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Milestones

Ravi Kane, professor of chemical and biological engineering, has won the 2008 Young Investigator Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum. The award is reserved for “outstanding interdisciplinary research in nanoscience and nanotechnology” by researchers who are in the early stages of their professional careers. Kane also recently received the P.K. Lashmet Career Development Professorship. Named in honor of the retired Rensselaer professor of chemical and environmental engineering, the distinction was funded by a $1.5 million endowment from an anonymous donor.

Jacqueline Farmer, telecommunications analyst in the division of the chief information officer, is the recipient of the 2008 Pillar of Rensselaer Award, the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member. The award was presented at the 36th annual Service Recognition and Retirement Dinner, where Farmer was cited for her demonstrated understanding of Rensselaer’s mission and history, and was praised as a role model and mentor for other employees and students.

Robert Schlesinger, an experienced professional in university development and alumni relations, joined Rensselaer on Oct. 1 as the vice president for institute advancement. Schlesinger brings more than 23 years of advancement experience to the position, most recently as chief endowment officer and director of advancement and alumni of Singapore Management University. Prior to that position, Schlesinger was director of development and membership at the Zoological Society of San Diego. As Rensselaer’s vice president for institute advancement, Schlesinger will lead efforts to plan, coordinate, and implement fund-raising and relationship-building programs with Rensselaer students, faculty, alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations.

Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been named the new director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. Dordick, who has been with Rensselaer for a decade, plans to use his expertise in both academic research and entrepreneurship to continue to grow the reputation and research funding for the $80 million research center. As director, Dordick plans to use the center to direct the individual research of faculty and students toward discoveries that can easily be translated to actual lifesaving technologies and medicines.

Michael Jensen, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, was recently named founding technical editor for the new journal Applications in Thermal Science and Engineering. Jensen, an expert on heat transfer whose research includes fuel cells and solar conversion, will serve as the journal’s technical editor through January 2014. Jensen, who has served on editorial boards of several other journals, is a member of Rensselaer’s Center for Multiphase Research, Center for Future Energy Systems, Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research, and Center for Automation Technologies and Systems.

Barbara Ruel, director of women in engineering and diversity in the School of Engineering, was recently appointed a director of the national Women in Engineering Pro Active Network (WEPAN). Ruel will serve a two-year term on the organization’s board of directors, in the role of director of membership. WEPAN’s aim is to improve engineering education by creating understanding of issues relevant to attracting and retaining female students, and by working to transform culture in engineering education to retain graduate and undergraduate women.

Stanley Dunn, professor of biomedical engineering and associate dean of the School of Engineering at Rutgers University, has joined Rensselaer as the vice provost and dean of graduate education. In his new position, Dunn will be responsible for overseeing the Institute’s doctoral and master’s degree programs. Along with assuring the overall quality of graduate education at Rensselaer, Dunn will work closely with Rensselaer’s schools to help advance their academic missions.

George Handelman, a longtime member of the Rensselaer community who spent more than a half century teaching, researching, and volunteering for the Institute, died Sept. 13. Handelman joined Rensselaer as a professor of applied mathematics, and later became chairman of the mathematics department and dean of the School of Science. He was also named the Amos Eaton Professor. A respected researcher in his field, Handelman published more than 60 articles focused on structural stability and vibration, as well as acoustics and mathematical modeling of biological functions. A dedicated teacher and mentor, Handelman earned both the William H. Wiley Distinguished Faculty Award and the David M. Darrin Counseling Award. He was integral to the development of a strong computing program at Rensselaer, and helped to bring the first computer to the Institute. Handelman was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the American Mathematical Society. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and a doctorate from Brown University.

Ned Harkness, who coached RPI men’s hockey and lacrosse teams to national championships, died Sept. 19 at his home in Rochester, N.Y. Harkness re-started the Rensselaer mens’ hockey program in 1949-50 and quickly brought the team to national prominence. He enjoyed 10 winning seasons and saw three of his teams play in the NCAA Tournament, winning the 1954 National Championship to become the first coach in NCAA history to win national titles in two sports. In addition to resurrecting the hockey program, Harkness served as head men’s lacrosse coach, compiling a school record 109 wins and leading his team to the 1952 National Championship. In 1948 the lacrosse team competed against the British All-Stars in the Olympics as an exhibition sport, tying the British team before a crowd of 60,000 fans. Harkness went on to coach at Cornell University, where he won the 1967 and 1970 National Championships in hockey. A member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Rensselaer Athletics Hall of Fame, Harkness was inducted into Rensselaer’s Hockey Ring of Honor in 2007.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.