Now in its final year, The Campaign for RIT is transforming the university
|Gordon Field House and Activities
Center has become a campus centerpiece since opening
“Powered by the Future: The Campaign for RIT” concludes in June 2006, but the money received so far is already being put to use. “Our students have benefited tremendously,” says Provost Stanley McKenzie. “From our point of view, the ‘future’ has begun.”
RIT has raised more than $232 million toward the $300 million goal of its largest-ever fund-raising campaign.
Here is the status of the five campaign areas as of the magazine’s July press time. Because many donors designate a particular area to support, some of the five have surpassed their original goals.
• Investing in students: $36 million raised, 48 percent of the $75 million goal.
“If it weren’t for scholarships, there was no feasible way for me to attend college – much less RIT,” says Chad Tucker ’04 (management information systems).
“I was the first person in my family to go to college,” says the Ft. Myers, Fla., native. “My mom and I had a huge argument when I was a senior in high school. She was so worried about how we would pay for college.”
Tucker assured his family that everything would work out, and he was right. He received half a dozen scholarships, including the Kemper Scholarship through the College of Business – a four-year award from the Kemper Foundation.
Just prior to graduating from RIT, he landed a coveted position in Boeing’s accelerated leadership development program in information technology.
“It’s a very selective program that was started two years ago to bring potential leaders into the company and train them in all aspects of commercial airplanes and military programs,” Tucker says. “I was one of 15 hired out of 600 applicants.”
Kevin Sheldon ’02, another College of Business grad, has a similar story. “My parents have a very modest income and were very concerned about how I was going to go to school,” he says. “RIT covered about 75 percent of my tuition and room and board through scholarships and grants.”
Sheldon, who now works as a manager of marketing analysis for America Online (AOL), now tries to help other students.
Students gather to study in Erdle Commons
“I am very passionate about scholarships and now any money that I give to the school goes toward them. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Since the start of the campaign, more than 145 new scholarships have been awarded.
• Reinventing the campus: $57 million raised, 82 percent of the $70 million goal.
New and enhanced campus facilities are among the most conspicuous results of the campaign’s success. The Gordon Field House and Activities Center, the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and extensive renovations to the Gleason buildings are examples. Students have additional places to study and socialize, including the Erdle Commons in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, the Bates Science Study Center in the College of Science and the CSD Student Development Center now under construction at NTID.
• Recruiting and retaining top faculty: $19 million raised, 39 percent of the $50 million goal.
“RIT must compete with other top universities for the best teachers,” says McKenzie. “One of the most effective ways to do this is to create endowed professorships in key areas.”
The minimum required to create a single endowed faculty chair ranges from $1.5 million to $3 million, depending on the degree of technical support required and the competition in the field. The campaign has seen eight new endowed professorships established, including the Barber B. Conable Chair in International Studies and the Bausch & Lomb Endowed Chair in Microsystems Engineering.
Endowed professorships allow faculty members to spend more time on their research, which has multiple benefits.
Kodak Quad attracts crowds year round.
“The endowment has enabled me to build on my experience and further develop my expertise in the strategies of foreign business in Asia Pacific, primarily China,” says David Reid, Benjamin Forman Professor in International Business. “With the resource backing of an endowed chair and the flexibility it provides, I am able to travel to China and examine first-hand, in depth, the experiences of foreign invested enterprises. This expertise becomes a platform from which I can build relationships with the business community, locally and beyond, to further the aims of the Center for International Business at RIT and bring senior international figures to campus to enrich the College of Business as well as the business community of western New York.”
• Supporting applied research and learning: $87 million raised, surpassing the original goal of $75 million.
“Opportunities for students to learn by working with faculty on research projects are tremendously valuable,” says McKenzie. “Students and faculty benefit. Applied research is an important component of RIT’s focus on experiential learning.”
Gifts from industry partners have built and equipped labs across campus and helped the university develop programs in key areas such as remanufacturing and resource recovery, microsystems engineering, biotechnology and bioinformatics, printing and imaging science. Among the most recent examples is a multiyear grant totaling $2 million from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in support of RIT’s Center for Bioscience Education and Technology (CBET), now under construction on campus.
• Fund for the future: $33 million raised, surpassing the original goal of $30 million.
“Unrestricted gifts – funds not earmarked for a particular project or area – provide RIT with important flexibility to meet the demands of the future,” notes McKenzie. “We try to keep our crystal ball in good working order, but in today’s dynamic industry and education environments, it’s essential to have funds available to quickly pursue opportunities as they arise.”
RIT was able to surpass this goal as the result of bequests and deferred gifts from supporters who included the university in their estate plans. Provost McKenzie is in that group; he has included RIT in his will with a $1.4 million bequest.
To find out more about the campaign, visit
the Web site at www.rit.edu and look for the “Powered by the Future” link. Or, contact the Office of Development at 585-475-5500.
How to participate
There are many ways to make
a gift to The Campaign for RIT.
Online: Go to www.rit.edu/makeagift
By telephone: Call 1-800-475-0376.
By mail: Use the envelope enclosed
inside the back cover of this magazine.