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Troy, N.Y. -  1/12/2018

Fare Well, Russ Leslie

Professor Russell LeslieFollowing a 37-year commitment to excellence, the Lighting Research Center and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute acknowledge the exemplary career and well-deserved retirement of Professor Russell P. Leslie. He retires as Associate Director of the world’s largest multi-disciplinary center for lighting research, education, and technology transfer.
Joining Rensselaer in 1980 as a research associate, Leslie quickly rose through the ranks to professor, developing courses in sustainability and environmental systems for the School of Architecture. He worked in the Center for Architectural Research on energy-conscious design and daylighting and was recognized as a Distinguished Teaching Fellow, 1987-1989.
With core funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Leslie was a co-founder of the LRC in 1988, establishing its labs on the Rensselaer campus and thence to a facility in nearby Watervliet, NY. As the Associate Director, Leslie was the architect who transformed two unused floors of a mid-1800s downtown Troy factory building into a revitalized, open-plan lighting laboratory and graduate classrooms. The renovated workspace was re-dedicated in 2000 and is the current home of the LRC.

Many LRC programs and projects would not exist if not for Leslie’s insight, expertise and guidance. For example, in 1990, Leslie started and served as project director of the National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP) which won the New York State Governor’s Award for Energy Excellence while transforming lighting energy efficiency practice. He was also initiator and project director for DELTA (Design and Evaluation of Lighting Technologies and Applications) and PEARL (Program for the Evaluation and Analysis of Residential Lighting)—programs that support energy efficiency efforts for the EPA, DoE, NYSERDA, California Energy Commission, and multiple electric utilities.

A registered architect, Leslie is responsible for over 100 buildings and has authored many books, papers and reports on lighting, daylighting, architecture, and energy, and has presented hundreds of lectures to U.S. and international audiences. Leslie served as Head of Graduate Programs in Lighting for 13 years—the country's first Master’s and PhD programs in lighting. He has curated multiple light art demonstrations and community installations. Leslie has served as director of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and as the Feltman Chair in Lighting at Cooper Union. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, both at home and abroad.

When pressed for a quote on what he admired most about his career, Leslie replied, “It’s the Partners, the sponsors, and the colleagues here at the LRC.”

Students, alumni, and co-workers alike will miss Professor Leslie’s soft-spoken, friendly demeanor. No doubt they will remember his beloved BMW motorcycles that logged over 150,000 miles on his daily commute from Shaftsbury, VT, to Troy, NY—one of his proudest achievements! The Lighting Research Center extends heartfelt congratulations on a distinguished career and best wishes for a long, successful retirement.

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.