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The University Magazine

The Year in Review: RIT by the numbers

The metrics are solid, but there’s room to improve

To RIT’s valued alumni and friends:
I welcome another chance to share the great news of RIT’s success, this time in the form of our annual report on the health of the university. It is important for all RIT supporters to know where we are doing well, and where we are focusing efforts to improve the overall state of the university.

I want to draw your attention to three key measures of our success – measures in which you all play an important role.

1. Alumni Engagement: I’ve stated that it is my goal to reach out to as many RIT alumni as possible and to make this
a university with which our alumni are proud to be actively involved. In fiscal year 2007, 15,442 people participated in
314 alumni events around the country. These events provide opportunities for our alumni to meet, network and stay in
touch with their alma mater.

The biggest is the annual Brick City Homecoming event in October, which this fall celebrated its 10th year! Alumni engagement continues to grow significantly, due in large part to RIT’s continued investment in our Alumni Relations office, but we still need to get more people involved. We hope to greet even more of our alumni at events on campus and around the country in the coming year, especially at our inaugural Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 3, 2008. Please join the RIT Online Community ( to stay informed about these opportunities.

Notable alumni engagement metrics include:
• Total alumni chapters and members (see chart on page 32.)
• Number of registered alumni on RIT’s Online Community – 18,004.
• Number of alumni volunteers identified by Alumni Relations for fiscal year 2007 – 4,570.

2. Fund for RIT: RIT’s Annual Fund effort continues to be an important source of support to students and the campus community. In fiscal year 2007, total giving to the Fund for RIT from alumni, families and friends was $3,053,090, reflecting a 10 percent increase over the previous year and a record-setting total. However, only 8.1 percent of our 100,000 alumni made gifts to the Fund for RIT, well below the national average of approximately 20 percent. RIT alumni giving to the annual fund amounted to only $756,486 of the $3 million total last year! However, there’s good news – the average gift from alumni was $114, demonstrating that gifts of all sizes are both valuable and appreciated.

Our goal for fiscal year 2008 is to move the alumni participation rate in the annual fund up to 9.1 percent and increase total giving to $3.2 million. Remember, you can make your gift to the general unrestricted fund or you can direct your gift to a specific area of interest at RIT.

3. RIT General Endowment: RIT’s endowment now stands at approximately $661.5 million, up from $572.8 million at the close of fiscal year 2006. While the growth is positive, RIT still lags considerably behind our peer universities: RPI, $683 million; Carnegie Mellon, $940 million; Case Western, $1.6 billion; University of Rochester, $1.5 billion; and Cornell, $4.3 billion. Even more important, RIT has more students enrolled than these other colleges except for Cornell.

Endowment is arguably the strongest metric of the long-term health of a college or university. RIT’s current endowment only accounts for one year’s operating budget; nowhere near the appropriate ratio for a university of our size and global scope. I will be speaking quite a lot about building endowed funds for the university in the coming years.

This year has started out very well for the university. With nearly 16,000 students, RIT is enjoying record enrollment, a historically large class of first-year students at 2,530, and increased stature and appeal outside of New York state and the Northeast region. As we continue to focus on and build our engagement with alumni, our annual fund effort and our general endowment, RIT becomes a stronger university for our students and for our alumni and friends. It’s truly a partnership aimed at a common and singular goal: A great education, RIT-style!

As you will see in the balance of this report, the university is on a very positive track – poised for growth and recognized for excellence. Please join us in our efforts to build a stronger RIT.


Bill Destler

Bill Destler

Click here to view the annual report