Category Archives: Campus Events

Screening of “Moonlight Sonata” during Brick City Homecoming

dark blue background with image to resemble piano keys with outline of young boy and older man.

A new documentary by Oscar-nominated, Peabody and multiple Emmy winning director and former RIT Trustee Irene Taylor Brodsky, "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements," features Brodsky's deaf son and her parents, RIT/NTID retirees Paul and Sally Taylor. The film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, in RIT/NTID's Panara Theatre, as part of Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend. The screening is free, but seating is limited to first-come, first-served attendees. Paul and Sally Taylor, along with Irene and her son, will be in attendance and will be available for a question-and-answer session at the end of the film.

To learn more about "Moonlight Sonata” and nationwide screening venues please check out

North Korea’s nuclear armament and the use of technology to improve society are topics of Oct. 18 symposium at RIT

text reads Former Special Envoy to North Korea Joseph DeTrani, with image of light skinned male wearing suit and maroon tie.

“Nuclear Weapons in North Korea: Deal or No Deal?”, a discussion of North Korea’s nuclear armament and the role that technology plays in improving society, will be hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology as part of its Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend. The symposium, free and open to the public, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, in RIT’s Louise Slaughter Hall, room 2220.

The discussion, which concludes with an audience question-and-answer session, will analyze motivations for the North Korean government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and provide a reflection of the world’s everyday efforts to improve technology for the betterment of society.

Panelists include former Special Envoy to North Korea Joseph DeTrani, who also is a retired U.S. ambassador and professor in the Department of Defense and Strategic Solutions at Missouri State University; Stephen Noerper, senior director for policy and education at the Korea Society, and a professor at Columbia University; and Terence Roehrig, a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College, and director of the Asian-Pacific Studies Group. The symposium will be moderated by Ellen Granberg, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“The nuclear challenge casts an important question on the relationship between technology and humanity,” said Dongryul Kim, associate professor of political science in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and an expert in the politics of East Asia and international relations. “North Korea has invested heavily in its nuclear capabilities while hundreds of thousands of its citizens face food shortages, leaving many to die of starvation. This symposium will address potential motivations of North Korea for its nuclear development and thereby give us a chance to consider how well we are responding to the North Korean challenges to both our humanitarian concerns and the world nuclear non-proliferation regime under the U.S. leadership.”

To register for the symposium, which is co-hosted by RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and College of Liberal Arts, go to

NTID events during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend

black background with orange and white writing describing the events for BCH weekend

A number of exciting events are planned for this year’s Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend, Oct. 17-20. Here are just a few:

  • Volunteer of the Year and Distinguished Alumnus Reception: 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the CSD-Student Development Center. Join us in honoring RIT Volunteers of the Year Chris and Staci Wagner, and NTID Distinguished Alumnus Michael Rizzolo.
  • NTID Alumni Ice Cream Social: 1-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in NTID’s Alumni Conference Room in LBJ Hall. Fun, networking, and ice cream! A great way to start Homecoming Weekend!
  • Nuclear Weapons in North Korea: Deal or No Deal? 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in Louise Slaughter Hall, rooms 2220-2240. NTID and the College of Liberal Arts are sponsoring a panel discussion on North Korea’s nuclear armament. Moderated by Provost Ellen Granberg, the panel features experts in Korean studies and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, parent of RIT/NTID student Zoe DeTrani.
  • Moonlight Sonata: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in Panara Theatre. A new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements," features Brodsky's son and her parents, RIT/NTID retirees Paul and Sally Taylor. The screening is free, but seating is limited to first-come, first-served attendees. Paul and Sally Taylor, along with Irene and her son, will attend and will be available for a question and answer session at the end of the film. To learn more about "Moonlight Sonata" check out the trailer here.
  • Parent Welcome Breakfast: 9-11 a.m. in Dyer Arts Center. Fuel up with coffee, bagels and other continential breakfast treats before your busy day.
  • NTID Alumni Tailgate: 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Drifters at the Hilton Garden Inn. Join the NTID Alumni Association for food and fun before the RIT Men’s Hockey Game at the Blue Cross Arena.
  • RIT Hall of Fame Induction: 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 in Ingle Auditorium. Featuring RIT/NTID golfer and alumnus John Rush ('79) as a member of this year's induction class. 

We hope you'll join us!

Deaf entrepreneurs share success stories as featured Lyon lecture presenters Oct. 8

Male and female wearing black t-shirts that read Mozzeria inside their restaurant.

The founders of Mozzeria, a San Francisco-based pizzeria with all deaf employees, will share their success stories as part of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. “Getting a Piece of the Pizza Pie: The Story of How we Launched a Successful Business” will be presented by Russell Stein and Melody Stein from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the college’s Dyer Arts Center, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall.

The Steins will talk about their journey of launching Mozzeria and how they are educating others about deaf entrepreneurship through their latest venture as co-CEOs of Yantern, a consulting and mentoring service for first-time or established business owners.

The free talk will be presented in American Sign Language. Interpreters have been requested. To register, go to .

The purpose of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series, established in 1980, is to bring distinguished speakers to RIT/NTID to share expertise and scholarly contributions that stand on the cutting-edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons. Edmund Lyon (1855-1920) was a noted manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian and philanthropist in Rochester, who served as a trustee of both RIT and the Rochester School for the Deaf.

RIT receives multiple accolades for promoting diversity and inclusion

African American male faculty showing scientific slides to three African American female students. All are in blue lab coats.

Two national organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in higher education recently presented Rochester Institute of Technology with multiple awards for the university’s work in the field.

RIT received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — RIT will be featured, along with 92 other recipients, in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the sixth year in a row RIT has been named as a HEED Award recipient.

For the third year in a row, RIT is being honored as an institution committed to diversity for 2019 by Minority Access Inc. Minority Access is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing diversity, decreasing disparities and reducing incidences of environmental injustices. Each year the organization identifies exemplary colleges and universities whose commitment to diversity and efforts to implement it serve as an example for other institutions. Fewer than 200 colleges and universities nationwide were recognized by the organization this year. Minority Access will make a formal presentation in recognition of RIT’s commitment at their National Role Models Conference, Sept. 26–29 in National Harbor, Md.

Professor André Hudson, head of RIT’s Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, is among the individuals Minority Access will celebrate at the National Role Models Conference this year. Hudson is trained as a biochemist and his research focuses on biochemistry and microbiology, specifically, in amino acid metabolism, structural analyses of enzymes involved in amino acid and bacterial peptidoglycan metabolism, and the isolation, identification and genomic characterization of plant-associated bacteria. The organization aims to identify and recognize inspirational role models in various categories to inspire others to emulate them, and thereby increase the pool of scholars and professionals who will find cures for illnesses or solve technological problems or address social disparities in society.

“We are honored to be recognized nationally for our tireless work providing more underrepresented men, women and deaf and hard-of-hearing students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn, grow and succeed,” said Keith Jenkins, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion. “Congratulations to Professor Hudson and the countless other RIT community members who work tirelessly to make RIT a diverse and inclusive community.”  

Earlier this year, RIT was named a Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity for the fourth consecutive year. The magazine named RIT a Diversity Champion for its cumulative efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion throughout its campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels. RIT was one of the first colleges and universities in the nation to receive this designation given by INSIGHT into Diversity.

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  

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

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 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