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Minett Professorship at RIT

Human Diversity is essential to organizational growth and strategy.  These differences create points of tension that spark alternative viewpoints and ideas to ignite the kindling forces behind creativity and innovation. We look at the Minett Professorship as a catalyst to spark these conversations and offer opportunity for a deeper discussion with students, staff, and faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Description of the Professorship

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.

RIT’s Division for Diversity Minett Professors

  • 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
  • 1992-1993: Matthew Augustine, CEO of Biodrill Technical Solutions (sustainable energy products)
  • 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
  • 1994-1995: Mary-Frances Winters, president and founder of the Winters Group (training and change management solutions)
  • 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
  • 1996-1997: Walter Cooper, retired Kodak chemist, and former member of the University of the State of New York Board of Regents
  • 1997-1998: Reuben Davis, the late, retired associate justice, Appellate Division, lawyer and former deputy corporate council for the City of Rochester
  • 1998-2000: Maurice Holmes, former corporate VP/Chief engineer, Xerox, currently, professor in RIT’s Saunders College of Business
  • 2000-2001: Clifford Janey, former superintendent of the Rochester City School District
  • 2001-2002: Essie Calhoun, retired chief diversity officer and director of community affairs, Kodak, and member, RIT Board of Trustees
  • 2002-2003: Clayton Osborne, president of True Insights Consulting, and former VP, Human resource, Bausch + Lomb
  • 2003-2004: Gladys Santiago, former president of the Rochester City Council
  • 2004-2005: Michael Finney, currently president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and former president of Great Rochester Enterprise
  • 2005-2006: Robert Colón, current general counsel for RIT and former Assistant Attorney General, Rochester Regional Office
  • 2006-2007: Augustin Melendez, president of Hillsides Work-Scholarship Connection at Hillside Family of Agencies
  • 2007-2008: G. Peter Jemison, manager of the Ganondagan National Historic Site, central to the Seneca Nation
  • 2008-2009: Hoffman Moka Lantum, director MicroClinic Technologies, former director medical services, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, founder Baobab Cultural Center
  • 2009-2010: Emerson Fullwood, retired corporate vice president, Xerox Corp.
  • 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
  • 2011-2012: Teresa Johnson, Rochester City Court Judge
  • 2012-2013: Kevin Williams, chemist and department head, Kodak
  • 2013-2014: Pete Otero, executive dean, Monroe Community College, Damon City Campus
  • 2014-2015: Randy Henderson, president and CEO, Henderson Ford
  • 2015-2016: Jerome Underwood, senior director of youth development and family services for the Rochester City School District
  • 2016-2017: Melisza Campos, vice president of instruction for Dale Carnegie’s Rochester Office
  • 2018: Brenda Lee, retired, medical educator and medical school administrator, U of R
  • 2018-2019: Janet Lomax, retired news reporter and anchor for WHEC-TV (channel 10)
  • 2019-2020: William Clark, Former Urban League of Rochester President and CEO

News Stories on Minett Professors

Veteran journalist Janet Lomax named RIT's 2018-19 Minett Professor

Brenda Lee Named RIT's Minett Professor 

RIT names Melizsa Campus as 2016 Minett Professor

Division for Diversity’s Minett Professor Program

Community Driven: Henderson Ford president Randy Henderson named Minett Professor

MCC Executive Dean Pete Otero named 2013-14 RIT Minett Professor

Kodak Research Laboratories Leader Named RIT Minett Professor

City Court judge named Minett Professor

Former Xerox Executive Brings Business Leadership to Campus as RIT’s Minett Professor

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Director Will Teach as RIT’s Minett Professor


Sandra Whitmore

Sandra Whitmore
Senior Director of Operations

Eligibility for the Appointment

  • recognized as a distinguished leader and professional in the community;
  • possessing both excellent communication skills and demonstrable expertise in a particular subject area; and
  • has not been a Minett Professor within the preceding five years.

Criteria for Nomination

Nominated candidates are ones who

  • are 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; as well as
  • have expertise in an area in which RIT offers, or can offer, instruction.

History Frederick Minett

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 $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.