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Golisano's generosity launches a new college

With the creation of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, RIT has assured its place as a permanent destination on the information superhighway.

The new college, believed to be the largest and most complete computing college in the country, will be home to programs in computer science, information technology and software engineering. Named for its founding donor, B. Thomas Golisano, chairman and chief executive officer of Paychex Inc., the college owes its launch to his gift of $14 million.

"The digital revolution makes this a very exciting time to be at RIT - this is our time to lead in preparing the world's next generation of IT and computer professionals," said Albert Simone, RIT president. "Thanks to Tom Golisano, we are able to get our new college off the ground much faster than anyone anticipated. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Tom is keenly aware of RIT"s role - not only in Rochester but around the world - in preparing students for careers in technology."

Since the new college and Golisano's gift were announced at a standing-room-only news conference on Feb. 7, Golisano has received numerous positive comments from people in the Rochester community.

"RIT has a chance to be the No. 1 IT school in the country, and be recognized for it," Golisano stated. "This is going to be very important to this community, and very important to the country. I"m glad to be associated with it."

"RIT has a chance to be the No.1 IT school in the country - and be recognized for it."
His company, Paychex Inc., has an information technology staff of 550. "The demands on that organization are high," he said, "because we recognize the efficiency and productivity and product offerings they can create, and that we can create because of the IT development. So this is very important to us."

Golisano"s commitment to help RIT establish this new college also reflects his confidence in the university and its future. "A non-profit organization, just like a commercial enterprise, has a responsibility to be productive and efficient," he said. "And I think RIT does a good job."

Computing is the fastest-growing occupational category in the country today, with an estimated 1.6 million new information technology workers needed this year alone. It is forecast that in the next five years, at least 3 million new jobs will be created for computer systems analysts, computer support specialists, programmers, and software developers.

"A new era in computing and information sciences is about to begin at RIT," said William Buckingham, chairman of RIT"s Board of Trustees. "We are realizing a vision that will lift an RIT education to the highest level, and at the same time, provide a highly trained workforce for the industries of tomorrow."

The new college will initially have an enrollment of 3,000, and is expected to grow to 4,500 students in five years. "We have seen applications to our existing computer science and information technology programs increase by 182 percent since 1994," said Wiley McKinzie, dean, College of Applied Science and Technology. "When these programs move to the new College of Computing and Information Sciences, it will immediately be the largest computing college in the country," added McKinzie.

"What will make this college unlike any other is the comprehensive approach we are taking to computing," McKinzie continued. "We are combining and elevating the three essential disciplines - computer science, software engineering, and information technology. They represent the discovery of ideas, the development and design of products that flow from those ideas, and the application of those products in our lives."

The creation of RIT"s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences was announced at a news conference Feb. 7. Speakers were (from left) Wiley McKinzie, dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology; Board of Trustees Chairman William Buckingham; Paychex CEO and RIT Trustee B. Thomas Golisano; President Albert Simone; and Alex Kipman, a senior software engineering major. (Photo by Ken Huth.)

Walter Wolf was named interim dean of the new college. He came to RIT in 1983 as a lecturer in computer science, earned an M.S. in that discipline from RIT in 1985, and has served as computer science department chair since 1998.

The new college launches with bachelor"s and master"s degree programs in computer science, software engineering and information technology. Computer science will offer B.S. and M.S. degrees and focus on software development, communications, operating systems, networks and programming language concepts. Software engineering will offer a B.S. and introduce a new M.S. degree. These programs will prepare students to design complex and evolving software. Information technology will offer a B.S. and M.S. in IT, and M.S. in software development and management.

The college"s three core programs will support key technology programs in RIT"s seven other colleges, including bioinformatics, imaging science, computer engineering, management information systems, computer animation, and telecommunications. The new college also will play an integral role in RIT"s university-wide multidisciplinary applied research programs in areas as diverse as micro-optical systems and remote sensing to fiber optic and wireless telecommunications.

RIT"s new Information Technology Lab will serve as an integral part of the college"s educational mix. The IT Lab, which owes its start to recent New York state funding through the efforts of Sen. James Alesi and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, already plays a crucial role as a multidisciplinary resource. The IT Lab will add opportunities for students and faculty to partner with industry to apply computing knowledge to business solutions, and to explore and develop applications of emerging information technologies. Faculty and students are already working on a number of projects, with key companies such as IBM and Xerox. The IT Lab will be the foundation of a new computing Ph.D. program that is under development.

Plans are being developed for a 90,000-square-foot building that ultimately will house the new college.

"RIT is perfectly positioned to blend these programs in high-technology information fields," says Simone. "We see it as a natural evolution of who and what we are at RIT. Our mission, as always, is to offer the very best, most timely and career-focused education possible to our students.

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