M. Richard Rose papers

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for M. Richard Rose
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

M. Richard Rose papers
Rose, M. Richard, (Merle Richard)
Inclusive Date(s)
Papers of M. Richard Rose, president of the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1979-1992. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, speeches, ephemera, news releases, publications, and clippings.
0.75 Linear feet (1 folder)
C.S. South, Shelf 818, Box 35
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Biographical Information for M. Richard Rose (Collapse)

Merle Richard Rose (1933- ) was born in 1933 in Fredonia, a borough in western Pennsylvania. As the youngest of three children, Rose's parents encouraged him to start his own businesses as a child. Some examples of his business ventures include a popcorn stand and a fruit stand on the side of the road. After graduating from Slippery Rock State College in 1955, Rose served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a platoon leader. He then began working as a teacher in the Lakeview School District. Rose also attended Westminster College where he earned a master's degree in counseling. From 1962-1972, he worked at the University of Pittsburgh where he earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.

Rose left his position as Assistant Provost at the University of Pittsburgh when he was appointed Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense for Education in 1972. Next he accepted a position as the president of Alfred University in western New York. He kept this post until 1978 when he was chosen from over 120 candidates as the next president of RIT. On January 1, 1979, Rose took office as the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) tenth president.

During his tenure, Rose helped to build RIT's reputation while expanding its curriculum. For instance, in 1979 RIT acquired a small liberal arts school, Eisenhower College. This was partly due to Rose's interest in expanding the liberal arts and humanities curriculum at the university. Yet, Rose is most remembered for his involvement with the CIA.

In 1980, the RIT Research Corporation was created. The corporation was a for-profit company that conducted proprietary research. Although legally separate from RIT, the corporation was staffed entirely by RIT faculty and students. Then, in 1985 a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the CIA and RIT. The agreement established a relationship between the agency, the university, and the RIT Research Corporation. Part of the agreement stipulated that the CIA would pay the salaries of faculty members whose work tangibly benefited the CIA. The following year, Rose and approximately 30 faculty members received government security clearance. By 1990, RIT had received $855,000 in research funding from the CIA.

Initially, the RIT community seemed unbothered by the university's involvement with the CIA; though there were mixed feelings on the National Intelligence Technical Support Program (NITSP), which was set up to screen, recruit, and train RIT students for future CIA employment. Then, on February 7, 1991 Rose announced that he was taking a four month sabbatical from RIT for a confidential assignment. A retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Rose had occasionally left the campus for duty in the past. People assumed that Rose's assignment was linked to the Gulf War effort. But, in April 1991 it was discovered that Rose was actually working for the CIA as a consultant on educational strategies. A group of 50 or so faculty, staff, students, and alumni called for Rose's immediate resignation. Although this was followed by a written letter to the Board of Trustees by the RIT-CIA Off Campus Coalition and the Community for Peace and Justice, Rose did not resign. He did, however, announce his retirement in September 1991, effective June of the following year. On September 6, 1991 the CIA terminated its agreement with RIT, withdrawing $20,000 in support funding and choosing not to renew $200,000 in research contracts.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The M. Richard Rose papers consist of documents related to Rose's time as president of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The first portion of the collection contains biographical material on Rose including typed excerpts, a copy of his biographical file, and copies of his résumé. Additionally, there is a report outlining the various highlights of Rose's administration.

The collection also contains correspondence to, from, and about Rose. There is a series of ephemera that contains holiday cards from the Roses, event invitations, and various announcements. Also in the collection are copies of Rose's State of the Institute addresses from 1980-1991. Additionally, there is a speech Rose gave to a veterans group in 1981 and a paper titled "Educating the American Military Officer: The System and its Challenges" (1975).

Finally, the collection includes official news releases from during Rose's time as president, as well as several university publications and three clippings files.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection is divided into 7 series: Biographical material, Correspondence, Speeches, Ephemera, New releases, University publications, and Clippings.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Rose, M. Richard, (Merle Richard)

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Administration.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Presidents.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Office of the President.


  • College presidents -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Universities and colleges -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Administration


  • Biography files
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Speeches

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

M. Richard Rose papers, 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 February 2011.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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