Alum's Gift Honors Dad's Efforts to Send Him to Rensselaer
As a high school student, Chet Vogel '58 thought Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was a perfect fit.
"I could see that RPI was dedicated to an academic schedule," Chet says. "I didn't want to be distracted. Studying and getting good grades didn't come easy to me."
But Chet's SAT verbal score did not meet Rensselaer's threshold. He was turned down twice but then received a letter admitting him on probation. He learned later that his father had lobbied Rensselaer on his behalf.
Chet graduated in 1958 with a 3.1 GPA, and Rensselaer's placement office helped him land a job at what is now Johnson Controls Inc. This job provided a gateway into the construction industry. Chet stayed in construction throughout his career, including owning and becoming managing principal of several consulting engineering companies.
Chet and his wife, Madeline, established an endowed fund at Rensselaer to honor Chet's father's memory.
"Since RPI provided a steady means of getting myself through college, I decided I wanted to help others," Chet says.
The endowed fund directly supports the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) course taught each fall for the past six years in the School of Engineering, where Chet participates each week as the Guest Lecturer.
"I had been trying over my 50-plus years in the New York construction industry to develop an awareness at RPI for the opportunities in the construction industry," he says. "It's not only a place where you can get a job, but it's a place where you can get a job for the rest of your life. The HVAC Course, with 25 to 30 students each year, meets this goal," he says.
In addition to Madeline and Chet's annual Patroon gift, Chet has planned a gift to the fund through his will and is attracting additional support for the fund from others who understand the importance of teaching HVAC at Rensselaer, a premier technological university.