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Class Notes Features

If the word "eccentric" was not already coined, it would require invention to begin to describe the good professor. He improved his sight by the use of a monocle attached to a black ribbon. After squinching the device in his eye, he used the adjacent ear as a cleat to hold the ribbon with a couple of wraps.

He would never award a student a perfect grade, his rationale being that the author of the text in use did not know everything and we as students certainly did not know everything in the book. So by his logic how could he ever grant a 4.0?

Now follows a personal experience. He had scheduled an exam in physical chemistry on a particular Saturday, the same day I was scheduled to participate in a track meet in New York City against City College. I presented the conflict to the good professor who reluctantly agreed to give me a special exam the following Monday at 4:30 p.m. in his office. At the appointed time I presented myself and was given a set of questions and problems. At about 6:00 he announced that he was hungry and we would go to his house. I followed in my car. He put me at a library table in the living room to continue the exam. Soon someone started to set the table in the dining room. From my location I was unable to count the number of plates but I had hopes—soon to be dashed. When the family was seated, he came and asked, "Vud you like a glass of vater?" I declined graciously and continued working. I finally finished but couldn't find him. He was located at last in his garden and I announced that I was finished. His reply? "Dots what you tink," and he gave me two more problems. I must have passed, as that was my last contact with Phys-Chem.
John Byron '36
Delmar, N.Y.


From left, Kurt Woodward '75, Peter Gillies '89, Gregory Seleman '72, and William Connor '83 in the dome of the new headquarters of the N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany.

In response to burgeoning business and as part of a strategic plan for continued growth, the architectural firm of Gregory J. Seleman, P.C. recently named three principals to become Woodward Connor Gillies & Seleman Architects.

Kurt Woodward '75, Bill Connor '83, and Peter Gillies '89 have all been managing architects with Seleman, PC, for 20, 15, and 12 years respectively. Under their guidance, many award-winning projects have been designed and constructed by the firm in the Capital Region and throughout the nation, according to Seleman.

"To support our clients' growing needs, the firm could not remain a sole proprietorship," said Seleman. "By adding three principals, we can move to the next plateau."

Seleman established his practice in 1981 with two employees; today it has 22 and is the sixth largest architectural firm in the Capital Region. The firm willcontinue its focus on land planning, architectural and interior design services, and college and university projects.

In the Capital Region the firm has designed the Corporate Woods Office Park in Colonie and Rensselaer Technology Park in East Greenbush. It is currently the architect for the 13-story New York State Department of Environmental Conservation headquarters, rising on Broadway in downtown Albany, and the interior designer of the 15-story building for the N.Y.S. Office of the State Comptroller on State Street in Albany.

Projects at Rensselaer have included the Troy Building and Commons Dining Hall renovations and the recently completed Barton Residence Hall.

Notable work outside the Albany area includes corporate and interior projects for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield throughout New York, including the restacking of its corporate headquarters in Manhattan, interior design projects for Lehman Brothers in Chicago, Miami, Toronto, and Manhattan, and regional facilities for Conrail in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The Seleman firm has been ranked among the "Top 150 Interior Design Giants" in North America by Interior Design magazine, and in 1990 the firm was named Small Business of the Year by the Capital District Business Review

Curtis Priem '82, chief technology officer and co-founder of NVIDIA Corporation, was honored as the William F. Glaser '53 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer.
"Curtis Priem is an ideal role model to budding Rensselaer entrepreneurs," said Jack Wilson, co-director of the Severino Center. "He is both a brilliant technologist and a savvy creator of a new business."

This award honors Rensselaer alumni and others who are successful entrepreneurs and role models for Rensselaer students. This award also brings the world of entrepreneurship into Rensselaer classrooms where award winners share their experience, encouragement, and wisdom with graduate and undergraduate students.

Please submit nominations by April 30, 2001, to the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship via phone (518) 276-8398, fax (518) 276-8661, or at

Priem has been NVIDIA's chief technical officer since the company's inception in April 1993. In June, NVIDIA was heralded by Business Week as one of the world's best "Info Tech 100" companies. NVIDIA, a global leader in advanced graphics processing technology, received the magazine's highest ranking for semiconductor companies.
The NVIDIA product family enables multimedia for the entire desktop computer market from workstations to Internet-enabled appliances. The computing industry has honored the company with the most graphics awards in the history of the PC industry.
Prior to NVIDIA, Priem worked at Sun Microsystems, where he was the architect of the GX graphics products, including the world's first single chip GUI accelerator. He also worked at Vermont Microsystems Inc., where he developed the industry's first graphics processor, IBM's Professional Graphics Adapter. Priem holds 88 patents, all of which relate to graphics and I/O.
 Priem, who has a bachelor's degree in electrical, computer, and systems engineering, shared his experiences in a lecture he gave on campus Sept. 22. He told the audience (many of them students) that he'd learned several "dos and don'ts" to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Do, he said, pick a huge market; pick something that is profitable; and hire people who are better than you. His don't: "Never, ever give up."


In 1987 Richard Mastracchio earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer at Hartford and applied to become an astronaut. He wasn't accepted to the program at that time but did take a job at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
On Sept. 8, after 14 years of working as an engineer, he realized his dream when the space shuttle Atlantis launched with Mastracchio aboard. He was one of seven astronauts, including two Russian cosmonauts, who flew to the International Space Station to prepare it for the arrival of the first permanent crew.
The Atlantis crew spent eight days at the space station, five of them inside. By the time they left, they had hauled in and tucked away three tons of equipment, including toiletries, Russian and American meals, medical kits, printer parts, and camera equipment. The shuttle astronauts also installed a toilet, oxygen generator, and treadmill in the new living quarters, and ran power and TV cables up the outside. Atlantis completed its successful 12-day mission on Sept. 20, having logged 4.9 million miles.

 Mastracchio, who served as a mission specialist on the flight, STS-106, had worked as a flight controller on 17 missions. He was selected as an astronaut candidate and started training in 1996. As the flight engineer during Atlantis' launch and landing, he monitored key shuttle systems and used the 50-foot long robot arm to aid his crewmates during spacewalks.

 He told the Waterbury Republican in August that he considered the mission of his flight as vital to the continuation of man's exploration into space. "NASA is going to learn a lot about long-term travel in space; this information can be used to build permanent colonies on the moon or even to go to Mars some day."

Bob Mance ’49 and his wife, Mary, joined 20 other alumni and their guests on the RAA-sponsored tour “Impressions of France, Switzerland, Rhine River Cruise, and Paris,” which took place May 2-16.

Everywhere—thanks to the Rensselaer Alumni Association, which sponsors six tours a year to destinations around the world. Tours are competitively priced, and come with an advantage other tours don’t: you’ll travel with people who are sure to share your
interests—other Rensselaer alumni. For more information on upcoming tours, contact program coordinator John Buckley ’49 at (518) 274-6562 or write to him c/o Office of Alumni Relations, 1301 Peoples Ave., Troy, NY 12180.

February 12 - 25
Hawaiian Panorama - Tour four Hawaiian Islands.

March 12 - 21
Costa Rica and Panama Canal - Rain forests, volcanoes, plants, birds and wildlife, plus the exciting Panama Canal transit.

May 3 - 17
Passage on the Elbe River - Visit Berlin, Krakow, Warsaw, and Prague, and cruise the Elbe between Berlin and Prague.

May 28 - June 5
Alumni College in Sorrento - Visit Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, the Isle of Capri, and the famed Amalfi Coast.

June 27 - July 9
Waterways of the Scottish Glens - Cruise the Caledonian Canal, visiting Glasgow, Inverness, Loch Ness, Fort William, Edinburgh, and other towns on the new Lord of the Glens.

Sept. 20 - Oct. 2
Vienna and the Magical Blue Danube - Tour Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, and Melke while cruising the Danube, with an optional three nights in Prague.

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