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President Simone will retire next year
Search committee seeks feedback from entire RIT community on successor

President Albert J. Simone, RIT’s eighth president, announced his retirement plans to the RIT community on May 16. In nearly 50 years in higher education, Simone has served as an economics professor, a business school dean and president of two universities. He joined RIT in 1992 after leading the University of Hawaii.

Albert J. Simone
President Simone at a news conference announcing his plans to retire in mid-2007.

“It has been a pleasure to serve RIT in what has been an extraordinarily rewarding experience … the best job I have ever had,” said Simone. “Together, the accomplishments of the students, faculty, staff and alumni have taken RIT to new levels of excellence.” He will continue to serve as president through the end of the 2006-07 academic year. A search committee is at work on finding his successor (see companion story).

Simone has piloted RIT through a tremendous growth period. When he became president in 1992, enrollment was 13,000, RIT’s endowment totaled $189 million and the operating budget was $240 million. Today, RIT is one of the nation’s leading career-oriented universities with 15,200 students from all 50 states and more than 90 foreign countries, 2,800 faculty and staff, and an annual operating budget of more than $492 million. RIT is now the 10th largest private university in the nation in terms of full-time undergraduate enrollment. Mean SAT scores have improved from 1150 to 1220 in the past decade. The endowment has climbed to more than $580 million.

Carolie Simone
Carolie Simone, center, at the news conference.

Under Simone’s leadership, numerous academic programs have been established in response to changing needs and opportunities in areas of RIT’s strength. Two Ph.D. programs, in microsystems engineering and computing and information sciences, have been launched. Among the new bachelor’s degree programs are information technology, software engineering, chemistry and polymer chemistry, biochemistry, advertising and public relations, and new media publishing. New master’s degree programs include product development, information technology, communication and media technologies, cross-disciplinary professional studies and the executive MBA.

President Simone has expanded RIT’s world horizons, championing the creation of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology in Croatia and forming partnerships with institutions in China, Kosovo and the Dominican Republic.

Albert Simone and James Macchiano
Simone and James Macchiano, 2005-06 Student Govedrnment president.

New campus facilities made possible by President Simone’s efforts include the Gordon Field House and Activities Center, the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, the IT Collaboratory, and the soon-to-be-completed Center for Bioscience Education and Technology. RIT has spent about $300 million in physical improvements during the past decade.

“RIT continues to change and improve for the better with the leadership of President Simone,” said 2005-06 Student Government President James Macchiano. “He has always put the students first.”

Michael Morley
Michael Morley '69, Board of Trustees chair, explains the search process.

President Simone’s legacy will also include the planning and vision for “College Town,” the future development of housing, retail and entertainment in the northeast portion of campus. Groundbreaking is expected this fall on the project.

“It simply amazes me as I walk around campus to see how much RIT has grown on so many levels,” said Simone. “RIT is unquestionably a university with tremendous momentum. I am very proud of the impact that RIT alumni, faculty, staff and students are making locally, nationally and globally.”

RIT Presidents
Carleton B. Gibson, 1910-1916
James F. Barker, 1916-1919
Royal B. Farnum, 1919-1921
John A. Randall, 1922-1936
Mark Ellingson, 1936-1969
Paul A. Miller,1969-1979
M. Richard Rose, 1979-1992
Albert J. Simone, 1992-2007

Simone is very active in a wide range of community organizations and has been a significant presence in Rochester. He will continue to remain active in the Rochester community. He also plans to author several books related to leadership in higher education.

“Dr. Simone’s legacy is firmly established, as RIT has prospered under his steadfast leadership,” said Michael P. Morley ’69 (business administration), chairman of the Board of Trustees. “President Simone has consistently placed the success of students at the top of his priority list. We thank Dr. Simone for his 15 years of service to RIT and wish the Simone family all the best when he leaves office next year.”

Search for RIT’s next president is underway

Immediately upon President Simone’s retirement announcement, a committee to seek his successor was formed. The presidential search committee, chaired by Trustee Donald Boyce ’67 (business administration), includes students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees.

A national search firm has also been selected.

Forums with alumni will take place in August and September in about half a dozen cities. The search timetable calls for finalists to visit campus for interviews in early 2007. The Board of Trustees, with input from the RIT community, will select the new president next spring.

“Al Simone has positioned RIT as one of the leading national universities in professional and career-oriented education,” said Michael P. Morley ’69 (business administration), chair of the Board of Trustees. “We know the RIT presidency will be an extremely attractive post in higher education.”

In addition to Boyce and Morley, search committee members are: Kathleen Cole Anderson ’94 (professional and technical communications); Bruce Bates, RIT trustee; Justin Blum, psychology student; David Borkholder ’92 (microelectronic engineering), faculty; William Buckingham ’64 (business administration), trustee; Mary-Beth Cooper, vice president, Student Affairs; Nancy Fein ’76 (applied mathematics), trustee; Chance Glenn, faculty; Jorge Diaz-Herrera, dean, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences; Joyce Hertzson, faculty; Mehlam Kalverts, software engineering student; James Macfadden, trustee; Jean-Guy Naud ’68, ’75 (photography, printing technology), faculty; Susan Roethel, staff, student; Kathryn Schmitz ’95 (career and human resource development), faculty; Kimeley Shearer, staff; Howard Ward, staff; Chester Watson ’74 (accounting), trustee; and Christine Whitman, trustee.

To provide feedback and stay informed on the search for RIT’s next president, visit www.rit.edu/presidentialsearch.