The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually by each of RIT’s nine colleges and the School of Individualized Study to an alumnus/a who has performed 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. It is the highest award an RIT college can bestow upon its alumni.
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Anna Sweet ’04
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
Senior Vice President, Caffeine
Founder, Sweet Farm
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences Anna Sweet ’04
Senior Vice President, Caffeine
Founder, Sweet Farm
Anna Sweet is a technology executive with a career spanning virtual reality, e-sports, video games, and social networking platforms. Formerly the lead of strategy, product and business development for Steam, the world's largest PC digital distribution platform, Anna led the Steam platform from eight million users to 135 million users in six years. She left Steam in 2015, after helping to launch the HTC Vive to lead developer strategy and content for Oculus/Facebook. She is now the head of business at Caffeine, a new social broadcasting platform.
Alongside her tech career, she is the founder of Sweet Farm—a non-profit farm animal rescue in Half Moon Bay, California that aims to make the world a more humane and sustainable place.
College of Art and Design Wendy Maruyama MFA ’80
Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University
Furniture maker, artist and educator Wendy Maruyama has been making innovative work for 40 years. While her early work combined ideologies of feminism and traditional craft objects, her newer work moves beyond the boundaries of traditional studio craft and into the realm of social practice.
Since 1994, Wendy has been creating works inspired by the memory of her childhood growing up as a Japanese-American, her interpretation of her ethnic heritage, and her observations of the Japanese culture, looking in from the outside. Born in La Junta, Colorado, to second-generation Japanese American parents, she has made several pilgrimages to the land of her heritage, Japan. At times reverent of Japan’s craft history and advanced technology, and appalled by Japan’s self-indulgent, materialistic and almost faceless and patriarchal society, Wendy vacillates between creating works that both emulate and satirize that culture.
Wendy was awarded an artist-in-residency opportunity at SUNY Purchase in fall 2008 and during this time she immersed herself in research and historical investigation of Executive Order 9066. The Tag Project was born out of this residency.
The Tag Project was part of a companion body of work, Executive Order 9066, addressing the forced evacuation and incarceration of Japanese Americans in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her family was directly affected by the evacuation: but little was mentioned of this by Wendy’s mother or grandparents. This chapter in her family history was heavily veiled: because of this, she avoided any association with this connection.
Her latest work, The wildLIFE Project, focuses on the endangerment of elephants, a cause personal to Wendy. She recently took a sojourn to Kenya and met with wildlife advocates to investigate the dangers of the continued poaching of these magnificent animals. The trip served as a source of inspiration for the artist to create a new body of work and incorporate a strong societal message.
Wendy has recently retired from teaching at San Diego State University. In addition to SDSU, she has taught at Appalachian Center for Crafts, California College of Arts, and has taught for 35 years all total. She exhibited her work nationally for over four decades, with solo shows in New York City, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Indianapolis, Savannah, and Easthampton. She has exhibited internationally in Tokyo, Seoul, and London. Maruyama’s work can also be found in both national and international permanent museum collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Tennessee State Museum, Nashville; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton; Mingei International Museum, San Diego; and the Oakland Museum of California.
Wendy is a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the California Civil Liberties Public Education Grant, 2010; several National Endowment for the Arts Grants for Visual Artists; the Japan/US Fellowship; and a Fulbright Research Grant to work in the UK.
College of Engineering Technology D. Kimo Kippen MS ’93
Founder, Aloha Learning Advisors, LLC
Kimo Kippen, founder of Aloha Learning Advisors, is a thought leader, speaker and advocate for life-long learning and talent development. A native of Hawai'i, former chief learning officer at Hilton, recognized by CLO Magazine as Chief Learning Officer of the year - 2015, and former vice president of learning at Marriott International, Kimo has been creating life-long learning solutions for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Kimo has served as chairman of the board for the Association for Talent Development (formerly, American Society for Training & Development) and currently is a board member of the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL), and the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Board of Visitors. He is also chairman of the board for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), serves as advisor to Study.com, the Executive Advisory Board for Skillsoft and is program director for The Conference Board Talent & Organizational Development Executive Council (TODEC).
Kimo’s passion for learning, facilitating and teaching has drawn him into the academic world as an adjunct professor at Catholic University of America, George Mason University and at Columbia University Teachers College where he serves on the Talent Development Advisory board. He is also lead facilitator for iVentiv HR Executive learning events (London, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York City).
