Dr. Arthur Ritter BME Endowment
March 11, 2022
Arthur Ritter ‘68MS ‘70PhD has never forgotten the help he received from the University of Rochester at a pivotal moment in his career. Hence, Ritter’s decision to endow $125,000 to Rochester’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“I hope this sends a good message to other alumni about the importance of giving forward,” he says.
Ritter, who retired two years ago as the director of the biomedical engineering program at the Stevens Institute of Technology, has specified that his endowment to Rochester be used at the discretion of the chairperson of biomedical engineering. “I truly believe that department chairs—especially since I was one for many years—know what’s best for their program,” Ritter says.
"I am so grateful and delighted that Arthur Ritter has established a named endowment in support of our BME department,” says Diane Dalecki, the department chairperson and Kevin J. Parker Distinguished Professor in Biomedical Engineering.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester has achieved much during its first 20 years, as illustrated in these Points of Pride.
“This endowment will enable UR BME to achieve new heights in our educational programs and research enterprise and will provide perpetual support for our students and faculty,” Dalecki says. “Arthur Ritter has been a leader in the field of biomedical engineering, and we are truly honored that our UR BME department now holds an endowment in his name."
Prior to his graduate studies at Rochester, Ritter earned a degree in chemical engineering from the City College of New York. He worked as a development engineer at the US Naval Propellant Plant from 1961 to 1963, then as a propellant development engineer for the United Aircraft UTC program from 1961 to 1964.
Ritter then worked for three years as research engineer with the Mixing Equipment Co., while attending classes at night to complete his master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Rochester.
While pursuing his PhD at Rochester, Ritter was caught in a bind when his advisor, John Friedly, moved to another university.
“I couldn’t just leave and go with him because I had my wife and children to support in Rochester, and a mortgage to pay on a new house,” Ritter says. The University provided him with a National Defense Education Act Fellowship that paid his expenses to remain at Rochester and allowed him to complete his PhD in two years.
“The University took very good care of me,” says Ritter. “That was so important for my subsequent career.”
Ritter has other fond memories of his time as a graduate student at Rochester. “I loved it,” Ritter says. “I met a lot of very good people and had a roommate who is still my friend after all these years.”
One of his favorite memories is the time he spent, sitting in a room with theoretical physicists, using the University’s only computer to do computations for his thesis.
“We could only use the campus computer from midnight to 6 a.m.,” Ritter recalls. “In those days, computers were run by punch cards, so if you made one little mistake, on just one punch card, you’d have to submit it all over again.”
After graduating in 1970, Ritter served as an assistant, then associate professor of chemical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, studying chemical processes involved in solar energy storage.
Because of his programming skills, Ritter also had an opportunity to work with Francis Chinard, a prominent researcher and chair of medicine at New Jersey Medical School, who spent three summers at Stevens. Then from 1976 to 1992, Ritter joined Chinard’s department at the medical center, serving as a professor of physiology and researching pulmonary transport and metabolism in-vivo.
He returned to Stevens in 1992 where he helped create its biomedical engineering program. Ritter was elected a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2010. The dean of engineering and sciences at Stevens Institute praised Ritter, saying his “passion for educating young people and his stature as a medical innovator combine to create a powerful learning environment in which our students develop the skills and the industry contacts to have lifelong success."
How you can help
The Arthur Ritter BME Endowment is a wonderful example of how the generosity of our alumni, industry partners, family, and friends can create exciting opportunities for our students. To help UR BME achieve even more, you can contribute to three departmental funds:
- BME Undergraduate Program Fund
- BME Graduate Programs Fund
- BME Research and Innovation Fund
These funds allow individuals to give in a way that directly impacts an area of their choice and helps support the continued success of UR BME.
University alumni, industry partners, and other friends of the Department of Biomedical Engineering can also engage directly with our students, faculty, and researchers as real readers, sponsors of senior design projects, research collaborators, mentors, and guest lecturers, to mention just a few.
For further information on how you can contribute to UR BME, please contact Derek Swanson, Director of Advancement for the Hajim School, at firstname.lastname@example.org.