,937,873 today) from local Grace Watson, for whom RIT's dining hall was later named, allowed the Institute to purchase land for a new 1,300-acre (5.3 km2) campus several miles south along the east bank of the Genesee River in suburban Henrietta. Upon completion in 1968, the Institute moved to the new suburban campus, where it resides today.[10][11]

In 1966, RIT was selected by the Federal government to be the site of the newly founded National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID).[12] NTID admitted its first students in 1968, concurrent with RIT's transition to the Henrietta campus.[13]

In 1979, RIT took over Eisenhower College, a liberal arts college located in Seneca Falls, New York. Despite making a 5-year commitment to keep Eisenhower open, RIT announced in July 1982 that the college would close immediately. One final year of operation by Eisenhower's academic program took place in the 1982–83 school year on the Henrietta campus. The final Eisenhower graduation took place in May 1983 back in Seneca Falls.[14]

In 1990, RIT started its first Ph.D. program, in Imaging Science, which is also the first Ph.D. program of its kind in the U.S.[14] RIT subsequently established Ph.D programs in six other fields, comprising Astrophysical Sciences and Technology, Computing and Information Sciences, Color Science, Microsystems Engineering, Sustainability, and Engineering.[15] In 1996, RIT also became the first college in the U.S to offer a Software Engineering degree at the undergraduate level.[16]


The RIT campus as seen from the air, looking south, Genesee River on the right (2007).
RIT's Quarter Mile walkway

The current campus is housed on a 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) property. This property is largely covered with woodland and fresh-water swamp making it a very diverse wetland which is home to a number of somewhat rare plant species. The campus comprises 237 buildings and 5.1 million square feet (474,000 m²) of building space. The nearly universal use of bricks in the campus's construction — estimated at 14,673,565 bricks in late 2006[17] — prompted students to give it the semi-affectionate nickname "Brick City," reflected in the name of events such as the annual "Brick City Homecoming." Though the buildings erected in the first few decades of the campus's existence reflected the architectural style known as brutalism, the warm color of the bricks softened the impact somewhat. More recent additions to the campus have diversified the architecture while still incorporating the traditional brick colors. In October 2013, Travel+Leisure named it as one of the ugliest college campuses in the United States, citing the monotone brick and the suburbanization, leaving almost no youth activities within walking distance of the campus.[18]

In 2009, the campus was named a "Campus Sustainability Leader" by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[19]

The residence halls and the academic side of campus are connected with a walkway called the "Quarter Mile." Along the Quarter Mile, between the academic and residence hall side are various administration and support buildings. On the academic side of the walkway is a courtyard, known as the Infinity Quad due to a striking polished stainless steel sculpture (by Jose' de Rivera, 1968, 19'×8'×212') of a continuous ribbon-like Möbius strip (commonly referred to as the infinity loop because if the sun hits the strip at a certain angle it will cast a shadow in the shape of an infinity symbol on the ground) in the middle of it; on the residence hall side is a sundial and a clock. These symbols represent time to infinity. The Quarter Mile is actually 0.41 miles (0.66 km) long when measured between the mobius sculpture and the sundial. The name comes from a student fundraiser, where quarters were lined up from the sundial to the Infinity Sculpture.[20] Standing near the Administration Building and the Student Alumni Union is The Sentinel, a steel structure created by the acclaimed metal sculptor, Albert Paley. Reaching 70 feet (21 m) high and weighing 110 tons, the sculpture is the largest on any American university campus. There are six RIT-owned apartment complexes: Colony Manor, Global Village, Perkins Green, Racquet Club, Riverknoll and University Commons.

Along the Quarter Mile is the Gordon Field House, a 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2), two-story athletic center. Opened in 2004 and named in honor of Lucius "Bob" Gordon and his wife Marie, the Field House hosts numerous campus and community activities, including concerts, career fairs, athletic competitions, graduations, and other functions. Other facilities between the residence halls and academic buildings include the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center, Student Alumni Union, Ingle Auditorium, Clark Gymnasium, Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena, and the Schmitt Interfaith Center.

Located on the west end of the RIT campus is RIT's Red Barn, the large, red-painted barn is the site of the university's Interactive Adventures program.

