New site celebrates Pulitzer Prize legacy of alumni

Evan Vucci '00

Demonstrators protest in the driving rain near the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2020. This was one of two photos taken by Evan Vucci '00 that was part of a wider collection of images taken by Associated Press photographers capturing the country's response to the 2020 police killing of George Floyd. The AP team won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for its work.

Rochester Institute of Technology photojournalism alumni have a notable history of documenting some of the most extraordinary and memorable moments, events and stories the world has seen.

Graduates, as visual journalists and editors, have made a gargantuan impact on documenting countless important moments in history. Among the many ways their journalistic excellence has been recognized is with the Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition in the U.S.

Eleven alumni have combined to win 15 prizes while five alumni have been a finalist a total of eight times. They have photographed, recorded or produced for winning and finalist entries, either as individuals or as part of a group, in several different journalism categories, including Breaking News Photography, Spot News Photography, Feature Photography, Explanatory Reporting and Local Reporting.

RIT is celebrating the accomplishments of those esteemed alumni with the launch of a new RIT’s Pulitzer Legacy website, dedicated to showcasing the work behind each honored entry.

“I’m incredibly proud of the wide variety of subjects for which I was awarded my Pulitzers,” said William Snyder ’81, professor and advertising photography undergraduate program director. He is a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and editor. “My RIT education stressed basic photographic and critical-thinking skills and encouraged me to approach every situation with empathy and as a visual problem to solve. This foundation gave me the confidence to address these different subjects and tell these stories successfully. It is an honor to be part of this very distinguished group of alumni and this website does a wonderful job of showing the world what we have accomplished.”

From nationwide protests calling for racial justice and the country’s youngest face transplant recipient, to issues surrounding gender, childhood trauma, natural disasters, political scandals, the Olympics, famine and war, the Pulitzer-recognized work is the pinnacle of visual journalism, from a group of RIT-trained photographers, videographers and editors. 

With the website, RIT is sharing the ingenuity and professionalism of graduates whose deeply meaningful journalistic work is a source of pride for the College of Art and Design and its School of Photographic Arts and Sciences.

“The Pulitzer Prizes awarded to our alumni from the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences are a source of tremendous pride for the entire university,” said Todd Jokl, dean of RIT’s College of Art and Design. “The Pulitzer recognitions are just one (prominent) way of recognizing the contributions to our university and how this tremendous school of photography is making critical contributions to our world. Our photo school is certainly regarded for its longstanding educational legacy and international impact and this website is another way  for us to celebrate our graduates and their significant achievements.”

The Pulitzer Prize-recognized alumni are: Paul Benoit ’76, Bernie Boston ’55, Paula Bronstein ’80, Robert Bukaty ’82, David Carson ’94, Chloe Coleman ’13, Edmund D. Fountain ’03, Ken Geiger ’11, Stan Grossfeld ’73, Lynn Johnson ’75, Dan Loh ’95, William Snyder ’81, Anthony Suau ’78, Evan Vucci ’00 and David Wallace ’01.

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