Imagine RIT—every day

Imagine a space where you can print a 3D object for a class project and also incorporate ceramics and glass blowing. Imagine the same space where you can get involved with photography, a formula race car, music, theater, or dance. Imagine if this space created the eclectic vibe that we experience annually at Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival.

 The Imagine RIT festival is our signature event where students and faculty display their capstone work and launch new ideas, services, and products into the world. The festival is one day. Imagine if we could capture that inspired activity 365 days a year.

 This is the thinking behind our Innovative Maker and Learning Complex, a 100,000-plus-square-foot facility that will become the epicenter of what RIT represents—creativity and innovation at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design. RIT is the best university in the nation at which to house this under one roof.

When I first arrived on campus more than two years ago, we were talking about a serious renovation of the Wallace Library. I wondered, “why would we stop with the library?” We are now designing a facility that will link the library to the Student Alumni Union. (See more details on pages 16 and 17.) We need something that is emblematic of our university and that explains how we are distinctive. At the highest level, this facility will represent who we are to ourselves and the outside world.

The Innovative Maker and Learning Complex (stay tuned for an official name) is also imperative in an increasingly competitive landscape in student recruitment. It’s intended to go after a particular kind of student—those who might be good at science and math, but also want to make something. Or maybe they want to continue their high school experience in the performing arts.

We also need to get thousands of our own students into this facility every day, so they walk by all this making and creativity. This is particularly true for our first-year students, who arrive not always knowing about the possibilities available at RIT.

This space will showcase those possibilities as well as how our students work together and share knowledge.

This university is in pursuit of the extraordinary, the novel, and the unexpected. Imagine RIT — every day.


David C. Munson Jr., President
Twitter: @RITPresident