List of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute people

List of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute people

This is a list of people associated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, including Presidents, Alumni, Professors, and Researchers.

Presidents of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

For a list of the highest elected student leaders at RPI see List of RPI Grand Marshals.

Notable alumni


*Marshall Brain, founder of
*Gary Burrell, founder of Garmin
* Bruce Carbonari, President of Fortune Brands, CEO from January 2008
* James Crowe, (1972), co-founder and current CEO of Level 3 Communications []
*Nicholas M. Donofrio, (1967), director of research at IBM, trustee.
*J. Erik Jonsson, (1922), co-founder and former president of Texas Instruments Incorporated, and mayor of Dallas.
*Joseph Gerber, (1947), founder of Gerber Scientific. []
*William Gurley, (1839), and Lewis E. Gurley, brothers and founders of Gurley Precision Instruments
* George Knapp, (1876), industrialist, founder of the Union Carbide Company.
*John M. Lockhart, (1887), industrialist, donated $5 million under the name "Builder" (for the Class of '87 Gym and four other buildings) ["J.M. Lockhart Gave R.P.I. Millions Anonymously", "New York Times", June 8, 1939]
*William Mow, (1959) Founded apparel maker Bugle Boy in 1977.
*Curtis Priem, (1982) NVIDIA co-founder, architect of first PC Video Processor, and many that followed, trustee.
*Sheldon Roberts, (1948), member of the Traitorous Eight that created Silicon Valley; co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Amelco.
*John Rigas, co-founder of Adelphia Communications.
* Paul Severino, (1969), founder and CEO of Wellfleet Communications. The Severino Center at the Lally school is named for him.
* Sean O’Sullivan, (1985), along with four other RPI students founded MapInfo on the RPI campus.
*Bert Sutherland, manager of Sun Microsystems laboratories.
* Robert O. Swanson, (1958), retired executive vice president and director of Mobil Oil Corporation.
*William H. Wiley (1866), Civil War artillery commander, co-founder of publisher John Wiley and Sons, and US State Representative.
*Edward Zander, former CEO of Motorola.

Humanities, arts, and social sciences

*David Cheever, artist and architect
*Charles Amos Cummings, architect and historian
*Bobby Farrelly, director, writer and producer of such films as "Shallow Hal" and "There's Something About Mary"
*James Flaherty, actor and stand-up comedian.
*Fitzedward Hall, (1901), American Orientalist
*Ned Herrmann, creator of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument
*Tyler Hinman, (2006), multiple winner of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. []
*Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, (1994), artists who both graduated from RPI. []
*Mary Pride, (1974), Christian author
*Jennifer Seng, artist of the comic strip The Boondocks.
*Samuel Wells Williams, 19th century linguist

Invention and Engineering

*Truman H. Aldrich, (1869), civil engineer, also briefly a US State Representative
* George S. Ansell: President of the Colorado School of Mines
*Garnet Baltimore, (1881), engineer and Garnet D. Baltimore Lecture Series honoree.
*Virgil Bogue, (1868), chief engineer of Union Pacific Railroad and Western Maryland Railway constructions
*Milton Brumer, (1923), chief engineer for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and George Washington Bridges in NYC. []
*Leffert L. Buck, (1968), civil engineer and a pioneer in the use of steel arch bridge structures, including the Williamsburg Bridge in NYC.
*Alexander Cassatt, (1859), civil engineer and railroad executive.
*Dr. Allen B. Dumont (1924), perfected the cathode ray tube and is considered the "father of modern TV"
*George W. G. Ferris (1881), inventor of the Ferris wheel
*Lois Graham, (1946), first woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and the first woman fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
*Frederick Grinnell, (1855), inventor of the modern fire sprinkler.
*Walter Lincoln Hawkins, (1931), African American inventor of plastic telephone wire.
*Beatrice Hicks, (1965), co-founder of Society of Women Engineers.
*Marcian Hoff, (1958), the "father of the microprocessor"
*Howard P. Isermann, (1942), developed the ultraviolet absorber that became the most effective and leading sunscreen in the world.
*J. Christopher Jaffe, (1949), leader in architectural acoustic design. Taught acoustics at the Juilliard School, City University of New York, and Rensselaer.
*Theodore Judah, (1837) visionary of the transcontinental railroad.
*William Metcalf, (1858) Steel manufacturing pioneer.
*Keith D. Millis (1938), metallurgical engineer and inventor of ductile iron.
*James K. Mitchell (1954), Professor Emeritus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, lunar soil analysis
* Emil H. Praeger, (1915), designer of Shea and Dodger Stadiums, Tappan Zee Bridge, Arecibo Telescope and a renovation of the White House []
*Daniel Reed, (2003), software engineer at Google, also created popular chat program naim.
*Washington Roebling, (1857), chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge.
*James Salisbury, (1844), physician and inventor of the Salisbury Steak.
*Raymond Tomlinson, (1963), inventor of the electronic mail (email) system.
*Alan M. Voorhees, (1947), city planner and traffic forecaster. Also a former Rensselaer trustee and principal supporter for the Voorhees Computing Center at Rensselaer.
*John Alexander Low Waddell, (1871), civil engineer and prolific bridge builder.

Politics and public service

* Truman H. Aldrich, (1869), United States Representative from Alabama (1896-1897)
*J. Frank Aldrich, (1877), United States Representative from Illinois.
*Myles Brand, (1964), president of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).
*George R. Dennis, was a United States Senator from Maryland
*Thomas Farrell, (1912), Deputy Commanding General of the Manhattan Project
*Nariman Farvardin,(1983), Provost of the University of Maryland
*Lincoln D. Faurer, (1964), director of the National Security Agency and chief, Central Security Service from 1981 to 1985.
*Richard Franchot, US Representative from New York, (1861-1863).
*Arthur J. Gajarsa, (1962), Federal judge, trustee.
*Thomas J. Haas,(1983), current president of Grand Valley State University. []
*John Hammond, US Representative from New York, Civil War veteran and iron manufacturer []
*Walter F. Lineberger, US State Representative of California, 1917-1921.
*George Low, manager of NASA for the Apollo 11 project. Low was president of RPI from 1976 to 1984. The Low Center for Industrial Innovation on campus is named after him.
*John Olver, (1958), Massachusetts State Representative (D), since 1991.
*Ario Pardee, Jr., (1858), Commander during the civil war
*Ely S. Parker, Civil War Statesman, author of Appomattox Courthouse agreement.
*Clarkson Nott Potter, (1843), US Representative from New York, surveyor, lawyer and President of the American Bar Association []
*Mark Shepard, (1994), Vermont State Senator
*Clement Hall Sinnickson, US State Representative from New Jersey, 1875-1879.
*Peter G. Ten Eyck, New York State Representative
*Tony Tether, (1964), director of DARPA as of 2001
*W. Aubrey Thomas, US State Representative from Ohio, 1900-1911.
*Arthur E. Williams, US Army Chief of Engineers
* Devolson Wood, (1857), Helped organize the American Society for Engineering Education and held its first presidency. []
* Ronald J. Zlatoper, (1963), Chief of Naval Personnel, Battle Group Commander in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and former Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Trustee.

