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A message from President Simone

I often tell people the “R” in RIT means something special. This university is a part of Rochester and must be an active member of the larger community.

Alfred L. Davis (left) and Albert J. Simone

It is critical, as we face the challenges of uncertain times, that we all understand the importance of giving back to the community. I want to tell you about a special member of the RIT family, a man who has found a special way to recognize the importance of service.

Alfred L. Davis has been associated with RIT for 65 years – first as a faculty member, later as a vice president and today as an active retiree, mentor and adviser. He is known on campus simply as “Mr. RIT.”

Al recently walked into my office with an exciting idea to promote and recognize public service. This idea, Al says, was inspired by CIA Director George Tenet’s call for public service during his commencement address here last spring. Al has created what he calls the “Four Presidents’ Distinguished Public Service Award.”

The award pays tribute to four RIT presidents who have worked with Al and have been strongly committed to serving the Rochester community. I am honored to be part of this group, which also includes Mark Ellingson, Paul Miller and Richard Rose.

The purpose of the award is to recognize a member of the RIT faculty or staff who is a leader in public service. Al has started a $50,000 endowment to fund the award. The recipient will have the privilege of designating the endowment income to a beneficiary of their choice, such as a not-for-profit organization in Rochester or a group on campus.

The dedication, commitment and philanthropy of Al Davis will continue to guide RIT for years to come. We are indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful friend.

I wanted to share this story with you because I know so many folks in the RIT family are doing their part to improve their own communities. Let us all reflect on George Tenet’s advice: “Serve someone other than yourself, something bigger than yourself.”


Albert J. Simone
President