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RIT 125th Anniversary Celebration collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0041

Scope and Contents

The RIT 125th Anniversary Celebration collection consists of items related to the events surrounding the 125th anniversary of RIT's founding. A large part of the collection focuses on the 125th Anniversary Fund and includes financial records of the fund's growth. There are also clippings on this topic.

Additionally, the collection includes ephemera and memorabilia from various events and sources such as dinner programs, a luncheon speech, a sticker, and an envelope with an anniversary logo. The collection also contains a commemorative book titled "Still Pioneering After 125 Years of Educational Service."

Finally, the collection contains clippings from various sources including the Democrat & Chronicle, Times-Union, New York Times, and RIT Reporter. These articles focus on either the 125th Anniversary Fund campaign or the history of the institution.


  • Creation: 1951-1955

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

histinfoRIT 125th Anniversary Celebration

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 Institute's role in the field of technical education.

In 1954, the university celebrated its 125th anniversary. Activities included special exhibits, celebratory dinners, and anniversary publications. The largest measure was the establishment of the 125th Anniversary Fund. With the baby boom in full swing, it was estimated that by 1960 the number of high school graduates would be double what it was in 1951. Looking toward the future, the university set-up the campaign to help fund new buildings, modernization efforts, and build the institution's endowment. In November 1951, the fund was announced with a goal of $30 million.

The university chose not to hire professional fundraisers for the development campaign. Instead, Raymond E. Olsen, president of Taylor Instrument Companies and an RIT alum, was selected as chairman for the fund. The university administration also opted not to publicize the names of contributors. However, some of the major donors were acknowledged. George H. Clark, a former trustee of the university, left over a million dollars to the university, half of which was to go to the building of a new gymnasium. Irving Booth, a shoe machinery manufacturer in the Rochester area, left the $441,000 pledge balance to RIT when he died in 1955. In 1951, the university was also promised some of engineer Kate Gleason's property, estimated at $57,000. By the start of 1954, the Institute had already collected $6.3 million.

The goal amount for the 125th Anniversary Fund campaign was based on several specific projects. The new graphic arts center of education, research and information was to cost $4 million with another $2 million being required for equipment. The School for American Craftsmen building was allotted $500,000. A new student union and men's dormitory was to be given $2.15 million. The new gymnasium requested in Clark's will was to cost $850,000. Finally, $550,000 was allotted for new bays on the George H. Clark building. In addition, $17 million was earmarked for the university's endowment and $635,000 was to go toward modernization projects.

The overall tone of the anniversary celebration was not one of remembrance, but one of looking forward to the next 125 years of educational advancement.


.5 Linear Feet (3 folders in 1 document box with other collections)




Materials related to the events surrounding the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) 125th Anniversary. RIT celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1954. The collection includes memorabilia and ephemera such as a sticker and commemorative book, as well as financial records from the 125th Anniversary Fund campaign. Also included are clippings on RIT's history and the development campaign.


The collection is divided between three folders. The first folder contains ephemera, memorabilia, and other miscellaneous items. The second folder holds the financial records from the 125th Anniversary Fund and the last folder contains clippings.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in December 2010.

RIT 125th Anniversary Celebration collection
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
10 December 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA