2009 Distinguished Alumni Award

Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar

Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar 1998
College of Applied Science and Technology

Currently packaging director of Sam's Club, Ms. Zettlemoyer-Lazar has extensive experience in driving safe, cost-effective, and more sustainable packaging designs for private bands, direct import, and national brand suppliers. A recognized leader and innovator, Ms. Zettlemoyer-Lazar delivered a special keynote address during PACK EXPO International 2008, and she has addressed several other industry organizations including Plastic News Executive Forum and the Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Institute. Grateful for the hands-on experience available to her as a student, and loyal to her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, Ms. Zettlemoyer-Lazar is a deserving recipient of this honor from her alma mater.

Brian Cantwell

Brian Cantwell 1999
College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

Mr. Cantwell is a Digital Production Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic. You and millions of other moviegoers have seen the results of his innovative work in movies including A.I., The Minority Report, The Matrix sequels, Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, Transformer, and Iron Man.

Kenneth Weimar

Kenneth Weimar 1988, 1990
College of Liberal Arts

Mr. Weimar began his education at RIT as a photography major but made the switch to the Professional and Technical Communications program to better his chances of working in advertising. He quickly learned it was the art of persuasion, giving him skills he calls on every day as Senior Development Officer for KickStart International, a pioneering "social enterprise" fighting poverty in Africa. To date, he has helped nearly 400,000 people get out of poverty—forever.

Kevin Belfield

Kevin Belfield 1982
College of Science

Currently professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Central Florida, Dr. Belfield has an extensive background in polymer stabilization and degradation; synthesis and characterization of functionalized polymers; mechanistic organic chemistry; and stereolithography. His research interests are in the area of multiphoton absorbing materials, two-photon photochemistry, magnetic polymeric and sol-gel nanocomposites, site specific fluorophone labeling, fluorescent-based sensors and bioimaging probes, photodynamic therapy agents, nanostructured functional organic and polymeric materials, and two-photon based 3D microfabrication and high density optical data storage.

A talented scientist and athlete, Dr. Belfield says his experience with teammates on the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams was fabulous. In the classroom and the lab, he notes that the opportunity to pursue meaningful undergraduate research is the hallmark of the RIT chemistry experience. Today, thanks to his RIT experience, he ignores traditional disciplinary boundaries, exploring science beyond the prescribed limits that others might impose.

Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann 1985
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

An innovator and leader, Mr. Schumann has more than 20 years experience in developing and marketing technologies in consumer electronics, large-scale IT infrastructure, and content security fields. He is also an author, speaker, and a founding officer of the Digital Watermarking Alliance. Notably, he holds 17 issued and pending US patents–so far. Looking back on his RIT experience, he observes that there are quantifiable and direct factors that differentiate RIT from most other institutions, including the excellent classroom education and co-op program. As RIT stands out in its field, so does Bob Schumann.

Gary R. Gay

Gary R. Gay 1973
Kate Gleason College of Engineering

With an impressive first career—ranging from power generation, transmission and distribution; designing critical components of the world's first CD players; and launching the successful semi-conductor startup Silicon Laboratories—followed by a brief retirement offering him time to enjoy his muscle cars and motorcycles, Mr. Gay is now Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Nuventix Corporation. Travelling the world, he is helping to enable energy-efficient high brightness LED lighting within the general lighting market. "With a car collection that averages eight miles to the gallon, I though that I better do something 'green' to help our planet Earth, so I joined Nuventix Corporation to save the world. Now I have something cool to talk about at cocktail parties."

Christopher D. Wagner SVP

Christopher D. Wagner SVP 1986, 1994
National Technical Institute for the Deaf

From the moment Mr. Wagner set foot on the RIT campus in his junior year of high school, he saw the doors of opportunity open to him. With a degree in social work from the College of Liberal Arts and a background in healthcare administration, Mr. Wagner has used his considerable skills to improve life for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, founding the first deaf assisted-living facility and nursing facility in Florida, creating the Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and serving on numerous advocacy boards. Today he is vice president of marketing for CSDVRS, LLC and serves on the boards of the National Association of the Deaf and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

Philip C. Gelsomino II

Philip C. Gelsomino II 1986
Saunders College of Business

Mr. Gelsomino got his start in the world's largest industry, the restaurant business, at the age of 14 when he began working for Tom Wahl's Restaurants & Party House. Years later, after embracing every opportunity RIT had to offer him—including fulfilling part-time work for the College of Continuing Education and providing consulting services to RIT while still a student—his expertise now includes site location, development and construction, and successful operation of each restaurant. Mr. Gelsomino is owner and operator of the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery chain in Western New York, as well as managing partner of Gelsomino & Company, CPA's.

At RIT, Mr. Gelsomino learned that knowledge is power, and how he chooses to use it is entirely up to him. "That is the single most important principal RIT taught me and I have lived by it each and every day."