Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Welcomes Tom Capek ’86 to Board of Trustees

December 7, 2023

Thomas Capek
Thomas Capek

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has announced the addition of Thomas G. Capek ’86, senior vice president and chief engineer at Corning Incorporated, to Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees. Corning is one of the world's leading innovators in materials science and has a longstanding relationship with RPI supporting research, philanthropy, and student recruitment. 

Capek previously served on the Dean’s Leadership Council in RPI’s School of Engineering. As a Board of Trustees member, Capek sits on the Academic Affairs and Research Committee and the Student Life Committee.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tom to the board. Tom is an accomplished engineer and global business leader, and I’m certain he will continue to make important contributions to the future of RPI,” said John E. Kelly III ’78G, ’80 Ph.D., D.H.L. (Hon.), chair of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees. 

“We are fortunate to have such a strong partnership with Corning, and Tom has been a critical part of that connection. As we head into our bicentennial, we are pleased to have Tom’s insight in shaping our next 200 years. As both an RPI alumnus and a leader at a Fortune 500 company that develops groundbreaking technologies and attracts forward-thinking STEM professionals, he offers an important perspective on how to prepare our students and our institution for this century and beyond,” said Martin A. Schmidt, president of RPI. 

“Corning and RPI’s decades long relationship is built on a foundation of collaboration and commitment to long-term innovation,” said Tom Capek ’86. “I am honored to represent Corning, and to continue supporting these two outstanding organizations as they deliver vital innovations and educate the next generation of engineers, scientists, and researchers.”

Capek earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from SUNY Oneonta and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer. Upon graduating from RPI in 1986, Capek joined Corning as a design engineer and focused most of his career on Corning’s flat-glass manufacturing processes. 

Shortly after his start at Corning, Capek and his family relocated to Harrodsburg, Kentucky to support Corning’s first joint development program with Samsung Corning Precision. Capek returned to Corning, New York in 2003 to support Corning’s global Display Technologies business as the division engineering manager. In 2014, he was appointed vice president and chief engineer for Corning’s Manufacturing Technology and Engineering group and continues to support Corning today as the senior vice president and chief engineer. 

Outside of work, Capek and his family give back to their community through various commitments. The Capek family is a leading sponsor for the local chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a free book-gifting program for any child under the age of 5 who lives in Chemung or Steuben counties. Capek is also an active member of Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, an organization that represents engineers of all disciplines. Additionally, he supports various engineering schools and sits on multiple advisory boards to help foster a strong collaboration between academia and industry, educate students on next-generation technologies and real-world applications, and build a strong talent pipeline for Corning. 

The Capek family is deeply tied to Rensselaer. Fellow Board of Trustees member John Capek, B.S. ’83, M.E. ’84, M.E. ’85, MBA ’87, Ph.D. ’88, is Thomas’ brother. Thomas’ daughter Madison graduated from RPI in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering. After graduation, Madison joined Merck, where she supports manufacturing and provides engineering improvements of live virus vaccines.

Written By Samantha Murray
Press Contact Samantha Murray
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