RIT Graduates Responding

Responding to Geoffrey’s request for information, I am an RIT grad (M.S. in Printing Technology, 1975) who had all the instructors you mentioned (Lawson, Noga, Hacker, Guldin, etc.

A recent visit to campus would lend me to believe that typography is still a part of the curriculum, but very little in terms of the production techniques we used in the 1970s. If you take a look at the state of the industry today, that is not something to regret. The new emphasis is on digital techniques which were not on the horizon in 1975.

I certainly enjoyed my exposure to hot metal composition, letterpress and bindery during my time there, and have never regretted my decision to attend RIT.

John Henry

Log in to reply   4 replies so far

I received my BS from RIT in 1976 and also never regret my decision to attend, great school, but from what I understand it’s just not the same, and in some respects it shouldn’t be. But I think they have lost their roots and have embraced digital printing a little too much. As an aside I spoke with Charley Weigand about 2 1/2 years ago and he was at the time doing well.

I was at RIT in the M.S. program in the early 70’s just before you John. I completed everything with a 4.0 average except course work regarding my thesis….was going to finish it but was hired to work in Wisconsin and just didn’t get around to it, and then the 7 year deadline came, and that was the end. As I recall, only one person in my class finished his thesis and got his degree. Not finishing was one of the mistakes I made in life, but that’s water over the dam now.

I got a tremendous amount of knowledge out of my RIT education which helped me all the rest of my lifelong career in the printing industry (retired in Dec 2010). (The only time I was not in some aspect of the printing industry, or teaching printing, was 4 years in the Air Force during the Vietnam war).

You never know what portions of your knowledge you will be using at different times in your life. Toward the end of my career, I spent considerable time conducting, doing analysis of, and writing up R&D projects, some of which involved printing. I never could have done this without the Research Methods and Statistics courses I took at RIT.

I didn’t take Archie Provan’s letterpress course because I already had experience in letterpress. However, other course work in ink, paper, plates, and other subjects rounded out my letterpress knowledge. I did take Alexander Lawson’s printing and typographic history course, which it goes without saying was a world class program of study taught by one of the greats in the industry.

I went there for a short
Summer school program in the eighties.

I particularly enjoyed the Cary Library—
David Pankau was directing it at that time.

I ordinarily include Lawson
on class reading lists.


A parallel to RIT was the printing management course at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. Their program predated RIT’s starting in the teens, but it shut down that course of study with the class of 1963. Carnegie had its list of distinguished instructors and lecturers, and included people like Goudy and Zapf. I had the pleasure of being in several of Zapf’s lectures and having brief conversations with him. Our lab courses were the last of letterpress and the school already knew by 1959 when they announced the closing of the PM school that dramatic changes were coming in printing technology and what we were being taught in the mechanical areas was already obsolete. The entire school was being regeared towards computer technology which is why Carnegie Mellon is now a leader in that area. But what I learned has been the foundation for many years of employment and enjoyment, and as I coast into geezerdom, I still make part of my living from letterpress.