Staying Connected: Paying It Forward

A unique scholarship is supporting students

Two girls working at laptops in the library

As the 200th anniversary of the founding of Rensselaer approaches in 2024, the capital campaign — Transformative: Campaign for Global Change — will secure the future of Rensselaer and enable exceptional students to pursue their passions, realize their dreams, and change the world for generations to come. For Don Weimer ’74, a commitment to student support was inspired years ago by the generosity that enabled him to pursue a degree at Rensselaer and by the quality of the education he received.

Intent on studying electrical engineering, Weimer quickly realized that many of his classmates were far more advanced in the subject than he was. “I went from being one of the smartest kids in my high school who never needed to develop study habits, to one of many in a much more demanding academic environment.” When his grades slipped during his freshman year, he discovered that his scholarship funding had been reduced as well — a sore point that would later influence his approach to giving.

As luck would have it, his freshman roommate got him hooked on computers. He convinced Weimer to join the Association for Computing Machinery student chapter, which gave members free accounts to use the school’s first computer, an IBM System/360.

“That’s where I learned to program. For the next three years, you could find me hanging out in the computer lab in the basement of Amos Eaton Hall,” he says.

In his senior year, Weimer found himself being recruited by the data systems division of Grumman Aerospace. He would spend the next 22 years working at Grumman, ending up as a systems programmer for the company’s IBM mainframe computer before taking a position with Arrow Electronics.

Early in his career, Weimer decided to give back to Rensselaer. “I received a great education,” he says. “RPI taught me how to think logically and solve problems. Those skills have served me well throughout my career.”

In 1982, Weimer made his first gift to Rensselaer, donating 2 percent of his salary. In 1991, he met with a group of Rensselaer advancement officers, who explained that, since he was already giving every year, he could create a scholarship. “I wanted something permanent, and thus my endowed scholarship was born,” he says. The Donald E. Weimer ’74 2 Percent Scholarship gives priority to students who run into financial hardship after their first year. To date, 28 students have benefited from his generosity, and he intends to do more.

“I am financially able to give back,” he says. “It’s the right thing to do. It is my intention to donate the bulk of my estate to my scholarship fund, at which point the scholarship should be a full ride.”

“Don’s 2 percent approach and his commitment to scholarship are unique and inspiring. We thank him for his impact on Rensselaer and today’s students,” says Graig Eastin, vice president for institute advancement.

To learn more about offering support, visit,, or contact the Alumni Office at or (518) 276-6205.

Seeking Outstanding Alumni

Steve Sasson '72, holding his digital camera

The nominations process has begun for the 2020 class of inductees into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.

The Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame was conceived in 1995 to honor the past, while celebrating all generations of Rensselaer pioneers. It is designed to permanently preserve, celebrate, and widely communicate the long and exceptional heritage of the Institute. The stories of these innovators, pioneers, and entrepreneurs provide a powerful source of inspiration for all who follow in their paths, and like them, will continue to change the world.

The guiding philosophy of the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame is to recognize the “best of the best” as measured by contributions by inductees to humanity; a specific field of endeavor; or a unique niche area. The criteria for selection include the nominee’s reputation globally, professional achievements, service and career contributions, and uniqueness. To date, 86 members have been inducted. Etched glass windows have been placed centrally on campus to commemorate their contributions.

Just a few examples of the notable alumni who have been inducted include Steven Sasson ’72 , inventor of the digital camera; civil rights trailblazer Wesley Brown ’51; David Noble ’40, inventor of the floppy disk; and engineering education leader Lois Graham ’46.

Please submit the names of worthy alumni for consideration for the 2020 class of inductees by December 31, 2018. A nominations form, and more information about the current members of the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame, may be found at

For questions, contact Alumni Relations at or (518) 276-6205.

Help Rensselaer Go Green

Alumni programs and services are advertised mainly via email and social media — including Reunion & Homecoming and regional chapter information. Help us continue to “go green,” and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the exciting and educational events and valuable benefits offered exclusively to Rensselaer alumni. Write to, or visit and update your email, social media user name, and contact information.

Worldwide Travel Program

See the world with people who share your interests — fellow Rensselaer alumni. Upcoming programs include the Galapagos Islands, a seven-night cruise in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake rivers, a luxury cruise from Sydney (Australia) to Auckland (New Zealand), and an intimate group (28 maximum) educational trip to Cuba. Visit for a complete listing of upcoming trips, or contact program coordinator Michael Wellner ’64 at or (212) 486-3064 for more information.

Rensselaer Alumni Career Services

The Rensselaer Alumni Association offers you help and support at any stage of your career! Rensselaer Career Services, at, offers assistance whether you are seeking a job, looking to make a change, hoping to hire a Rensselaer graduate, or simply need some advice or tips. Visit the website and find all that the alumni network can offer you, or contact Alumni Relations at or (518) 276-6205