Established by the Office of the President in 1952, this is the highest honor the university can bestow upon an alumnus/a in recognition of professional accomplishments as well as service and generosity to the university.
Austin McChord ’09 Founder and CEO, Datto and CEO, Casana
RIT is honoring Austin McChord as Outstanding Alumnus for 2023. The award, presented during Academic Convocation on May 12, is the highest honor the university can bestow upon alumni in recognition of professional accomplishments as well as service and generosity to the university.
McChord ’09 is the founder of Datto, a leading provider of IT solutions delivered through managed service providers. He launched the company in 2007 from a basement in Norwalk, Conn., with the mission to bring best-in-class data protection solutions to underserved small- and medium-sized businesses
McChord served as Datto’s chief executive officer for more than 10 years. He continues to invest in and advise other technology growth companies and to invent and experiment in his lab in Norwalk
“I am incredibly honored to receive this award and be recognized by the university,” he said. “Being able to give back to the university and community as a whole has been incredibly rewarding. I hope that in receiving this award I can inspire others to give back as well.”
McChord, who gave $50 million to RIT in 2017, is a trustee and was the 2017 RIT commencement speaker. The donation was the largest ever made to the university and part of a ontinuing $1 billion blended fundraising campaign, titled Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness
In 2020, McChord became the CEO of Casana, a healthcare technology startup with a mission to transform care management for patients with chronic conditions. Casana was founded by Nicholas Conn, ’11, ’13 MS, ’16 Ph.D. (microsystems engineering).
“Austin embodies the creative and innovative spirit that characterizes RIT,” said RIT President David Munson. “We are thrilled to present this award to someone who has been a source of inspiration for so many in our university community.”
Sudhakar G. “Bal” Dixit ’74 and Anita Dixit ’91 Founder and Chairman, Newtex Industries
After receiving his degree in textile technology from the University of Punjab in India, Dixit emigrated to the United States in 1964, joining Union Carbide Corporation as an advanced technologist. There, he helped develop carbon fiber for lightweight structural composites that were later incorporated into General Dynamics’ F-111B fighter aircraft.
Dixit earned his master’s degree in textile technology from the University of Massachusetts in 1966, and soon after joined Garlock, where he was tasked with establishing what, at the time, was the most modern asbestos plant in the world in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Always striving to improve, Dixit went on to earn an MBA from RIT’s Saunders College of Business in 1974.
In 1978, he left Garlock, launching his own company, Newtex, where he developed Zetex fiberglass fabric, the industry’s first safe and commercially viable alternative to asbestos. In just five years, Newtex had grown to $2.4 million in sales. In recognition of Dixit’s forward-thinking and entrepreneurial leadership, the company was recognized as one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in the U.S., and in 1991, President George H.W. Bush presented Dixit with the Excellence in Exporting Award.
Dixit led Newtex to become the only fully integrated provider of woven materials and fabric-based systems that protect from heat and fire—from proprietary glass yarn processing, in-house-weaving, coating and laminating to custom-designed and custom-sewn systems. Newtex continued to grow, acquiring companies in Singapore and China.
“As founder and CEO of Newtex, I encouraged and valued creativity and innovation, along with taking calculated risks,” Dixit said. “I believed in those days that the best way to stay ahead of the competition was to find new and better ways to solve problems.”
Integral to the success of Newtex was Bal’s wife Anita, a fellow RIT graduate, having received her master’s degree in career and human resource development in 1991. Anita served in several roles at Newtex including director, secretary and treasurer.
“The training I received at RIT gave me the skills and confidence to launch the TQM program at Newtex. All employees received training in Interactive Skills, Problem Solving Process, and Quality Improvement Process. The TQM program helped to improve communications and decision making through all levels of the company.” Anita also reviewed and rewrote the Employee Policy Manual, documented job procedures through all departments, and improved and standardized Safety Programs. Newtex subsequently received ISO 9000 certification and was able to export overseas.
As Newtex grew, so did Bal and Anita’s commitment to the Rochester community and RIT. Bal joined RIT’s Board of Trustees in 2001, helping advise RIT in areas such as government relations, strategic planning and audit. Bal also served on the Saunders College of Business Dean’s Council as well as their Co-op and Placement Advisory Board. He was honored with the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award in 1992. Meanwhile, Anita served for many years on the Women’s Council of RIT, including several terms as co-chair. She has worked diligently to support the success of RIT women students, faculty and staff and helped the Women’s Council raise money for their endowed scholarship funds.
