1-26-2005 Faculty Senate Memorials

Henry Burlage

Dave Carson

Romesh Diwan

Mark Jordan

Gerald Kliman

Carlton Lemke

Amy Perkins

Edward “Ted” Shuster


Memorial for Henry Burlage

Submitted January 26, 2005 by Ajayan Pulickel


I certainly feel honored and humbled to give this memorial to pay respect to late Henry Burlage Jr., class of 44. Perhaps his kindness and love towards RPI has had the most direct impact on my academic career as the first recipient of his kind endowment, the Henry Burlage Chair in Engineering, which Henri endowed in his father’s name. As we salute him today as one of the illustrious past member of our faculty, let us remember his achievements and life, albeit briefly. Before he passed away, Henry had been retired for several years after a great career as an educator, NASA administrator, and consultant. He was an instructor and assistant professor in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer from 1945 to 1952.  Former Rensselaer President George Low ’48 was one of his students as were several professors emeriti, William Brower ’50, Robert Duffy ’51 and Robert Loewy ’47.  Professor Burlage also served as the first dean of women students under President Livingston Houston.  The "first dean of women" line deserves explanation. RPI admitted a number of women students after the war, and needed a place for them to live. President Houston moved them into the President's House, then on Maple Avenue, and asked Henry, a brand new assistant professor, to serve as a faculty member in residence. He left Rensselaer to become a professor of aeronautical engineering at Case Institute of Technology, now Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.  Professor Burlage was the first director of its Propulsion and Aerodynamics Laboratory.  During his time at Case, he was awarded a National Science Foundation faculty fellowship to conduct research in propulsion at Cambridge University in England. His career in research and academia subsequently took him to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the California Institute of Technology, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He was vice president of academic affairs at Stevens Institute of Technology for several years before retiring.  He returned to California and was invited to become vice president of engineering and later a consultant at A.C. Martin & Associates, an architecture and engineering firm in Los Angeles. 

In remembering Henry, let us choose to remember the high standards and principles that led him to fulfill a successful career. Let us choose to remember his kindness and closeness to RPI. Let us honor him for his contributions to the engineering community and society and remember him as a friend. Let us hope that his blessings will be with us as we try to build and take RPI to the future. Thank you.







David Loeser Carson

Delivered by Merrill Whitburn


David Carson was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania and grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a young man, he was a soloist in a Presbyterian Church choir and an announcer on radio station WGAL.  He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, where he participated in ROTC.  He also obtained his mater’s degree in English from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware.


Dave was commissioned as an officer and pilot in the United States Air Force and resided in eight states and Germany during his 21-year career.  He achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel and served as fighter pilot, test pilot, combat commander, professor and director of Communications at the United States Air Force Academy, and director of Advanced Education for the U.S. Air Force in Europe.


As a fighter pilot, he flew the F-80, F-86, F-101, F-102, F-106, and F-4.  In the F-4, he flew 185 combat missions out of Danang Air Force Base in Vietnam from 1968-1969.  His military honors include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Award, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal, and Top Gun ADIV.


In 1976, Dave retired from the Air Force to join the technical communication program in the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication at Rensselaer.  Rensselaer was already a notable pioneer in the field, having established the first degree program – a master’s – and the first continuing education program, both in 1953.  Dave contributed to additional innovations in the field at Rensselaer.  In 1978, he founded Rensselaer’s Technical Writing Institute for Teachers.  In 1979, he was part of a team that established the first Ph.D. track in technical communication in the country.  In 1980-82, he pioneered an educational partnership with business, a full M.S. in Technical Communication taught on-site at the Bell Laboratories in New Jersey.  In 1988-89, he worked with a team to pioneer an Industrial Affiliates Program in Technical Communication.


He assumed leadership roles in such national organizations as the NCTE Committee on Technical and Scientific Communication, the Society for Technical Communication, and the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.  He consulted widely with industry, making significant contributions at Pratt & Whitney, Data General, Bell Labs, and Cahners Publishing.  For many years, he edited the Baywood Series in Technical Communication and the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication.  Among his honors were the Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Communication Award, Queensland Institute of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; Fellow, Association of Teachers of Technical Writing; and Associate Fellow, Society for Technical Communication.


He is survived by his wife, Louise; his daughter, Kathryn; his son David; his son Daniel.



