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Fusion: 2010 State of the Institute

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, N.Y.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good morning. Welcome back — welcome home to Rensselaer. You are always part of the family, and we are delighted when you come back home to visit us.

You are here at an exciting time. You can tell, from the video you have just seen, that the Institute has changed, and here today, important things are happening — even as we continue to grow and to realize our full institutional potential. Thanks to the magnificent, heartfelt generosity of our alumni/ae and friends, we have wonderful facilities like the one in which you sit. We have programs that are aimed squarely at the future, and we are addressing the greatest global challenges, and seizing the biggest opportunities — all energized by the terrific minds gathered here at this special place.

Our growing reputation, along with the resources that are now available, has attracted world-class faculty who are daring and able to reach into new areas of knowledge, and to take on the toughest challenges our society faces. As a consequence, the students we are attracting are the most accomplished and select in the history of the Institute.

The title of my talk today is “Fusion.” Since I am a theoretical physicist, a few of you may be hopeful (or fearful) that you will get a presentation full of equations — and maybe even a test at the end. But most of you probably do not want to go into that stratosphere of scientific thought here. You want to hear about your university: where it is, what it is doing, and where it is going.

So the “fusion” I will be speaking about has more to do with what happens when imagination, vision, determination and a solid grounding in the fundamentals come together across disciplines. I will share my reflections on discovering innovative concepts by bringing together people with different perspectives.

As with nuclear fusion, a great deal of energy can be released when creative thinkers come together. And, as with nuclear fusion, something new inevitably results.

I said that this is not a physics lecture, but allow me one analogy from my specialty. When two hydrogen isotopes come together, the result is helium — an entirely new element. You do not get hydrogen doubled. The characteristics of helium are different from those of hydrogen alone. When our best people come together in rich conversations and collaborative activity, there can be a fusion that stakes out an entirely new intellectual arena. Why? Individual disciplines do not always have an easy time creating the solutions we need in isolation. The challenges of our time — energy, the environment, creating an innovation economy and more — require that we join diverse talents and disciplines to create the entirely new, usually the unexpected, and sometimes the profound.

This, I believe, will be the basis for Rensselaer leadership in the world as we go forward.

As we begin, I would like to take a moment to recognize Stu Benton, Class of 1962, for his dedicated service to Rensselaer, and the Alumni/ae Association, as President of the RAA. Thank you, Stu, for all you have done in the first year of your term. I look forward to another productive year working with you.

Let us take a moment to remember those Rensselaer family members who are not with us today. In particular, I acknowledge two very long-serving Rensselaer faculty members who passed away this year.

This past summer, we lost Lester Rubenfeld, Professor of Mathematics and Founding Director of the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education. A Rensselaer faculty member for 43 years, Dr. Rubenfeld was a tireless advocate focused on advancing pre-college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at Rensselaer, and within the surrounding communities. His motivation was to "empower young people to solve a breadth of real-world problems through the application of technology.”

Last fall, we lost Professor Kenneth Warriner, a dedicated member of our architecture faculty since 1968. During his more than 40-year career at Rensselaer, Professor Warriner inspired generations of students to pursue their creative visions, and to integrate elements into their architectural theory and design to benefit society and the environment. He was an outstanding teacher and mentor, and was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2004 by the Rensselaer Board of Trustees for his outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction.

I know there are others we all miss, as well.

Finally, let us also be ever mindful of the Rensselaer men and women serving in our armed forces, particularly those in harm’s way, and those who have died, or have been injured, while serving our nation.

The reputation of a great university depends upon its faculty, its students, and, in particular, its graduates. And as a technological research university, our pursuits, our choices, and our interests always have addressed the challenges and opportunities of our times. So we measure ourselves against our effectiveness in responding to the issues of our day — our effectiveness in opening up new vistas of knowledge, and contributing to solutions and progress — through scientific discovery and technological innovation — and today, through their marriage with the arts.

This approach is building an enviable reputation and global presence for Rensselaer, that brings people with skill, talent, and influence to our university: students, faculty, partners, administrators, and alumni/ae such as yourselves. People recognize that when something is done here, it is done with intelligence and innovation, and that this is where the action is.

Let me begin by telling you about our students. I am sure that you all remember Rensselaer as a place of challenge and achievement, and, I hope, joy.

Many of you I am sure credit your success with the rigorous education you received here. With that background, you were ready to take on the world, and you certainly have done so.

We continue to stretch our students, to encourage them to reach beyond supposed limits. Our selection process for admission is finely tuned toward identifying students who can and do meet the challenges that our educational approach puts before them. It is not accidental, then, that our retention rates are among the highest at top-tier research universities.

For the Class of 2014, the average SAT is 1360, up 40 points from 2005, and up 78 points from 2000. The 25th to 75th percentile range is 1280–1450, up from 1220–1420 in 2005, and up from 1180–1370 in 2000. A total of 65 percent of this incoming freshman class were in the top 10 percent of their respective high school classes.

We have experienced an explosion of interest and applications. In 2005, we had 24, 211 freshman inquiries. For the Class of 2014, this number more than quadrupled to 107,693.

In 2005, we had 5,570 applications for freshman admissions. This fall, it is more than doubled to 13,465 — and we continue on that rising trajectory. 

So, we are more selective than ever, but we also have learned how to assist our students in ways that deliberately develop and create successful individuals, and global leaders.

As you may know, we have launched Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (or CLASS). CLASS represents a transformational change in the undergraduate experience. It provides students with a sense of belonging and develops them as leaders throughout their years at Rensselaer.

With CLASS, there is both residential clustering and time-based clustering as students progress with their entering class through Rensselaer.

The residential clusters (or Commons) have live-in Commons Assistant Deans (who are student life professionals), as well as upper-class undergraduate and graduate student assistants living in the residence hall clusters. We, also, have Faculty Deans who are tenured professors living in university-owned houses near the residential commons.

The Faculty Deans of the Commons will be responsible for the overall leadership in stimulating the intellectual, cultural, and social life of students in the residential commons.

Similarly, we have extended our award-winning First-Year Experience, to phase in a Sophomore Year Experience, in which all sophomores will live on the Troy campus, or in fraternities or sororities that meet stringent university standards, and that have signed a Greek Commons Agreement with the Institute.

As part of CLASS, with respect to time-based clustering, we have created Class Deans, who will take over each rising sophomore class from the Dean of the First Year Experience. The Class Dean will work with a given class until it graduates. The focus will be on leadership experiences, mentoring, counseling, learning assistance, career planning, and social and cultural activities. In short, the Class Deans are class advocates, and are the connectors and facilitators for that class with all aspects of the Institute, and beyond. They partner with the Dean of Undergraduate Education, the Faculty Deans of the Commons, the live-in commons Deans, the Dean of Students, and others, to transform the student experience.

Two new residence halls offer expanded living options under the CLASS initiative. Blitman Commons, located at the foot of The Approach, offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to live in downtown Troy. The new Polytech Commons, at Congress and 15th Streets, provides another new, close-to-campus option for upper-class students.

Both Blitman and Polytech Commons have live-in Commons Deans. As well, we have made additions to Crockett Hall and Hall Hall to create apartments for two live-in Commons Deans in our main undergraduate residential area.

We recently appointed Dr. Jeff Trinkle, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science Robotics Lab at Rensselaer, to the newly created position of Faculty Dean of the Residential Commons. In his new role, Dr. Trinkle serves as an academic resource for living and learning communities and theme houses. He also works to create new opportunities for faculty involvement and student learning outside of the classroom. He is the father of a Rensselaer alumnus. He is passionate about student learning and development.

As I just indicated, the live-in Deans actually live in suites that are in or attached to the residences. The Faculty Dean lives in a university house proximate to the campus. The Greek houses that are part of the Greek Commons not only have their presidents signing on to our program, but also their alumni/ae Greek advisors — in writing. They also have standards for the physical condition and hygiene of their houses that are the same as for on-campus university residences (and they are inspected).

