Inside Rensselaer
* Celebrating 100 Years of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Celebrating 100 Years of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Rensselaer this month is celebrating the centennial anniversary of the founding of two beloved departments: electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. The world-renowned departments are known for both the ingenuity of their researchers and the quality of their students.

The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE) will hold a symposium, titled “Transformations in Mechanical Engineering,” from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 24, in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) auditorium.

The Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ESCE) held an event earlier this month.

“In celebrating the centennial anniversary of electrical and mechanical engineering at Rensselaer, we are celebrating 100 years of outstanding faculty and staff, 10 decades of talented students, and 36,525 days of noteworthy alumni achievements,” said Timothy Wei, acting dean of the university’s School of Engineering. “Rensselaer is known for — and will continue to be known for — educating the ‘engineer of tomorrow,’ and graduating leaders who are ready to guide the search for solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The MANE symposium, which can be watched live via webcast at, will feature several prominent department alumni including:

John Dulchinos ’84, president and CEO, Adept Technology Inc.
Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy ’49, first woman president of American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Mark Goldhammer ’71, chief engineer for airplane performance in product development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Fred Ling, University of Texas-Austin
Mark Little ’82, senior vice president and director, GE Global Research
Robert Loewy ’47, Georgia Institute of Technology, professor
Van Mow ’62, Columbia University, professor
Sheldon Weinbaum ’59, City University of New York, professor

As part of the celebration, MANE will host a party with live music from noon to 3 p.m. on the ’86 Field, including a rare live performance of Commander Cody featuring original band members Andy Stein and MANE professor John Tichy. Also performing will be recording artists Ian & the Aztecs, along with Rensselaer’s own The Rhondies. The party also will feature games that re-create student activities and events that took place on campus over the past century.

“We are in the midst of a semester of celebration culminating in daylong festivities to honor the accomplishments of our students, alumni, and faculty,” said Achille Messac, professor and acting head of MANE. “We will continue our phenomenal growth as we enter our second century with excitement and optimism.”

Earlier this week, ECSE held a celebration and seminar, titled “Penguins, Pirates, and Polytechnics: Video Games and the Future of Technical Education,” which explored how video games and virtual worlds can better prepare engineers for the next century. The noted speaker was entrepreneur and three-time ECSE alumna Tobi Saulnier ’84, Ph.D. ’95, founder of Troy-based video game developer 1st Playable Productions.

In the early years of the last century, Rensselaer launched the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Mechanical grew to include aerospace and nuclear engineering, while electrical expanded to include computer and systems engineering. Graduates of the two departments have gone on to become a NASA astronaut, the co-inventor of the microchip, the judge whose decision paved the way for generic drugs, and other history makers.

“ECSE is extremely proud of its heritage of excellence in education and research, from Allen DuMont’s cathode ray tube to our current world-class program in three-dimensional integrated circuits,” said Kim Boyer, professor and ECSE department head. “Through these accomplishments and so many others, ECSE faculty and alumni have consistently broken new ground in the pursuit of engineering solutions to societal problems."

Visit and for more information the centennial celebrations.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 4, April 10, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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