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History of College of Liberal Arts

College of Liberal Arts History

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1829 Athenaeum is founded.

1839-1840 The Young Men’s Association, founded in 1837 and merged with the Athenaeum in 1838, lists on its schedule of lectures the following topics: American history, human physiology, the phenomenon of chemistry, architecture, ancient empires, Scottish history, geology as illustrative of natural theology, and political economy.

1847 The Athenaeum merges with the Mechanics Literary Association to become the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Association. Speakers include Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Scientific lectures and demonstrations are also offered.

1891 The Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Association merges with the Mechanics Institute, founded in 1885, to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.

1901 The institute publishes a small booklet to advertise a new class in the teaching of English. The goal of the class is “to teach the pupils…not only to have an idea, but be able to express that idea in correct, clear, forcible English.”

1901-1917 Formal courses in the humanities and social sciences appear early in the institute’s curriculum. Prior to World War I, courses are offered in English, sociology, psychology, history of education, public speaking, educational sociology, and pedagogy.

1924 Calvin Thomason, appointed supervisor of the Liberal Studies Component of the curriculum, directs the development of liberal arts courses for students in the industrial arts. There are four courses taught in the liberal arts component: economics, psychology, management, and human relations.

1926 Mark Ellingson, later president of the institute, is hired to assist Calvin Thomason.

1950 Calvin Thomason retires.

1961 The College of General Studies is formed and Dr. James Wilson is appointed its first dean.

1967 Dr. Paul Bernstein is appointed Dean of the College of General Studies.

1971 A degree program in social works is started.

1972 The college undergoes a revision of its curriculum.

A criminal justice degree program is established.

1974-1975 The College of General Studies’ faculty numbers 60.

1976 The Caroline Warner Gannett Professorship in the Humanities is established.

1977 Professor Dane Gordon appointed acting dean, Dr. Paul Bernstein appointed graduate dean of the college.

1978 Dr. Mary Sullivan is appointed Dean of the College of General Studies.

1979-1981 The College of General Studies engages in a major curriculum revision, with new curriculum implemented in 1981. Humanities and social science courses (liberal arts curriculum) consist of 54 hours for the majority of RIT undergraduate programs. Upper-division concentrations are introduced.

1981 Technical liberal studies option (now called University Studies) is established for students who have not decided on an RIT major.

1982 The College of General Studies is renamed the College of Liberal Arts.

1984 A degree program in economics is established.

1985 A degree in professional and technical communication is established.

1986 The college’s first graduate degree, a master’s program in school psychology, is established.

1987 Dean Mary Sullivan resigns to return to teaching. Dr. Stanley McKenzie is named acting dean.

1988 Dr. William J. Daniels, from Union College, is named dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

The Arthur J. Gosnell Professorship in Economics is established.

1989 The Ezra A. Hale Professorship in Applied Ethics is established.

1995 A new curriculum review is initiated.

1997 A degree program in psychology is established.

1998 Dean William J. Daniels resigns to return to teaching. Dr. Diane Hope named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

1999 The College of Liberal Arts introduces minors to RIT’s curriculum.

Dr. Andrew M. T. Moore, Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Yale University, is appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

2000 The dean’s office area and the student services area are remodeled.

2001 A graduate degree program in communication and media technologies is established.

Bachelor of science and master of science degrees in public policy are established.

A new curriculum review is created.

2003 The college establishes the Foreign Language Technology Center.

A bachelor of science degree in urban and community studies is established.

2003-2004 The College of Liberal Arts faculty reaches 136 members.