At Rensselaer

Milestones

Bela MusitsBela Musits '75 has been named director of Rensselaer's Incubator Program. At GE Research and Development he was directly involved in the early development of robotics in modern manufacturing and played a major role at IBM in the creation of computer-guided systems for robotic surgery. Immediately prior to accepting his new position, Musits headed his own company, BELAINE, LLC., which provided strategic planning, management, and production operations consulting services to businesses throughout the United States. Musits earned Rensselaer bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering in 1975 and 1976 and an MBA degree in 1979. He holds three U.S. patents. "We are very fortunate, as we near the Incubator's 20th anniversary, to recruit Bela Musits, who is eminently qualified to lead the Incubator to the next level in its development," said Michael Wacholder, director of the Rensselaer Technology Park. Founded in 1980, the Rensselaer Incubator Program was one of the first university-based high-tech business incubators in the country. It currently serves 21 companies that employ 193 people. More than 80 percent of the companies that have graduated from the incubator are still in business.

William JenningsWilliam Jennings '66 has been appointed acting vice provost for professional and distance education. Jennings will oversee and develop professional master's, distance learning, and continuing education programs for the Office of P&DE. Jennings will also serve as the academic affairs liaison with Rensselaer at Hartford. Jennings was named the first Dean of Continuing Education in 1987 and had primary responsibility for the launching of what was known as the RSVP program. He was appointed vice provost for computing and information technology in November 1989 and was named to his current position as chair of electrical, computer, and systems engineering in 1994.

Arthur BerglesArthur Bergles, Clark and Crossan Professor of Engineering Emeritus, has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oporto, Portugal. Bergles also has received the Luikov Medal, the highest recognition of the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer. Since retiring from Rensselaer in 1997, Bergles has been lecturing throughout the world. He also continues to work with several doctoral students at Rensselaer.

Boleslaw Szymanski, professor of computer science and associate dean of science for information technology, was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) "for contributions to parallel and distributed computing." Szymanski is the first faculty member in the School of Science to be granted this honor, according to Dean Doyle Daves. "The Rensselaer School of Engineering is well represented among the fellows of the IEEE," said Daves. "But this is an unusual and impressive honor for our School of Science."

Walter Kroner, professor of architecture, was an invited panelist at the third annual National Summit on Building Performance in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29. The keynote speaker was Gen. Colin Powell. Kroner's panel, led by Bruce Nussbaum, editorial page editor of Business Week, discussed "The Next Generation of Work Environments" and focused on new technologies that will enable the redesign of work environments to foster productivity and creativity.
  John Salerno, professor of biology, has been named director of bioinformatics programs. Salerno, who was instrumental in the development of the new bachelor's degree program in bioinformatics, is now developing a graduate program in the field. The programs are supported, in part, by a $1.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 John Schumacher '66, chair of the Department of Science and Technology Studies, accepted the Excellence in Education Award from the Electronic Document Systems Foundation at a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn. The award, for Innovation in Higher Education in the Field of Document Systems, is sponsored by Xerox and was given to the STS department "for innovative educational programs which address industry issues and reflect current technologies that benefit industry and society."

James TienJames Tien '66, acting dean of engineering, has received the Joseph G. Wohl Outstanding Career Award from the IEEE Society on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. This is the society's highest award, recognizing outstanding professional contributions to systems engineering concepts, methodology, design, education, and management. Tien is the youngest recipient in the history of the award.

Xi-Cheng Zhang, professor of physics, has been selected a Distinguished Lecturer for 1998-99 by the Laser and Electro-Optics Society. The program was created to honor those who have made technical contributions of high quality, and to enhance the programs of society chapters.

Karen Cummings of the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, and John Carter of the Department of Chemistry have been named Edward Hamilton Clinical Faculty Fellows in support of their dedication to undergraduate education. The appointments will provide additional funds for travel and program development. Lally School Dean Joseph Ecker, the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Educator, will serve as a mentor to both Cummings and Carter. The Hamilton professorships were originally created in 1975 with gifts from Edward P. Hamilton '07 "to encourage excellence in education in all fields and at all levels at Rensselaer."

Selmer Bringsjord, director of the Minds and Machines Lab and professor of philosophy, will present "Artificial Intelligence and Computer Games" at the 1999 American Association for Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium Series. The symposium will be held March 22-24 at Stanford University.

Richard Burke, assistant professor of management, has been named director of the MBA program at Rensselaer's Lally School of Management and Technology. Burke, who earned his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1994.

Howard KaufmanHoward Kaufman '62, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, died Jan. 31. Kaufman, who received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Rensselaer, joined the faculty in 1969. During his years here, he supervised 23 doctoral students and numerous graduate students. In 1994 his textbook Direct Adaptive Control Algorithms was published. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Kaufman worked at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory and General Electric's Research and Development Laboratory.

Jay Reid Gould, a longtime professor of communication at Rensselaer, died Feb. 8 at the age of 92. Before retiring in 1972, Gould was the Louis Ellsworth Laflin Professor of English in the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication (LL&C). "In many ways it makes sense to think of Jay Gould as the father of technical communication," said LL&C Acting Chair Mike Halloran, who came to Rensselaer as a graduate student in 1967 when Gould was department chair. "He developed the technical writing program here and had a leading role in developing the profession beyond Rensselaer." In 1953, Gould established the country's first master's degree in technical communication at Rensselaer. In the 1960s he played a key role in establishing the doctoral degree in rhetoric and communication at Rensselaer. Gould was a founding member of the Society for Technical Communication, which named him a fellow in 1965. In 1992, he was the recipient of its President's Award. The society annually confers the Jay R. Gould Award for excellence in teaching technical communication. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, as well as the Baywood Publishers book series in technical communication. At Rensselaer, Gould co-founded the RPI Campus Players, where he directed numerous productions. Born in Nova Scotia, Gould attended the University of British Columbia, Acadia University, and Harvard.


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