In 1993, Carl Westerdahl, longtime member of the Rensselaer staff, provided funding to establish the “Pillars of Rensselaer Award” to honor a long-term staff member. This is the highest and most prestigious award presented by Rensselaer to a member of the staff.

PillarAwardCriteria for the Pillars of Rensselaer Award

Those who are nominated shall have:

  • Been employed at Rensselaer in a staff (non-faculty) role for at least 10 years
  • Demonstrated an understanding of Rensselaer’s mission and history
  • Served as a role model for other employees

Other factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Show concern for students and their welfare
  • Add to the human dimension of Rensselaer
  • Play an active role in his/her community

Any members of the Rensselaer community may nominate individuals for this award.

Nomination forms for the Pillars Award will be accepted until June 15, 2016. All nominations should be sent to the Pillars Selection Committee, c/o the Office of the Secretary of the Institute, Third Floor, Troy Building. The list of employees eligible for the 2016 Pillars of Rensselaer Award is available online. Questions can be directed to

The 2016 recipient of the Pillar Award will be announced at the annual Service Recognition and Retirement Dinner.

Each nomination must include the nomination form, found on the reverse of this memo, and no more than 3 additional letters of support. Letters of support may not exceed 400 words each and should be current. Those that do not meet these criteria will not be considered.

Nominations remain under consideration for two years upon submission. Updates to a previously submitted form are welcome.