cience and technology

*Don L. Anderson, (1955), famous geophysiscist
*Ronald Collé, (1972), nuclear physicist at NIST.
*Mark Jason Dominus, Perl programmer, founder of Kibology (Kibo was also a graduate)
*Ebenezer Emmons, (1826), Geologist, author of "Natural History of New York" (1848) and "American Geology"
*Asa Fitch, (1827), entomologist.
*Claire M. Fraser, (1977), President and Director of The Institute for Genomic Research.
*Jeffrey M. Friedman, discovered leptin, a key hormone in the area of human obesity.
*Paul Furio, video game developer and musician
*Ivar Giaever, (1964), shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 for discoveries on tunneling phenomena in Semiconductors. Currently an Institute Professor of Science
*Morton Gurtin, (1955), mathematical physicist.
*James Hall, (1832), American Geologist and paleontologist
*Jon Hall, (1977), Executive Director of Linux International
*Eben N. Horsford, (1838), "father of food science" and author, most famous for discovering baking powder.
*Peter E. Hart, group senior vice president of the Ricoh company and artificial intelligence innovator.
*Hermann A. Haus, (1951), optical communications researcher and pioneer of quantum optics.
*Douglass Houghton, (1829), Michigan’s first state geologist. Discovered deposits of salt, copper, and iron. A Michigan city, county, and lake honor his name.
*Robert Kennicutt, (1973), astronomer
*Richard Klein,(1966), Astronomer
*James "Kibo" Parry, satirist, Usenet personality, and typeface designer.
*David Korn, (1965), computer programmer who created the Korn Shell, a popular UNIX shell.
*Richard Mastracchio, (1987), NASA Astronaut, flew on STS-106 Atlantis (September 8-20, 2000).
*Pat Munday,(1981), Environmentalist
*Heidi Jo Newberg, (1987), professor of astrophysics at RPI
*Henry Augustus Rowland, (1870), first president of the American Physical Society and Johns Hopkins University's first physics professor.
*Mark Russinovich, Windows software engineer.
*Peter Schwartz, Futurist and writer
*Robert C. Seacord, well known computer security specialist and author
*Andrew Sears, computer science professor at UMBC
*Kip Siegel, (1948), Physicist
*George Soper, (1895), managing director of the "American Society for the Control of Cancer" which later became the American Cancer Society
*Chauncey Starr, (1935), pioneer in Nuclear Energy
*John L. Swigert Jr. (1965), an Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot, earned a master’s degree in aerospace science from Rensselaer’s Hartford campus in 1965 and in 1966 was selected by NASA in its 5th astronaut class. Member of Apollo 13. Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom,1970. State Representative for Colorado,1982.
*Dennis Tito, (1964), American millionaire and the first space tourist to pay for his own ticket.
*Chris Welty, (1995), computer scientist
*Chris Wysopal (Weld Pond) (1987), member of the hacker think tank L0pht Heavy Industries, pioneer in software vulnerability research.


*John Carter, (1986), NHL forward from 1986 - 1993.
*Erin Crocker, (2003), female NASCAR driver.
*Kevin Constantine, (1980), ice hockey coach - Head Coach of the San Jose Sharks from 1993 - 1995, the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1997 - 2000, and the New Jersey Devils from 2001 - 2002.
*Don Cutts, (1974), NHL and International Hockey League (1945–2001) goaltender from 1974 - 1984.
*Tim Friday, (1985), NHL defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings from 1985 - 1986.
*Joé Juneau, (1991), NHL forward from 1991 - 2004, top scorer at the 1992 Winter Olympics while playing for the Canadian Olympic hockey team.
*Ken Hammond, (1985), NHL defenseman from 1985 - 1993.
*Michael E. Herman, (1962), President of the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball from 1992 - 2000.
*Neil Little, (1994), Goaltending Coach for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League, AHL goaltender from 1994 - 2005, won the '97-98 and '04-05 Calder Cup with the Philadelphia Phantoms, inducted into the Philadelphia Phantoms Hall of Fame in 2006.
*Mike McPhee, (1982), NHL forward from 1983 - 1994, won the '85-86 Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens.
*Matt Murley, (2002), NHL forward for the Phoenix Coyotes.
*Kraig Nienhuis, (1985), NHL forward from 1985 - 1988.
*Adam Oates, (1985), NHL forward from 1985 - 2004, 6th on the NHL's all-time assists list.
*Matt Patricia, (1996), Linebackers Coach for the New England Patriots.
*Brian Pothier, (2000), NHL defenseman for the Washington Capitals.
*Daren Puppa, (1985), NHL goaltender from 1985 - 2000.
*Brad Tapper, (2000), NHL forward for the Atlanta Thrashers from 2000 - 2003.
*Graeme Townshend, (1989), Player Development Coordinator for the San Jose Sharks, NHL forward from 1990 - 1994.



