For many students, college is just a stepping stone to the next stage in their lives, but for George W. Criss III (Bill) '68 and his wife, Judy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been a vital part of their lives for more than four decades. The Criss' legacy will help ensure that Rensselaer continues to be a significant force in the lives of future generations.
While earning degrees in aerospace and aeronautical engineering, Bill was very active on campus, playing football and lacrosse, serving as the president of the student union and enjoying fraternity life. Bill values the critical-thinking skills he gleaned from his rigorous education as well as the camaraderie among faculty, administration and students. "I loved every aspect of RPI," he says. "It shaped my whole life."
Bill's memorable moments at Rensselaer are too numerous to recount, but none were more momentous than meeting Judy, who was a nursing student at nearby Russell Sage. The two married soon after graduation and were "graced" with two children, Michelle and George William IV.
Bill's career in research and development with the Air Force took the family to many different homes throughout the next 20 years. But no matter where they lived, Bill and Judy always ran into and sought out other Rensselaer grads. When they finally settled in Virginia in the 1990s, Bill and Judy helped build up the Washington, D.C., alumni chapter, and they are still hosting and organizing alumni gatherings today. "Our family has many lifelong friends from Rensselaer," Judy notes.
While still awed by the campus's timeless charm, Bill and Judy have watched Rensselaer become a very progressive, diverse school where opportunities for students have grown tremendously. Recognizing the role that alumni support has played in this growth, the Crisses have donated to the Rensselaer Annual Fund for many years. "RPI has become what it is and can offer students what it does because of donors' giving," Judy says.
To ensure that Rensselaer continues to thrive, Bill and Judy have also included a legacy gift for Rensselaer in their estate plans. " RPI not only afforded a fantastic 5 years of academic, athletic and social excitement, it provided cherished life-long friendships for Judy and me – and the rigor of the thought processes imbedded afforded me a chance to contribute to our Nation's security in ways a lesser education could never provide. For all of these, we are most grateful and wish, as best we can, to help others be so blessed."
If you make regular gifts to Rensselaer, we hope you will consider establishing your own permanent legacy at the Institute. You can do this now without affecting your budget or lifestyle by including a gift in your estate plans.
Request our free guide on the many ways you can create your legacy.