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RIT ceremonial ribbons

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0319

Scope and Contents

RIT ceremonial ribbons consists of three sashes, each with the name of an important benefactor in the history and development of RIT. They are Henry Lomb, Frank Gannett, and Kate Gleason. It is unclear why these ribbons were created or their use, but it is assumed to be for an Institute ceremony.


  • Creation: circa 1968

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical Information: Henry Lomb, Frank Gannett, and Kate Gleason

About Henry Lomb

Captain Henry Lomb (1828-1908) was co-founder of Bausch and Lomb. Although Lomb emigrated from Germany in 1849, he chose to serve in the U.S. Civil War in 1861 with the New York State Volunteers. His dedication and performance earned him the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and ultimately Captain. Following the war, Lomb returned to Rochester, NY where he took an active interest in supporting the city. For instance, he helped organize and finance the Rochester Public Health Association.

In 1885, the Rochester area was a swiftly expanding community whose industrial growth had created a need for skilled workers. The Bausch and Lomb optical company was one of the areas largest and most successful industries. Because John Bausch and Henry Lomb were discouraged by the lack of vocational training available locally, they were motivated to establish a technical institute in Rochester. Together with Max Lowenthal, Ezra R. Andrews, Frank Ritter, William F. Peck and others, they founded the Mechanics Institute. The mission of the Mechanics Institute was to offer "education for making a living."

Captain Lomb served as chairman of the Institute Board from 1881-1891, and continued to be a strong supporter of the school until his death in 1908.

About Frank Gannett

Frank Gannett had worked his way through college as a newspaper reporter. Early in his career, he became the owner of several small newspapers, some of them in Rochester. Throughout his life he owned or had partial ownership of over 20 different newspapers. In 1922, as president of the New York State Publishers Association, Frank Gannett led in the founding of the Empire State School of Printing in Ithaca, New York.

There was a great shortage of trained printers after the First World War. Gannett envisioned a vast program of education and research in the graphic arts field and saw the need to be affiliated with a larger facility. He regarded the Mechanics Institute an excellent technological school, and decided that it would be an ideal place for the printing school to continue its growth. So in 1937 the school was moved, along with 18 students and three instructors.

He was a principal benefactor of RIT and served as a trustee from 1938-1957. In 1952, Frank Gannett was the recipient of the Distinguished Founders Award given by the RIT Board of Trustees, in appreciation of his life of service and achievement.

About Kate Gleason

Kate Gleason began working in her father's machine tool plant at a very early age. In 1888, she became the first woman to enroll in Cornell University's Engineering program. She left school before the end of her first year to take a more active part in her father's business. Later, she also studied part-time at the Mechanics Institute.

From 1890-1913 she served as Secretary-Treasurer to the Gleason Works. Her role as a sales representative allowed her frequent travel throughout the United States and Europe. Upon leaving the Gleason Works in 1913, she acquired a bankrupt machine and tool company. She returned it to profitability and became active with several business ventures in the village of East Rochester, New York.

She was the only woman member of the American Concrete Institute. In 1914, she became the first woman elected to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1916, she became the first woman member of the Rochester Engineering Society.


0.9 Linear Feet (1 Lid box)




Three sashes made of ribbon, each with the name of an important individual in the development and history of Rochester Institute of Technology: Henry Lomb, Kate Gleason, and Frank Gannett.


Collection consists of three items.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in November 2011.

RIT ceremonial ribbons
RIT Archives
Amy Vilz
23 November 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA