RIT presidential inauguration set for Sept. 28

Dr. Munson in navy jacket, light blue shirt and tan pants, sitting in brown leather chair. He is wearing glasses.

The inauguration of President David Munson as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president will take place Sept. 28. For more information on the inauguration and a full schedule, go to rit.edu/president/inauguration/overview.

What: Inauguration of David Munson as RIT’s 10th president

  • Keynote speaker Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth College, will welcome Munson. A mathematician, computer scientist and educator, Hanlon came to Dartmouth from the University of Michigan, where he served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. At the inauguration, Hanlon will be joined by dozens of college and university presidents from across the country.
  • A video on Munson’s successes in higher education will also be a highlight of the ceremony.
  • Munson’s address will look toward the future of RIT and the role that higher education can play in solving complex issues around the world.

When: 3 to 4:30 p.m., with a reception to follow, Sept. 28

Where: Gordon Field House and Activities Center on the RIT campus

Who: Open to the entire RIT community

Munson facts:

  • Munson became RIT’s 10th president on July 1
  • Munson took the helm from retiring president Bill Destler, who served RIT for 10 years.
  • Munson was previously dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering.
  • For a full biography of Munson, go to rit.edu/president/biography.

RIT Quote: “With his terrific leadership experience at the University of Michigan and his success as a faculty member and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Munson is a perfect fit for RIT,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with him as we enter an exciting new era for the university.”

RIT now among the top 100 universities in the nation

black graduation cap with gold and silver stars and red letters

Rochester Institute of Technology is now among the top 100 universities in the nation, having jumped 10 places in the “National Universities” category, according to "U.S. News & World Report" rankings.

RIT, which just last year moved into the top “National Universities” category due to its rapid increase in research and Ph.D. graduates, this year ranked 97th out of 311 universities in this prestigious category, which includes some of the nation’s best known colleges and universities. These top universities “offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and emphasize faculty research,” according to "U.S. News." More.

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center presents Arte del Corazon exhibition

art of multi-colored faces looking a the moon that also has a face.

RIT/NTID's Dyer Arts Center presents "Arte del Corazon" -- the first exhibit of its kind to spotlight Deaf Latinx artists. The following events will mark the opening of the exhibition:

Friday, Sept. 15

4-5 p.m.: Meet the Artists in Dyer Arts Center

5-7 p.m.: Opening Reception in Dyer Arts Center

7-9 p.m.: NTID Presenter Series: Drago Renteria in Panara Theatre


Saturday, Sept. 16

2-5 p.m.: Art Workshop in Dyer Arts Center

7-8:30 p.m.: Gallaudet University's Latinx Student Union presents "The Glass Wall" in Panara Theatre

All events are free and open to the public. Dyer Arts Center and Panara Theatre are located on the first floor of Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus. 

The "Arte del Corazon" exhibition runs through Dec. 16, 2017. 

Behind the Scenes: NTID’s 50th Anniversary Reunion

The logo of NTID's 50th Anniversary Reunion

Less than a year from now, NTID will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding with a three-day-long Reunion Weekend. You’ve seen the videos, you’ve seen the flyers, and you may even already have bought your tickets.

But you’re probably wondering the same thing everyone else is wondering: What will it be like?

On June 28, 2018, you’ll set foot on a campus where you once lived, played, worked and learned. It might look familiar, but subtly different: There’s a building where a parking lot used to be, apartments materializing out of thin air, even a shining new Campus Center with a fountain that looks an awful lot like where you used to sit during swim meets.

Some things might have moved around, and other things might have grown or changed, but make no mistake: You are coming home.

Much like your parents might have once worked feverishly to make sure you felt welcome and comfortable when you visited them during winter break, the staff and alumni volunteers of NTID are working hard on making sure the 50th Anniversary Reunion Weekend is the best welcome you’ve ever had.

But don’t take our word for it. Starting with this post, we’re pulling aside the curtain and giving you a backstage tour of all the work that’s going into celebrating this incredible milestone. Who are we and what have we been doing?


Welcome aboard

First, you should know that there are a lot of people working together on the 50th anniversary! Here’s a photo taken by Norma Moran (SVP ’95, ’00), showing a recent Core Team meeting:

A laptop monitors shows the faces of several people participating in a teleconference.

You can also check out the Core Team membership here to get an idea of how many people are involved. Keep scrolling to the bottom to check out our ambassadors. Why?

