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Society of Families Reception

“Developing Leaders”

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

Heffner Alumni House
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Good evening, and welcome to Rensselaer for Family Weekend—and the inaugural Society of Families Reception.

Family Weekend is special in that it allows you to experience firsthand your student’s home away from home—a home that he or she took special care to prepare for your visit, though I trust that it is tidy all of the time.

Over the course of your visit, I hope that you find that we take very seriously our responsibility to provide your students with a nurturing environment in which to live and learn. We are invested in our students and have worked hard to provide them many resources that are unique to Rensselaer. Your students are able to learn and grow on a campus that has been transformed over the past 14 years under The Rensselaer Plan.

We have invested more than $1.25 billion to provide state-of-the-art learning and research platforms, such as the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and the East Campus Athletic Village.

We have hired over 300 new faculty members, tripled research awards, and concluded a $1.4 billion capital campaign successfully in 2008, exceeding all previous fundraising efforts at Rensselaer. We now are preparing for our next capital campaign.

We have transformed the learning and living experience for our students with Clustered Learning Advocacy and Support, or CLASS.

Our ranking among national research universities by US News and World Report indicates that our achievements are recognized. But, the clearest evidence of our achievements under The Rensselaer Plan is the enthusiasm with which young men and women now pursue a Rensselaer education.

Clearly, everyone in this room already recognizes the value of what Rensselaer offers.

As parents and family members, you also understand, perhaps better than anyone, the cost of providing this remarkable educational experience for your students. The tuition does not cover all of the expenses of running a world-class private university. In fact, tuition covers only 75 percent of the cost of educating our students.

Our budget never closes without the help of philanthropy. Year after year, we depend on the generosity of our partners—alumni and alumnae, corporations, foundations, friends, and, yes, parents—to help us fulfill our mission to educate young people in the application of science (and engineering) to the common purposes of life.

And so today, I ask you to become one of our partners by joining the newly launched Society of Families. I encourage you to speak with Pat and other members of the Rensselaer community about how you may make a difference.

Each and every gift is important. The Rensselaer Annual Fund provides essential resources for our highest priorities, including financial aid, faculty support, and undergraduate life. So gifts to the Annual Fund have an immediate impact, and ensure that we are able to deliver a superior education every day. Major gifts to specific initiatives allow Rensselaer to support new programs, and to build our endowment to secure the long-term future of the Institute. Testamentary gifts represent the ultimate commitment and leave a lasting legacy.

We are focused on helping your students to grow into the fulfilled, accomplished professionals you wish them to become. With your support, we are confident that these young men and women will develop into future leaders—passionate about, and capable of, changing the world.

I thank you for welcoming Rensselaer into your families. I look forward to welcoming you into the Society of Families.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit.


Source citations are available from the division of 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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