Category Archives: Campus Events

RIT/NTID creates Black History Month Celebration Endowment Fund in honor of longtime employee

Dark skinned male and female standing together. Male is holding a small plaque. they are in front of a brick wall.

To commemorate a beloved Black History Month tradition, Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf announced the establishment of the Johnnie “JB” Brown Black History Month Celebration Endowment Fund at a ceremony in May. The fund, named after a longtime RIT employee, will help preserve the popular Black History Month potluck luncheon held each February.

The luncheons, founded and managed by Brown, who has worked as a custodian for 23 years, feature guest speakers who discuss matters relevant to Black History Month and also prompt the return to campus of retired RIT and NTID colleagues.

“The luncheon has become a symbol of togetherness, community and mutual understanding among different walks of life on campus,” said Pamela Christopher, interim director, NTID’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Along with the fond memories we all have of his kindness and humor, JB’s legacy at NTID is undoubtedly the Black History Month luncheons that he has founded and managed for so many years.”

During the announcement, Brown was surrounded by family and friends and presented with a plaque in recognition of his service and dedication.

“This is a great honor, and I’m humbled by all of this,” he said. “I have such passion for the annual potluck luncheon and I have to thank everyone who helps every year and who has helped it grow. I’m really glad that this event will live on. It brings so many people from the RIT/NTID family together, and it’s a great way to honor Black History Month.”

Sydney Long, assistant to the associate vice president for NTID’s Office of Academic Affairs, helped establish the endowment fund.

Johnnie is a prime example of the congeniality within the halls of NTID, transcending race, rank, ethnicity and employment status,” said Long. “He is well respected by all constituencies and epitomizes the standard of a dedicated and loyal employee. I believe Johnnie Brown’s legacy in engaging the RIT/NTID community annually with the Black History Month Celebration and potluck lunch is worthy of continuing in the future. We are the beneficiaries of his beautiful spirit and so honored for his many years of service and contribution in building a cohesive community within RIT and NTID.”

To contribute to the fund, go to www.rit.edu/giving/JB-endowment.

RIT/NTID offers educational summer camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students

Male and female students in white lab coats, safety glasses, blue gloves work on an experiment.

The Explore Your Future program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y., offers deaf and hard-of-hearing college-bound high school students who will begin their junior or senior year in fall 2019 a unique opportunity to experience life on a college campus, explore their interests and sample various careers. This six-day summer career-exploration program provides students with hands-on activities related to careers in art, business, computers, engineering, health science, science and more. 

Explore Your Future sessions for summer 2019 run July 6­-11 and July 13-18. On the final day of each session, parents/guardians attend a workshop that helps them prepare their student for life after high school.

Students who attend Explore Your Future receive an application fee waiver to apply to RIT and will receive a $1,000 scholarship if they enroll at RIT/NTID.

Students can apply online at www.rit.edu/ntid/eyf/. For more information, call 585-475-6700 (voice), 585-743-1366 (videophone), 585-448-9651 (text), 1-866-644-6843 (toll free in the U.S. and Canada), or email EYFinfo@rit.edu.

RIT/NTID graduates advised to “Find the joy in being you”

LaDasha Williams on commencement stage

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf wrapped up celebration of its 50th anniversary year with a commencement ceremony Saturday, May 11, in RIT’s Gene Polisseni Center.

A total of 350 students graduated, including 308 undergraduates and 42 graduate students. Among the undergraduates were 114 with associate degrees and 194 with bachelor’s degrees, including 33 from NTID’s ASL-English Interpretation program. The college’s master’s degree program in Health Care Interpretation graduated 12 students, and seven graduated from the master’s program in secondary education along with 23 students who graduated from master’s degree programs in the other colleges of RIT.

Israelle Johnson, a laboratory science technology major from Baltimore, Ohio, the college’s undergraduate delegate shared her experience with her fellow graduates.  

