Category Archives: Events

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center to host DeVIA Challenge Exhibition

White background with three circular images of art work and exhibit information below.

RIT/NTID's Dyer Arts Center presents the #DeVIAChallenge Exhibition in the center's glass room Jan. 19-Feb. 24, 2018. Events involving the exhibit scheduled for Jan. 26 in the center include a presentation by artist and RIT/NTID alumna Nancy Rourke 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., artist talks from 4:30 -5:30 p.m. and a reception 5:30 - 7 p.m..

This presentation is made possible with support from RIT/NTID's Department of Cultural and Creative Studies and Interpretek. 

The Dyer Arts Center is located on the first floor of Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, New York 14623. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information visit the Dyer website

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center to exhibit Ellen Mansfield Retrospective

Four works by Ellen Mansfield at the top with information on the event at the bottom.

RIT/NTID's Dyer Arts Center will host a new exhibit, Ellen Mansfield Retrospective: through the darkness into the light, Jan. 19-Feb. 24, 2018 in the gallery. An artist reception is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. The Dyer Arts Center is located on the first floor of Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, New York 14623. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information visit the Dyer website

Alumnus gives RIT $50 million to foster entrepreneurship and cybersecurity

Left to right: RIT President Munson, Austin McChord and President Emeritus Destler.

A 2009 alumnus has given Rochester Institute of Technology $50 million, the largest donation ever made to the university and one of the largest ever in the region.

The unprecedented gift comes from Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto, a Connecticut-based data protection company with engineering and support offices in downtown Rochester.

“A gift of this magnitude will help propel RIT from excellence to preeminence,” said RIT President David Munson. “We are so proud of our alumnus Austin McChord. He was passionate about his idea and he turned it into a big success. This embodies the creative element that we want to further highlight at RIT. Every student can be involved in creating things that never before existed, and then putting the result into play. His investment in RIT will help our students and faculty make their mark on the world.”

McChord, an RIT trustee, said he was inspired to make the donation by former RIT President Bill Destler, with whom he has developed a friendship.

“My goal with this gift is two-fold,” said McChord. “First is to help make more resources available to students, alumni and the community at-large to create, build and innovate for the future. But it’s also to help recognize those who helped you along the way. My success today would not have been possible without my time at RIT.”

Destler, who retired as RIT president in June 2017, was in the audience at RIT’s Student Innovation Hall as McChord announced his gift.

“I am thrilled that Austin McChord has chosen to share his success with RIT in the form of this most generous gift,” said Destler. “It’s truly been a pleasure to get to know him and to watch his business grow internationally as well as right here in Rochester, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him as well as for the programs and projects this gift will support.”

The gift is to be designated for use in two major areas:

  • $30 million to foster creativity and entrepreneurship at RIT, including $17.5 million to launch the Maker Library & Innovative Learning Complex of the Future. This will be a new facility connecting RIT’s Wallace Center and the Student Alumni Union. Additional funding will go toward purchasing equipment and endowing faculty positions and student scholarships, including new “Entrepreneurial Gap Year” fellowships to help students advance their concepts into businesses.
  • $20 million to advance RIT’s cybersecurity and artificial intelligence capabilities. This funding will be used to expand facilities, as well as to establish endowments to attract and retain exceptional faculty and graduate students, primarily in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, the largest of RIT’s nine colleges.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we extend our sincere appreciation to fellow Trustee Austin McChord for this magnanimous gift,” said RIT Trustees Chair Christine Whitman. “This most generous gift will allow RIT to expand and enhance its programming in some areas that the university is noted for, as well as further fostering our environment of creativity and innovation.”

McChord has been an active alumnus of RIT, serving as a frequent keynote speaker at events, including Venture Creations graduation, the annual Entrepreneurship Conference and the 2017 Commencement. Datto sponsored events such as RIT48, an entrepreneurship competition, and hackathons, and McChord has given of his time as a mentor in RIT’s SummerStart program, an intense summer program aimed at assisting entrepreneurs/innovators in developing their business concepts to a point where they are ready to begin to seek angel investment.

McChord founded Datto, a global provider of Total Data Protection Solutions, in 2007. Starting with an idea he had while a student at RIT, McChord started the company in the basement of his father’s office building. His original goal of building basic back-up for small businesses across the country has expanded dramatically over the past 10 years. Datto has experienced exponential growth, appearing on the coveted Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and has been recognized by the Connecticut Technology Council as one of the state’s fastest growing companies. The company has also received numerous industry awards for company growth, product excellence and customer support.

