Acclaimed alumni explore what’s next at Imagine RIT Futurists Symposium

Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival is April 23

Accomplished alumni are returning to campus to discuss the future of technology, art, and design as part of the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival on April 23.

The Imagine RIT Futurists Symposium is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Wegmans Theater, RIT MAGIC Center. It will also be available to watch as a livestream on the Imagine RIT website.

The alumni experts will make brief presentations on different topics, followed by a question-and-answer session and panel discussion. Emceed by RIT President David Munson and moderated by WXXI “Connections” host Evan Dawson, the symposium will feature:

Aaron Gordon ’13 (film and animation). Gordon is a serial entrepreneur, executive producer, and CEO of Optic Sky—an advertising and digital experience production company that he founded in 2014. Optic Sky has grown to offer television commercial production, social video, animation, AR, VR, virtual production, and interactive experiences for clients, including Google, Zillow, Amazon, Wegmans, Accenture, Brooks, and Bausch and Lomb, among others. Gordon was a finalist for Rochester Business Person of the Year in 2020 for his resilience and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a jazz drummer, he finds rhythm in all things and bases both his business and creative ethos on syncopated beats and flow.

Franklyn Athias ’85 (computer science). Athias is CTO and senior vice president for Xfinity Mobile Retail Convergence, where he drives the division’s overall technology strategy and helps to ensure alignment of the architecture and product portfolio for the next era of wireless communication. Throughout his more than 25-year career with Comcast, he has spearheaded several IP architecture programs and initiatives for cable-modem broadband services. Athias is also an advocate for STEM/STEAM, as he supports various innovative initiatives throughout Philadelphia, including danceLogic—a program he spearheaded that aims to teach young girls to program, while integrating the art of dance.

Erin Sarofsky ’98 (graphic design), ’00 MFA (computer graphics design). Sarofsky is an award-winning creative visionary who creates artful storytelling projects for brands and entertainment. In 2009, she launched the design and production services company Sarofsky in Chicago. Sarofsky is well known for creating innovative title and credit sequences for movies and television, including Peacemaker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange, Animal Kingdom, Shameless, Community, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, among others. She was featured in a CBS Sunday Morning report about creative title sequences.

“Our alumni are continuing to do outstanding work at the intersection of technology, the arts and design,” said Jon Rodibaugh, executive director of RIT Alumni Relations. “Their work is everywhere—in the broadband internet we use, in the commercials and branded content we consume, and in the shows and movies we watch every day. I’m looking forward to hearing their personal stories about the work they do around technology, the arts, and design and what they see on the horizon for the next generation of RIT graduates.”

This will be the first in-person Imagine RIT festival since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival will feature more than 250 exhibits from 10 a.m.­ to 5 p.m. on April 23 on the RIT campus.

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