Success Stories

Henry Luce Foundation

Henry Luce Foundation

Who knew that RIT is home to one of the most impressive collections of 20th century modernist graphic design? Thanks to major support from the Henry Luce Foundation, lots more people will know, and will be able to access this world-renowned archive. The collection, located in the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at The Wallace Center, preserves the work of significant American graphic designers who created a new modernist aesthetic for advertising, information design, magazine design, poster art and book design. It currently houses archives related to 42 designers active from the 1920s to the 1960s, as well as selected contemporary designers working in the modernist traditions. The foundation’s generous grant will allow an archivist to continue to process and re-house the items for long-term preservation, and begin a website redesign that includes digitization of selected works so they are accessible to scholars and designers around the world. more >>

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Getting help to the neediest children around the globe is not only an international health priority, it is sometimes the difference between life and death. Vaccines are considered one of the most cost-effective interventions to raise health standards of children across the globe, but a lack of coordinated and prioritized procurement and distribution meant that many children in dire need weren’t always the first to receive them. A major grant from the Gates Foundation is now supporting the work of RIT faculty-researcher Rubén Proaño to study and help design a coordinated decision-support system for the global procurement of vaccines. more >>

Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Foundation and RIT’s Carillon

In the fall of 2014, the old carillon bell system (also known as “the church bells”) played for its final time. The system, which was over a decade old and had a life expectancy of approximately that, broke. In the fall of the following year that students began asking for the chiming of the bells to resume. In late 2015, RIT’s Student Government began drafting a petition to Student Affairs, addressing the absence of the bells across campus and asking that the system be replaced.


The installation of the new system in March of 2016 was made possible through the generosity of the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Foundation, which has been a valued partner of RIT for more than three decades. The Interfaith Center was initially made possible through the generosity of Kilian and Caroline Schmitt, two Rochester business owners who have since passed away. The carillon system at RIT, unlike traditional systems, is entirely electronic. The new system connects to speakers around campus and can be programmed to play a variety of songs. There are no physical bells. The bell system will chime on every hour, and will toll the number of the hour, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Jim Ryan, a representative of the Schmitt Foundation, said that when RIT reached out about necessary renovations to the Interfaith Center, the board was ready to listen. “Knowing how important the interfaith chapel was to Kilian made our investment decision that much easier to authorize,” Ryan said. “We worked extensively with Jeff Herring (director of the Center for Religious Life) and others to define the renovation specifications so as to favorably impact students of all denominations. We really wanted our investment to have a universal appeal.”

Ryan said that once the repair of the carillon system was identified as a need, it did not take long for the board to agree.“Kilian Schmitt had a great interest in music and he funded a number of similar initiatives in his lifetime, from the chimes at St Mary’s church downtown to the carillon and organ at Nazareth College to the organ in the Caroline and Kilian Schmitt Organ Recital Hall at the Eastman School of Music. Music and religion were very important to the Schmitts,” Ryan said.