As the global economy becomes increasingly integrated and interdependent, there is great economic advantage in sharing ideas, insight, and innovation. By locating near Rochester Institute of Technology, you will find a limitless stretch of business connections in a dynamic network of powerful technology-focused industry clusters. It is environment where enterprises have access to extended resources, enabling them to accelerate decision making and implementations while anticipating the shifting marketplace.
RIT is a nationally respected leader in professional and career oriented education. Talented, ambitious and creative students of all cultures and backgrounds – and from 50 states and more than 95 countries -- have chosen to attend RIT. Our eight colleges offer more than 90 different bachelor’s degree programs in art and design, business, engineering, science and mathematics, criminal justice, photography, environmental studies, hospitality and service management, computing and information sciences, information technology, bioinformatics, and many other areas.
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Learn more about RIT from excerpts of President Destler’s 2013 State of the Institute speech…
We welcomed a record-breaking class of 2,800 freshmen to campus this fall, as well as 700 transfer students. With approximately 18,000 students, RIT is among the top 15 largest private universities in the nation. And I should add that we are third among the private institutions that graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. We are well positioned to become a leader in areas that are essential to the future economic success of the nation. With nearly 2,000 international students on this campus and four campuses overseas, we are also making our mark at the global level as well.
RIT’s academic reputation continues to grow both nationally and internationally. A few examples:
§ The Carnegie Foundation named Professor Todd Pagano, who teaches chemistry in our National Technical Institute for the Deaf, U.S. Professor of the year. Professor Pagano was one of only four nationally to receive this prestigious honor.
§ For the third consecutive year, RIT was named one of North America’s greenest universities by The Princeton Review.
§ We are one of the top schools to study video game design for 2013, according to international rankings from The Princeton Review. Our game design and development programs rank fourth at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
§ U.S. News and World Report annually singles out RIT as one of the nation’s elite internship/co-op schools. Each year, more than 3,500 students complete more than 5,500 work assignments with more than 2,000 companies and organizations from small start-up firms to Fortune 500 corporations. Only a dozen or so schools make this U.S. News list, and RIT has appeared on it every time since they began doing it in 2002. And let me add that 95 percent of our students are employed in their fields of study within six months of graduation, or in graduate school.
§ Our faculty are increasingly the recipients of funding awards for their research work, their educational innovations and their artistic creativity. More than 400 new awards came in this past year from a variety of state, federal, corporate and foundation sponsors. This resulted in more than $47 million in new research awards, a 10 percent increase from the previous year and in very difficult and competitive times.
§ Employers from small start-ups to multi-national corporations actively seek out our talented students. Just a few weeks ago, 250 companies attended our Fall Career Day. And that number will jump for the spring event.
The campus continues to thrive and we have more in store this year.
· Last fall, we announced we will contribute to the resurgence of the city of Rochester with a new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship located in the heart of downtown. Through a generous gift, we acquired an historical landmark, the former Rochester Savings Bank, which will serve as the home of the new center. Led by our Saunders College of Business, programs are forming and we plan to move into the location later next year.
· This past spring, we opened a new jewel for the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. The Golisano Institute houses one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in sustainability as well as master’s degrees in sustainable systems and sustainable architecture. The institute conducts cutting-edge research in nanotechnology, alternative energy development and sustainable design. It is one of the greenest buildings in the world, powered by the sun, wind and fuel cell technology.
· We also completed construction for Institute Hall, home to chemical and biomedical engineering programs, as well as future research endeavors.
· Just yesterday, we dedicated Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall at NTID. This space will serve as an innovation and research hub for NTID. Rosica Hall will foster entrepreneurship and original research among deaf and hard-of-hearing students and their hearing peers.
· We will soon dedicate a new university research center devoted to the burgeoning field of digital media. The Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) will provide a broad range of research, development, education and entrepreneurial activities in support of the exploration of media, arts, games, social interaction and digital creativity. And what is unique is that RIT students will have the potential to be involved with intellectual property negotiations and profit sharing.
· You may have noticed a steel structure on the south side of campus. This is the site of the Gene Polisseni Center – future home to our Division I men’s and women’s hockey teams. We will drop the first puck to play in the new arena a year from now.
· And beyond our 16 million bricks, our Innovative Learning Institute has developed a strategy for creating high demand online programs that takes advantage of the best that RIT has to offer - all in the virtual world.
Let’s now turn to my favorite topic ~ student life. We have a very vibrant campus with many success stories:
One area in which RIT has seen the greatest progress in recent years is in the quality of student life outside the classroom. With a strong Student Government and more than 300 student clubs and organizations, all students can find ways to become engaged in extra-curricular activities on campus. These clubs range from Gospel Ensemble to Quidditch, of Harry Potter lore.
