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Rochester Institute of Technology
RIT seal vector2.svg
Motto A category-of-one university
Established 1829
Type Private
Endowment US $528.5 million[1]
President William W. Destler
Provost Jeremy A. Haefner
Faculty 915
Staff 1,831
Undergraduates 13,861[2]
Postgraduates 2,633[2]
Location Henrietta, NY, USA
Campus Suburban 1,300 acres (5.3 km²)
Sports 24 varsity teams
Colors Orange, White, and Burnt Umber[3]
Nickname Tigers
Mascot RITchie (Tiger) [4][5]
Affiliations AITU; RAC

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a private university, located in metropolitan Rochester, New York, within the town of Henrietta, New York, United States, emphasizing undergraduate instruction and career preparation.



The Institute as it is known today came to be as a result of a 1891 merger between the Rochester Athenaeum, a literary society founded in 1829 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and associates, and the Mechanics Institute, a Rochester institute of practical technical training for local residents founded in 1885 by a consortium of local businessmen including Captain Henry Lomb. The merged institution's name at the time was Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). In 1944, the university changed its name to Rochester Institute of Technology.

RIT's traditional seal

The Institute originally resided within the city of Rochester, New York, proper, on a block bounded by the Erie Canal, South Plymouth, Spring, and South Washington Streets. Its art department was originally located in the Bevier Memorial Building. However, by the middle of the twentieth century, RIT began to outgrow its facilities, and surrounding land was extremely scarce and expensive; additionally, in 1959, the New York Department of Public Works announced a new freeway, the Inner Loop, was to be built through the city along a path that bisected the Institute's campus and required demolition of key Institute buildings. In 1961, an unanticipated donation of $3.27 million ($23,780,491 in current dollar terms) from local Grace Watson, for whom RIT's dining hall was later named, allowed the Institute to purchase land for a new 1,300-acre (5.3 km2) campus several miles south along the east bank of the Genesee River in suburban Henrietta. Upon completion in 1968, the Institute moved to the new suburban campus, where it resides today.[6][7]

In 1979, RIT acquired Eisenhower College, a liberal arts college located in Seneca Falls, New York. However, RIT could not make Eisenhower economically viable and graduated its last class in 1983.[8]

In 1990, RIT started its first Ph.D. program, in Imaging Science, which is also the first Ph.D. program of its kind in the U.S.[8] RIT subsequently established Ph.D programs in five other fields, comprising Astrophysical Sciences and Technology, Computing and Information Sciences, Color Science, Microsystems Engineering, and Sustainability.[9]

The institute includes a federally funded National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID).


The RIT campus as seen from the air
RIT's Quarter Mile walkway

The current campus is housed on a 1,300 acre (5 km²) property. This property is largely covered with woodland and fresh-water swamp making it a very diverse wetland which is home to a number of somewhat rare plant species. The campus comprises 237 buildings and 5.1 million square feet (474,000 m²) of building space. The nearly universal use of bricks in the campus's construction — estimated at 14,673,565 bricks in late 2006[10] — prompted students to give it the semi-affectionate nickname "Brick City," reflected in the name of events such as the annual "Brick City Homecoming." In 2009, the campus was named “Campus Sustainability Leader” according to the college sustainability report[11].

The residence halls and the academic side of campus are connected with a walkway called the "Quarter Mile." Along the Quarter Mile, between the academic and residence hall side are various administration and support buildings. The Quarter Mile is actually 1/3rd of a mile when measured out. Many myths try to explain the misnomer. On the academic side of the walkway is a courtyard, known as the Infinity Quad due to a striking polished stainless steel sculpture (by Jose' de Rivera, 1968, 19'x8'x2 1/2') of a continuous ribbon-likeMöbius strip (commonly referred to as the infinity loop because if the sun hits the strip at a certain angle it will cast a shadow in the shape of an infinity symbol on the ground) in the middle of it; on the residence hall side is a sundial and a clock. These symbols represent time to infinity. Standing near the Administration Building and the Student Alumni Union is The Sentinel, a steel structure created by the acclaimed metal sculptor, Albert Paley. Reaching 70 feet (21 m) high and weighing 110 tons, the sculpture is the largest on any American university campus. There are five RIT-owned apartment complexes: Colony Manor, Perkins Green, Racquet Club, Riverknoll and University Commons.

