Office of the President
Message from the President
President David C. Munson Jr.
Dr. Munson is married to Nancy Munson, a nurse, avid runner, and community and campus volunteer.
Welcome to RIT, where we advance the exceptional!
Our university isn’t like any other. We do things in our own way by embracing the unconventional to be truly distinctive. That mentality of uniqueness is baked into our university, as we have no interest in the status quo.
RIT, founded in the 19th century, is today one of the top universities in the nation working at the intersection of technology, the arts and design. We are a university that is shaping the future and improving the world through creativity and innovation.
RIT is moving forward with unique offerings and new ways to reach students, reflecting the university’s belief that creativity and critical thinking are essential life tools. The university is leveraging its strengths to build cutting-edge programs in a variety of disciplines, such as color science, imaging, new media design, and digital humanities, to name a few. We continue to develop academic programs at all degree levels that are the first of their kind while we seek to anticipate the majors and careers of the future.
How are we doing this?
We are supplementing our classroom and online teaching with experiential and interdisciplinary learning, which ranges from paid cooperative education positions with startup and Fortune 500 companies, to international experiences. On the global front, we are expanding our influence with strategic partnerships and overseas learning opportunities at our campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo.
RIT prides itself in preparing our graduates to be citizens of the world. That means preparing our students not just for jobs and careers, but also for life. In the RIT context, “innovation” takes on a rich meaning; it is not just about novelty or originality; it is about creating the tools, processes, and systems that will make things better than they are.
You will find that we put a high value on bringing goodness to the world. And RIT’s diverse and talented students are constructive agents of positive change. The world needs inspiring, collaborative, and original thinkers and doers with a deep commitment to the welfare of humanity. It all begins with people and, at RIT, we have an unusual assembly of exceptional individuals. This is a place where you can exercise your multiple talents, satisfy your thirst for learning and for doing, and experiment along the way.
Our students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Our alumni base is 130,000 RIT Tigers strong, graduates who are working at the top of their fields, shaping the future and improving the world, and giving back to their communities and to their alma mater.
We’re transforming the future, by continually transforming RIT. You have an open invitation to visit us and discover more.
Yours in Tiger pride,
David C. Munson Jr., President
Dr. Munson is married to Nancy Munson, a nurse, avid runner, and community and campus volunteer.
Dr. David C. Munson Jr. became Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president in 2017.
As RIT’s president, Dr. Munson is responsible for one of the nation’s leading creative and innovative universities that leverages the power of technology, the arts, and design for the greater good.
Founded in 1829, the university is home to 19,700 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. This includes campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo. More than 145,000 RIT Tiger alumni are shaping and improving the world.
RIT is the third largest producer of undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math among all private universities in the U.S. RIT also is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and has one of the oldest and largest cooperative education programs in the country. In 2022, sponsored research reached $92 million, while the university’s endowment now stands at more than $1 billion.
Dr. Munson has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, which includes serving as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan from 2006 to 2016. He earned his BS degree in electrical engineering (with distinction) from the University of Delaware in 1975. He earned an MS and MA in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1977, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1979, also from Princeton.
From 1979 to 2003, Dr. Munson was with the University of Illinois, where he was the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and a faculty member in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
In 2003, he became chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan prior to becoming dean.
Dr. Munson’s teaching and research interests are in the area of signal and image processing. His current research is focused on radar imaging and computer tomography. He is co-founder of InstaRecon Inc., a start-up firm to commercialize fast algorithms for image formation in computer tomography. He is affiliated with the Infinity Project, where he is coauthor of a textbook on the digital world, which has been used in hundreds of high schools nationwide to introduce students to engineering.
Dr. Munson serves on several boards, including: The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) Leadership Roundtable, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities for New York (Chair), Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Greater Rochester Enterprise (Chair), Permanent.org, Rochester Area Colleges, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Regional Health, RIT Croatia, and the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance.
Dr. Munson is married to Nancy Munson, who is a nurse, avid runner and community volunteer. The couple has four sons and four grandchildren.
