Peter F. McCarthy was a longtime board member of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation (RNF) and an active, engaged leader in the Capital Region’s business community. In the early ’80s, he and fellow RNF Trustee, Dr. Stephen E. Wiberley regularly attended a Town-Gown Breakfast at Siena College and decided to translate that model to Troy and RPI, with Peter bringing in speakers from the town and Steve making the Gown connections.

The first Town-Gown breakfast was held in May 1985, with Larry Katz speaking on the provocative topic of “The Six Million Dollar Man: TV Fiction or Engineering Reality.” When Peter McCarthy died, the Rensselaer Newman Foundation renamed this event in his honor and memory, and his son, Robert McCarthy (also an RNF Trustee) took on the mantle of leadership for keeping the event vibrant and relevant. In 2005, the McCarthy family requested that the event be renamed the McCarthy-Wiberley Town-Gown to recognize Dr. Wiberley’s past, present and future contributions to the Foundation’s many successes.

Since this event’s conception, RPI, Troy and the Capital Region as a whole have experienced significant demographic and economic changes. We have worked to invite speakers who can help us all understand those changes, and the challenges and opportunities that they offer us. The Rensselaer Newman Foundation is proud to offer such an important public forum, and to have your continued support for and participation in this event.

A list of speakers and topics covered to date follows:

    • Fall 2019: Karin Krasevac-Lenz, Executive Director, Stacy Pomeroy Draper, Curator & Archivist and Kathryn T. Sheehan
      How We Work(ed): A Smithsonian Collaboration
    • Fall 2018: Mr. Kevin Bette
      Engineering & Revival
    • Fall 2017: Ms. Barbara Nelson
      Breathing Lights to Breathing Life
    • Fall 2016: Mr. Claude Rounds
      “The Economic Impact of The Rensselaer Plan 2024 on the City of Troy.”
    • Fall 2015: Rick Relyea
      The Jefferson Project
    • Fall 2014: Professor Russ Leslie
      “RPI’s Lighting Research Center”
    • Fall 2013: Thomas Carrol
      “Troy’s Heritage”
    • Fall 2012: Dr. Laurie Leshin
      Curiosity on Mars – Encountering Science As It Happens Millions of Miles Away
    • Fall 2011: Karen Bilowith, Linda Hillman, Michael Tucker, Erin Crotty
      “Capital Region Ecomonic Development-What’s Next?“
    • Fall 2010: Professor Robert J. Linhardt
      “Promise of Biotechnology for Human Health“
    • Fall 2009: Jim Knowlton
      “RPI’s East Campus Athletic Village – Institute and Community Impact“
    • Fall 2008: Laban Coblentz
      “Why EMPAC? Creative Collision at the Art-Science Nexus“
    • Fall 2007: Kevin M. Bette
      “The Hedley District Waterfront Redevelopment“
    • Fall 2006: John E. Kolb, P.E. ’79
      “So What Do You Do With One of the World’s Largest Supercomputers?“
    • Fall 2005: John G. Waite
      “New Ways of Using Old Buildings“
    • Fall 2004: John Egan
      “Harriman Technology Park“
    • Fall 2003: Allison Newman, Michael Wacholder and Simon Balint
      “RPI’s Place in the Economic Development of the Capital Region“
    • Fall 2002: Claude Rounds
      “Major Projects on Campus and Neighborhood Renewal“
    • Fall 1999: Joseph Fama
      “Troy 2020“
    • Spring 1997: Loretta Ebert
      “Library Mythology in the Information Age“
    • Spring 1996: David Porush
      “EMAC (Electronics Media, Arts, and Communication)“
    • Spring 1995: Henry Bungay
      “Serious Uses of the World Wide Web“
    • Fall 1993: Patrick Quinn
      “Famous Building Failures“
    • Fall 1992: Jonathan Newell
      “Imaging the Interior of the Human Body“
    • Fall 1991: Michael Wozny
      “Computer Graphics“
    • Fall 1990: William Puka
      “How to Teach Morals Today“
    • Spring 1990: Martin Glicksman
      “NASA’s Material Processing in the Space Program“
    • Fall 1989: Deborah Johnson
      “Computer Ethics“
    • Fall 1988: Larry Kagan
      “Sculpture in a Technological Setting“
    • Spring 1988: Robert Block
      “How We Color Gemstones“
    • Fall 1987: James Meindl
      “Sematech and the Capital District“
    • Spring 1987: John Koller
      “The Indian Way and Oriental Philosophy“
    • Fall 1986: Ivar Giaever
      “Industrial Science“
    • Spring 1986: Paul DeRusso
      “Handicapping Thoroughbred Horse Racing“
    • Fall 1985: Alan Meltzer
      “Halley’s Comet: A Long Tale“
    • Spring 1985: Larry Katz
      “The Six Million Dollar Man: TV Fiction or Engineering Reality“