Donor Recognition

Giving Societies

RIT Philanthropic community:

RIT Philanthropic Community

Because of you, there are great opportunities ahead for RIT. Thanks to the generosity of our many donors like you, RIT is able to pursue these opportunities and keep this university great for today’s students and for generations yet to come. Your support of our students, academic programs, research initiatives and campuses in Rochester and around the globe is what has made us great and will continue to keep us great in the future.

Our RIT Philanthropic Community recognizes and celebrates the vibrant community of generous donors—alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff and students—who make annual, leadership, lifetime, and legacy gifts to the university. As one of our very special donors, you are part of this growing and committed group of individuals and organizations who understand the important role that philanthropy plays in the lives of our students and the mission of this university.

Loyal Tiger Society

Donors who are in the Loyal Tiger Society are those who embody the spirit of RIT by giving to the university they love. We recognize donors with two or more years of consecutive giving for their ongoing generosity each calendar year with increased recognition in milestone years. Loyal Tiger Society donors know that gifts of any size make an impact and Loyal Tigers make a significant impact on the university and our students.


Sentinel Society

The Sentinel Society recognizes a community of leadership donors who make a meaningful annual investment in the university. Together, these donors play a pivotal role in providing unrestricted gifts that provide financial aid scholarships and fund RIT's most pressing needs across campus. Their unrestricted gifts allow RIT to be nimble as we fulfill emergent student scholarship needs, seize educational opportunities, and support strategic initiatives and student life. To find out more, please visit the Sentinel Society webpage.


1829 Society

The 1829 Society recognizes donors who provide foundational support to RIT with lifetime giving or current pledges of $100,000 to $999,999. Named after the founding of the Athenaeum, which is the first of the organizations from which RIT directly descends, the generous financial commitments of 1829 Society donors help RIT provide life-changing scholarships, research fellowships, and interdisciplinary academic programs and student organizations that enrich the student experience. These donors receive priority communications from university leadership, are invited to special events throughout the year, and are provided opportunities to engage with faculty and students who are impacted by their generosity.


Grace Watson Society of Distinction

Grace Watson Society of Distinction donors are RIT’s most prestigious supporters whose lifetime giving totals $1 million or more, transforming the landscape of RIT and the lives of Tigers both now and for years to come, just like Grace Watson. Ms. Watson was an unassuming Rochester resident who attended RIT and who felt that RIT’s educational programs had a unique and progressive aspect to them. She left a percentage of her estate to RIT which enabled the purchase of 1,300 acres of land in Henrietta that campus currently calls home. Our Grace Watson Society of Distinction donors receive our highest level of recognition, exclusive access to university leaders, invitations to exclusive events, engagement with students and faculty, and ongoing communication and information that demonstrates how lifetime giving enables RIT to fulfill its mission, plan for the future and empower the world’s future leaders, creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.


Ellingson Society

The Ellingson Society honors those individuals and families who have informed us of their planned gifts that in the future will fund RIT’s greatest needs. The Ellingson Society is named for RIT President Mark Ellingson and his wife Marcia, who propelled RIT to a new level of national and world prominence, as well as established an endowed trust that continues to help students today. The thoughtful planning of Ellingson Society donors ensures unlimited possibilities for students and faculty for generations to come. They are able to engage with fellow donors through events and receive periodic communications that demonstrate the impact of creating a lasting legacy at RIT.

Naming Opportunities

Our donors’ generosity impacts generations of RIT students. Frequently donors’ gifts are recognized by naming scholarships, support funds, campus facilities and fixtures, departments, schools, and colleges, and university posts for the individuals or organizations that have supported them. In addition, the university offers a number of ways to honor a respected friend or colleague, or memorialize a loved one through naming of fixtures and facilities. For information on naming opportunities across campus, contact Donor Relations and Stewardship at

Naming Opportunities at RIT


Academic entities throughout the university may be named in honor of a donor or donors. Entities include a college, school or department, an institute or a center, honors programs in colleges or the university-wide program, and academic buildings.

Academic posts may also be named, such as dean, provost, director, and distinguished faculty members.

Campus Life

The growing number of campus life facilities provides a wide range of naming opportunities to honor our donors. Non-academic facilities such as chapels  and faith centers, health and wellness facilities, performing arts centers or theaters, and dining halls can bear the name of a donor or honoree.

Faculty Enrichment

Faculty positions such as program director or chair, or visiting professor may be named to recognize a donor who supports a particular field of study.

Administrative Leadership

Adminstrators' posts may be named, including athletic coach, center director, curator

, librarian, or archivist.

Physical Spaces

A wide selection of physical spaces on the RIT campus may bear the name of a donor. Athletic facilities and fields, exhibition and art galleries, centers, gardens and green spaces, sculptures, and public gather locations such as quadrangles are included.

Scholarships and Fellowships

RIT's outstanding students are supported through merit and need-based scholarships and fellowships. Depending on the type and length of support, the funds may be named to honor individuals or organizations. Scholarships support tuition for students, and fellowships generally support funding to address other student expenses, or may be established to enable a student to pursue a particular area of interest. Funds may be established to support both undergraduate and graduate students.