Park Point at RIT (originally referred to as "College Town") is an 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) multi-use residential and commercial enterprise on the northeast corner of the campus.[21] Park Point is accessible to the rest of the RIT campus through a regular bus service loop, numerous pedestrian paths connecting Park Point to the RIT Main Loop, and main roads. Although originally intended as added student housing, financial penalties resulting from developing on swampland led RIT to lease Park Point to Wilmorite for a period of twenty years and subsequently develop the property without the institute incurring additional fees.

Organization and administration

The current president is William W. Destler, formerly a senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Maryland, College Park. Destler, the Institute's ninth president, took office on July 1, 2007, replacing Albert J. Simone, who retired after 15 years at RIT.

The university's annual budget for 2010–2011 is $601 million,[22] up from $571 million in the previous year. RIT's endowment fund is worth $544 million.[23]

The college has also been recognized in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2009 Great Colleges to Work For Program for a second year and is ranked among the top schools in six survey categories, including overall satisfaction with benefits, compensation and benefits, tuition reimbursement, 403(b) or 401(k) plans, disability insurance and life insurance.[24]

The school is also a member of the Association of Independent Technological Universities.


RIT currently has nine full colleges:

There are also three smaller academic units that grant degrees but do not have full college faculties:

In addition to these colleges, RIT operates three schools in Europe and one in the Middle East:

RIT also has international partnerships with the following schools:[26]


Inside view of the lounge area of the University Services Center, home to the Student Innovation Center, and the University's Finance department.

RIT is known for its career focused education.[27] The institute is chartered by the New York state legislature and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[28][29] The university offers more than 200 academic programs, including seven doctoral programs across its eight constituent colleges.[30][31] In 2008–2009, RIT awarded 2,483 bachelor's degrees, 912 master's degrees, 10 doctorates, and 523 other certificates and diplomas.[32]

The four-year, full-time undergraduate program constitutes the majority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction in the "arts & sciences/professions."[27] RIT is a member of the Rochester Area College consortium which allows students to register at other colleges in the Rochester metropolitan area without tuition charges.[31] RIT's full-time undergraduate and graduate programs used to operate on an approximately 10-week quarter system with the primary three academic quarters beginning on Labor Day in early September and ending in late May.[31] On August 2013, RIT transitioned from a quarter system to a semester system.[33] The change was hotly debated on campus, with a majority of students opposed according to an informal survey; Student Government also voted against the change.[34]

Undergraduate tuition and fees for 2012–2013 totaled $45,602.[35] RIT undergraduates receive over $200 million in financial assistance, and over 90% of students receive some form of financial aid.[36] 3,210 students qualified for Pell Grants in 2007–2008.[37]

Among the eight colleges, 6.8% of the student body is enrolled in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business, 15.0% in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, 4.3% in the College of Liberal Arts, 25.4% in the College of Applied Science and Technology, 18.0% in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, 13.9% in the College of Imaging Arts and Science, 5.7% in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and 9.2% in the College of Science.[38] The five most commonly awarded degrees are in Business Administration, Engineering Technology, School of Photographic Arts & Sciences, School of Art and Design, and Information Technology.[39]

RIT has struggled with student retention, although the situation has improved during President Destler's tenure. 91.3% of freshmen in the fall of 2009 registered for fall 2010 classes, which Destler noted as a school record.[40]

Student body

Demographics of student body[41][42]
Undergraduate Graduate U.S. Census
African American 6.1% 4.9% 12.6%
Asian American 6.9% 6.9% 4.8%
White American 76.5% 80.4% 63.7%
Hispanic American 7.3% 6.0% 16.4%
Multiple Races 2.9% 1.4% 2.9%
Native American 0.2% 0.4% 0.9%
International student 778 1,472 N/A

RIT enrolled 13,711 undergraduate(9,190 male, 4,466 female, and 55 unknown) and 3,131 graduate students in fall 2015. There were 11,226 males and 5,537 females, resulting in a ratio of just over 2 (2.03) males per 1 female.[38] Admissions are characterized as "more selective, higher transfer-in" by the Carnegie Foundation.[27] RIT received 12,725 applications for undergraduate admission in Fall 2008, 60% were admitted, 34% enrolled, and 84% of students re-matriculated as second-year students. The interquartile range on the SAT was 1630–1910. 26% of students graduated after four years and 64% after six years.[37] As of 2013, the 25th–75th percentile SAT scores are 540–650 Critical Reading, 570–680 Math, and 520–630 Writing—the average composite score being 1630–1960.

