The Bausch and Lomb Center honors two significant figures in the history of RIT; John J. Bausch and Captain Henry Lomb. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Henry Lomb enlisted with the Thirteenth Regiment of NY Volunteers where he won the rank of captain. He served until May of 1863.
In 1885, the Rochester area was a swiftly expanding community whose industrial growth had created a need for skilled workers. The Bausch and Lomb optical company was one of the areas largest and most successful industries. Because John Bausch and Henry Lomb were discouraged by the lack of vocational training available locally, they were motivated to establish a technical institute in Rochester. Together with Max Lowenthal, Ezra R. Andrews, Frank Ritter, William F. Peck and others, they founded the Mechanics Institute. The mission of the Mechanics Institute was to offer "education for making a living."
Captain Lomb served as chairman of the Institute Board from 1881-1891, and continued to be a strong supporter of the school until his death in 1908.