Benjamin F. Greene
Class of 1842
Educator, Visionary, Scientist
1817 - 1895
Greene, learning of the school of applied science in Troy, entered at the age of 24 and graduated in 1842, just when Amos Eaton died. He became the new senior professor in 1847.
For a dozen years he struggled valiantly, not merely to preserve Rensselaer as a school of technical instruction, but also to elevate it and to transform it into an institution of truly higher education. Enrollment increased; the faculty was enlarged and diversified.
In 1856 he published his blueprint for the institution’s future, The True Idea of a Polytechnic, and led the effort to change the school’s name from Rensselaer Institute to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
When he resigned in 1859 he had imparted a permanent impetus and transformed Rensselaer from Eaton’s modest conception to a more ambitious, modern form. The present-day technological diversity at Rensselaer is the fulfillment of Greene’s vision and program.