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Alumni Involvement Makes It Happen

Welcome Barbeque

Bob Fopeano ’51 and other alumni met with members of Rensselaer’s Class of 2008 at the “welcome barbecue” hosted by the RAA. Photo by Kris Qua.

As Rensselaer undergoes a historic transformation, set in motion by The Rensselaer Plan, a key component of this “Renaissance at Rensselaer” is the involvement of alumni volunteers.

Alumni involvement is critical to the growth of many programs both on and off campus. Volunteers help recruit the finest students from around the globe. They help plan Reunions and regional events, organize networking opportunities, interact with current students, and offer expertise to departments. Alumni also are crucial to encouraging philanthropic support for the Annual Fund, class gifts at Reunion, and more.

The power of alumni volunteerism is clearly demonstrated in the accomplishments of the Class of 1951. Led by its steering committee — Howard Clarkson, Mike Cocca, Ernie Coleman, Fred Comstock, Bob DeSio, Bob Fopeano, Al Harrison, Walt Loick, Dick Lupi, Carl Machover, Tony Reale, Paul Vapnek, George Wheeler, and Fred Williamson — the class has made its presence felt in many ways.

The Reunion committee meets regularly to keep communication among classmates open during the period between five-year Reunions, and organizes mini-Reunions whenever and wherever possible. Members of the class are active on the 50 Year Club Board of Directors and with the Hudson-Mohawk Retirees Group. When campus events — such as the RAA Welcome Barbecue for incoming students — invite volunteers, Class of ’51 alumni always step forward to participate.

A special contribution has been the formation of three endowed funds supported wholly by donations from classmates. The Class of 1951 Teaching Award Fund recognizes deserving faculty for outstanding performance in their work with undergraduates. The Student Entrepreneurship Award provides seed money for students working in the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. And the Transfer Student Scholarship supports students transferring to Rensselaer in their junior year. Over the past five years, these awards have given class members the opportunity to take an active role in the academic life of campus as they develop relationships with the students and professors who are the beneficiaries of the awards.

“The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students is one of the reasons our committee members volunteer for RPI,” says steering committee chair George Wheeler. “It is incredibly rewarding to see these students succeed, and to know we’ve been a part of it. And we have a lot of fun while we do it!”

Interested in being part of the Renaissance at Rensselaer? There are as many ways to get involved as there are alumni willing to help. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, contact Laura Bedford at bedfol@rpi.edu or (518) 276-3757.

Featured Alumni Events are listed on the AlumServ Web site.

Alumni Programs Honored by CASE

Geoffrey SeberThe Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), District II, has honored the Office of Alumni Relations with three awards. In the Leadership Awards in Alumni Relations (Special Events), the RAA Back-to-Campus Speaker Series Mars Rover alumni visit won a Bronze Award, while the 1954 National Hockey Championship Anniversary Celebration won a Gold Award. Geoffrey Seber (left), program administrator, also was chosen as the “Rising Star” for 2004-05. The award is presented to a professional who is in the advancement field for five years or less, and who demonstrates potential for leadership in advancement programs, enthusiasm for and commitment to the advancement profession, and who understands the needs and goals of the philanthropic tradition. Seber, who has been with Alumni Relations since 2000, coordinates Legacy and student/alumni programs, and manages the Heffner Alumni House. 

RAA Visa® Credit Card and Financial Services

The RAA is pleased to announce the new RAA Visa Card, issued by U.S. Bank. With an RAA Visa Card, alumni can enjoy great rates and at the same time, support the RAA’s programs. Watch your mail for application information, or sign up online at www.alumni.rpi.edu.

IBM Laptop Discount for Alumni

The Rensselaer Alumni Association and IBM have partnered to provide IBM laptops at competitive prices exclusively for Rensselaer alumni. IBM Laptop T-42 and R-51 models are available at significant disounts. To take advantage of this offer, log-in to @RPInet at http://arpinet.rpi.edu using your alumni ID number, printed on the address label on the back cover of your printed magazine. Click on the “Products and Services” link to view current specials.

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

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