Notable academic programs

Bevier Gallery in Booth Hall.
Interior view of the B. Thomas Golisano Hall, home of the College of Computing and Information Sciences, known as GCCIS.

The Imaging science department was the first at the Institute to offer a doctoral program, in 1989, and remains the only formal program in Imaging Science in the nation (as a multidisciplinary field—separate constituent fields of physics, optics, and computer science are common in higher education). Associations exist between the department and Rochester-area imagery and optics companies such as Xerox, Kodak, and the ITT Corporation. Such connections have reinforced the research portfolio, expertise, and graduate reputation of the imaging researchers and staff of the department. As of 2008, imaging-related research has the largest budget at the Institute from grants and independent research.[43]

The Microelectronic Engineering program, created in 1982 and the only ABET-accredited undergraduate program in the country,[44][45] was the nation's first Bachelor of Science program specializing in the fabrication of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. The information technology program was the first nationally recognized IT degree, created in 1993.[46]

In 1996, Rochester Institute of Technology established the first software engineering Bachelor's degree program in the United States but did not obtain ABET accreditation until 2003, the same time as Clarkson University, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Mississippi State University.

Starting in 2000, RIT began admitting students in the top of their application pools into the RIT Honors Program.[47] Each college participates voluntarily in the program and defines their own program details. As an example, the College of Engineering focuses on engineering in a global economy, and uses much of the honors budget to pay for domestic and international trips for engineering students. In contrast, the College of Science is focused on expanding research, and provides most of its budget to student research endeavors. Students admitted to the program are given a small scholarship and have the opportunity to live in the honors residence hall.

In 2011, the video game design program at RIT, one of two majors offered by School of Interactive Games and Media in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, was recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the top 10 programs in the country for video game design, with the undergraduate program ranking ninth, and the master's degree graduate program ranking fourth.[48] The program as a whole has improved its standing in the Princeton Review ranking the following year, moving up to sixth for undergraduate and second for graduate in the rankings released March 1, 2012.[49]


The 2011 US News and World Report rankings place RIT at #7 under the Regional Universities (North) category,[50][51] where it received the second highest peer assessment score, which is a survey of presidents, provosts and deans from other universities judging a school’s academic excellence.[52] RIT is also ranked #2 in the "Great School, Great Prices" category for Regional Universities (North).[53] The 2013 America's Best Colleges ranked by placed RIT at #349 out of 650 colleges,[54] while the 2011 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities rank the school at #161 out of the top 12000 institutions, and #1 under the Regional Universities (Northeastern) category.[55] RIT's undergraduate engineering programs have been ranked in the top 64 in the country by the US News and World Report.[56] The E. Philip Saunders College of Business was ranked #58 in the 2008 Business Week Best Undergrad B-Schools[57] and was included in the 2009 Business Week Best Undergrad B-Schools as well.[58] It was named one of the "Great Schools for Accounting Majors!" in The Princeton Review's "The Best 368 Colleges."[59] and is featured in Princeton Review's "The Best 290 Business Schools" 2009 edition.[60] RIT's undergraduate education is also recognized as one of the nation's best in the 2009 edition of Princeton Review's "The Best 369 Colleges".[51][61][62] It is also one of the best Northeastern Colleges[63] and in the 2010 edition of Princeton Review's "The Best 371 Colleges", RIT is ranked in the top 20 for "best career services".[64] The school is also featured in the Barron's Best Buys in Education[65] and was named by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine as one of America’s Most Wired Colleges. The college has garnered accolades that range from Ford Foundation Grants, Fulbright Scholars, Kellogg Foundation, Edmund S. Muskie Fellows, Ronald McNair Scholars, Pulitzer Prizes, Student Academy Awards, National Science Foundation Awards, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fellows, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants, Excellence in Engineering Education Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.[66]

In 2015, RIT was ranked #29 in New York State by average professor salaries.[67]

In 2016, RIT was ranked #107 in National Universities category by US News and World Report.

