Minett Professorship

Human diversity is essential to organizational growth and strategy. These differences, the sharing of alternative viewpoints, can be a useful tool to learn from one another. We look at the Minett Professorship as an opportunity to not only educate, but use creativity and innovation to spark deeper conversations and understanding among students, staff, and faculty at RIT.

The Minett Professorship is designed to bring distinguished Rochester-area multicultural professionals to the RIT campus to share their professional knowledge and experience with RIT’s students, faculty, and staff for one academic year. Emphasizing the connections between education and industry, the professorship also highlights the value of diversity.

This is a part-time appointment that assumes that the appointee will retain his or her existing employment and community responsibilities. The Minett Professor may have the opportunity to teach a course and provide lectures in an area appropriate to the appointee’s expertise. A plan of work will be jointly developed taking into account the unique abilities and talents of each Minett Professor.

Criteria for Nomination

Nominees must:

  • Be recognized in the community for their outstanding professional contributions
  • Have clearly demonstrated the ability to communicate their expertise
  • Have demonstrated professional knowledge and accomplishments, and provide evidence of continuing professional development
  • Have expertise in an area in which RIT offers, or can offer, instruction
  • Not have been a Minett Professor within the preceding five years


The professorship is named after one of RIT’s early benefactors, Frederick Minett, who started a tool and die company on Water Street in downtown Rochester in the early 1920s. He was familiar with RIT, formerly called the Mechanics Institute, and employed some students.

Minett died in 1971, leaving more than a $5 million endowment to RIT. Originally divided between RIT’s College of Continuing Education and the general endowment, the bequest was intended to support Minett’s and RIT’s vision of career education. The Minett Professorship was established in 1991.

Current and Past Minett Professors

Current Minett: Sherry Tshibangu    

2022-2023: T. Andrew Brown

2021-2022: Perry Ground, (Onondaga, Turtle Clan) Traditional Storyteller and Cultural Educator

2020-2021: Orlando Ortiz, Manufacturing Manager – Component Manufacturing, The Gleason Works

2019-2020: William Clark, retired Urban League of Rochester President and CEO

2018-2019: Janet Lomax, retired news reporter and anchor for News 10NBC

2017-2018: Brenda Lee, retired, medical educator and medical school administrator, U of R

2016-2017: Melisza Campos, vice president of instruction for Dale Carnegie’s Rochester Office

2015-2016: Jerome Underwood, senior director of youth development and family services for the Rochester City School District

2014-2015: Randy Henderson, president and CEO, Henderson Ford

2013-2014: Pete Otero, executive dean, Monroe Community College, Damon City Campus

2012-2013: Kevin Williams, chemist and department head, Kodak

2011-2012: Teresa Johnson, Rochester City Court Judge

2010-2011: Antoinette McCorvey, director of investor relations, George Washington University, and former chief financial officer, Kodak, and James Norman, president and CEO, Action for a Better Community

2009-2010: Emerson Fullwood, retired corporate vice president, Xerox Corp.

2008-2009: Hoffman Moka Lantum, director MicroClinic Technologies, former director medical services, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, founder Baobab Cultural Center

2007-2008: G. Peter Jemison, manager of the Ganondagan National Historic Site, central to the Seneca Nation

2006-2007: Augustin Melendez, president of Hillsides Work-Scholarship Connection at Hillside Family of Agencies

2005-2006: Robert Colón, current general counsel for RIT and former Assistant Attorney General, Rochester Regional Office

2004-2005: Michael Finney, currently president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and former president of Great Rochester Enterprise

2003-2004: Gladys Santiago, former president of the Rochester City Council

2002-2003: Clayton Osborne, president of True Insights Consulting, and former VP, human resource, Bausch + Lomb

2001-2002: Essie Calhoun, retired chief diversity officer and director of community affairs, Kodak, and member, RIT Board of Trustees

2000-2001: Clifford Janey, former superintendent of the Rochester City School District

1998-2000: Maurice Holmes, former corporate VP/Chief engineer, Xerox, currently, professor in RIT’s Saunders College of Business

1997-1998: Reuben Davis, the late, retired associate justice, Appellate Division, lawyer and former deputy corporate council for the City of Rochester

1996-1997: Walter Cooper, retired Kodak chemist, and former member of the University of the State of New York Board of Regents

1995-1996: Liz Vega, Xerox Large Enterprise Operations, Former VP Time Warner Cable and news anchor, WROC-TV (channel 8) and Carlos Carballada, president of First National Bank, former member of the New York State Board of Regents and currently interim director of RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship

1994-1995: Mary-Frances Winters, president and founder of the Winters Group (training and change management solutions)

1993-1994: William Johnson, former mayor of Rochester and retired distinguished professor of public policy and urban studies in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts

1992-1993: Matthew Augustine, CEO of Biodrill Technical Solutions (sustainable energy products)

1991-1992: Wyoma Best, former news reporter and anchor at WROC-TV (Channel 8) and WHEC-TV (Channel 10), former VP marketing and communications, Rochester Chamber of Commerce