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RIT Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0081

Scope and Contents

The RIT Reserve Officers' Training Corps records consist of documents related to the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) ROTC program. A large portion of the collection is made up of correspondence dealing with the program and its development. While there are several pieces from the early 1990s, most of the correspondence is from 1968-1974. These items discuss matters such as the program's establishment and decisions effecting its future; many are accompanied by status reports.

The collection also includes two copies of RIT's application for an ROTC unit and miscellaneous documents. The miscellaneous documents include information on the early history of the program, biographies of important people, and an American military history course outline.

Additionally, the collection contains promotional materials for the program such as brochures and pamphlets, as well as several pieces of ephemera such as invitations to the Joint Military Ball in 1970 and 1971. There is also a clippings file.


  • Creation: 1968-2022
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1968 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program officially began in 1969. In October of that year, 875 students voted in favor of the program with 507 students voting against. This was surprising to some given the general unpopularity of military presence on college campuses during that time. With America embroiled in the Vietnam War, many college students were speaking out against the U.S. military's involvement. Although the ROTC program passed, RIT's administration took a cautious approach, not requiring uniforms to be worn on campus and not allowing training weapons to be stored in on-campus facilities.

Although the ROTC program was officially approved in 1969, plans had been in the works for several years. On October 20, 1967 an Ad Hoc ROTC Study Committee was formed to investigate the possibility of starting an ROTC unit on RIT's campus. In February 1968, the committee submitted a report to the Student Senate. With the endorsement of the Senate, RIT submitted an application to the U.S. Department of the Army in December of that year.

Initially, enrollment in the ROTC program was fairly low. In 1970, there were only 56 of the required 100 students in the program. But, enrollment soon started to increase, especially as the Vietnam War drew to a close. By 1984, over 3,000 students had graduated from RIT's ROTC program.

Up until 1984, the Army ROTC program was the only one on RIT's campus. Students who wished to join the Navy ROTC program had the option of attending the University of Rochester's program. Similarly, students at the University of Rochester could attend the Army ROTC program at RIT. This crosstown cooperation applied to most of the universities and colleges in the Rochester area. In 1979, RIT's ROTC program graduated two Nazareth College students, three SUNY Brockport students, one St. John Fisher College student, and one Roberts Wesleyan College student.

In October 1984, RIT was chosen to host an Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) program. At the time, only 152 universities in the U.S. had such a program. RIT was chosen due to its history of technical education and scientific research. The first students were admitted to the program for the Fall of 1985, with approximately 50 students entering the first year. Students in the program were eligible for scholarships that would cover their entire tuition, as well as textbooks, fees, and other living expenses. The scholarship also included a monthly stipend.

As of 2011, both the Army and Air Force ROTC programs were still active at RIT. Additionally, the crosstown cooperation programs were still in effect, allowing students to earn an RIT education while attending ROTC programs and other nearby schools (e.g. University of Rochester's Navy ROTC program).


0.25 Linear Feet (1 half document box)




Collection of documents pertaining to the Rochester Institute of Technology's Army and Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs. The collection includes correspondence, planning reports, promotional material, ephemera, and clippings.


The collection is divided into 7 series: Applications, Correspondence and reports, Advisory committee minutes, Miscellaneous documents, Promotional materials, Ephemera, and Clippings. Materials are arranged chronologically within each series.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in February 2011.

RIT Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) records
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
10 February 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA