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RIT Board of Trustees meeting minutes

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0092

Scope and Contents

The RIT Board of Trustees meeting minutes includes records of the meeting of members of the Institutes board and the various sub-committees established dating back to 1829 and continuing on to the present.

The committees represented in the collection include the Executive Committee, Audit Committee, Education Committee, Finance Committee, Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee, Public Affairs Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee.


  • Creation: 1829-2013


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is closed to researchers. Special permission is needed to examine these records. Please consult with the archivist.

Historical Information: RIT Board of Trustees

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. According to the Athenaeum's 1830 charter, the Board of Directors was to contain 17 member members with the original directors being: Nathaniel Rochester (president); Charles Perkins (vice president); Simeon Ford (vice president); William James (vice president); Jonathan Childs (vice president); James Seymour (treasurer); Nathaniel T. Rochester (corresponding secretary); Levi A. Ward (recording secretary); Levi Ward, Jr.; Joseph Penney; Everard Peck; Elisha Johnson; Rufus Beach; Abelard Reynolds; William Atkinson; Henry I. Whitehouse; and Hervey Ely. Throughout the 19th century the Athenaeum merged with several different institutions, eventually existing only as a small board with a New York State charter.

In 1885 the Mechanics Institute was started as a preliminary job training school for individuals working in one of Rochester's growing industries. The first board meeting for the Mechanics Institute was held on October 21, 1885 with many of its founders serving on the Board of Directors. Some of the original board members included: Henry Lomb (president), Max Lowenthal (recording secretary), William Peck (corresponding secretary), and H. J. Stedman (treasurer). In 1891, five women joined the board. That same year, the Mechanics Institute decided to merge with the Rochester Athenaeum as a means of securing additional financial support fo the institution. The surviving members of the Athenaeum's board were elected onto the Institute's Board of Directors and the school was renamed the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.

The role and composition of RIT's board changed over the years. During the early years of the Mechanics Institute, the Board of Directors had a very hands-on role in the operation of the school. Gradually, the Board of Trustees (as it was renamed) turned into a more honorary post. Influential individuals in the Rochester area were recruited to serve on the board with the hope that they or their company would donate funds to the school. However, as the 20th century progressed, there became more for the board to do. The institute was expanding both in number of programs and number of students. To better accommodate the growing campus the board voted in 1961 to move the school (now named the Rochester Institute of Technology) out of the city of Rochester into the suburbs of Henrietta. Overwhelmed by these new initiatives, the board gained approval from the state to expand its number of members from 35 to 43.

Another important change that affected the school was the decline of Rochester industry. Traditionally, board members were chosen from the leadership of Rochester's largest corporations. Bausch & Lomb, Eastman Kodak Company, Gannett Company, Rochester Telephone Corporation, and General Railway Signal Company all provided board members throughout the 20th century. When many of these business started to move their operations out of the Rochester area or sold the companies to other businesses, the composition of RIT's board needed to change. As of 2011, 21 of the 55 active trustees lived outside the Rochester area and 24 trustees were RIT alumni.

The Board of Trustees continues to play an important role in the RIT community. During RIT's 150th Anniversary Campaign in 1979, the Board of Trustees donated nearly 18% of the $42 million fundraising goal. The board currently meets three times a year and members are elected to four-year terms. In 2011, the board had 55 active trustees and 33 honorary and emeriti members. Among the active members were representatives from various campus organizations including the RIT Women's Council, RIT Alumni Association, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf's National Advisory Group.


4 Linear Feet (8 document boxes)




This collection contains records of the RIT Board of Trustees beginning in 1829 and continuing to the present. Records including meeting minutes of the Board, the Executive Committee and its' many sub-committees have been found throughout the Archives stacks and are now being placed together to form one collection. There will continually be accruals.


Records are arranged by committee, then by date.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

RIT Board of Trustees meeting minutes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the committee meeting minutes have been deposited in the RIT Archives by the Finance and Administration Department periodically.

Accession number(s): 1997:010; 1998:001; 2011:073; 2014:010; 2014:050; 2014:051; 2014:053


Board of Trustee meeting minutes are accrued periodically.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in February 2011.

RIT Board of Trustees minutes
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
21 February 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