Chair's Award

AUTM Annual Meeting

2020 Chair's Award Winner – Robert S. MacWright

The AUTM Chair’s Award recognizes outstanding and lasting contributions to our organization. AUTM is honored to present the award to a well-deserving member ─ Robert S. MacWright.
Robert, or “Bob” to his AUTM friends, has been a guiding force in academic tech transfer since he started his career in 1985. During that time he has led and grown academic tech transfer offices at Rutgers University, University of Virginia, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and most recently at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Bob has been extremely active within AUTM throughout his career, as a frequent speaker at AUTM meetings (who can forget his “Dirty Tricks of Licensing” talk he developed with John Ritter and Alan Bentley), a thoughtful contributor to the AUTM eGroup forums, as well as serving on the AUTM Board of Directors.

However, what Bob is perhaps best known for, and what he is being recognized for, is the many tech transfer professionals and AUTM leaders that Bob mentored at each of the institutions that he led. 

Bob has had an outsized role in mentoring and training the next generation of technology transfer professionals – truly embodying the supportive “rising tide lifts all boats” mentality that permeates throughout our great Association.

On behalf of his many mentees, AUTM proudly recognizes Bob MacWright with the 2020 Chair’s Award.

Robert S. MacWright
I am very honored to receive this award, and I accept it not only for myself, but also for the fine professionals I've had the privilege of mentoring over the years, many of whom are leaders in academic tech transfer today. Their success is truly my greatest legacy.

For those of you who train and mentor young professionals today, here are a few suggestions that may give you such a proud legacy, too.
  1. Don't just teach them their job, teach them YOUR job! It will motivate them to work hard, and they will develop independent judgment under your wing. They will also be in awe of you!
  2. Share the politics of your role with them, knowing the big picture will help them support your vision, and will inform their understanding of how the world really works.
  3. Encourage them to challenge your decisions. They will learn from it and you will, too.
  4. Give them independent decision-making authority as they grow, it will empower them and free your time to work with others.
  5. Teach them things that are not issues of the day, so they can later confront issues they never faced before, perhaps many years later.
Of course, AUTM has played a big role in training my mentees, and my own learning as well. I would like to thank AUTM for its tireless commitment to the education and training of technology transfer professionals at all levels. AUTM has enriched our careers and our lives, and it has brought us all together to form the profession that we proudly consider ourselves members of today. 

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