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The University Magazine


University Magazine - Spring 2008 Image
Hollis Todd with Dick Byer ’69, left. If anyone can identify the student in the center, please contact The University Magazine at

The man in the plaid shirt

On page 28 of the Winter edition of the RIT magazine is a photo of Professor Hollis Todd with two students. The one on the far left, in the plaid shirt, is me, I believe – and also according to my daughter, Cynthia Byer Weller ’98, ’99 (hospitality and service management, MBA) and my wife, Katherina Neumann. I remember Professor Todd not only as a compassionate person, as related in Don Eddy’s letter, but as a very competent teacher. He not only taught me “facts,” but most importantly, how to think, how to approach a problem and come to a logical conclusion, even if the conclusion was opposite of what was to be expected at the start of the investigation. He was the typical RIT professor of the 1960s, who educated with concepts and ideas.

Most of the “facts” I have forgotten, but the concepts have remained and were much more important during my career, and now as a pensioner. I trust that RIT still educates with concepts and ideas – and will continue so.

Richard “Dick” Byer ’69
Bad Soden, Germany

Professor remembers Tony Lam ’78

I am saddened to report on the death of a former civil engineering technology student, Chungtung “Tony” Lam ’78, on Dec. 25, 2007. He was in several of my classes and impressed me with his quiet manner, tenacious desire to learn, and very high achievement level. His work, especially on design projects, was unsurpassed.

In 1979, he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, majoring in structures. That same year, he joined the Rochester firm of STI Technologies, founded by Neville F. Rieger, former James E. Gleason Professor of Mechanical Engineering at RIT. Tony had impressed Dr. Rieger as a student in his course in finite elements.

“Tony was one of the very first employees in my firm,” Dr. Rieger said recently. “He wasn’t just a ‘hack’ engineer, but a deep thinker, a pioneer who could fly by himself. He eventually became our vice-president of engineering and analysis. We regretted his leaving in 1998, but he wanted to have his own organization.”

That was when Tony founded Turbine Technology International, a Rochester-based consulting engineering firm, for which he served as president until his death.

Friends of Tony may wish to visit the “Past Guest Books” section of to read his obituary and add a memorial note.

Robert E. McGrath Jr.
Professor Emeritus
Civil Engineering Technology


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