Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 9, May 11, 2012
   

Campus Invited to 10th Annual President’s Commencement Colloquy May 25

United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will join a stellar group of dignitaries and pioneers being honored by Rensselaer at its 2012 Commencement. With this addition, Rensselaer will honor leaders from each branch of the U.S. government, along with pioneers in the business and academic sectors, at its 206th Commencement on May 26.

Secretary Chu, distinguished scientist and 1997 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics, will participate along with previously announced Rensselaer honorary degree recipients: Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Antonin Scalia; former U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon; artificial intelligence pioneer and renowned computer scientist Edward A. Feigenbaum, Ph.D.; and digital camera inventor and Rensselaer alumnus Steven J. Sasson ’72.

“We are honored to have Secretary Chu join us, and privileged to have each branch of the U.S. government—the Supreme Court, the Administration, and the Congress—as well as the academic and the technology business sectors represented at Rensselaer’s 206th Commencement,” President Shirley Ann Jackson said. “Justice Scalia, Secretary Chu, Congressman Gordon, Dr. Feigenbaum, and Mr. Sasson exemplify that cross section of government, business, and academic leadership which comes to the fore in responding to and shaping our changing world.”

Former Congressman Bart Gordon will deliver the Commencement address, and each of the honorands will address the graduates at the May 26th Commencement, which begins at 8:30 a.m., at the East Campus Athletic Village.

On the eve of Commencement, Rensselaer will convene for the 10th annual President’s Commencement Colloquy. All of the honorands will participate in a discussion—titled “Honoring Tradition, Responding to a Changing World”—moderated by President Jackson. The Colloquy, open to the Rensselaer community and the general public, will be held in the Concert Hall of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, on the Rensselaer campus, beginning at 3:30 p.m., on Friday, May 25.

Following is brief biographical information on each of the 2012 honorary degree recipients:

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Mark Century

The Honorable Antonin Scalia, J.D., Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States. He is the longest-sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a self-described “originalist,” interpreting the U.S. Constitution by beginning with the text, and giving that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted. The Associate Justice was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1986. His experience spans the private, academic, and public sectors, having practiced law in Cleveland, Ohio, taught law at the Universities of Virginia and Chicago, and applied the law, working in the Administrations of Presidents Nixon (Office of Telecommunications Policy) and Ford (U.S. Department of Justice), before being appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by President Reagan in 1982.

 

The Honorable Antonin Scalia, J.D., Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States.

 
         
 

The Honorable Steven Chu, Ph.D., United States Secretary of Energy, distinguished scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997). Charged with implementing key components of President Obama’s energy agenda since 2009, he has devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to energy challenges and stopping global climate change. Previously he was firector of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, professor of physics and of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories. The holder of 10 patents and author of nearly 250 published scientific and technical papers, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and numerous other civic and professional organizations.

  The Honorable Steven Chu, Ph.D., United States Secretary of Energy, distinguished scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997).  
         
 

The Honorable Bart J. Gordon, J.D., Former Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology. He is a leader in U.S. science, technology, energy, and health policy, and champion of the America COMPETES Act, which authorizes federal investments in innovation and innovators. Currently a partner in K&L Gates law firm, Congressman Gordon served for 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, from Tennessee. As chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he built bi- partisan support for enactment of the America COMPETES Act, helped craft the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, and was a leading proponent of America’s space program, and of enhancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

  The Honorable Bart J. Gordon, J.D., Former Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology.  
         
 

Edward A. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., pioneer in artificial intelligence and renowned computer scientist. He is a recipient of the “Nobel Prize of computing,” the ACM Turing Award of the Association for Computing Machinery, for pioneering the design and construction of large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology. Dr. Feigenbaum is the Kumagai Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at Stanford University. He was Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force (1994-97). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Intelligent Systems/ Artificial Intelligence Hall of Fame of the IEEE, and the Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum. In his honor, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence awards the Feigenbaum Prize for outstanding AI research advances made by using experimental methods of computer science.

  Edward A. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., pioneer in artificial intelligence and renowned computer scientist.  
         

Steven J. Sasson ’72, M.S. ’73, inventor of the digital camera and related imaging technologies that have transformed the industry and the world. An electrical engineer, now retired from the Eastman Kodak Company, he revolutionized the way images are captured, stored, and shared. Sasson was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2010), the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the President of the United States. In 2011 he was inducted in the Inventors Hall of Fame. He holds more than 10 key digital imaging patents.  He was awarded the 2011 Davies Medal, the highest honor awarded to an alumnus of the Rensselaer School of Engineering, and is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Steven J. Sasson 72, M.S. 73, inventor of the digital camera and related imaging technologies that have transformed the industry and the world.  
       
For more details on Commencement, go to www.rpi.edu/academics/commencement/index.html.

 

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 9, May 11, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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