Co-op program

RIT's co-op program, which began in 1912, is the fourth-oldest in the world. It is also the fifth-largest in the nation,[68] with approximately 3,500 students completing a co-op each year at over 2,000 businesses.[69] The program requires (or allows, depending on major) students to work in the workplace for up to five quarters alternating with quarters of class. The amount of co-op varies by major, usually between 3 and 5 three-month "blocks" or academic quarters. Many employers prefer students to co-op for two consecutive blocks, referred to as a "double-block co-op". During a co-op, the student is not required to pay tuition to the school and is still considered a "full time" student. In addition, RIT was listed by U.S. News & World Report as one of only 12 colleges nationally recognized for excellence in the internships/co-ops category and has secured this ranking, which is based on nominations from college presidents, chief academic officers and deans, for four years in a row since U.S. News began the category in 2002. Additionally, according to the most recent PayScale College Salary Report, the median starting salary for a recent RIT graduate is $51,000 making it the highest among Rochester – area institutions.[70][71]


A look into the Semiconductor & Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory.
Corporations have donated machines and tools for students to study and improve.

RIT's research programs are rapidly expanding. The total value of research grants to Institute faculty for fiscal year 2007–2008 totaled $48.5 million,[72] an increase of more than twenty-two percent over the grants from the previous year. The Institute currently offers six Ph.D. programs: Imaging Science,[73] Microsystems Engineering,[74] Computing and Information Sciences,[75] Color Science,[76] Astrophysical Sciences and Technology,[77] and Sustainability.[78]

In 1986, RIT founded the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and started its first doctoral program in Imaging Science in 1989. The Imaging Science department also offers the only Bachelors (BS) and Masters (MS) degree programs in imaging science in the country. The Carlson Center features a diverse research portfolio; its major research areas include Digital Image Restoration, Remote Sensing, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Printing Systems Research, Color Science, Nanoimaging, Imaging Detectors, Astronomical Imaging, Visual Perception, and Ultrasonic Imaging.

The Center for Microelectronic and Computer Engineering was founded by RIT in 1986. The institute was the first university to offer a bachelor's degree in Microelectronic Engineering. The Center's facilities include 50,000 square feet (4,600 m²) of building space with 10,000 square feet (930 m²) of clean room space; the building will undergo an expansion later this year. Its research programs include nano-imaging, nano-lithography, nano-power, micro-optical devices, photonics subsystems integration, high-fidelity modeling and heterogeneous simulation, microelectronic manufacturing, microsystems integration, and micro-optical networks for computational applications.

The Center for Advancing the Study of CyberInfrastructure (CASCI) is a multidisciplinary center housed in the College of Computing and Information Sciences. The Departments of Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Engineering, Imaging Science, and Bioinformatics collaborate in a variety of research programs at this center. RIT was the first university to launch a Bachelor's program in Information technology in 1991, the first university to launch a Bachelor's program in Software Engineering in 1996, and was also among the first universities to launch a Computer science Bachelor's program in 1972. RIT helped standardize the Forth programming language, and developed the CLAWS software package.

The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation was founded in 2007. The CCRG comprises faculty and postdoctoral research associates working in the areas of general relativity, gravitational waves, and galactic dynamics. Computing facilities in the CCRG include gravitySimulator, a novel 32-node supercomputer that uses special-purpose hardware to achieve speeds of 4TFlops in gravitational N-body calculations, and newHorizons, a state-of-the art 85-node Linux cluster for numerical relativity simulations.

The Center for Detectors[79][80] was founded in 2010. The CfD designs, develops, and implements new advanced sensor technologies through collaboration with academic researchers, industry engineers, government scientists, and university/college students. The CfD operates four laboratories and has approximately a dozen funded projects to advance detectors in a broad array of applications, e.g. astrophysics, biomedical imaging, Earth system science, and inter-planetary travel. Center members span eight departments and four colleges.

Recently, the Center for Biotechnology Education and Training (CBET) has been established. The facility was created to train future employees in the field of biotechnology as well as to promote research in the vast field of biosciences, including bioinformatics, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and biochemistry.

