Life Lessons: Nick Donofrio G’71, H’11 Shares Insights From a Career in Business and Technology

Upon publication of his autobiography “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes: The Nick Donofrio Story,” former executive vice president of innovation and technology at IBM and Syracuse University Life Trustee Nick Donofrio, G’71, H’11 came to campus to share insights and learnings from his six decades in business and technology. During a conversation at the Schine Student Center with current computer science student Maya Lee ’24, Donofrio discussed leadership, emerging technologies and the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“I learned early on that if you want to be an innovator, you should enable everyone to be their best,” said Donofrio. “I am all about bringing opportunity to talent.”

After the conversation, Donofrio signed copies of his book for the Syracuse University faculty, staff and students in attendance. In his book, Donofrio covers the development and launch of key technological advances from IBM and shares strategies on leadership and collaboration. Each chapter of the book is framed with important moments and lessons from Donofrio’s childhood with his mother and father.

“I want all of you to be leaders,” said Donofrio. “Have a view of the horizon and have the courage of your conviction to move towards it.”

Donofrio earned a master’s degree in 1971 from Syracuse University while working for IBM and taking classes as part of an extension program in the Hudson Valley. He has been a strong supporter of Syracuse University ever since he graduated. His philanthropy has supported the highly successful Donofrio Scholars and Ambassador Scholars programs that strengthen the College’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in every aspect of a student’s experience. Donofrio was awarded with Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor, the George Arents Award in 2005 and received an honorary doctoral degree in 2011.