2011 Volunteer of the Year

Christine B. Whitman

Christine B. Whitman

"This award recognizes Christine's dedication and service to the RIT community; including her impact on student success and her demonstration of outstanding leadership skills. This award not only honors Christine for her successes, but also expresses our appreciation for her support of the University."

Christine Whitman began her lifelong relationship with RIT while she was building CVC Products, a manufacturer of thin film process equipment used for making disk drive recording heads, semiconductor devices and optical components. Her company was growing rapidly and required innovative, highly skilled engineers and scientists with "Can Do" attitudes who were prepared to push the limits of the Laws of Physics. She found exactly these characteristics in the hundreds of RIT students that she has hired over the years initially at CVC and later at other companies within her portfolio of businesses. At CVC, she and her team grew annual revenue ~10X over 10 years, winning the Rochester Top 100 fastest growing private company twice before completing a successful IPO and in 2000, the company was acquired by Veeco Instruments.

A serial entrepreneur, Christine is currently Chairman, CEO and President of Complemar Partners, Inc, a growing integrated logistics and supply chain management company with operations in Rochester and Buffalo, NY and Sparks, Nevada. She also serves as the Managing Partner of CSW Equity Partners, where she oversees a portfolio of equity investments in a number of early stage technology companies and serves on several of their Boards.

Christine began her volunteer relationship with RIT by serving on the Advisory Board for the Kate Gleason College of Engineering in the early 1990s. She joined the RIT Board of Trustees in 1997 and has served on numerous committees over the years. She is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, a member of RIT's Venture Creations Board, a member of the RIT Global Delivery Corporation, a member of the Education Committee and has served on numerous other committees including the Presidential Search Committee. In 2000, Christine and her husband, Steve established the Whitman Family Scholarship aimed at encouraging students to pursue studies in science and technology areas. In 2000, she received the Herbert W VandenBrul Award for Entrepreneurship and in 2004, Christine received the Nathanial Rochester Award for her dedication communicating and supporting RIT's vision of excellence in delivering career-focused, technology based education.

Economic Development and preparing students to be skilled in science and technology are two key area of focus for Chris' volunteerism and philanthropy. She is founder of the Greater Rochester Enterprise and the Rochester Angel Network. She is a past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, serves on the Board of Trustees of the George Eastman House and serves as a member of the Board of High Technology of Rochester.

In response to the question how RIT has contributed to her success, Christine attributes the success of her companies to the tremendously prepared RIT graduates who worked with her. She says that volunteering at RIT has exposed her to a great community of wonderful "out of the box" thinkers with different perspectives and the common passion.