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RAA Awards Sam Wait ’53 Top Honor

* RAA Awards Sam Wait ’53 Top Honor

Photo by Stanley Blanchard

Samuel Wait Jr. ’53, professor of chemistry and associate dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer, was honored with the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) Distinguished Service Award at the 2005 RAA Awards dinner June 10. The award recognizes “service of the highest order to Rensselaer, to a profession, to the nation, and to humanity.”

“Sam is the heart and soul of the School of Science,” President Shirley Ann Jackson said in presenting the RAA’s highest honor to Wait. “His long tenure as professor of chemistry and associate dean has been marked by dedication to his profession, enthusiasm for his students, and respect for his university. He has a famously giving spirit and a deep concern for everyone and everything in the educational enterprise to which he has devoted much of his life.”

Wait came to Rensselaer as an undergraduate student, and stayed to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in physical chemistry. After studying in London as a Fulbright Scholar and teaching and working elsewhere, he returned to Rensselaer in 1961 and has remained.

As an alumnus, he has long been active in class and association activities, and in particular has taken on leadership roles on behalf of the Annual Fund. He has received numerous honors including the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1988, the Alumni Admissions Recognition of Excellence Award in 1993, the Alumni Key in 1994, the Demers Medal in 1997, and the RAA Fellows Award in 2003.

“It has been a privilege and pleasure to be associated with Rensselaer,” said Wait, on accepting the award. “I look forward to continuing this association as the Institute becomes increasingly recognized as the world-class technological university that it is, and its alumni — you — become ever more prominent in the future.”

During his acceptance remarks, Wait surprised the audience by announcing a pledge by him and his wife, Carol, to the Renaissance at Rensselaer campaign in support of undergraduate research.

“When I came to Rensselaer in the fall of 1949, I never even dreamed that over 55 years later I would still be here,” said Wait. “I am very deeply honored to be a Rensselaer alumnus and to have received this very prestigious award.”

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