It was a very good year
|Bill Destler unveils the Imagine RIT festival poster created by Carly Schonberg ’08 (illustration).
“A year ago, I asked the RIT family to imagine how much fun we could have working together to make RIT the university that captures the new high ground in higher education. After one year on the job, I am happy to report we are on our way.
Consider RIT’s amazing accomplishments in the past year:
- We announced the creation of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, which was made possible through a $10 million commitment from Rochester entrepreneur B. Thomas Golisano (story, page 18). The institute offers a platform for universities, corporations and governments around the globe to collaborate in the creation of innovative education and technology related to sustainable design, life-cycle engineering, remanufacturing and pollution prevention. In less than one year, we’ve raised nearly $30 million for the institute, including $12 million from the state of New York and a leadership gift from Xerox Corp.
- We created a corporate research and development program, aimed at giving U.S. companies a competitive advantage. PAETEC, the Rochester-based telecommunications company, was the first of several companies to sign up. The PAETEC partnership includes $1 million worth of research and development projects and will involve faculty and graduate students from numerous RIT colleges.
- The ‘right brain’ and ‘left brain’ collided at RIT in May. Nearly 20,000 people turned out for our inaugural Imagine RIT: Innovation + Creativity Festival (story). The festival was a success beyond my wildest expectations. I was so proud of the quality of creative and innovative work displayed by our faculty, staff and students. It was a historic day for RIT. And it’s all happening again next year, on May 2, 2009.
- We signed an agreement with Dubai officials and the royal family to open a new campus in the booming Middle East city. RIT Dubai will be a part of Dubai Silicon Oasis, a 7.2-square-kilometer complex that will include a high-tech park, housing, retail, banks, conference centers and more. We continue to increase the number of global opportunities for our students. Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and it is exciting that RIT will strengthen relationships with multi-national companies located in the United Arab Emirates.
- In July, our Board of Trustees met in the heart of Silicon Valley with nearly two-dozen high-tech firms. Our discussions centered on innovation and creativity, corporate research and development, and sustainability.
- Park Point, a major hub for retail businesses, student housing and entertainment, is now open. Retail giant Barnes & Noble, the new RIT bookstore, is the anchor tenant (story).
These are just some of the highlights. I also had the pleasure of meeting more than a thousand alumni in my visits to 29 cities, as well as all of our local, state and federal government officials. In the coming year, I look forward to more travels and more connections. We have plans to visit alumni in 22 cities as well as at events in Rochester. If I don’t see you on my travels, consider this your invitation to visit campus during Brick City Homecoming, Oct. 10-12, 2008.