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Innovation Hall of Fame honors new inductees

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Kevin Surace

RIT inducts its third class into the Innovation Hall of Fame on May 4.

Dean Kamen is founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corp. Among other things, DEKA developed the Segway Human Transporter, HomeChoice portable dialysis machine and a government-funded robotic arm. Kamen rode in on a Segway as he made his way to the stage in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center to deliver RIT’s 2006 Convocation address.

He is also the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit organization that uses robotic competitions to pair professional engineers with high-school students from the U.S. and Canada.

“The leadership of RIT, as well as its active and engaged student body, shares my belief that America’s future will be shaped by a new generation of scientific leaders and innovators,” says Kamen.

Patricia Moore ’74 (industrial design), president of Moore Associates, was named by ID magazine as one of the 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world. Moore devoted three years of her life to a daring and rigorous experiment to learn firsthand about ageism and discrimination. She traveled throughout North America from 1979 to 1982 disguised as a woman in her 80s. She wrote about her experiences in her books Disguised: A True Story and The Business of Aging.

She is an adjunct professor of industrial design at Arizona State University and an international lecturer.

“As I travel the world, serving clients, governments and addressing the next generation of designers, I proudly recall my education at RIT,” Moore says. “I cannot imagine a better foundation and I know, from the friendships I have maintained with classmates, faculty and staff over the past 42 years, I can proudly credit RIT for an enchanted and enthralling career.”

Kevin Surace ’85 (electrical engineering technology), CEO and president of Serious Materials, credits RIT for providing a foundation for his career.

“No institution could have prepared me better for the myriad obstacles and challenges innovators will face in the workplace,” says Surace, an RIT trustee. “I left RIT inspired to make a difference in this world.”

Serious Materials manufacturers building materials designed to reduce energy usage and carbon-dioxide generation in buildings. Inc. magazine named Surace as its 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Surace’s company took on the enormous task of retrofitting all 6,514 windows in the Empire State Building as part of an effort to make the iconic landmark more sustainable and energy efficient. Workers dedicated six months, working overnight each night, to replace the windows.

Aileen Osborn Webb, who served as an RIT trustee for 26 years, rounds out this year’s inductees into RIT’s Innovation Hall of Fame. Prior to her death in 1979, she dedicated her life and much of her fortune to increasing the awareness and appreciation of fine crafts and enhancing the opportunities for American craftspeople to earn a living. Under her direction, the Women’s Council of RIT was formed. Webb founded the American Crafts Council and the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. She was instrumental in bringing the School for American Craftsmen to RIT from Dartmouth and Alfred University in 1950.

On the 25th anniversary of the school, Webb said: “The one thing we can’t do is become content with ourselves. We can’t be static. We must move and change with the world.”


Kevin Surace


Patricia Moore


Aileen Osborn Webb


Dean Kamen