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Class Notes Features

James Mitchell '51
James Mitchell ’51 Receives National Engineering Award

James Mitchell ’51 has received the 2006 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award for Education. Mitchell is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Via Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech.

The OPAL Awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders whose accomplishments have made significant differences in design, construction, public works, education, and management.

Mitchell received the award April 26 at a dinner in Washington, D.C. Mitchell’s career in geotechnical engineering spans more than 50 years. He served as one of the leading engineers who assisted NASA with its moon landings and a basic understanding of how lunar behave. He has contributed influential on the chemistry and treatment wastes in groundwater and to the understanding of how soils behave during His writings on seismic strengthening dams are considered a classic to the profession.

Before joining the Virginia Tech 1994, Mitchell spent 36 years University of California at Berkeley, where endowed chair. In his career, he 74 Ph.D. students and has written 350 publications, including the reference, Fundamentals of Soil.

Among his numerous awards Mitchell was elected to the National of Sciences in 1998 and the National Academy of Engineering in 1976.

NAE Elects Rensselaer Alumni

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced the election of 76 new members in February, including three Rensselaer alumni. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology.

David Goodman David Goodman ’60, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y., was cited for “contributions to the theory and practice of wireless communications and digital signal processing.” He currently holds a temporary position as program director in the Computer and Network Systems Division of the National Science Foundation. Before moving to the NSF in February, he was director of the NSF Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology. He has made fundamental contributions to digital signal processing, speech coding, and wireless information networks.
Sau-Hai (Harvey) Lam Sau-Hai (Harvey) Lam ’54 is the Edwin Wilsey ’04 Professor Emeritus of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. The Academy cited him “for contributions to aerospace engineering in the areas of plasma flows, combustion, turbulence, and adaptive controls.” Lam, who received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1958, joined the Princeton faculty two years later. He led an active career as a teacher, researcher, and administrator for four decades, transferring to emeritus status in 1999. His current research interests include fluid mechanics, plasmas, chemical kinetics, Lagrangian dynamics, nonlinear control theory, and singular perturbation methodologies.
John Linehan John Linehan, M.M.E. ’62, is a consulting professor of bioengineering at Stanford University and the executive editor of, a new opensource Web portal in biomedical engineering. He was recognized for “research on the pulmonary mechanics and metabolism of critical bioactive agents and for innovations in bioengineering education and professional development.” Linehan was vice president of the Whitaker Foundation from 1998-2005. Prior to joining the foundation, he was the Bagozzi professor of biomedical engineering and the founding chairman of the department of biomedical engineering at Marquette University. He also was adjunct professor of physiology and medicine (pulmonary and critical care) at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Alpha Chi Rho brothers
Class of '56 Mini-Reunion

Unable to attend their 50th Reunion on the Rensselaer campus in June, four Alpha Chi Rho brothers got together in St. Petersburg, Fla., in January.

Pictured on the front porch of Prof. Barry Taylor’s home are, left to right, Richard Anderson, Barry Taylor, Howard Schneider, and James Miller.

Van C.S. Mow '62
Van C.S. Mow ’62 Awarded Medal for Engineering Achievement

Van C.S. Mow ’62 was awarded the 2006 Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement at a ceremony on campus April 7. First presented in 1980, the Davies Medal is the highest award for an alumnus given by the School of Engineering.

A world-renowned biomedical scientist and engineer, Mow is the Stanley Dicker Professor and founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University.

Co-Workers Leave Their Imprint on New York State Safety

John “Jack” Meagher ’65 and Harold “Hal” Levy ’68 have spent the last 20 years establishing and enhancing New York’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (SAFIS), one of the most advanced in the world.

Levy (at right) is assistant chief of the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ (DCJS) Biometric Technology Bureau. Meagher is bureau chief and Levy’s boss. As both head toward retirement, they reflect on their contributions to make the state a safer place to live.

Van C.S. Mow '62
SAFIS is the statewide fingerprint system maintained by DCJS that, among other things, provides automated fingerprint search capabilities for arrest, applicant, and crime scene (latent) fingerprints. Prior to SAFIS, substantial delays were a normal part of the fingerprint identification process, especially for latents. “They had to be physically transported and then manually processed, which required searching through millions of fingers by hand to try to find a matching one,” Meagher says.

Hired in 1986 to head the SAFIS procurement effort, Meagher oversaw the design and implementation of SAFIS, which began operation in 1989. The system quickly became a national and international model. Ten years later, in 1999, the federal government incorporated its own system and thereby greatly expanded the ability of states to share, search, and retrieve fingerprints from a centralized national database.

“Jack's engineering and physics background at RPI and subsequent experience with IBM, Grumman, and NASA — he was a true rocket scientist — gave him a unique perspective to get this dynamic system up and running,” said Levy, who joined the same division a year earlier as a senior systems analyst.

Meagher received a bachelor’s in physics and an MBA at Rensselaer. He worked on the control systems of the lunar module as part of the Apollo Program, as well as the Mars landing projects for the Viking Program.

Levy, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management science, initially worked for Burroughs Corp. and later established two software companies before his current position.

“Hal has been particularly involved in helping local agencies integrate their record management systems with Live Scan technology,” Meagher says.