Datto was recently acquired by Vista Equity Partners and merged with Autotask Corp. McChord is CEO of the new company, which has about 1,400 employees with offices in nine countries. In 2015, the company became Connecticut’s most valuable start-up, with a valuation in excess of $1 billion.

In August 2014, Datto opened a branch in downtown Rochester on the fourth floor of RIT’s Downtown Center, at 40 Franklin St., becoming the first company in the region to join that state’s START-UP NY program. Initial plans called for Datto to add 70 workers within the next 18 months, but Datto has already grown to more than 200 employees in Rochester. McChord has said he expects the company’s Rochester operations, which also has offices on multiple floors of The Metropolitan (former Chase Tower), to continue to grow.

McChord’s business success has earned him several honors. The holder of several patents, McChord was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2015 as a leader in Enterprise Technology and won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year New York Region Award in 2016.

BBC Click visits RIT/NTID

BBC Click logo

BBC reporter Paul Carter and a producer/videographer traveled from London, England, to spend two days in Rochester, New York, filming a segment for "BBC Click." Click is the BBC’s flagship technology program, bringing “the best debate on global technology, social media and the internet.” They are a guide to all the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. 

The BBC team spent most of their time at RIT/NTID, interviewing President Gerry Buckley, visiting Chris Campbell's classroom that uses Microsoft Translator, checking out the Deaf Archives in The Wallace Center with Joan Naturale and spending time in the Dining Commons learning how deaf and hearing individuals interact on campus. They also  visited Venture Creations, RIT's innovation incubator, to learn about Motion Savvy, a company that began as an entrant to RIT/NTID's The Next Big Idea competition. They also traveled to Rochester School for the Deaf for a lesson on the rich history of Deaf culture in Rochester. 

The segment is available by clicking on this link. 

Banquet and Celebration Friday, Nov. 10

Poster with brown frame. Image of Abbe de l'Eppe in religious garb on left and two sugar skull costumes on right.

The 6th Annual Deaf-Mute* Banquet celebrating the 305th birthday of Abbe de l'Eppe is combining with a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Latin American cultural celebration 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the Dyer Arts Center. Download the form to purchase tickets. 

*The idea of an international annual Deaf celebration arose within the Comite' des Sourds-Muets (the Deaf-Mute committee headed by Ferdinand Berthier) in Paris, France, to honor the birth of Abbe de l'Eppe, the hearing founder of the first free Deaf school, and supporter of sign language instruction (Gulliver, 2013). Since 1834 at the Parisian traditional annual banquets, they also noted accomplishments of Deaf indivduals in various fields. In keeping with this tradition, reenactments will happen at this banquet. 

RIT/NTID Performing Arts presents dance and music adaptation of ‘The Story of Beauty and the Beast,’ Nov. 9–12

Dark skinned male in blue jacket with red trip hugs a medium skinned female in white dress.

The Performing Arts program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will present a dance and music adaptation of The Story of Beauty and the Beast, conceived by Thomas Warfield, director of NTID’s dance department. The performance—an adaptation of the traditional fairy tale written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve—will be performed at NTID’s Panara Theatre in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9–11, and 2 p.m. Nov. 12. 

The show, co-directed and co-choreographed by Warfield and Nicole Hood-Cruz, tells the story of an arrogant young prince and his servants who fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, turning the prince into a hideous beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. A spirited village girl, Belle, enters the beast’s castle in search of her father who has been imprisoned there and begins to draw the cold-hearted beast out of isolation with the help of the enchanted servants. The take is freshly told through non-verbal expressions in a variety of dance styles, sign language and melody.

“This uniquely creative production of The Story of Beauty and the Beast showcases the outstanding talent of RIT’s deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors and dancers,” said Warfield. “And while this ‘tale as old as time’ is one that many people are familiar with, the innovative fusion of dance and music is certain to mesmerize audiences, young and old. One of the underlying messages in our production is there’s beauty in our differences. Music and dance help to express and communicate that understanding for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing communities coming together to present this beautiful show.”

Tickets can be purchased through RIT University Arenas and are $5 for students, senior citizens and children; $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni; and $12 for everyone else. Tickets will also be sold at the door on performance days. For more information, call 585-475-4121.

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center exhibit celebrates milestone anniversary of artist William ‘Lee’ Hoag

Platform with green container with orange spout and silver flexible hose and black piece with metal discs and the end.

The 25th anniversary of William “Lee” Hoag’s first art show is being celebrated this fall with a new show in the Ohringer Gallery of the Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf through Nov. 18. “HOAG/25 Years” is a collection of works spanning the past 25 years, across multiple media, along with 11 new pieces. An artist’s reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the gallery.

