Thank you! We are Transforming RIT by surpassing our $1 billion goal … and counting

Dear RIT community,

$1 billion and counting: We did it!

We, the RIT family, have officially surpassed our $1 billion goal for Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness.

You have my deepest appreciation and gratitude for all that we have done to achieve our greatness. How did we define greatness throughout this campaign?

Greatness is surrounding yourself with diverse talent—thinkers and creators who elevate a team. Greatness is creating a transformative student experience inside and outside the classroom, leading to alumni who become engaged global citizens. Greatness is bringing goodness to the world through research and discovery. Greatness is reimagining innovation.

A recent $1 million gift from John Traver ’10 (Motion Picture Science) for an endowed professorship in the College of Art and Design put us over the top. John is the co-founder of, an award-winning video review and collaboration platform, that was acquired by Adobe in 2021. This is a fitting gift because John exemplifies all we do at RIT with creativity and innovation meeting at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design.

I also want to emphasize that we are sailing across the finish line with momentum. So, while we are completing this campaign, we are just getting started for the next chapter as we have identified many new friends of RIT. Under the leadership of Phil Castleberry, vice president for University Advancement, we have built a strong team and best practices that are enabling us to discover more potential donors who have capacity to help us down the line and further the transformation of this great university.

You may recall, Transforming RIT has been a different kind of campaign. It has been a blended campaign because it seeks support from a multitude of investors—from our proud alumni, parents and friends—to our government and corporate partners, research foundations and agencies. In a blended campaign, investments to one initiative leverage additional contributions in related areas, so corporate, government, and private dollars work together to achieve our shared goals to greatness. Many thanks to the divisions of University Advancement, Research, and Government and Community Relations for their efforts, as well as students, faculty, and staff across the campus.

Here are just a few other examples of success from the campaign:

  •  More than $137.7 million has been given to support scholarships and the student experience to ensure the best and brightest minds can attend RIT regardless of their financial circumstances.
  • The $4.5 million gift from the Polisseni Foundation to support the construction of the Gene Polisseni Center, home to our men’s and women’s hockey programs. This was one of our first major gifts when the campaigned kicked off in 2013.
  • The Saunders College of Business Challenge and expansion of Lowenthal Hall. Gifts from numerous donors, including E. Philip Saunders, have elevated Saunders College.
  • The establishment of MAGIC Spell Studios — a program and facility where RIT’s internationally ranked academic programs connect to commercialize computer gaming, film and animation, and digital media projects.
  • The creation of the ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute, which is making RIT one of the best places in the world for cybersecurity education, training, and research.
  • The SHED (Student Hall for Exploration and Development), RIT’s new showpiece for technology, the arts, and design located in one creative hub, will open this fall.
  • Alumnus and Trustee Austin McChord’s transformational gift of $50 million that was used to help build the SHED, ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute, MAGIC, endowed professorships, and support for student entrepreneurs.
  • Increases in collaborative projects and inclusion in statewide and national initiatives combined for another record year of sponsored research this past year — a new high of $92 million.
  • The creation of the Sentinel Society, which recognizes a community of leadership donors who make meaningful annual investments in the university.

Today, we celebrate this milestone accomplishment. You can still join the Campaign for Greatness by June 30th, and be counted. We will be planning celebrations this summer and in the fall at Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend. Stay tuned for details.

Together, we are transforming the future, by transforming RIT.

Yours in Tiger Pride,

David Munson