2017 Distinguished Alumni: Meet Venkat “Puru” Purushotham
These days RIT is truly a global campus. Not only does the university have five international campuses, it also boasts an international student population of nearly 2,700 hailing from 95 countries. When Venkat “Puru” Purushotham ’81, ’82 (graphic communications, imaging science), president and owner of Jyoshan Inc., attended, though, there were only about 30 international students on RIT’s campus.
“It hit me right off the bat that such a large institution was thin on international students,” said Purushotham. “The greater realization was that there was absolutely no support system for international students on campus.”
A serial entrepreneur from a young age, Purushotham used this skillset to help grow the international presence at RIT. Over the course of three years, Purushotham joined forces with classmates from China, Switzerland, Indonesia and Iran and created international programming, as well as established the RIT International Student Services Office.
“The key to this coming together was really the incredible interest and supportive nature of the RIT community,” said Purushotham. “It was a collection of people with a shared vision who really wanted to give us a platform.”
After RIT, Purushotham applied the learnings he gained building the university’s international programs to Eastman Kodak. While there, he created strategic partnerships with businesses in Europe, Israel and Japan. These accomplishments lead Purushotham to found NexPress Solutions in 1997, a joint venture with Kodak and Heidelberg Druckmaschinen, a German company. The result produced world-class digital color printing systems and revenues of over $300 million in just six years.
“The RIT experience gave me the insight that if you believe in something, you have to go for it, even more so if you have a supportive environment,” said Purushotham. “That kind of stuck with me, and that’s what has shaped my 30-year career in terms of constantly pushing the envelope.”
Purushotham will be honored as the College of Science 2017 Distinguished Alumnus on Oct. 13 at the RIT Presidents’ Alumni Ball.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements.
April 18, 2019
Partnership brings business education to Rochester classrooms
A unique community collaboration among Saunders College of Business, Junior Achievement and local elementary schools introduces young minds to business, economics and free enterprise through discussions, hands-on activities and video lessons.
April 18, 2019
Imagine RIT visitors get to control RIT’s ‘Weather Machine’ in new two-story-high video game
Imagine RIT visitors will help keep the skies above RIT clear during the festival on April 27, in a new video game on display at the MAGIC Spell Studios building. Festivalgoers can play “Weather Defense: A Two Stories High Video Wall Game” on six large 4K displays, mounted two stories up the atrium wall of the new 52,000-square-foot MAGIC building.
April 18, 2019
Student Spotlight: Participating in the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition
Meet Brady Smith, a fourth-year civil engineering technology student and captain of this year’s Concrete Canoe team.
April 17, 2019
Imagine RIT Preview: Virtual Bugs
When the Seneca Park Zoo Society needed a way to create detailed 3D computer models of rare insects from Madagascar, they turned to RIT’s imaging science program for help. A multidisciplinary team of first-year students designed and built a new system to tackle the problem and will showcase the final product at the Imagine RIT festival.