RIT alumnus donates $1.8M to Saunders College of Business
A $1.8 million gift to Saunders College of Business from Rochester Institute of Technology alumnus Chance Wright will fund renovations to existing facilities and the planned building expansion breaking ground this fall.
“We are so grateful for Chance’s commitment to and belief in Saunders College,” Dean Jacqueline Mozrall said. “This gift will allow us to transform the educational environment in our existing facilities while enhancing opportunities for applied learning and business community engagement in the expansion.”
Wright, who entered RIT as a photography major in the College of Art and Design’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, started taking business classes as an undergraduate working toward a minor. He was sitting in a principles of marketing class when he first learned about the accelerated 4+1 MBA program, which would allow him to obtain a Master of Business Administration degree in only one additional year at RIT.
After graduating with his MBA in 2019, Wright is giving back to his alma mater through a series of donations. He started with SPAS, donating $3.5 million to expand and renovate Gannett Hall.
The majority of his donation to Saunders will support renovations to existing spaces in Max Lowenthal Hall. Classrooms and common learning spaces on the third floor will be renovated, as will a seminar room on the first floor.
“I don’t want the old spaces to be left behind,” Wright said. “If classrooms aren’t up to date, learning in them is more challenging, especially with the advent of more laptops and more technology in the classroom. Changes like placing outlets in the middle of the room versus only on the outside wall of every other table are really important. Students need to charge their computers when they’re running from class to class. Those types of updates matter.”
In addition to added technology accessibility in the classrooms, aesthetic updates will help create continuity between newer and older spaces. Carpets will be replaced, furniture will be upgraded and new audio-visual capabilities will be integrated.
Wright’s donation also will support the addition of a south-facing outdoor balcony on the top floor of the building expansion, with scenic views of campus. This feature, which will add additional outdoor space to the expansion plans, wouldn’t have been possible without his gift.
“With two recent RIT degrees, Chance deeply understands the student experience, and wants to make a difference for our undergraduates and graduate students,” President David Munson said. “We are deeply appreciative of this second gift to the university. Chance is also a strategic adviser in his role as a member of the President’s Roundtable, where we discuss major initiatives and how to best position RIT for future success.”
Wright co-founded The Shore Foundation, a nonprofit empowering the community by enhancing technological access, awareness and ability. Since 2018, the foundation has distributed more than 1,000 refurbished computers to people in need in around Rochester.
The expansion, which will almost double the size of Saunders College and add more than 35,000 square feet to the existing building, will break ground in the fall. The project is scheduled to be completed in time to welcome the fall Class of 2023. Renovations to the third and first floors will begin in 2022.