Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology announced changes to the upcoming fall semester on Friday. RIT will be holding an “accelerated” fall semester with in-person classes starting August 19th and ending November 24th. Final exams will be conducted online.

The proposed schedule is contingent on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pending guidance on reopening plans for all college campuses in the state. RIT is also awaiting direction of local and state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before finalizing the reopening plan.

WXXI photo

Researchers at RIT are working to find out how tiny particles of plastic pollution are impacting Lake Ontario. Earlier this year, the university received a $240,000 federal grant as part of the Sea Grant College Program.

Associate  Professor Christy Tyler says that much of the research so far has focused on the impact of microplastics in oceans.

But she said that lakes can be affected also, and with those freshwater bodies, the plastic particles are more likely to accumulate in the sediment of the bottom of the lake.

A. Sue Weisler/RIT

Local colleges and universities are cautiously optimistic about a fall campus reopening, although what that may look like is still up in the air.

Campuses emptied in March as the pandemic went into full swing, with schools switching to online learning and directing most students to go home. But as the state moves to slowly reopen portions of the economy this month, schools are looking ahead to the next academic year and most are preparing to reopen their campuses.

RIT is announcing a number of cost-savings measures to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

University President David Munson and other officials posted a message on RIT’s website, saying that, “Updates from federal, state, and local authorities lead us to believe that we may continue in our current state of altered operations and uncertainty for some time.”


RIT is leading an effort involving local companies and healthcare providers to come up with a prototype ventilator that could help fill shortages to meet the surge of coronavirus cases.

Nabil Nasr is associate provost and founding director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT and he says researchers and others at the university started working on the issue a few weeks ago when they got a request from Congressman Joe Morelle to look into what RIT might be able to develop.

Remaking of RIT has focus on performing arts

Mar 11, 2020
Max Schulte / WXXI News

Dr. David Munson points to an empty stretch of wall near the ceiling in his seventh-floor office on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Yeah,” he says, “we still have some shadows of banjos up on the wall there.”

Indeed, the vague outlines of banjos — perhaps it is dust out of reach of the custodians — can be discerned on the wall of the university president’s office, nearly three years after Munson moved in. The banjos belonged to RIT’s former president, Bill Destler, who played the instrument, and owned hundreds of them.

Gabriel Ponte-Fleary/RIT

According to a national registry, only 13 percent of the more than 10,000 sign-language interpreters in the U.S. identify as people of color.

RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is trying to change that.

About a year ago, NTID established a two-year preceptorship called the Randleman Program, which specifically addresses the need for diversity in the interpreting field. 

The program was named for Valerie Randleman, the first black interpreter in RIT's Department of Access Services.

Denis Defibaugh and RIT Press

Several years ago, Rochester Institute of Technology photography professor Denis Defibaugh stumbled upon 85-year-old lantern slides that captured the vast landscapes of Greenland.

The slides, which are transparent photographic images mounted on a glass plate and viewed via a projector, were created by Rockwell Kent.  In the 1930s, Kent spent years on the island nestled between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.


Two well-known local real estate entrepreneurs are making a substantial gift of property to RIT.

Amy Leenhouts Tait and Robert Tait are giving the university their 177-acre property in Penfield, which includes a 60 acre lake and a private mile of Irondequoit Creek adjacent to Ellison Park.

Evan Dougherty / University of Michigan Engineering

A researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology has teamed up with universities across the country to build a neuron from scratch.

“Neurons are one of the most complex cells in our body,” said theoretical physicist Moumita Das, the RIT member of the six-university team. “So the experiments are quite challenging and, at the same time, exciting.”