Palmer Ricketts

Palmer C. Ricketts

  • Born in 1856 in Elkton, Maryland.
  • Came to Rensselaer in 1871 as a student.
  • Appointed Assistant in Math and Astronomy upon graduation, 1875.
  • Promoted to Assistant Professor, 1882.
  • Named William H. Hart Professor of Rational and Technical Mechanics, 1884.
  • Named Director of Rensselaer in 1892.
  • Assumed the Presidency in 1901.
  • Liberalized curriculum by adding the Department of Arts, Science, and Business Administration and the Graduate School.
  • Increased the number of degrees offered by Rensselaer from two to a dozen, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Enrollment increased from approximately 200 in 1900 to a high of 1700 in 1930.  Faculty increased accordingly in both size and the number of academic fields represented.
  • Responsible for the building of Rensselaer's "Green Roof Campus."
  • Consulted as bridge, sanitary, and flood control engineer.
  • Held patents on an electrical device for control of railroad equipment.
  • Authored three editions of A History of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1895, 1914, and 1934.

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