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Alum Honored with Golden Doctorate in Austria

Golden Doctorate

When the Class of ’66 was invited to NYU Tandon to celebrate its 50-year Golden Jubilee in 2016, Odorich ("Rick") von Susani, who makes his home in Geneva, Switzerland, returned to Brooklyn for the first time in five decades. He had made the trip, he explained, because studying at the school’s renowned Polymer Research Institute under Herman Mark, the father of polymer science, had been among the greatest honors of his life.

Fortuitously, von Susani’s latest laurel required a much shorter journey. This May he returned to his other alma mater, the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), in Austria, to receive a Golden Doctorate, bestowed upon select alumni of that institution on the 50th anniversary of receiving their advanced degrees. Honorees must submit a professional CV, a record of patents obtained, scientific articles authored, and other honors received, and based on that information, the Academic Senate of TU Graz decides if the candidate has honorably exercised his profession and furthered the reputation of the University.

Von Susani’s CV made it readily apparent that the tribute was well deserved. After earning his master’s degree in Polymeric Materials from what was then known as the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and his doctoral degree in Technical Sciences specializing in Technical Chemistry from TU Graz, he had enjoyed a career of more than three decades with DuPont, becoming involved in the marketing of the now-iconic fibers Nylon®, Dacron®, Lycra® and Kevlar®; earning multiple patents; and garnering the Corporate Marketing Excellence Award, the Company’s highest such honor.

Left to right: Odorich von Susani, Graz University of Technology rector Harald Kainz, and brother Rudolf von Susani

Left to right: Odorich von Susani, Rector Harald Kainz, and brother Rudolf von Susani

Von Susani celebrated his accomplishment in a unique manner: shortly after the festivities in Graz, he set off on a bike trip along the Danube, covering the distance from Budapest to Belgrade.

Shortly after von Susani’s return from the trail, festivities will resume. On June 22, he will join fellow Tandon alumni for a behind-the-scenes tour of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, followed by an intimate reception in the home of fellow Class of ’66 member Danny Levy.

Lest anyone suspect von Susani of preparing to rest on his laurels after the exciting events of the season, they should think again. With a substantial portion of the Danube River bike trail already covered, he plans one day to complete the remaining section, an arduous undertaking for any cyclist: the trail is 1,800 miles long in its entirety. “It’s ambitious, but quite realistic,” von Susani — who has climbed the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc and is also an award-winning alpine skier — modestly says.