Kimo has an MS in career and human resource development from RIT, a BS from the University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland's Post Graduate Program. Kimo’s home base alternates between Washington D.C., Warsaw, Poland and Honolulu, Hawai’i where he and his spouse, Dorota Kowalska, regularly spend quality time.
College of Health Sciences and Technology Lisa M. Allen ’90 RDMS, RDCS, RVT, FAIUM
Sonographer, SUNY Upstate Medical University
Lisa M. Allen is a sonographer at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, a position she has held for over 26 years. She also holds the title of ultrasound coordinator for the Regional Perinatal Center. In addition to her commitment to quality patient care while performing high-risk obstetrical ultrasound examinations, Lisa also has multiple supervisory and administrative responsibilities.
Lisa is registered in multiple specialties including obstetrics and gynecology, fetal echocardiography, abdomen, neurosonography, and vascular technology. She holds the credentials of R.D.M.S., R.D.C.S., and R.V.T. She has served on several committees and task forces for multiple professional ultrasound organizations in an effort to promote the best possible training and education for fellow sonographers.
As a Fellow member of the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine (AIUM), Lisa takes on a broad range of responsibilities. She has held multiple positions with this organization, including two consecutive terms as second vice president. She was also a member of the Ultrasound Practice Accreditation Council, the Clinical Standards Committee and the Scientific Abstract Review Committee. In 2015, she was named Distinguished Sonographer of the Year by AIUM.
Among her various other accomplishments, Lisa has contributed to ultrasound review publications, exam development, and has been lead author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles in the field of prenatal diagnosis. She was also named Upstate Medical University’s Employee of the Year (Clinical) in 2011.
College of Liberal Arts Rhonda Frederick ’80
President and CEO, People Inc.
Rhonda Frederick, MPA, is the president and chief executive officer of People Inc., a leading not-for-profit health and human services agency providing programs and services to more than 12,500 people with special needs, their families, and seniors throughout western New York. With an operating budget of $143 million and 3,860 employees, People Inc. has assisted individuals to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity since 1971.
Rhonda joined the agency as a direct care staff member in 1980 and rose through the ranks to become chief operating officer in 2002. While in that role, the agency expanded into affordable and independent senior housing, improved outcomes, increased efficiency, and achieved operational excellence. Rhonda was also at the forefront of the agency’s commitment to person-centered solutions to improve the quality of life for individuals receiving supports and services. In recognition of her dedication and success, she became the agency’s president and CEO in October 2014.
Rhonda currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany. The recipient of several honors, Rhonda received the Dr. Evan Calkins Meritorious Service Award from Network in Aging of Western New York for significant contributions to her field, was named Buffalo Business First Woman of Influence in 2009 and a winner of Buffalo Business First’s Health Care 50 in 2014.
Frederick earned her master’s degree in public administration from Canisius College and a bachelor’s degree in social work from RIT.
College of Science Steven Wear MS ’90
Founder and Board of Directors Member, Integrity Applications, Inc.
Steven Wear is one of the founders of Integrity Application Incorporated (IAI), an engineering firm with headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia. IAI has offices across the United States, all providing its customers in the intelligence and defense communities with engineering expertise focused on the entire end-to-end systems and mission view. Providing services such as: modeling and simulation of complex systems that aid customers’ understanding of design capabilities; analyzing product chains to verify performance, then developing technical algorithms for enhancing system performance, if needed; implementing complete systems engineering functionality (e.g., requirements development, verification and validation, cost analysis, etc.) to ensure customers’ needs are met; developing image analysis and photogrammetric software programs to improve end user insight—all of these leading to IAI’s ultimate goal of ensuring its customers’ mission success.
IAI has been conducting business since February 1999, ending the year with eight employees (including Steve and his three partners) and annual gross revenue of $1.4 million. IAI grew, by the end of 2017, to over 770 employees with $206 million in annual gross revenue. Over that time span, the total revenue earned by the company was over $1.5 billion. The company has won multiple awards for being a “best employer,” as well as awards recognizing its rapid year-to-year growth.
In February 2018, IAI was acquired by Arlington Capital Partners (ACP), a Washington, D.C. area private equity firm, for an undisclosed sum.
