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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Coast to Coast East: Scholarship Dinner

Category: Regional
October, 2019
Academy Hall Tent
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

It is my privilege this evening to honor our newest recipient of the Rensselaer Global Game Changers Award, Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan Incorporated, or CDPHP. 

To accept this award, please welcome the president and chief executive officer of CDPHP, Dr. John Bennett of the Rensselaer Class of 1974.

Dr. Bennett, in recognition of CDPHP’s longstanding partnership with Rensselaer in ensuring the health and wellness of the students, faculty, and staff of Rensselaer, and its recent investments in transformative research that holds the promise of improving the lives of at-risk patients, it is my pleasure to present you with the 2019 Rensselaer Global Game Changers Award.

As the Tribute Weekend Event Chair, we also are deeply grateful to Dr. Bennett and his Executive Leadership Team for bringing more corporate sponsors on board — in support of student scholarship — than ever before. The Executive Leadership Team includes:

  • Mr. Vikash Agrawal of the Rensselaer Class of 1998, Chairman of LevrX Technology Incorporated;
  • Mr. Vikram Agrawal of the Rensselaer Class of 2002, President and Chief Executive Officer of LevrX Technology Incorporated;
  • Mr. James J. Barba, President and Chief Executive Officer of Albany Medical Center;
  • Mr. Steve B. Bouchey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bouchey Financial Group Limited;
  • Mr. Joseph R. Nicolla of the Rensselaer Class of 1979, Founder and President of Columbia Development Companies LLC;
  • Mr. John J. Nigro, President of Nigro Companies, and an Honorary Trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and
  • Mr. Daniel T. Pickett III of the Rensselaer Class of 1990, President of Zones Inc., President of Hudson River Capital Holdings, and a Trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

At this time, I would like to ask Dr. Bennett and the members of his Executive Leadership Team to please stand, as our student ambassadors deliver to each of you a gift as a token of our appreciation.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bennett and his Executive Leadership Team on their achievements, and in thanking them for their support of student financial aid at Rensselaer.

I also would like to thank our Dinner Sponsors this evening:

  • Trustee Mr. Curtis R. Priem of the Rensselaer Class of 1982 and Cindi Priem;
  • Albany Medical Center; and
  • IBM.

Our Bridging the Gap sponsors, including:

  • Corning Incorporated;
  • LevrX Technology Incorporated;
  • Sodexo;
  • United Airlines; and
  • Western Digital.

Our Corporate Underwriters including:

  • Trustee Arthur Golden of the Rensselaer Class of 1966, and Elisabeth Smith Golden;
  • Trustee Wanda Denson-Low of the Rensselaer Class of 1978, and Ron Low;
  • Columbia Development Companies; and
  • National Instruments.

Our Corporate Benefactors:

  • AptiHealth;
  • Hudson River Capital Holdings;
  • The Pickett Family Foundation; and
  • The Warren Alpert Foundation.

I thank, as well, our Corporate Sponsors, including:

  • Huron;
  • Murtha Cullina Attorneys at Law;
  • NIGRO Companies;
  • The Rensselaer Alumni Association;
  • Rose and Kiernan Incorporated;
  • United Group;
  • The VMJR Companies; and
  • Whiteman, Osterman and Hannah LLP, Attorneys at Law.

Thank you also to our Friends of Rensselaer sponsors and our Individual sponsors. Please join me in thanking all of our sponsors.

I also would like to recognize our raison d'être for this event — our students. Will our student ambassadors please stand and be recognized?

Thank you. Tonight is about scholarship and about supporting Bridging the Gap, the first pillar of our capital campaign, Transformative: Campaign for Global Change. Although the challenge for our students’ financial aid needs still remains, I am pleased to announce that the gap is narrowing.

Commitments to Bridging the Gap now exceed $118,000,000 — due in no small part to the generosity of the individuals and organizations who are with us this evening. Overall, we have received over 152,500 commitments in support of the capital campaign — and I am pleased to report we are approaching the $500,000,000 halfway point in the campaign.

I would like to thank our Campaign Co-Chairs, Trustee Paul J. Severino of the Rensselaer Class of 1969 and Kathleen M. Severino. I am pleased to announce that joining them as Campaign Co-Chairs are Trustee John E. Kelly III of the Rensselaer Classes of 1978 and 1980, and his wife Helen-Jo, and Trustee Daniel T. Pickett III of the Rensselaer Class of 1990, and his wife, Jennifer.

Please join me in thanking our Campaign Co-Chairs for their extraordinary philanthropy, leadership, and service.

