Inside Rensselaer
Sam Chiappone Named 2009 Pillar of Rensselaer
Sam Chiappone *
Sam Chiappone, manager of the fabrication and prototyping facility in the School of Engineering, draws his motivation from seeing how hard Rensselaer students, people he works with, and family members strive to do a good job. Chiappone, a Rensselaer employee for nearly 29 years, is the recipient of the 2009 Pillar of Rensselaer Award, the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member. The award was presented to Chiappone at the 37th annual Service Recognition & Retirement Dinner held Aug. 28.

The Pillar Award is presented annually to a staff member who understands the Institute’s mission and history, has been a role model for other employees, has shown concern for students and their welfare, has added to the human dimension of the school, and who has played an active role in his or her home community.

“At Rensselaer, we have the opportunity to interact with some of the brightest students in the world, and this motivates me to be a true resource for them in finding creative solutions to solve manufacturing issues related to their projects,” said Chiappone. “This award means a great deal to me. It means that my past work efforts and those that I work with have been acknowledged, but most importantly I also see it as a challenge to continue to strive to support programs that I am involved in to the best of my ability.”

Chiappone was cited for his demonstrated understanding of Rensselaer’s mission and history, and was praised as a role model and mentor for other employees and students, and his active role in the community, according to Secretary of the Institute and General Counsel Charles Carletta. Chiappone was also praised for “recognizing the historical significance of restoration projects and demonstrated initiative to bring students into projects to integrate the student experience into community historical restoration,” and for his active role as mentor and colleague in his efforts to “improve their technical and professional capabilities.”

Carletta shared quotes from several of the nominations received for Chiappone. “[Chiappone] is always willing to step up when a new project or outreach activity comes up and is the first to volunteer to help give campus tours, sit at resource tables during orientation, or host visitors,” said one nomination. “In this employee’s personal and professional life, they embody what the award is designed to recognize: a professional worth emulating, a community member who demonstrates that service to others is a reward in itself, and a human being who assumes the responsibility to do what they can to make the world a better place,” said another.

“[Chiappone] coordinates food pick-ups at regional food banks and is also a church lector,” a nominater noted. “This person has served on the long-range planning committee for various churches in the local community, is a past member of the local Little League Board of Directors, and former coach for regional athletic organizations.”

Another nominator said, “[Chiappone] is committed to fostering a good learning environment and is dedicated to each individual student. During my tenure at Rensselaer, I did not meet anyone as personable or who cared more for each individual student. To this day, I have maintained regular contact with this employee for both professional and academic advice. My experience at Rensselaer would not have been complete without this employee.”

The Pillar of Rensselaer Award was established in 1993, through the support of Carl Westerdahl, former dean of students and director of alumni relations. The annual award consists of a gift of $500 and a sterling silver pin by Tiffany & Co. The winner’s name also is inscribed on the base of a Tiffany crystal award that is permanently displayed in the President’s Suite in the Troy Building.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 9, September 25, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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