Steven Wear is a graduate of RIT’s College of Science, from its School of Imaging Science, receiving a master’s degree in 1990. While working on his graduate thesis, Steve participated in an Education-with-Industry position at Eastman Kodak, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology, as an optical systems engineer. Upon graduation he went to work in the U.S.A.F.’s Office of Special Projects, its preeminent organization delegated with the responsibility for developing key intelligence assets to support national security.
Steve’s technical experience spans the full spectrum of satellite system acquisition from concept development and requirements definition through program initialization and operations. He has 32 years of high technology program acquisition experience, playing key systems engineering and technical analysis roles in support of several U.S. government agencies acquiring or operating multi-billion dollar space systems. He is a subject matter expert for satellite ground processing systems and flight and ground software development and acquisitions.
Kate Gleason College of Engineering Michael G. Field ’86
Chief Executive Officer, The Raymond Corporation
Michael G. Field is chief executive officer for The Raymond Corporation, which includes the operations, sales and marketing, engineering and administrative functions at Raymond. Since he joined Raymond in 2004, Michael has served as the vice president of engineering and, most recently, president of operations and engineering. In Michael’s most recent role as president of the operations and engineering division for The Raymond Corporation, he was responsible for manufacturing, quality assurance, engineering and procurement.
Michael has over 25 years of experience managing engineering and operations groups at industrial companies. Field also is a member of the Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA) executive team and board officer of several TMHNA legal entities.
Prior to Raymond, Michael served as vice president of global program management for Brooks-PRI Automation in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, which led the semiconductor automated material handling industry with state-of-the-art robotic, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and software control solutions. Prior to that assignment, he was vice president of systems integration at PRI Automation which included technical sales, system engineering and program management.
A graduate of RIT, Field holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering from Boston University and an MBA with a concentration in international operations from Boston University. He is a member of RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering Dean's Advisory Council.
Field holds the positions of chairman and director on the Board of NY-BEST (New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, Inc.), and is a board member of the New York State Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). He also is a board member of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA). Field holds a Professional Engineering License in New York.
Field has been with Raymond in an executive role since 2004, and prior to his appointment as CEO, served as president of operations and engineering at Raymond.
National Technical Institute for the Deaf David (SVP ’83) ’87 and Patricia (SVP ’83) Keinath
Saunders College of Business Jim Goff MBA ’91
President and CEO, Landsman Development Corporation
Jim joined Landsman Development Corp. in 2001. He previously spent 23 years with Bausch & Lomb in a variety of positions including vice president of Administrative Services and vice president of the Vision Accessories business unit. Jim was responsible for managing the design and construction of the Bausch & Lomb World Headquarters Building in downtown Rochester. He received a bachelor’s in biology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, a master’s in safety management from West Virginia University, and an MBA from RIT. He is currently a member of the President’s Roundtable at RIT, the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the Saunders College of Business at RIT, and the Board of the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership. He formerly served on the Chairman’s Council of The Charles Finney School, as the executive vice president of the National Safety Management Society, and as a United Way volunteer for small business accounts. Jim also served as a member of the Boards of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation including a chairmanship of the Central Business District Development Committee, Family Service of Rochester, Family Resource Center, and Rochester Economic Development Corporation. Jim is a licensed real estate broker in the state of New York.
School of Individualized Study Rudi Winsberg ’01
Director, Elite Sports Travel
Rudi was born and raised in Lima, Peru and moved to New York City in 1991. It was there that he continued his education and professional growth in the Media Division of the United Nations for six years. After leaving the UN, he moved on to the private sector and worked in international licensing and sales.
After more than two decades of traveling the globe for business, Rudi decided to follow his passion for learning about different cultures and chose to apply his various experiences to developing unique tours and travel experiences for American and European travelers.
In 2007 he co-founded Andean Origins, a boutique tour-operator based in Cusco, Peru. Currently, he heads Elite Sports Travel, a company focused on luxury travel to the most highly watched international sporting events, such as Formula 1 auto racing, FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, Tennis Grand Slam Championships, among others.
Whether it’s playing golf at 10,000 feet above sea level or crossing deserts, mountains and rainforests on a motorcycle, Rudi knows how to turn dream-trips into a reality. Fluent in three languages, he brings joy to people from all over the world, while ensuring their safety and comfort no matter where they travel under his guidance.
He is also an active member of the local business community in Peru, where he combines his travel-industry activities with volunteering in social development projects, mentoring young professionals, and consulting for companies in areas such as business development, strategic management and human resources.