University creates Greek Life Task Force; new mailing list deployed

On June 8, RPI announced a Greek Life Task Force – Task Force

Our RPI Alumni Inter-Greek Council (AIGC) is a committee of the RAA which fosters overall improvement of the Greek community. We have two members on the AIGC, Bob Eckart ’73 and John Pfaff ’71. They are representing our fraternities interest. Also Sigma Chi at our International Headquarters and the National Interfraternity Council are monitoring this action.

An Update was distributed on June 26.

We have moved our e-mail mailing list.
It includes discussions, strategies and tactics in response to our university’s creation of a Greek Life Task Force that includes suspension of alcohol and a two month delay in recruitment. To ensure you remain on the mailing list, contact Dan Zuber at Dzuber321 @ gmail.
Check to see if you received a recent message from John Pfaff on July 1 titled AIGC Meeting on June 29, 2018 from email alumni_discussions @

2018 Graduates Large Class

Graduating Consul Tim Saia ’18 reported, “graduation was cold and rainy, fitting for RPI.”  A large class of 21 was reported.  Also Nick Fortune ’13 received his Ph.D in Mathematics Education from North Caralina State.

Back (left to right): Dan Sze, Hunter Eiss, Ed Prettyman, Sean Ferracioli, Tim Saia, Matt Cornell, Sean Waclawik, Damian Amiruddin

Front: Chris St. Onge, Felicia Peacock (Lavalier, Girlfriend of Ben Richardson), Marvin Cosare, Jack Yang, Andrew Ellis, Reilly Keating-Wood.

Not pictured: Nikolay Lihraski, James Hu, Jonathan Tiller, Greg Pepe, Billy Sullivan, Matt Heimlich, Kenny D’Aurizio, Michael Manogue, Christian Sye, Vandan Patel

Updates on plans for the Graduates:

FIRST LAST Degree(s) Plans Location
Marvin Cosare B.S. Industrial & Management Engineering Leviton, Manufacturing ePDP Program Washington, D.C.
Hunter Eiss B.S. Industrial & Management Engineering Booz Allen Hamilton, Cost Engineer Morganton, NC, Bloomingdale, IL, and Bothell, WA
Dan Sze B.S. Computer Science and Business Management TripAdvisor Boston
Sean Waclawik B.S. Computer Science Arista Networks Nashua, NH
Tim Saia B.S. Computer Science Software Engineer at Bloomberg NYC, Midtown, living in UES
Kenny D’Aurizio BS Business and Management Northeastern Law School Boston (Fennway)

Congratulations to all!

2018-05-19 RPI Grads cropped

Jim Straw ’68 selected as 2018 Significant Sig

strawDelta Psi Brother James (Jim) B. Straw, ’68, has been selected for the 2018 Class of Significant Sigs. The Significant Sig Award recognizes alumni who have accomplished outstanding success in their professional or civic activities.  Jim joins 7 other RPI Brothers who were honored previously.  His picture will be added to the Alumni Room at the Pomeroy Chapter House at 58 Pinewoods.

Brother Straw graduated from RPI in 1968 with a Bachelor of Building Sciences and received a Bachelor of Architecture in 1969. Jim received his Master of Science in Urban Design from Columbia University in 1971.  A retired architect, Jim resides in the Philadelphia area.

Jim was the Managing Principal of KSK Architects Planners Historians from 2009 to 2014. From 1997 to 2009 he led the firm’s Preservation Practice. Through several major, and award-winning projects, he developed an expertise in both preservation architecture and the planning and design of cultural facilities. He was Principal-in-Charge of the design of the $110M clay Center for the Arts and Sciences (2003) in Charleston, West Virginia, and the National Award-winning restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic Ridgway Library Building, in Philadelphia, as the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (1997). Jim was also Principal-in-Charge of the National Award-winning restoration and reuse of Memorial Hall, a National Historic Landmark, for the Please Touch Museum (2010) in the Centennial District of Philadelphia.

Brother Straw also took his firm’s preservation and cultural facilities design practice to China in the late 1990s, when he was instrumental, with other firm principals, in setting up a planning and design office in Tianjin, China. His firm assisted in establishing some of China’s first historic preservation ordinances, and undertook planning a design of cultural and entertainment facilities around the country.

He received numerous awards in the architectural field. To name a few, the long list includes the National Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2012, for the restoration and adaptive re-use of Memorial Hall, the National Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1998, for the restoration and adaptive re-use of the Ridgway Library Building; a Grand Jury Award, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for the Please Touch Museum;  the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award, Preservation Pennsylvania: Johnson House Underground Railroad Museum restoration, 2008; and The Philadelphia Art Alliance Wister Award, 2009, for “dedication and devotion to Arts and Culture in the City of Philadelphia.”

In addition to his professional achievements, Jim has served the music, non-profit and cultural community in many leadership positions, only some of which are mentioned here. He was a Commissioner for the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation for 8 years; Chairman of the Board of Partners for Sacred Places; Executive Committee Board Member of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts; Chairman of the Opera Philadelphia Board; Chairman of the Philadelphia Flower Show Executive Committee; President of the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble; and President of the Union League of Philadelphia.

His involvement in music started long ago and included a stint as bass guitarist in Oedipus and the Mothers, the Delta Psi house band with which he has returned for many Homecoming performances at Delta Psi. Jim is looking forward to a reunion performance for its next gig. Clearly, Jim still has rhythm.  – Larry Mentz ‘68

George Herbert Reynolds ’66 entered Chapter Eternal

Delta Psi Sigma Chi Brother George Herbert (GHerb) Reynolds ’66 entered the Chapter Eternal on February 27, 2018.

Pictures below are from the 2010 Homecoming Reunion – In front of the Pomeroy chapter house at 58 Pinewoods, left to right are: Bruce Allen ’65, Dick Ross ’66, George Reynolds ’66, Foss Hooper ’66, Eric Klutz ’66 & Paul Davis ’66, and at dinner are  George Reynolds ’66, Faith Reynolds and Sharon Davis.

Comments from chapter Brothers:

George’s extraordinary wit has left us much to smile about from those years with him.  At the moment, I am remembering him perched on the roof of the porch at the old house, costumed as an eagle and greeting Halloween visitors with squawks of “E plurbus unum”.  There are many other memories, too, but I need to run them by the censors first!
All honor to his name.  In Hoc, Paul Davis ’66
Just the mention of his name makes me smile. Countless times in my life I’ve had moments that flash back to something he did or said. George is one of those rare people who you can never forget once you have met him. 
All honor to his name. 
In hoc, Dennis George ’66
I believe that all of us can agree that GHerb was a memorable character.  His wit–usually accompanied by a wry grin and a subdued snicker–was not only funny but made you feel good.  His spontaneous expressions about people and life were priceless, and yes, some needed to be run by the sensors.  I’m glad Jean and I got to see Faith and GHerb–as well as their granddaughter [Courtney Reynolds ’13?] who was attending the ‘Tute–at a couple of the alumni reunions.
All honor to his name.  In hoc, Dick Ross ’66

Here is a photo from the 1965 rush brochure with Herb Reynolds (better known as Troll).  Troll is the little guy on the right side of the 49 Chevy (?) that had been sitting in the back of the house for years.  Also identifiable are Foss Hooper on the left front hood, Denny George behind him, then ??, and I think, Bill Pomeroy.  We all decided to dispose of it by driving it down Pinewoods Avenue flat out in second gear until it blew.  A was a passenger, and it DID blow.  We left it and walked back.  Frank (Skull) Kendall was the driver.  Bruce Allen, ‘65


Sigma Chi reunion 15-16 Oct 10-33 Nix frame.jpg



Sigma Chi reunion 15-16 Oct 10-40 Nix frame.jpg

Sigma Chi reunion 15-16 Oct 10-60 Nix frame.jpg

Sigma Chi reunion 15-16 Oct 10-62 Nix frame.jpgSigma Chi reunion 15-16 Oct 10-68 Nix frame.jpg

Troll and car (2)

Whirl – Silicon Valley start-up founders Ken Sobel ’12 and Jay Cady ’14 Steve Sobel ’14 sold Whirl to Visa in 2017

By: Ken Sobel ‘12

Are you supposed to enjoy your first job out of college?

Two weeks into my career, this was the biggest question weighing on me. I didn’t sign my job offer with the expectation of hating my job, but here I was. With the encouragement of Andrew Stevens ’12, I decided on the solution. “I’ll start my own company!”

And so Whirl, Inc. was born. I quickly joined forces with my biological brother, Steve Sobel ’14, and former Pro Consul Jay Cady ’14, both who, unlike me, knew how to design circuits and write code.

With a founding team in place, we got to work. Our product was a point of sale system that accepted fingerprint payments. It would dramatically improve the speed, convenience, and security of everyday retail transactions. After working nights and weekends for six months, we had our first prototype by the spring of 2014.

Still resembling an RPI science project, that prototype helped us raise capital from Y Combinator, a startup venture fund based in Mountain View, California. We quickly relocated to the SF Bay Area, where we spent over two years figuring out how to transform a prototype into a business.

In those two years, we learned how to design hardware, build production-quality products, file a patent, write a pitch deck, form investor relationships, acquire customers, and partner with large banking institutions. Looking back, it was not my RPI coursework, but rather my experience in Sigma Chi that best prepared me most for the intensity of starting a company.

By late 2016, Whirl had processed over $1.2 million on behalf of its customers, and over 1000 people used our product to pay by fingerprint. In 2017, Visa tendered an offer to acquire Whirl’s patent rights – and we accepted.

Steve, Jay, and I continue to work as a team at b8ta, a new type of retailer that allows emerging consumer brands to sell through physical stores over the internet.

