University Priorities

Your gifts ensure the promise and vision of RIT are achievable, so that we can continue to grow well into the future. Supporting any area of the university helps our students, faculty and staff, but gifts to RIT’s strategic priorities are particularly important, as investment in these areas now is critical to the university’s future.

Pillar 1: Attract Exceptional Talent

We want the best and brightest minds at RIT, regardless of their financial circumstances. Your support will help us bring them here—and keep them here.

There is no greater need at RIT than increased scholarship funding. Your support will fund undergraduate scholarships based on both merit and need, to offer assistance with tuition, textbook purchases, and experiential learning opportunities, and to increase the number of underrepresented students. The promise of a scholarship can literally change someone’s life.Not all students are the same, nor are their educational needs and when a student steps on campus, they carry with them all of the problems they could be experiencing at home making it much more difficult for them to achieve their academic potential. Your support will enable the development and implementation of programs, policies, and practices that improve the graduation rate and on-time graduation of our students and that close the graduation gap associated with socioeconomic state, race, and other limiting demographic factors.



Stephen Parker

We were pleasantly surprised with the support we received. The financial aid office was willing to work with us on our individual needs both at the beginning of the application process during the next four years as our circumstances changed. The scholarships and loans my sons received, combined with choosing affordable housing resulted in RIT being my sons' choice.

Kathleen Class parent of Michael and Greg Coady ’13

Engaged, motivated students at all degree levels look for faculty members to offer a valuable mix of knowledge, inspiration, and exposure to opportunities that will help them set the stage for professional success. An increase in underrepresented faculty proportional to the number of underrepresented students is also an imperative of ours since we know that students are more likely to thrive in a setting where there are faculty with whom they can identify. We will hire distinguished faculty who are exemplary in their fields, and who attract students and additional first-rate faculty to our programs. We face stiff competition in this area, and must present highly competitive offers.

Great professors teach their students how to challenge assumptions and think across the boundaries of their disciplines. They ignite passion in their students by demonstrating that passion in their own research and scholarship. Your support of endowed professorships will help champion outstanding teaching and meet other objectives such as advancing a particular research area, studying teaching methods for a specific discipline, and creating new degree programs.



Stephen Parker

We must continue to lead by example through our teaching and scholarly efforts and by creating opportunities that encourage and support the growth of critical thinking in all we do.

Jennifer Schneider, Ph.D. Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking, Rochester Institute of Technology

Research that impacts the world starts with the people who conduct it. RIT is unique in our approach to student-centered research. A research opportunity extends students’ knowledge, enhances their interdisciplinary agility and fosters collaboration, resilience, and tenacity. The total student experience is enriched when students have the opportunity to participate in research early and often.

At the undergraduate level, student-centered research means that students are in the driver’s seat, conducting research assignments that their peers at other universities do not see until graduate school. This hands-on experience, offered early in their academic careers, gives them the chance to shape their future further. Your support of undergraduate research fellowships ensures that more students have the opportunity to engage in research building knowledge, skills and abilities.

Graduate students are tomorrow’s leaders in computing, engineering, business, science, the arts, and a host of other professions. Master’s and doctoral students collaborate with faculty on research to solve pressing global challenges. Graduate students make advancements in promising areas of knowledge that are the future. To ensure that more graduate students can continue to make these much-needed advances and to remain competitive against our peers, you support is needed so that we are able to offer substantially more research fellowships to attract the best and brightest.



Stephen Parker

Undergraduate research was such an important part of my education at RIT. It made a tremendous difference in preparing me for my graduate studies and for my work here at NASA.

Julie Barsi ’97, ’00, instrument engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Pillar 2: Enhance the Student Experience

Our students receive the richest benefit when their education is fully lived, not just observed. A wide spectrum of experiential learning opportunities help to make learning relatable while increasing overall learning effectiveness. Programs and services like co-op, internships, global work and study, student project teams, community service, entrepreneurship, athletics, and student groups and societies increase student engagement as well as promote development of skills, knowledge and abilities. Help broaden and enrich the opportunities our students have to apply their knowledge in a variety of situations and experiences, support experiential education.


Female lacrosse player being chased down the field.

To enable transformational learning, which will ultimately transform the world, students and faculty must have a space where learning accelerates through deep engagement across disciplines, pushing students to take ownership of their learning and develop competencies of resilience, growth, curiosity, creativity and optimism. The Innovative Learning Center will become the center of the university—the very heart of the RIT student experience. Your support of this comprehensive construction project, which will transform the Wallace Library into a collaboration space of the future, combine it with an enhanced Student Alumni Union, and build a connecting glass pavilion containing a state-of-the-art makerspace and dynamic classrooms, will enable the experiences, creations, collaboration, experimentation, intersection of disciplines and innovation to become reality in this reimagined space



Stephen Parker

By creating an infrastructure to transform learning and engagement, we will attract, retain, and graduate students who will shape the future and improve the world through creativity, innovation, and collaboration at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design.


