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History of PoCS / MCSL

The Origins and The Journey

AH Munsell

Professor AH Munsell


Franc Grum

Dr. Franc Grum

The Munsell Color Science Laboratory (MCSL) can be traced back through the Munsell Color Foundation, and further to that Foundation's start with the Munsell Color Company. The Munsell Color Company was founded by Professor Albert H. Munsell, the creator of the Munsell Color Order System and the Munsell Book of Color. The directors of the Munsell Color Company eventually sold the company's assets and created the Munsell Color Foundation. The Foundation was charged with furthering the scientific and practical advancement of color knowledge.

In 1983, the Foundation trustees voted to dissolve the foundation, and donate the proceeds to an academic institution for the creation and endowment of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory. RIT was selected as the recipient of this donation, and MCSL was born. (Note: There is no formal relationship between the RIT Munsell Color Science Laboratory and the commercial Munsell Color products sold by X-Rite.)

The creation of MCSL was in large part due to the efforts of Franc Grum, the first MCSL Director (currently Prof. Mark Fairchild) and R.S. Hunter Professor of Color Science, Appearance, and Technology (currently Prof. Roy Berns). Prior to founding MCSL and RIT’s Department of Color Science, Professor Grum was a member of the Munsell Color Foundation, long-standing friend of RIT as an employee of the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, and an Adjunct Professor in the Photographic Science Department.

Initially, MCSL and the Color Science Department were part or RIT's College of Graphics Arts and Photography. RIT later created the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and MCSL became a research laboratory within that Center, currently housed in RIT's College of Science. In 1989, MCSL and the Center for Imaging Science moved to a new facility with approximately 6,500 square feet of space dedicated to color science research and education.

In the spring of 2003, space opened up in a nearby building. After extensive renovations, MCSL and the Color Science program moved into what is now formally called the Color Science Hall. The collocation of all our offices and laboratory space has fostered an amazing collaborative spirit in what was already an exciting, cooperative organization.

After careful strategic review of color science at RIT, the Program of Color Science (PoCS) and Munsell Color Science Laboratory (MCSL) were more closely joined as a stand-alone multidisciplinary graduate program in the College of Science. This new chapter in the storied history of these programs began in 2013, 30 years after the lab’s founding, with an aim of further extending the reach of color science across more scientific disciplines and into even more application areas.

Franc Grum Memorial Scholarship

"Nulli Secundus"

The Franc Grum Memorial Scholarship was established after his untimely death in 1985. It is intended to support scholarship in optical radiation measurements and color science. The funds for this award were made possible by gifts from the friends and family of Franc, as well as those from industry.

Past Recipients of the Grum Scholarship

Year    RecipientCurrent Employer
1988    Mark E. GorzynskiHewlett-Packard
1990    Michael StokesMicrosoft Corporation
1992    Audrey A. LesterXerox Corporation
1994    Richard L. AlfvinEastman Kodak
1997    Garrett M. JohnsonApple Computer
2000    Mark Q. ShawHewlett-Packard
2001    Scot R. FernandezHallmark
2004    Justin L. LairdGunlocke
2008    Erin FredericksITT

Recently, due to regulations, the Franc Grum Memorial Scholarship has been administered as financial aid for all full-time graduate students in the Program of Color Science. We hope to find a way to again recognize outstanding individual students in the near future.