Speeches and Communications
- Thank you! We are Transforming RIT by surpassing our $1 billion goal … and counting (March 2023)
- Support for those impacted by the Kahramanmaras Earthquake (February 2023)
- One-Time Bonus Payment and Medical Premiums (February 2023)
- Important leadership message regarding One Payroll initiative and financial support for employees (October 2022)
- Tragedy and sorrow in Buffalo (May 2022)
- Share your views of diversity and equity on RIT’s campus (March 2022)
- A Statement from President Munson Regarding Ukraine (March 2022)
- The Minneapolis Verdict: Our Plan for Change (April 2021)
- Commencement Schedule Unveiled: Celebrating Graduates for 2021 and 2020 (April 2021)
- Update: Impeachment of Student Government Senator (April 2021)
- Statement from President Munson (March 2021)
- The World is Not Totally Upside Down (January 2021)
- Our RIT Family in Croatia (January 2021)
- RIT Action Plan for Race and Ethnicity (November 2020)
- Election Day: The Call for Democracy, Civility, Unity (November 2020)
- In support of diversity and free speech, while following RIT policies (October 2020)
- President Munson on the death of Daniel Prude (September 2020)
- Statement from RIT President regarding rescinding of July 6 ICE directive (July 2020)
- Statement from RIT President Munson in response to the July 6 ICE directive (July 2020)
- Respect, inclusivity, equity: A note from Dr. Munson and Dr. Jenkins (May 2020)
- Student Mental Health and Well-being Task Force website
- University Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-being update (July 2019)
- University Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-being (December 2018)
- Supporting the Transgender Community (November 2018)
- COVID-19 vaccine no longer mandatory; continuing to monitor the virus (January 2023)
- Finish Line in Sight. Reminders Heading into Finals (April 2022)
- COVID-19 Booster Deadline Extended from January 31 to February 28 (January 2022)
- Continuing with resiliency and perseverance (January 2022)
- Boosters Required for Students, Faculty, and Staff (January 2022)
- COVID-19 Update: Preparing for Spring Semester (December 2021)
- Getting off to a safe and healthy start (August 2021)
- Finishing strong, Commencement notes (May 2021)
- President Munson: Looking to the fall semester (March 2021)
- Update on Commencement (March 2021)
- The World is Not Totally Upside Down (January 2021)
- Congressional stimulus bill provides needed higher ed funding (January 2021)
- Gratitude for your perseverance and resilience (December 2020)
- Fall Update: Progress and Preparation (July 2020)
- Accelerated Fall Calendar: The Path Forward (June 2020)
- RIT announces Fall Planning Task Force (May 2020)
- Leadership Virtual Town Hall presentation now available (May 2020)
- Eyes on Fall: A Time for Creativity (May 2020)
- Celebrating the Class of 2020 (April 2020)
- Responding to fiscal challenges during the pandemic; securing the long-term financial health of RIT (April 2020)
- Message from RIT President Munson: The CARES Act (April 2020)
- President announces 2020 Commencement ceremonies cancelled (March 2020)
- RIT encourages students to not return to campus; courses resume March 23 through alternative modes (March 2020)
- Coronavirus update: The latest from President Munson (March 2020)
- Coronavirus alters university schedule (March 2020)
- Coronavirus updates and spring break precautions (March 2020)
- A message from RIT on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (February 2020)
- President's Report 2023: Experiencing the future with technology, the arts, and design
- Fall 2022 University Magazine: Flipping the narrative with research and discovery
- Spring 2022 University Magazine: Embracing the future
- President's Report 2022: Continuing down the path to greatness
- Fall 2021 University Magazine: Extraordinary times at RIT
- Spring 2021 University Magazine: Welcome to Rochester: A renaissance with RIT
- President's Report 2021: Always moving forward—even during a pandemic
- Spring 2020 University Magazine: Creating our destiny while transforming RIT
- President's Report 2020: Pursuit of the extraordinary, the novel, the unexpected
- Winter 2020 University Magazine: Imagine RIT— every day
- Fall 2019 University Magazine: Why we need the liberal arts
- Spring 2019 University Magazine: Serving the greater good
- President's Report 2019: Looking to our strengths to move the world forward
- Winter 2018-19 University Magazine: Wanted: RIT brand champions
- 2023 Commencement Address
- 2022 welcome address to the RIT community | video
- 2022 Commencement Address
- 2021 welcome address to the RIT community | video
- 2021 New Student Convocation address | video
- 2021 Commencement Address
- 2020 New Student Convocation address
- 2020 welcome address to the RIT community
- 2020 Virtual Celebration Remarks
- 2019 welcome address to the RIT community | video
- 2019 New Student Convocation address
- 2019 Commencement Address
- 2018 State of the University
- Rededication of the Henrietta Campus — 50th Anniversary (2018)
- 2018 welcome address to the RIT community | video
- 2018 New Student Convocation address
- 2018 Commencement Address
- 2017 State of the University | video
- 2017 welcome address to the RIT community | video
- 2017 New Student Convocation address | video
- President Munson’s Inauguration address (2017)
President Munson is counseled by a team of senior leaders. His advisory team meets with him regularly as a group, as well as one-on-one, to discuss issues in their disciplines. Meet his leadership team.
President’s Roundtable was formed in 2001 to provide a means by which RIT’s executive leadership and the President can benefit from the advice and counsel of a select group of RIT’s most successful alumni and friends. Participation in the Roundtable is by invitation. The Roundtable meets twice annually, once in the spring and once in the fall.
