Construction of RIT's Henrietta Campus records
Scope and Contents
The Construction of RIT's Henrietta Campus records contain materials related to the 1961 decision to move the campus from the downtown Rochester location through the campus dedication in 1968. A document of significant importance in this collection is a 37 chapter report with an index written by Dow Hamblin, who served as the Director of Planning for this enormous project for 5 1/2 years. This document details every aspect of planning for the new campus. Also included are complete records of the New Campus Dedication committee which planned and executed a grand celebration on October 19-20th, 1968. The New Campus fund drive activities are documented, and 140 photographs capture the construction process.
- 1961 - 1979
- Majority of material found within 1961 - 1968
- Hamblin, Francis Dow (Writer of accompanying material, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was originally located in the city of Rochester, NY. In 1961, the university's Board of Trustees voted to relocate the campus to Henrietta, a suburb south of the city. The decision was several years in the making. Following World War II, the Institute had seen a rapid growth in enrollment figures and new programs were being added. The school had gone from a unique institute of higher learning to one that granted associate, bachelor, and master degrees, and was seeking accreditation. It was becoming increasingly clear that the school would need to expand, the question was whether it would rebuild its current campus or relocate to a different part of the metropolitan area.
In 1951, RIT committed $30 million toward building up the campus as part of a neighborhood renewal project. For years, the City of Rochester had been trying to revitalizing the city's Third Ward and RIT was a key component of this project. Then, in 1959 the New York State Department of Public Works announced that the Rochester Inner Loop expressway would be built through the heart of RIT's campus. The Eastman Building, which was constructed with funds donated by George Eastman in 1901, was to be destroyed in the process. The anticipated result was that the college would be split in half by the new thoroughfare.
After considering several options, the board voted on November 20, 1961 to relocate the campus to a new area. The vote passed with 32 in favor, 2 against, and 1 abstention. The City of Rochester was unhappy with the decision given that RIT was seen as important to the Third Ward's eventual revitalization. However, given the state of the neighborhood and the space restrictions inherent to a city environment, it seemed to the administrators that staying in the city would not be in the Institute's best interest. Additionally, a Rochester resident, Grace Watson, had unexpectedly left over $3 million to the Institute. The largest gift in the university's history, it helped address the financial burden of relocating the entire school.
Emil Muller, an RIT graduate, helped the university obtain 1300 acres of farmland in the suburb of Henrietta. Henrietta - named for the daughter of Sir William Johnstone Pulteney, a prominent New York landowner - was established in 1817. Although most of the area was farmland, Mark Ellingson shared in a letter that the university's administrators believed that Henrietta would be the "center of the Rochester Metropolitan area within the next few years." Ground was broken on November 2, 1964 and by September 1968 the first classes were held. The total cost of the project was around $60 million and included residence halls, lecture halls, a library, a student union, and a gymnasium. Most importantly, the new campus included space. RIT's city campus had consisted of 13 acres. The new 1300 acre campus was meant to sustain the college 100 years into the future.
5 Box(es) (Document boxes)
Materials related to the planning and construction of the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) campus in Henrietta, N.Y. RIT relocated its campus from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968. The collection includes fundraising records; two copies of the complete history, beginning with the decision to move, that was written by Dow Hamblin, director of planning; correspondence; meeting minutes; financial records; clippings and photographs of buildings in various stages of construction.
Materials are arranged by series: fund commitee records, planning report, dedication records, and photographs in 5 boxes.
C.S. North, Shelf 317
Other Finding Aids
In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.
Construction of RIT's Henrietta Campus records
Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in November 2012.
- Building -- Design and construction
- Campus planning -- New York (State) -- Rochester
- College buildings -- New York (State) -- Rochester
- College campuses -- New York (State) -- Rochester
- Fund raising -- New York (State) -- Rochester
- Henrietta (N.Y. : Town)
- Rochester (N.Y.) -- History -- 20th century
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Universities and colleges -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- History
- Construction of RIT's Henrietta Campus collection
- RIT Archives
- Jody Sidlauskas
- 5 November 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note