Office of the President

Message from the President

Headshot of David Munson Jr.
President David C. Munson Jr.
munson@rit.edu
@RITPresident

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

Biography

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 19,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. This includes campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo. More than 135,000 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 2018, sponsored research reached a record $78 million, while the university’s endowment now stands at $938 million.

Dr. Munson has nearly 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), Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, George Eastman Museum, Greater Rochester Enterprise, 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.

University Leadership

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

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.

Learn more about the President’s Roundtable

President in the News

  • December 3, 2019

    'exterior shot of home on large property surrounded by trees and water.'

    RIT gifted 177-acre estate to expand research, educational offerings

    RIT will use a substantial gift of real estate in Penfield to expand the university’s research and educational offerings in ecology, agriculture, sustainability and other fields. Amy Leenhouts Tait and Robert C. Tait have gifted to the university their 177-acre property, which will be dedicated as the Tait Preserve of RIT.

  • November 22, 2019

    'Backs of graduating students wearing caps and gowns.'

    Which local college has the best ROI?

    The Rochester Beacon reports that RIT ranks No. 1 in the Rochester area in  “A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges," a  new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Photos

  • E. Philip Saunders, right, announces a $7.5 million gift to Saunders College of Business, bringing his total giving to the university to more than $25 million. He was joined by RIT student Kate Ferguson, left, and RIT alumna Rebecca Ward ’14 (accounting), ’15 (MBA), recipients of the E. Philip Saunders Endowed Business Scholarship, as well as RIT President David Munson.

  • RIT President David Munson speaks at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Tiger Statue during Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend.

  • President David Munson gives Ritchie a high-five before New Student Convocation on Aug. 21.

Videos

  • Dr. Munson speaking at a podium.

    Caption

    President’s Address to the Community, August 23, 2019

  • Things to do at RIT

    Caption

    The Munsons put together a helpful guide of things to do at RIT, with a touch of 80's style.

Past Presidents

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.

  1. Portrait of Carleton B. Gibson

    Carleton B. Gibson

    1910 – 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.”

  2. Portrait of James F. Barker

    James F. Barker

    1916 – 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.

  3. Portrait of Royal B. Farnum

    Royal B. Farnum

    1919 – 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.

  4. Portrait of John A. Randall

    John A. Randall

    1922 – 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.

  5. Portrait of Mark W. Ellingson

    Mark W. Ellingson

    1936 – 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.

  6. Portrait of Paul A. Miller

    Paul A. Miller

    1969 – 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.

  7. Portrait of M. Richard Rose

    M. Richard Rose

    1979 – 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.

  8. Portrait of Albert J. Simone

    Albert J. Simone

    1992 – 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.

  9. Portrait of William W. Destler

    William W. Destler

    2007 – 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.

  10. Portrait of David C. Munson Jr.

    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.

Contact

David Munson
President
585-475-2394
Karen Barrows
Secretary of the Institute
585-475-2396