William W. Destler, PhD

President, Rochester Institute of Technology

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. President Destler was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community. 

Civic Involvement
Board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education’s Commission on Effective Leadership, National Institute of Aerospace Foundation, New York’s Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities

Established Initiative
The Rochester City Scholars program, which awards scholarships to eligible students that cover the full cost of tuition at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Native American Advancement
Destler recently expanded the role of Peter Jemison, a member of the Heron tribe of the Seneca Nation, by appointing him RIT’s first special adviser to the president on Native American issues and partnership with tribal organizations; his role is to strengthen and build collaborative partnerships between the Native American community and the university.Destler was also instrumental in developing RIT’s Native American Advisory Council, which fosters relationships to help make higher education more attractive to native scholars and assists them in returning to their communities after graduation.

Nomination Excerpt
“[President Destler’s] commitment to the [Division for Diversity and Inclusion] is as strong as his commitment to the overall message about the importance of diversity and inclusion. He has helped establish a campus that is open to multicultural events and multiple ideas. This is a president who is able to connect with the campus, but has taken his role as part of the greater Rochester community very seriously. He understands that RIT is a part of that community [and that] it can help influence not only the economy, but also the social and personal relationships between people. He has been consistent with his message that RIT is committed to Rochester.”