RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration collection

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration
Scope and Content
Additional Finding Aids
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration collection
Bulk Date(s)
Inclusive Date(s)
Materials related to the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) 150th Anniversary Celebration. RIT celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1979. The collection includes planning documents, letters of solicitation, press releases, ephemera, and news clippings. A large portion of the collection relates to the RIT 150th Anniversary Campaign, a fundraising venture by the university. There are also materials related to the RIT Coast-to-Coast Run.
0.5 Linear feet (2 document boxes)
C.S. South, Shelf 802, Box 147 (RIT 150th Anniversary collections in two boxes)
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Historical Information for RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration (Collapse)

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the Institute's role in the field of technical education.

In 1979, the university celebrated its 150th anniversary. The celebration included theater productions, concerts, ceremonies, and activities such as cooking demonstrations. These festivities were organized by an Anniversary Council that was created in 1974. As part of the celebration, a picnic was held to honor babies born June 12, 1979, the exact anniversary of RIT's founding. The babies were awarded $1,500 scholarships to RIT, granted they chose to enroll at the Institute once they were eighteen. Since the scholarship was funded by J. Warren McClure (vice president of Gannett Company's marketing department) and his wife, Lois, the infants were referred to as the McClure babies or scholars.

Various campus groups devised their own 150th anniversary celebrations. Seven current members and four alumni of the RIT cross-country team ran across the country to mark RIT's anniversary. Completing the trek from Santa Monica, CA to Annapolis, MD in 14 days, 4 hours, 8 minutes, the team (led by Coach Peter J. Todd) set a world record. The group was greeted by the university's administration, current students, and alumni when they returned to Rochester in December 1979.

As with the 125th anniversary, the 150th celebration included a large fundraising campaign for the university. The RIT 150th Anniversary Campaign goal was set at $42 million, a large portion of which was earmarked for the university's permanent endowment. At the time, this was the largest development drive in RIT's history. The fund was to be used for developing programs and facilities, establishing eight new professorships, extending library resources, setting-up new courses in the Innovative Educational Development program, financing scholarships, and improving the overall efficiency and versatility of the Institute. The largest percentage of contributions came from corporate donors (e.g. Eastman Kodak Company, 3M, and Jones Chemicals, Inc.), though the Board of Trustees donated nearly 18% of the target funds. By 1979, the five-year campaign had exceeded its goal.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration collection consists of a variety of documents related to the activities surrounding the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) 150th anniversary. A large portion of the collection relates to the $42 million fundraising campaign and includes letters of solicitation, campaign publications, press releases, and news clippings. This section also includes copies of The Campaigner, a newsletter specifically on the financial campaign.

The rest of the collection includes planning documents, clippings, and miscellaneous ephemera from various events. There is also a section of documents related to the RIT Coast-to-Coast Run, completed in 1979. This series consists of clippings, news releases, correspondence, fliers, a October 19, 1979 issue of the Reporter, and several other miscellaneous documents.

In 2013, an additional folder of records were located and filed with this collection. It contains correspondence, two Campaigner newsletters, a solicitor's brochure, a 150th Anniversary Campaign pledge card, and a case statement dated January 1974.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

Materials are divided into series and are arranged chronologically within each group. The series include: Solicitation letters, Press releases, Campaign publications, Miscellaneous ephemera, Minutes and planning documents, Clippings, and the Coast-to-Coast Run.

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Additional Finding Aids (Collapse)

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

RIT Anniversary Collections

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • McClure, J. Warren, (James Warren), 1919-

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Anniversaries, etc.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Finance.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Students.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. 150th Anniversary Campaign Fund.


  • Cross-country running -- United States
  • Educational fund raising -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • McClure scholarships
  • Relay racing -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Press Releases
  • Publications

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

RIT 150th Anniversary Celebration collection, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in December 2010.

Revision Description

 One folder of miscellaneous records found on archives shelf added to this collection. -JS 23 October 2013

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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