2018 Spring Newsletter

Our alumni 2018 Spring newsletter has been delivered.  You find it here!  Since the publishing, December Grad Ryan Gavin has accepted employment at Volkswagen Product Marketing at their HQ in Herndon, Virginia. Send your USPS mailing updates to Dan Zuber

Don Weber ’67 entered Chapter Eternal

Don WeberDonald Jon Weber,  (’67) age 71, passed on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Valatie. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 3, 1945 he was the son of the late Jeannette Elizabeth (Chubb) and John Frederick Weber. He grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio and graduated from the Charles T. Brush High School in 1963. Don came to NYS for his undergraduate education and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He then served proudly as a Lieutenant in the US Navy from June 1969 through 1975, working as navigator on Navy planes. Don came back to the Schenectady/Troy area to work and continue his education, where he earned a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from RPI in 1978. He worked for General Electric for almost 30 years as an engineer for MAO and GE, retiring in 2004.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his beloved in-laws Jean (Elder) Clark and Robert C. Clark, and brother-in-law Robert C. Clark ll. Survivors include his wife Teri L. (Clark) Weber of 40 years, and his treasured children, Darren J. Weber (Lisa) of Watertown, MA and Katherine J. Weber of Saratoga Springs, NY. He has a much loved sister, Mary Jeanne (Chubb) McRoberts and brother-in-law, Paul McRoberts of Anthem, AZ. Don also has a cherished niece, Tracy (McRoberts) Begalke and family of Anthem, AZ. He was fortunate enough to have his sister-in-laws Karen (Marcotte) Duell of Corinth, NY and Christine (Clodgo Clark) Higginson (Norman) of Corinth, NY as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Relatives and friends may call from 5 to 7pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017 from 5 to 7 pm at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff, Inc. Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs (584-5373). Funeral services will be held at 10am Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, 175 Fifth Ave. at Henning Road, Saratoga Springs. Inurnment with military honors will follow at the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Road, Schuylerville. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the American Heart Association, 440 New Karner Road, Albany NY 12205 or the Community Hospice of Saratoga, 179 Lawrence Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. The family wishes to thank the entire staff of Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for their love, care, comfort, and support they have given Don over his past 6 year stay with them. We also appreciate the kindness, care, and support of the entire Burke/Bussing & Cunniff, Inc. Funeral Home family at this time. Online remembrances may be made at
Published in The Saratogian on Aug. 6, 2017

Responses: From Rangy Lil: “Don was my big brother as a pledge, and he had a lot to do with my nickname “Rangy”. I think he actually wrote the poem. Another reminder that our stay is a temporary one. In Hoc, Rangy”
And From Ruff: “I have fond memories of him with his beer, smoking, playing Thumper, and almost never uttering a sound for hours on end! Those House parties were worth returning for. I kept on returning to the House with fellow alums for 10 years after graduation (1972-1982), the last time with my wife who was pregnant. In Hoc, Ruff”
From Dick Ross: “Perhaps one of my fonder memories of Don occurred when we were both residing in the Norfolk, Virginia, area in the early 70s. At the time, he was in the US Navy and I was on field service for Lockheed. One day, Don decided it would be a good idea to travel from Norfolk to Troy to attend a Big Weekend at the Sigma Chi house. So off we went on Friday morning. We partied Friday and Saturday nights and returned on Sunday. Ah, those were the days! In Hoc Dick”
From Jim Straw: “A very solid guy and great Brother. Quiet but with a wry sense of humor. A good student when many of us weren’t. The Chapter Eternal will benefit from his presence. J”
From Jim Campbell: “Web” was a great and very even-tempered brother and a mentor to many of us as Freshman/Sophomores trying to find our way at the “Tute” and Sigma Chi. All honor to his name. In Hoc, Cramble
From Gary Simundza ’67: You may remember that he and I were roommates (in the Grotto) for a year back in 1965-66; a really nice guy. Gary


Sigma Chi 1950 Petition Discovered

Brother Jim Mitchell ’51, an original member of Sigma Chi at RPI, found a pristine copy of the 1950 brochure from local Phi Epsilon Phi Petition to Sigma Chi requesting membership.  Our petition is 5 by 9 inches, 32 glossy pages including an aerial photo of RPI on the front and back covers, a picture of the membership, profiles of the members, pictures of fraternity life in 1950, and countless supporting letters from school officials, local members and prominent Sigs (including Past Grand Consul L.G. Balfour – Balfour Jewelry).  Thanks to Significant Sig Jim Mitchell ’51, recipient of both the RAA Fellows Award and the Rensselaer Davies Medal, for the safekeeping of this memory.  Brother Mitchell has donated the booklet to the chapter for safekeeping.  A copy can be found at our Chapter Web Site Alumni page

Armen Renjilian ’52 entered the Chapter Eternal

Armen Rejilian photoArmen Renjilian ’52 passed away December 22, 2017, of natural causes at the age of 88.33333.  He always wanted credit for the months after his last birthday.

Armen was a member of the first pledge class of Sigma Chi.  He worked in the Albany/Troy area most of his life and was the manager of Material Sciences at Albany International Corporation retiring at 81 having been a consultant to Albany International for many years after his official retirement.  He was an expert in water chemistry related to paper making processes and did some of the original work to covert the industry from wool to nylon industrial fabrics (and other polymers).  He holds 6 patents in this area.  Armen met Lois (his wife) at a party held at 58 Pinewoods Ave.  Their son, Rick Renjilian, is a member of the class of 1981 and lives in Port Washington, NY.

His wake will be on January 11 and funeral services on January 12 in Latham.

Obituary Link