Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Honor Leaders From Each Branch of the U.S. GovernmentExecutive, Legislative, Judicial Along With Pioneers in the Business and Academic Sectors at the 2012 Commencement May 26
U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Prize
Recipient Steven Chu Joins Stellar Group of 2012 Rensselaer
Honorary Degree Recipients
United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will join a
stellar group of dignitaries and pioneers being honored by
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at its 2012 Commencement. With
this addition, Rensselaer will honor leaders from each branch
of the U.S. government, along with pioneers in the business and
academic sectors, at its 206th Commencement on May 26.
Secretary Chu, distinguished scientist and 1997 co-recipient
of the Nobel Prize for Physics, will participate along with
previously announced Rensselaer honorary degree recipients:
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Antonin Scalia;
former U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and
Technology Chairman Bart Gordon; artificial intelligence
pioneer and renowned computer scientist Dr. Edward A.
Feigenbaum; and digital camera inventor and Rensselaer alumnus
Steven J. Sasson ’72.
“We are honored to have Secretary Chu join us, and
privileged to have each branch of the U.S. government—the
Supreme Court, the Administration, and the Congress—as well as
the academic and the technology business sectors represented at
Rensselaer’s 206th Commencement,” Rensselaer
President Shirley Ann Jackson said. “Justice Scalia,
Secretary Chu, Congressman Gordon, Dr. Feigenbaum, and Mr.
Sasson exemplify that cross-section of government, business,
and academic leadership which comes to the fore in responding
to and shaping our changing world.”
Former Congressman Bart Gordon will deliver the Commencement
Address, and each of the honorands will address the graduates
at the May 26th Commencement, which begins at 8:30
a.m., at the East Campus Athletic Village.
On the eve of Commencement, Rensselaer will convene for the
10th annual President’s Commencement Colloquy. All of the
honorands will participate in a
discussion—titled “Honoring Tradition, Responding to a
Changing World”—moderated by President Jackson. The Colloquy,
open to the Rensselaer community and the general public, will
be held in the Concert Hall of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental
Media and Performing Arts Center, on the Rensselaer campus,
beginning at 3:30 p.m., on Friday, May 25.
For more details on Commencement, go to www.rpi.edu/academics/commencement/index.html.
Link for Streaming Video of Commencement Ceremony
Following is brief biographical information on each of
Rensselaer’s 2012 Honorary Degree recipients:
The Honorable Antonin Scalia, J.D., Associate
Justice, Supreme Court of the United States.
He is the longest-sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court,
and a self-described “originalist,” interpreting the U.S.
Constitution by beginning with the text, and giving that text
the meaning that it bore when it was adopted. The Associate
Justice was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed
unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1986. His experience spans
the private, academic, and public sectors, having practiced law
in Cleveland, Ohio, taught law at the Universities of Virginia
and Chicago, and applied the law, working in the
Administrations of Presidents Nixon (Office of
Telecommunications Policy) and Ford (U.S. Department of
Justice), before being appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals
by President Reagan in 1982.
The Honorable Steven Chu, Ph.D., United States
Secretary of Energy, distinguished scientist and co-winner of
the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997). Charged with
implementing key components of President Obama’s energy agenda
since 2009, he has devoted his recent scientific career to the
search for new solutions to energy challenges and stopping
global climate change. Previously he was Director of the
Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab,
Professor of Physics and of Molecular and Cell Biology at the
University of California, Berkeley, and held positions at
Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories. The holder
of 10 patents and author of nearly 250 published scientific and
technical papers, he is a member of the National Academy of
Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and numerous other
civic and professional organizations.
The Honorable Bart J. Gordon, J.D., Former Chairman
of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and
Technology. He is a leader in U.S. science,
technology, energy, and health policy, and champion of the
America COMPETES Act, which authorizes federal investments in
innovation and innovators. Currently a partner in K&L Gates
law firm, Congressman Gordon served for 26 years in the U.S.
House of Representatives, from Tennessee. As Chairman of the
House Committee on Science and Technology and a senior member
of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he built bipartisan
support for enactment of the America COMPETES Act, helped craft
the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and
Development Act, and was a leading proponent of America’s space
program, and of enhancing science, technology, engineering, and
math (STEM) education.
Edward A. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., pioneer in artificial
intelligence and renowned computer scientist. He
is a recipient (1994) of the “Nobel Prize of computing,” the
ACM Turing Award of the Association for Computing Machinery,
for pioneering the design and construction of large-scale
artificial intelligence (AI) systems, demonstrating the
practical importance and potential commercial impact of
artificial intelligence technology. Dr. Feigenbaum is the
Kumagai Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at Stanford
University. He was Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force
(1994-97). He is a member of the National Academy of
Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the
Intelligent Systems/Artificial Intelligence Hall of Fame of the
IEEE, and the Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum.
In his honor, the Association for the Advancement of
Artificial Intelligence awards the Feigenbaum Prize for
outstanding AI research advances made by using experimental
methods of computer science.
Steven J. Sasson ’72, M.S. ’73,
inventor of the digital camera and related
imaging technologies that have transformed the industry and the
world. An electrical engineer, now retired from the Eastman
Kodak Company, he revolutionized the way images are captured,
stored, and shared. Sasson was awarded the National Medal of
Technology and Innovation (2010), the highest honor for
technological achievement bestowed by the President of the
United States. In 2011 he was inducted in the Inventors Hall of
Fame. He holds more than 10 key digital imaging patents.
He was awarded the 2011 Davies Medal, the highest honor awarded
to an alumnus of the Rensselaer School of Engineering.
Contact: Mark Marchand
Phone: (518) 276-6098