Newswise — The Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have named alumna Tobi Saulnier, Ph.D., founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions, as the 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Saulnier will be formally honored in a ceremony on Oct. 3.

Established in 1990, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year award is given to a Rensselaer graduate who has achieved success as an entrepreneur and serves as an important role model for current students. The recipient of the award brings the world of entrepreneurship into the classroom by sharing their experiences in their career with current students.

After earning a bachelor’s degree (1984), master’s degree (1989), and doctoral degree (1994) in electrical engineering from Rensselaer, Dr. Saulnier worked in research and development at General Electric before joining a gaming startup company. These experiences sparked her passion for entrepreneurship and the startup culture.

Dr. Saulnier went on to become the founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions, the first certified B-Corp game development studio in the United States and the first company to gain certification in New York’s Tech Valley. The company focuses on the creation of games to educate, transform, and change minds.

Combining her passion for educational gameplay and social entrepreneurship, Dr. Saulnier works to improve the world around her. 1st Playable Productions not only creates games to get students excited about learning, it creates games that help patients undergoing respiratory therapy, seniors experiencing cognitive decline, and emergency room doctors training to prevent unnecessary death.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Tobi Saulnier as this year’s William F. Glaser ’53 Entrepreneur of the Year. Thanks to the generosity of Bill Glaser, we are able to recognize graduates who embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Rensselaer,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School of Management. “Tobi is a most deserving honoree. Her dedication as a social entrepreneur exemplifies the Rensselaer commitment to push boundaries and find solutions to the complex problems of an evolving world.”  

“I am honored to join the impressive list of alumni who have been selected as Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Dr. Saulnier. “I came to RPI to learn to be an engineer; I never imagined the experiences I had as a student, learning to improvise and adapt to adversity, would be the perfect foundation for the adventure of entrepreneurship.”

The 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year ceremony will take place on Oct. 3 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Auditorium located in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies on the Rensselaer campus. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, visit

Alumnae like Dr. Saulnier embody The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The foundation for this vision is the recognition that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.

Note: Tobi Saulnier’s media inquiries are set aside for 1:30 - 1:50 p.m. and 3:30 - 3:40 p.m. on 10/3. 

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 86 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 18 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as 6 National Medal of Technology winners, 5 National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. To learn more, go to


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