In addition to their service to RIT, Bal has served on the boards of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester General Hospital, and the US Department of Commerce’s Upstate New York Export Council. In 1996, Dixit was appointed director of the Federal Reserve Bank by former Chairman Alan Greenspan and served as chairman of the board of the Buffalo branch of the Federal Reserve Bank for five years. He was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2003. Anita previously served as a member of the board of directors of the Lifetime Assistance Foundation, Inc., which fosters independence, dignity, and respect for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also served on the board of directors of the United Nations Association of Rochester, a nonprofit organization that promotes civic debate and discussion of global, social, and economic issues, including human rights, international justice, sustainable development, and fair trade. Anita has also served on the Rochester General Hospital Gala Committee, raising funds for the hospital. She has served on the boards of various Indian organizations in the Rochester-area, both as Cultural Secretary and Treasurer, and as a guest artist-in-residence in SUNY Geneseo’s Dance Studies Program, where she shared her passion for Indian dance.
In 2018, Bal and Anita committed $2 million to build a new lab inside of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) that provides innovative research and testing on fire-resistant materials and systems. The Bal Dixit Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Fire Protection Research is designed to perform industry testing, research and analysis on fire-resistant materials for product manufacturers or sellers of protective clothing, fabrics and coatings that require flammability, heat resistance, smoke composition and other advanced testing. The lab works with companies seeking custom thermal testing and product development. The lab has been a longtime dream for Bal and Anita.
“I am hopeful that my gift will enable a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to explore, create and test materials that change their world in positive ways—much the way we tried to do at Newtex,” he added. “I couldn’t be happier that the Dixit Lab came to life here—at RIT, my alma mater—and in Rochester, N.Y., my adopted home.”
Mike Haselkorn, a GIS research professor and the lab’s first director, said the RIT lab will be “hands-on and experiential as it explores new frontiers in which advanced materials can improve the quality of life on Earth, and perhaps beyond.”
RIT’s Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Nabil Nasr, noted that in addition to being dedicated to the Dixits and those who will follow his spirit of discovery and take the industry to new heights, the lab now bearing his name will encourage important collaboration between industry and academia.
In 2006, Bal stepped down from his position as CEO and continues to serve as Chairman of the Newtex Board. He is also active as an Emeritus Trustee for the University. Today, Bal and Anita split their time between Pittsford, NY, and Naples, FL and enjoy spending time with their family including their son Sunil, daughter-in-law Evelyn, daughter Sadhana, and five grandchildren. Their son-in-law, Jerry Joliet, is now CEO of Newtex.
Jeffrey Harris BS ’75 (Photographic Science)
Reconnaissance Consultant for Industry and Government
If RIT Trustee Jeffery Harris BS ’75 were to impart one piece of advice, it would probably be to listen to your mother, who he affectionately referred to as “The General” growing up.
That’s because it was his mother who found the perfect university where her son could parlay his interests in photography and science into a highly successful career. “She ascertained that I wanted to do something with photography, but not take pictures, and the only school on the planet that had something like this was Rochester Institute of Technology.” Said Harris. “She figured that out, got me up to the campus, and introduced me to the imaging science program.”
When it came time for Harris and his wife, Joyce Pratt, to give back to the university that was so instrumental to his success, he did so in honor of his mother’s 90th birthday, establishing the J.K. (Jane King) Harris Scholarship for a Rochester City Scholar. They have also generously supported the Carlson Center for Imaging Science and the performing arts at RIT.
Harris thrived in the experiential nature of RIT’s imaging science program, which led him to a career advancing national security programs in both government and industry. Currently consulting for both types of organizations, Harris has served as president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, as well as Lockheed Martin Special Programs. He was also president of Space Imaging, the first company to commercially provide high resolution satellite imagery and information products of the Earth.
Before his corporate career, Harris served in senior national leadership positions, including assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space, director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and associate executive director of the Intelligence Community Management Staff. In these roles he provided direct support to the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence.
In addition to his philanthropic support, Harris serves on RIT’s Board of Trustees, having been a member for over a decade. His engagement as an active member of the RIT community has helped to frame the university’s strategic plan that leverages insights gained by working with students and faculty. Previously, Harris received the College of Science Distinguished Alumni Award and the NRS Award.
“You recognize the value of experiences gained while at RIT that makes you an engaged citizen,” said Harris. “Although the university is now very different than when I graduated in 1975, it has continued to equip graduates to be successful leaders and thinkers, demonstrating the impact that the comprehensive RIT experience delivers.”
Kevin Surace ’85
President, Co-founder and CEO Appvance.ai
The list of contributions Kevin J. Surace ’85 (electrical engineering technology) has made to RIT is long.
He is co-chair of RIT’s $1 billion blended fundraising campaign and was producer and master of ceremonies of the gala in July 2018 announcing the campaign. The RIT trustee helped start RIT’s West Coast Board of Advisors, and Surace was producer and master of ceremonies of a night of entertainment in Silicon Valley in 2016.
Surace also secured RIT’s 2018 commencement speaker, former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and the 2019 commencement speaker, John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox Corp.
“I think when we are later in our lives, we want to look back and give back to organizations that helped us,” Surace said. “For me, RIT was a great experience.” Surace is currently president, co-founder, and CEO of Appvance.ai, a cloud-based scalability, performance and testing platform for mobile and web apps.
Before that, the Inc. magazine 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year was chairman and co-founder of Serious Energy, a cleantech company that manufactures and sells technologies designed to reduce energy usage in buildings.
He also was former CEO of several other companies, including CommerceNet, Perfect Commerce, WebKnight and Air Communications, and he was executive vice president of network solutions at General Magic, where he led the team that developed the OnStar virtual advisor for General Motors. Surace was inducted into RIT’s Innovation Hall of Fame in 2012.
Outside of work, Surace is a music producer and director for orchestra, musical theater and corporate shows at Acclaim Entertainment Group, which made him the perfect person to be master of ceremonies at the two events.
“You look at unique ways you can give back and what talents you have,” Surace said. “We all should give back in the ways that we can.”
Brian Hall MBA ’78
Retired Vice Chairman of The Thomson Corporation
RIT Trustee and Chair Emeritus
To say that Brian Hall MBA ’78 has made a big impact on his alma mater is an understatement.
He chaired the committee that paved the way for men’s hockey to move from Division III to Division I in the 2005-2006 season. Women’s hockey followed in 2012.
From 2012 to 2015, he was chairman of the RIT Board of Trustees. Hall has been a member of the Board since 2000. And he was chair of the presidential search committee that brought David Munson to RIT as president in 2017. Those accomplishments among many others are why Hall will be honored with the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus award.
“It’s an honor,” Hall said. “I am very happy to receive this award.” Hall is excited about the direction RIT is headed. When he first joined the board in 2000, he remembers people not being familiar with RIT when he would mention his involvement.
“Now when I say RIT people say, ‘That’s a great school,’” said Hall, who lives in Colorado and Arizona. “They’ll say, ‘I know someone who is going there, went there, trying to get in there.’ In 18 years it has changed a lot and rightfully so.”
Hall retired in 2007 as vice chairman of The Thomson Corp. (Thomson Reuters), a global information company. He joined Thomson in 1995 as president and CEO of Thomson Legal Publishing, where he led the acquisition of West Publishing, which formed the foundation of the Thomson Legal & Regulatory group.
Prior to Thomson, he was an executive vice president of McGraw-Hill and president of Shepard’s, a division of McGraw-Hill. Hall also worked for Rochester-based Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, which later was acquired by Thomson.
Hall has supported many RIT projects, including the Alumni House, the Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars Program, the Gene Polisseni Center and scholarships.
He remembers thinking in 2000 when he became re-engaged with RIT that it would be a fun activity for a couple of years.
“It is a captivating place,” he said. “Once you get to understand RIT and where it’s going and the people who are involved with it, it is hard to let go.”
Brooks Bower ’74
Brooks Bower ’74 (printing) attributes much of his success to RIT.
The chairman and CEO of Papercone Corp. said that the education he received at RIT helped him learn how to be a hands-on manager. Living nearly 3,000 miles away from his home in San Francisco taught him responsibility and how to live and interact with people.
“I feel strongly that it is because of my experience at RIT that Papercone has grown into the company it is today,” Bower said. “RIT is so instrumental in my career and my success.”
