Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Carl A. Westerdahl Forum Inaugural Event

By now all Friends should have received an invitation to "Making the Connection:  Rensselaer Graduates Who Built Bridges over the Hudson" that the Friends is sponsoring next month.  The committee planning the event, headed by Friends Board of Directors members Rick Hartt and Meg Gallien, have put a lot of effort into this and are excited to offer not one but two presentations to all who are interested in learning about civil engineering training at the Institute in the late 1800s and the role Rensselaer alumni had in the design and construction of bridges in the Hudson Valley and nationwide in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
We are very fortunate to have Frank Griggs '56, engineer, bridge restorer, and historian, as our featured speaker.  He'll be joined by Chris Letchford, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at RPI, and George Christian, M.S. '76, who has over 38 years of engineering and management experience in varied bridge planning, design, construction, and evaluation activities in the New York State Department of Transportation Office of Structures.
The Carl A. Westerdahl Forum memorializes the creative contributions made by Carl A. Westerdahl (1937-2013), former dean, director, and historian at Rensselaer, through programs that explore education, history, art, architecture, engineering, and science as they relate to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

The online invitation with information, including directions to RPI and parking instructions, and a registration form that can be sent in can be obtained at http://www.lib.rpi.edu/documents/friends/Carl.pdf /

Online registration is now available!
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at bircha@rpi.edu or (518) 452-0618.

I hope to see many of you at the event.  It promises to be an excellent introduction to the annual lecture series honoring Carl who was committed to the Institute and took great pleasure in sharing its history, contributions, and success stories with others.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lunch & Learn for September

"Celebrating a Non-traditional Life"


Speaker:  Judith Barnes '71, '84

 Friday, September 12, 2014
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Fischbach Room

Judith Barnes, Ph.D., is an entrepreneur, educator, speaker, and writer with a four-decade national consultancy in communication, technical communication, marketing, and advertising.   

As a result of deciding to become a consultant in 1971 – a very non-traditional choice back – she has had the pleasure of working with people in a wide range of fields including technology, fashion retailing and manufacturing, finance, automotive, business and industry, education, arts, and healthcare.  Judy was also a founding officer of a company commercializing micro fuel cells as a future power source for portable electronics, a longtime Adjunct Professor for the Executive MBA program in the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is a frequent guest lecturer in Rensselaer’s leadership programs.

Judith Barnes
Judy has authored five books, and her essays have aired on public radio. She was a co-writer and executive producer for a short film on personal responsibility screened at over 25 film festivals. The film was also featured on a public television program and used by therapists nationwide. In addition, she is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer for educational, civic, and cultural groups. 
Judy has a Ph.D. and M.S. from Rensselaer. She has received numerous professional awards; has been active in leadership positions on the boards of many civic, educational, and arts organizations; and has extensive experience in institutional development and community fundraising activities.  
Having come into contact with people in so many different lines of work, Judy has many interesting stories to tell. Come hear about some of her exciting and perhaps unusual assignments.  I'd like to hear about the job she's now working on for Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes.
Everyone is invited. Bring your lunch or pick up one at the Library Café. Dessert will be provided.
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Photo Display
May's Lunch & Learn presenter, William Gill B.S. '03, M.S. '11, has hung eight stunning photographs that he's taken of trains at night.  They're on our second floor "gallery wall"  and will be on display for the summer.
A lot of his scenes were taken along the Delaware and Hudson Railway, which is the railroad that Will's great grandfather worked on.  It was also the first freight railroad that Will was able to get an up close view of trains as they rolled on by.

Will uses strobe photography to capture his photos of trains at night.  It usually takes him an hour or more to position the lights.  He takes great care in setting them up because he gets only one chance to take the perfect picture of a traveling train.

Two of the images displayed were taken in Benson Landing and West Rutland, VT.  The others were captured in Troy, Cohoes, Fort Edward, Hadley, and Thurman, NY.  The 16" X 20" framed and matted photos can be purchased for $160 each.

Above is my favorite shot.  It shows a colorful string of cars rolling past Grabowski's Farm in West Rutland, VT.  The line is owned by the Clarendon and Pittsford Railway and runs from Whitehall, NY, to Rutland. The barns and cars really stand out against the black of night.