RIT has collaborated with many industry players in the field of research as well, including IBM,[81] Xerox,[82] Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle,[83] Siemens,[84] NASA,[85][86] and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).[87] In 2005, it was announced by Russell W. Bessette, Executive Director New York State Office of Science Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR), that RIT will lead the University at Buffalo and Alfred University in an initiative to create key technologies in microsystems, photonics, nanomaterials, and remote sensing systems and to integrate next generation IT systems. In addition, the collaboratory is tasked with helping to facilitate economic development and tech transfer in New York State. More than 35 other notable organizations have joined the collaboratory, including Boeing, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Intel, International Sematech, ITT, Motorola, Xerox, and several Federal agencies, including as NASA.[88]


Main article: RIT Tigers
Gene Polisseni Center Interior
The Gordon Field House

RIT has 24 men's and women's varsity teams including Men's Intercollegiate Baseball, Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field and Wrestling along with Women's Intercollegiate Basketball, Cheerleading, Crew, Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball.

RIT was a long-time member of the Empire 8, an NCAA Division III athletic conference, but moved to the Liberty League beginning with the 2011–2012 academic year. All of RIT's teams compete at the Division III level, with the exception of the men's and women's ice hockey programs, which play at the Division I level. In 2010, the men's ice hockey team was the first ever from the Atlantic Hockey conference to reach the NCAA tournament semi-finals: The Frozen Four.[89]

On March 17, 2012, the Women's ice hockey team, after finishing the regular season with a record of 28–1–1, won its first NCAA Division III national championship, defeating the defending champion Norwich University 4–1. The women's team had carried a record of 54–3–3 over their past 2 regular seasons leading up to that point.[90] Three days later, RIT successfully applied for the women's hockey team to move from Division III to Division I. Starting in the 2012–2013 season, the women's team will be part of the College Hockey America conference, and will be eligible for conference postseason play, but not NCAA postseason play. The moratorium on the NCAA postseason will be lifted beginning with the 2014–2015 season.[91]

Additionally, RIT has a wide variety of club, intramural, and pick-up sports and teams to provide a less-competitive recreational option to students.

Tom Coughlin, coach of the NFL's 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, taught physical education and coached the RIT Men's Varsity Football team in the 1970s.

Since 1968 the school's hockey teams played at Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena on campus but in 2010, the school launched the "Power Play" campaign, in which it hoped to raise 15 of the 30 million dollars it would cost to build a new arena.[92] On November 11, 2011 it was announced that B. Thomas Golisano and the Polisseni Foundation were donating 4.5 million to the new arena, which came to be named the Gene Polisseni Center.[93] The new 4,300 seat arena was completed in 2014 and the Men's and Women's teams moved into the new facility in September for the 2014–2015 season.


RIT's athletics nickname is the "Tigers", a name given following the undefeated men's basketball season of 1955–56. Prior to that, RIT's athletic teams were called the "Techmen" and had blue and silver as the sports colors. In 1963, RIT purchased a rescued Bengal tiger which became the Institute's mascot, named SPIRIT. He was taken to sports events until 1964, when he was put down due to health complications.[94] The original tiger's pelt now resides in the school's archives at the on-campus library. RIT helped the Seneca Park Zoo purchase a new tiger shortly after SPIRIT's death, but it was not used as a school mascot. A metal sculpture in the center of the Henrietta campus now provides an everlasting version of the mascot.

RIT's team mascot is a version of this Bengal Tiger named RITchie. RITchie was the selected name entered in 1989 by alumnus Richard P. Mislan [95] during a College Activities Board "Name the RIT Tiger" contest. After it was announced that the RIT Men's Hockey Team was moving from Division III to Division I in 2005, RITchie was redesigned and made his debut in the fall of 2006.

Student life

Global Village housing and student area.
Ellingson Hall, RIT's tallest building

In addition to its academic and athletic endeavors, RIT has over 150 student clubs, 10 major student organizations, a diverse interfaith center and 30 different Greek organizations.[96]

Reporter magazine, founded in 1951,[97] is the Institute's primary student-run magazine.[98] RIT also has its own ambulance corps, bi-weekly television athletics program RIT SportsZone, pep band, radio station, and tech crew.

