Sir Rich of Massachusetts - Ryszard J. (Rich) Pryputniewicz - has retired from his duties at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. His decision to retire earlier than originally planned was made to help with his recovery from multiple strokes experienced in recent years. After he has fully recovered he plans to return to WPI as an emeritus professor and continue his research in the holographic and optical measurement sciences.
A retirement reception was held at the Higgins House on the WPI campus on October 6, 2015. Accompanying Sir Rich was his lovely wife, Jane, son, daughters, with spouses and grandchildren.
Attending the reception were university officials, fellow faculty and members of staff, students, former students, and friends from industry with whom Rich has worked and gained respect during his many years in the field, including Dr. Karl Stetson, who was first to discover holographic interferometry, and fellow Holoknight, Jim of California.
The chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department opened the ceremony by reading a few of Sir Rich’s achievements, which included more than one distinguished professorship award.
Rich is the K. G. Merriam Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and, since 1978, founding Director of the Center for Holographic Studies and Laser micro-mechaTronics (CHSLT) at WPI in Worcester, MA. He is also founding Director of the NanoEngineering, Science, and Technology (NEST) Program at the Mechanical Engineering Department of WPI. Prior to joining WPI in 1978, Rich was a member of faculty and Director of the Laser Research Laboratory at the School of Engineering and the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Connecticut (6 years) and a member of technical staff in the aerospace industry (4 years). In addition to being a Holoknight (the third holoknight to be knighted), he is a Registered Professional Engineer (PE), Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA), Fellow of IBH (International Brotherhood of Holographers), Fellow of SPIE, SEM, ASME, Senior Member of IEEE, chairman of the Development Committee of the MEMS Division of ASME, President of SEM, and chairman of the Education Committee of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council. He has over 400 publications and has chaired, co-chaired, and organized over 100 conferences, symposia, and workshops on the state-of-the-art and emerging technologies for various sponsors and professional societies. In recognition of his achievements, Rich was appointed as a professor in several countries in Europe and Asia and has received numerous awards including the Teetor National Educational Award from SAE in 1980, the 1991 Award from WPI Board of Trustees for Outstanding Creative Scholarship, the Advisor of the Year Award in 1997, the 2002 ASME International Award for outstanding contributions to the area of the application of engineering mechanics to electronic and photonic packaging, the 2004 Sigma Xi Senior Faculty Research Award, the Anchor Award from University of Hartford in 2007, as well as the outstanding achievement as an educator in the field of experimental mechanics Frocht Award and the Murray Medal from the Society for Experimental Mechanics in 2008 and the Dennis Gabor award from SPIE. He is a major figure in the field of holography which gained him knighthood in the International Order of Holoknights.
Other faculty members shared thoughts and memories, followed by former students who spoke heartwarmingly, and with great respect and affection for their mentor.
Sir Rich then took the microphone, commented on his days at WPI, and outlined his plans for the future.
Sir Rich deserves a good rest, but we hope not for too long. We need him back in our profession and look forward to his quick recovery.