Romesh Diwan

Delivered by Professor Donald F. Vitaliano


Romesh K. Diwan, Emeritus Professor of Economics, died in January 2004. Professor Diwan joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1968 and retired in 2002. During his long career, he served as Director of the Graduate Program in Economics and as Chairman of the Department.    Romesh was born in India and received his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, England. His thesis advisor was Professor Sir Alan Walters, an eminent British economist who was principal advisor to Lady Margaret Thatcher. It was Sir Alan who taught Romesh his superb technical skills as an econometrician—a quantitative economist using statistics and mathematics to address empirical issues.


From the outset of his career at Rensselaer, Dr. Diwan was an extraordinarily hard working and productive scholar. Many of his early papers dealt with the measurement and sources of economic growth in developed and less developed countries, especially India. His work frequently appeared in the top journals, including the American Economic Review, the preeminent journal in the field. His total academic output amounts to 150 papers and five books. He also supervised approximately 40 Ph.D. students. Details of Professor Diwan's publications and students trained may be found at the following website: www.rpi.edu/~diwanj/diwanj/romeshcv.htm


Professor Diwan became Chairman of the Economics Department in 1982, following the untimely death of Professor Edwin J. Holstein, a much beloved colleague. It was Romesh who suggested that we jointly fund an economics prize in honor of Professor Holstein which is given at Commencement. President George Low strongly supported him as Chairman, and encouraged his efforts to build up the department by funding the Vollmer Fries Lecture Series in Economics. Dr Diwan used the money to bring world class economists, including several Nobel Laureates, to Rensselaer to deliver public lectures.


During the 1970's and 80's Professor Diwan began to meld his technical economic ideas with the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, thus launching an entirely new sub-area within economics known as Gandhian Economics. He was founding chairperson of the still-active Association of Indian Economic Studies, which held its first convention here in the Capital District in 1975. Diwan's views, as expressed in numerous articles and several books helped shaped policy in India. Professor Diwan was an invited guest when the BJP government was inaugurated in 1999.


I am pleased to announce that Professor Diwan's wife, Joyce, has generously endowed a lecture series in her husband's honor. The Economics Department plans to hold the first Romesh Diwan Memorial Lecture in the Fall of 2005.             



Mark Jordan

Delivered by Mike O’Rourke


Mark Jordan, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and former Dean of Continuing Education at Rensselaer died March 16, 2004.  Mark served with the Sixth Seabees Battalion, which fought for Guadalcanal in the South Pacific during World War II.  For the service, he received the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor.


In 1963, after 26 years of service in the Navy, Mark undertook a second career in academia.  He attended Rensselaer where he received his MS and Ph.D. in construction management.  Thereafter, he worked for 10 years as a professor, chairman of Civil Engineering and Dean of Continuing Studies at Rensselaer.  Mark retired from RPI as a Professor Emeritus in 1976.  He continued as a benefactor and supporter of the Civil Engineering Department.



Gerald Kliman

Remarks by Prof Shep Salon


Dr Gerald Kliman of Niskayuna died on Friday Jan 30, 2004 as the result of a car accident.  Jerry had been at RPI for 3 years. I have known him for around 20 years as a colleague and friend.  After time in the military and industry, he received his PhD at MIT in 1965.  He then went to work at GE research labs where he had a long and distinguished career.  He has won numerous awards, prize papers, and other recognition.  He was recently awarded his 88th patent and there are many still in the pipeline.  After retirement at GE Jerry joined us in the Electric Power Engineering department as research faculty.  He was a born teacher.  In talking to his colleagues at GE I get the same story.  He was a natural nurturer and mentor.  All young GE engineers sat in his office getting advice and guidance and were never turned away. He brought this to RPI, taking grad students home with him.  Working at night with them on presentations in English, giving career advice.  Jerry was a multifaceted individual.  Music was a big part of his life.  He was a fine violinist and was proud of a photograph of him standing next to Yehudi Munuin in his office.  My wife is also a musician and Jerry was always eager for a new project of performance.  Jerry was also a man of peace.  As part of his work with his synagogue, he was instrumental in an interfaith dialogue project which was very successful and well attended in which member of the Jewish, Muslem, Christian and Hindu faiths met regularly to discuss a wide range of issues.  Jerry was very proud of this. 


Personally he was a delightful man. Always with a smile and a kind word.  He was positive, optimistic and full of energy, Just about every day he would come into my office saying “I have an idea about this or that” he was a problem solver. Jerry leaves behind his wife Edith, two sons, Daniel and Jonathan, a brother Albert and many, many friends. He will be missed.

