President Munson calls on RIT community to reinvigorate the campus this academic year
Munson outlines the university’s recent accomplishments and future developments in annual address
Rochester Institute of Technology President David Munson welcomed the community for the start of a new academic year with a call to re-energize the campus’s atmosphere to its pre-pandemic level. During his annual President’s Address in Ingle Auditorium on Friday, Munson encouraged all RIT faculty, staff, and students to make a new academic year resolution to spend more time face-to-face with one another.
Read the full text of President Munson’s address.
“RIT is an experiential, in-person place,” said Munson. “And we want to do everything we can to get our students engaged so that they receive a full education. So, let’s bring back the thrill. Zoom has its place, but you can’t catch the wave online!”
Munson began by thanking the audience for its resilience throughout the pandemic and said RIT has made great strides over the past year in student enrollment and success, research, fundraising, and construction projects to enhance the campus.
Some of the successes he reflected on included:
- RIT had a record number of undergraduate applications and 20 percent increase in graduate applications.
- Overall, the university expects to enroll more than 19,700 undergraduate and graduate students this fall, including our overseas campuses.
- A record $92 million in sponsored research was awarded.
- Two faculty members earned prestigious NSF CAREER Awards.
- Three recent graduates received awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and three College of Science faculty members received Fulbright Scholar Awards.
- Students took home top prizes at collegiate competitions including the Baja SAE Rochester Challenge.
- The men’s lacrosse team won its second-straight NCAA Division III national title.
Looking ahead, Munson said RIT is in the process of plotting the future of its physical footprint, with a finalized plan expected later this year.
“We literally are designing our future as we are charting what this campus will look like in the next 25 to 50 years with a new Master Plan,” said Munson. “This is a long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development on our 1,300 acres.”
Munson noted many other strategic developments underway for the university:
- RIT now has a School of Performing Arts with the intention of offering the leading performing arts program in the nation for non-majors. Nearly 500 new Performing Arts Scholars joined RIT this fall.
- RIT is expanding its Ph.D. portfolio with new programs in business administration, cognitive science, and physics.
- RIT’s global programs in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo continue to prosper. RIT Dubai has a stunning new campus and RIT Croatia celebrates its 25th anniversary.
- The university just launched RIT Certified, a new education organization committed to promoting professional advancement and economic mobility in the Rochester region, throughout the nation, and across the globe.
- Several individuals assumed new leadership positions recently: Erica Haskell is the inaugural director of our new School of Performing Arts; Matt Huenerfauth is the new dean of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences; Diane Slusarski is our new dean and associate provost of the RIT Graduate School; André Hudson will serve as interim dean for the College of Science; and Chad van Gorder will serve as the inaugural Director of Veteran Services and Military Affairs.
- The Student Hall for Exploration and Development will open fall 2023 as the heart and creative hub of the university.
- Athletic facility improvements continue and a new stadium will be built featuring locker rooms, concessions, and a hospitality suite.
- Work has commenced on a near-doubling of the footprint for Saunders College of Business.
- Renovation of the College of Art and Design made significant strides this past year.
- Brown Hall is receiving a total makeover to become a research laboratory building.
- RIT is breaking ground on the first theater of the performing arts center, expected to be completed in 2024.
- NTID performing arts renovations are commencing this fall in spaces surrounding the Panara Theatre to create far better facilities for dance, enabling collaborations with organizations in the Rochester community.
Additionally, Munson noted that RIT’s Board of Trustees approved a $120 million bond issue to fund numerous projects around campus. Included are the new Tiger Stadium, a new research building with both wet and dry labs, and air conditioning where still needed in the College of Art and Design and the College of Science. RIT is also planning major renovations in the residence halls, adding air conditioning where still needed, and upgrading restrooms and public spaces.
Munson noted that Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness is now in the homestretch. This summer, the campaign passed the $900 million mark. He said the campaign is enabling RIT to implement its strategic plan, serve students, grow its status as a top research university, and build deeper relationships with government and corporate partners.
Remarks were also given from RIT Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Granberg, Staff Council Chair Emily Heyman, Faculty Senate Chair Atia Newman, Student Government President Aditya Khanna, and Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Keith Jenkins.
Munson concluded by saying, “RIT is embracing and designing a very bright future. Our amazing community of creators and innovators is shaping the world through ideas that inspire, inform, and improve lives. I wish to thank each of you again for doing your part to move this great university forward. I am honored and humbled to be working with such a talented and committed group of faculty, staff, and students.”