RIT Drops ‘Print’ from School’s Name

ROCHESTER, NY—Wanting a name that reflects the changing media landscape, the School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will now be called the School of Media Sciences. The shift comes as the school historically has kept up with advancing technology, economic shifts and cultural changes, according to RIT.

“This new, strategic shift will leverage our respected and historic foundation in print media to incorporate a ‘print-plus’ approach, that includes insights and understanding in the areas of the Web, mobile and social media, complementing the precision and technical understanding of the printing industry,” says Chris Bondy, administrative chair of RIT’s School of Media Sciences. “Students will emerge from the School of Media Sciences as media architects acquiring skills to lead cross-media communications environments, both from a technical and operational perspective.”

Along with the name change, RIT says it is adapting and refining programs to provide emerging professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful leaders at highly recognized companies in various industries. Many RIT alumni hold leadership positions in some of the top graphic communications, imaging sciences and printing and publishing companies worldwide, and the shift towards digital is being implemented to continue that success.

RIT believes changing the name of the School of Print Media to the School of Sciences will more accurately reflect the integration of arts and sciences as they relate to the use of integrated cross-media communications. RIT is adapting and aiding in the transformation of traditional print-centric operations into successful cross-functional solutions of future.

“Communication is now multi-media. Marketing is now multi-channel. RIT has re-invented itself to provide the skills needed for a new generation of publishing and promotion professionals,” says Frank Romano, RIT professor emeritus.

  • Howard

    Howard Hansen, School of Printing ’67
    Curator, Museum of Printing, No. Andover, MA

    Reflections on the loss of "Printing" in RIT School Title
    I reflect back to my attending the 50th Anniversary celebration of the "School of Printing". Now we are marking its 75th year. Even then, alumni, some still living from the time the School came from Cornell up to Rochester A & M, and fought to preserve "Printing" or "Print" as part of the School’s heritage. The image of Printers when I entered RIT 49 years ago, was still a "dirty hands trade", Those who advocated for removing ‘printing" believed it would attract students who would wear suits to work in an office applying managerial skills. The School of Printing was moving from an advanced vocational school for trade operatives or mechanics to business managers for the printing industry. The first two years under the AAS (Associate of Applied Science) program was meant to provide a basic knowledge of how the machinery and tools worked. It was not a replacement for the "hands-on" journeymen training offered by the trade unions. The nearest to hands-on activity was the role of the Graphic Arts Research Center in offering a place for experimenting with new technology in printing. The first four-color offset newspapers on newsprint included the RIT weekly Reporter, which provided interaction with the School of Printing students with the Newspaper Production and Journalism Courses.
    I recall that shortly after I graduated, I was a respondent to a survey/critique about the school courses. Technology in the printing industry was already advancing faster than the curriculum. I had realized that electronics and photomechanical processes were only a dream when I was a Freshman. If the School was to remain a source for learning these new devices, then the new RIT students needed some basic courses in electronics, and on the managerial level dealing with government regulations and personnel financial issues.. These courses were better taught by the School of Business. Indeed, the college had realized some time back that when it changed the name to School of Printing Management and Science then School of Print Media that printing could no longer be an isolated discipline and the need for students entering the printing industry needed to go beyond the Frank Gannett building.
    In the 49 years since I set foot in the concrete campus in downtown Rochester, the whole image of what "Printing as a Trade" has disappeared. The era of Phototypesetting as state-of-the-art technolgy has come and gone. The Digital Printing age has within the past decade has done to Offset-Lithography what "Offset" had done to Letterpress Printing 60 years ago. Today, I am sitting behind a laptop computer that is capable of doing all the work of a Linotype machine, phototypesetter, film assembly person (stripper), page makeup, color separators/cameramen, text editing, photoediting or retouching and platemaking at the click of a mouse. These were all skills of the printing trade, where men and women were apprenticed in the manner of the old guilds when Gutenberg invented moveable type. Alas, Gutenberg’s vision of having the control of printed work in every man’s hands is now here.
    I remember Byron Culver, the first Director of the School of Printing, saying that it was his goal when he took that position in 1937, to make RIT the world leader in Printing education. Now that Gutenberg’s vision has been realized, and so has Byron Culver’s, I hope that with the 21st century intergration of graphics and technology into the term "Media Science" RIT does not forget the heritage of the printing industry which brought the civilized world of an educated few to where man has used the printed word to send its technolgy to other planets in the solar system.

    Howard Hansen
    RIT School of Printing ’67
    Curator/Past President Museum of Printing, No. Andover, MA
    Owner-operator Hansen Brothers Printing Co., Stoughton, MA