RIT president Munson to retire

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RIT President David Munson at the SHED (Photo: Travis LaCoss)

David Munson, credited with transforming creativity, innovation and academics at Rochester Institute of Technology, has decided to step down as president. His last day will be June 30, 2025.

Munson announced his plans to retire Tuesday. The search for a new president will engage students, faculty and staff, officials say.

“Over the next year, I intend to remain highly focused on the job at hand. We will have opportunities later to celebrate our collective work in establishing RIT as the premier university in the nation working at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design,” Munson says.

“As we have pursued this mission together, I have been blessed with your ideas, passion, hard work, and friendship,” he added. “I’m also thankful for the support of my wife, Nancy, for taking a leap of faith and assuming an integral role on this journey.”

Munson came to RIT in 2017, after a decade at the University of Michigan, where he served as dean. He succeeded Bill Destler.

Under Munson’s leadership, RIT increased enrollment, including at its international campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo. The university educates 20,570 students annually.

Among the most significant milestones of his time as president is the completion of a more than $1 billion blended campaign, named Transforming RIT. The campaign reached its goal in less than five years. It drew a mix of investors including corporate partners, government, research foundations and alumni. It aligns with RIT’s strategic plan, which aims to invest in student success, create world-class facilities, advance research and discovery, and build careers of the future.

On the facility front, RIT recently opened the doors of its Student Hall for Exploration and Development. A $120 million facility, the SHED is a testament to campus collaboration, appealing to the intersectionality of disciplines and students’ interests.

“Under Dave’s leadership, RIT’s momentum continues to accelerate as the leading university that aligns the power of science, technology, the arts, and design with experiential learning to drive innovation,” says Jeffrey Harris, chairman of RIT board of trustees. “We’ve accomplished the goals that we set in our 2025 strategic plan, Greatness through Difference, and Dave has set the table for a seamless transition next year.”

Munson’s vision is also apparent in the launch of a performing arts program; creation of a music performance theater, scheduled to open next year; a research building; and the expansion of the Saunders College of Business. 

“His strategic vision creates a legacy that will define our university for years to come,” Harris notes.

The community has also has benefitted from RIT’s presence downtown during Munson’s tenure. RIT City Art Space, for example, is in the city to be involved in community collaboration. The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and the Venture Creations business incubator also have a presence downtown.

Last year, RIT opened a new location for its K-12 University Center at 40 Franklin St. The move to the center city was also designed to expand community connections. 

“This is an exciting day for RIT, not only because of the programming we’ll be able to offer or the youth we can serve, but because this continues a commitment I made to then Mayor-Elect Evans when we met in this exact spot in 2021,” Munson said at the time. “Mayor Evans challenged us to remember the Rochester in RIT, and I am proud to have you here today to witness this come to fruition.”

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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