Minority students collection

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for Minority students at RIT
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Minority students collection
Rochester Institute of Technology.
Inclusive Date(s)
1906, 1961-1989
Materials related to minority students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The collection includes correspondence, promotional materials, and clippings related to student activities, programs, and university relations.
3.0 Folder(s)
C.S. North, Shelf 316 (Minority student collections)
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 Minority students at RIT (Collapse)

It is unclear when the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) first admitted minority students. However, it appears as though the first African American students entered the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (renamed RIT in 1944) during the early 1900s. For instance, in 1906 Fredericka Sprague, the granddaughter of Frederick Douglass, took classes at the Institute. There are several other instances of African American students attending the school during the early 20th century as well. In 1968, the Policy Committee began to look at the role of "disadvantaged students" on RIT's campus. Although this term did not specifically refer to minority students, many of these disadvantaged pupils were innercity students from minority populations.

The following table provides information on the number of minority students at the Institute at the start of the fall term from 1976-1979 and in 1984.

Black Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Native Asian or Pacific Islander Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Total Minority Percent Minority
1976 295 29 67 50 11,651 441 3.65%
1977 327 28 65 66 11,932 486 3.91%
1978 460 33 114 84 11,698 691 5.58%
1979 337 26 132 96 13,315 591 4.25%
1984 413 37 252 138 11,568 840 6.77%

Gradually more services were added for minority students on campus. In 1969, a black studies program was offered with courses such as "Afro-American History," "Nativism, Racism, and Anti-Semitism," "West African History," and "Sociology of Intergroup Relations." In 1980, a plan was developed to increase the number of minority and disadvantaged students in the RIT community, both faculty and students. Then, in 2000 the North Star Center for Academic Success and Cultural Affairs was established as part of an initiative to increase student retention at the college, particularly among minority students.

As of 2011, RIT's student body was made up of over 1,400 international students from 100 different countries. In addition, more than 2,000 of the university's students were non-white. As of 2011, the North Star Center, along with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, still played an important role on RIT's campus.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Minority students collection contains documents related to programs and activities offered to minority students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), as well as information about the university policies and relations. The correspondence in the collection covers a variety of topics from the services offered by the school to the formation of a Minority Task Force.

The collection also includes promotional materials geared toward minority students. For instance, there is "Minority Students Resources Directory and Handbook," information on specific scholarships, and materials distributed by the Office of Admissions.

Finally, the collection includes a clippings file. Again, the clippings cover a variety of topics such as programs sponsored by RIT and the state of race relations on RIT's campus.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection is arranged in three series: Correspondence, Promotional materials, and Clippings. Items are organized chronologically within each series.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Administration.


  • Minority college students -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Universities and colleges -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Administration


  • Administrative records
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Promotional materials

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Minority students 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 May 2011.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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