John D'Agati '83 (food service administration), director of the New York State Senate Higher Education Committee, was named to the Alumni Hall of Distinction Class of 2004 by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, an Albany-based non-profit advocacy organization for private colleges and universities.
The Alumni Hall of Distinction recognizes individuals from business, industry, government and the community who are alumni of New York's more than 100 private institutions of higher learning. This year's class of 14 honorees shared a common experience in that they were recipients of the state's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) or Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).
D'Agati plays a key role in the development of New York's student financial aid policies and programs, including funding levels for TAP and HEOP, and serves as a key advisor to State Senator Ken LaValle on these issues. His personal experience makes his job particularly rewarding, especially, he says, when he can help students realize their dreams.
"The education that I received while attending RIT did exactly what it was intended to do," D'Agati wrote in a letter to RIT President Albert Simone. "It opened my heart and mind to a lifetime of learning and the potential we all have to improve ourselves and, in turn, improve the lives of our families and neighbors in our community. It is this promise . . . that, when fulfilled, leads to a society that is just, tolerant and seeks a better quality of life for all people. In my mind, there can be no higher calling, no greater responsibility and no better personal reward."
D'Agati is the second RIT alumnus to be so honored by the commission. Daniel Carp '73 (MBA), president and CEO of Eastman Kodak Company, was inducted with the inaugural class of 2000.
The University Magazine, Fall 2004