Our intercollegiate athletics program has contributed to a marked increase in school spirit and student pride. Our Division I men’s hockey team continues to compete and beat the nation’s elite (We upset the Michigan Wolverines on their home ice last year. Tonight, we welcome the Wolverines to Rochester!). After winning the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2012, our women’s team moved up to Division I last year and played well. And our men’s lacrosse team made us all proud in their historic season by reaching the NCAA Division III national championship game. They are poised to be a national contender again this coming season.
We have some amazing students at RIT, and here are just a few recent examples of their great work:
§ An RIT team took home the first-place trophy for the first time ever at the 2013 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
§ Josip Franjković (Yo-sip Fran-co-vich), an information technology major at RIT’s American College of Management and Technology in Zagreb, Croatia, is the recipient of awards from Google and Facebook for discovering security errors this year. He won multiple prizes and his name can be found on the Google Hall of Fame and Facebook’s White Hat lists.
§ Each spring, hundreds of students show off their talents at “Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.” Since 2008, Imagine RIT has drawn 175,000 visitors. It has jump-started new ideas, products, services and student-led ventures varying from Strong Arm Technologies (inventors of a lifting system that have won multiple startup business competitions and venture capital) to BioTelemetrix (an award-winning non-invasive heart-monitoring system).
§ And I want to mention one student who quite frankly was a thorn in our side. In his first year, Adam Munich got into trouble for cracking our IT security systems just to show us how easy they were to break into. He also took on several self-directed engineering projects in our various labs and shops by mostly breaking our rules and borrowing material and equipment wherever he could find them. One of his projects was an advanced Tesla coil, which he wanted to demonstrate at our Imagine Festival. But since it operated at a high voltage, we told him he could not turn it on for safety reasons. I guess we showed him! Well, actually, he showed us. His Tesla coil won the Engibous Prize at the Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest and Summit in Dallas this summer, taking home the grand prize of $10,000! I think in the wake of this experience we need to be willing to ask ourselves whether we are getting in the way of talented students like Adam or recognizing their potential and finding ways to support them. As a result, I have asked Adam to work with us to help create a kind of student “skunk works” or “hacker space” that would support student-directed projects more effectively. These interesting predicaments and opportunities will increase as our national and global visibility continues to rise.
To our distinguished alumni: The true measure of RIT success is not just the graduation of students, but also the success of our alumni!
And I have a few examples:
· In Hollywood, Life of Pi, which depicted a digital Bengal tiger, won this year’s Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Three graduates from RIT’s School of Film and Animation were part of that Academy Award.
· Alumnus Thomas Trytek is a founding partner of an engineering firm in Syracuse. He led the design and construction of the beacon that was placed on the tallest building in America this spring - One World Trade Center, “Freedom Tower.”
· Katie Linendoll continues to shine in her young career. You may have seen her Emmy award-winning technology expertise on the Today show or CNN, among a host of other national media outlets.
RIT’s progress has not gone unnoticed by our alumni and friends. Last year we received nearly $27 million in philanthropic contributions and we increased our alumni participation from 38,000 to 51,000. We are always looking for more ways to engage our alumni with current students – as mentors, guest lecturers, and career advisors. I am proud that we now have nearly 112,000 alumni living in 123 countries.
Let’s briefly look forward: While RIT remains on a remarkably positive trajectory, how will we maintain that momentum? What will it take to get there? We need to continue on our path to extend our geographic reach in our recruitment of the most talented students, staff, and faculty. We must continue to grow our reputation as a place where innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship flourish. We must continue our efforts to diversify our campus community and harness NTID’s presence on our campus. We must continue to get RIT’s name out there across the country and around the world. We must continue to be seen as a place where students and parents get a real return on their investment. And we must continue to develop as a place where the best and brightest come to find their futures.
Furthermore, I truly believe that RIT is poised to become a national leader in the education of a truly diverse student body. Recent support programs developed by our Multicultural Center for Academic Success for graduates of urban high schools, most of whom are African American or Latino, are already beginning to reduce the retention rate gap typically seen for such students compared to students from suburban backgrounds. And our Future Stewards Program for Native American students is becoming a national model, with retention and graduation rates for these students actually exceeding our campus average. Taken together with the remarkable success of NTID in moving deaf and hard-of-hearing students to meaningful careers, we have a chance to become a best-practice institution in an area absolutely essential to the future economic success of our nation.