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Top 10 News Stories of the Decade PR musings

RIT leapt into the 21st century with one of the most dynamic and significant decades of its rich history. RIT University News was privileged to chronicle the journey. As RIT turns its eyes toward the next decade, the University News staff took an informal poll to determine what it believes to be the Top 10 RIT news stories of the last 10 years.

As these lists often do, our list inspired much good-natured debate. But this much is indisputable: it was quite a decade.

10. Five Ph.D. programs added to the RIT curriculum: Microsystems engineering (2002), computing and information sciences (2005), color science (2007), astrophysical sciences and technology (2008) and sustainability (2008) joined imaging science (1988) to boost RIT’s number of doctoral programs to six.

9. Enrollment nears 17,000: Undergraduate applications to RIT grew to nearly 16,000 and graduate applications grew to almost 5,000 to help RIT’s student body total 16,773 in the fall of 2009.

8. President Clinton speaks at Commencement: Former President Bill Clinton delivered the Commencement keynote address in 2007. Clinton urged graduates to “change the world.”

7. RIT forms strategic alliance with Rochester General Health System: RIT became the health system’s official academic affiliate and RGHS became the university’s official medical center, adding capabilities and providing opportunities for both institutions.

6. The B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences becomes RIT’s eighth college: RIT’s newest college was the first in the country to combine computing and information sciences education. Its launch was aided by a $14 million gift from Paychex founder and RIT Trustee B. Thomas Golisano.

5. Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival debuts: Imagine RIT has become the university’s signature event, enabling RIT students, faculty and staff to show off their innovative and creative talents to the world. The 2008 festival drew more than 17,000 visitors, while the 2009 festival drew more than 25,000.

4. Campaign for RIT eclipses goal: The university’s eight-year comprehensive fundraising campaign tallied $309 million, paving the way for RIT’s tremendous growth.

3. Men’s hockey goes Division I: RIT moved its nationally recognized hockey program to Division I’s Atlantic Hockey Association. The Tigers won the league’s regular season title in its first season.

2. Changing of the Guard—Bill Destler becomes RIT’s ninth president as Al Simone retires: Destler arrives seeking to build on Simone’s accomplishments and transform RIT into the nation’s first “innovation university.”

1. $309 million investment in campus expansion/improvements: More than one-million gross square feet of additions and renovations were made to the RIT campus, including the creation of the $25 million Gordon Field House and Activities Center, which added a new dimension to the RIT community.

Did we miss something? Are our rankings off-base? Weigh in below!

  1. Mike Saffran
    Jan 06

    Full credit and kudos to you, John, for the initial idea for this list. Behind the scenes: John originally shared this idea when he and I were two of only three people in University News who were working on Christmas Eve. We then formulated an initial list of 20 or so “nominations” that was tweaked and shared by John for voting by the staff—along with “write-in nominations”—over the holiday break. (Having just reached my 10-year anniversary at RIT in November, it was fairly easy for me to review in my mind the past decade of RIT news.)

  2. Powers
    Jan 06

    #1 isn't really a news story, since it covers stuff done over the entire decade. But it's a nice way of inserting a lot of those construction projects without going over 10 items.

  3. John
    Jan 06

    Powers, you're absolutely right. No. 1 really isn't a news story. Collectively, our staff thought that the biggest story of 2000-2009 was the rapid and impressive growth of the RIT campus. Instead of filling the entire list with construction project after construction project, we cheated a little bit and lumped them all together into one story.

  4. A Lamb
    Jan 12

    Great article, a good look back at the last decade of change at RIT.

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