The programming for CLASS is built around five core themes:

  • Personal and Self-Development, which includes topics such as understanding one’s own learning style, formulating personal goals, and improving relationship-building skills.
  • Professional Development: that is, creating living/learning experiences for scholarship, research, working in co-op situations and other ways to enhance career potential.
  • Leadership Development topics center around vision, ethics, decision-making, communications and other perspectives and skills we need in the next generation of leaders.
  • Media and the Arts provide opportunities for creative expression, as well as the chance to experience art and media in its many forms.
  • Communiversity encourages commitment to service, involvement in the community, understanding of people with different cultures and perspectives, and readiness to participate in civic matters.

The residential program elevates the quality of support for undergraduates, providing them with a greater sense of community and belonging, and ensuring that every student receives the best counseling, mentoring, and personal attention possible.

By definition, we have powerful electronic social networks, but, critically, we also have in-person encounters that include shared meals, common programs, guest speakers (including Faculty Fellows), special trips, counseling experiences, and more. Face-to-face experiences, inevitably, create relationships that lead to fusion, and to friendships — for a lifetime.

Athletics are part of this fusion, too. Mind and body and spirit make the person. Therefore, we take very seriously our scholar-athlete model. We seek excellence in all that we do, and athletics is no exception. For 16 consecutive semesters, Rensselaer student athletes have had higher Grade Point Averages than the student body in general.

There is evidence that our athletic program is coming into its own. In 2008, two Rensselaer student-athletes won rookie-of-the-year honors. In 2009, that number increased to three. Last year, we captured a lion’s share: Rensselaer student-athletes won 10 rookie-of-the-year awards. Across these same years, we have seen our share of National All-Americans go from one to five to six. NCAA tournament berths have gone from two to three to four.

So fusion at Rensselaer — stimulated by sharing a campus, sharing academic goals, and sharing experiences, participating in or attending hard-fought games — is both peer-to-peer (students building relationships with students, and faculty with faculty), and “inter-“ in a variety of forms: inter-disciplinary, inter-generational, inter-cultural, and, as I will share with you later, inter-national.

In addition to the achievements of our alumni/ae, our reputation rests in large part on our faculty, and their achievements in teaching, research, and public service. Here, we have much to celebrate, and I would note a few faculty achievements from the past year.

In work that was described as “breakthrough,” a team of Rensselaer researchers, led by Dr. Xi-Cheng Zhang, director of our Center for Terahertz Research, and Head of the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, opened the way for detecting hidden explosives, chemical or biological agents, and illegal drugs from a distance of 20 meters. The new all-optical system — using terahertz (THz) wave technology — has great potential for homeland security and military uses because it can “see through” clothing and packaging materials, and can identify the unique THz “fingerprints” of hidden materials.

THz “fingerprints” show exactly which compound or compounds are being hidden, a capability that is expected to have multiple important and still-to-be-discovered uses. In the event of a chemical spill, for instance, remote terahertz sensing could identify the composition of the toxic mix. Since the sensing is remote, no individuals would be needlessly endangered.

In another arena, Dr. Jonathan Dordick, Dr. Ravi Kane, and their research groups developed a coating that safely kills the bacteria--methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)--on contact. These bacteria can cause life-threatening infections. Building on an enzyme found in nature, the researchers created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces that safely eradicates MRSA. In tests, 100 percent of MRSA in solution were killed within 20 minutes of contact with a surface painted with latex paint laced with the coating.

Another breakthrough comes out of a special initiative under the Rensselaer Plan — aimed at creating research fusion: “Constellations.” The Constellation program builds on our traditional core strengths. Each Constellation is centered around an important research focal area. Each includes brilliant “star” faculty, who anchor multidisciplinary teams of senior faculty, junior faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across key research thrusts.

Together, their research both draws from and interlinks faculty in essentially all disciplines at Rensselaer. This has allowed us to strengthen traditional disciplines, branch into new arenas, develop exciting new academic offerings, seed new ideas, and hold the leading-edge in specific research thrusts.

This is why the Tetherless World Research Constellation received particular notice last spring when the open government Website, “data.gov,” celebrated its first anniversary. U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra called the creation of data.gov “the birth of a community of innovators” and praised Professor James Hendler, specifically, who, with his fellow professors and students, has been using “Semantic Web” technology as a powerful new approach to analytical research, exploiting the vast amounts of information available from data.gov.

