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RIT president Destler to retire in 2017

HENRIETTA, N.Y. — William Destler, president of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), announced Monday that he plans to retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

Destler, the school’s ninth president, has served since July 1, 2007.

RIT — which was founded in 1829 and is located in the town of Henrietta, southwest of Rochester — will begin a nationwide search for a successor “immediately,” the school said in a news release.

Destler’s career in higher education has spanned more than 40 years, including the last decade as RIT’s leader.

Under Destler’s leadership, RIT’s enrollment has reached “record” levels; selectivity and diversity have “improved;” the value of research awards has “skyrocketed” and geographic draw “continues to widen” across the U.S. and overseas, the school contended.

RIT had 18,606 total students in the fall 2015 semester — 12,426 males and 6,180 females, according to its website. Undergraduate enrollment totaled 15,401, while graduate enrollment was 3,205.

Under Destler RIT started the “Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival,” which has attracted more than 250,000 visitors to campus since it launched in 2008.

Destler also helped make RIT a “greener campus.” Since 2008, RIT has opened three LEED certified buildings, including the first building in Monroe County to be certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. It also opened a green facility for the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. Last year, RIT opened a solar-energy farm.

Destler has positioned RIT “well for the future” and that growth “will continue” as the school deploys its 2015-2025 strategic plan, Christine Whitman, chair of the RIT board of trustees, said in the school’s news release.

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