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The University Magazine

RIT goes west

Volleyball star assists RIT’s West Coast drive

University Magazine - Winter 2009 Image

Ushi Patel

Ushi Patel ’00, ’01 (printing management, MBA) thrives on a competitive environment. After all, the former two-time Academic All-American volleyball player is a member of the RIT Sports Hall of Fame.

Today the native of San Jose, Calif., is still competing for RIT, but she has traded Clark Gymnasium for Silicon Valley. She competes daily against the most prestigious universities in the United State and globally by representing RIT on the West Coast.

“The Silicon Valley is looking for talented individuals and RIT has a lot to offer,” says Patel.

A stronger RIT presence on the West Coast was originally conceived by the Board of Trustees more than three years ago, namely by Bruce James ’64 (printing management and sciences), former board chairman. At the time, now retired RIT President Albert J. Simone and James Watters, senior vice president for finance and administration, focused on the following objectives:

“After forming these objectives, we formed a group of 14 alumni to advise us on opportunities that could advance the execution of these objectives,” says Watters. “We have been meeting regularly ever since and our alumni contacts out west are vital.”

Patel works out of an office in Menlo Park, Calif., the center for venture capital and start-up activity in the Silicon Valley. RIT shares an office with the Band of Angels, an internationally recognized angel investment group comprised of some of the top venture capital investors in the world.

Patel also works with RIT’s Division of Enrollment Management and Career Services to increase student applicants and cooperative education opportunities. She attends nearly 40 college fairs in the spring and fall, meeting with high school students in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington.

“RIT has an impeccable and favorable brand out here, mostly in engineering,” she says. “I let them know about all of RIT’s diverse programs.

“The recent trip by the Board of Trustees to the Silicon Valley is a major statement. The trip shows that we are very serious about doing business out here.”

Bob Finnerty ’07

To learn more about RIT’s West Coast office, contact Patel at 408-728-2048 or She can also be reached at 535 Middlefield Road, Suite 190, Menlo Park, CA 94025.