History of Imagine RIT chronicled in new book by RIT Press

Festival organizers provide a comprehensive look at the first 10 years of RIT’s signature event




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RIT Press is releasing a new book titled Imagine This: RIT’s Innovation and Creativity Festival that answers this question and chronicles the first 10 years of the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

How did Rochester Institute of Technology create, promote and grow a signature event that annually features more than 400 exhibitors and attracts more than 30,000 visitors? RIT Press is releasing a new book titled Imagine This: RIT’s Innovation and Creativity Festival that answers this question and chronicles the first 10 years of the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

The first Imagine RIT took place in 2008 and has attracted more than 250,000 visitors to campus since it launched. The book traces the festival’s growth from an ambitious idea former RIT President Bill Destler began discussing a few months into his presidency to its establishment as a fixture of the Rochester festival scene.

“Today, Imagine RIT reflects the heart and soul of the university, with outcomes both expected and unexpected,” said Barry Culhane, executive assistant to the president and festival chairman since it began. “No one anticipated, for example, how much internal pride the event generated among faculty, staff and students or how wildly popular the event would be among pre-teens, until we heard over and over again from current students and alumni that they decided to attend RIT after visiting the Imagine RIT festival.”

Imagine This features chapters written by Destler and Culhane, as well as former and current managers of special projects Andrew Quagliata and Heather Cottone and Chief Communications Officer Bob Finnerty. Longtime entertainment writer Jeff Spevak contributed a chapter about the festival’s significance to the Rochester community. Bruce Austin, director of RIT Press, edited the book and wrote the foreword. The book is richly illustrated with hundreds of photos from the first 10 years of the festival, featuring exhibits varying from puppy prosthetics to replicas of amusement park rides made with hundreds of thousands of pieces of K’NEX. The book’s photography was edited by A. Sue Weisler, manager of photography at RIT.

A book launch for Imagine This takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the RIT Press office on the second floor of the Wallace Library. Destler and Culhane will offer brief remarks and sign copies of the book. The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided.

Imagine This: RIT’s Innovation and Creativity Festival is available in hardcover for $34.95 at the RIT Press website or by calling RIT Press at 585-475-6766.

The 11th annual Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, Saturday, April 28, on the RIT campus. Festival admission is free, and parking is available on the RIT campus. There is also free shuttle service offered from Monroe Community College. Visitors can go to the Plan Your Day website to view exhibits.

RIT Press is the scholarly book publishing enterprise at Rochester Institute of Technology—dedicated to the innovative use of new publishing technology while upholding high standards in content quality, publication design, and print/digital production. The Press offers specialized titles for niche academic audiences, trade editions for mass-market audiences and occasional limited editions with unique aesthetic standards.