Tigers turn Big Apple orange

Students and alumni in New York City spot advertising campaign in Grand Central

Jesse Winter

Students who thrive at RIT dominated advertising space inside Grand Central Terminal and Station last spring. The campaign was made possible by Austin McChord ’09.

That familiar RIT orange covered the walls, poles, turnstiles, stairs, and digital boards of Grand Central in New York City throughout the holiday season. And so did many RIT faces.

An advertising campaign showcasing RIT’s creativity and innovation as a leading university took over Grand Central Terminal and Station, subway cars, and even some rail cars traveling to Westchester County and Connecticut. The campaign first ran in spring 2023.

The campaign showcased more than 60 of the unique artists, advocates, explorers, academics, and athletes who thrive together at RIT. RIT Trustee Austin McChord ’09 (bioinformatics), founder of tech company Datto and current CEO of Casana, funded the campaign. McChord said he hopes the campaign drives a connection between prospective students and the university.

“I gave a commencement speech a few years ago at RIT,” said McChord. “I told the graduates to make connections. And those connections will serve them for many years. I hope that if I can help even one student connect with RIT and all that it can offer, a school that helped me, then it’s worth it. That’s why putting RIT students front and center in this ad campaign made sense.”

New York City resident Kenneth Holley ’02 (information technology) was shocked and pleased to see the ads in Grand Central one day. As he admired the RIT takeover, he made a connection.

Last May, Kelly Weber, a fourth-year photographic and imaging arts major from Avon, N.Y., was with her parents taking pictures of the ad featuring her. Holley walked over to greet them.

“It was an incredible experience and I’ve had several positive exchanges when I see the RIT logo on community members, even when I wear it myself,” said Holley, who works as a consultant in Digital Transformation and Program Advisory Services. He also serves as director of leadership and strategy for the Metro New York Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

“RIT’s logo represents Tiger Pride and I would love to see it more,” he said.

Weber was one of several students who represented RIT in the campaign who made a special trip to New York City to see their ads in person.

Double take

Some students walked through busy Grand Central to find their ads.






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