by the FUTURE
Building upon a decade
It is not often that
RIT looks back to where it's been. We're too busy looking
ahead. This is a special moment in the history of the university,
however: the occasion of Albert J. Simone's 10th anniversary
as president. It has been a decade of extraordinary achievement.
His first day on the
job in 1992, President Simone laid out his hopes for RIT to faculty
and staff with what would become his trademark logic, energy and
He praised President
Mark Ellingson, the architect of RIT's move to the 1,300-acre
campus; President Paul Miller, who expanded academic programs
and service to the community; and President M. Richard Rose, who
moved RIT to national-university status.
In fall 1992, enrollment
was 13,000, making RIT the 17th largest private university in
the nation. The university was financially sound, with an endowment
of $189 million and an operating budget of $236 million. The signature
programs were in microelectronics engineering, photography and
graphic arts, and imaging science, as well as those in the School
for American Crafts and the National Technical Institute for the
While all of this was
impressive, it was not enough for Dr. Simone. That very first
morning, he called for strategic planning planning that
required a clear understanding of institutional identity.
RIT is a university
that holds the students at heart and teaching as noble,
he said. Working from this premise, he quickly convened an institute-wide
task force and by 1994, the board of trustees had approved a 10-year
strategic plan. RIT's mission was articulated in that plan
to lead higher education in preparing students for successful
career development over their lifetimes.
Under President Simone's
leadership, RIT has experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment,
endowment, and programs. Enrollment now totals more than 15,317
students, raising RIT to the nation's eighth largest private
university. Student population is growing more diverse: One third
is female; 1,100 students deaf or hard-of-hearing. International
enrollment exceeds 1,200, the largest in RIT history.
While growing in numbers,
RIT is becoming increasingly selective in admissions. For the
class entering in fall 2002, a record 2,400 students were selected
from more than 8,900 applicants. President Simone recognizes that
financial strength is essential for the success of the educational
mission. In his 2002 Community Address, he stressed,
No matter how hard we may work and how creative we might
be, at some point financial resources have to be in place.
While the university's $405 million endowment has noticed
the effects of the current recession, nevertheless it has more
than doubled over the past 10 years, thanks to the generosity
of friends and wise investment strategies.
Clearly, this has been
a decade of academic milestones. Two of the eight colleges were
named: the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (the nation's
only college of engineering named for a woman) and the B. Thomas
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (the largest
computing college in the country). In addition, RIT introduced
new academic degree programs in such areas as information technology
(the first in the nation), software engineering, biochemistry,
psychology, and new media.
Today, RIT offers more
than 200 degree programs in areas as distinctive and diverse as
film/video/animation, biotechnology, international business, telecommunications
engineering technology and the programs at NTID.
In addition, we are
transforming key academic areas of strength to First in Class
stature. An institute-wide initiative, First in Class puts
RIT on a course to become first among all universities that form
partnerships with industry and government to address real-world
problems. Achievements of this initiative include: creation of
the IT Collaboratory, Sloan Printing Industry Center, Laboratory
for Advanced Spectral Sensing, and the Laboratory for Applied
Computing; strengthening of the National Center for Remanufacturing
and Resource Recovery; and development of two new degree programs
in bioinformatics and the nation's first Ph.D. program in
Other connections to
industry continue to thrive. Our co-op program is the fourth largest
in the world. Last year, RIT garnered a record $26 million in
sponsored research from industry and government. At the Center
for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS), nearly 420 research
projects were performed for 760 companies.
Over the past 10 years,
the university has invested more than $10 million in campus facilities.
Significant construction projects include the new home for the
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences;
Gosnell Center for Excellence in Mathematics, Science, and Technology;
College of Applied Science and Technology Building; Joseph F.
and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at NTID; six University Commons
apartments; six Greek residences; Crossroads Market Café
and Copy Center; and Java Wally's coffeehouse in Wallace
Library. In addition to major upgrades of residence halls and
classrooms, the James Gleason engineering building was extensively
renovated. We also have enhanced lacrosse, soccer, and baseball
fields as well as outdoor track and field facilities. Ground is
broken for the 160,000 square-foot Gordon Field House and Activities
Center. As part of a campus beautification project, new roads
and walkways have been constructed.
RIT is engaged in community,
national, and global issues as never before. Last year alone,
the university achieved 10,000 placements in the media and drew
12,200 visitors for campus events such as Special Olympics. In
the past decade, RIT hosted a former U.S. president and the director
of the CIA as commencement speakers, the latter during the post
9/11 War on Terrorism.
We have been blessed
with an extraordinary board of trustees over the past decade,
particularly in its chairs Colby Chandler, William Whiteside,
William Buckingham '64 and Bruce James '64. In support
of the growing alumni population now numbering 90,000
we have, for the first time, planned and implemented a full program
of alumni reunions the first held in 2001 during Brick
City Festival. Also for the first time, Alumni Relations activities
are posted on the Web for a growing online alumni community.
Today, President Simone
has a new vision of RIT as the university of choice for students
seeking technology-based education with application in the global
community. While he would say the need for this new, more expansive
vision of RIT is a tribute to our collective accomplishments,
others will say it is simply the reflection of a man always asking