Category Archives: Campus Events

RIT opens its doors for the most academically qualified freshman class

two light-skinned females in

Thomas Hargrave Jr. drove to Rochester last night from his home in Corning, N.Y., so his daughter, Megan Hargrave, an environmental sciences major at Rochester Institute of Technology, could move into her residence hall at 7 a.m. today.

“I hope she does all right,” the proud father said. “She’s never been away from home before other than two or three days. But she’s ready.”

More than 4,300 first-year, transfer and graduate students were expected and were greeted by more than 200 RIT student orientation leaders who helped families unload cars, put belongings in carts and wheel them to their rooms.

“We’re all about helping new RIT Tigers and their families,” said Eric Pope, associate director for New Student Orientation at a morning pep rally just prior to move-in. “You’re going to show students what it means to be an RIT Tiger.”

The freshmen are the most academically qualified class RIT has had, with an average SAT score exceeding 1300 for the second year in a row. Fifty-one students had a perfect SAT score, and 52 of the undergraduates ranked first in their high school graduating class.

The undergraduates are coming from 47 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and 42 countries.

New graduate students are coming from 52 countries – the most outside the U.S. coming from India, China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Taiwan.

A record number of incoming Ph.D. students – 90 of them – were also expected this year.

RIT/NTID hosts conference on literary and artistic works about deaf experiences, Nov. 6-9

Graphic of black hands with multicolored ribbons coming from them.

Scholars, students, deaf cultural studies and sign language teachers, artists, playwrights, filmmakers, poets, writers and historians will make their way to Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf Nov. 6-9 for an international conference focusing on examining literary and artistic works about deaf experiences.

The ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference will feature exhibits at RIT/NTID’s Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center and Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, as well as sign-language literature performances, a play production, presentations, short panel discussions, a banquet, and deaf artist vendors and company exhibitors.

Keynote presenters are French anthropologist and performer Olivier Schetrit, teacher and deaf learning specialist Kristi Merriweather, and Brazilian poet Fernanda de Araugo Machado.

Schetrit is a postdoctoral researcher at CEMS-CNRS-EHESS, a leading research center in Paris, France, known for the development of conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools for sociological analysis. Deaf from birth, he is a stylist and actor by training and part of the professional troupe International Visual Theater, the only theater for the deaf in Paris. He is also a pedagogue, director and professional storyteller. His talk is titled, “IVT: The Art of Emancipation Contribution to a History of Deaf Art: a selection of contemporary cases.”

Merriweather, an educator and deaf learning specialist, has been deaf since age 2. Her poems have been published in Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. She is a co-founding member of Atlanta Tribe of Deaf A.C.E. (DeafBlack Americans Committed to Empowerhood) and has established a national youth program for BlackDeaf teenagers for National Black Deaf Advocates. Her talk, “Do It For the Culture: A Critical Look into the Evolving BlackDeaf Expressions in Written English,” highlights certain synthesized cultural features in BlackDeaf world art/literature and their potential impact in the multifaceted deaf world.

Fernanda de Araugo Machado is a professor and researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. She holds degrees in arts education, languages and translation studies. She is part of the Libras Corpus Research Group and a member of the National Council for Scientifics and Technological Development Research Group Directory. She also coordinated the Brazilian Folklore Surda Art Festival. She will be speaking about the “Anthology of Poetics in Brazilian Sign Language.

“All cultures create works to represent who they are. Deaf culture is no exception,” said Patti Durr, associate professor at NTID and conference co-organizer. “A conference of this nature will hopefully inspire cross-pollination of different genres and themes. In the early 1990s, NTID hosted two major ASL literature conferences and, to this day, people continue to comment on them and ask for more. With 2019 being the 30th anniversary of De’VIA, a genre of visual art that represents the deaf experience and Deaf culture, and the 10th anniversary of Surdism, an international movement to bring about social justice for deaf people via artistic and literary expressions, NTID is the perfect location to host this important academic conference.”

Early registration is $200 and runs through Sept. 14, with a discount for students. For more information and to see the complete schedule, go to https://www.rit.edu/ntid/adeccon/.  

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.