The Institute's Gordon Field House and Activities Center is home to competitive and recreational athletics and aquatics, a fitness center, and an auditorium hosting frequent concerts and other entertainment. Its opening in late 2004 was inaugurated by concerts by performers including Kanye West and Bob Dylan.[99][100] It is the second-largest venue in Monroe County.[101]

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

One of RIT's unique features is the large presence of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, who make up 8.8% of the student body.[102] The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of RIT's nine colleges, provides interpreting and captioning services to students for classes and events. Many courses' lectures at RIT are interpreted into American Sign Language for the benefit of hard-of-hearing and deaf students. There are several deaf and hard-of-hearing professors and lecturers, too; an interpreter can vocalize their lectures for hearing students. This significant portion of the RIT population provides another dynamic to the school's diversity, and it has contributed to Rochester's high number of deaf residents per-capita. In 2006, Lizzie Sorkin made RIT history when she became the first deaf RIT Student Government President. In 2010, Greg Pollock became the second deaf RIT Student Government President.[103]

The Tojo Memorial Garden in the Eastman Kodak Quad

Explore Your Future

Explore Your Future (EYF) is a six-day career exploration program at Rochester Institute of Technology for college-bound deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students who will begin their junior or senior year.[104]

Fraternities and sororities

RIT's campus is host to thirty fraternities and sororities (eighteen fraternities and twelve sororities),[96] which makes up 5.3% of the total RIT population. RIT built six large buildings for Greek students on the academic side of campus next to the Riverknoll apartments. In addition to these six houses, there is also limited space within the residence halls for another six chapters.[105]

Interfraternity Council

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) provides outlets for social interaction among the fraternity and sorority members. The IFC helps to sponsor educational opportunities for all of its members and to help to promote the fraternal ideals of leadership, scholarship, service, community and brotherhood. There are currently eleven chapters that are part of the IFC at RIT.[106]

Panhellenic Council

The Panhellenic Council is the governing body of the sorority system. The Panhellenic Council provides many opportunities for involvement in campus life and the fraternity and sorority system outside of the individual sororities. Recruitment, social, and educational opportunities are provided by the council. All five social sororities recognized by Rochester Institute of Technology are active members of the National Panhellenic Conference.[107]

Special Interest Houses

RIT's dormitories are home to seven "Special Interest Houses" — Art House, Computer Science House, Engineering House, House of General Science, Photo House, International House, and Unity House — which provide an environment to live immersed in a specific interest, such as art, engineering, or computing. Members of a special-interest house share their interests with each other and the rest of campus through academic focus and special activities. Special Interest Houses are self-governing and accept members based on their own criteria.[108]

ROTC programs

RIT is the host of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 538 "Blue Tigers"[109] and the Army ROTC "Tiger Battalion".[110] RIT students may also enroll in the Naval ROTC program based at the University of Rochester.

In 2009, the "Tiger Battalion" was awarded the Eastern Region’s Outstanding ROTC Unit Award, given annually by the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America.[111] In 2010, it was awarded the National MacArthur Award for 2nd Brigade.[112]

Reporter Magazine

Reporter Magazine (Reporter) is a completely student run organization through the Rochester Institute of Technology. The magazine is a 32-page full-color issue printed on the first Friday of the month for the duration of the academic year supplemented with daily online content. Reporter provides insightful content pertinent to the RIT community and the Rochester community at large.

WITR 89.7

Main article: WITR

An FM radio station run by students at RIT, WITR 89.7 broadcasts various music genres, RIT athletic events, and several talk radio programs.[113] WITR can be heard throughout Rochester and its suburbs, and via an online stream on its website. The radio station recently opened up a studio in the SAU with a see-thru window in 2015.

College Activities Board

College Activities Board, frequently abbreviated as CAB, is a student-run organization responsible for providing "diverse entertainment and activities to enhance student life on the RIT campus." CAB is responsible for annual concerts, class trips, movie screenings, and other frequent events.[114]

Imagine RIT

An annual festival, publicized as "Imagine RIT", was initiated in May 2008 to showcase innovative and creative activity at RIT. It is one of the most prominent changes brought to RIT by current university president, William Destler.[115]

An open event, visitors to Imagine RIT have an opportunity to tour the RIT campus and view new ideas for products and services, admire fine art, explore faculty and student research, examine engineering design projects, and interact with hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Theatrical and musical performances take place at stages in many locations on the RIT campus. Intended to appeal to visitors of all ages, including children, the festival features a variety of exhibits. More than 17,000 people attended the inaugural festival on May 3, 2008 and over 25,000 people attended the second annual event. Most recently, over 30,000 people attended Imagine RIT on May 1, 2010.[115]

The Lighthouse

An organization based out of Kate Gleason 4, in 2015. This organization is dedicated to supporting its community and the exploration of Rochester's Historic Weast River and urban ruins.

