In April 1959, New York State Department of Public Works informed RIT it was ninety-nine percent sure that it would need to construct an inner loop to connect to the New York State Thruway which would cut right through the middle of the downtown campus. This would lead to the destruction of the Eastman Building, one of the main academic buildings on campus.
RIT Archives is celebrated the year of our Tiger - 1963/64 when the live tiger mascot came to RIT 50 years ago.
This exhibit features one of RIT's most unique stories, that of SpiRIT the bengal tiger. Students wanted a live tiger to represent thier tiger pride. Unfortunately, a live bengal cub grows very rapidly so in no time SpiRIT was more than they bargained for. SpiRIT was loved dearly by the students and is still talked about by alumni when they return to the RIT campus today. Here is a glimpse at RIT's endearing cat.
RIT's long history begins in 1829 with the founding of The Athenaeum, twelve years after the incorporation of Rochester as a town. In 1885, Henry Lomb, Max Lowenthal, Frank Ritter and others founded the Mechanics Institute. These two organizations merged in 1891 to become the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. It wasn't until 1944 that the Institute believed they needed a name change to give it a more modern identity. Rochester Institute of Technology continued growing in their downtown Rochester location until 1968 when they moved to Henrietta.
Skating through the decades of men's hockey at RIT
RIT’s hockey program began as a club team in the fall of 1959. In 1962, the team became part of the Finger Lakes Collegiate Hockey League. Three years later in 1965, men’s ice hockey became an official varsity sport. Since then, the team has played in Division III and Division II and most recently in 2005, the Tigers moved up to the elite Division I level and joined the Atlantic Hockey Association.
This website is the digital version of the exhibit that ran from October 2011 through March 2012 in the RIT Museum featuring five decades of photographs and memorabilia found in the RIT Archive Collections. The exhibit was greatly enhanced by donations from hockey alumni who generously loaned their jerseys, equipment, scrapbooks, and the memories they still hold of playing hockey at RIT. Included is a history of the famous RIT Corner Crew established in the 1980’s as ardent hockey supporters making their presence known at every game.
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The RIT women’s fencing team is still remembered for their stellar performances and four season winning streak. They managed to win every match they competed in from 1953 until 1957. A record of that kind was previously unheard of for the RIT fencing team. This success resulted in many national championships and one member, Barbi Brill, actually qualified to try out for the Olympics.
Recently, the RIT Archives received a collection from Jackie Carson, the daughter of Art Plouffe. Art Plouffe was the fencing coach during the 1950's and 1960's. This exhibit contains images and news articles from this collection that documents the successes of this team, and highlights a spectacular time in RIT women's sports.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Act and the search for a permanent site to host the new NTID was soon underway. On November 14, 1966, Representative Carey officially announced the selection of RIT as the site for NTID; the subsequent years were to be of vital importance for the establishment of the new campus.
Throughout the next several years, NTID and RIT worked tirelessly to provide education and training that would change employment outlook for deaf graduates. Although the final building designations would not be until 1979, the Dedication ceremony of the NTID Facilities in October, 1974 marked an important milestone; the Dedication is still considered one of the most memorable events in the institute’s history.
Charles H. Wiltsie was born in Pittsford, NY on January 13, 1859. Wiltsie served as a trustee for RAMI from 1892 until 1914. His interest in the visual arts led him to establish the Wiltsie Watercolor Prize, an award given annually from 1892-1943. The Watercolor Prize was offered to students in the School of Applied Art. Students had to sketch a design in watercolor and submit it without a name. First place and second place were awarded a cash prize. Charles H. Wiltsie was the co founder of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) and he was also the editor of the Athenaeum publication. He served on the board of trustees for 43 years. He took part in giving speeches at the Burton Holmes Lecture Series which was started by Elias Burton Holmes who was a professional lecturer. Elias’s speeches were based on his travels around the world and RAMI sponsored various lectures. Wiltsie was part of the finance committee for the board of directors as well. Wiltsie’s daughter, Emily, served on the Women’s Council at RIT and she also was part of the Rochester Advisory Committee School for American Craftsmen. The family contributed financially to the institute and were loyal supporters, attending events held by students and staff.
Robert Panara born and raised in the Bronx, lost his hearing to spinal meningitis at the age of ten in 1931. He was hired by RIT in 1967 to soon after the National Technical Institute of the Deaf was established. For the next twenty years Robert educated not only his students, but the world on literature, poetry, and communication. Panara retired in 1988 and was recognized as one of the most influential educators in deaf arts and studies. He was acknowledged with the creation of the Robert Panara Theater.
Before Mary Anne Cross was Mary Anne Cross-Ehasz she was an Art and Design student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 1956, RIT began using her logo design for their official seal from 1956 to 1966. She was the designer who first utilized the dots between the “R” and “I” and the “I” and the “T” in RIT. During her time at RIT she met her college sweetheart Joseph – or Joe – Ehasz whose relationship was documented in the Calypso Courtier by Gamma Epsilon Tau. They even graduated on the same day on May 26th, 1956 when Mary Anne first graduated from RIT with an AAS Degree in Art in Design and Joe with a AAS degree from the Printing Department. One year later in 1957, Mary Anne graduated from RIT again from the Art and Design Department with a BFA Degree. Mary Anne’s personality and life exudes from these artifacts from her time spent at RIT. From the stained sweatshirt to the images of her eating peas, her love for art and her pride for her school cannot be missed. Even though her design contributions only lasted until 1966, her influence on RIT and our logo is still prevalent today. Just take a peek at her logo and see the similarities.