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Nicholas M. Donofrio

Nicholas Donofrio

Technology leader, advocate for advancing women and minorities

Over an illustrious, 44-year career at IBM, Nick Donofrio left a lasting imprint on the iconic company. He led technology and innovation strategies and was responsible for IBM research, government programs, technical support and quality, corporate community relations, and environmental health and product safety.

Mr. Donofrio oversaw many of IBM’s major development and manufacturing teams, from semiconductor and storage technologies to microprocessors and personal computers to the entire family of computer servers. He led the development and retention of technical staff and served as vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation and chairman of the board of governors for the IBM Academy of Technology.

Mr. Donofrio began his IBM career in 1964 as a co-op student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received a master’s in electrical engineering from Syracuse University and joined IBM full-time in 1967, where he worked on the memory and technology for the legendary IBM System/360 mainframe computing system. In 2008, Mr. Donofrio was elected an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor.

Mr. Donofrio holds seven U.S. patents, serves on many boards and has received numerous awards, including the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s Gold Medal and the National Security Agency Director’s Memento of Esteem for substantial contributions to the Department of Defense. In 2006, he was named one of BusinessWeek’s 25 Top Innovation Champions and IndustryWeek selected him as Technology Leader of the Year in 2003.

Mr. Donofrio has long been a champion for advancing education and career opportunities for minorities and women. He served on the board of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering for many years and was chairman from 1997 to 2002, and also served on the board of INROADs, a non-profit devoted to training minority youth. In 2005, he was appointed to serve on the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which was charged with developing a national strategy for post-secondary education to meet the workforce needs of America’s diverse population.  

For his dedication to innovation and technology and support in advancing the education and careers of women and minorities, Drexel University is proud to present Nicholas M. Donofrio with the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.