The Semantic Web was, in fact, created by Professor Hendler and Sir Tim Berners-Lee — commonly known as the inventor of the Worldwide Web. The Semantic Web provides a means to create fusion — out in the world — by making it possible for people of different disciplines, with different jargon and approaches, to become aware of and understand what others are doing. It catalyzes the spread of new ideas through the creation of Web language ontologies that allow researchers to “mash up” data from different sources.

These achievements both are sources of pride, and pointers toward the future of Rensselaer. If we want to know what shape our intellectual landscape will take, we need only look at the interests and actions of the people who are on our campuses. But these achievements also beckon others to Rensselaer — people of promise, people with lively imaginations, and people who choose to lead. We are fusing the elements of something new, something of great power.

The Terahertz Center is one of many new centers that have been created at Rensselaer in critical areas — making our university the nexus of important collaborations among government, industry, and leading academic institutions. Another center, now in development, is the Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture.

As we experience every day, we live in a time of social networks, online identities, and mobile technology that keep us immersed in data and information. We are faced with critical opportunities and challenges:

  • Interactivity with/through virtual and augmented reality environments — for individuals and groups.
  • Cognition and learning in blended environments — in fields such as language acquisition and linguistics.
  • Virtual teaming and deep collaboration.
  • Etiquette, cues, nuance, and context for trust and understanding, especially within social media.
  • Best practices for remote learning — linked to augmented reality/ virtual environments.
  • Connecting the dots for security — drawing important clues from massive amounts of online information.
  • Authentication and validation of information.
  • Engaging the forgotten with new technologies.
  • Information hygiene.

Failure to understand and confront the challenges inherent in this list has consequences in potential antisocial behaviors within Web-based communities, vulnerability to cyberwarfare, and the propagation of rumors that shape (and even distort) policy, politics, and social dynamics.

But what we may learn here also brings great opportunities for new kinds of education, for understanding complex group behavior, for synthesizing complex information through human/computer complementary systems, for using augmented reality for better real-time decision-making, and for modeling, simulating, and testing both technological and social solutions, with fewer costs and side effects.

I hope that you are seeing fusion illustrated in all that we do. I will add that we explored the possibilities of Cognition, Communications, and Culture by bringing together a diverse group of individuals from across the Institute — from different disciplines and schools — for a structured brainstorming session called a charrette. Of course, the concept of the charrette was borrowed from architecture.

We expect that our work in this new Center and its use of EMPAC studios will give us new ways to teach language in culturally augmented contexts, while studying cognition and learning.

The Cognition, Communications, and Culture Center will complement our Social and Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC), which is supported by the U.S. Army and has been created to take advantage of opportunities emerging from the growth and adoption of Web-based social networks. These networks provide rich traces of data about participants’ activities without requiring personal, direct contact. Exploring these kinds of social networks, and the technologies and behaviors that govern their dynamics and evolution are the subject of SCNARC’s research. The Center’s current work focuses on the fundamental science of networks and its applications ranging from military to industrial to personal. The Center is led by Professor Bolek Szymanski, Claire & Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Computer Science.

The building in which you sit, EMPAC, provides a powerful symbol for the promise of working across science, technology, and the arts — as well as being a platform for realizing that promise. The arts may not have been a major focus for Rensselaer when most of you were here. It is today. We have been building our programs in recent years, and it is paying off.

One example is our Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program. Now, when we talk about “gaming,” we mean everything you might expect with regard to video games, but we also mean “serious games” that relate to disaster modeling and mitigation. We mean tools for homeland protection and national security. We mean explorations into how people learn and how the brain operates.

In March, the Princeton Review saluted the 50 best undergraduate institutions in the U.S. and Canada that study game design. The publication named eight programs for top honors as the “best of the best.”  They ranked our program number five nationally.

