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The University Magazine

from the Archives

Carl F. Lomb

On the watch

Gift recalls life and times of Carl F. Lomb

A recent gift to the RIT Archives highlights one of the universityís most important contributors: Carl F. Lomb. The gift, a gold pocket watch, came from Joseph Taylor, formerly of Rochester, a descendent of Lomb.

Taylor speculates the watch may have been a gift from Carrie Bausch Lomb, daughter of John Jacob Bausch, founder of Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, to her new husband, Carl Lomb. The couple married in 1879. The watch dates from the 1880s and carries an image of a very young Carrie Bausch Lomb on the white enamel dial.

An able businessman, Lomb worked for numerous companies in Rochester, including the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company. He was very familiar with the workings of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI, RITís predecessor) through his cousin Henry Lomb, who had a long association with the school. Carl readily accepted when asked to join the schoolís Board of Directors in 1910, ascending to board president upon George Eastmanís resignation in 1916.

Lomb guided the school for the next 23 years. One of the most important decisions he oversaw was selecting John Randall as the fourth president in 1922. The school had been adrift since the end of World War I, enrollment was down, and it was unclear what educational role RAMI had to play among Rochester education institutions. Lomb and Randall assessed every aspect of the operation, focusing the programs and curriculum as never before. The school would be different from a high school or university, offering intensive training to prepare students for jobs in various industries as well as in applied arts and retail. The groundwork laid in this period provided the foundation for the present scope of programs at RIT.

At his funeral in 1939, Lomb was lauded as an outstanding citizen of Rochester, a hardworking man who provided leadership to industry and civic organizations as well as RAMI.

Becky Simmons, RIT archivist