Hoag’s first exhibit, “ELEVEN: Recent Mixed-Media Sculptures from Bill Hoag,” debuted in 1992 in what was the White Room Gallery at the downtown Rochester nightclub Carpe Diem. Today, it’s the location of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Hoag is the son of Ralph Hoag, who worked in the U.S. Department of Education under former presidents Kennedy and Johnson and played an instrumental role in the establishment of NTID. The elder Hoag was also a former superintendent of the Rochester School for the Deaf.

William “Lee” Hoag, who lives and works in Rochester, is a 1992 graduate of RIT’s Master of Science for Teachers in visual arts-all grades (art education) program and recently retired after a long career as a sign-language interpreter. He was formerly artist-in-residence at Freiluftgalerie Stotteritz in Germany and his artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout Rochester and the region. He lectures locally and has been featured in several publications including City NewspaperLake Effect Magazine, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and Chenango Valley News. He has also had commissioned artwork displayed at Highland Park and Village Gate Square and he has won several grants and awards for his pieces.

“My first passion is art making, and when my proposed 25-year, multimedia retrospective exhibition was accepted by Tabitha Jacques, director of the Dyer Arts Center, I was ecstatic to say the least, given what it means to me not only as an alumnus, but mostly for my late father’s legacy and life’s work in deaf education,” said Hoag. “Both of my parents wholeheartedly supported my pursuit of art and being an artist. This important career exhibition at this time in my life at the Ohringer Gallery at the RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center is truly special indeed.”

The gallery is located in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, RIT/NTID, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester. For more information, go to

RIT/NTID job fair connects deaf students with employers across the country

Light skinned man on left with cochlear implant wearing suit chats with darker skinned man on right in red golf shirt, tan pants

Representatives from more than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will meet with hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the 17th annual job fair, 12:30–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The event will be held in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus.

“Employers will have the opportunity to recruit talented deaf and hard-of-hearing students in associate and bachelor’s degree programs such as business, finance, graphic design, engineering, computing and more,” said John Macko, director of NTID’s Center on Employment.

Interpreters will be available, and in many cases, the company recruiters are RIT/NTID alumni. Companies registered to attend the fair include Caterpillar, Communication Service for the Deaf, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, FDIC, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Merck, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Prudential and Texas Instruments, among others. 

“Employers continue to want highly qualified employees who bring the necessary skills and who will fit into the company culture and contribute to the company’s success,” added Macko. “Our students are well-trained and can hit the ground running at companies right here in Rochester and all over the country.”

There are a few openings available for employers who want to participate. For more information, email Mary Ellen Tait or call 585-475-6426. 

What: 17th annual NTID Job Fair
Where: Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology

When: 12:30-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18

Details: More than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will be on campus to recruit deaf and hard-of-hearing students and graduates for co-op and full-time positions.

Meet NTID’s Distinguished Alumni

Light-skinned woman and man. She is in pink shirt and glasses, he is in orange shirt and glasses. there are palm trees behind.

Even though retired NTID faculty members and alumni Barbara Ray ’74, ’84 and Samuel ’77 Holcomb now live across the country in Arizona, it does not mean RIT and NTID are far from their hearts.

“Our favorite color is orange, our golf cart is orange, and our house has different colored orange paint,” said Samuel. “It keeps our minds on RIT every day.”

The couple, with a combined 75 years of service to the university, is also keeping their connection to NTID alive in another important way by helping to preserve NTID’s history. Both are involved in efforts for an NTID Alumni Museum.

“Since celebrating 50 years of NTID, we’ve been thinking about establishing a museum for our future generations so the deaf can appreciate and learn about NTID,” said Barbara Ray. “It’s important to preserve the unique culture here at RIT.”

Throughout their long careers with RIT and NTID, the Holcombs amassed a trove of memorabilia, from old textbooks to video phones, which they hope will be featured in the museum one day. Many items from their collection are already featured in the Deaf Studies Archive in The Wallace Center, which they were instrumental in helping to create.

For these efforts, Barbara Ray and Samuel will be honored as the NTID 2017 Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 13 at the RIT Presidents’ Alumni Ball.

Along with their work to preserve NTID’s historic materials, the former instructors have brought another of their passions from RIT to their new community—teaching. They conduct workshops for their local deaf community on subjects like technology and teach American Sign Language to the senior citizens in their area.

“We’ll always have the itch to teach,” said Samuel. “And RIT is always in our hearts, until we are buried.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements.

Barbara Ray and Samuel Holcomb