Bower said he makes it a priority to give back to his alma mater because of everything RIT has done for him. The RIT Trustee helped the Big Shot team secure Churchill Downs in 2015 and continually supports the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, which included the purchase of the historic Kelmscott/Goudy Hand Press in 2013. Bower collects antique printing presses. “I love printing and the historical aspect of printing,” he said.
He also was a member of the presidential search committee for RIT’s 10th president, David Munson.
Bower joined Papercone, which was started by his father in 1964, two years after he graduated. The company began making paper collars that went over soft drink bottles and then evolved into a specialty envelope business. Bower said the business, based in Louisville, KY., is continuing to change with the times, now moving into lightweight packaging.
“I rely so much on the basic education I received at RIT,” he said. “It was an incredible education.”
Sharon Napier MS '04
College of Applied Science and Technology
Sharon Napier, founder and CEO of Partners + Napier creative ideas agency and a 2004 graduate in service leadership and innovation, is RIT’s Outstanding Alumna of the Year for 2016. The award is the highest honor the university can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna.
Napier said that when she chose to pursue graduate studies at RIT in 2002, she had two things in mind: the evolution of her career and the prospect of someday returning to teach at the collegiate level.
Following her graduation from RIT, Napier, who was president and CEO of Wolf Group from 1996 to 2004, went on to buy out local offices and form Partners + Napier. As founder and CEO of the agency, she has drawn in a multitude of big names, serving clients such as Constellation Brands, Capital One, BMW Financial Services, Delta Private Jets, ConAgra Foods and Keurig Green Mountain.
“In going to RIT, I chose to step way outside of my comfort zone,” Napier said. “I hadn’t been in a classroom in over 20 years, but in order to grow, you have to push yourself —be uncomfortable—be brave enough to step outside your comfort zone.”
Since attending RIT, Napier has lent herself back to the university as a resource, notably working as a career mentor and speaker, supporting various RIT creative projects and helping RIT’s School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation with internal branding initiatives.
She has donated to many RIT programs, including new media design, Saunders College of Business and the School of Design Alumni Scholarship. Some of the funding from her gifts has gone toward improvements in the new media design labs, incorporating state-of-the-art equipment that enables new media design students to be at the forefront of the field.
In addition, her work has been recognized both nationally and internationally in Ad Age, Adweek, Campaign US, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Forbes.
“I am extremely honored to be receiving the award. It is one of the highlights of my personal and professional career,” Napier said. “As a member of this community, I could not be prouder. I feel so fortunate that RIT is in and a part of Rochester, it gives us all access to something great.”
Andrew Brenneman '86, '88
Saunders College of Business
Andrew Brenneman is a celebrated member of the RIT community.
He has been making an impact at RIT since he was student the 1980s, serving as a peer tutor in Saunders College of Business and the General Education Learning Center, managing the Student Television Network, and becoming the first deaf member inducted into RIT’s Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society.
Andrew is the first deaf alumnus to serve on the RIT Board of Trustees. He is currently the Chair of the RIT Conflict of Interest Committee and formerly chaired the Building and Grounds committee. Andrew was also appointed to serve on the NTID National Technical Institute for the Deaf National Advisory Group by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
He received the NTID’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 and the RIT Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010. Andrew is a past member of the Advisory Board of Visual Language Interpreting, member of the Nathanial Rochester Society and continues his volunteerism through community speaking and various service ventures.
He and his wife, Mary (Fracassini) Brenneman ’84, ’86, established a scholarship in their name in 2014 to provide support to deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT/NTID who have a secondary disability. He also made significant contributions to Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall, Robert F. Panara Endowed Scholarship Fund, and the Rosenfield Endowed Scholarship
After graduating, Brenneman, who is a fifth generation salesman, was recruited into J.P. Morgan’s Management Training Program. He was one of only 100 graduates to be chosen for the original pool of 1,500 who applied. Brenneman worked with J.P. Morgan for seven years, holding various positions from system liaison to business support analyst.
From there he went to Sprint based in Reston, Va., as an account manager. At Sprint he was promoted to national account executive, then to senior national account executive, then to senior national account executive, responsible for all nationwide sales. He is a four-time recipient of Sprint’s President’s Club Award, given to the top one percent of sales performers.
Andrew was born and raised in Camillus, NY., and now resides in Leesburg, Va. with Mary and their two children, Andrew and Hannah.
