On May 5, Rensselaer dedicated the auditorium in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) in honor of Howard Isermann ’42. The CBIS auditorium has been named the Howard P. Isermann Auditorium in recognition of Isermann’s gift to the unrestricted endowment, and to honor his remarkable accomplishments and general philanthropy.
“Today, we express our appreciation for all Howard has given to Rensselaer, as a philanthropist, a distinguished alumnus, a board member, and —above all—as an inspiration—by dedicating this space as the Howard P. Isermann Auditorium,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson.
“After earning a degree in chemical engineering, Isermann used both theory and practice to help redefine the meaning of philanthropy, altruism, and social consciousness at Rensselaer. For decades, Isermann has given back to his alma mater through leadership, gift giving, and exemplary student support,” said Graig Eastin, vice president for institute advancement.
Isermann joined the Rensselaer Board of Trustees in 1986 and was named an honorary trustee in 1998. He received the Rensselaer Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1994, and in 2003 was inducted into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame. In 1989, the Institute named the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in his honor. Jonathan Dordick, vice president for research, is the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer. Among his many successes, he led a team of researchers at Rensselaer to develop a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces that safely eradicates the bacteria responsible for antibiotic-resistant infections.
After earning a degree in chemical engineering, Isermann used both theory and practice to help redefine the meaning of philanthropy, altruism, and social consciousness at Rensselaer. For decades, Isermann has given back to his alma mater through leadership, gift giving, and exemplary student support.” —Graig Eastin, vice president for institute advancement.
Through the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Fellowship Fund, more than 200 graduate students have benefited from collaborative scientific research, empowering them to tackle the world’s greatest problems. By working alongside top-tier faculty and department staff, students are able to demonstrate the ideals set forth in President Jackson’s vision of The New Polytechnic. As learners engaged in deep discovery, discourse, and technological innovation, students can assist in making scientific decisions that will impact global change.
“Had I not been an Isermann Fellowship recipient, I would never have gotten the opportunity to work in different labs and explore my research interests. Today I’m performing fundamental research in the field of protein volumetrics, and getting an opportunity to perform very essential research in this field,” says Pranav Pandharipande ’16.
In addition to his leadership and philanthropy at Rensselaer, Isermann is known for the development of the ultraviolet absorber that became the most effective sunscreen in the world. This development, in addition to preventing sunburn, has contributed to significant progress in skin cancer prevention. In 1980, he also founded Novarome Inc., a manufacturer of fragrance compounds used in a wide variety of consumer products, including popular soaps and perfumes.