President Destler responds to the State of the Union address

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President Bill Destler

To: RIT Community
From: President Bill Destler
Date: Jan. 25, 2012
Subject: Response to State of the Union

As I listened to President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address to the nation last night, it was clear to me that there are many themes that relate directly to RIT.

President Obama’s “An America Built to Last” speech called for revitalizing the U.S. economy by emphasizing a rebirth of manufacturing and bolstering domestic energy production with alternative energy sources. It is encouraging to see manufacturing and green energy in the spotlight as we move the economy forward.

RIT and the Greater Rochester region can play a significant role in these areas, and we are already well positioned. Consider a few examples:

  • RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability has established itself as a global leader in manufacturing and remanufacturing technologies. For example, the university has studied the potential of industrial clusters for Upstate New York and we have identified strong regional manufacturing competiveness.
  • RIT is helping shape the future of new energy technologies. We have strong applied research in emerging fuel technologies such as biodiesel, ethanol, fuel cells, hydrogen and combinations of these alternatives to gas.
  • In green technology, RIT is enhancing the environmental and economic performance of products and processes. We have developed tools for sustainable design, a holistic approach to creating high quality products with minimal environmental impact.

The United States can be a global leader in these areas. And I am pleased that they align and play to RIT’s strengths. We will continue to look for opportunities in the coming year to revitalize the local, regional, state and national economy.

The President also put higher education on notice about rising tuitions costs. “Higher education can’t be a luxury, it is an economic imperative that every family should be able to afford,” he stated.

I could not agree more with that statement. This past year, RIT dedicated more than $126 million to student financial aid (an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year). We plan to increase this amount in the coming year. Furthermore, working with the RIT Board of Trustees and the RIT leadership team, we are crafting a Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget that will reduce the tuition increase and take some burden off our students and their families.

In sum, 2012 will certainly be a year of political dialogue from both sides of the political aisle given the upcoming presidential election. These are healthy debates. That said, RIT is well positioned to move forward and make an impact for our nation.

Cordially yours,

Bill Destler