More than 1,000 visitors are expected on campus for the annual celebration of Union’s graduates this weekend. The Saturday series of speakers begins at 1 p.m. and will feature Chris Sheridan ’89, a writer and character voice for "Family Guy"; Scott Siegler ’69, the creative executive behind shows like "Growing Pains" and "Night Court," who has branched into other media; and Alan Horn ’64, the president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which last year released the latest "Batman" movie installment, "The Dark Knight."
A groundbreaking ceremony for Lippman Hall and a talk by the president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. were among the highlights surrounding ReUnion 2009 Saturday, May 30.
More than 1,500 visitors came to campus for the annual celebration of Union’s graduates, held Thursday through Sunday.
A substantial gift from Jim Lippman ’79 and his wife, Linda, will support a major renovation of the Social Sciences building. The building will be renamed Lippman Hall in honor of Jim Lippman’s father, Robert G. Lippman ’50. Members of the Lippman family joined College officials, including President Stephen C. Ainlay, Stephen Dare, vice president for College Relations and Frank Messa, chairman of the board of trustees, at a noontime ceremony on the south side of Library Plaza.
The renovations include “smart classrooms” that employ state-of-the-art technology and will support the work of faculty and students both within and across departments. Opened in 1967, the Social Sciences building houses classrooms and faculty offices for the departments of Anthropology, Economics, Sociology, Political Science and History.
Renovations are expected to begin in January 2011 and be completed before the end of the year.
"Your generosity in making this renovation possible is absolutely imperative to the future of Union College," Ainlay said. "We are going to have a first-rate facility that will be a magnet for future generations of students who want to come here. It's going to be a remarkable cornerstone to a remarkable campus."
Jim Lippman reflected on the integral role the College has played in the family's life and how fitting it was to be able to dedicate a building on campus in his father's honor.
"My dad is my idol, my mentor and the man who more than any other has shaped me, and is responsible for the success I've been so fortunate to attain," said Lippman, chairman and CEO of JRK Property Holdings, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm he founded in 1992
Robert Lippman retired as director of marketing for Campus Sportswear. Robert pioneered the use of sports licensing as a major marketing tool. At one point, Robert managed licenses for the NFL, NBA, MLB, USTA, NHL, National Hot Rod Association and Harlem Globe Trotters. He also developed marketing programs for several major college teams, many of which are still in effect today. He also worked with Cove Point Realty in Oyster Bay, N.Y., which was founded by his wife, Barbara.
He recalled how the Lippman family's long association with Union got started when his mother, who grew up in Schenectady, called the College "the greatest school in the entire world." Other Lippmans who are members of the Union family are Jim’s brother, Donald ’82, and niece, Meredith ’09. Jim's son, Matthew, will become the newest member of the Union family this fall when he joins the Class of 2013.
"I love this place," said Robert as he reflected on his life as a student. "I can't tell you what makes Union so special. But as you get older, and you move away from being an active student, the memories come back even stronger and Union becomes even more important."
At Taylor Music Center, Alan Horn ’64 offered his perspectives on the movie business. As president and COO of Warner Bros., Horn leads Hollywood’s most successful movie studio of 2008. The studio is responsible for blockbusters such as “The Dark Knight,” and the Harry Potter franchise.
During an engaging chat moderated by Doug Klein, dean of interdisciplinary studies and special programs, Horn shared stories about some of Hollywood's biggest stars, such as Clint Eastwood. He also addressed some of the challenges facing the industry, including piracy and soaring cost of making a movie.
Horn, who grew up in Long Island, described his time at Union as "great for me," and a place where he met many friends and professors. He also touched on his brief musical career at the College.
"I was in a band called the Golden Berries," Horn laughed. "We didn't put out too many albums, though."
The Saturday series of speakers also included Chris Sheridan ’89, a writer and character voice for “Family Guy”; and Scott Siegler ’69, the creative executive behind shows like “Growing Pains and Night Court.”
At Alumni Convocation on Saturday at Memorial Chapel, the College hosted a ceremony to present Alumni Gold Medals, the Faculty Meritorious Award, parade trophies and class gifts. The ceremony closed with the traditional Senior Handshake between the Class of 2009 and the 50th ReUnion Class, welcoming the senior class into the Alumni body.
The College also honored outstanding engineering alumni at the Engineering Awards Reception.
Below are award winners honored at the Alumni Convocation and the Engineering Awards Reception during ReUnion '09. The citiations printed below are excerpted from the Convocation program.
Alumni Gold Medals recognize alumni and faculty who have demonstrated distinguished service to the College.
Seymour L. Meisel ’44
As a senior at Union, you won the Fuller Prize, which honors a high-achieving chemistry student who shows an unusual ability in original experimental work. That prize came a few years before the start of your long career at Mobil Oil Corp., which was marked by excellence in research chemistry. Maybe you expressed the impact of your Union education best, when, in 1958, you wrote in a College questionnaire: “It started me on a scientific career which I have thoroughly enjoyed.” Beginning in 1968, as vice president of research at Mobil, you oversaw activity in exploration and production, research and development, and long-range exploration. You joined Mobil in 1947 as a research chemist and progressively moved up to management roles. You hold a number of patents in both petroleum and chemical fields, and published a book on thiophene derivatives; a fitting subject for a former doctoral student in chemistry at the University of Illinois. As an alumnus, you were a charter member and chairman of the Trustee Board of Advisors beginning 1986. You served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1994 and as a class treasurer and Ramée Circle member. Prior to that service, you frequented Union’s campus to visit your sons, Mark, Class of 1969; Alan, Class of 1971; and Neil, Class of 1974. The family connection does not stop there. Your brother, Philip, was a member of the Class of 1948, and your nephew Lee a member of the Class of 1974. In recognition of all that you have done for Union, the Alumni Council is proud to bestow upon you this Alumni Gold Medal, citation and certificate.
Michael S. Rapaport ’59
In the spring of 2008, you told the College magazine that Union graduates should be equipped to perceive ethical issues and make appropriate and conscious choices. To help meet that goal, you helped fund and build the Everyday Ethics across the Curriculum initiative, which has helped create ethics segments in more than 50 courses at Union. The ethics initiative is only the most recent chapter of your support of Union. For the Union Bicentennial Campaign in the mid-1990s, you made a significant gift to support the expansion of Schaffer Library. You served for many years on the Trustees Board of Advisors and served on the Alumni Council. And more recently, you hosted a special event in Lake George for the first group of Minerva Fellows. And, it seems likely that you and possibly your brother, Peter, Class of 1962, influenced your daughter Rachel as she searched for a college. Today Rachel, a member of the Class of 1992, is a doctor and professor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It was in 1959 that you earned a bachelor’s degree from Union in Social Studies and, a few years later, a law degree and MBA from Columbia University. In your professional life, you’ve worked as a partner in your family’s law firm, based in New York City, where you specialize in real estate and elder law. At Union, you were a member of the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity, student government and Concordiensis. In recognition of all that you have done for Union, the Alumni Council is proud to bestow upon you this Alumni Gold Medal, citation and certificate.
Lawrence S. Gordon ’74
It’s hard to imagine an alumni role that you have not taken on. Your resume reads like a list of all possible roles for alumni: Trustee, Alumni Council, Admissions Chair, Associate Agent, Alumni Admissions Representative, Friends of Union Athletics, Terrace Council. A graduate of Linton High School here in Schenectady, you followed a number of relatives to attend Union. After going to the Case Western Reserve University for a dental degree, you started a successful dental practice in Middletown, N.J. Somehow, you have managed the demands of a busy dental practice and family life. Yet you’ve always found time for Union. Perhaps the greatest legacy of your commitment to Union comes in the form of getting others to follow in your footsteps. Your enthusiastic recruiting on behalf of the admissions office has brought a legion of young scholars to this College. You have hosted prospective and accepted students at receptions, represented Union at high schools and college fairs and contacted hundreds of students in your area to tell them about Union. If there were any doubts about your dedication to your alma mater, you answered them succinctly in a ReUnion questionnaire: “Union College is my life.” On behalf of the Alumni Council, I am pleased to recognize your commitment and generosity to Union by presenting you with this Alumni Gold Medal, citation and certificate.
The Faculty Meritorious Service Award goes to a faculty member or member of the Union College community who has rendered exceptional service to the College.
Carl J. George
When you arrived at Union in 1967 as a young professor of biology, you brought more than a vast knowledge of your subject. You brought an insatiable curiosity and a rare ability to connect seemingly disparate areas of knowledge. You also brought an infectious enthusiasm that has turned hundreds, perhaps thousands, of alumni into lifelong learners. In many ways, your career at Union is emblematic of the most distinctive goal of a Union education: to provide students not only a deep knowledge in a subject area, but to cultivate in them a thirst for broad-based learning and a sense of obligation to contribute to society. Since you “retired” a dozen years ago you have been a nearly constant presence on campus: leading tours of the Nott Memorial, exploring the ecology and natural history of the Mohawk Valley, tracking bird migration patterns, teaching your popular “Illustrated Organism” course, and promoting diversity through UNITAS, an important initiative that you began with friend and colleague, Twitty Styles. Finally, we must acknowledge the rich contributions that your wife, Gail, and you have made to the cultural life of this College. Gail’s talent and energy were instrumental to a number of arts, cultural and celebratory events, and we are all truly blessed that her spirit lives on here at Union. Carl, it would be difficult to summarize the effects you have had on generations of former students. But one comes close: “Professor George was a remarkable mentor, having all the attributes of a great scientist – naturally inquisitive, methodological in his pursuit, and showing both great diligence and precision. But more importantly for me, Carl was inspirational by allowing me to set my own goals, develop my own type of experimentation, and to provide support and encouragement. No doubt that his positive influence greatly helped formulate my own career path.” It is my pleasure to recognize you, a remarkable mentor, with the Alumni Council’s Faculty Meritorious Service Award.
Engineering Alumni Awards go to alumni who are working as dynamic leaders and who show a commitment to their profession and community.
The 2009 award recipients are: Beno B. Sternlicht '50, of Schenectady was given the Dean's Award – Electrical Engineering; Richard M. Tyndall '44, of Franklin, Mich. was given the Gold Award – Electrical Engineering; Archna Bajaj '04, of Cleveland was given the Silver Award – Electrical Engineering; A. Brian Aronne '83, of Pleasantville, N.Y. was given the Gold Award – Civil Engineering; Christopher R. Stolicky '00 was given the Silver Award – Civil Engineering; RichardG. Budynas '64 was given the Gold Award – Mechanical Engineering; Matthew E. Bazydlo '99 was given the Silver Award – Mechanical Engineering; and Steven R. Dumais, Jr. '04, of Ann Arbor, Mich. was given the Gold Award – Computer Engineering.