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

During his senior year, Paul was in over his head with non-linear vibrations. From it, he learned to take risks and tackle challenging projects.

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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.

“Being a first generation college student.
Being a first generation high school graduate,
you have a lot of firsts, and with that, it’s hard to find people to turn to for help.
If I were to speak to anyone who has contributed to my scholarships, I would say thank you.
You helped me achieve my dreams.” 

— Ahlyia Leclerc ’24, Environmental Science

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.

Janet and Lloyd Bauer ’55

Lloyd Bauer’s parents did not attend college, but they did encourage him to go because “education cannot be lost, stolen or bartered.” He was recruited by legendary coach Ned Harkness in 1951 to play hockey for RPI after winning two Connecticut State Hockey Championships with his high school team, and he had the thrill of a lifetime playing on RPI’s 1954 NCAA Division I Championship Team. Lloyd still maintains contact with his teammates and often reflects on the important life lessons of sportsmanship, achievement, and dedication that Coach Harkness taught him.

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Lloyd graduated from Rensselaer in 1955 with a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering. He entered graduate school at Yale University in 1957 and received degrees of M. Eng. in 1959 and Dr. Eng. in 1961. He married his wife Janet in 1959, and they have one son, one daughter and three grandchildren. Lloyd is Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University where he served on the faculty for nearly 40 years.

More than 10 years ago, Lloyd planned a significant gift to Rensselaer through his will to endow The Charles W. and Dorothy F. Bauer Scholarship in memory of his parents who had given him the gift of education. Lloyd and Janet have made several gifts to the fund over the years, but most of the money for the scholarship will come through their estate.

After securing financial security for his family, Lloyd realized he wanted to do more for Rensselaer and the sport that has meant so much to him. In 2014, he and Janet met with Coach Seth Appert and former Athletic Director Jim Knowlton to learn about different ways to make a lasting impact on the hockey program. It didn’t take long for Lloyd to realize he could maximize his impact on Rensselaer hockey by endowing the men’s coach.

After meeting with Art Tracy of the Gift Planning Office, Lloyd and Janet decided to use the now-permanent IRA Charitable Rollover law and real estate to fund a significant portion of the hockey coach endowment. In what is known as a retained life estate, they deeded the remainder interest in two homes to Rensselaer while retaining full use of the residences for the rest of their lives. This significantly reduced their income taxes for six years and eliminated work for their executor because the properties are no longer part of their estate.

Lloyd is quick to point to something much greater than tax and estate planning benefits. He says, “Giving, not spending, brings me greater fulfillment.” Clearly, he and Janet have been good stewards of their finances over the years and this has allowed them to create a very meaningful legacy.

Contact Drew Babitts today at (518) 276-8365 or to discuss how you can use real estate or other gift planning options to create a meaningful legacy.

Diane and Peter Hart ’62, Ph.D.

Diane and Peter have been longtime supporters of the RPI Annual Fund and members of the RPI Heritage Society. As an entrepreneur, inventor, and researcher, Peter wanted to give back to his alma mater to support and empower some of the most innovative and exciting student projects. He says that his Rensselaer experience helped him grow into a “young man who had a sense of direction and the confidence that I could, one way or another, make a dent in the universe.”

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Diane and Peter Hart, Ph.D. ’62 have a deep passion for fueling a spirit of adventure, which is what inspired them to establish The Peter E. Hart Spirit of Adventure Fund. Knowing that early stage, high-risk/high-reward projects often have difficulty getting financial backing, Diane and Peter wanted to give back to Peter’s alma mater to support and empower some of the most innovative and exciting student projects.

As an entrepreneur at heart, Peter was the founder of Ricoh Innovations, Inc., a subsidiary of Ricoh Company Ltd., which developed and offered a variety of innovative technology products. Before that, he was the founding director of the Fairchild/Schlumberger Artificial Intelligence Center and a founder of Syntelligence, which developed expert systems for financial risk analysis. Peter is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Graduating from RPI with a Bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering in 1962, he received the RAA Fellows Award in 1993, and was inducted into the Rensselaer Hall of Fame in 2021. Peter also holds a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D., both from Stanford University.

Peter commits to the spirit of adventure in his lifestyle – personally and professionally. As an entrepreneur, inventor, and researcher, Peter dove into artificial intelligence at its emergence, and was a key member of the team that developed the first mobile, independent robot – Shakey the Robot. Today, Shakey is a member of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robot Hall of Fame and is on display at the Computer History Museum in California.

Peter co-invented the A* search algorithm, which is used to compute your driving directions, to compute the paths of characters in video games, and –in modified form—is used to compute the paths of Mars Rovers. He has contributed to the theory, practice, and leadership of artificial intelligence and information technology for more than forty years, and is also recognized for his contributions to pattern recognition and engineering education. Peter co-authored the book “Pattern Classification and Scene Analysis,” which has had a significant impact on the computer science and AI fields for over five decades. He holds more than 100 US and foreign patents.

Peter says that his RPI experience helped him grow into a “young man who had a sense of direction and the confidence that I could, one way or another, make a dent in the universe.” As a result, he and his wife Diane have been longtime supporters of the RPI Annual Fund, hoping to pay his experience forward. They are also members of the RPI Heritage Society, which recognizes those who have chosen to leave their legacy at RPI through a planned or testamentary gift. Peter enjoys speaking with RPI students because they are smart and driven to make their impact on the world. 

Peter is an avid cyclist and furniture maker.  He and his wife Diane—the author of twenty textbooks—live in California and are active birdwatchers and bird photographers.

I appreciate the sense of shared community among the students at RPI, 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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Drew Babitts, MBA, CAP®

Drew Babitts, MBA, CAP®

Director, Gift Planning

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute