George Low, the RPI President Who Changed World History

George Low, Presidential Portrait, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Reading Time: < 1 minute
Today is the anniversary of a huge day in world history. Fifty years ago at about this time of day, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon. Mike Collins kept the Command Module operating until they got back.
I told my family that I wanted to spend an hour watching a CBS News special that aired on July 16th that summarized this incredible historic mission. And they watched it with me.
Plenty of people will talk about Armstrong and Aldrin. I want to talk about a man named George Low.
George Low was a guy who was manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office. He took over that job after the crew of Apollo 1 died in a flash fire on the launch pad. He led the thousands of people that made up the Apollo Program from failure to the ultimate success.
George Low retired from NASA and became President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1976.
A fellow RPI alumnus Michael Miller ’79 wrote a great piece about George Low, How the Apollo Program Manager Paved the Way for the Moon Landing. He said who George Low was better than I can.
Michael Miller summarized George Low’s most important work at NASA, put his place in world history into proper context, and talked about how Low dealt with him when Low was President of Rensselaer and Miller was the editor of the school newspaper, The Polytechnic.
This article is a must read for anybody who has ever been a part of the Rensselaer community. But many of my friends who didn’t know who George Low was before I mentioned him would learn some modern American history by taking the time to read it.