The RIT brand: Help tell our story

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A. Sue Weisler

President Bill Destler talks about a new branding campaign during an open forum with the campus community.

Imagine a university that accomplishes the following:

  • Rebuilds and revitalizes a country (Croatia) after wartime devastation.
  • Sends students on co-ops and internships across the globe where they hit the ground running and are engaged with large and small companies. These students often have multiple job offers before graduation.
  • Connects students from different disciplines in a project outside the classroom, and the team creates an environmentally friendly soap and shampoo package system to be used by the hotel industry.
  • Prides itself on alumni who are leaders in their fields. For example, RIT has seven alumni who account for 11 Pulitzer Prizes in photojournalism.
  • Works with the U.S. military to improve the reliability and safety of ships, planes and Humvees, thus saving lives while also improving transportation efficiencies for the public.

These are real stories from RIT. It is an impressive body of work from our students, alumni, faculty and staff. And this is just the short list of success stories.

These stories are the crux of a new branding campaign for RIT. We’ve spent the last several months working with an outside firm, 160over90, based in Philadelphia. We are embarking on a national branding campaign this year in strategic areas and markets, so you will begin to see the university be more aggressive in this promotional arena.

Brand messaging is more than just taglines and logos; it’s about storytelling and projecting the personality of the brand. And what a story and personality RIT has to share with the world.

Why enhance RIT’s brand now? The university has tremendous momentum so now is the time to leverage our assets. We need to enhance our image with the general public and also broaden and deepen our relationship with our closest friends. That’s why we need your help as brand ambassadors. RIT has changed so drastically in recent years that many of our alumni don’t fully understand what we have become.

So, how can you help us? First, feel free to send me an e-mail with success stories you have that connect to RIT ( Secondly, I invite you to our marquee “branding” event—Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. See for yourself the amazing activity at RIT. Spread the word. The free festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. More than 32,000 visitors attended last year’s event, a hands-on spectacle with hundreds of exhibits and activities featuring the brilliant work of students, faculty and staff. I will see you May 7, rain or shine.

Go Tigers!

Bill Destler