Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Host Colloquy With Leaders From Each Branch of the U.S. GovernmentExecutive, Legislative, JudicialAlong With Pioneers in the Business and Academic Sectors, May 25
Tenth Annual Commencement Colloquy To Focus on
“Honoring Tradition, Responding to a Changing
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will convene the 10th
annual President’s Commencement Colloquy, engaging its 2012
honorary degree recipients—leaders from each branch of the U.S.
government, along with pioneers in the business and academic
sectors—in a discussion titled “Honoring Tradition,
Responding to a Changing World,” moderated by Rensselaer
President Shirley Ann Jackson.
The colloquy participants include Associate Justice, United
States Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia; U.S.
Secretary of Energy and 1997 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize
for Physics, Dr. Steven Chu;
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 pioneer in digital imaging, U.S.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient, and
Rensselaer alumnus Steven J. Sasson ’72.
“At Rensselaer we ask, ‘Why not change the world?’
On this, the 10th anniversary of the President’s
Commencement Colloquy, we are honored to be joined by an
extraordinary array of leaders who have done just that. Each
has shaped and changed our world. All have interesting
stories to tell and life lessons to share,” said Rensselaer
The colloquy, open to the Rensselaer community and to 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
In advance of the colloquy, the public is invited to submit
questions for the panel. For more information, to submit a
question, and/or to RSVP for the President’s Commencement
Colloquy, go to: http://www.rpi.edu/colloquy/.
Former congressman Bart Gordon will deliver the Commencement
address, and each of the honorands will address the graduates
at the May 26 Commencement, which begins at 8:30 a.m., at the
East Campus Athletic Village. For more details on Commencement,
go to www.rpi.edu/academics/commencement/index.html.
Following is brief biographical information on each of the
Rensselaer 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; he 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 he 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 at K&L Gates
LLP, 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
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: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161