RIT Creates First-of-its-Kind College in Computing and Information Sciences
Golisano Gift of $14 Million Launches College
Feb. 6, 2001
by Bob Finnerty
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Rochester Institute of Technology, renowned for its cutting-edge technology education, announces a major addition: the creation of a first-of-its-kind college in the United States—a college that incorporates computing and the Internet revolution with information sciences.
The B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences will comprehensively address the computing and information technologies of today, and into the future. Named for its founding donor, B. Thomas Golisano, chairman and chief executive officer of Paychex Inc., the college owes its launch to his gift of $14 million. The gift is the largest gift in RIT history from an individual and is believed to be the largest given to any university or college in the Rochester area.
"The digital revolution makes this a very exciting time to be at RIT—this is our time to lead in preparing the world's next generations of IT and computer professionals. Thanks to Tom Golisano, we are able to get our new college off the ground much faster then anyone anticipated. He has helped us take a giant step forward in our work as the university of choice in a technological world," says Albert J. Simone, RIT president.
"As a member of RIT's Board of Trustees, Tom is keenly aware of RIT's role—not only in Rochester but around the world—in preparing students for careers in technology, and the incredible potential of computing and information sciences. Because of his generosity, the College of Computing and Information Sciences is now a reality. His gift is one of the largest gifts ever made to a college or university in the Rochester area. We deeply thank Tom Golisano for his vision and his generosity to this monumental venture."
States Golisano, "I believe what RIT is doing by establishing this college is not only good for RIT, but it will be great for the entire Rochester community and upstate New York because it makes RIT and Rochester a national focal point in this type of education."
Indeed, RIT's College of Computing and Information Sciences will ensure that the programs that are so central to improving life in the 21st century will flourish and grow. Research shows computing as the fastest growing occupational category in the country today with 1.6 million new IT workers needed this year. In the next five years, at least 1.8 million new jobs will be created for computer system analysts, computer support specialists, and computer programmers. In addition, 1.2 million software development positions will be vacant by 2005.
Correspondingly, nationwide demand for computing education continues to escalate. Interest in computing majors by high school graduates has increased by 90 percent in the past five years. RIT expects that the new college will increase in size by 50 percent to 4,500 students in the next five years.
"We have seen applications to our existing computer science and information technology programs increase by 182 percent since 1994," says Simone. The Information Technology program alone has grown from 13 students in 1992 to 1,500 students today. Together, these programs have 3,000 students. "When these programs move to the new College of Computing and Information Sciences, it will immediately be the largest computing college in the country," adds Simone.
Computing has been an integral part of RIT's curriculum since 1972 with the launch of one of the first undergraduate computer science programs in the country. Today, RIT's business partners clamor for the cutting-edge expertise that RIT graduates and faculty can provide.
The new college, which joins RIT's other seven colleges, will launch with bachelor's and master's degree programs in computer science, software engineering and information technology. °Computer science will offer bachelor of science and master of science degrees and focus on software development, communications, operating systems, networks and programming language concepts. °Software engineering will offer a bachelor of science and introduce a new master of science in software engineering. These programs will prepare students to design complex and evolving software. °Information technology will offer a bachelor of science and a master of science in IT, and a master of science in software development and management.
RIT's new Information Technology Lab will serve as an integral part of the college's educational mix. The IT Lab, which owes its start to recent New York state funding through the efforts of Sen. James Alesi and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, already plays a crucial role as a multidisciplinary resource. The year-old lab's initial projects with Sun, Cisco, IBM, Xerox and Microsoft have tapped faculty expertise from the three areas that will exist together in the new college. More than ever, students, faculty, alumni and industry will converge at the IT Lab to explore and develop innovative applications of emerging information technologies.
"RIT is perfectly positioned to blend these programs in high-technology information fields," says Simone. "We see it as a natural evolution of who and what we are at RIT. Our mission, as always, is to offer the very best, most timely and career-focused education possible to our students.
"A new era in computing and information sciences is about to begin at RIT. We are realizing a vision that will lift an RIT education to the highest level, and at the same time, provide a highly trained workforce for the industries of tomorrow," states Simone.
Internationally recognized as a leader in imaging, technology, fine and applied arts, and education of the deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology enrolls 15,000 students in more than 250 undergraduate and graduate programs. For the past decade, U.S. News and World Report has ranked RIT as one of the nation's leading comprehensive universities. RIT also is included in Yahoo! Internet Life's Top 100 Wired Universities, Fisk's Guide to America's Best Colleges, as well as Barron's Best Buys in Education.