Chances are, as a member of the Rensselaer community, you have benefitted from the generosity of the late George F. Mahe, Jr., Class of 1942, and his extraordinary gifts to the Rensselaer Libraries. Upon his passing in 2010, Mahe bequeathed approximately $19.5 million to Rensselaer to support the Pauline C. and George F. Mahe Memorial Fund.
Mahe, who died at the age of 88, graduated from Rensselaer with a degree in chemical engineering. He worked for most of his career as a project engineer with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in East Hanover, New Jersey, and was a lifelong resident of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Mahe, who never married or had children, is survived by his niece Elizabeth Wilson and her husband, Kenneth, and their children Alexander and Charlotte. During his lifetime, he also supported Rensselaer with the establishment of the George F. Mahe, Jr. ’42 Fellowship in Memory of John L. Sharp ’42, for which he bequeathed $100,000.
... His years at RPI were very precious and special to him. He enjoyed the camaraderie he shared with his classmates.
Even though he didn’t talk to me much about them, I know that his years at RPI were very precious and special to him,” reflected Elizabeth Wilson. “He enjoyed the camaraderie he shared with his classmates. I think he felt confident during his time at Rensselaer, and believed he gained the skills necessary to have a successful career.”
“He wanted RPI to be a world-class educational institution and he wanted to do whatever he could to further it toward that goal,” added Wilson’s husband, Kenneth.
And so, 40 years ago in 1973, he established the Pauline C. and George F. Mahe Memorial Fund in memory of his parents to provide assistance to the Rensselaer Libraries for the acquisition of books, reference materials, electronic journals, and academic software. In Fiscal Year 2012 alone, Mahe’s gift allowed for the purchase of more than 550 resources and materials.
These materials supplement and guide students, faculty, and researchers across all schools and disciplines, and enable the Rensselaer community to achieve success. Mahe’s bequest will help Rensselaer achieve prominence as a top-tier world class technological research university by providing seamless access to the widest spectrum of information relevant to the research and learning communities thriving at Rensselaer.
Not one for publicity according to Wilson, Mahe spent his life helping others and this philanthropy was just one part of that.
“He set up the fund not to gain recognition, but to honor his parents in an important and lasting way,” Wilson said. “I believe giving to the libraries was important to him because he wanted to impact the greatest number of students over the longest period of time. By providing resources to the libraries, he believed he was giving students the tools they needed to succeed in their studies and in their lives.”
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