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At Rensselaer—Milestones


John Schumacher ’66, professor and chair of science and technology studies, died Nov. 18 after a long struggle with cancer. Known for his unbounded willingness to devote time and thought to students, colleagues, and friends, Schumacher was a beloved presence on campus.   

“There are two people at Rensselaer who have been icons. One is Dean [Thomas] Phelan. The other is John Schumacher. They hold places in the community unlike anyone else. I would call John the conscience of the community,” says Doyle Daves Jr., interim provost.   

In 1966, Schumacher graduated cum laude from Rensselaer with a degree in mathematics. Over the next three years, he earned master’s degrees from Rensselaer in mathematics and philosophy. In 1974, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and started teaching at Rensselaer.   

“I’m deeply saddened by John’s death,” says Langdon Winner, professor of science and technology studies. “He was a man of vision and relentless creativity, a wonderful person, friend, and colleague. His legacy shines all over this campus in the novel educational programs he created and in the lives of hundreds of people fortunate enough to have known him.”   

Schumacher’s academic interests were far-ranging, and included theories of knowledge, philosophy of natural and social science, and philosophy of education. In 1989, he published his only book, Human Posture: The Nature of Inquiry.   

“He never accepted what was,” Daves says. “He always wanted better. He was rough on his colleagues but never on the students. He wasn’t a man you could ignore. He didn’t have a need for facades. The way he dressed and the way he was were a deliberate statement. Here was a man who was a tenured professor, a department chair, and he was an anarchist. If ever there was an oxymoron...”   

Schumacher is survived by his wife and three daughters. He once told a newspaper reporter, “We need to do some caring in the workplace, to make it possible to work happily and live happily at the same time.”   

The Department of Science and Technology Studies set up a Web page that featured personal remembrances of Schumacher.

Arthur G. Schultz, William Weightman Walker Professor of Chemistry, died Jan. 20, four days after suffering a stroke. Schultz, 57, was internationally recognized for his research in synthetic organic chemistry and the application of photochemistry to organic synthesis. “He was probably our premier chemist here, and the most universally respected person in our department. He was a caring, selfless man. We could bring a Nobel Prize winner in to replace him, and we’d be the less for it,” said Tom Apple, chair of the chemistry department. Schultz earned his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1970, and did postdoctoral work at Columbia University. He taught for six years at Cornell University before joining the Rensselaer faculty in 1978. In 1988, he assumed the William Weightman Walker Professorship, the oldest chaired professorship at Rensselaer. Schultz was also the recipient of the prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He mentored 45 graduate students, 47 postdoctoral associates, and 50 undergraduates in his laboratories. He published almost 200 journal articles and presented more than 200 seminars at universities and corporations. In 1997, Schultz was appointed adjunct professor of pharmacology and neuroscience at Albany Medical College.

Arthur Sanderson has been named vice president for research, responsible for advancing the research enterprise across the full range of academic disciplines and interdisciplinary activities at Rensselaer. As vice president for research, Sanderson will work closely with the president and provost in the development and implementation of policies and practices relating to all aspects of the research mission of the campus. Sanderson joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1987 as professor and head of the electrical, computer, and systems engineering department. He served as chair until 1994. Sanderson played a major role in the founding of Rensselaer’s New York State Center for Advanced Technology and was co-director 1988 to 1990. He has also served as co-principal investigator at the school’s Agile Manufacturing Research Institute. Most recently, Sanderson has been on leave while serving for two years as director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Electrical and Communications Systems, where he managed a staff of 20 professionals and was responsible for a $50 million budget for research. Sanderson received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brown University in 1968, graduating magna cum laude. In 1972, he earned his doctorate in electrical engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a fellow of the IEEE and AAAS and served as president of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society from 1989 to 1990.

Stewart Stabley has been appointed director of development for Rensselaer. Stabley most recently was interim associate vice president for development at the University of Delaware, where he helped plan the school’s first comprehensive capital campaign. Prior to that position, Stabley was director of development for the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware. He served as vice president for institutional advancement at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., from 1992 to 1994, and held the same title at Illinois State University 1990 to 1992. Stabley has a bachelor’s in journalism from Penn State and a master’s in public relations and communications from Syracuse University.

