RIT to Award First-in-the-Nation Software Engineering Degrees, also:

  • First master’s graduates in packaging science in Croatia

  • First bachelor’s grads in hospitality and service management in Croatia



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    This year’s commencement at Rochester Institute of Technology will mark special milestones for the university and three unique groups of graduates.

    Among them is a group of 12 students who will become the first in the United States to earn bachelor’s degrees in software engineering.

    Tom McAlee is one of the soon-to-be grads. Having received four job offers without ever applying for a job, McAlee couldn’t be more pleased with his education.

    "I don’t even have a resume—I never needed one," says McAlee, adding that he just bought his first suit. He and classmate Ben Smith have accepted positions (with "fat" salaries, McAlee says) with Exegetics Inc. in Blacksburg, Va.

    RIT’s five-year undergraduate program in software engineering was launched by the College of Applied Science and Technology and Kate Gleason College of Engineering in the fall of 1996 aiming to meet a growing demand for skilled workers in the field and to focus on large-scale, evolving software systems.

    Emphasizing team-oriented approaches to software development, the program prepares students for technical and management careers in software- and computer-intensive industries. Students study software engineering, computer science, engineering, arts and humanities.

    "We’re very excited about this graduation," says Fernando Naveda, software engineering department chair. "We’re proud of these students, but also sad they’re leaving."

    In July, RIT’s software engineering department will officially become part of the university’s new B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

    Also graduating from RIT this weekend are the first 15 students from the university’s packaging science executive leader master’s program, a collaboration between RIT and the University of Zagreb in Croatia.

    "It’s one of our shining accomplishments," says Daniel Goodwin, professor and packaging science program chair. He says future similar collaborations with universities in other nations are being studied.

    RIT’s packaging science program, part of the university’s College of Applied Science and Technology, is one of only seven packaging science programs in the United States.

    On June 2, 51 students will become the first to receive bachelor’s degrees from RIT’s American College of Management and Technology in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Established in 1997, the college currently enrolls 600 students in two- and four-year programs in hospitality and service management. Under the direction of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, enrollment has grown from 175 students in its initial year.

    "Dreams are being fulfilled at the American College of Management and Technology in Croatia," says Francis Domoy, professor and chair of RIT’s hospitality and service management department.

    Note: RIT will host commencement ceremonies May 25–26. RIT’s academic convocation, featuring keynote address by Russell Bessette, executive director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, will be at 7:30 p.m., May 25.