The Leadership of Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56
After more than three decades of service on the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, including 15 years as chairman of the board, Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56 has announced his intent to retire from the board at the end of the calendar year.
Heffner will be succeeded as chairman by the Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa ’62, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., who has served as vice chairman since 1998. Admiral R.J. Zlatoper ’63, USN (Retired), former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, has been elected vice chairman.
“One of the great pleasures of my experience as president of Rensselaer has been the opportunity to work closely over the last decade with Sam Heffner,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson in making the announcement. “Never in my observation of volunteer leaders in various sectors of society have I encountered a more dedicated, committed, and hard-working person who was able to offer such a remarkable combination of true wisdom, a willingness to devote countless hours to the work of the organization, and a generosity to make significant philanthropic commitments.
Heffner joined the Board of Trustees in January 1977, and later chaired the Advancement Committee, the Rensselaer Technology Park Committee, and the Rensselaer New Century Campaign. He is a member of the Stephen Van Rensselaer Society of Patroons of Rensselaer, and received the Rensselaer Alumni Association's Alumni Key Award in 1980, the Albert Fox Demers Medal in 1984, the Distinguished Service Award in 1987 for his extensive Rensselaer volunteer work, and the 1993 Fellows Award from the School of Architecture. He was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees in December 1995.
Heffner earned a degree in architecture from Rensselaer in 1956, worked in the profession for several years, and later founded Dickinson-Heffner Inc., of Baltimore, a building and land development firm in the Baltimore-Washington area, which he continues to serve as president.
Editor’s note: Members of the Rensselaer community and special guests gathered for an evening of celebration in honor of Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56 on Thursday, Dec. 9, after this issue went to print. Look for coverage in Inside Rensselaer in January.