RIT launches $300 million campaign — "Powered by the Future"

Preparing to reach its next level in the 21st century, Rochester Institute of Technology has launched a $300 million campaign, the largest fund-raising effort in the university’s history, and the first since the mid-1980s.

The campaign, "Powered by the Future," kicked off its public phase Sept. 28 during an on-campus gala with an enthusiastic audience of 300. The festivities featured a futuristic technology show, a video and talks by RIT President Albert J. Simone and campaign leaders outlining specifics of the campaign.

"Our goal is to take RIT to the next level as a leading, career-oriented, technology-based national and international university," says Simone. "The key to reaching this goal is people. Financial resources are necessary to attract the best students in the country and the top professors in the crucial disciplines we’ve identified as primary for the future of the university."

RIT will continue its growth in the coming decade, with an enrollment expected to reach 17,000 by 2010. RIT leaders have created a list of needs in areas of academics, physical structure and student life.

"When we identified the cost of all the necessary investments, the number was in excess of $300 million," says Simone. "We then worked to put together what we thought was the minimal dollar figure needed to accomplish our goals, with the opportunity we have to receive support from our friends, and that turned out to be $300 million - the established goal of the campaign."

RIT is committed to growing as a national leader in career-focused, technology-rich education. To prepare for this challenge, RIT will seek funding from foundations, corporations and RIT family and friends. Here are the goals for the $300 million campaign:

  • Investing in Students: $75 million
  • Reinventing the Campus: $70 million
  • Recruiting and Retaining Top Faculty: $50 million
  • Supporting Applied Research and Learning: $75 million
  • Fund for the Future: $30 million

    "Powered by the Future" is the campaign title because it accurately describes RIT - a university that leads higher education in providing courses in the most advanced technologies, says Laurel Price Jones, vice president for development and alumni relations.

    "RIT is able to do this by emphasizing the importance of agility in curricular areas, and by securing the equipment, the classrooms and labs, and the faculty that can teach new and emerging areas. If you’re going to be prepared now for what’s coming next, you must constantly assess and change. You’re always looking at new program areas. You’re always refreshing your faculty and buying - or securing as gifts-in-kind - new equipment."

    Examples of investments include scholarships, graduate fellowships, endowed professorships, enhanced multimedia and Web technologies, and unrestricted funds.

    The landscape of the campus is also expected to change over the next decade. The construction of a $25 million Field House and Activities Center began this week. The building for the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences is slated to open in spring 2003. Other new construction and renovation projects are included in the campaign goals, for example: a new building for engineering technologies in the College of Applied Science and Technology; additions to the College of Science and College of Business; and a new "Crafts Village" for the School for American Crafts in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

    Volunteers will lead the campaign, including most of RIT’s 50 active trustees. "The trustees will be a driving force, reaching out to alumni, business, industry and friends of RIT," says William Buckingham, (Class of ’64, business administration) chairman of the campaign and chairman of RIT’s Board of Trustees.

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