John Bartholomew '60
Saunders College of Business
Shortly after A. John Bartholomew ’60 (business administration) graduated, a Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity brother asked him to volunteer for his alma mater.
The job was calling other alumni and asking for money for a new campus that was going to be built in Henrietta.
Bartholomew admits that the task wasn’t his favorite volunteer assignment, in part because records weren’t always complete in the ’60s. But it did set in motion more than 50 years of giving of his time and talent to RIT.
Bartholomew will be honored for his ongoing support with the Outstanding Alumnus of 2014 award at the Presidents’ Alumni Ball on Oct. 17 during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.
“Knowing some of the past recipients, people I admire a great deal, I am very proud to be associated with them,” he said.
As a high school student in Webster, N.Y., Bartholomew planned to attend Syracuse University and play football.
“My senior year of high school, I stopped growing. I was really, really small, so that went out the window.”
He applied to RIT’s business school instead and was accepted, he said, because the dean was impressed he had been an Eagle Scout. After college, he began selling office equipment, medical supply equipment and insurance before joining his family in the senior health care field.
He is now in his 51st year as a nursing home administrator, owner and operator of the Bartholomew Health Care Group, a network of four senior communities in Western New York. In 1985, the New York State Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators named him Nursing Home Administrator of the Year.
“I like to say I have forgotten more than most nursing home administrators ever knew,” he said, laughing. “That’s the problem, I have forgotten it.”
Bartholomew has been active with RIT’s Nathaniel Rochester Society for more than 30 years, has served on the Saunders College of Business Advisory Board and continues to be involved with his fraternity. He and his wife, Mary, also have developed a scholarship program with the college. In 2011, he was recognized as a Saunders College Distinguished Alumnus.
He is also active with the local Alzheimer’s Association and EquiCenter, which provides therapeutic horseback riding. Horseback riding is his hobby. He thanks his wife and son, John Bartholomew II, who will be taking over the family business, for giving him time to volunteer.
As part of his duties on the NRS executive board, Bartholomew still helps RIT with fundraising. But there’s a big difference this time: “They don’t make me use the telephone anymore.”
Brian O’Shaughnessy '81, '84
College of Science
Early in his career, Brian O’Shaughnessy quickly learned a key difference between the scientific world and the legal world: There isn’t always a right answer when it comes to the law. As an intellectual property attorney, O’Shaughnessy works in a field that he says is often filled with uncertainty. One thing he does know for certain, though, is that his contributions to RIT have not gone unnoticed.
Like many other RIT students and alumni, O’Shaughnessy ’81, ’84 (chemistry) was attracted to the university by the opportunity to participate in the co-op program.
As the youngest child in his family, growing up in Gouverneur, N.Y., he knew that he needed to find a way to offset the costs of attending college.
The opportunity to gain real-world experience at the same time sealed the deal in his college search.
While on his way to earning a master’s degree in chemistry at RIT, O’Shaughnessy’s interest was piqued by intellectual property and patent law. He went on to earn a law degree from Syracuse University, and he currently works with intellectual property law firm RatnerPrestia, in Washington, D.C.
O’Shaughnessy will be honored for his ongoing support of RIT with the Outstanding Alumnus Award at the Presidents’ Alumni Ball on Oct. 11 during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.
As one of RIT’s most generous alumni donors, O’Shaughnessy, who currently serves on the RIT Board of Trustees and lives in Potomac, Md., has contributed to a variety of funds for students and the university as a whole.
“I’m extremely honored. We are all stewards of the education we’ve received,” he says. “I feel strongly that we owe an obligation to give back, and to perpetuate, enlarge and expand our university’s mission and to contribute to its ongoing success.”
O’Shaughnessy’s externally focused attitude has not only brought him recognition from RIT, but he says it has also made him a better father, husband and lawyer. He says that he has grown as a result of the opportunities he has been given by RIT.
“Over the years, Brian has shown himself to be a true Tiger through his personal dedication to RIT,” says Kelly Redder, assistant vice president of alumni relations at RIT. “He is an accomplished, enthusiastic, loyal and even witty advocate for RIT— an outstanding example of what we hope for all graduates of this university.”
By receiving this award, O’Shaughnessy joins the ranks of some of RIT’s most talented and inspirational alumni.
He says the award is an affirmation of his belief that helping others without thought of remuneration is among the most gratifying of life’s experiences.
“In the practice of law, there are rarely absolutes; you’re never entirely sure if you are doing it all right,” he says. “One thing that I’ve always felt is right, though, has been my decision to lend my time, talent and treasure in support of RIT.”
Stephen L. Schultz 1988, 1989
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
"This award is in recognition of Stephen's service to RIT. His diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for his dedication."
Stephen Schultz is the co-founder of Pictometry and serves as Pictometry's Chief Technical Officer. Schultz designed and developed the underlying technology for Pictometry's patented systems, including the flight planning, field capture, and end user software -- Electronic Field Study™, as well as designing and refining the products offered to the customer. As Employee #1 at Pictometry, he filled many roles in addition to engineering and technology and has been a member of Pictometry's Board of Directors since 1998. His leadership has helped grow the company to over 250 employees with 56 aircraft that have captured over 140,000,000 images in the United States and world wide.
Mr. Schultz's career in software engineering and design began in 1981 and then shifted to include imaging science when he went to work for the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1985. While there, he developed new technologies for use in a wide range of fields including environmental, military, medical, and earth analysis. He also was responsible for expanding the Center's computing infrastructure from two individual mini-computers to a network of over 100 workstations and servers.
Mr. Schultz earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology and completed most of the coursework and research for a master's degree in computational imaging but left to found Pictometry before completing his thesis. While working at the center, Mr. Schultz also taught computer programming to Computational Imaging and Imaging Science majors as an adjunct professor. In 2007, he was honored by RIT with the Distinguished Alumni Award for the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences.
During his student and staff career at RIT, Mr. Schultz participated in all levels of student and government including: Student Directorate, where he working with a few other student leaders he rewrote their constitution to create the Student Government in place today; Institute Council, first as a student and later as a staff member; the Ombudsman Advisory Committee, where he helped design the program and helped select the first RIT Ombudsman; Campus Safety Advisor, where he was part of the selection committee for the director and new officers as well as on committees to review new policies; Reporter Magazine, where he was News Editor, Sports Editor, and Editor-in-Chief; and RIT Athletics, where he founded the Corner Crew, made significant contributions to elevate the women's soccer and hockey programs, created a matching fund for the Corner Crew Challenge to raise over $32,000 towards construction of new locker rooms, and most recently, pledged $1,000,000 towards the construction of a new ice arena.
Vicki Schultz 1992, 1994, 1999
College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
Saunders College of Business
This award is in recognition of Vicki's service to RIT. Her diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for her dedication."
Vicki Schultz is a children's novelist, an award-winning author of parenting articles, and a volunteer fundraiser for local and national charities.
She is an alumna of Rochester Institute of Technology three times over, having earned an associate's degree in photography, a bachelor's degree in business (with high honors), and an MBA in marketing. She was hired by RIT's Office of Development upon graduation, after co-oping at the RIT Telefund. Her favorite role over the next six years was raising funds for scholarships and bringing together donors with the recipients of their generosity. In 1998, she received an Award for Outstanding Citizenship Within the RIT Community for her work on the Faces of Change Conference Committee–an event that encouraged young women to pursue careers in math, science, engineering, and technology. In 1999, she received the Richard P. Miller Award from the United Way of Greater Rochester for her work coordinating RIT's outstanding United Way Campaign. In 2000, Vicki joined the development team at the University of Rochester Medical Center, ultimately becoming a major gift officer for Golisano Children's Hospital.
When her first child was born, Vicki chose to stay at home and began writing parenting articles and young adult novels. She is a frequent contributor to Genesee Valley Parent Magazine and received a 2009 Silver Award from Parenting Publications of America. She has also been published in Rochester Baby Guide and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper.
Vicki is a member of Rochester Area Children's Writers and Illustrators and heads fundraising efforts for the annual Rochester Children's Book Festival. For the past five years, she also co-chaired fundraising for the Rochester Walk Now for Autism Speaks.
"This award is in recognition of Phil's service to RIT. His diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for his dedication."
