NYU-Poly Honors Million Dollar Donors with Membership in Elite Chevalier Society

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) last night honored nine donors whose gifts and research grants have exceeded $1 million by inducting them into its Colonel Willard T. Chevalier Society.

The four individual donors and five companies joined an elite list of 24 donors honored with membership since the founding of the Chevalier Society in 2009. 

This year’s inductees are Consolidated Edison, the Dibner family, Forest City Ratner Companies, IBM, InterDigital, Grace and David J. Lee, National Grid, Peter P. Regna and Robert H.C. Tsao.

NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin hosted the invitation-only event for inductees and their guests at 620 Loft & Garden overlooking Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. 

“Since the founding of Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in 1854, our graduates have shaped New York and the world, and never have we needed their passion, intellect and knowledge more than today,” Hultin said. “Because of the generosity and wisdom of Chevalier Society members, NYU-Poly students will undertake the difficult technical challenges of the 21st century armed with the strength of an education rooted in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship - what we call i-squared-e. Our Institute thanks these generous supporters, our students thank them, and our world will benefit from what they have done.”

Chevalier graduated 101 years ago from what was then Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn with a degree in civil engineering and went on to help build New York City’s infrastructure, served with the 11th United States Field Engineers Corps in France, launched the journal Construction Methods and retired as vice president of McGraw-Hill after a 23-year career with the company. He also became the first person to donate $1 million to the school over the course of his lifetime.

The newly inducted Chevalier Society members are:

Consolidated Edison, Inc. supports over 1,000 nonprofit organizations in its New York City and Westchester County service area to strengthen neighborhoods, sustain communities and improve lives. The company’s philanthropic efforts support the arts, environmental stewardship and important educational initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Many of Con Edison’s 14,000 employees share a personal commitment to the region’s vitality through their own volunteer efforts and support education through the company’s matching gifts program. Con Edison’s long history with NYU-Poly is reflected in partnerships for continued education and research efforts to advance Con Edison’s service delivery and innovation.  Con Edison has supported scholarships and K-12 educational programs for NYU-Poly.

The Dibner Family: Bern Dibner (1897 - 1988) was a self-made business man and avid collector of books on the history of science. Soon after graduating, he invented the first solderless electrical connectors, and he founded the Burndy Engineering Company in 1924. He was chairman of Burndy Corporation until his son, David, took over in 1972. David Dibner (1927 - 2005) was a Poly trustee from 1978 to 2005.  In 1992, the Dibner Fund supported the relocation of the library on the MetroTech campus, and the new building was renamed the Bern Dibner Library for Science and Technology.  Additional support in 2000 enhanced the library's capabilities in computerized services for research and scholarship.

Forest City Ratner Companies is a real estate company engaged in the ownership, development, management and acquisition of premier properties in the New York metropolitan area. Its history became intertwined with NYU-Poly through former President George Bugliarello’s vision for an urban research park that would marry scholarly interests with the needs of industry. Commitments by Forest City Ratner Companies enabled the realization of MetroTech Center, home to NYU-Poly’s growing main campus and leading New York City-based corporations including National Grid. Forest City Ratner Companies has supported the Promise Scholarship Fund and other projects at NYU-Poly.

IBM: This year IBM celebrates its 100th anniversary as perhaps the world’s leading information technology company. IBM exerts global leadership on critical uses of technology - both hardware and software - as well as services designed to make the world work better. Since its founding, IBM has played a vital role in the evolution of global technology, the role of the modern corporation and helping to make the planet smarter. IBM’s partnerships with NYU-Poly span creative support for new academic initiatives, scholarships and faculty awards. Today IBM is working with NYU-Poly to envision the smart city of the future, extending their partnership to explore new business designs, technical architectures and innovations to allow the flexibility demanded by growing cities.

InterDigital develops fundamental wireless technologies that are at the core of mobile devices, networks and services worldwide. As a long-standing contributor to the evolution of the wireless industry, the company solves many of the industry’s most critical and complex technical challenges years ahead of market deployment. InterDigital has established licenses and strategic relationships with leading wireless companies. As part of its extensive university relations program, InterDigital established a broad-ranging collaboration with NYU-Poly. The company has provided research funding; is a member of both the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications and the Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology; donated equipment in support of wireless and bioengineering research, and supported NYU-Poly’s Cyber Security Awareness Week.

Grace and David J. Lee: David Lee is the chief executive officer of Global SATCOM Technology, a private company he founded in 1994.  Global SATCOM Technology is an international leader in transportable satellite communications systems. Lee is co-inventor of several patents including a patent for a Tiedown Provision Product. In September 2011, NYU-Poly presented him with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and contributions to the field. Mr. and Mrs. Lee supported NYU-Poly’s global initiatives with Nanjing University and the David Lee/Ernst Weber Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

National Grid is an international energy delivery company. In the United States, National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, upstate New York and Rhode Island, and it manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. It is also the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in its service area including the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk counties. National’s longstanding partnership with NYU-Poly has encompassed critical research projects as well as vital support for capital projects, scholarships, student activities and academic initiatives.

Peter P. Regna (1907 - 2001) was a distinguished research scientist and dedicated supporter of NYU-Poly.  At Pfizer Inc., he was part of the team that in 1950 discovered Terramycin, an antibiotic effective against more than 100 diseases. He also played a key role in the production of penicillin, streptomycin and other antibiotics. Dr. Regna established the Regna Laboratory for Biomacromolecular Engineering to research the production of environmentally friendly polymers. The laboratory is housed in the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules headed by Richard A. Gross, the Herman F. Mark Professor of Polymer Science.  In 2004, The Peter P. and Barbara L. Regna Student Lounge was dedicated in honor of Dr. Regna and his wife, Barbara, who also died in 2001.

Robert Tsao is the chairman emeritus of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC).  He has been the driving force for UMC's growth and success since joining the company in 1981.He served as president from 1981 until becoming chairman in 1991.  Tsao's career in the microelectronics industry spans more than 25 years.  He helped establish the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan and helped build Taiwan's first integrated circuit manufacturing line. He was a Poly trustee from 1997 to 2005 and was reelected to the board this year.  In 1997, he established two endowed senior graduate fellowships.

About Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 157-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi.