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The University Magazine

Perseverance: An RIT Trait

President Bill Destler

President Bill Destler

Perseverance … I see it all around the campus.

Perhaps it’s built into RIT’s DNA, dating back to our 19th century Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute roots. I especially see perseverance in our recent 2009 graduates, who remain resolute despite the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. I also see it in our alumni, who are making a difference in the workplace and in their communities. And for those in our family who have fallen on tough times in their jobs, we can help (see page 5).

Here are some “lessons” from my commencement speech to this year’s graduating class that I think pertain to all of the RIT family:

  1. Change is almost always a good thing.
  2. You do not have to give up your family and friends while you undertake this new adventure. In fact, they will be your greatest source of support. The friends you keep, however, will be the ones you continue to reach out to.
  3. Make new friends both inside and outside of your work environment. You will need both.
  4. Come back and see your family, friends, and RIT often. All of them will be a source of support for you in good times and bad.
  5. In terms of finding a job, I cannot by myself change the global economic climate, but I can tell you that many years ago I finished my education in a similar economic downturn. I sent out 100 resumes to potential employers, and received not one encouraging response. I persevered, however, and eventually found a job, as I’m sure all of you will. In this climate, the best I can suggest is to make the point to potential employers that you can add real value to the company, and as RIT graduates, you are in a better position to make this point than almost any other new college graduates.

Finally, I told the Class of 2009, keep track of the goings-on at your alma mater. I can assure you that RIT will continue to grow and prosper along with all of you.

Let’s fast-forward to yet another exciting fall. In September, we plan to dedicate our new Center for Student Innovation (see page 10). The center will be a signature structure that brings RIT closer to the vision of becoming America’s “Innovation and Creativity University.”

We’re also looking forward to Brick City Homecoming, Oct. 9-11 (see page 29). For the first time, we’ve built a hockey game into our homecoming events. The Tigers open the season Oct. 10 vs. Colgate in downtown Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena.

I hope to see you on campus and at the game.

So as you see, we persevere.

President Bill Destler

Bill Destler