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Making Connections

Student / Alumni Partnerships

One of the main goals of the RAA and of the Office of Alumni Relations is to facilitate alumni connections. These connections occur every day among the many members of the Rensselaer network, in classrooms, businesses, virtually, and at social gatherings. What you may not know is that some of the most rewarding partnerships are those that happen when alumni meet future alumni—Rensselaer’s current students. Many programs exist to foster interaction between students and alumni, and both groups are realizing the benefits of getting involved; Edith Werpachowski ’04 recently discovered for herself the global power of the Rensselaer alumni network.

Werpachowski is vice president for recruitment for the Red & White Student Organization—a group of students who serve as ambassadors for Rensselaer, generate pride in the university, and promote student awareness of the RAA. Activities include interfacing with alumni and community representatives at university events, participating in corporate executive visits, and promoting alumni speaker programs.

Werpachowski, a chemical engineering student, attended an alumni dinner last fall and was seated with Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Howard Isermann ’42 himself, the former trustee for whom the department is named. Werpachowski expressed her desire to experience different cultures while expanding her skills in her chosen field. Dordick was able to provide her with a contact at BASF in Germany, where she was able to land a great summer internship.

“I’m excited about this opportunity because I am minoring in German,” says Werpachowski. “It will allow me to work in my field of study in Germany at one of the world’s most successful chemical companies.”

Connecting with students can be rewarding on many levels. Look for opportunities to meet current students at affinity and regional chapter events, on campus at dinners, Reunions, and seminars, and virtually on Web discussion groups and listservs. You just might be able to make a difference in a student’s life, and enrich your own in the process.

Contact Alumni Relations at or (518)276-6205.

Rensselaer Loses Dedicated Volunteer John Buckley ’49

Rensselaer lost one of its most dedicated volunteers when John P. Buckley ’49 passed away this April. Buckley was well-known to alumni who participated in the RAA’s travel program as the program’s manager and a frequent guest on trips. He was a familiar figure to residents of the Troy community as well, having been city manager for more than a decade. Buckley spent more than 30 years in public service in the city, acting as commissioner of the Department of Public Utilities, overseeing the building of Troy’s new water filtration system in the 1960s, and the construction of the new City Hall and Riverfront Park. Troy’s water filtration plant was named in Buckley’s honor.

Buckley spent a great deal of time in the Office of Alumni Relations in his volunteer role as tour program manager. “He was an important part of our staff,” notes Jeff Schanz, acting director of alumni relations, “and he was instrumental in moving the travel program forward. We’ll miss his dedication, his humor, and his directness. He was a great volunteer, and a good friend.”

During this period of transition, contact alumni relations at or (518) 276-6205 for information.


The Office of Alumni Relations held the second annual Thankathon in April. The Thankathon concept is a simple one: Rensselaer’s best student volunteers—members of the Red & White Student Organization and RenXchange—contacted over 1,000 of the university’s best alumni volunteers to simply say “thank you” for their commitment and service to their alma mater. The students reached enrollment managers, mentors, board members, chapter leaders, and Reunion volunteers, as well as countless others. The alumni were gratified that Rensselaer took the time to offer a personal thank you, and especially pleased that the call came from a current student.

Receive E-Mailed News From Rensselaer

The Office of Alumni Relations wants to keep you informed of the latest Rensselaer news and alumni programs via its free e-mail newsletter. If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter, go to AlumServ at and click on the “Address Update” tab to fill in your e-mail address.


Please let us know your new address. Update it electronically on AlumServ, e-mail us at, or write to: Rensselaer Magazine, Office of Communications, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 or call (518) 276-6531.

Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003
President's View Your Mail From the Archives Hawk Talk Class Notes Features
Front Page At Rensselaer Milestones
In Memoriam Making a Difference Staying Connected
Rensselaer Home Page | RPInfo | AlumServ Home Page

Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

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