Alan Balfour, dean of Rensselaer’s School of Architecture, has been awarded the prestigious Topaz Medallion of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The Topaz Medallion honors lifetime achievement in teaching, creative work, and service in the advancement of education. Hailed by the AIA as “an internationally acclaimed author, lecturer, and architectural researcher,” Balfour was honored for work that “tends to transcend boundaries within and outside the conventional field of architecture,” according to Theodore Garduque, who chaired the selection committee. At Rensselaer, Balfour has introduced post-professional programs in sonics, informatics, building conservation, and urban systems. His leadership has also included the networking of architecture studios and the creation of a new multimedia lab. He is the author of award-winning books on the architecture of Berlin and a landmark study of Rockefeller Center. J. Wiley and Sons will publish his latest work, New York: World City.

Wilfredo “Freddie” Colón and Julie Stenken, both assistant professors of chemistry, have received National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Awards, aimed at young faculty members actively engaged in research and education. Col’ on received a $450,000, four-year grant to study the mechanism of protein folding. The results of his work may have practical applications in medicine and biotechnology, and could include insight into disease-causing genetic mutations that result in “mad-cow” disease and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Stenken received a four-year, $300,000 award to research in vivo sensing devices, used to perform microdialysis. Stenken hopes to overcome two obstacles faced by in vivo sensors: rejection by the body’s own defense system, and faulty sensor calibration. Sometimes, the presence of a probe in the body changes the way the sensor reacts, thus giving the doctor inaccurate information about chemical concentrations at the tissue level.

David Haviland ’64 has been appointed interim vice president for institute advancement. Haviland, who has served as vice president for student life since 1994, also served as dean of the School of Architecture from 1980 to 1990. He was director for the Center for Architectural Research from 1969 to 1977. Haviland is the recipient of the James L. Haecker Distinguished Leadership Award in Architectural Research and also earned an Institute Honor from the American Institute of Architects. Haviland replaces Robbee Baker Kosak, who has been named vice president for development and alumni advancement at Carnegie Mellon University. As vice president for institute advancement at Rensselaer, her work included the creation of the Institute’s first integrated markSeting unit, which has greatly increased international awareness of the Institute’s reputation in research and teaching. Under Kosak’s leadership, university fund raising reached a record annual high of $35.5 million for 1998-99.

George List, professor and chair of civil engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). List has been developing tools to analyze highway capacities for unsignalized intersections and roundabouts and tools for forecasting and analyzing freight flows in major metropolitan areas. He also helped create the Hazardous Materials Uniform Transport Act, the regulatory framework by which hazardous materials are now shipped. List joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1984 and is active in numerous professional organizations.


Charles Carletta has been named secretary of the Institute and general counsel. He has been Rensselaer’s principal attorney for more than five years, as a partner in the law firm of Pattison Sampson Ginsberg and Griffin. Carletta has devoted most of his professional career to issues in higher education. He has lectured and written widely on university legal issues and is the author of a chapter in a new book on the administration of campus discipline. Carletta received a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College in 1966 and a degree of Juris Doctor from the Albany Law School of Union University in 1969. He is admitted to all courts in the state of New York, the United States Court of Military Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.


Sheila Talton was appointed to a four-year term on the Rensselaer Board of Trustees. Talton is president and chief executive officer of Unisource Network Services Inc., which provides network integration consulting. She founded the company in 1986. Today, it serves Fortune 500 companies, major educational and health-care institutions, and public agencies. Talton has bachelor’s degrees in marketing and speech communications from Northern Illinois University and has taken graduate courses in the master’s of information systems technology program there. She is on the board of directors at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and is vice chair of the Information Technology Senior Managers’ Forum.


Thomas Zimmie, professor of civil engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, one of the highest professional recognitions a civil engineer can achieve. An expert in geotechnical engineering, Zimmie was one of the early researchers to apply geotechnical engineering to the solution of environmental problems. His research has focused on the recycling of waste paper sludge and its use as cover material for landfills. Zimmie, who joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1973, is a registered professional engineer.


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