Supporters Like You

Read about supporters like you who are educating the leaders of tomorrow to address the global challenges of today.

Paul Lang ’67

Paul Lang ’67 was in over his head. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. But he was fascinated.

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“It was my senior year at RPI and I had taken the most challenging course of my career: Nonlinear Vibrations. Learning about Routh-Hurwitz stability criteria made my eyes spin, but I needed to pass.”

Paul showed up early and stayed late and even did extra credit, but going into his final exam, he only had an F+ average.

Needing to pass the final exam to pass the class, he just barely made it!

“I remember getting that news from the professor. He was tough but he appreciated my hard work and effort and willingness to try.”

That class opened the door to Paul working at Eastman Kodak, a job he believes he only got because he passed ‘Nonlinear Vibrations’ and listed it on his resume.

While at Eastman Kodak, Paul worked on several special projects: “They had satellite space cameras that were taking pictures in space, but the major problem they had was transporting the cameras on the ground in trucks without damaging them. Our project was to design a system that protected these delicate cameras as they were being driven up and down the east coast. And my coursework at RPI had directly trained me for this challenge.”

Throughout Paul’s time at Rensselaer and in his engineering career at Mobil Chemical that spanned the globe, Paul had no concept about where he was going next – only that he needed to be prepared and ready and willing to take risks and accept new challenges.

“RPI helped give me the knowledge, people skills, and relationships to be successful. Once I reached a degree of success, I felt the responsibility to give back and take a risk on the next generation of students.”

So in 2008, Paul did the math and with the help of Exxon Mobil’s matching gift program, he realized he could fund a Patroon Scholarship – a four-year, $10,000/year scholarship designated to one student. That day, Paul signed his Patroon Scholars agreement and sent in his check. Nine gifts later, he has supported two students through college and just began his third, set to graduate in 2021.

“I choose to give back to RPI because I believe the Institute opened all kinds of doors for me, and I want those same doors opened for today’s students.”

Paul just celebrated his 50th Reunion from Rensselaer in 2017, along with his fraternity brothers and lifelong friends. He still continues to work, as well as support his church and youth focused organizations in his home in Connecticut. And he still doesn’t know where he’ll end up next. But he has no second thoughts on supporting scholarships at his alma mater.

“RPI’s motto is ‘Why not Change the World’ and that’s what I am doing. Why not?

John Hill Shaw III ’67

As a high school senior in Baltimore, MD, John Hill Shaw III ’67 wanted to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but he believed his dream would be derailed by a “lack of financial support.” Regardless, he sent in his application—and Rensselaer responded with a full-tuition scholarship and enough financial aid to cover his other expenses.

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“I received a very fine education at RPI,” says Shaw, a 1967 graduate with a degree in electrical engineering. “This allowed me to have a good career, spend 20 years in Asia, and retire early at age 55.”

Today, Shaw is returning the favor by supporting scholarships for today’s students. In addition to the Joanna and John G. Shaw ’67 Scholarship which he will fund with an estate gift, John currently supports students through the Patroon Scholars Program.

“Rensselaer motivates me to maximize my potential, to test my boundaries, and provides me the technical knowledge to work in my field, while emphasizing the social and professional relationships that prepare students for lifetime success.” 

— Darby Steinman ’22, Biomedical Engineering
Recipient of the Severino Scholars Fund
Member of the Women’s Mentorship Program and Rensselaer Boxing Club

Curtis R. Priem ’82

Trustee and Secretary of the Board, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Through his longstanding service to Rensselaer on the Board of Trustees, and his extraordinary philanthropy, personally and through the Priem Family Foundation, Curtis R. Priem ’82 has forever impacted not only the Rensselaer experience for our faculty and students, but also the literal landscape of the campus.

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In recognition of his historic $40 million unrestricted gift, Rensselaer named the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in his honor. EMPAC is a key platform for the Rensselaer campus, its academic partners, and visiting artists from around the globe to experiment in fields such as investigation of fluid dynamics, artificial intelligence, molecular design, financial modeling, nanotechnology, and gaming and simulation.

In addition to this transformative gift, Mr. Priem has demonstrated his deep respect for Rensselaer’s research with funds to support our faculty, and cast his ultimate vote of confidence in the mission of Rensselaer through his unrestricted giving.

We are pleased to celebrate Mr. Priem’s decision to help us “Bridge the Gap” by providing much-needed undergraduate scholarship support.

Mr. Priem is an inventor who has authored almost 200 U.S. and international patents, all of which relate to graphics and I/O. He designed the first graphics processor for the PC, the IBM Professional Graphics Adapter. Priem co-founded NVIDIA, Corp., a manufacturer of graphics and multimedia integrated circuits in 1993, and served as the chief technical officer from 1993 to 2003. Mr. Priem is also President of the Priem Family Foundation, which he established in 1999.

Mr. Priem holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer. Rensselaer honored Mr. Priem with the Rensselaer Alumni Association’s Albert Fox Demers Award in 2005 and the William F. Glaser ʼ53 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2000.

Howard N. Blitman ’50

Honorary Trustee, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Howard N. Blitman ’50 has served Rensselaer for more than 65 years, as a Rensselaer trustee, adviser, and volunteer. He has supported scholarships and fellowships, the Rensselaer Annual Fund, athletics, and the upgrade of numerous campus facilities, and has earned all four honors of the Rensselaer Alumni Association, including its highest award, the Distinguished Service Award.

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We are proud to honor the Blitman Family legacy at Rensselaer, which started in 1910 – the year Mr. Blitman’s father, Charles Blitman ’14, set foot on the Rensselaer campus and began a long-standing family tradition of accomplishment and involvement. Over a century later, Charles Blitman’s great-grandson, Jacob, became a member of the Rensselaer Class of 2017.

1954 – Charles Blitman ’14 facilitates the completion of the Commons Dining Facility and four modern residence halls on Freshman Hill, in time for the incoming freshman class.

1969 – The Charles H. Blitman ’14 Scholarship is established by Bernice M. Blitman, in honor of her husband Charles.

1996 – Howard Blitman ’50 establishes the Civil Engineering Fellowship Sponsored by Alumni in Construction.

2003 – Howard Blitman ’50 establishes the Howard N. Blitman P.E. ’50 Career Development Professor in Engineering.

2009 – The Howard N. Blitman P.E. ’50 Residence Commons opens and is named in recognition of Mr. Blitman’s generous gift to the unrestricted endowment.

Mr. Blitman is a consulting engineer and the president of The Blitman Building Corporation, one of the nation’s most successful and influential commercial building enterprises, located in White Plains, New York.  Mr. Blitman received a bachelor of civil engineering degree from Rensselaer in 1950, and a master of arts in political science and government from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research, New York, in 1976.

I appreciate the sense of shared community among the students at Rensselaer, and the autonomy we enjoy. Being in such a driven student body inspired me to start a new student club, in addition to volunteering with the Sustainability Task Force.

— Nicholas Villalobos-Best ’21, Mechanical Engineering
Recipient of the Glenn M. Mueller ’64 Endowed Memorial Scholarship

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