Attorney G. Robert Witmer, Jr., a partner in the firm of Nixon Peabody LLP, has been elected chairman of the University of Rochester's Board of Trustees, effective May 17.
A 1959 alumnus of the University, Witmer has been a trustee since 1979 and since 1992 has served as chair of the board's Executive Committee. He also has chaired the trustees' Facilities, Student Affairs, and Nominating Committees.
He succeeds Robert B. Goergen '60, of Greenwich, Conn., who chaired the Board of Trustees since 1991. Goergen, chairman of Blyth, Inc., remains a member of the University board.
After earning his bachelor of arts degree with Honors from Rochester and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Witmer earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1962. He joined Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody) in 1963, serving as chairman of the Management Committee from 1984 to 1987 and in 1991. He was chair of the firm's Environmental Law Department from 1976 to 1983. He has served as president of the New York State Bar Association and as a member of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates. He is a life member of the American Law Institute, and a charter member of the New York State Judicial Law Institute on Professionalism in the Law. He has also served as president of the Rochester Rotary Club, one of the oldest and largest Rotary Clubs in the United States.
He was president of the Eastman Dental Center Board of Directors and continues to serve on the Eastman Dental Center Foundation Board of Directors. In 1977 to 1978, he chaired the Trustees' Council of the College at the University, and has also chaired the University Alumni Council. Co-captain of the varsity basketball team during his undergraduate years, he is a charter member of the University's Sports Hall of Fame.
Witmer is a member of a considerable "University family." His father, the Hon. G. Robert Witmer, Sr., a former justice in the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, was a 1926 graduate of the University; a daughter, a son, two brothers, a sister-in-law, and two nephews are University graduates as well.