George M. Low
Class of 1948
Space Pioneer, Engineer, Educator
1926 - 1984
Low took over the presidency of Rensselaer in 1976 following 26 momentous years with NASA.
He had directed the Mercury and Gemini Programs, and took charge of the redesign for the Apollo spacecraft following the Apollo I fire. He directed the Apollo Spacecraft Program at the time of the first lunar landing. He served as deputy administrator and then acting administrator of NASA, leading the negotiations with the Soviet Union that resulted in cooperation on space projects, most notably the Apollo-Soyuz space flight in 1975.
At Rensselaer he spearheaded the Rensselaer 2000 Plan, which foresaw multidisciplinary research centers linking higher education, government, and industry; the Incubator Program, and the Technology Park. His leadership and vision resulted in economic change for the Capital Region.
On July 16, 1984, the White House announced that Low had been awarded the President’s Medal of Freedom for his contributions to education and the nation’s space program. He died on July 18, 1984.