*Amos Eaton (1824-1942) : First Professor, Geology
*Michael James Gaffey (1984-2001), planetary science
*James Hall (1833-1850) : Geology and Chemistry
*Granville Hicks (1929-1935) : English
*Annette Kolodny : English
*Matthew Koss (1990-2000): Physics
*James D. Meindl (1986-1993) : Microelectronics
*Stephen Van Rensselaer : Founder of the institute
*Robert Resnick (1956-1993): Physics
*George Rickey : Architecture
*Henry Augustus Rowland (~1870-1876) : Physics


*Atsushi Akera : Science and Technology Studies
*Laura K. Boyer : Science and Technology Studies
*Selmer Bringsjord : Artificial Intelligence, Logic
*Nao Bustamante : New Media and Live Art
*Linnda R. Caporael : Science and Technology Studies
*Gina O'Connor : Business
*Jonathan Dordick : Biochemical Engineering
*Ron Eglash : Science and Technology Studies
*Konrad Fiałkowski : Information Technology
*Ivar Giaever : Physics Professor Emeritus
*Sharon Anderson-Gold : Science and Technology Studies
*Wayne Gray : cognitive science
*Tamar Gordon : Anthropology
*James Hendler : Computer Science
*Nikhil Koratkar : Nanotechnology
*Deborah McGuinness : Computer Science
*Don Millard : Electrical Engineering, Electronic Media
*David Musser : Computer Science
*Leik Myrabo : Spacecraft Propulsion
*E. Bruce Nauman : Chemical Engineering
*Heidi Jo Newberg : Astrophysics
*Pauline Oliveros : Music
*Sal Restivo : Science and Technology Studies
*Neil Rolnick : Music, founder of iEAR
*Ron Sun : Cognitive Science
*Michael Shur : Semiconductor Electronics
*Boleslaw Szymanski : Computer Science
*Jeff Trinkle : Computer Science
*Robert H. Wentorf, Jr. : Chemical Engineering
*Langdon Winner : Science and Technology Studies
*Houman Younessi : Systems Engineering (Hartford)
*Xi-Cheng Zhang : Physics and Terahertz Technology

Recent commencement speakers

* 2008 - David Gergen, former White House aide, author and Harvard professor. []
* 2007 - Thomas L. Friedman, best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. []
* 2006 - Wesley Clark, former NATO commander
* 2005 - Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator from New York, former First Lady
* 2004 - Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and 3Com founder
* 2003 - Ben Carson, neurosurgeon
* 2002 - Dennis Tito, space tourist
* 2001 - Bill Cosby, entertainer
* 2000 - Rodney E. Slater, U.S. Secretary of Transportation 1997–2001
* 1999 - Bill Nye, "The Science Guy"
* 1998 - Michael E. Herman, President of the Kansas City Royals 1992-2000
* 1997 - Roland W. Schmitt, former President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
* 1996 - Peter Eio, President of LEGO Systems, Inc. 1989-2001
* 1995 - G. David Low, NASA astronaut
* 1994 - William Mow, Founder of Bugle Boy
* 1993 - Robert Resnick, retiring RPI Physics Professor 1956-1993
* 1992 - Tom Clancy, author, Co-founder of Red Storm Entertainment
* 1991 - Peter Ueberroth, head of the United States Olympic Committee and former MLB commissioner.

External links and references

* [ Rensselaer Alumni Association Alumni Hall of Fame]
* [ Institute Archives and Special Collections: Commencement Speakers]
* [ Accomplishments of Rensselaer Grads]
* [ Institute Archives and Special Collections: Presidents of RPI]
* [ Rensselaer Board of Trustees]
* [ The Internet Hockey Database: Alumni Report for R.P.I.]

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