Along the Quarter Mile is the Gordon Field House, a 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2), two-story athletic center. Opened in 2004 and named in honor of Lucius "Bob" Gordon and his wife Marie, the Field House hosts numerous campus and community activities, including concerts, career fairs, athletic competitions, graduations, and other functions. Other facilities between the residence halls and academic buildings include the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center, Student Alumni Union, Ingle Auditorium, Clark Gymnasium, Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena, and the Schmitt Interfaith Center.

Park Point at RIT (originally referred to as "College Town") is an 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) multi-use residential and commercial enterprise on the northeast corner of the campus.[12] Park Point is accessible to the rest of the RIT campus through a regular bus service loop, numerous pedestrian paths connecting Park Point to the RIT Main Loop, and main roads.

Organization and administration

The current president is William W. Destler, formerly a senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Maryland, College Park. Destler, the Institute's ninth president, took office on July 1, 2007, replacing Albert J. Simone, who retired after 15 years at RIT.

The university's annual budget for 2008-2009 is $571 million [2], up from $450 million in the previous year. RIT's endowment fund is worth $544 million.[1]

The college has also been recognized in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2009 Great Colleges to Work For Program for a second year and is ranked among the top schools in six survey categories, including overall satisfaction with benefits, compensation and benefits, tuition reimbursement, 403(b) or 401(k) plans, disability insurance and life insurance[13].

The school is also a member of the Association of Independent Technological Universities.


In addition to these colleges, RIT operates three schools in Europe and one in Dubai:


RIT is a large, highly residential master's university.[15] The institute is chartered by the New York state legislature and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[16][17] The university offers more than 200 academic programs, including six doctoral programs across its eight constituent colleges.[18][19] In 2008–2009, RIT awarded 2,483 bachelor's degrees, 912 master's degrees, 10 doctorates, and 523 other certificates and diplomas.[20]

The four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction in the "arts & sciences/professions."[15] RIT is a member of the Rochester Area College consortium which allows students to register at other colleges in the Rochester metropolitan area without tuition charges.[19] RIT's full-time undergraduate and graduate programs operate an approximately 10-week quarter system with the primary three academic quarters beginning after Labor Day in early September and ending in late May.[19] Effective in August 2013, RIT will transition from a quarter system to a semester system[21].

Undergraduate tuition and fees for 2009-2010 totaled $28,866.[22] RIT undergraduates received over $213 million in financial assistance and 92% of students receive some form of financial aid.[23]3,210 students qualified for Pell Grants in 2007–2008.[24]

Among the eight colleges, 6.8% of the student body is enrolled in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business, 15.0% in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, 4.3% in the College of Liberal Arts, 25.4% in the College of Applied Science and Technology, 18.0% in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, 13.9% in the College of Imaging Arts and Science, 5.7% in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and 9.2% in the College of Science.[25] The five most commonly awarded degrees are in Business Administration, Engineering Technology, School of Photographic Arts & Sciences, School of Art and Design, and Information Technology.[26]

Notable academic programs

The Imaging science department was the first at the Institute to offer a doctoral program, in 1989, and remains the only formal program in Imaging Science in the nation (as a multidisciplinary field—separate constituent fields of physics, optics, and computer science are common in higher education). Associations exist between the department and Rochester-area imagery and optics companies such as Xerox, Kodak, and the ITT Corporation. Such connections have reinforced the research portfolio, expertise, and graduate reputation of the imaging researchers and staff of the department. As of 2008, imaging-related research has the largest budget at the Institute from grants and independent research. [27]

The Microelectronic Engineering program, created in 1982 and the only ABET-accredited undergraduate program in the country[28], [29], was the nation's first Bachelor of Science program specializing in the fabrication of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. The information technology program was the first nationally recognized IT degree, created in 1993.[30]

In 1996, Rochester Institute of Technology established the first software engineering Bachelor's degree program in the United States but did not obtain ABET accreditation until 2003, the same time as Clarkson University, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Mississippi State University.