Because Mary Jo Ingraham (’72) has become the Ambassador representing alumni enrolled at NTID 1968-1969! NTID’s first classes are truly special, and to have them here to see the 50th anniversary of their school means a great deal to everyone. We’re pleased and proud to work with Mary Jo, along with all the other ambassadors.

Loriann Macko (left) and Mary Jo Ingraham (right) smile at the camera while sitting at a small table in a coffeeshop.

What does working with the ambassadors look like? Take a peek into an Ambassadors meeting:

Loriann Macko, Mary Jo Ingraham, and Carmen Sciandra sit at a table, looking at a television screen showing themselves, Christopher and Staci Wagner, and Angela Officer, during an ambassadors' meeting.

Second, another alum working behind the scenes is Claire Bernard (’15).  Claire has been working closely with Loriann Macko, director of alumni and constituent relations, to do research needed to make sure that the history of NTID is front and center in our celebrations!

Claire Bernard smiles at the camera while working at a desk.

For example, she’s responsible for finding the photos you’ll see on the history displays that will line the entrance to each and every one of our Roadshow events! Here’s one possible example:

An example poster for the Reunion Roadshow, depicting several black-and-white photos tiled together under the Reunion logo and an orange header that says

Welcome to the 50th Anniversary Reunion Weekend team, Mary Jo and Claire!


Student innovation

Check this out: 

Tiandre Turner (left) demonstrates an app on a smartphone to Loriann Macko (center right) and James McCarthy (right).

What’s happening? Tiandre Turner, left, a student in RIT’s Web and Mobile Computing program, is showing an app to Loriann and James McCarthy, NTID marketing communication specialist.

What’s the app? The official 50th Anniversary Reunion Weekend app, of course! This is a very, very early preview, but by the time the Reunion Weekend rolls around, you’ll be able to see the entire weekend’s schedule at a glance, put together your own calendar, and share that calendar with your friends so you can spend time together.

The app will help you find your way around, keep track of event updates—sometimes rooms need to change, after all—and stay notified of important information, such as lost items that need to be claimed and special events at vendor exhibits.

All of these cool new features come courtesy of Tiandre, who is currently working at the Center on Access Technology on a co-op. Talk about #deaftalent!


What to watch next

Over the next 10 months, NTID will be releasing vlogs on a regular basis. They’ll cover lots of things—what to look forward to, what’s happening at Roadshow events, and the Alumni Museum. Most importantly, they’ll also communicate information you need to know about the Reunion Weekend.

For example, here are Rick Postl (SVP ’90, ’95) and Elena Shapiro (’95, ’96) in NTID’s state-of-the-art video studio in LBJ Hall, supervised by Loriann.

Elena Shapiro (left) and Rick Postl (center left) stand on a small stage in front of a green screen in a studio; Loriann Macko (far right) looks at the camera.

They’re busy recording a video for vendors and exhibitors, to be released next month. They’ll explain how to apply for a space in the exhibit hall, what amenities are available for vendors, and how to find out more information. Keep an eye on the Reunion website and RIT/NTID’s Facebook page for more information!


Coming up

For the next 10 months, we’ll be releasing regular updates, keeping you up to date on the latest details and taking you behind the scenes at the biggest celebration in the history of NTID!

As always, you can also like the Facebook pages for RIT/NTID and the NTID Alumni Association for faster updates, as well as news for your specific part of the world.

If you have any questions, please contact Loriann Macko at lxlnca@rit.edu

NTID Performing Arts presents “Out of the Box” with Patrick Graybill

Black background with a brown box open with various clippings and words coming out, with the words

RIT/NTID Performing Arts presents  "Out of the Box" -- a multimedia performance featuring the life stories of legendary RIT/NTID Professor Emeritus Patrick Graybill at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9 in Panara Theatre. Written by Karen Christie and Patrick Graybill and directed by Aaron Kelstone, tickets are $35 for the performance and a reception, and $25 for the performance only. Tickets are available a the RIT University Arena Box Office or online

RIT/NTID awarded $2.6 million for first large-scale study of language outcomes in young deaf adults

Matthew Dye, in blue suit and pink tie wearing glasses w/male in blue shirt and dark tie w/electrode cap and female student.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) in Rochester, New York, has received a $2.6 million, five-year award from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study the neurological, linguistic and behavioral outcomes for deaf individuals after childhood. It is the first study of its kind with college-age adults.

According to the latest data from the NIDCD, two to three out of every 1,000 children born in the United States are deaf or hard of hearing. For some of these children, being deaf can preclude typical acquisition of spoken language.

