Anthony Whitmore almost never attaches a “PhD” behind his name and discourages people from addressing him as “Doctor.” The attitude exemplifies his opinion that his title is really “just a piece of paper,” in spite of the fact that it represents something that others proudly claim every chance they get.
Whitmore looks at awards the same way, not really wanting much attention for a recent award from Wright State University as its 2012 International Student Advocate: “I’m humbled. I don’t really do things for appreciation,” he said. “I was brought up to do what’s right and to give back. It’s not in my nature to seek recognition.”
Yet Whitmore frequently receives honors from local, national and international sources. The Greater Dayton RTA Government and Community Relations Director might seem an enigma to some. “Anthony Whitmore? Isn’t he that director who’s always running around town going to meetings?” would be a typical comment from coworkers who really don’t know him very well. But all those meetings pay off for RTA. If you happen to be off site and find yourself chatting with some prominent area stakeholder or community leader and they find you’re from RTA, you’re frequently asked, “Do you know Anthony Whitmore?”
He is RTA’s consummate ambassador, whether he’s rubbing elbows with legislators, training senior citizens how to ride the bus, or teaching preschoolers to drop tokens into a fare box during a free ride. Whitmore is familiar to many a mover and shaker, not just in Dayton, but also throughout Ohio, in Washington D.C. and even overseas.
Quite a few former Kettering Ohio School District students remember him as their teacher some years ago. And among many important posts during his career, Whitmore served as the Governor’s Regional Director of Ohio’s Department of Development as well as Senior Administrator and Coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) before coming to work for RTA.
In Africa he was National Liaison on the multi-billion dollar Lesotho Water Highland Project, the world’s largest dam development. He strongly asserts that “we are interconnected” with every person on earth.
This recent award from Wright State University acknowledges Whitmore for his work with Dayton’s Turkmenistan community. His global knowledge and interests inspire him to reach out and assist foreign visitors, immigrants and area residents who might be struggling to assimilate into the community. They include prison ex-offenders in need of jobs, disaffected African-American youth, Latinos who need to gain citizenship, and Turkmenistan nationals learning to become Americans in Dayton.
Diversity defines the way he thinks: “I have had the privilege of living abroad with dozens and dozens of different cultures. My family comes from many parts of the globe,” he said. “My friends look like the world.”