RIT is among the top colleges and universities in the nation for programs in the fine arts, placing in the top 10 for many of the college's programs, including Photography #3, Glass art #2, Industrial design #8, Multimedia/visual communications #10, Graphic design #12.[31][32]

The 2009 US News and World Report rankings place RIT at #9 under the Masters North Category[33][34], where it received the second highest peer assessment score, which is a survey of presidents, provosts and deans from other universities judging a school’s academic excellence[35]. RIT is also ranked #4 in the "Great School, Great Prices" category[35]. The 2008 America's Best Colleges ranked by placed RIT at #567[36], while the 2009 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities rank the school a #189 out of the top 6000 institutions.[37] RIT's undergraduate engineering programs have been ranked in the top 64 in the country by the US News and World Report. [38]. The E. Philip Saunders College of Business was ranked #58 in the 2008 Business Week Best Undergrad B-Schools [39] and was included in the 2009 Business Week Best Undergrad B-Schools as well [40]. It was named one of the "Great Schools for Accounting Majors!" in The Princeton Review's "The Best 368 Colleges."[41] and is featured in Princeton Review's "The Best 290 Business Schools" 2009 edition [42]. RIT's undergraduate education is also recognized as one of the nation's best in the 2009 edition of Princeton Review's "The Best 369 Colleges".[34][43][44] It is also one of the best Northeastern Colleges [45] and in the 2010 edition of Princeton Review's "The Best 371 Colleges", RIT is ranked in the top 20 for "best career services".[46] The school is also featured in the Barron's Best Buys in Education[47] and was named by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine as one of America’s Most Wired Colleges. The college has garnered accolades that range from Ford Foundation Grants, Fulbright Scholars, Kellogg Foundation, Edmund S. Muskie Fellows, Ronald McNair Scholars, Pulitzer Prizes, Student Academy Awards, National Science Foundation Awards, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants, Excellence in Engineering Education Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. [48]

Starting in 2000, RIT began admitting students in the top of their application pools into the RIT Honors Program.[49] Each college participates voluntarily in the program and defines their own program details. As an example, the College of Engineering focuses on engineering in a global economy, and uses much of the honors budget to pay for domestic and international trips for engineering students. In contrast, the College of Science is focused on expanding research, and provides most of its budget to student research endeavors. Students admitted to the program are given a small scholarship and have the opportunity to live in the honors residence hall.

Co-op program

RIT's co-op program, which began in 1912, is the fourth-oldest in the world. It is also the fifth-largest in the nation[50], with approximately 3,500 students completing a co-op each year at over 2,000 businesses[51]. The program requires (or allows, depending on major) students to work in the workplace for up to five quarters alternating with quarters of class. The amount of co-op varies by major, usually between 3 and 5 three-month "blocks" or academic quarters. Many employers prefer students to co-op for two consecutive blocks, referred to as a "double-block co-op". During a co-op, the student is not required to pay tuition to the school and is still considered a "full time" student. In addition, RIT was listed by U.S. News & World Report as one of only 12 colleges nationally recognized for excellence in the internships/co-ops category and has secured this ranking, which is based on nominations from college presidents, chief academic officers and deans, for four years in a row since U.S. News began the category in 2002. Additionally, according to the most recent PayScale College Salary Report, the median starting salary for a recent RIT graduate is $51,000 making it the highest among Rochester - area institutions[52]. [53] Because many majors require at least a year of co-op experience, the majority of undergraduate degree programs at RIT require five years to complete.


