Academics, Computer Science, School of Science

Rusty Irving '85 retired from his chief engineer position at GE to make good on his promise to Jim Matthews, M.S., professor of mathematics and computer science.

In 1985, Rusty Irving graduated from Siena with a degree in computer science and a job at GE waiting. Before he left campus, though, Irving entered into a pact with professors Jim Matthews and Tim Lederman. Irving vowed to work in the industry until he was 55, and then retire and return to Siena as a member of the computer science faculty. 

Professor Irving kept his word almost to the day. 

This semester, Irving is teaching Introduction to Computing Applications. It's not because the pact was legally binding, it's because Irving never wavered from his desire to give back to Siena. He enjoyed a distinguished 35-year career at GE's vaunted Research Center, and retired as the general manager and chief engineer of a GE flagship product, the Digital Twin. Walking away wasn't hard because he was walking toward the job he always wanted. Irving couldn't wait to get back to Siena. In many respects, he never left.

Rusty met his wife, Jill Louis '87, at Siena, and they were married at St. Mary's of the Angels Chapel on campus. Both of his children, Nicole and Riley, were baptized at Siena. Jill's mom, Pat Louis, worked in the Business office at Siena for 33 years, and Jill's two siblings both graduated from Siena. Throughout the years, Rusty often returned to campus as a guest lecturer. Most recently, he served on the College's Board of Trustees. 

“My time on the Board was a great honor and gave me a view into the excellent stewardship Siena has.”

“I have been blessed with an abundance of good fortune to have made so many close, lifelong friends when I attended Siena. No matter where I have been on earth, no matter the tribulations I have faced, I always had a foundation of how I should conduct myself that is based on what I learned about life at Siena. I have fallen short at times, but I know what the ideal is. As I go forward at a time in this world that tests us in so many ways, I find that being at Siena again gives me the energy I need to be better and to foster it with my students.”

Rusty Irving '85

"During his long successful career with GE, Rusty hired, mentored, and supervised many Siena CS alums. These grads would stop back at the College and tell me how fortunate they were to work for Rusty and how much they learned from him. I'm not surprised (that he made good on the pact). A couple of Rusty's strengths are planning and then executing. The students and faculty in the CS department are going to benefit from the dream plan he made 35 years ago."

Jim Matthews, M.S., professor of mathematics and computer science