“Through my education, I found this quote by Theodore Isaac Rubin, ‘Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.’ I started with the laboratory science technology program just to try science and see what would happen. Well, it stuck. I learned so much; normal science things and the complexity of science in the world. It has taught me many different perspectives. It taught me friendship, dedication, team work, independence, how to ask questions and find confidence in who I am.

“So be proactive, meet people, do self-care, volunteer, find your balance, explore your world, find the joy in being you. Do not let the challenges limit you.”

Jeanne D’Arc Ntiguliwa, a master’s in secondary education major from Rwanda and RIT/NTID’s graduate delegate, reflected on her academic journey.

“My ambition to be useful in this world led me to RIT/NTID. At RIT/NTID, for the first time in my academic journey, I had direct communication with my professors, asked questions, participated in group discussions and activities. It was a whole new experience. I am deeply indebted and thankful to NTID for all those experiences, and for exposing me to what a genuine inclusive world looks like.

“What dream can you accomplish now with your degree? Believe in yourself, be bold and creative and go make a difference! It is my hope that we all leave well-equipped to begin new chapters and that one day we will proudly look back and nostalgically say, ‘Yes, I made it, thank you RIT/NTID for empowering me.’”

Prior to graduation, 24 students and three faculty members were inducted into the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society, an international honor society for professions in technology. RIT/NTID has the first deaf chapter of this society. 

Historically, 96 percent of RIT/NTID graduates, who work in all economic sectors, have found employment in their chosen fields within a year of graduation. Associate and bachelor’s degree graduates earn 95 and 178 percent more, respectively, than deaf and hard-of-hearing graduates from other postsecondary institutions. 

RIT’s record 4,200 graduates challenged to ‘enrich the world’

Students dressed in graduation caps, gowns, hoods and stoles line up as three females get their photo taken by male with phone.

More than 4,200 students graduated today at Rochester Institute of Technology, an all-time high. The graduates include 41 Ph.D. students – also a record high – and graduates at international RIT campuses in Croatia, Kosovo, Dubai, and for the first time, Weihai, China.

Keynote speaker John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox Corp. and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), told graduates they are entering “The Imagination Age, an age that calls for new ways to see, to imagine, to think, to act, to learn and one that also calls for us to re-examine the foundations of our way of being human, and what it means to be human.”

RIT President David Munson said the imagination shown on the RIT campus is a result of RIT leveraging its strengths in technology, the arts and design to produce graduates in every discipline capable of practicing transformative innovation that serves the greater good.

“Today’s world needs people who know how to create and innovate, analyze and implement, collaborate and lead,” Munson said. “Creativity begins with people, and at RIT, we have an unusual assembly of exceptional minds.”

Munson said RIT intends to capitalize on the distinctiveness of RIT to further cement its role in higher education.

“We represent creativity and innovation in all fields, with a strong culture of making,” he said. “We make things that never existed before, whether those things are physical objects, digital media, original processes or breakthrough concepts or ideas. And we put those things into use. That’s called innovation.”

Munson told the graduates they should “wake up tomorrow not solely focused on how to earn a living, rather that you go out to do your best to enrich the world. RIT alumni – now 130,000 strong with you included – are emblematic of goodness.”

Munson presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Brown, “for his inspiration through leadership in the fields of information technology, innovation and organizational learning; for his research in the fields of deep learning, digital youth culture and digital media; and for championing the spirit of innovation, creativity and disruptive thinking that has impacted and inspired so many.”

Brown’s history with Xerox dates back decades, and he witnessed the advent of the ethernet, personal computing, graphical user interfaces and more.

“Those were truly exciting times,” he said. “I feel fortunate to have been part of it. Quite honestly though, I now feel a bit envious for those of you graduating today. Back then, nearly 50 years ago, it was the beginning of the Information Age and it wasn’t that hard to invent or build super-cool things. … Your learning has just started as you graduate here today.”

Brown gave graduates a quote from Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

He left them with a final thought: “It is my hope that those of you graduating today will not forget the gift of the intuitive mind that is the playground of the imagination.”

