Robert G. Wilmers

A life lived honorably.

He held himself and others to the highest standards. He challenged. He questioned. He believed in the power of education. He rode a bike to work well into his 80s. He let his actions speak for themselves. He was the embodiment of integrity.

Bob Wilmers was a special man who quietly improved the communities and world in which he lived. Wherever he put down roots in life or business, he made sure to cultivate real relationships, support local institutions, and partner with leaders to solve problems. He gave generously to organizations he found important – with special attention to education and the arts.

For nearly 35 years, Bob Wilmers led M&T Bank Corporation as chief executive officer, from 1983 until his passing in 2017. During this time, he grew the bank in size and influence, including the navigation through the 2008 financial crisis, and was regarded as one of the most astute and prudent financiers of his era. But his ultimate focus was the bank’s responsibility to positively impact the communities it serves. He worked hard to make M&T a shining example of what it means to be a bank, as well as a neighbor. He pursued his values rigorously, always with modesty and piercing intelligence.

The Robert G. Wilmers Integrity Prize was established in honor of Bob Wilmers to recognize and celebrate the ideals represented by his life and legacy as a philanthropist and as an advocate for positive change for the greater good.