Phil Tyler is Associate Professor Emeritus, Marketing in the Saunders College of Business. He is a 1965 graduate, with honors, of RIT's Saunders College of Business. He earned an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Michigan State University in 1967. In 1972 he completed his Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Michigan State. In 1970 he joined the faculty of the Saunders College of Business. He remained there (with some times away to practice marketing management) through 2008 when he retired. He spent some time at R.T. French as the Product Manager, Condiments and a year in Jakarta, Indonesia as a marketing consultant with InterContinental Hotels. Phil served as Director of the Center for Management Development in the Saunders College from 1982-86. Here he was responsible for developing, marketing and executing executive and management development programs. Working with both for profit and not for profits, he has also been active in delivering management development programs and as a marketing consultant with small and large firms/organizations. He has published in the areas of marketing management, planning and strategy.
Phil's teaching in both graduate and undergraduate programs was primarily in the areas of Advanced Marketing Management, Professional Selling and Sales Management. He is a recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching at RIT. He taught ten years in the MBA Program in the U.S. Business School in Prague, Czech Republic, most recently in 2006.
Active in the community he served both as a presidential appointment and as an at large member of the RIT Alumni Association Board of Directors. With the American Red Cross he chaired the Regional Blood Services Committee among other leadership positions and was Vice–Chair of the Rochester-Monroe County Board of Directors. He is a recipient of the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership from the American Red Cross. In the United Way of Greater Rochester, he served on the Board of Directors and on several committees as well as chairing several campaign divisions. He was also the Outstanding Loaned Executive for the United Way of Greater Rochester in 1977. He was Board Chairperson at Valley Manor, a retirement community which is part of Seniors First and also served on the Board at Seniors First. He serves on the Board of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester aka RethinkingDebt. In 1983 he received the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award for the Saunders College of Business.
Phil recently celebrated the joy of his first 47 years of his marriage to his bride and very best friend–Carol. They are now enjoying the commencement of the next 47 years of their marriage. Their son, Lance, and daughter, Kristin Marano have, with their spouses, presented the Tylers with the five best looking grandchildren they have ever seen. Absolute delights.
"This award is in recognition of Susan's service to RIT. Her diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for her dedication."
After spending ten years in the field of agricultural finance, Susan Holliday switched careers and purchased the Rochester Business Journal in 1988. Susan orchestrated a financial turnaround of the company and today the weekly newspaper that specializes in business news and information of interest in the metropolitan Rochester, New York business community, enjoys a readership of more than 80,000. The company now also produces a variety of other publications as well as events.
As an MBA student at RIT, Susan was significantly influenced by the faculty of the Saunders College. The education she received, and the contacts that she made, have been invaluable in her career. She feels that giving back to the university and helping to strengthen its national reputation are very important. So, she was particularly honored when she was asked to join the RIT board of trustees in 1998. At RIT, Susan serves as Chair of the Conflicts of Interest Committee. She dedicates her time to the Endowment, University Relations Committees, the Committee on Trustees and Executive Committees of the Board. Susan has provided internships for a number of RIT students, particularly NTID students. As an advocate for women in business, she has been a guest lecturer in classes as well as on-campus events. Susan also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency's 2010 Performance Commission.
In 2000, Susan was honored with the Distinguished Alumna award from the Saunders College of Business in recognition of her business accomplishments and dedication to the University.
In addition to her involvement with RIT, Susan serves as a director of Financial Institutions, Inc. She also serves on the boards of the Rochester Business Alliance, University of Rochester Medical Center and the United Way of Greater Rochester. Susan and her husband, Chris, live in the Rochester area. Their daughter, Jacqueline, is a graduate of Cornell University and their son, Andrew, is a graduate of Purdue University.
"This award is in recognition of Al's service to RIT. His diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for his dedication."
RIT honored Al Casey, a 1973 graduate of RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering, as 2009 Outstanding Alumnus.
The award, established by the Office of the President in 1952, is the highest honor the institute can bestow upon an alumnus/a. The award recognizes graduates who have served RIT through their dedication, loyalty and leadership.
A Rochester native, Casey attended Rochester City Schools and graduated from Edison Tech before entering RIT in 1968. In 1991, Casey and RIT grads Ron Mead and Bill Liberto, and University of Rochester alumnus Joe Straub started M/E Engineering P.C. The firm has grown to more than 180 employees with offices in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany. M/E Engineering was recently included in the Rochester Top 100 List for the 10th time.
In 1998, the company, which currently employs 40 RIT alumni, founded the M/E Engineering Scholarship at RIT. Rochester City School District graduates are given preference for this scholarship, which will now dovetail with RIT's recently announced initiative to provide scholarships for RCSD students.