RIT's research programs are rapidly expanding. The total value of research grants to RIT faculty for FY 2007-2008 totaled $48.5 million dollars [54], an increase of more than 22% over the grants from the previous year. RIT offers six Ph.D. programs in Imaging Science (1989), Microsystems Engineering (2002), Computing and Information Science (2006), Color Science (2007), Astrophysical Sciences and Technology (2008), and Sustainability (2008).

The Chester F. Carlson building

In 1986, RIT founded the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and started its first doctoral program in Imaging Science in 1989. The Imaging Science department also offers the only Bachelors (BS) and Masters (MS) degree programs in imaging science in the country. The Carlson Center features a diverse research portfolio; its major research areas include Digital Image Restoration, Remote Sensing, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Printing Systems Research, Color Science, Nanoimaging, Imaging Detectors, Astronomical Imaging, Visual Perception, and Ultrasonic Imaging.

The Center for Microelectronic and Computer Engineering was founded by RIT in 1986. The institute was the first university to offer a Bachelor's degree in Microelectronic Engineering. The Center's facilities include 50,000 square feet (4,600 m²) of building space with 10,000 square feet (930 m²) of clean room space; the building will undergo an expansion later this year. Its research programs include nano-imaging, nano-lithography, nano-power, micro-optical devices, photonics subsystems integration, high-fidelity modeling and heterogeneous simulation, microelectronic manufacturing, microsystems integration, and micro-optical networks for computational applications.

The Center for Advancing the Study of CyberInfrastructure (CASCI) is a multidisciplinary center housed in the College of Computing and Information Sciences. The Departments of Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Engineering, Imaging Science, and Bioinformatics collaborate in a variety of research programs at this center. RIT was the first university to launch a Bachelor's program in Information technology in 1991, the first university to launch a Bachelor's program in Software Engineering in 1996, and was also among the first universities to launch a Computer science Bachelor's program in 1972. RIT helped standardize the Forth programming language, and developed the CLAWS software package.

The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation was founded in 2007. The CCRG comprises faculty and postdoctoral research associates working in the areas of general relativity, gravitational waves, and galactic dynamics. Computing facilities in the CCRG include gravitySimulator, a novel 32-node supercomputer that uses special-purpose hardware to achieve speeds of 4TFlops in gravitational N-body calculations, and newHorizons, a state-of-the art 85-node Linux cluster for numerical relativity simulations.

Recently, the Center for Biotechnology Education and Training (CBET) has been established. The facility was created to train future employees in the field of biotechnology as well as to promote research in the vast field of biosciences, including bioinformatics, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and biochemistry.

RIT has collaborated with many industry players in the field of research as well, which includes the RIT-IBM genomic research[55], Xerox-RIT education and research in sustainability [56], Democrat and Chronicle - RIT printing industry research[57], Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) - RIT collaborative research on sustainability[58], Siemens - RIT research [59], RIT- NASA research [60][61] and RIT - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA) [62]. In 2005, it was announced by Russell W. Bessette, Executive Director New York State Office of Science Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR), that RIT will lead the University at Buffalo and Alfred University in an initiative to create key technologies in microsystems, photonics, nanomaterials, and remote sensing systems and to integrate next generation IT systems. In addition - and most importantly - the collaboratory is tasked with helping to facilitate economic development and tech transfer in New York State. Furthermore, more than 35 other notable organizations have joined the collaboratory, including Boeing, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Intel, International Sematech, ITT, Motorola, Xerox, and many Federal agencies such as NASA.[63]


RIT has 24 men's and women's varsity teams. RIT is currently a member of the Empire 8, an NCAA Division III athletic conference, but will be moving to the Liberty League beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year. All of RIT's teams compete at the D-III level, with the exception of the men's hockey program, which joined the Division I Atlantic Hockey Association in 2006. Additionally, RIT has a wide variety of club, intramural, and pick-up sports and teams to provide a less-competitive recreational option to students. The Rochester Institute of Technology Department of Athletics currently sponsors Men's Intercollegiate Baseball, Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field and Wrestling along with Women's Intercollegiate Basketball, Softball, Cheerleading, Tennis, Swimming, Track & Field, Ice Hockey, Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, and Crew.

