Inside Rensselaer
Newest Members Inducted Into Phalanx Honor Society
Newest Members Inducted Into Phalanx Honor Society
Samuel Heffner Inducted Into Phalanx Honor Society

Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56, who recently retired from Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees after 33 years of service, was “tapped” as an honorary member of Phalanx.

Photos by Ryan Kemper ’11

Twenty-four students were recently inducted into the Rensselaer Phalanx Honor Society for 2011. New members were selected — or tapped — by the student members of Phalanx. This year’s inductees were chosen from about 140 nominations.

“At Rensselaer, we are very used to our undergraduates generating great ideas in science, engineering, architecture, and the arts,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson.

“But the Phalanx Honor Society was a stroke of brilliance in another realm: the civic and the social. It was formed by the Student Council in 1912 with the express objective of creating a body of students who would encourage the interests and activities of other students. They were to inspire their peers by the example of their own service, leadership, and devotion to the Rensselaer community.”

Students Michael Zwack, president of Phalanx, and Kyle Mattson, vice president, presided over the March 27 tapping ceremony that was held in the Heffner Alumni House. Those in attendance included Phalanx members, family and friends of the inductees, and others from the Rensselaer community. James Napolitano ’77, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy, gave the Darrin Address. Napolitano was the winner of the 2010 David M. Darrin Counseling Award, which is presented annually by Phalanx during Commencement.

The 2011 student inductees are: Aaron Asch, Reginald Askew, Lauren Bange, Megan Banko, Jeremy Coupal, Anasha Cummings, Doug Das, Kelsey Day, Kristen Fable, Sage Foley, Joshua Greenman, John Kennedy, Kelly Lottman, Brian Michalski, Tiffany Milano, Michael O’Keefe, Gina Paolillo, Nihar Shah, Alisha Sharma, Victoria Song, Michael Spitz, Andrew Stevens, JP Trasatti, and Candice Wilson.

In addition, 11 students were inducted into the White Key Society, Rensselaer’s junior honor society, for the promise they have shown as freshman and sophomore leaders. The inductees are: Elizabeth Anderson, Kenley Cheung, Nicole Gallant, Jonathan Goldszmidt, Amanda Johansen, Andrew Labunka, Corey Marshall, Natalie Maslow, Stephen Nock, Kevin Petrikas, Angelo Polanco, Jesse Skolnick, and Edward Yu.

“While these new members have been pursuing their own individual and varied interests, they also have been enriching everyone’s experience of this campus and turning us into a community,” President Jackson added. “Today’s inductees seem to be defined as a group by their energy and worldliness. However, I would argue that it is largeness of their hearts that truly sets these students apart, a love of life and their fellow men and women. This makes them the glue that holds us together.”

Also inducted into Phalanx as honorary members were: Beth Pasinella, assistant director of Residence Life; Marie Dieffenbach, student services administrator in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering; and Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56, the man for whom the Heffner Alumni House is named and the former chairman of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees.

President Jackson noted that Heffner served as chairman for 15 years and has been an active board member for 33 years. “He is also an experienced aircraft pilot, and he has helped to steer this university as it has soared — with our student metrics, the quality of our faculty, our research grants, and our rankings on lists of the nation’s best universities, all rising — with freshman applications to Rensselaer hitting a new record again this year,” she said. “Mr. Heffner has been a counselor, supporter, and special friend to me as I have worked to transform Rensselaer.”

Of special note, next year marks the centennial anniversary of the Phalanx Honor Society.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 7, April 15, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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