More recently, Pauline Oliveros, Research Professor of Music, was presented with the Columbia University School of the Arts William Schuman Award. The Schuman Award honors the lifetime achievement and lasting significance of a contemporary American composer. Oliveros is the first woman to win this Award, and a special concert paid tribute to her pioneering work in electronic experimental music, and celebrated her varied influences.

This is particularly exciting in the light of what we are seeing from the students who are interested in Rensselaer. EMPAC and the achievements of our faculty have attracted them with the possibility that they can come here and blend their artistic and scientific selves. They understand that we are interested in educating the whole person. Toward bringing this forward, we are now investigating the expansion of the music minor at Rensselaer.

Partnerships are key to this concept of building upon our legacy and our present — to create a community that can change the world. Engagement with those who are beyond the limits of our physical campuses has much to offer our students and faculty.

For one thing, partnerships help us to develop the social consciousness of our students. This occurs through activities that give back. One that has been part of the agenda for all members of our family — students, faculty, alumni/ae, and staff — has been science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education. I am sure all of you know about the crisis we face in the United States as we lose a generation of scientists and engineers to retirement, and do not see their numbers being replaced by future generations. STEM outreach to younger students continues to be important at Rensselaer.

One of the highlights of our STEM initiative came earlier this year when Dr. Ron Eglash in HASS was awarded a $2.9 Million NSF grant to support STEM Research. This money will support the development of his project, named “The Triple Helix,” which is dedicated to producing “civic scientists.” The grant will fund up to eight graduate fellows from Rensselaer who will focus on STEM research projects related to community-based issues including health, the environment, poverty, crime, and information access within the Capital Region.

While I am on the subject of research grants, I will mention that Rensselaer faculty were awarded 256 grants and have increased research awards to nearly $90 million in the past year — a record level, an 18% increase over the previous year, and more than double that of ten years ago ($37 million). We are on the way to $100 million — a key research-funding threshold in the Rensselaer Plan, and we will not stop there.

Another aspect of looking outward is our REACH program.

It stands for “Rensselaer Education Across Cultural Horizons.” The program already has sent cohorts of engineering students to study for a semester in Denmark and Singapore.

Rensselaer is a global enterprise. Those of you who were able to attend the Colloquy yesterday celebrating the 175th Anniversary of our Civil Engineering program know this.

Our alumni/ae have, since our earliest days, built roads, bridges, and tunnels in South America and Asia, not just the United States. These achievements, which include the Panama Canal, have given us a foundation and the perspective that continues today. REACH is all about making sure that our students are ready to work globally by giving them experiences in some of the most exciting international venues. This cross-cultural fusion, if you will, has led to our having sophisticated graduates who are sought after by governments and businesses worldwide, and who are ready to take their places on the global stage.

We continue to look outward. Recently, we have been building connections with universities in Africa. We have signed MOUs with Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. In all, we have MOUs with 22 universities in 12 countries. These relationships show much promise in enriching our fusion experiments in new and unexpected ways.

By the way, Troy already, frankly, has a global stage, quite literally, here at Rensselaer. I hope you are lucky enough to have tickets for the Laurie Anderson performance tonight. Earlier this year, Douglas Trumbull, who did the special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, spoke here at EMPAC. A world master of the viola, Garth Knox, entertained us last November. Michael Ondaatje [on-DAHT-chee], Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient, also spoke here. We also have heard the Steve Lehman Octet, and, next month, the Argento Chamber Ensemble will present a composition for chamber orchestra performed in and between complete darkness.

Last May, we also had four outstanding Commencement Honorees participate in the President’s Commencement Colloquy. They were:

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, who directs the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and host of the PBS program “NOVA ScienceNOW.”
  • Robert S. Langer, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a prolific inventor and a leader in biomedical engineering, and a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Harold E. Varmus, the former President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who, until recently, served as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and this past summer was named by President Obama to head the National Cancer Institute. He, too, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, as well as recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize for his research on the genetic basis of cancer.
  • And economist Peter R. Orszag, past director of the Office of Management and Budget, and former member of President Obama’s cabinet.

All of these individuals are “world class.”

What we have accomplished and all that we continue to do are garnering Rensselaer the attention and respect it warrants.