Tom Coughlin, coach of the NFL's 2008 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, taught physical education and coached the RIT Men's Club Football team in the 1970s.


RIT athletics logo.jpg

RIT's athletics nickname is the "Tigers", a name given following an undefeated basketball season in the 1950s. Prior to that, RIT's athletic teams were called the "Techmen" and had blue and silver as the sports colors. In 1963, RIT purchased a rescued Bengal tiger which became the Institute's mascot, named SPIRIT. He was taken to sports events until 1964, when he was put down.[1] The original tiger's pelt now resides in the school's archives at the on-campus library. RIT helped the Seneca Park Zoo purchase a new tiger shortly after SPIRIT's death, but it was not used as a school mascot. A metal sculpture in the center of the Henrietta campus now provides an everlasting version of the mascot.

RIT's team mascot is a version of this Bengal Tiger named RITchie. After it was announced that the RIT Men's Hockey Team was moving from Division III to Division I in 2005, RITchie was redesigned and made his debut in the fall of 2006.

Student life

The Gordon Field House
Ellingson Hall, RIT's tallest building

In addition to its academic and athletic endeavors, RIT has over 150 student clubs, 10 major student organizations, a diverse Interfaith center and 30 different Greek organizations.[64]

RIT has its own ambulance corps, student-run magazine, ESPN2 TV show, [Pep Band], Radio Station (WITR FM 89.7), production company, activities committee, Amateur Radio Club, K2GXT, model railroad club, sailing club, anime club, Electronic Gaming Society maker club, Formula SAE Racing Team; the team won the Formula Student (UK) in 1999, FSAE Australia in 2001 and FSAE West (USA) in 2009[65], and SAE AeroDesign team, just to name a few organizations. RIT also has its own student-run theatre company, the RIT Players that does two shows a year as well as numerous student-run productions throughout the year. During the winter hockey season, many RIT students, staff, and alumni unite to follow the RIT Tigers as a tenacious and eccentric fan base known as the RIT Corner Crew. RIT's Gordon Field House is not only home to competitive and recreational athletics and aquatics, but also houses a fitness center and hosts frequent concerts and other entertainment. The Field House, also known as Building 24, kicked off its inaugural year of performances with concerts by artists including Kanye West and Bob Dylan in Fall of 2004.[66][67] It is the 2nd largest venue in the Rochester area, next to Blue Cross Arena.[citation needed]

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

One of RIT's unique features is the large presence of deaf and hard of hearing students, which make up more than 10% of the student body.[68] The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of RIT's eight colleges, provides interpreting and captioning services to students for classes and events. Many courses' lectures at RIT are interpreted into American Sign Language for the benefit of hard-of-hearing and deaf students. There are several deaf and hard-of-hearing professors and lecturers, too; an interpreter can vocalize their lectures for hearing students. This significant portion of the RIT population provides another dynamic to the school's diversity, and it has contributed to Rochester's high number of deaf residents per-capita. In 2006, Lizzie Sorkin made RIT history when she became the first deaf RIT Student Government President.[69]

The Tojo Memorial Garden in the Eastman Kodak Quad

Fraternities and sororities

RIT's Greek system hosts 30 chapters (18 Fraternities and 13 Sororities),[64] which make up a small but significant percentage of the total RIT population, usually ranging between 6% and 8%. RIT built six large buildings for Greek students on the academic side of campus next to the Riverknoll apartments. In addition to these six houses, there is also limited space within the residence halls for another six chapters.[70]. Fraternities: Alpha Epsilon Pi,Kappa Delta Rho, Lambda Alpha Upsilon, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Iota Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Delta Psi, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Triangle Fraternity. Sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Theta, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Sigma Theta, Lambda Pi Chi, Omega Phi Beta, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.

Special Interest Houses

RIT is home to seven Special Interest Houses, which are part of the housing system. A special-interest house provides an environment to live immersed in a specific interest, such as photography, engineering, or computing. Members of a special-interest house share their interests with each other and the rest of campus through academic focus and special activities. Special Interest Houses are self-governing and accept members based on their own criteria. The Special Interest Houses are: Art House, Computer Science House, Engineering House, House of General Science, Photo House, International House, and Unity House.[71]

ROTC programs

RIT is the host of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 538 Blue Tigers and the Army ROTC Tiger Battalion. RIT students may also enroll in the NROTC program which is based at the University of Rochester.

Imagine RIT

Imagine RIT

An annual festival, publicized as Imagine RIT, was initiated in May 2008 to showcase innovative and creative activity at RIT. It is one of the most prominent changes brought to RIT by current university president, William Destler. Speaking in reference to the university's bent toward engineering and the arts, Destler has stated that the Imagine RIT festival is the result of what happens, "when the right brain and left brain collide." This phase has been editorialized and adapted by university press as a promotional ideal for the festival.

An open event, visitors to Imagine RIT have an opportunity to tour the RIT campus and view new ideas for products and services, admire fine art, explore faculty and student research, examine engineering design projects, and interact with hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Theatrical and musical performances take place at stages in many locations on the RIT campus. Intended to appeal to visitors of all ages, including children, the festival features a variety of exhibits. More than 17,000 people attended the inaugural festival on May 3, 2008 and over 25,000 people attended the second annual event. The next Imagine RIT festival will be on May 1, 2010.


Student body

Demographics of student body[72][73]
Undergraduate Graduate U.S. Census
African American 6.1% 6.1% 12.1%
Asian American 5.7% 6.0% 4.3%
White American 82.5% 83.9% 65.8%
Hispanic American 5.2% 3.1% 14.5%
Native American 0.5% 0.8% 0.9%
International student 4.6% 36.3% N/A

RIT enrolled 14,045 undergraduate and 2,728 graduate students in fall 2009.[25] The undergraduate student body is 67.4% male and the graduate student body is 64.5% male.[72] Admissions are characterized as "more selective, higher transfer-in" by the Carnegie Foundation.[15] RIT received 12,725 applications for undergraduate admission in Fall 2008, 60% were admitted, 34% enrolled, and 84% of students re-matriculated as second-year students. The interquartile range on the SAT was 1630–1910. 26% of students graduated after four years and 64% after six years.[24]


Katherine Hayles received a B.S from RIT in 1966.

RIT has over 100,000 alumni worldwide.[70] Notable alumni include Tom Curley, President and CEO of the Associated Press; Bruce James, Public Printer of the United States; Daniel Carp, former Chairman of the Eastman Kodak Company; N. Katherine Hayles, critical theorist; and photojournalist Bernie Boston.[74]

Presidents and provosts

In the decades prior to the selection of RIT's first president, the institute was administered primarily by the Board of Trustees.[8]

Institute presidents
Name Tenure
Carleton B. Gibson June 1910 – 1 July 1916
James F. Barker 1 July 1916 – 1919
Royal B. Farnum 1919 - 1921
John A. Randall 1922 - 1936
Mark W. Ellingson 1936 - 1969
Paul A. Miller 1969 - 1979
M. Richard Rose 1979 - June 1992
Albert J. Simone 1992 - 30 June 2007
William W. Destler 1 July 2007 - present
Institute provosts
Name Tenure
Todd H. Bullard August 1, 1970 – 1980
Robert G. Quinn 1980 – January, 1983
Thomas R. Plough January, 1983 – 1995
Stanley D. McKenzie 1995 – June 30, 2008
Jeremy A. Haefner July 1, 2008 – present


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  74. ^

External links

Coordinates: 43°05′04″N 77°40′30″W / 43.084412°N 77.674949°W / 43.084412; -77.674949

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