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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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Worldwide Travel Program Visits China
Ancient mountains of the Guilin area in south China

The ancient mountains of the Guilin area in south China.

A group of 39 U.S. alumni and their guests learned firsthand about the global reach of Rensselaer during a recent trip to China with the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) Worldwide Travel Program.

In October, alumni visited Xi’an, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and many other fascinating destinations. “In a phrase, the China trip was beyond superlatives in almost every respect — the trip of a lifetime,” says Basil Whiting ’60. Travelers visited big cities and remote countrysides, touring museums, restaurants, shops, factories, and experiencing for themselves the Chinese people and the culture.

“It seems everything is under construction for the 2008 Olympics,” Whiting says. “We endlessly walked Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, and the Great Wall, and visited a freshwater pearl jewelry factory where our guide opened a huge freshwater clam to find almost two dozen pearls inside!”

One of the trip’s highlights was the stop in Chongqing. “We explored this bustling city at the western terminus of the new Yangtze lake,” Whiting says. “We saw five pandas at the zoo, and some of us actually patted one. One expects them to be fluffy; actually, I can testify that their fur is rough and coarse and feels like stroking a doormat.”

Another highlight was a reception in Beijing where 20 members of the new China Alumni Chapter met with U.S. travelers. Many chapter members graduated from a specialized MBA program in the Lally School, and have now assumed leading roles in both government and industry. Guobin Zhao ’99, founder of Guobin American English Learning Center, acted as host and master of ceremonies. “It was a wonderful opportunity to swap RPI stories and for us to learn from some of those who were making the China miracle happen,” says RAA President Bob Forman ’61.

The RAA’s Worldwide Travel Program offers many opportunities to bring together alumni from around the world. To learn more, contact Michael Wellner ’64 at or call the alumni office at (518) 276-6205. For information on international alumni chapters, contact Dawn Chen at or (518) 276-6099.

Basil Whiting has compiled an online trip memoir with photos and vivid descriptions.

RAA Visa Card

The popular Rensselaer credit card program has a new provider — U.S. Bank. The card offers competitive rates and services, carries the image of the Heffner Alumni House, and supports the programs of the RAA. Visit or call (800) 853-5576 ext. 8385 for info.

Join RAA Board and Committees

Do you want to have an impact on campus? Do you have ideas about alumni programs and services? Then get involved with the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA). The RAA board, working with the Alumni Relations Office, meets three times per year in Troy, and serves as the voice of alumni to the campus. Nominations to serve on next year’s board and committees are now being accepted. Send a brief statement of support to Joyce Kelly Martin at by Feb. 10, or call (518) 276-6208.

RAA Seeks Nominations for Volunteer Awards

Each year, hundreds of alumni volunteer for Rensselaer. Nominations are being sought to recognize these dedicated individuals through the RAA awards program. Awards include:

Distinguished Service Award—Recognizes distinguished service by alumni or non-alumni to Rensselaer, to a profession, to the nation, or to humanity.

Albert Fox Demers Medal—Established to recognize and stimulate interest in the welfare of the Institute by alumni or non-alumni.

Alumni Key Award—Recognizes outstanding service supporting the advancement of Rensselaer, by alumni or non-alumni.

RAA Teaching Award—Recognizes current faculty members for outstanding teaching techniques, contributions to the campus experience, and commitment to students.

Submit a nomination by Feb. 10 or write to Laura Bedford O’Donnell, Alumni Relations, 1301 Peoples Ave., Troy, NY 12180-3500.

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