Alumnus Chance Wright ’18, ’19 makes $1.8 million donation to RIT’s Saunders College of Business
The gift will support renovation and expansion of Saunders College
A. Sue Weisler
“We are so grateful for Chance’s commitment to and belief in Saunders College,” said Dean Jacqueline Mozrall. “This gift will allow us to transform the educational environment in our existing facilities, while enhancing opportunities for applied learning and business community engagement in the expansion.”
Wright, who entered RIT as a photography major in the College of Art and Design’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS), started taking business classes as an undergraduate working toward a minor. He was sitting in a Principles of Marketing class when he first learned about the accelerated 4+1 MBA program, which would allow him to obtain an MBA in only one additional year at RIT.
After graduating with his MBA in 2019, Wright is giving back to his alma mater through a series of donations.
He started with SPAS, donating $3.5 million to expand and renovate Gannett Hall. Now, he’s donating $1.8 million to Saunders College.
The majority of his donation will support renovations to existing spaces in Max Lowenthal Hall, home of Saunders College. Classrooms and common learning spaces on the third floor will be renovated, as will a seminar room on the first floor.
“I don’t want the old spaces to be left behind,” Wright said. “If classrooms aren’t up to date, learning in them is more challenging, especially with the advent of more laptops and more technology in the classroom. Changes like placing outlets in the middle of the room versus only on the outside wall of every other table are really important. Students need to charge their computers when they’re running from class to class. Those types of updates matter.”
In addition to added technology accessibility in the classrooms, aesthetic updates will help create continuity between newer and older spaces. Carpets will be replaced, furniture will be upgraded, and new audio-visual capabilities will be integrated.
Wright’s donation will also support the addition of a south-facing outdoor balcony on the top floor of the building expansion, with scenic views of campus. This feature, which will add additional outdoor space to the expansion plans, wouldn’t have been possible without his gift.
“With two recent RIT degrees, Chance deeply understands the student experience and wants to make a difference for our undergraduates and graduate students,” said RIT President David Munson. “We are deeply appreciative of this second gift to the university. Chance is also a strategic advisor in his role as a member of the President’s Roundtable, where we discuss major initiatives and how to best position RIT for future success.”
Wright’s support of the Rochester community reaches beyond RIT. In 2018, he co-founded The Shore Foundation, a non-profit empowering the Rochester community by enhancing technological access, awareness, and ability. Since 2018, the foundation has distributed more than 1,000 refurbished computers to people in need in the Rochester area.
The expansion, which will almost double the size of Saunders College and add more than 35,000 square feet to the existing building, will break ground in the fall of 2021. The project is scheduled to be completed in time to welcome the fall class of 2023. Renovations to the third and first floors will begin in 2022.
This gift is part of Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness, a $1 billion university fundraising effort, the largest in university history. This blended campaign seeks support from a variety of investors, including alumni and friends, government and corporate partners, and research foundations and agencies. The campaign has raised $783 million to date.