To view some photos Will's taken of trains in the dark, see ihearttrains.us or check out his postings at https://www.facebook.com/TrainsAtNight.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Save the Date!
The Carl A. Westerdahl Forum
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Making the Connection:
Rensselaer Graduates
Who Built Bridges over the Hudson
Join the Friends of the Folsom Library for the inaugural
Carl A. Westerdahl Forum.

Dr. Frank Griggs ’56, engineer, bridge restorer and historian, is the featured speaker. He and a panel of experts including George Christian, will highlight the role Rensselaer alumni played in the growth of bridge design locally and nationwide in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Lunchtime Presentation
12 noon – 1 p.m.
"Civil Engineering Training at Rensselaer
in the Late 1800s"
Russell Sage Dining Hall
Lunch to be offered
Evening Presentation
6 – 7 p.m.
"Crossing the Hudson: Capital Region Bridges"
Reception to follow
Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Auditorium
Sponsored by the Friends of the Folsom Library
The Carl A. Westerdahl Forum memorializes the creative contributions made by Carl A. Westerdahl (1937-2013), former dean, director, and historian at Rensselaer, through programs that explore education, history, art, architecture, engineering, and science as they relate to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Program details will follow. 
 For more information, contact Adrienne Birchler,
Folsom Library, 518-276-8329.

           Please share this announcement with all individuals and organizations you think would be interested.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lunch & Learn for May

“Photographing Trains at Night”
Speaker:  William Gill  B.S. ‘03, M.S. ‘11

Friday, May 9, 2014
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Folsom Library's Fischbach Room

Senior Web Producer William Gill has always preferred to photograph at night and three years ago, after becoming "completely bored with drunk people in bars," began setting up studio style lighting outdoors to capture images of trains passing through the American landscape at night.  He will cover the process of working along the tracks at night and what he hopes to achieve with this project.

Everyone is invited.  Bring your lunch or purchase one at the Library Café.  Dessert will be provided.
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Friday, April 4, 2014

The 73rd McKinney Writing Contest and Reading
A Vollmer Fries Lecture
Lydia Davis
Winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
8:00 p.m.
Biotech Auditorium,
Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building
Reception to follow
As we've done for several years now, Friends has again contributed $250 toward the McKinney Writing Contest, Rensselaer's annual writing competition administered by the Department of Communication and Media.  The contest offers both undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity for assessment and recognition of their creative writing talent. Work can be submitted in one or more of the following areas:  fiction/drama, poetry, essay, and electronic media. This year's awards will be presented by short story writer and translator Lydia Davis, who will first give a reading from one of her works and then answer questions from the audience.  

Lydia Davis
(Photo by David Ignaszewski)
Davis is the author of story collections Almost No Memory (1997), Samuel Johnson is Indignant (2001), Varieties of Disturbance (2007), The Collected Stories (2009), and most recently Can't and Won't (2014).  She is also a novelist, essayist, and translator from French and other languages, and has produced several new translations of French literary classics, including Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary.  Davis is known for her concise short stories.  Characteristically, they usually run between three and four pages.  The New Yorker praised her "lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom." Davis currently is a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany.

Barbara Lewis, Chair of Friends of the Folsom Library's Board of Directors and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media, is coordinating the event.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Your Laugh for the Day

I just have to share this with you all.  Friend Steven Smith '50 responded to my recent blog entry regarding Don Bell's upcoming Lunch & Learn program concerning teaching young people about money management.  Here it is.

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Adrienne, I thought this story, forwarded by my niece, was so pertinent to the theme of the April 11 Lunch and Learn that I should pass it on. Hope it gives you a chuckle.

Bravo to Don Bell and all who teach young people financial savvy. Such an important subject! 


His name was Ole. He was from South Dakota. And he needed a loan. So, he walked into a bank in New York City and asked for a loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Oslo for the All-Scandinavian Summer Festival for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so Ole handed over the keys to his new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank. Ole produced the title and everything checked out.

The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest. The loan papers were signed and an employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's private underground garage and parked it. Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at Ole from South Dakota for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan.

Two weeks later, Ole returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that you are a Distinguished Alumni from South Dakota State University, a highly sophisticated investor and multimillionaire with real estate and financial interests all over the world. Your investments include a large number of oil wells around Williston, ND. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

Ole replied, "Vare else in New York City can I park my car for two veeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be dare vhen I return?"

His name was Ole. Keep an eye on these South Dakota boys! Just because we talk funny does not mean we just got off the lutefisk boat.

Brilliant, ja
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library