Live Scan — the electronic version of the manual “ink and roll” method — digitally captures fingerprints. The electronic transfer of these prints, along with data and photo images, takes only a matter of seconds instead of the days required to send hard-copy fingerprint cards through the mail.

“By using this technology during arrest processing, law enforcement can book a suspect and within minutes we can process the fingerprints and generate a state response,” Levy says. “We then forward the transaction to the FBI, which checks the prints against the federal databases. That helps connect the dots, so if suspects are wanted for murder in another state, for example, even under a different name, authorities can hold them and get them off the street.”-–JAF

John Dresty
Company Founded by John Dresty ’69 Honored by Buildings Magazine

In 1998 Rensselaer alumnus John Dresty ’69 founded Clearwater Systems Corp., a company specializing in the development of advanced water-treatment equipment based in Essex, Conn.

The company’s Dolphin System™ — a chemical- free water treatment technology for water processed by cooling towers, chiller systems, heat exchangers, and steam boilers — was recently named one of the “top 100 products of 2005” by Buildings magazine.

A flow-through device that can be plumbed into circulating or once-through water systems, the Dolphin System prevents mineral scale formation, controls biological activity, and inhibits corrosion in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems without using chemical additives which are difficult to administer, monitor, and control.

The system was installed into Rensselaer’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2004 to serve the building’s 3,000-ton cooling system and to prevent scale and corrosion for the steam-tosteam generator system.

Clearwater Systems Corp. has more than 2,000 Dolphin System installations up and running throughout the United States and in Canada. Clients include commercial offices, industrial facilities, food processing plants, hospitals, schools and universities, hotels, casinos, and government structures, among other installations.–AC

Ellis architects
Three Alumni Team Up To Build a Better Hospital

Ellis Hospital, located in Schenectady, N.Y., boasts a brand-new intensive care unit thanks to the collaborative work of three Rensselaer alumni. ENVISION Architects Managing Principal Ted Mallin ’73, Jersen Industries President John Jersen ’66, and Don McLaughlin Jr. ’75, Ellis Hospital Divisional Director of Support Services (shown left to right), have overseen the $17 million, 30,000-square-foot ICU project from start to finish. Although these alumni did not cross paths at Rensselaer, they came together as a team in Schenectady, delivering the finished project on-budget and on-schedule.

McLaughlin acknowledges that the project’s success had a lot to do with the collegial and professional values that Rensselaer instilled in them. “There’s a certain level of trust and responsibility that has developed,” he says. “With a project that requires a tremendous amount of attention to detail, our ability to problem solve and collaborate has been great.”

The new 36-bed two-story ICU, which opened in May, features more space, modern equipment and technology, private rooms and enlarged family waiting areas, among other improvements and updates.

Keith Parent
IT Entrepreneur Finds Successful Niche in Biotechnology and Life Sciences

Keith Parent ’90 is CEO of Court Square Data Group, the IT consulting company he founded in 1995, based in Springfield, Mass. He hired Cori Rolland, M.S. ’98, as director of business development in 2001, after meeting her at an economic development conference.

“The summit focused on strategies to develop the Western Massachusetts economy, an issue in which both Cori and I share a keen interest,” says Parent. “We started discussing business, and her ideas fit with where I wanted to take the company.”

The company has experienced steady growth and has been named twice to the Inc. 500 and twice to the Inc. Inner City 100, and was named the 2002 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Court Square made its mark on the industry through development of a quality management process for IT service delivery known as Good Systems Practice, which is aimed at highly regulated environments, including such FDA-regulated industries as pharmaceuticals and biotech, and SEC-regulated areas like banking and financial services. The company recently consolidated its offerings for biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms into a comprehensive Life Sciences Practice to address the needs of small and mid-sized companies throughout the drug discovery, development, and commercialization lifecycle.

Parent, who earned his M.S. in computer science from Rensselaer and B.S. from Siena College, was recently nominated as Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Both he and Rolland are active with the Western Massachusetts Regional Technology Corp., Parent as board president and Rolland on the marketing and technical steering committees.

Anna Campas ’71
Anna Campas ’71 Hails From Hydra

Anna Campas ’71 recently took ownership of a one-bedroom flat on the Greek island of Hydra in the Aegean Sea. She writes: “Hydra is a unique island in that no cars, bikes, or mopeds are allowed. It is also very rocky and has a fantastic amphitheater-like harbor with views of the Peloponnese. The subject of my RPI bachelor of architecture thesis was the use of energy conservation principles in the design of a tourist community on Hydra. The site chosen was a peninsula adjacent to the harbor. Now 30+ years later the front porch of my flat looks out at the harbor and peninsula.”

Anna is currently a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional and an appointed member of NYS Governor George Pataki’s Green Building Workgroup.

Anna’s flat can be rented! If you are interested please contact her at

Van Ettens ’80 and Dufresnes ’80 Reunite in Ireland
Van Ettens ’80 and Dufresnes ’80 Reunite in Ireland

Chuck Van Etten ’80, his wife, Debbie, and their children, Jackie, Kyle, and Caitlin, are pictured here with Chris Dufresne ’80, his wife, Clare, and their children, Stephanie and Alison, while visiting Kylemore Abbey in Connacht, Ireland. The Van Ettens returned to Ireland to mark their last visit 20 years ago when Chuck was Chris's best man.

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