RIT History Exhibits

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 celebrating 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 their 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 beloved "house 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.