Gosnell Family to be Presented RIT’s Prestigious NRS Award

Five generations recognized for significant contributions to the university

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The Gosnell family gathered in 2009 for the rededication of the Gosnell Boathouse in memory of Thomas Gosnell. Attending the celebration, from left to right, were RIT President Emeritus Al Simone, Georgia Gosnell, RIT President Bill Destler, Arthur Gosnell and Elizabeth Gosnell-Miller.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Nathaniel Rochester Society is giving its highest honor to the Gosnell family. Georgia Gosnell, a longtime RIT benefactor, and her son Arthur Gosnell, a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees, are accepting the honor on the family’s behalf.

The 2012 NRS Award is being presented during a ceremony at 6 p.m. July 12 in RIT’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall. The annual honor recognizes individuals who have contributed to the university’s advancement in an outstanding and significant manner.

“Support of RIT has been a family tradition dating back to the beginning of the institution,” Georgia Gosnell says. “Our dedication and devotion stems from a recognition of RIT’s commitment to quality and excellence in education that has spanned five generations.”

In acknowledgement of the family’s most recent commitment to the university, Georgia Gosnell joined RIT President Bill Destler in May to dedicate the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences. That formal announcement accompanied a $5 million deferred commitment from her to benefit the school, which incorporates the university’s academic programs in biology, bioinformatics, biotechnology and molecular bioscience, and environmental science.

Her husband, Thomas Gosnell, for whom the Gosnell School has been named, died in 2009. As president and CEO of the former Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co., he served 15 years on RIT’s Board of Trustees and was board chairman from 1987 to 1992. His commitment to the university included significant financial contributions, most notably a $3 million challenge grant that helped expand and enhance facilities in RIT’s College of Science. Gosnell Hall, featuring the Center for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Technology, was dedicated upon its completion in 1998.

Additional contributions to RIT by Thomas Gosnell included funding for eight memorial scholarships and the Arthur J. Gosnell Professorship in Economics. And in memory of his fervent support of RIT rowing, the home of the men’s and women’s crew teams was renamed the Gosnell Boathouse in 2009.

Like her husband, Georgia Gosnell has been a member of the Nathaniel Rochester Society since 1977. The Gosnell children include two daughters, Georgia Boyd Gosnell Travers and Elizabeth Rider Gosnell Miller, and two sons, Thomas Craig Gosnell, who passed away in 2001, and Arthur A. Gosnell. Arthur Gosnell, chairman and CEO of Stonehurst Capital and the fifth generation of his family to support RIT, joined the Board of Trustees in 1997. Stonehurst Capital sponsored the Stonehurst Regatta, which was hosted by RIT and the University of Rochester for 17 years. Gosnell family members also provided support for the addition to Wallace Library in the early 1990s.

Gosnell family members are descendants of Ezra R. Andrews, a founding trustee and president of the Mechanics Institute, which was a forerunner to RIT, and William B. Hale, whose family name graces the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center. Betsy Lucelia Rider Andrews, wife of Ezra Andrews, devoted herself to the Department of Domestic Science and Art at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute, founding the department’s Board of Directors and serving as its first president.

“It’s impossible to adequately express the magnitude of the Gosnell family’s impact in creating the thriving university that RIT is today,” Destler says. “Tom and Georgia faithfully supported RIT for decades, and now son Arthur continues that legacy as a member of our Board of Trustees. Presenting the entire Gosnell family with the NRS Award is a fitting acknowledgement of their decades of service to this university.”

The mission of the Nathaniel Rochester Society is to develop friends and ambassadors to promote and support RIT. The NRS Award, established in 1972, has been permanently endowed through the generous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus N. Barbour, charter members of the Society. Recent winners of the NRS Award include E. Philip Saunders, founder of TravelCenters of America, chairman and founder of Genesee Regional Bank, owner of Saunders Management Co.; B. Thomas Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc.; and RIT Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Bill Buckingham and Anne Sevier-Buckingham.

The NRS Award presentation piece is the creation of Leonard Urso, an internationally recognized, award-winning silversmith and the Mowris Mulligan Distinguished Professor in RIT’s School for American Crafts. The award, contemporary in design, embodies the timeless values of past, present and future.