Some children use hearing aids, some learn sign language only, spoken language only, or a combination of sign and spoken language, with or without hearing aids. Still others use a cochlear implant (CI), an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the inner ear and can provide sound signals to the brain. Children with a CI may use sign language, spoken language or both. As of 2012, around 38,000 children in the United States had received a CI.

“For many of these children, a cochlear implant has permitted access to spoken language,” said Matthew Dye, an RIT/NTID researcher who is leading the grant. “However, what is perhaps most striking about spoken language outcomes following cochlear implantation is the variability.”

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is wide variation in individual outcomes following cochlear implantation, and some CI recipients never develop useable speech and oral language skills. The causes of this variation in outcomes are only partly understood at the present time. 

“Understanding this variability is the first step in developing effective interventions to move a greater number of children towards better communication outcomes,” Dye said.

The research will be one of the first large-scale studies to examine spoken language outcomes in young deaf adults who received their implants in childhood and now are enrolled at RIT/NTID. The majority of these students will vary in terms of whether or not they use their CI, the age at which they received their CI and their primary mode of communication (spoken English, sign language, or other). The unique sample of young adults at RIT/NTID, many of whom learned sign language in infancy and use a cochlear implant, affords the possibility of examining how early exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) influences spoken language outcomes.

Dye will collaborate with researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder to establish norms for hearing college students.

“The overall aim of this project is to examine the effects of auditory development, cognitive function and multimodal language outcomes in a large group of young deaf adults,” Dye said. “The results of this study will provide much-needed and timely answers regarding the possible benefits of early cochlear implantation and early intervention with sign language that parents and policy makers seek as they determine how best to intervene with the next generation of deaf infants who are cochlear implant recipients or candidates.”

Graduate finds strength through bodybuilding

A light-skinned female with long pony-tail and in gym clothes stands with large weights

Alexandra Dunek ’14 (professional and technical communication) has been through a lot mentally, emotionally and physically.

Now, the 27-year-old deaf bodybuilder and fitness writer from Mount Laurel, N.J., is sharing her story of struggle and triumph to help inspire others who may be going through trying times of their own.

Through her Instagram account (@TipsFromAFitChick), as well as other media outlets, she is using her voice and her story to advocate for the deaf community and to encourage anybody facing challenges in their own lives to persevere.

Stronger, a short documentary released in December 2016, is one of many recent media projects to chronicle Dunek’s journey overcoming cancer, depression and an eating disorder, as well as her rise in competitive bodybuilding. The film, directed by Eliu Cornielle, with the help of director of photography Drew Saracco, is available on Vimeo.

Dunek was born in 1989 with germ cell sarcoma, a rare cancer that is most common in multiple births.

“My mother had trouble getting pregnant and miscarried before I was born, so she took fertility drugs and ended up with triplets,” said Dunek. “She was supposed to have quadruplets, but the fourth baby didn’t develop properly and instead became a tumor attached to me.”

By the age of 2, Dunek had undergone six rounds of intensive chemotherapy and won her battle with cancer. As a result of the chemo, however, she lost most of her hearing and suffered damage to her vision.

Attending RIT wasn’t always a part of Dunek’s plan.

“My mom was in a really bad car accident my senior year of high school, and I picked up some bad habits while trying to cope with her recovery,” Dunek said. “I was depressed and I started drinking and smoking regularly, and my eating habits were really unhealthy.”

Dunek was attending a local community college at the time but dropped out during her first year. Once her mother made a full recovery, she encouraged Dunek to continue her education, this time at RIT.

“I made a deal with her and agreed to visit one college of her choice,” said Dunek. “We visited RIT in spring of 2010 and I immediately fell in love with the way the school took the deaf and hearing worlds and combined them into one.”

It was during her time at RIT that Dunek became focused on her fitness and began bodybuilding. “I needed something to help me get out of my depression, and I chose the gym,” Dunek said.

Athleticism runs in Dunek’s family. Her father, Ken Dunek, was a Philadelphia Eagle during the 1981 Super Bowl.

Following graduation, Dunek began prepping for a competition of her own. She competed in her first bodybuilding national qualifier in June 2015 and placed second.

“It is important for me to tell my story,” said Dunek. “Now I have the opportunity to come forward and share my journey. I just became a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer so that I can open my own gym and inspire others to develop healthy lifestyles of their own, no matter their circumstance.”