Professor receives Counseling Award

In May, Phalanx awarded the David M. Darrin ’40 Counseling Award to Professor Charles Boylen. The award was physically presented to Boylen during Commencement 2013 on May 25. The Counseling Award was given to Boylen for his “unusual contribution in the counseling of undergraduate students.”

Boylen has been a member of the Rensselaer community since 1972. A year after his arrival, he began a research program at Lake George. “My students and I spent much of those summers in the 1970s living at the lake,” he explained. During this period of time, Darrin and his wife would visit the research group and engage the faculty and students about their work. Darrin’s son also served as the group’s boat driver during those summers. According to Boylen, “His firsthand experience with Rensselaer students and faculty at Lake George in the early years of the [research program] played a significant role in David’s motivation to recognize faculty advising and counseling by creating the Darrin Counseling Award.” Since then, Phalanx has chosen an annual recipient for 39 years—Boylen being the 39th.

Boylen has expressed his gratitude for the award, stating, “I believe the Darrin Counseling Award is the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member at RPI because it is given by the student body and identifies an individual they feel truly merits the recognition.” He added that serving as a faculty member and interacting with students “has been the most rewarding part of [his] career at RPI.”

Students who had been mentored by or worked with Boylen felt that he deserved the award. “Chuck encompasses everything that one would hope to have in a professor: passion for the subject material, genuine and sincere interest in his students/advisees, and a servant-leader’s heart,” said Alex Meola ’11. “While at RPI (and even since graduating), Chuck was a mentor and friend to me … I’m really happy for him.”

Eric Jordan ’12 added that, “Dr. Boylen was a very important and influential mentor to me while I attended RPI. Dr. Boylen was not only a mentor and advisor to me within the biology department but he was also an academic advisor to my entire fraternity and undoubtedly positively shaped their academic experiences as well … I am proud of my friend and mentor for receiving the Darrin Counseling Award and for all of the dedication he has given to helping RPI students in many facets of school and life during his tenure at RPI.”

“Professor Boylen spends endless hours talking with students providing guidance and support for their work,” commented Graduate Student Toby Michelena. “Testament to his impact on their lives is the numbers of former students that I have seen come to visit him after they have left RPI. He thrives on his interaction with students.”

Phalanx picks a recipient for the Darrin Counseling Award each year. They will announce when nominations for the award will be open. For more information visit their website at