In May, BusinessWeek ranked the Lally School of Management and Technology number one in Corporate Strategy and number six in Quantitative Methods, as part of its annual report on “Best Business Programs by Specialty.”

Rensselaer also was named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation, in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges. Sustainability continues to flourish at Rensselaer, whether in research on “Built Ecologies,” a new academic minor in “Sustainability Studies,” or multiple efforts to reduce energy consumption, improve recycling efforts, and raise awareness of sustainable “best practices.”

Rensselaer is once again one of the top 50 national universities in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report’s August ranking of the “Best Colleges” in the country. The latest ranking continues Rensselaer’s more than decade-long ranking in the top 50 national universities, and extends a steady rise in position from 49th in 2000. Rensselaer came in 41st overall in the category of “Best National Universities,” up from 42nd last year and matching our highest ranking ever.

As part of a new area of rankings, U.S. News surveyed high school counselors across the U.S. for the first time, seeking their opinions on best colleges. In that new ranking, Rensselaer placed 35th nationally, an important indicator of the value these counselors place on a Rensselaer education. In other areas, Rensselaer also was ranked among the top 50 national universities for “A Great School at a Great Price.” Finally, Rensselaer placed among the top National Universities category for “Highest Retention Rates.”

The reputation we have built led, this past summer, to our participation at many levels at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in China.

The influence of the World Economic Forum on global policy and business and government strategic planning is well known. Rensselaer had a prominent place in the so-called “Summer Davos,” which was held in Tianjin (China) in September. Professor Jonathan S. Dordick led a session titled “Rensselaer IdeasLab: Bio-Inspired Approaches to Sustainability.” Dr. Dordick discussed “Biocatalysis for Our Sustainable Future.”  He was joined by Professor Angel Garcia, who spoke about “Deciphering Biological Functions Through Computation,” Professor Ravi Kane, who took on the topic of “Bio-Inspired Therapeutics,” and Professor K.V. Lakshmi, who addressed the subject of “Bio-Inspired Solar Energy.”

I might add that Ecovative Design, a company founded a few years ago by two Rensselaer students (now graduates), was also there to present an IdeasLab — invited as one of 31 young companies identified by the World Economic Forum as emerging global leaders. The company uses mushroom-based technology to grow new materials.

I, as well, had a number of roles in Tianjin, including moderating a session on “Next Generation Infrastructure.” In addition, I participated in a ministerial level meeting on innovation and served on two panels — one on “Business-University Partnerships,” and another session entitled “What If the U.S. Remains in a Jobless Recovery?” For the past three years, I have participated in the WEF meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and have been invited to do so again in January, 2011.

While in Asia, I also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a leading Asian university, which will lead to greater collaboration in the areas of chemical and biological engineering, and biotechnology. One of the most thrilling experiences was meeting with Rensselaer alumni/ae in Beijing. Sixty of our graduates attended a special presentation I made, and their passion and commitment to our university was truly astounding.

What I have been describing is the kind of university that we are meant to be, the kind you, as alumni/ae, can be proud of. We build on the greatness of our past to create our future — one with a continuous fusion of ideas. One where excitement is part of daily life because the people, the resources, the programs, and the venues are in place to support breathtaking new enterprises and astute new inquiries. This is the Rensselaer all of you love — that we love — re-imagined for the 21st century: vibrant, engaged, relevant, and leading the way.

But, in a sense, none of this is unexpected. Our history always has been about engaging with, and leading, the world. In the 1900s, Benjamin Franklin Greene fused scientific study with engineering at Rensselaer — which led to innovations that shaped nations and reinvented approaches to education. It is why we are called a polytechnic institute. Palmer Ricketts saw the need to expand into new disciplines as well, including architecture. The issues, challenges, and opportunities before us continue to influence our development because we continue to be drawn to addressing “the common purposes of life.” It is what pulls us, inexorably, into the rich endeavors that will change the world.

We clearly are going someplace that matters. All of you are invited to come along.

Thank you.

Source citations are available from Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Statistical data contained herein were factually accurate at the time it was delivered. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assumes no duty to change it to reflect new developments.

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