We warmly welcome Rochester native Robert J. Duffy as our 2015 commencement speaker. He will his address, titled "Connecting Talent and Opportunities to the Finger Lakes" at both the morning and afternoon ceremonies.
Duffy began as Rochester Business Alliance president and chief executive officer Jan. 1. Prior to working for RBA, he served as New York lieutenant governor in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration from January 2011 to December 2014. He previously served as Rochester mayor from January 2006 to January 2011 and as Rochester police chief from March 1998 to April 2005, when he resigned his post to run for mayor. He joined the Rochester Police Department in November 1976.
During his tenure as Rochester mayor, Duffy was widely recognized for navigating the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by reducing the cost of government, improving services, lowering tax rates, and attracting millions of dollars in private-sector investments. Duffy also addressed Geneseo's 2006 commencement while serving as mayor, calling Geneseo "the Harvard of Upstate New York."
As lieutenant governor, Duffy chaired the Regional Economic Development Councils aimed at rebuilding New York's economy and positioning the Empire State to be a global economic leader. He also served as chair of the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. In that role, Duffy oversaw an effort to make New York's government more modern, accountable, and efficient.
In May of 2012, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations awarded Duffy the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The medal honors notable American citizens who demonstrate a life committed to community service.
Duffy holds two degrees from Monroe Community College, a bachelor of science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and master of arts degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.