University History

RIT's long history begins in 1829 with the founding of The Athenaeum, twelve years after the incorporation of Rochester as a town. In 1885, Henry Lomb, Max Lowenthal, Frank Ritter and others founded the Mechanics Institute. These two organizations merged in 1891 to become the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.  It wasn't until 1944 that the Institute believed they needed a name change to give it a more modern identity.  Rochester Institute of Technology continued growing in their downtown Rochester location until 1968 when they moved to Henrietta.

Interested in learning more about RIT's rich history?  Here are some curated resources:

  • RIT's Downtown Campus

  • RIT's Henrietta Campus Construction

  • What's In a Name? - RIT honors many individuals by designating campus buildings, roads, and other structures and spaces with their names.  Some are associated with RIT's history, others are important benefactors and some have been designated by a donor to honor a friend or colleague.  This site provides history into some of the named buildings, roads, and structures on RIT's Henrietta campus.

  • RIT Press - There have been several books published utilizing RIT Archive's rich holdings around the history of RIT.  You can check out the list of titles on this site.