History

The first 200-attendee alumni dinner was held in June 1912 at the close of that year's commencement activities, at which a general alumni association was formed. By that time, colleges such as Harvard, Vassar, Smith, Wellesley and Williams had already formed alumni associations and the University of Rochester's association had been active since 1853. At that initial gathering, Osbourne F. Gurney, MEM '03, was elected president of the new association.

During the 1920s, many alumni began returning downtown to watch sports events and attend parties given by sororities and fraternities. Things were going so well that the alumni association's main problem was excessive singing, and so the 1932 alumni banquet saw a ban of singing while dinner was being served.

In 1933, a double postcard mailing was initiated. Previously, only one mailing was undertaken, but the normal yearly variation in addresses was amplified many times by the economic conditions the last two years. Cards were returned from 34 states, Canada, Africa, South America, and Asia.

In 1942, the Development Fund was initiated. The following year, 15 $100 scholarships were awarded. Each year, the fund goal increased and more scholarships were awarded in larger amounts. Eventually, efforts were turned toward establishing a recreational area for students. Ultimately, alumni played a big part in financing the move to Henrietta in 1968.

By the 1950s, New York State recognized the university's courses and each year saw record numbers of students enrolling. Toward the end of the '70s, over half of RIT's graduates were from outside of Rochester, and so the Executive Committee overseeing alumni activities became the National Alumni Council, consisting of 12 to 20 members, more than half of which had to reside outside of Rochester.

In 1993, an effort to truly engage the RIT alumni population began with augmentation of the then one-man alumni relations department. Continuing education and regional programming were the primary components at the time.

Through a survey conducted in 2001, RIT learned something from its graduates that had previously been only anecdotal: alumni ranked their relationship to their college or department higher than their feelings regarding the institution as a whole. As a result, Brick City Homecoming started to include reunion activities for classes, athletics, Greeks, student clubs, and more.

Today, the Alumni Association continues to enhance alumni engagement and increase RIT pride among the nearly 125,000 graduates worldwide.



RIT Alumni Association Presidents

RIT Alumni Association Staff Directors