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The search for RIT’s 10th president culminates with “the best of the very best”

Former dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering praised for academic record, research credentials, student engagement, leadership, vision.

David C. Munson Jr. has been named Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president. The RIT Board of Trustees made the decision at a special session, selecting the former dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering from a pool of national candidates.

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Meet David C. Munson Jr. – RIT’s next president.

David C. Munson

Munson grew up in Iowa, Ohio and Delaware where he sang with a folk group, played saxophone in the marching band, played basketball, earned the distinction of becoming an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts, and traveled on family camping trips to visit the national parks. Some of his fondest childhood memories were reading Popular Science magazine, peering at the rings of Saturn, and building rockets made from cardboard tubes and balsa wood that were “launched so high you couldn’t see them, so you’d track them with binoculars and you’d use your walkie-talkies and your recovery team would find the thing out in some farmland.”

He went on to earn electrical engineering degrees from the University of Delaware (BS) and from Princeton University (MS, MA and Ph.D.).

Munson’s career path began at the University of Illinois where in 1979 he started as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. After 24 years, he left Illinois to become chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. In 2006, Munson was named the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at Michigan where he served two five-year terms, the maximum allowed. Michigan Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the world. Eight of its academic departments are ranked in the nation’s top 10—some twice for different programs.

Munson credits his colleagues at U-M Engineering for the school’s success. Here are highlights of his tenure:

  • Led a college of 10,000 students, 600 faculty members and 600 staff members.
  • Managed a $550 million budget.
  • Annual research expenditures increased from $130 million to $250 million.
  • Grew faculty ranks by 30 percent with aggressive hiring and retention programs.
  • Launched the Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers programs to 2,500 students annually (with half the students from outside the engineering college).
  • Worked with university leaders to develop the Joint Institute with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
  • Supported his staff to create the Michigan Engineering Zone in Detroit, where undergrads and alumni mentor 300 minority students on FIRST Robotics teams from 18 public high schools.
  • Worked with other deans to establish the ArtsEngine program between the College of Engineering and Michigan’s schools of Music, Theatre and Dance; Art and Design; and Architecture and Urban Planning.
  • Helped complete the “Engineering Make a Difference” campaign that finished in 2008 and raised $302 million. Also launched a new campaign with a $1 billion goal that includes partnering with other U-M schools and colleges.

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“We are proud to welcome Dr. Munson to RIT and look forward to him leading the university through its next exciting chapter. His extensive academic experience, respected research credentials, demonstrated leadership, engagement with students and global vision will propel RIT to new heights. We know he will build on the strong foundation established by President Destler and his predecessors whose tireless work made RIT a distinctly great university.”

Chris Whitman

Trustee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees

“We reviewed top-flight resumes from candidates with diverse backgrounds. The breadth and depth of interest in this position from extremely high qualified people was significant. These were remarkable people with impressive backgrounds. The trustees ultimately selected David C. Munson Jr., the former Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan.”

Brian Hall

Chair, Search Committee, Trustee, Alumnus