Posted on Nov 18, 2008


Business innovator awarded national medal 

Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42 was recently awarded the 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

Feigenbaum and the other seven recipients were honored at a black-tie dinner Sunday, Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C., and received their awards from President George W. Bush the following day at a White House ceremony.

The award is for “outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology products, processes and concepts,” according to the medal’s Web site.

Armand and his brother, Donald S. Feigenbaum ’46, of Pittsfield, Mass., are longtime Union benefactors. Armand was worldwide manager of manufacturing operations and quality control for General Electric, and Donald had major management responsibilities in GE’s jet engine business when they founded General Systems Company in 1968.

The Pittsfield-based international systems engineering firm designs and implements integrated management systems for major corporations throughout the world.

Armand Feigenbaum is the originator of Total Quality Control. His book on the subject has been published in many languages and is the basic text on quality systems and improvement. It was first published in 1951, and a 50th anniversary edition was released in 2002.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation citation reads: “For leadership in the development of the economic relationship of quality costs, productivity improvement, and profitability and for his pioneering application of economics, general systems theory and technology, statistical methods and management principles that define the Total Quality Management approach for achieving performance excellence and global competitiveness.”

Union President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith, along with Donald, attended the Washington dinner and awards ceremony.

“We are proud and thrilled to join the Feigenbaums for this special occasion,” Ainlay said. “Union has a history of producing and nurturing creative minds, and Armand embodies this innovative Union spirit.”

Since 1996, the College has hosted the annual Feigenbaum Forum, which brings leaders from the academic and business worlds together at Union to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. This year’s forum was held on Oct. 21.

In 1997, the College’s administration building was dedicated in honor of the Feigenbaums, who supported the extensive renovation of the building, which dates to 1871.