Surprising innovations require surprising thinking, and links between the performing arts and academic success, personal confidence, innovative thinking and a host of employer-desired skills—like teamwork, flexibility, motivation, and passion among others—are demonstrated in countless studies and in the words of our alumni. It is no surprise that innovation requires creative thinking and that students immersed in arts and culture are more apt to think expansively. By making music, theater, and dance a fundamental part of an RIT education and developing the leading performing arts program in the nation for non-majors, we can ensure that our students have the diverse perspectives they need to excel in their careers. When you support performing arts, you help attract the most creative students while also helping them build important connections between their passions and their personal and professional goals.



Stephen Parker

Participating in the performing arts uses both sides of the brain. It’s creative and fluid, and involves a high degree of technical ability and concentration. It’s both a craft and a science.


Pillar 3: Improve the World Through Research and Discovery

By funding the leading edge of discovery, you are helping us translate research into the practical applications that not only improve lives, but drive talent development and economic growth. Investment in this area will fund various centers including:

  • The Future Photon Initiative, which aims to harness light through photonics to power today’s electronic devices.
  • Personalized health care technology that will advance mobile and wearable technologies that integrate new media design and that use data, behavioral, and social sciences to administer care specific to individuals.
  • Sociotechnical approaches to cybersecurity, which will discover vulnerabilities and explore defense mechanisms by modeling the human behaviors of legitimate and adversarial stakeholders.
  • Remote sensing with unmanned aerial vehicles to capture and process multimodal image data for business applications, collision avoidance, and anti-drone technology.
  • The Computational Relativity and Gravitation Initiative, which uses simulations on massive supercomputers to advance the discovery and knowledge of astrophysical phenomena, like the merger of black holes, neutron stars, and supernova explosions.



Stephen Parker

RIT is home to more than 50 interdisciplinary research centers, institutes, and organizations that bring together faculty and students from across the university. These entities explore a wide range of topics and cover everything from business and entrepreneurship to biomedical sciences, nanolithography, printing, social computing, remanufacturing, microsystems fabrication, environmental sustainability, and visual perception.


As a student-centered research university, RIT combines the mission-critical activities of research, scholarship, artistic creation, creative inquiry, teaching, and learning across all degree levels and disciplines. By conducting government-funded, interdisciplinary, high-impact research and by partnering with business and industry in private research and development, we advance the boundaries of knowledge and the application of new technologies. Recognizing that participation on research teams enhances critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and cross-disciplinary competencies, we will facilitate the participation of undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral students on funded, faculty-led research teams. Students bring enthusiasm to research teams often asking insightful questions that can change the ways faculty approach research inquiries; student researchers also contribute to the world of knowledge to each project helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems while doing good at the same time.



Stephen Parker

Research is my thing. I like the problem-solving aspect. You’re engaged, you’re involved, and you learn things that you never set out to learn.

Taylor Wolf ’18, biochemistry, College of Science

RIT is a different kind of university partner. Created by a group of corporate-based founders, the university continues to work closely with corporations, technology businesses, start-ups in industries of all types. We work together with companies to drive company success and economic development. Through research collaborations, cooperative education and recruitment, innovative business solutions, workforce and executive training, and effective strategic partnerships, RIT offers our partners the resources to be successful.

When partnering with RIT, we enable access to experts who provide real solutions to real challenges. Whether the project involves new technology, intellectual property licensing, applied research and problem solving, or consultation with an expert in the field, RIT faculty and administrators are the connection to knowledge needed to succeed.



Stephen Parker

RIT is a fantastic case study of using machine translation and speech recognition to make classrooms inclusive. They customize it by teaching these systems the specific subjects. Think about what it can do for an inclusive classroom.

Sataya Nadella CEO, Microsoft

RIT is unique and situated to make critical contributions to the state, the region, the nation, and beyond. Because our research builds upon existing signature strengths, with additional facilities to support our efforts, we can do even more. We are developing a uniquely focused interdisciplinary research portfolio while simultaneously extending the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning and integrating students at all degree levels into the research enterprise. Our move to Research University was intentional and gradual but one that will be truly transformational will require significant investment in research facilities and equipment. Your support of facility improvement and expansion, including a new engineering and science research building, will enable us to expand our research portfolio and extend our industry and government outreach initiatives.


Man signing to students

Pillar 4: Lead Future Special Initiatives

Serving curious students and educating them to make the discoveries and take the actions that drive progress is at the heart of what we do. We cannot accomplish those goals without ensuring continued academic quality of existing curriculum while also innovating new academic programs. Your support will enable the development of new majors, centers, and schools in critical areas, and further strengthen of existing ones while also providing enrichment programs for students and faculty.



Stephen Parker

Endowment is support for the life of the university. Through a healthy endowment, RIT has the ability to address all expenses, planned and unforeseen, and provide the university greater flexibility in launching new projects or initiatives, as well as in providing greater support to faculty and students.

Every time we combine the power of technology, the arts, and design to make good things happen, we are one-step closer to greatness. We are ready for what tomorrow brings, and we will maintain the inventiveness and agility RIT has always been known for. Help us to ensure the amazing transformation of RIT.



Stephen Parker

The endowed fund to support undergraduate research in the College of Science will have a long-lasting impact on students. It will provide them with the independent learning experience that is important for student success, job placement and graduate studies.

Sophia Maggelakis, Ph.D. dean, College of Science