Together with the members of our Campaign Leadership Committee, and with the ongoing and robust support of the entire Rensselaer community, I have every confidence that we will succeed in building the endowment we need to secure the future of Rensselaer in its third century.

I also would like to acknowledge some very recent Transformative commitments of more than $1 million made by members of the Rensselaer community.

It is with deep appreciation that I recognize the significant and continued generosity of Rensselaer Trustee Jeffrey L. Kodosky of the Rensselaer Class of 1970 and Gail Kodosky, who were among the 2018 recipients of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.

We also are deeply appreciative of yet another substantial commitment from our 2019 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award honorees — Kathy and Paul Severino. Last weekend, Paul celebrated his 50-year class reunion, and was inducted with his classmates into the Rensselaer 50 Year Club.

We also are very fortunate to have two new members of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, both of whom, together with their wives, have made transformative commitments in support of the campaign.

Our first new Trustee is Mr. Roy Davis of the Rensselaer Class of 1978. Mr. Davis and his wife, Louise, recently established the Louise M. and Roy N. Davis ’78 Scholarship. In addition to serving as a Trustee, Roy also serves as Co-Chair of the Rensselaer Greater New York Executive Council, which is contributing greatly to increased engagement with alumni, alumnae, parents, and partners — throughout the region — by hosting compelling and informative thought leadership and networking events.

Our next new Trustee is Mr. David Ho of the Rensselaer Class of 1986, who, together with his wife, Liann, have journeyed all the way from Hong Kong to join us this weekend. David and Liann have established the David Chi-Hoo Ho ’86 and Liann Ho Endowment for The Arch, a very generous and timely commitment in light of our full implementation of The Arch.

I also would like to recognize Dr. Nancy Deloye Fitzroy of the Rensselaer Class of 1949, who established the Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy ’49 Scholarship to support young women pursuing advanced degrees in engineering. Last May, in honor of Nancy and her late husband, Roland, we were pleased to dedicate the Rensselaer Admissions building as the Nancy Deloye Fitzroy ’49 and Roland V. Fitzroy Jr. Admissions Building.

I also would like to recognize Mr. Sam Thomas of the Rensselaer Class of 1973 and his wife, JoAnn, for establishing the Samuel F. Thomas Jr. ’73 Scholarship, which is intended to support talented and deserving undergraduates from underrepresented minority populations.

I also would like to recognize Dean Curt Breneman, of the School of Science, and his wife, Mimsy Pye, who established the Sean M. Breneman Memorial Scholarship, and who are members of Livingston W. Houston ’13 Society of Patroons, for their exemplary philanthropic commitment to Rensselaer.

As this evening is about scholarship, I am pleased as well to recognize Rensselaer Trustee and alumnus, Dr. Srinivasan “Siva” Sivaram of the Rensselaer Classes of 1985 and 1986, who is President of Technology and Strategy at Western Digital.

In 2018, Western Digital launched the Western Digital Scholarship Program, which encourages and assists capable students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds to realize their potential as the scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians of the future. The global program awards up to $1 million each year in scholarships to students in eight countries.

In its inaugural year, Western Digital awarded 36 scholarships to deserving Rensselaer students. In 2019, 70 Rensselaer students were awarded Western Digital Scholarships.

Please join me in thanking all of these generous and steadfast supporters of our students.

And now, it is my distinct honor and privilege to recognize our first recipient of the 2019 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Josh Groban and the Find Your Light Foundation, with whom Rensselaer is proud to partner in supporting arts education for deserving children with the goal of creating a pipeline of talent for Rensselaer, and the world at large.

Please welcome Mr. Josh Groban to the stage.

Our next recipient of the 2019 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award is Corning Incorporated in recognition of the organization’s longstanding research partnerships with Rensselaer, its exceptional dedication to our students and graduates, and its alumni and alumnae employees who are true champions for Rensselaer.  

To accept the award on behalf of Corning Incorporated, please welcome Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Jeffery Evenson, and Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer of Manufacturing Technology and Engineering, Rensselaer alumnus, Mr. Thomas Capek of the Class of 1986 to the stage.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to recognize our final recipients of the 2019 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, Kathleen M. and Paul J. Severino of the Rensselaer Class of 1969, whose selfless service and generous philanthropy, in support of Rensselaer, have created an enduring legacy.

Please welcome Kathy and Paul Severino ’69 to the stage.

Please join me in congratulating and celebrating our honorands this evening!

And now, I would like to offer a toast. To our students, to you, and to the remarkable legacy and bright future of Rensselaer!

Thank you. I look forward to seeing all of yoshortlat the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center for a wonderful concert and reception.