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The university originated from a merger in 1891 between the struggling literary society Rochester Athenæum, founded in 1829 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and associates, and The Mechanics Institute, a technical training school established in 1885. Initially called Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI), it transitioned to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 1944, embracing Athenaeum’s founding charter. Facing space constraints and a freeway construction through its Rochester campus, RIT relocated to a 1,300-acre suburban campus in Henrietta in 1968. In 1966, it was chosen as the site for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). RIT absorbed Eisenhower College in 1979, which closed in 1983. Noteworthy programs include microelectronic engineering (1982), the nation’s first ABET-accredited undergraduate program in the field, and imaging science (1990), the first of its kind in the U.S. RIT pioneered information technology degrees (1993) and was the first U.S. college to offer a Software Engineering undergraduate degree (1996).

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