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What's in a name?


Lucius “Bob” Gordon’s connection to RIT dates to 1937.
Born in Brockport, N.Y., in 1912, Gordon is the son of Fred Hooker Gordon Sr., a farmer and president of Yates Coal Co. Gordon graduated from Phillips Andover Academy and earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Yale University.

Lucius “Bob” Gordon, whose connection with RIT dates to the 1930s, was instrumental in making the new field house a reality.

In 1937, Bob joined his brother, Fred, to lead the Mixing Equipment Company (MIXCO). Fred Gordon, who died in 2003, was a longtime trustee of both Mechanics Institute and RIT. The brothers’ company manufactured fluid mixing equipment used in the chemical, pharmaceutical and petroleum industries. The Gordons turned to Mechanics Institute, RIT’s forerunner, for machinists, lab technicians, chemists and co-op students – and tapped into the school’s technical expertise for special projects.

“Mechanics Institute made possible the rise of industry in Rochester,” Gordon said. “We pulled out of the Depression while the rest of the country was left behind.”

MIXCO grew from 10 employees in 1937 to more than 1,000 employees within 15 years. It eventually had plants in Canada, England, Australia and Singapore.

When RIT relocated from downtown Rochester to its
current site, Gordon’s company donated about $50,000 toward the new campus, which opened in 1968. The move “was great for industry and it was great for Rochester,” believes Gordon, who became an RIT trustee in 1975.

His gift to the Student Life Center funded the Marie and Lucius R. Gordon administrative wing; the crew team’s “Bob Gordon Shell” is due to his generosity; and the Lucius Gordon Drive at the RIT Business and Technology Park recognizes his longstanding advocacy.

At a reception celebrating the opening of the Gordon Field House and Activities Center in May, Gordon noted that he and his wife were “very proud and honored” to have their names on the impressive facility.

“Bob,” replied President Simone, “your broad shoulders and big heart are the reason we’re here today."