Carlton E. Lemke

A Eulogy by Joe Ecker and Mike Kupferschmid


The first thing that we should say is that Carl would never approve of this eulogy.  In fact, we are sure that he would be disgusted by it. Carl did not approve of many things that most take for granted.  For example, when Carl retired from RPI, he refused to attend a retirement dinner in his honor and so there was no such dinner.  Well Carl, like it or not, we have some things to say.  


Here is some background on Joe and Mike to put our remarks in perspective.  Carl Lemke is the reason that Joe came to RPI in 1968 after hearing Carl give a seminar at the University of Michigan. Carl introduced Joe to handball, hunting for Herkimer diamonds, and many other activities that should not be mentioned here.  While Mike was Joe’s doctoral student, he took several courses from Carl.  Both Joe and Mike were friends with Carl and enjoyed many hours of conversations and dinners with Carl.


Carl Lemke made many pioneering contributions in mathematics.  In 1954, Carl invented the Dual Simplex Method for linear programming.  In 1964, Carl discovered an ingenious algorithm for solving bi-matrix games and linear complementarity problems that is now called “Lemke’s Method”.  In 1978, Carl and John Nash were awarded the John Von Neumann Theory Prize for their contributions to the theory of games.  Carl was the first Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics, a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science, and was awarded the William H. Wiley Distinguished Faculty Award at RPI.


But to remember Carl only for his superb academic achievements would miss the true picture of the man.   Here are some of our memories and stories that will help us all remember why Carl Lemke was such a unique individual.


Carl was born and raised in Buffalo NY.  His father left when Carl was an infant and his mother supported the family as a scrub woman. Carl was of German decent and he grew up in a Polish neighborhood.  Somehow this resulted in lots of fist fights and this was his introduction to the art of boxing.  After high school and some course work at the University of Buffalo, Carl joined the Army and was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne where he was a standout on the boxing team.  He was the company clerk and he learned to type.  After the Army, Carl returned to finish his B.A. (Magna cum laude) at the University of Buffalo.  He finished his PhD in 1953 at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.  After a short venture into industry at GE and RCA, Carl became a faculty member at RPI in 1956.


When Carl was named the Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics in 1967, he did not ask for an increase in pay or a nice discretionary fund, he only asked for an IBM electric typewriter.  Carl would sit for hours typing up his course notes which were famous for their punctuation and abbreviations.  Never before had any of us seen parentheses, brackets, exclamation points, semi-colons, colons, dashes, double and triple underscores, asterisks, and combinations of all the above in almost every sentence scattered with lots of abbreviations.  Carl’s way of thinking and talking was similar to his way of typing. 


Most people had extreme difficulty in understanding their conversations with Carl.  Having a conversation with Carl was like standing in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night.  It was sometimes uncomfortable but every now and then there was a lightning flash of brilliance. 


One time, Dick DiPrima, as department Chair, had a conversation with Carl and upon leaving the room remarked to Joe, “I just had a one hour conversation with Carl and I didn’t understand a thing that we talked about”.   Maybe Carl knew that conversations with him were difficult because he loved to watch the movie entitled “The Quiet Man” over and over again.


Carl’s classroom blackboard technique was unique.  Often he would start on the right side (he did not write in Hebrew).  After filling up a five foot panel with what he called chicken scratches, he would pick the biggest open space on the board and start in the middle and fill up another panel.  Yes, these panels had all the punctuations and abbreviations that were found in his typing. When done with a panel, he would pick the biggest open space to the right or left and fill up another panel.  He continued until there was no space left.  Needless to say, students learned to never come late to class.


Carl loved to jog.  Now his jogging was at the pace of a walk but it looked like jogging in slow motion.  Even on his 5 and 6 mile jogs he would count every step.  Carl had a dry sense of humor.  For example, Carl would enter a restaurant knowing full well that the soda TAB was not served.  He would ask the waitress for a TAB.  Upon hearing that no TAB was available, Carl would say “ OK, make that a double dry Manhattan”.


After retirement, Carl moved to Tucson Arizona to be with his long-time companion, Elaine Knights.  Carl’s son, Paul, works for NSA in Maryland and his daughter, Susan, still works and lives in Troy.


Carl was a mentor and friend to us and we will not forget him.



Amy Perkins

Delivered by Michael Halloran


Born June 23, 1952, Amy Perkins grew up at military bases scattered around the world. She received BA and MA degrees at the University of Maine, then entered the Ph.D. program in English Literature at Rutgers, where she defended a dissertation on Renaissance drama in 1996.


