It’s Tradition! Fuehrers Enjoy Century of High Achievement at RIT




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The Fuehrers have built a legacy out of their “wealth of knowledge” at Rochester Institute of Technology. During the past 100 years, four generations of family members have attended the university—to study architecture, business, chemistry, photography and engineering.

  • From1904 to 1907, William J. Fuehrer attended Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute and graduated with a degree in architecture.
  • On May 21, 2004, his great-grandson, David Fuehrer, will graduate from RIT with an MBA.
    And the familial link crisscrosses throughout the Fuehrers’ educational history at RIT:
  • Charles Edwards (David’s maternal grandfather) graduated in 1937 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
  • Gerard Rossner (David’s third-cousin) earned a BFA in Photography in 1961.
  • Craig Fuehrer (David’s father) attended classes in 1968 for his masters in chemistry.
  • Martin Mendola (William’s great grandson /David’s cousin) earned his MBA degree in 1998.
  • Eric Fuehrer (David’s brother) is a finance major who will graduate in 2005.

    “My great-grandfather’s belief in higher education started the RIT tradition that includes both my mother’s and father’s side of the family,” says David Fuehrer, who works as research coordinator in the Technology Management Center at RIT’s College of Business.

    Charles Edwards, who lives in Greece, will attend his grandson’s ceremony at RIT on May 21—which also happens to be his 88th birthday. In his recollections, Edwards cites May 21 as an important date in history and a reaffirmation of his family’s destiny.

    “It was May 21, 1927,” Edwards recalls. “I was a young boy and delivering milk from our dairy farm when a neighbor called out to me, ‘Lindberg made it,’” he says. “Soon it will be May 21, 2004, and the date carries even more meaning because someone in my family has ‘made it.’”

    RIT will welcome thousands of parents and family members, friends and the campus community to its 119th annual commencement, May 21-22. President Albert Simone will confer degrees on more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students during Academic Convocation and college graduation ceremonies.

    This year’s activities take on added significance as RIT kicks off it 175th anniversary celebration, which is to be commemorated throughout the 2004-05 academic calendar. Also, commencement becomes the first official event to be held inside the new, $25 million Gordon Field House and Activities Center.

    RIT’s progress has always been a selling point for Fuehrer family members—and David and Eric believe there are lessons to be learned by continuing the RIT tradition.

    They recently spent a few hours sifting through their grandfather’s college memorabilia"&#".ord($0).";"xamination papers, textbooks and billing receipts—permanent reminders of family history to weigh, consider, but never take for granted.

    “Many students don’t want to attend college where their parents or grandparents went, but that idea never crossed my mind,” says Eric. “In fact, when I see how ambitious and successful my relatives have been in their careers and their lives, I figured those were good steps to follow.”

    Likewise, David realizes what it means to be a fourth generation-Fuehrer-graduate from RIT.

    “We’ve all taken different paths but we all came back and have continued to be a part of this campus for 100 years,” he affirms. “RIT’s been a big part of my life and my family’s life and the breath of experience and education this university offers is testimony to the diverse paths we’ve taken and will continue to take.

    “Our family ties to RIT have both been an honor and a very wise investment.”