RIT honors Distinguished Alumni this week




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Ten people will be honored this week as part of this year’s class of Distinguished Alumni.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an alumnus or alumna who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic or service organizations over the course of many years.

A meet and greet with all the recipients will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday in The Wallace Center, which is open to the RIT community. In addition, some of the Distinguished Alumni will make campus presentations.

Here are the recipients:

  • Eric Avar ’90 (industrial design) represents the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. Avar is the vice president of innovation at Nike. Avar will be part of a panel presenting “One-tenth of a Second—First Impressions are Formed Quickly” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday in the Gordon Field House.
  • Diana Badillo ’00 (physician assistant) represents the College of Health Sciences and Technology. She is a primary care physician at the Fire House Health Center location of Damian Family Care Centers, a network of not-for-profit primary health centers and dental care services provider.
  • John Conklin ’15 (applied arts and sciences) represents the School of Individualized Study. He is the president and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies Inc., a company developing electricity‐generating see‐through windows and products. Conklin will present “A Smart Move—How Degree ‘Concentration Creativity’ Can Get You Off the Beaten Path to Success” from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday in room 2159 in Gleason Hall.
  • John Hartmann ’85 (criminal justice) represents the College of Liberal Arts. He is the president and CEO of True Value Co., one of the world’s largest retailer-owned wholesale hardware cooperatives. Hartmann will present “Criminal Justice to FBI to True Value CEO” from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday in room 2000 in Eastman Hall.
  • Tad Hunt ’97 (computer science) represents the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. He recently joined Google as a technical lead and manager for App Engine, a platform that enables users to more easily create and run applications in the cloud. Hunt will present “Transition from Engineer to Leader & Product Design” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Golisano Hall auditorium.
  • Robert Jacoby ’77 (civil engineering technology) represents the College of Applied Science and Technology. He had a 34-year career with Royal Dutch Shell and managed several global organizations based in both the U.S. and Europe. Jacoby will present “Career Advice and Personal Learnings” from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday in the first floor McGowan Commons in Engineering Technology Hall.
  • Eric Kuckhoff ’84 (chemistry) represents the College of Science. He is vice president at Cargill Inc. He joined Cargill in early 2014 when it acquired his company, Polystar LLC, which manufactures surfactants and additives used in epoxies, adhesives and coatings.
  • Henry Navas ’74, ’77 (MBA, accounting) represents Saunders College of Business. He has worked at Advanced Micro Devices, GRiD Systems and Cisco Systems. At Cisco, he became the controller and then treasurer and helped launch the company’s initial public offering in 1990.
  • Wayne Plewniak ’83 (industrial engineering) represents the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. He is the managing director and head of Fixed Income at GAMCO Investors, a diversified financial holding company that provides investment advisory services.
  • Barbara “BJ” Wood ’75 (social work) represents the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She has been the CEO of the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Massachusetts, Colorado and New Mexico.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni, go to http://www.rit.edu/alumni/daa.

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