Casey and his wife, Diane, reside in the City of Rochester, only one-quarter mile from where he grew up and played Little League baseball at Cobbs Hill Park.
"I can't stress enough the importance of giving back and making every attempt to help RIT co-ops and grads with guidance and career opportunities," Casey noted in accepting the Outstanding Alumni Award. "While these things may not seem very 'innovative,' they are what makes RIT a truly 'sustainable' institution."
RIT President Bill Destler calls Casey "the epitome of an Outstanding Alumnus–one who has seamlessly integrated his appreciation for his education, respect for his alma mater, financial support of students and commitment to his community into his daily life."
"This award is in recognition of Ken's service to RIT. His diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for his dedication."
Dr. Kenneth Reed is a 1971 graduate of RIT's College of Science, with an honors BS degree in Chemistry. After obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry from Stanford University in 1975, he joined the research laboratories of Eastman Kodak Company. His thirty–year career at Kodak focused on reaction chemistry and precipitation of nano–particles and micro–emulsions. Ken's work yielded 24 patents and resulted in his induction into the Kodak Distinguished Inventors Gallery.
Similarly, Ken's long–term involvement with his alma mater has been defined by his characteristic enthusiasm, passion and commitment. He was a 12–year member and past president of RIT's Alumni Association, and an RIT Trustee from 2001 to 2005. In 2000 he was awarded the RIT College of Science Distinguished Alumnus award, and in 2003 he received the RIT Volunteer of the Year Award. Ken was actively involved with several funding initiatives including the Powered–by–the–Future Campaign, and the 2005–2006 Trustee Annual Fund.
Following his retirement from Kodak in late 2005, Ken and his new business partner, Mick Stadler teamed up to launch a nano–catalyst company, Cerion Energy from RIT's business incubator, Venture Creations. Ken states that one of the most rewarding experiences of his long career has been the recent interaction among RIT's College of Science faculty/staff, RIT undergraduate co–op students, and two East High School students as they do the research necessary to bring Cerion Energy's products to market.
Ken's personal life is also noteworthy for its success! He is still happily married to his high school sweetheart, Shirley–past president and current member of RIT's Women's Council and former RIT Trustee. Ken and Shirley are proud parents and grandparents, with two daughters: Cheryl Ackerman and Wendi Costanzo along with four grandchildren.
"This award is in recognition of Nancy's service to RIT. Her diligent effort and generosity have contributed significantly to the growth of the university. This award is meant to honor those efforts and to express our appreciation for her dedication."
A 1976 graduate, Nancy's bond with RIT is still strong today. While at RIT, she was a member of the Student Orientation Committee and Alpha Sigma Lambda Society, standing out as a leader. Upon graduation she was appointed to the Alumni Executive Council. She began her career at Eastman Kodak Company, advancing rapidly; however, when her parents moved to the west coast in the 1980s, she followed. There, she joined Toyota and her career with the automaker has flourished.
In recognition of her professional accomplishments and her passion for RIT, she was named the Distinguished Alumna from the College of Science in 1995. The following year she returned to Rochester to participate in the Distinguished Alumni Colloquium. She joined the Alumni Network Board of Directors (ANBOD) in 1998 and was elected its first female president in 1999. Accordingly she served on the Board of Trustees as the ANBOD representative, and when her term as president ended she was reappointed to the Board of Trustees. As trustee, she dedicates herself to student life, strategic planning, and the government relations.
She has assisted with fundraising initiatives including the Powered by the Future campaign and the 2005-06 Trustee Annual Fund, and she has been instrumental in securing support from her employer for the Golisano Sustainability Institute. Committed to students, Nancy volunteers for Admissions' "Talk to a Tiger" program and in 2003 she was inducted into the National Commission on Cooperative Education Co–op Hall of Fame. Last year she served as Honorary Reunion Chair and was a member of the 2006–07 Presidential Search Committee.
Nancy lives in southern California with her husband, Len Fein, where she is Vice President of Lexus Service. In addition to dedicating herself to RIT, she also serves on the Rancho Palos Verdes Parks and Recreation Board and the San Pedro/Peninsula YMCA Board of Directors, and she is Director of Liturgical Dance for the St. Peters by the Sea Presbyterian Church.