RIT Alum donates $50 million to that university

Dec 13, 2017

RIT President David Munson & Datto founder and RIT Alum Austin McChord
Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

RIT officials say an alum of the university has just given them $50 million, the largest donation ever made to that institution.

Austin McChord is a 32 year old, 2009 graduate of RIT, who started a company called Datto. That’s a Connecticut-based data protection company that also employs about 200 people in downtown Rochester.

McChord is also an RIT trustee, and he says he started his company in 2007 with an idea he had while he was a student.

“RIT was essential to me being able to start my company and a lot of the things that I learned at RIT ended up getting applied and building the business that I run today and so it seemed like the logical next step.”

McChord says he was inspired to make the huge donation by former RIT President Bill Destler, who is a friend of his.

The current RIT president, David Munson, who came on board this year, says $30 million of the donation will be used to foster entrepreneurship.

“We always try hard to attract the most creative students, the students that actually want to get out and do something. This gift is going to help us do that especially in the space of entrepreneurship.”

$20 million of the donation will also be used to advance RIT’s cyber security and artificial intelligence capabilities. Some of the money will also be used to construct new buildings.