Welcome to RIT's 175th Anniversary website. The University celebrated the anniversary during the 2004-05 academic year. This website is no longer active and will no longer be updated. The site remains active, however, to preserve the history of both RIT and the anniversary year.

Celebrating 175 Years
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Sketches of Campus Life

Lecture by Chester Dewey.
Concert by Jenny Lind at Corinthian Hall.

Henry Ward Beecher speaks at Corinthian Hall.

Charles Dickens speaks at Corinthian Hall.
  1902 Institute’s normal course in domestic science sometimes called “bride’s course,” with great interest among young women.

Earliest report of a sporting event - Football game against Canandaigua High School (Can 10 RAMI 0).


More female students than male enrolled at RAMI.

Evening sewing class offered to assist women who wanted to make their own clothes.

The Question, the student newspaper begins.

Publication of a booklet, Mechanics Institute Songs many of them by Ellen Putnam, editor-in-chief of the 1915 Ramikin.

  1916 Soldier's attending training at the institute adopt a mascot terrier, Brownie.
Institute contributions to WWI were many. Groups of men came to the Institute for six weeks of intensive vocational training. Exercises included building housing, metal scaffolding and machines. One project involved building a bridge across the canal and taking it down so it could be rebuilt.

Miss Winifred Gibbs, Head of the Dept. of Household arts daily column “ Home Menus at Moderate Costs”, made her an authority on cost saving across the nation. Three meals of day for a family of six could be prepared for $1.84.

World War I ended. Nine students from RAMI lost their life during the war – all from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts.

Official beginning of intercollegiate athletics at RIT. Institute basketball team is coached by Harold J. Brodie.

First wrestling team formed by Mark Ellingson, future President of RAMI.
First R.A.M.I. Band organized to play at athletic events.


  1942 RAMI students are called for duty in WWII.
  1944 Fashion show using vegetables and kitchen equipment for hats.
  1950 Spring Weekend begins.

The student newspaper, The Reporter began.

WITR founded by a group of students.

Students raise funds to purchase a baby Bengal tiger for a school
mascot. The tiger, named Spirit, was a feature at RIT athletic events,
until he grew too large to handle in public. He spent the remainder of
his life at Seneca Park Zoo.

  1968 Curfew for women students still in effect. Weekday curfews for freshman women is 10:00. Over the next two years, curfews and various regulations (for example - phone conversations limited to 10 minutes) for students are relaxed.

College Union Board began.

Football resumed on a club basis after an absence of 46 years.

  1969 Black Awareness Coordinating Committee formed.

Students at RIT join in a national Vietnam Moratorium – a nation wide anti-war boycott and march in Washington. Some students boycott classes on October 15.

Residence hall advisors installed.

Students ask for and receive a two-day break to take part in a nationwide canvass for signatures on an antiwar petition.

ROTC comes to RIT.

Students collect pumpkins for Rochester Third Ward children.

NTID Drama Club stages first performance.

  1971 Varsity status approved for football.
Deaf Awareness Week began.
  1974 Group of students play monopoly for one hundred hours on the elevator in Nathaniel Rochester Hall.

Students jump in jello one spring day.

  1977 Energy house built on campus, a solar energy research project jointly sponsored by RIT, Rochester Gas & Electric and Rochester Home Builders Association. RIT used the house to evaluate solar energy and other energy conserving measures in home construction.
RIT drops varsity football.

Cross Country Runners part of RIT 150th Anniversary celebration. 12 students and their coach, Prof. Peter J. Todd, run a 3,600 mile relay across the United States.

McClure scholarships offered to 150 babies born on June 12, 1979 the 150th anniversary of the date of the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum. Al Davis thought of the idea and Mr. and Mrs. Warren McClure donated $250,000 for the scholarships.


RIT Gospel Ensemble formed.

  1982 Richard Simmons speaks and leads exercise sessions on campus.
  1983 Men’s Hockey Team wins Division II NCAA championship under Coach Brian Mason.
  1985 Men’s Hockey Team wins second Division II NCAA championship.

First annual Love day. Students from neighboring elementary schools spend the day with RIT students.


RIT community participates in Hands Across America with their own version on campus. A human chain began in front of the SAU and extended along the quarter mile.

Special program of the RIT Community for Nuclear Awareness and the Rochester Vietnam veterans takes place on campus. The groups play a game to stop a nuclear war using role-playing to explore diplomatic strategies.


Student commissioned Bengal tiger statue dedicated.

Students publish the first issue of ESPRIT, a full color electronically produced magazine using the newest in digital technologies.


Men’s basketball: first ECAC title.


RIT community attempts to set the Guinness Word Record for the longest fire bucket brigade.


1997 A team of students working together remotely through RIT distance learning program produce a magazine online. Both print and electronic copies were created. www.rit.edu/~paradigm.

McClure scholars arrive. 10 out of the original 150 attend RIT.


Lech Walesa lectures on campus.

The Names Project AIDS Quilt commemorating World AIDS Day comes to RIT.

Pillsbury Doughboy made an appearance at RIT, greeting customers at Shumway Dining Commons.

Second-year physician assistant students took up residence in cardboard boxes on the grass near Greek row. The sleepout, a community service project for their Early Clinical Experience III course, was intended to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless. Students also collected donations of cash, food and clothing to distribute to homeless shelters.


RIT imaging scientists Robert Johnston and Roger Easton Jr. use imaging technology to reveal an a transcription of Greek mathematician Archimedes, hidden under a later manuscript using ultraviolet, visible and infrared wavelengths to separate the faint script and 55 geometric drawings from liturgical writings made over original writing.

Opening of a new boat house for RIT’s crew team. The team started as a club sport in 1994 and achieved varsity status in 1997.


A new cross disciplinary course, Analogy, Mathematics, and Poetry is developed and team-taught by Professor Marcia Birken of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (College of Science) and by Professor Anne Coon of the Department of Language and Literature (College of Liberal Arts). The course explores analogy as the “glue” that links math and poetry.

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