Amy taught a lot, and she taught very, very well. For five years after completing her BA degree she taught high-school English, grades 9 through 12. During and after graduate school she taught at Rutgers, Purdue, Siena, the University of Maine, and here at RPI, where she served as a lecturer from 1989 until her death last summer. In 1993 she was appointed to a full-time position at Schenectady County Community College, where she advanced to the rank of Associate Professor. And on top of her heavy teaching and service obligations at SCCC, she continued to teach here at RPI, usually two courses per semester. Her evaluations were consistently among the highest in the Department of LL&C, and her disposition was consistently sunny in spite of a teaching load that most of us would find crushing. She also took on service jobs – judging submissions in our annual literary competition, participating in curriculum planning sessions – jobs which as an adjunct she wasn’t required to do and could be rewarded with nothing more than the thanks of her colleagues. And somehow she found the time and energy to present scholarly papers and publish in good academic journals with surprising frequency.


From one point of view, Amy Perkins was just one of a nationwide army of overworked and underpaid adjunct faculty members upon whom our colleges and universities rely to provide their students with a general education in the humanities. She belonged to that unfortunate minority who believe in teaching and humane scholarship as a vocation, believe in it with a conviction that makes them willing to accept conditions most of us would find unreasonable so long as they can pursue that vocation.


But Amy Perkins was a very special individual too. Colleagues remember the intensity and good humor that spilled out from the open door of her classroom. I always felt a twinge of envy when I passed her classroom and heard what was going on. Friends remember her hearty laugh, her kindness, her great devotion to her family, her ability to liven up a trip to a play or a movie with witty and insightful conversation. She saw life with clear eyes, and with the wit and generosity to laugh at much of what she saw.


Amy died on July 7, 2003, just two weeks beyond her 51st birthday. Her children, Alexander and Glynnis, will remember her as a devoted mother. Her husband, Alan Nadel, will remember her as a wife, lover, and intellectual companion. Her former students will remember her as the teacher who inspired in them a love of literature and language. The rest of us should remember Amy Perkins as a teacher and scholar who gave far more to Rensselaer than Rensselaer ever gave back to her.



Edward “Ted” Shuster ‘81

Delivered by Jun Abrajano 1-26-2005

Professor Edward “Ted” Shuster ‘81, a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, died unexpectedly on September 16th, 2004 near his home in Greenwich, New York.  He is survived by his mother Nancy, one sister, four brothers, and several nieces and nephews.  Ted’s father, William Shuster '39, served Rensselaer for more than 40 years, and we eulogized his memory in this Faculty Senate just a year ago.

Ted was an exceptional hydrogeologist, who broke new grounds in the understanding of rivers and watersheds.  The Hudson River Basin and Lake George were his research playgrounds.  Most recently, he was in the process of quantifying the intricate linkages between river flow, suspended particle transport and deposition, and dissolved organic carbon dynamics in the Upper Hudson.   This work carries crucial implications to understanding the transport and fate of particle-associated contaminants including PCBs and toxic metals in the Hudson and other river systems. 

Ted was also an extraordinary teacher. He was a favorite among students and known for his extensive knowledge and his infectious lecturing style.  One of Ted’s students, fondly recalled during his memorial service, how Ted “enticed” them with a free pizza if no one made any unit conversion mistake in the exams.  Ted most recently taught Environmental Geology, Groundwater Hydrology, and One Mile of the Hudson.   His enthusiasm for research on the Hudson and his understanding of its complex nature were best displayed in One Mile of the Hudson, a course that he team-taught with his friend and colleague Prof. Richard Bopp. 


Ted was an alumnus of the institute twice over.  He received a B.S. in geology from Rensselaer in 1981, an M.S. in geology from Pennsylvania State University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in geology from Rensselaer in 1994.


Ted was also an inspiring community leader.  He volunteered much of his time to the Silver Bay Association, a YMCA conference and training center in the Adirondacks.  He was an active singer and actor in local and regional theatres, and he most recently directed “Greenwich: The Musical in May of 2004.  Ted collaborated with composer and lyricist Bob Warren, and led more than eighty Greenwich residents to the show of their life, and about their life in the small upstate New York town.  He directed and inspired these raw local talents to perform their hearts out for three successful sold out shows.  In her tribute to Ted, one of the show’s actors, Barb Simoneau, noted the similarity between Ted’s short life and the oft-repeated advice he gave his actors.  The final bow” Ted would say “is not about you, but the ones you’re looking at out there.  You’re here for them.   It’s best done if it’s short… and…gracious… and.. grateful”.


Life is but a moment.  Ted lived his moment.  He lived it fully, and he lived it well.