10 years of Imagine RIT

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Jen Moon

Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival has evolved since the first one in 2008.

When Bill Destler became president of RIT in 2007, he stressed that his No.1 priority was transforming RIT into a national center for creativity and innovation.

One way he did this was through the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

Destler came up with the festival idea before he even started at RIT. He described a vision for it during an open forum when he was a candidate.

“The festival’s mission goes beyond showcasing the thriving RIT campus. We see it as a call to national service,” Destler said. “Innovation is one of our country’s last competitive advantages.”

Imagine RIT quickly became the university’s signature event, a showcase that displays the ingenuity of students, faculty and staff with about 400 exhibits per year.

Nearly 270,000 visitors have “explored the future” since May 3, 2008.

The festival has been a launching pad for student-led ventures, entrepreneurship and careers.

“It is always great to have so many community members, especially children, teens, parents and RIT alumni, join us and see all of the innovative and creative talents that have been on display over the years,” said Imagine RIT Chairman Barry Culhane. “It’s been an incredible 10 years. What will we think of next?”

If you go

The free festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, on the RIT campus.