It’s hard to imagine a time when computers didn’t rule the school. Majors like software engineering and computer science were once just an idea and it wasn’t until the early 1970s that these programs joined the RIT curriculum. It was about this time that the before image was taken in the SAU. In the early 70s computers were just starting to catch on. They were becoming more and more reliable and the world was starting to recognize their potential to make some of the most difficult tasks a breeze. Even 45 years ago RIT was an institution focused on innovation and seeing the rise of this new technology, they decided to add the first computer classes to their curriculum.
Early classes were offered through Institute College (which later became the College of Applied Science and Technology) and included Intro to Computers, Computer Techniques, Program Language- FORTRAN and COBOL, and Computer Systems Software. These classes were a big success and in 1977 the college started offering undergraduate programs in a variety of computing-based tasks such as computer science, mechanical engineering technology and applied software science. Once again, the introduction of these new programs was met with much success, and as a result in 1981 the first master’s degree program for the College of Applied Science & Technology was offered in computer science and more would quickly follow. In 1996 RIT became the first US university to offer an undergraduate degree program in software engineering.
In the 1990s leaders at the college started to see the benefits of breaking off from the College of Applied Science and Technology to form a separate school focused solely on computing. In 2001, with a large gift by B. Thomas Golisano, chairman and CEO of Paychex Inc., RIT broke ground on what we know today as Golisano Hall. By 2003 GCCIS had brought the majority of its programs together in their new home, where today structures similar to those from the SAU in the 70s decorate the Golisano Atrium. With the constant stream of success since its introduction, including national recognition for innovation and various projects, the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences has become a major part of RIT’s identity and has a bright future ahead.