Reno Antonietti AAS '58, BS '68

Reno Antonietti's connection to RIT is not just a story of a former student and administrator, but of a lifelong bond that has inspired generous giving back to the university that shaped his life. Reflecting on his time as a student and beyond, Reno notes that his journey is a testament to the power of education, friendship, and the spirit of giving.

“Well, I think there are many reasons I decided to give back to RIT, but one of them is that I made lifelong friends from the time I was a student there,” he noted, reminiscing about the bonds formed during his college years. “Many of whom I am still friends with. Those were lifelong friends I made. I mean forever; it’s been 67 years.”

These friendships have been a cornerstone of Reno's connection to RIT, providing a network of support and camaraderie that extended far beyond graduation.

Reno discussed how RIT taught important skills during his four or five years as a student, setting him up for the next 35 years of his life. He always remembered the skills and experiences he gained as a student that helped him in his career. 

“Well, I was a student twice, really. I got an associate’s degree in engineering first. I worked for a while in that field, and then I came back after the service. I was drafted in 1961, and then I was hired to work at the library at RIT in 1964. I completed my bachelor’s in industrial management and then went to another school for a master’s in library science,” Reno explained. “RIT was great. I mean, I had the greatest boss, the director of the library. He gave me the time to do the work that I had to do academically while doing full time work, and it was great. I owe a lot to RIT for all of that.”

Reno's deep appreciation for RIT led him to join the Sentinel Society, RIT’s leadership giving society. “One of the main reasons was that we were giving annually anyway. We said, ‘Why not?’ I think it took two seconds to make the decision. And, I think it's a nice way to continue growing a gift if you can. We want to help students, obviously. In the past, I gave sometimes to the library or to other areas, and then I thought, you know, use it wherever it is best. Primarily I would like to see it go to students who have financial issues.”

Reno’s commitment to supporting students in need underscores his belief in the transformative power of education and the importance of paying it forward.

Discussing his and his family’s decision to make a planned gift, Reno shared, “In the early days when I began working, you could buy an insurance policy that would be completed in ten years. The planned gift I gave to RIT was such a policy. We found it was a reasonable way to make a bigger impact, especially since the life insurance policy ultimately outlasted its original purpose.”

The Antoniettis view their planned gift as a way to ensure their legacy at RIT, supporting future generations of students and contributing to the university’s continued success.

When asked what advice they would give to other alumni considering making a planned gift or joining the Sentinel Society, Reno emphasized, “Start early, no matter what amount. And just be consistent. If you are fortunate enough to have your financial resources improve over time, you can raise the amount. Particularly if you are in a position where what you are doing for a living is in great part enabled by being an RIT alum.”

Reno also spoke about his 35 years as an administrator at RIT. “I was associate vice president for academic services in computing. I started in the audio-visual department, and I oversaw many student employees. As I moved up the ladder, the library reported to me, as well as information systems, computing, and some other areas. I met many students. I did teach a few classes in the evening, just for the fun of it, and I enjoyed it. I met some great people, non-traditional students mostly. Some of the students we had working for us went on to be in the same field and later wrote me letters, remembering me. That was really rewarding.”

Reno’s wife, Jan, reflected on their shared journey and added, “Being connected to RIT has been a very good experience. It’s been fun seeing all the changes RIT made over the years. The school has grown. We’ve met many nice people who continue to be our friends. If we hadn’t had RIT in our lives, it would be sad. So, I am glad to have had the opportunity to be connected.”

The Antoniettis’ gifts are primarily directed towards students needing financial assistance. “I was very fortunate as a student. I went to RIT because it was relatively close, had a program that I wanted, and was affordable. It was a big deal. I left without owing any money, and had some help from my parents, of course. Now, I see it is a completely different financial scenario for students. If alums have the ability to give back, it’s going to help a lot of those students. We have two granddaughters and two daughters who went through college, and it's expensive. If we can help, particularly the students who need it the most and are sharp, but maybe can’t stay in school because of financial issues, it’s incredibly important,” Reno shared.

The Antoniettis’ story is one of enduring loyalty and generosity. Their contributions, driven by a deep gratitude for the opportunities they received, continue to impact the lives of countless students at RIT. Through their giving, they ensure that future generations can enjoy the same life-changing experiences and opportunities that defined their own journey at RIT.