Rensselaer Announces Entrepreneur of the Year Award Recipients

Left to right: Degerhan Usluel, Jack Wilson, Mark Bernstein

September 26, 2019

Rensselaer Announces Entrepreneur of the Year Award Recipients

Founders of iLinc recognized for pioneering virtual classroom and web conferencing software

The Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has named the founders of Interactive Learning International Corporation (iLinc) the 2019 recipients of the William F. Glaser ’53 Entrepreneur of the Year award. The honorees, Mark Bernstein ’94, Degerhan Usluel ’94, and Jack Wilson, Ph.D., will be recognized this October for creating the first PC-based virtual classroom and web conferencing software product.

Established in 1990, the Entrepreneur of the Year award honors Rensselaer graduates who have achieved success as entrepreneurs and now serve as role models for current students and aspiring entrepreneurs. The annual honorees bring the world of entrepreneurship into the classroom by sharing their career experiences with students.

The 2019 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year ceremony will take place on Oct. 16 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Auditorium, located in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. The event is free and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, visit

While pursuing an MBA at Rensselaer in 1993, Usluel approached Wilson, a former Rensselaer faculty member, and Bernstein, about starting a business in the field of computing and communication technologies. Through Wilson’s use of multicasting, a technique that transmits data to multiple users at once, the team was able to solve the bandwidth limitations that other online video communications products had, and created the first virtual classroom and web conferencing software product for PCs. The company’s product solved a problem that many Fortune 500 companies were struggling with – the high cost of corporate training. As a result, some of iLinc’s first clients included IBM, AT&T, GTE Financial, Sprint, Office Depot, and Harper Collins Publishing.

“We are proud to honor the founders of iLinc as this year’s recipients of the Entrepreneur of the Year award,” said Chanaka Edirisinghe, acting dean of the Lally School of Management and the Kay and Jackson Tai ’72 Chaired Professor in Quantitative Finance. "Thanks to the generosity of Bill Glaser, we are able to take the opportunity each year to recognize members of the Rensselaer community who have exceled in their entrepreneurial efforts.”

Today, Wilson serves as the Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Bernstein owns Camp Walden, an overnight camp located in the Adirondack Mountains. Usluel serves as executive partner for the Usluel Group. Since its creation, Ilinc was acquired by Broadsoft and is now part of Cisco.   


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