Student Government President Bobby Moakley, who received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, told a personal account of his parents being told that he was deaf when he was a year old.

“The doctors had told them that I was never going to live a ‘normal life,’ that I was going to live in exclusion from society and that I would likely never graduate from high school,” he said. “Now, here I am graduating from college, along with hundreds of other deaf and hard-of-hearing students, thanks to my parents and everyone who worked for us to succeed. As youth, we have depended on leaders to guide us through life. As we graduate, we become the generation to run the world – the generation to define the world. It is now our time to become the leaders, to become the ones inspiring future generations to build upon our work and thrive.”

Jordan Shea, a computer science major from Tolland, Conn., gave the undergraduate student address. He credits RIT’s policies of inclusiveness for allowing students to be themselves.

“I could see a person juggling, people tightrope walking, or even someone strutting around as a dinosaur and it wouldn’t even faze me,” he said. “To live in such an environment is a luxury. There are not many places that give you the opportunity to re-invent yourself or embrace who you are like RIT does. No one seems to be afraid of themselves.”

He said by only associating with people like himself, he’d “lose out on all the other perspectives that I knew other RIT students had to offer. … Wherever you end up going, I ask that you continue to celebrate this inclusiveness, the inclusiveness that is RIT.”

RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf enters partnership with Changchun University

One female and two males sitting at a table are signing documents with US and China flags on the table.

Administrators from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and a delegation from Changchun University in China signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony May 6 establishing a cultural and educational partnership between the two institutions. 

The Memorandum of Understanding will establish student and faculty exchange programs in the art and design fields. The colleges also are exploring a joint degree program in graphic design and 3D graphic technology. RIT/NTID’s Center for International Educational Outreach (IEO) is hosting the delegation.

Changchun University was one of RIT/NTID’s former Postsecondary Education Network-International partners. After the PEN-International program ended, Changchun University administrators reached out to re-engage in a new partnership. Separately, IEO will be hosting a contingent of Changchun students in August for NTID’s New Signers Program through the college’s American Sign Language and Interpreting Education program.

The Changchun delegation at the signing ceremony included the Party Secretary, Special Education College Director and Professor of Foreign Languages, along with Ellen Granberg, RIT provost; Gerry Buckley, NTID president; Jim Myers, associate provost; Gary Behm, associate dean; and IEO staff.

NTID has established or renewed partnerships with four universities in the past two years, with a fifth in progress. Including PEN-International and Pre-College Education Network (P-CEN) Program partners, NTID has more than 14 institution partners throughout the world, including partnerships with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Philippines; Tianjin University of Technology, China; Changchun University, China; University of Rwanda, Rwanda; and Beijing Union University, China (in progress).

“These partnerships are instrumental in giving our students global enrichment experiences that will make them even more marketable upon graduation,” said Buckley. “In addition, these partnerships have led to several new research projects and grants in accessibility, sign language, deaf education and STEM education with our faculty and students. Moreover, we have been able to attract a number of talented international students to study at RIT/NTID, which further enhances the diversity of our student body and broadens everyone’s perspectives.” 

RIT/NTID’s Hall among 2019 Legacy Leaders

Dark skinned female with long locs wearing white shirt and grey jacket.

RIT/NTID's Jalon Hall was among the graduating seniors recognized as part of the Legacy Leadership program of RIT's Center for Women and Gender and the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement. 

Hall, an Applied Arts & Sciences major from Denham Springs, Louisiana, is active with RIT's Women of Color, Honor and Ambition and the Multicultural Center for Academic Success. She also is a student representative with NTID's Student Life Team. She was Miss Black Deaf Louisiana 2013-2015. 

The Legacy Leadership program recognizes the achievements and leadership of RIT graduating women students. Students are self-nominated and must obtain two letters of support detailing their civic responsibility and leadership. 

The selected Legacy Leaders attended the 2019 Women’s Career Achievement Dinner held on April 22, 2019, in the Gordon Field House as guests of the Center for Women and Gender and Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement.

RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival shows off talents to thousands

Two children explore one of the interactive exhibits

There’s always something new to experience at the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival, which this year featured more than 400 exhibits, including a human hamster wheel, performances by student ensembles, cutting-edge video games and demonstrations to determine how color can affect your mood. More.

President David Munson to again emcee performing arts challenge on eve of Imagine RIT

Scene from Cabaret with Victoria Covell on shoulders of two actors with other actors in front and back.

Proving that RIT students are stars not only inside the classroom but on the stage as well, President David Munson will emcee his second performing arts competition next Friday night on the eve of the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival.

Ten acts, including dancers, vocalists and instrumentalists, have been selected as finalists for Dr. Munson’s Performing Arts Competition. The challenge will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, under the lights inside Ingle Auditorium on the RIT campus. Like all festival events, admission is free for the all-ages show.

Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the competition and will be eligible to perform during the festival’s official opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, also inside Ingle.

The challenge is open to all RIT undergraduate- and graduate-level students, with the exception of established performing arts groups. This year’s panel of judges will include Leigh Rubin, who has drawn Rubes cartoons for more than 30 years. Rubin is serving as RIT’s “cartoonist in residence” this year. Judges will score each performance on artistry, technique, audience engagement and stage presence. 

Two of the inaugural challenge’s top finishers from last April are scheduled to perform prior to the announcement of this year’s winners. Victoria Covell, a third-year biomedical sciences major from Jacksonville, Ill., and Gabrielle Robinson, a fourth-year interpreting student from Westerville, Ohio, will collaborate on a duet from "Cabaret," the award-winning Broadway play that later became a hit film.

At the conclusion of last year’s competition, Munson said he looked forward to making the performing arts challenge an annual tradition before Imagine RIT. The nationally acclaimed festival, now in its 12th year, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 27, with nearly 400 exhibitions highlighting RIT students’ innovation and creativity.

Go to https://www.rit.edu/imagine/contests-performing_arts.php for more information.

Imagine RIT: Innovation + Creativity Festival

RIT Logo with images from previous Imagine RIT events, Imagine logo at bottom left and text

Pull back the curtain on the unexpected and extraordinary at Imagine RIT

It's that time of the year again! Imagine RIT: Creativity + Innovation Festival is happening this weekend on Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and it's going to be one you don't want to miss!

This year features nearly 400 interactive presentations, exhibits, research projects, hands-on demonstrations, and live performances and is absolutely free and open to the public, rain or shine!

Parking is available on RIT's Campus and at Monroe Community College with a free shuttle service to RIT.

Learn more and check out the entire festival program at www.rit.edu/imagine

#ImagineRIT #CreativityandInnovation

 

RIT/NTID hosts “Signing Time” free family concert May 3

light skinned female with brown hair wearing orange shirt and jacket signing ILY.

Rachel Coleman, musician and star of the popular PBS and video series Signing Time, will perform a free show at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, in the Robert F. Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall. Joining her on stage will be Coleman’s daughter Leah, an industrial design major at RIT/NTID, and her show sidekick, Hopkins the Frog.

Upon discovering that her 14-month old daughter was deaf, Coleman began searching for ways to develop her language and communication skills. Coleman found that by learning sign language, her daughter’s vocabulary rapidly increased.

Coleman and her sister began creating videos for children to learn American Sign Language and started a production company and foundation dedicated to making sign language fun and accessible to all children.

Originally a series on PBS, Signing Time featured Coleman’s daughter Leah and nephew Alex, and ran for two years. The series continued and expanded through online videos.

“It is so exciting to be performing at NTID,” Coleman said. “Signing Time started when my deaf child, Leah, was four years old and in preschool. Over the past 18 years, many of Leah’s peers have grown up watching Signing Time. It feels like we’ve come full circle doing an NTID Signing Time concert now that Leah is a senior in college.”

Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance by emailing Joseph Fox, NTID theater production assistant, at jwfnpa@rit.edu.