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Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Winter 2005-06
Feature Articles President's View At Rensselaer Class Notes Features Making a Difference Rensselaer Milestones Staying Connected In Memoriam
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Walkway After Snowfall
Photo by Kris Qua
Let it snow: When winter hits, so do the shovels! Rensselaer staff clears 2,859 steps, 59,412 linear feet of walkways, and more than 996,000 square feet of parking lots.

Elmer Ernst ’42: Builder of LCTs

Book: The Bison Shipyard Story
The author of The Bison Shipyard Story has provided Rensselaer with two copies of the recently published book, which he wrote to preserve the history of this shipyard in Tonawanda, N.Y., that built landing craft tanks (LCTs) for the U.S. Navy during World War II. A key figure in the success of the shipyard was Elmer Ernst ’42, former manager of the Ernst Construction Co. and Navy Seabee, who died July 18, 1990.

Shortly after graduation as a civil engineer from Rensselaer, Ernst was charged with building the Bison Shipyard. As yardmaster, he was responsible for the design of the yard, the hiring and training of the workforce, and the day-to-day operations.

“What he had learned at RPI was immediately put to good use in transforming a mostly vacant seven-acre field into the most productive of 13 LCT shipyards in the country,” says Helen Gademsky, who provided research for the book written by her husband, Allen Gademsky. The author was one of the 800 workers who helped build the 120-foot, 143-ton craft at the rate of more than four per week.

The book is dedicated to Ernst for having “played an indispensable role in making the Bison Shipyard so successful in delivering the LCTs our armed forces needed to carry out amphibious operations during World War II.”

Former NROTC students from the Class of ’47

Former NROTC students from the Class of ’47, who get together annually, met most recently in Charleston, S.C., in May.

With Fort Sumter in the background, they are, from left, back row: Angelo and Adeline Orazio, Marie Grubb, Stu Casper, Neil and Peg Normando, Mary Jane Bondesen, George Myers, and Walt Davis. Front row: Ray Boettger, Dolores Myers, and Kandy Davis.

In the fall of ’47 this happy group of alumni met for a night out in New York City. Ray Boettger ’47 provided the photo. '47 Alumni Photo

Class of ’55 Dream Team Class of ’55 dream team: Winners of the golf outing at Reunion ’05 are, from left: Al Bayley ’55, Jay Hamilton ’55, Tom Bolam ’55, and Fred Mussler ’55. All four are members of Theta Chi who celebrated their 50th Reunion in June. The same team won the tournament five years ago at their 45th Reunion.

Alumni of Alpha Epsilon Pi, known as the “Lodge Bros.,” gathered for their third annual barbecue party in Corralitos, Calif., in late summer.

From left, are Phil Bookman ’66, Robert Sturm ’68, Mark Goldman ’68, Peter Fediay ’68, Roy Strassman ’67, and Ron Oremland ’68. “Lodge” refers to the dwelling they rented during their student years.

Alumni of Alpha Epsilon Pi

Kathryn Murphy ’80 Keynotes at World Trade Celebration

Kathryn Murphy ’80 gives the keynote address at World Trade Celebration 2005
Photo by Kenny Krug
Kathryn Murphy ’80 gave the keynote address at World Trade Celebration 2005, a networking event for hundreds of American and Canadian executives involved in international trade, hosted by the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara.

Murphy delivered her address, “Sustaining Your Business for the Long Term: Strategies & Practices That Build a Stronger Bottom Line,” in October at the Connecticut Street Armory in Buffalo.

Murphy is the president and CEO of Corning Gilbert, a global organization and subsidiary of Corning Inc., based in Phoenix, Ariz. Corning Gilbert manufactures connectors for cable television, broadband communication systems, microwave interconnects, OEM products, and wireless applications.

Murphy is a past president of the Corning Professional Women’s Forum and former vice president for the Society of Women Engineers Twin Tiers Chapter. She currently serves on the Industrial Advisory Board of Rensselaer’s Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems.

