At a ceremony held on Thursday, May 14, 2019, one of Rensselaer’s most distinguished alumnae — Dr. Nancy Deloye Fitzroy ’49 — was honored as the Admissions Building was officially designated as the Nancy Deloye Fitzroy ’49 and Roland V. Fitzroy Jr. Admissions Building.
Dr. Fitzroy was the first woman to graduate from Rensselaer with a degree in chemical engineering, and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of mechanical engineering. In her remarks at the May 2014 presentation of the Clarence E. Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement to Dr. Fitzroy, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson referred her as “… one of Rensselaer’s most distinguished alumnae—as well as one of its most daring and delightful.”
Dr. Fitzroy worked at General Electric from 1950 until her retirement in 1987, specializing in heat transfer and fluid flow research for application in nuclear reactor cores, gas turbines, space satellites, and other technologies. She has written more than one hundred technical papers and holds three patents.
In 1986, Dr. Fitzroy became the first woman in the U.S. to head a major professional engineering society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 1988, she was chosen as an honorary fellow of Britain’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995, and inducted into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2008, ASME awarded Dr. Fitzroy with honorary membership to recognize “her tireless efforts and lasting influence as an advocate of the mechanical engineering profession.”
“Dr. Nancy Fitzroy is a world-class engineer, a pioneer, and a remarkable leader,” President Jackson said. “Her leadership in engineering professional societies and commitment to inspiring future generations has helped strengthen engineering in the United States and around the world. At Rensselaer we ask, ‘Why not change the world?’ Dr. Fitzroy has done just that.”
A crowd of more than 50 students, alumni, alumnae, faculty, and staff gathered for the ceremony. A plaque unveiled at the dedication reads: “Nancy Deloye Fitzroy, Class of 1949 was the first woman to graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in chemical engineering. In addition to an honorary doctorate in engineering from Rensselaer (1999), Dr. Fitzroy received the Albert Fox Demers Medal (1975), the Distinguished Service Award (1996), was inducted into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame (1999), and was the first woman recognized with the Clarence E. Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement (2014). Rensselaer is proud to honor her iconic history and achievements with the 2019 dedication of the Nancy Deloye Fitzroy ’49 and Roland V. Fitzroy Jr. Admissions Building.”