Nicholas Donofrio
Nicholas Donofrio
Chair and Former Executive Vice President of Innovation and Technology at IBM
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NICHOLAS M. DONOFRIO (chair) is a 44-year IBM veteran who held the coveted position of Executive Vice President Innovation and Technology and was also selected as an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor. Mr. Donofrio holds seven technology patents, is a member of numerous technical and science honor societies, and holds several board positions.

Mr. Donofrio is focused sharply on advancing education, employment, and career opportunities for underrepresented minorities and women in the STEM disciplines. He served for many years on the Board of Directors for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and was NACME’s Board chair from 1997 through 2002. He also served for several years on the Board of Directors for INROADS, a nonprofit organization focused on the training and development of talented minority youth for professional careers in business and industry. In 2003, he was awarded the Rodney D. Chipps Memorial Award by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). He presently is co-chair of the New York Hall of Science.

He is a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a fellow of the U.K-based Royal Academy of Engineering, a member of the US-based National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Board of Directors for the Bank of New York/Mellon, Liberty Mutual, Delphi Automotive, AMD, and MITRE. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Trustees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Syracuse University as well as being a member of the CT Board of Regents for Higher Education.

In 2002–2003, he led the work effort for the Council on Competitiveness around their National Innovation Initiative (NII), which went on to become the America Competes Act.

In 2005, the US Department of Education appointed him to the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, a 20-member delegation of business and university leaders charged with developing a national strategy for post-secondary education to meet the needs of America’s diverse population and workforce.

In 2011–2012 he chaired a special committee tasked by the Governor of Vermont to evaluate the relationship between the State of Vermont and the University of Vermont (UVM).

In 2012, Donofrio was invited to be an independent advisor for one of the USA Intelligence Community Agencies.

Most recently, he was a member of the Prime Minister of Taiwan’s Science and Technology Advisory Board (2008–2011), a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation (2009–2012), and co-chair for the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board (2009–2012).

Donofrio holds a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, respectively. He has received honorary doctorates from Polytechnic University (now NYU-Poly), University of Warwick, United Kingdom, Marist College, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Pace University, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and Syracuse University.

Additionally, he has received several industry, government, and academic awards. Among them …

  • 1992: Davies Medal: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • 1992: Alumni Association Fellow, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2002: Mensforth International Gold Medal, UK Institution of Electrical Engineers
  • 2002: Distinguished Leadership Award, New York Hall of Science
  • 2003: Alumni Key Award, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2003: Technology Leader of the Year, IndustryWeek Magazine
  • 2003: Technical Executive of the Year, University of Arizona
  • 2005: George Arents Pioneer Medal, Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor
  • 2005: Overall Technology Leadership Award, CNBC
  • 2005: Justice for All Award, American Association of People with Disabilities
  • 2006: Urban Visionaries Award, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • 2006: Named by Business Week magazine as among the 25 Top Innovation Champions
  • 2006: Robert Fletcher Award, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
  • 2006: Albert Fox Demers Medal, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2007: National Education and Leadership Award, Sons of Italy Foundation
  • 2008: Gold Medal, US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). First-NNSA Gold Medal presented to a non-US government employee.
  • 2008: Director’s Memento of Esteem, US National Security Agency (NSA). For substantial contributions to the United States Department of Defense.
  • 2008: Excellence in Leadership Award, US Chamber of Commerce.
  • 2008: Renaissance Engineer Award, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • 2008: Named IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor.
  • 2009: Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award
  • 2010: IRI Medal of the Industrial Research Institute Inc.
  • 2011: Ridgefield, Connecticut, Library Paccadolmi Award for Leadership
  • 2012: Rensselaer Alumni Association Award, RPI’s highest alumni honor
  • 2013: Pace University Leadership and Service in Technology Award
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