RIT inducts four into Innovation Hall of Fame

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Ken Huth

From left to right, Kevin Surace ’85; Robin Cass, representing the School for American Crafts in honor of the late Aileen Osborn Webb; Patricia Moore ’74; Dean Kamen and President Bill Destler.

An inventor, a designer, an entrepreneur and a former trustee were inducted into RIT’s Innovation Hall of Fame in May. This is the third class of inductees.

Dean Kamen, who received an honorary degree from RIT, 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. 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.

Patricia Moore ’74 (industrial design) is 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. She wrote about those experiences in her books Disguised: A True Story and The Business of Aging.

Kevin Surace ’85 (electrical engineering) is chairman and co-founder of Serious Energy and a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees. The company 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 landmark more sustainable and energy efficient. .

Aileen Osborn Webb served as a trustee of RIT for 26 years. Prior to her death in 1979, she dedicated her life 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 (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).