President in the News
May 12, 2023
RIT grads told to hold on to hope and work hard to make it happen
A former top NASA administrator told graduates of RIT that their futures may seem as ambiguous as outer space. But by daring to do mighty things with hope instead of fear, untold possibilities will come into focus. Thomas Zurbuchen, astrophysicist and the longest continually serving associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in NASA’s history, addressed the crowd during today's Academic Convocation ceremony in the Gordon Field House. More than 4,800 RIT graduates, including those attending RIT’s global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, were recognized.
May 2, 2023
RIT to confer five honorary degrees at May 12 commencement ceremony
RIT will confer honorary degrees to five outstanding individuals at its 2023 commencement ceremony on May 12. The honorees will be recognized alongside more than 4,800 graduates.
April 29, 2023
Imagine RIT festival proves the future is bright
Thousands of visitors at the 2023 Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival got to see what’s on the horizon in the areas of technology, the arts, and design. Festivalgoers traversed RIT’s campus on Saturday, exploring more than 350 exhibits.
RIT’s roots date back to 1829. But it wasn’t until 1910 that the university’s predecessor—Mechanics Institute—named its first president, Carleton Gibson.
Carleton B. Gibson1910 – 1916
Carleton Gibson was chosen as the first president of the Mechanics Institute in 1910. He placed emphasis on industrial education and did not propose any immediate or drastic changes to the institute upon his arrival. By 1912, however, he had managed to have the institute adopt a policy of allowing students to work half their time of study in industry and spend half their time attending classes. This method of study would later be referred to as a “co‑op.”
James F. Barker1916 – 1919
James Barker was asked to be the Mechanics Institute’s second president in 1916. He was an engineering graduate from Cornell University and believed in emphasizing technical training. Barker’s main interest was the promotion of secondary education. He remained in the position until 1919, when he resigned in order to take a position with the Rochester City School System.
Royal B. Farnum1919 – 1921
Royal B. Farnum assumed the presidency of the institute in 1919. Between 1919 and 1921, more students enrolled at the institute than ever before. This was primarily due to the school’s appeal as an intermediary place of instruction between high school and college-level education. Fundraising efforts carried out during his term allowed the school to remain financially stable.
John A. Randall1922 – 1936
The institute waited for a period of nine months before appointing John Randall as Farnum’s successor. Randall was invited to be president in 1922. He had served as the undersecretary to the secretary of war for the United States. He had taught at Pratt Institute, where he was head of the physics department, and at Cheltenham Military School in Pennsylvania. Randall and Carl Lomb engaged in a series of conferences that would benefit the institute’s future. It was eventually decided that the role of the institute was to provide short, intensive courses and not to award degrees.
Mark W. Ellingson1936 – 1969
Mark Ellingson’s career at the institute began as a teacher. During his term as president, the institute was able to increase the endowment from $1.5 million in 1937 to $20.8 million three years later. An important merger between the Empire School of Printing and the Mechanics Institute took place in 1937. In 1944, the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute was renamed Rochester Institute of Technology. During Ellingson’s presidency, RIT revised its decision regarding awarding degrees. Under Ellingson’s direction, the university began planning for the Henrietta campus in 1961.
Paul A. Miller1969 – 1978
When Paul Miller began his term in 1969, the campus had just moved to Henrietta. Miller introduced a budgeting procedure to RIT that focused on simply not spending more money than the university had available and allocating funds as they were deemed necessary. Enrollment increased at a steady pace from 1969 to 1981 due to the increasing likelihood of college-level studies leading to a professional job.
M. Richard Rose1979 – 1992
M. Richard Rose assumed the presidency on January 1, 1979. Miller and Rose shared the belief that students in a technical school should be exposed to more art, literature, philosophy, and culture. Partially out of this interest, and partially due to financial difficulties, Eisenhower College became a part of RIT. The university had made attempts to increase the liberal arts and humanities curriculum. Rose helped launch RIT’s first Ph.D. program, in imaging science, in 1988.
Albert J. Simone1992 – 2007
Albert Simone was inaugurated president in 1992. Under his direction, partnerships with business, industry, and other professions have led to RIT’s continued success. Simone helped launch Ph.D. programs in microsystems engineering (2002), computing and information sciences (2005), and color science (2007). He also spearheaded the addition of the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and approved RIT’s move to Division I men’s hockey.
William W. Destler2007 – 2017
William W. Destler became RIT’s 9th president on July 1. He was formerly senior vice president for academic affairs and provost of the University of Maryland at College Park. He had a vision to take RIT to the next level by transforming it into the nation’s first “Innovation University.” RIT’s annual Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival was also Destler's idea.
David C. Munson Jr.2017 – Present
David C. Munson Jr. became RIT’s 10th president on July 1, 2017. He was formerly dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering. He has a vision to build RIT’s research and graduate programs; focus on the intersection of technology, the arts and design; and produce graduates who lead lives of consequence and purpose.