In 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a bill into law that created a national advisory group whose main purpose was to create an institute of high level technical training for the deaf. The idea was to connect this institute with a well-established technical school that would make sure that the standards set would be the same for all students, deaf or hearing. The committee chose RIT for “the institute’s long history of technical education, cooperative education, and its emphasis on career preparation.” In 1968 RIT opened its arms to the first freshman class of deaf students.
With the success of the program it was time to expand and in 1974 Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall was created as a main hub for students who are part of the NTID community. President Johnson’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, visited the school in early October of that year for the dedication and opening ceremonies. Today the program continues to strive as RIT is home to around 1,200 deaf or hard of hearing students, which is considerably more than the 70 student pilot class. The campus and community have embraced Deaf culture and have made RIT and Rochester a new home for thousands of deaf students over the years.