FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Nicholas M. Donofrio

Nicholas M. Donofrio

NMD Consulting, LLC
IBM Fellow Emeritus & EVP Innovation and Technology (Ret.)
Ridgefield , CT, USA


Nicholas Donofrio is a 44-year IBM veteran who held the coveted positions 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 non-profit 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) and remains an active member of SWE.

He is a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu & Sigma Xi engineering and science honor societies, 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, O'Brien & Gere, Sproxil and MITRE.  From 1993 to 2013 he served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He currently is a member of the Board of Trustees for Syracuse University, the New York Hall of Science (co-chair 2007- 2013) and the New York Genome Center.   In December 2013, he was named by the Governor of CT Chairmam of the  Board of Regents for Higher Education.  In 2014 he was elected to the Board of Trustees for the USIP’s Peace Tech Lab and in 2015 became its Chairman.

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 U.S. 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. The commission report, A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of Higher Education, is available through the US Department of Education.

In 2011-2012 he chaired a special committee tasked by the Governor of VT to evaluate the relationship between the State of VT and UVM.  The committee report, New Ideas for Changing Times: Strengthening the Partnership Between the State of Vermont and the University of Vermont, was accepted by the Governor of VT and the President of UVM.

In 2012, Donofrio was invited to become an independent advisor for agencies within the USA Intelligence Community.

In 2013 he became a visiting lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education.

He chaired the work effort for the National Academy of Engineering that resulted in the March 2015 release of the NAE report Making Value for America: Embracing the Future of Manufacturing, Technology and Work.

Additionally, 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-UK, Marist College, University of Edinburgh-UK, Pace University, National University of Ireland-Maynooth and Syracuse University.

He has additionally received several industry, government and academic awards.  Among them …

  • 1992: Davies Medal: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • 1992: Alumni Association Fellow,RPI
  • 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, RPI
  • 2007:National Education and Leadership Award, Sons of Italy Foundation
  • 2008:Gold Medal, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). First-NNSA Gold Medal presented to a non-U.S. government employee.
  • 2008:Director’s Memento of Esteem, U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). For substantial contributions to the United States Department of Defense.
  • 2008:Excellence in Leadership Award, U.S. 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:Industrial Research Institute, Inc. Medal
  • 2011: Ridgefield, CT Library Paccadolmi Award for Leadership
  • 2012: Rensselaer Alumni Association Award, RPI’s highest alumni honor
  • 2013: Pace University Leadership and Service in Technology Award
  • 2013: NACD D-100 Honors
  • 2014: NYU Polytechnic Medal
  • 2015: Ridgefield, CT Library Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award
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