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Dennis Tito '64 Presented With Rensselaer's Distinguished Alumnus Award

November 15, 2002

Dennis Tito '64 Presented With Rensselaer's Distinguished Alumnus Award

Hartford, CT — Dennis Tito ’64, founder and CEO of Wilshire Associates Inc., was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Hartford Chapter of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Alumni Association today. He received the honor at a dinner reception at the Hartford Club on Prospect Street this evening. The award recognizes a graduate’s outstanding achievement in professional and/or civic involvement.

“From his days on the Rensselaer campus to his success as a businessman, entrepreneur, and pioneer, the common thread throughout Dennis Tito’s career is passion — passion for challenge, for solving problems, and for advancing business through innovation,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His entrepreneurial spirit, his sense of adventure, and commitment to excellence exemplify the best of the Rensselaer at Hartford education.”

Tito received his bachelor’s degree in astronautics and aeronautics from New York University in 1962, and then earned his master’s of science degree in engineering science from Rensselaer at Hartford in 1964.

After completing his graduate work, Tito took a position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an engineer. While there, he helped design flight trajectories for the Mariner missions to Mars and Venus.

In 1972, Tito founded Wilshire Associates Incorporated, and created the first asset/liability model for pension funds-long before actuarial and accounting firms began using the technology. Two years later, he invented the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index, the broadest measure of the U.S. equity market.

Today, Wilshire Associates provides investment products and services, including consulting, asset management, mutual fund management, and analytical tools to clients in more than 20 countries, representing more than 400 organizations with assets totaling more than $2.5 trillion. His renowned index, the Wilshire 5000, is closely watched by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve as a leading market indicator.

In April of last year, Tito pursued a personal passion and became the world’s first space tourist when he traveled aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian crew to the International Space Station.

Rensselaer at Hartford
In 1955, at a time when rapidly changing technologies in the aircraft and defense industries were creating a critical shortage of engineers and other professionals in the Greater Hartford area, H. Mansfield Horner, then chairman of the United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation), approached Livingston Houston, then president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with a proposal to provide local, graduate instruction to working professionals. Rensselaer accepted Horner’s invitation and created The Hartford Graduate Center. Dedicated to graduate education for the working professional, the Center introduced to the Connecticut River Valley the same academic standards that had secured Rensselaer’s nationally acknowledged stature and reputation. In 1997 the branch campus became known as Rensselaer at Hartford.

Rensselaer at Hartford is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS) and by the Board of Governors for Higher Education of the State of Connecticut. Rensselaer’s management program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the international association for management education.

Rensselaer at Hartford is housed in its own eight-story building on 16 landscaped acres in downtown Hartford, readily accessible from both Interstates 84 and 91. Southeastern Connecticut is served by Rensselaer at Hartford’s Groton site, located at the Trails Corner Professional Center and accessible from Interstate 95.

CONTACT:Tom Bittel (CT)

Contact: Caroline Jenkins
Phone: (518) 276-6531
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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.