The relationship between
RIT and Kodak has produced many benefits for both.
Its a partnership
that more closely resembles a motion picture than a snapshot.
Over the years, the bond that ties Eastman Kodak Co. and Rochester
Institute of Technology has been constantly evolving never
Its true that
the relationship started with a snapshot so to speak. Just
over 100 years ago, RIT began offering photographic education
while Kodak was well on its way to making photography available
to the masses. The connection quickly became obvious.
Kodak chairman and CEO
Today, the opportunities
for collaboration between these two institutions extend well beyond
the range of photography, including groundbreaking research in
areas such as imaging science and information technology.
hard pressed to find two separate, independent, world-class leaders
that are more closely allied than ours, states Daniel Carp
73 (MBA), Kodak chairman and CEO. Weve been
partners in education, in research and in community service, well
before the company was known as Kodak and the school was called
Right from the start
The relationship started
in 1887, when Kodak founder George Eastman made his first contribution
$50 to Mechanics Institute, the predecessor to RIT.
Eastman served as chairman
of the board of trustees for three years. Over the years, other
Kodak managers have served on the board, including five current
Sharing the talent
and dedication of Kodak personnel is an important legacy of this
partnership. One of the more notable examples came in 1930 when
the company loaned photography expert and technical writer C.B.
Neblette to the institute full time. Neblette, one of the most
influential personalities in the field, was charged with making
RITs photography program the largest and the best of its
kind. He directed the department and later the School of Photography
from 1936 to 1960 and became the first dean of the College of
Graphic Arts and Photography, holding that post until 1967.
As a result,
Kodak became very influential in the establishment of our photo
school, explains Bill DuBois, RITs chair of photographic
Neblette, who led the School of Photography from 1936 to 1967,
originally came to RIT on loan from Kodak. Photo credit: Archives
and Special Collections, RIT Library.
In the schools
early days, the company provided supplies to support the technical
side of photography, including film. Later, Kodak supplied professional
reference books to every incoming photo student. These technical
and scientific guides offered important insights in areas like
lighting, film technology, chemistry and the marketing of photography.
And as the field of
photography marches into the digital era, Kodak has committed
its support to RIT in the development of digital photography laboratories
Kodak has always
been there and ready in a variety of ways to support us in the
education of our students, says DuBois.
Science and scholarship
photography, a growing number of other collaborative areas have
served to significantly strengthen this bond. In recent years,
Kodak has become a driving force in research conducted at RITs
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (CIS).
Modern imaging systems
require an increasing proficiency in science and technology. CIS
is dedicated to training the next generation of scientists by
establishing a collaborative research environment that challenges
students to solve problems facing industry and government.
As a founding member
of the Laboratory for Advanced Spectral Sensing (LASS) at CIS,
Kodaks support is addressing questions related to remote
spectral sensing. To do that, CIS researchers have significantly
improved the techniques used to create mega-scenes
large scale, computer simulations of specific landscapes
used to test the performance of satellite sensors. Previously,
these representations were much smaller and less accurate.
Data collected at ground
level is used to support information collected by aircraft or
satellites by measuring spectra the light reflected or
emitted by objects. A large number of spectra are required to
produce accurate textures of materials such as grass and concrete.
Combining these factors helps satellite developers to predict
the performance of their systems based on atmospheric conditions
and other variables. The potential implications range from determining
crop health to evaluating factors related to homeland security.
|With Kodak's support, RIT imaging scientists are pursuing
research in remote spectral sensing. One area involves developing
computer-generated mega-scenes used in the development
of remote sensing systems.
Our goal is always
to provide something tangible in exchange for Kodaks research
support, explains Michael Richardson, LASS director. Weve
been able to develop software tools that are now being used in
a number of projects. That wouldnt be possible if not for
the work done here.
Future research depends
on attracting more students to imaging science. To this end, Kodak
is providing CIS with scholarship money for undergraduate students
and for a program that shows high school teachers how to incorporate
imaging science into their lesson plans. The company also funds
annual paid summer internships that give qualified high school
students hands-on experience in imaging science.
The impact of Kodaks
support can be witnessed across campus. For example, the Information
Technology Collaboratory is an industry partnership focusing on
research related to microsystems, photonics, remote systems and
high-bandwidth telecom networks. Its mission is to create key
technologies, knowledge and capabilities for the design and integration
of the next generation of IT systems.
The company also has
worked closely with the National Center for Remanufacturing and
Resource Recovery at RITs Center for Integrated Manufacturing
Studies (CIMS) to develop an economical recycling process for
Most recently, Kodak
has been evaluating an effort to capitalize on RITs print
media expertise to investigate how to print low-cost electronics.
