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 Class Notes Features

50 Year Club Notes

The following report comes from Paul Witbeck ’43, president of the 50 Year Club:

As President of the 50 Year Club, I accepted a very nice Lucite plaque with a piece of the old Approach on it. This will be brought to the Annual Meeting of the 50 Year Club at Reunion 2000 and with the approval of the 50 Year Club board, it will then be placed in the RPI Archives.   

The Retirees’ Club of the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter supported by the 50 Year Club has been active this year again. The 50 Year Club would like to assist any other regional club in establishing a similar daytime group for their senior members. For more information, call Paul Witbeck at (518) 785-8354 or e-mail at or snail mail at 27 E. Glenwood Dr. Latham, NY 12110.


Linn '65 Named to Federal Bench

Richard Linn ’65 has been named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He was nominated to be circuit judge by President Clinton Sept. 19, confirmed by the Senate Nov. 19, and he assumed duties of the office Jan. 1.   

At the time of his appointment, Linn had been a partner and practice group leader of the Electronics Practice Group, Intellectual Property Department, at Foley & Lardner since 1997. Prior to joining Foley & Lardner, he was a partner at Marks & Murase LLP from 1977 to 1997. He has 30 years’ experience in the patent, trademark, and copyright field and has appeared before U.S. District Courts and Courts of Appeals on behalf of major U.S., Japanese, and European corporate clients.   

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has nationwide jurisdiction over appeals involving patents, trademarks, and intellectual property, appeals from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Court of International Trade, the International Trade Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Court of Veteran Appeals, the Board of Contract Appeals, and from federal sector labor arbitrations. Appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has ultimate authority and jurisdiction in the interpretation of the law.   

Linn is the second Rensselaer graduate to be named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Arthur Gajarsa ’62 entered service as a circuit judge in September 1997.   

“I am very much looking forward to once again working with Judge Gajarsa as a colleague on the Court,” said Linn. “One more judge from RPI and we’ll have a hat trick!”   

After earning his bachelor of electrical engineering degree from Rensselaer, Linn began his career as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969.

Jones '67 Featured in Smithsonian Exhibition

Lou Jones ’67, photographer and owner of the Mind’s Eye studio in Boston, was selected to have his work featured in a major new exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition, titled Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, opened Feb. 3 and is on display at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C., through June 30. The exhibition will then travel to Milwaukee, Wis., Albany, N.Y., Corpus Christi, Texas, and other cities.   

Reflections in Black includes 300 photographs by 125 artists divided into three time periods: The First 100 Years, 1842-1942; Art and Black Activism; and Black History Deconstructed.   

Exhibit curator Deborah Willis selected four of Jones’ photo-graphs from a series of images he took of death row inmates. Rensselaer magazine featured Jones’ death row project in its March 1994 issue. In November 1996 Northeastern University Press published Jones’ book Final Exposure: Portraits From Death Row.   

Jones, who attended the opening reception with his 90-year-old mother, said it is an honor to be included in the Smithsonian exhibition.  

“It has taken a long time to be thought of as worthy enough to be on the same walls as the likes of Gordon Parks and Chester Higgins and Roy DeCarava,” he says. “The path I’ve taken as an artist since the days of RPI has never had a roadmap. Most of the effort has been alone and without role models, but Rensselaer gave me the ability to solve problems and that is the most important skill for an artist as well as an engineer.

“The Smithsonian recognition is a road sign that indicates I’m going the right way,” says Jones. “The journey continues.”   Rensselaer’s Shelnutt Gallery will mount an exhibit of Jones’ work in November 2000. This will be the fourth time Jones has exhibited in the campus gallery.

Fifty Years of the Houston Field House!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Houston Field House at Rensselaer. Home to hockey games, concerts, Commencements, and other large events, the former World War II warehouse has become a central part of campus and community life.   

To commemorate this milestone, Reunion 2000 will feature a display and history exhibition for alumni and visitors.   

We’d like your help! If you have a particular memory of the Field House, we’d love to hear it! Tell us about an unforgettable hockey game, a moment of Freakout madness, a memorable concert or dance, or an interesting Commencement.   

We would also love to collect old photos and memorabilia to illustrate the display. (We cannot return items.)

Help us preserve a living memory of this important part of Rensselaer history. Send your essays and memorabilia, before May 15, to:   Rensselaer Magazine “Fifty Years of the Houston Field House” Office of Marketing and Media Relations Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 110 8th Street Troy, NY 12180 Or, submit your essays via e-mail to: Lands $20 Million in Venture Capital began in the Rensselaer Incubator in 1998 with the two basic ingredients for a successful company—a great idea and the people to carry it to completion.   

One year later, the company has attracted the largest-ever venture capital commitment in Albany’s Capital Region—$20 million in financing from Warburg, Pincus, Equity Partners, L.P. That substantial investment has surprised many critics who say the area fails to attract significant venture capital.   

“A lot of people may say money won’t come here,” says Bela Musits ’75, director of Rensselaer’s Incubator Center. “But money goes to where good businesses and good ideas are. It landed here because GlobalSpec has a great idea and has a lot of smart people to put it into action.”   

Now housed in a 15,000-square-foot facility in the Rensselaer Technology Park, GlobalSpec—which offers a computer search service for engineers looking for specific items needed in product development—is projected to grow into an $80 million business within five years. It counts GE, Motorola, Boeing, and IBM as end-users and is the Internet’s leading online buying resource for engineers and technical buyers.  

John Schneiter, Thomas Brownell ’83 and Mark Gaulin ’90, with Andrea Schneiter, founded in 1996. Brownell, vice president and general manager, says he and John Schneiter, who is president and CEO, developed a preliminary business plan for what became GlobalSpec during a course they took at Rensselaer called Principles of Entrepreneurship.  

“That course was terrific for us,” Brownell says. “It got us really thinking about what is important in selecting a market and determining what type of business to go into. A lot of technologists may think up a great new technology and then go about trying to sell it. What the course focused on, however, was defining the type of business and its place in industry, then making it happen from that perspective.”   

With a patent pending on its SpecSearch(sm) technology, industry analysts predict that GlobalSpec’s impact on the marketplace will be profound. Its impact in the area’s “Tech Valley” is even more profound, considering New York state (excluding the city) attracted only $60 million in venture capital funding last year.

“That really calibrates your perspective on what a large impact $20 million is in this area,” Musits said. “It illustrates the value a company can get out of the environment here at Rensselaer and in the greater Capital Region.”

Symposium to Honor Ehrlich April 28, 2000

Symposium to Honor Ehrlich April 28, 2000 To honor Professor Emeritus Henry L. Ehrlich for his five decades of contributions to countless Rensselaer students and the Department of Biology, the department will hold a daylong scientific symposium on campus April 28. Speakers will represent the spectrum of Professor Ehrlich’s teaching and research career, including former graduate students, undergraduates, and professional colleagues.   

The symposium will be co-sponsored by the Eastern New York Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. ASM National Foundation lecturer Dr. Joseph Cooney of the University of Massachusetts Boston and Dr. Martha Howe, president-elect of the national ASM, will be part of the festivities.   

All biology alumni have received a personal invitation to attend. If you would like to participate in any way to honor this special Rensselaer educator or would like further information, please contact Professor Charles Boylen, who is coordinating all events, at [You can also view the symposium website:]


Rensselaer Alumni Magazine On-Line