RIT Announces Third Class of Inductees into Innovation Hall of Fame

Dean Kamen, Patricia Moore, Kevin Surace and Aileen Osborn Webb honored May 4

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Dean Kamen

Four people will be inducted into Rochester Institute of Technology’s Innovation Hall of Fame during a ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 4 in University Gallery, James E. Booth Hall, on the RIT campus.

This year’s class includes inventor, entrepreneur and FIRST founder Dean Kamen; serial entrepreneur Kevin Surace; internationally renowned gerontologist and designer Patricia Moore; and the late Aileen Osborn Webb, founder of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts who was instrumental in bringing the School for American Craftsmen to RIT.

There will be a panel discussion prior to the induction ceremony at 3 p.m. in Webb Auditorium, James E. Booth Hall. Kamen, Moore and Surace will be among the panelists. The panel discussion is open to the public.

Here is more background about each inductee:

Dean Kamen is founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corp. DEKA developed the Segway Human Transporter, HomeChoice portable dialysis machine and a government-funded robotic arm. Kamen rode in on a Segway to 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 inspire kids to pursue careers in math and science. The competitions team professional engineers with high school students from across the country and Canada. RIT has hosted a regional FIRST competition for the past eight years.

Patricia Moore is a 1974 graduate of RIT’s industrial design program, president of Moore Associates, international lecturer and adjunct professor of industrial design at Arizona State University. Moore 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. Moore altered her body with prosthetics that blurred her vision, reduced her ability to hear and limited her motion, and she depended on canes, walkers and a wheelchair. She wrote about those experiences in her books Disguised: A True Story and The Business of Aging.

Kevin Surace is a 1985 graduate of RIT’s electrical engineering technology program, CEO and president of Serious Materials and a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees. 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 retrofitted 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: served as a trustee of RIT for 26 years. 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 Womens’ Council of RIT was formed. Webb founded the American Crafts Council and the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (now the Museum of Arts and Design). She was instrumental in bringing the School for American Craftsmen to RIT in 1950 (known today as the School for American Crafts). Prior to the move to RIT, the school had been located at Dartmouth and at Alfred University.

For more information about the RIT Innovation Hall of Fame, go to www.rit.edu/alumni/ihf.

The panel discussion and induction ceremony are held in conjunction with the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5.