A winning team
Maintaining a continuous
flow of communication is critical to enhancing the future of any
partnership. That philosophy is driving the companys Vertical
Slice team for university relations, represented by a cross
section of Kodak employees from various divisions. Kodak Chief
Administrative Officer Michael P. Morley 69 (business administration),
an RIT trustee, steers the group with team leader Stephanie Maddox
01 (M.S., manufacturing engineering and product design)
from Kodaks Worldwide Information Division. The 14 members
of the team all RIT alums range from engineers to
some of Kodaks top administrators. Working with RIT representatives,
the team is able to present its key growth areas while identifying
current and emerging areas of technical engagement at RIT.
Chief Administrative Officer Michael P. Morley '69 (left),
Stephanie Maddox '01 and RIT Alumni Network Board of Directors
Chair Ken Reed '71 serve on Kodak's Vertical Slice
team, charged with identifying current and emerging areas
of technical engagement at RIT.
Among the priorities
of the Vertical Slice team is sustaining the employment pipeline.
Kodak estimates that more than a third of its new hires each year
are RIT graduates far more than any other college or university.
In total, there are nearly 3,900 RIT alumni employed by the company
making Kodak the largest employer of RIT graduates.
We strive to
promote Kodak as the employer of choice among RIT graduates,
explains Maddox. In addition, its important for us
to explore ways to enhance the day-to-day connections with various
contacts on campus including students, faculty and administrators.
The team has focused
much of its effort on creating co-op jobs for students, as well
as identifying long-term strategies for career development.
To heighten its visibility
at RIT, Kodak recently sponsored a full day of activities encouraging
participation by students, faculty and staff. RIT president Albert
Simone welcomed Antonio Perez, Kodaks president and chief
operating officer, as the featured speaker during a collaborative
luncheon. In addition, Carl Gustin, Kodaks chief marketing
officer and senior vice president, delivered a presentation on
the future of the Kodak brand in the digital marketplace.
Other highlights included
tours of the Kodak Picture Planet, a 1,000 square-foot mobile
venue designed to educate and entertain consumers about photographic
products and solutions. Kodaks NASCAR show car
was also on display, and there were a variety of gift giveaways.
Organizers say events like these are important to assure that
the relationship remains cohesive.
a great deal of synergy between the outstanding educational centers
of excellence at RIT and the areas of great technological depth
at Kodak, says Kenneth Reed 71 (chemistry), Kodak
senior principal scientist, RIT trustee and chair of the RIT Alumni
Network Board of Directors. Its important that we
never take that for granted.
Building on diversity
To build a more effective
workforce, Kodak and RIT have fostered an increasing emphasis
on diversity. During his address at an RIT diversity workshop
last year, CEO Carp acknowledged that Kodak and other companies
will draw future employees from a talent pool that will include
more women, minorities and immigrants. He believes that RITs
culture makes the university well positioned to train the next
generation of workers.
and Kodak celebrated their long-term partnership at the first
Kodak Day on Oct. 9. The festivities included a visit by Kodak's
NASCAR show car.
Trustee Morley emphasizes
that growing the universitys inclusive culture remains a
key priority for both institutions. Its the diversity
of our faculty, staff and students that drives the success of
RIT, he states. And by creating a diverse workforce
at Kodak, we are better able to serve the needs of the entire
During most of her
21-year career at Kodak, Essie Calhoun (recently elected to the
RIT Board of Trustees) has worked hard to build and strengthen
the companys relationship with diverse organizations. The
Kodak vice president, chief diversity officer and director of
community affairs is an active supporter of African American,
Latin American and Native American leadership programs at RIT.
expectation from us that RIT provides a representative workforce,
she explains. These future leaders come to us prepared with
an understanding of the dynamics of a diverse environment. We
support and salute our partners in that effort.
relationship a marriage comprising so many varied components
has never been more dynamic. For the company, its
become an invaluable tool for navigating an altered business landscape.
a sea change, reflects Carp, evolving from a historically
consumer film-based company to one with a broader and more balanced
business portfolio. We are strengthening our commercial portfolio
and aggressively pursuing the vast potential of digital imaging
across many different businesses.
Thats not to
say that film photography which initially tied these two
institutions wont continue to play a role. It remains
an important area of knowledge sharing that Kodak will leverage
to grow its film business within emerging markets. In Carps
view, theres no limit to the potential for valuable exchanges
within an increasingly active pipeline.
We have a continual
stream of people going back to RIT to consult on curriculum, to
teach, to mentor students, and even to serve on the board of trustees.
And RIT continues to provide Kodak with perspective on whats
current in technology and in academics how innovations
are received, how theyre developed and, in general, whats
on the minds of the curious innovators of the next generation.