Enhancing its reputation as a national leader in undergraduate, graduate and executive business education, Rochester Institute of Technology announces the formation of the E. Philip Saunders College of Business.
RIT is naming its business school in honor of E. Philip Saunders, entrepreneur and founder of TravelCenters of America Inc. During a ceremony on campus today, Saunders announced his commitment of $13 million to the university’s academic business programs—intended to finance scholarships, recruit and support quality faculty, improve existing facilities, and create an endowment for future initiatives.
“Phil Saunders has made a spectacular impact during his career as an entrepreneur,” states Albert J. Simone, RIT president. “His $13 million investment in RIT will produce a similar impact by helping us reshape traditional business education and by paving the way for a new generation of entrepreneurs and visionary business leaders. It is in that spirit that we dedicate the E. Philip Saunders College of Business in his honor.”
“Educational opportunities are the key to advancing America’s leadership in a global economy,” explains Saunders. “Under Dr. Simone’s leadership, RIT consistently showcases its ability to create a range of business solutions by fostering innovation. In making this gift, it is my goal to further energize RIT’s position as a center of excellence for entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Saunders, a lifelong resident of Livingston County, N.Y., has designated a portion of his $13 million commitment to benefit students from that region. Graduates from Livonia, where Saunders attended high school, and Dansville, where he is currently living, will become eligible for scholarships to pursue business studies at RIT.
Additionally, RIT has invested in renovations to the facility that has housed the college since 1982. Work is underway to provide the building’s outdoor facade with a new look. Indoor renovations will reconfigure classrooms and computer labs to make better use of existing space. Plans also include a large lecture-theater space on the main floor, new student lounges and study areas, and improved conference space.
“Improvements to this building will significantly enhance the community spirit within our business school by providing a physically attractive ambience where students can study and congregate,” says Wayne Morse, interim dean of the Saunders College. “Mr. Saunders’ generous gift will amplify our ability to maintain a state-of-the-art environment that will attract and service top-tier students and faculty.”
The timing of this gift ensures its inclusion into the university’s ambitious $300 million Campaign for RIT, the results of which are scheduled to be announced later this week. Saunders’ $13 million commitment to the campaign reflects his appreciation for President Simone and his personal dedication to entrepreneurship and cutting edge educational programs that meet real needs.
“As an entrepreneur, you must be hard working, driven, organized, have a desire to win and know how to regroup in the wake of failure,” reflects Saunders. “Our role is to create an atmosphere that enhances students’ creative instincts by providing the knowledge and poise that ultimately positions them for success.”
One of eight colleges at RIT, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate majors including accounting, finance, graphic media marketing, international business, management, management information systems, and marketing, with an undergraduate minor offered in entrepreneurship. The college is spearheading an initiative to establish a university-wide Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is also creating a new research center and academic major in consumer financial services. Graduate level programs include Masters of Business Administration, MBA-Accounting, Executive MBA, and master’s degrees in finance and management.
RIT undergraduate and graduate business programs are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International), the premier accrediting organization for business schools. Only about one-quarter of the institutions granting business degrees have received this accreditation.