A Celebration of Life: Samuel F. Heffner Jr. '56

Samuel Heffner graduated from Rensselaer with a bachelor of architecture degree in 1956. After his graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Air Force, and then began a career in the real estate development business that spanned nearly 50 years and resulted in the development of several million square feet of office and industrial space in the Baltimore region, primarily in the vicinity of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport. In addition to a wide range of experience in the real estate field, Mr. Heffner participated in a broad range of outside civic, business, and educational activities. He served on numerous civic boards, including the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and was a founder and former chair of the BWI Business Partnership Inc., devoted to the fostering of economic development and transportation interests by businesses in the BWI area. Mr. Heffner joined the Rensselaer Board of Trustees in January 1977, and later chaired the Advancement Committee, the Rensselaer Technology Park Committee, and the Rensselaer New Century Campaign. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees in December 1995, and served in that role for 15 years. During his tenure as Chair, Rensselaer underwent a true renaissance, and made significant strides in revitalizing the campus, including the renovations of many of the core campus buildings, along with the construction of several new buildings. His support of the Rensselaer Plan led to increased enrollment, enhanced scholastic excellence, and significant research growth. A key contribution he made to Rensselaer was his leadership effort in the construction of the Samuel F. Heffner Jr. '56 Alumni House - fully designed, constructed, and funded by Rensselaer alumni and alumnae (including Mr. Heffner himself), and the new President's Residence. Upon his retirement, he was named honorary chairman and trustee emeritus. Mr. Heffner was a member of the Stephen Van Rensselaer Society of Patroons of Rensselaer, and received the Rensselaer Alumni Association's Alumni Key Award in 1980, the Albert Fox Demers Medal in 1984, the Distinguished Service Award in 1987 for his extensive Rensselaer volunteer work, and the 1993 Fellows Award from the School of Architecture. Mr. Heffner was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Delta Kappa Epsilon International. In 2014, he was instrumental in re-establishing the chapter on the Rensselaer campus. Mr. Heffner was preceded in death by his wife, Gail E. (Porter) Heffner. He is survived by his sons and their wives, Scott and Mary Heffner and Stephen and Ruth Ann Heffner, and three grandchildren: Scott Jr. and Matthew Heffner (Scott) and Danielle (Stephen).