Fred Feldman

The 1970s were a time of tremendous change both for the nation and the RIT/NTID campus. The Vietnam War and President Richard Nixon's resignation occupied the nation, while locally, construction continued on RIT's Henrietta campus.

In 1972, a young Fred Feldman came to RIT/NTID and witnessed more changes. "I was a Mechanical Engineering major, and there was only one female student in my class when I started," the Yonkers, N.Y., native explains. "But by the time I graduated in 1977, there were more women studying engineering."

An owner in his family's business, Yula Corporation, which manufactures heat exchangers and is headquartered in the Bronx, N.Y., Feldman chose RIT/NTID for its engineering degree program, but gained much more. "The most important lessons I learned at RIT/NTID were about myself," he says. "Growing up hard-of-hearing/deaf, I lacked confidence, but being at RIT/NTID, I realized that other students and faculty had similar situations and were doing well. I gained a lot of confidence, and it helped me become successful in business and life."

Dom Bozzelli, NTID support faculty in NTID's engineering department, also had a positive influence.

"I am a better person because Dom was there for me during my college years," he says.

When asked what advice he would give today's RIT/NTID students, Feldman recommends balance. "Students today need to remember that their college years are special, and their friends and experiences are just as important as a high GPA," he explains.

Feldman hopes that in five years he'll be semi-retired, traveling with his wife, April, playing tennis and golfing with his two sons.

"Maybe I'll even have a couple of grandchildren to run after," he muses. "I believe things have a way of working out."

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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