Murphy received both a B.S. in management engineering and an M.S. in industrial engineering at Rensselaer. In May 2004, she was named a Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellow.—AC

Mark Little ’82 Named Director of GE Global Research

Mark Little, Ph.D. ’82, has been named director of GE Global Research
Mark Little, Ph.D. ’82, has been named director of GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of General Electric. Little becomes the ninth director of the organization, which was founded in 1900 and was the first industrial lab in the United States. Roland Schmitt, Rensselaer’s 16th president, held the position from 1978 to 1986.

GE Global Research employs more than 2,500 researchers at four multidisciplinary facilities, and provides technology for all of GE’s businesses. Headquartered in Niskayuna, N.Y., Global Research currently focuses on such areas as molecular medicine, energy conversion, nanotechnology, advanced propulsion, and security technologies.

“GE Global Research has been the engine driving innovation and growth for GE’s businesses for more than a century,” said Little. “Coming from the energy business, I have a firsthand appreciation for how new technologies are impacting and transforming markets. I will work hard every day to continue in the great tradition of my predecessors and keep GE at the forefront of technology leadership.”

Prior to this appointment, Little served as vice president of GE Energy’s power generation business in Schenectady, N.Y. He joined GE in 1978, starting in the company’s turbine business.

Little earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer in 1982. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tufts and Northeastern universities, respectively.—AC

Bala ’97 Addresses First-Year Convocation

Karthik Bala ’97 speaks to Rensselaer’s newest students at this year’s First-Year Convocation
Photo by Kris Qua
Karthik Bala ’97 spoke to Rensselaer’s newest students at this year’s First-Year Convocation, held Aug. 28. Bala is founder and CEO of the successful video game company Vicarious Visions, which has produced more than 15 million units totaling more than $500 million in retail sales.

Bala shared his own experience of choosing to attend Rensselaer. He pointed to the RPI Incubator Center as one of the deciding factors. “I first thought the place was for embryos or some biological research. Turns out it was for ‘incubating’ start-up tech companies,” he recalled. Bala said he came away realizing that “there was support for people who were passionate about something” and that “this must be the place for me — even if I had to put up with all the cold weather.”

Bala urged the new students to take advantage of all that Rensselaer has to offer, to “find your passion and the areas that interest you the most. There are lots of choices in front of you... lots of opportunities. No one is going to tell you what to do. You have to make those decisions for yourself,” he said. “At Rensselaer, you’re going to find people whose calling is to help you find your passion. Take advantage of that. They often go out of their way to help.”

“Make mistakes, and learn from them. It’s OK to make mistakes,” Bala said. “As I tell folks at Vicarious Visions — I make mistakes all the time. But my commitment to them is to make all new mistakes next year!”—TL

Dedication of waterfall in honor of Katie and David Haviland ’64
Photo by Kris Qua
Members of the Class of 2005 and the Rensselaer community gathered during Homecoming weekend, Sept. 17, in the Commons Quad on Freshman Hill to dedicate a waterfall in honor of Katie and David Haviland ’64. The Havilands have been an integral part of Rensselaer for nearly four decades. David Haviland, who retired in December, was a student, professor and dean of architecture, vice president of student life, and most recently vice president for institute advancement.

From left, are Angela Seggio ’05, Matthew Welch ’05, senior class president Roberto Tedesco ’05, Jody Coonradt ’05, Katie Haviland, Dave Haviland ’64, alumni class president Gavin Gyle ’05, and class correspondent Shannon Hitchcock ’05.

Jennifer Ocif ’93 married Ricker Dean Love in July 2005
Jennifer Ocif ’93 Wedding

Jennifer Ocif ’93 married Ricker Dean Love at the LeBaron Hills Country Club in Lakeville, Mass., in July. RPI alumni in attendance included, from left, Ruthanne Valle ’92, Jennifer, Michelle Roos ’89, and Miriam Debra Scheiman ’90.

Jen and her husband are living in Braintree, Mass. Jen is employed with Reebok's Human Performance Engineering Lab at Reebok's World Headquarters in Canton, Mass., where she has been for eight years.

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