Skip to main content

Diploma and Certificate collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0039

Scope and Contents

The Diploma and Certificate collection contains a variety of items awarded by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and its predecessors. Most of the collection is made up of college diplomas, course completion certificates, service and merit awards, and membership certificates. While some of the items in the collection were awarded to specific individuals, many are blank copies or empty diploma cases. The collection also includes diplomas from several other institutions. These items were awarded to prominent members of the RIT community such as Frank Gannett (Cornell University), Alice Cooke (Wesleyan University), and Caroline Werner Gannett (Syracuse University, Ithaca College).

The collection also includes correspondence related to the redesign of RIT's diploma during the 1970s and 1990's. One folder contains documents from David Pankow who participated in the re-design of the diploma in 1995.


  • Creation: 1886-1999

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the university's role in the field of technical education.

Although RAMI had a day program, it also catered to individuals who worked full-time during the week by offering evening and weekend courses. Students in one of RAMI's program could earn both certificates and a diploma. According to the 1901-1902 course manual, certificates were granted when a student satisfactorily fulfilled a course's requirements and passed its exam. These certificates proved that the student completed the work for the course and enabled him or her to enroll in the next level of study. When a student passed all of the classes in a particular area (e.g. architectural drawing), he or she was awarded a diploma from the university.


5 Linear Feet (3 lid boxes, 1 document box)




Diplomas and certificates that were issued by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) or its predecessors. The collection includes course completion certificates, college diplomas, merit and service awards, and membership certificates. Many of these items are blank copies. There are also several diplomas from other institutions that were awarded to prominent members of the RIT community.


Materials are grouped by event. The items are arranged chronologically within these groupings.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 570

Related Materials

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in December 2010.

Diploma and Certificate collection
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
09 December 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • December 2020: multilevel description added from inventory by Gigi Ye

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA