RIT Introduces Constellation Commons for Global Learning

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 22, 2010 - Capitalizing on an expanding portfolio of international education resources, Rochester Institute of Technology announced today the creation of the Constellation Commons for Global Learning. The new facility is being funded by a $1 million commitment from Constellation Brands Inc., the world’s leading wine company.

The Constellation Commons for Global Learning is housed in RIT’s Global Village, a new residential complex and retail marketplace on campus, which officially opened last month. The commons is intended to serve students and faculty as a touch point and clearinghouse for all aspects of global education at RIT including study abroad support, faculty exchange opportunities and multicultural programs such as the Future Stewards Initiative for Native American students.

“In business today, it is imperative to have a workforce that is knowledgeable about diverse and international cultures,” says Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer of Constellation Brands. “We are proud to partner with RIT for this new center to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

RIT is host to approximately 1,630 international students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies. In addition, the university has built a network of campuses outside the U.S. that includes the American College of Management and Technology in Croatia, American University in Kosovo, and RIT Dubai. RIT also maintains educational alliances with more than 60 countries while participating in various international research partnerships.

According to RIT President Bill Destler, the Constellation Commons for Global Learning will further enrich and expand the international experiences available to the university’s students, faculty and staff.

“Opportunities exist to broaden and creatively develop new study abroad programs, leverage our partnerships and campuses abroad, enhance international dimensions of our curriculum, foster international cooperative education programs and develop international service learning, research and outreach projects,” explains Destler. “We are better positioned to exploit these opportunities as a result of Constellation Brands generous support.”

“RIT is rapidly growing its reputation as a world-class institution of higher learning,” states Constellation Brands Chairman Richard Sands, who also serves on RIT’s Board of Trustee. “We are very pleased to support the university with this new international endeavor.”

Ties between RIT and Constellation Brands were formed prior to the 2006 opening of the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua. Constellation and the university were among the center’s founding partners, which has heightened the development of RIT’s programs in wine and culinary education.

As part of its commitment to global education at RIT, Constellation Brands has also agreed to enhance its support of wine and culinary education through $250,000 in in-kind gifts. Donations of wine will be presented over the next several years for use in the university’s popular Wines of the World seminar series.

Media Contacts: Paul Stella, RIT - (585) 475-4950; Angela Blackwell, Constellation - (585) 678-7141