RIT Ambulance

Main article: RIT Ambulance

RIT Ambulance (RITA) is a student run, 9-1-1 dispatched collegiate New York State Certified Basic Life Support Ambulance Corps, run under the governance of the Student Health Center. The ambulance serves the entire Rochester Institute of Technology campus and portions of surrounding Henrietta, New York and is also a part of the Monroe County mutual aid plan.

RIT Ambulance provides coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year. The ambulance is staffed on a volunteer basis by students, faculty, staff, and alumni. In the event of a serious injury or illness that requires interventions beyond the scope of Basic Life Support, a Paramedic "fly car" unit from the Town of Henrietta is dispatched and will meet the ambulance on scene or during early stages of transport.

Due to the fact that RIT Ambulance is dispatched by the Monroe County 911 dispatcher, Public Safety must call 911 for any medical emergencies that occur on campus.

RIT Public Safety and Call Box system (Blue Light phones)

RIT Public Safety is the primary agency responsible for protection of students, staff and property as well as enforcement of both college policies and state laws. Officers are NYS Licensed Security Guards who possess an expanded scope of authority under NYS Education Law, and many Officers have prior law enforcement backgrounds. Rumor has also circulated that the department is pushing for Peace Officer authority, however no official action has been made at this time. Public Safety Officers operate both a dispatch center and various types of patrol units on campus and at off campus holdings (such as The Inn and Conference Center) and also manage the Call Box System. Activating a call box will automatically place the user in touch with an Officer in the dispatch center who will direct Patrol Officers to respond to the location; if necessary, Officers will summon the Monroe County Sheriff's to respond as well. As the college does not have 24/7 on campus crisis intervention counselors, in the event of a mental or behavioral health incident during hours where a counselor is not available, Public Safety Officers are also trained to act as mediators until an on-call counselor can be summoned.[116]

Dining services

RIT Dining Services manages a large number of restaurants, and food shops, along with the sole dining hall on campus. There are locations throughout RIT, including near the Residence Halls, in the Student Alumni Union, Global Village, and in certain academic buildings.[117]


RIT is governed under a shared governance model. The shared governance system is composed of Student Government, Staff Council and Academic Senate. Institute Council brings together representatives from all three groups and makes recommendations to the President of the Institute. Once Institute Council has made a recommendation, it is up to the President to make the final decision.[118]

Student government

Student Government consists of an elected student senate and a cabinet appointed by the President and Vice President. Elections for academic and community senators occur each spring, along with the elections for the President and Vice President. The cabinet is appointed by the President and Vice President. Student Government is an advocate for students and is responsible for basic representation as well as improving campus for students. Student Government endorses proposal that are brought before Institute Council.[119]

Academic senate

Academic Senate is responsible for representing faculty within the shared governance system. Academic Senate has 43 senators.[120]

Staff council

Staff Council represents staff in the shared governance system.[121]

Notable alumni

Katherine Hayles received a B.S from RIT in 1966.

RIT has over 110,000 alumni worldwide.[105] Notable alumni include Bob Duffy, New York Lieutenant Governor; Tom Curley, President and CEO of the Associated Press; Daniel Carp, former Chairman of the Eastman Kodak Company; software developer and creator of jQuery[122] John Resig; N. Katherine Hayles, critical theorist; and photojournalist Bernie Boston.

Presidents and provosts

In the decades prior to the selection of RIT's first president, the institute was administered primarily by the Board of Trustees.[14]

Institute presidents
Name Tenure
Carleton B. Gibson June 1910–July 1, 1916
James F. Barker 1 July 1916 – 1919
Royal B. Farnum 1919–1921
John A. Randall 1922–1936
Mark W. Ellingson 1936–1969
Paul A. Miller 1969–1979
M. Richard Rose 1979–June 1992
Albert J. Simone 1992–June 30, 2007
William W. Destler July 1, 2007–present
Institute provosts
Name Tenure
Todd H. Bullard August 1, 1970 – 1980
Robert G. Quinn 1980–January 1983
Thomas R. Plough January 1983 – 1995
Stanley D. McKenzie 1995–June 30, 2008
Jeremy A. Haefner July 1, 2008–present

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