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

President of the Union/Grand Marshal Breakfast
Rensselaer Union McNeil Room, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good morning! It is my great pleasure to join President of the Union Jonathan Stack, Grand Marshal Kevin Dai, and Dr. Timothy Sams, our Vice President for Student Life, in welcoming all of you to the Closing Breakfast of Rensselaer Family Weekend 2012.

Family Weekend is one of our most highly anticipated and enjoyable events. It provides students and their families an opportunity to reconnect, in person—not just via Skype, FaceTime or text—and to relax and share the Rensselaer experience first-hand. This year, as with every year, we made sure to offer you a weekend jam-packed with a wide range of activities, including:

  • Our mouth-watering Tuscan and Adirondack buffet dinners.
  • Our International Festival—with performances, art, and a smorgasbord of food from more than 30 countries and cultures, all to showcase the diversity alive here at Rensselaer.
  • Our open houses, one of which was a tour of our new Manufacturing Innovation Learning Lab, known as the MILL, which educates the next generation of manufacturing leaders and pioneers.
  • And, of course, there were our many athletic competitions—two of which were yesterday’s Men’s Football game versus Hobart, and Women’s Hockey against Union.

By the way, if you attended the Women’s Hockey game, I hope you caught the weR Frozen performance. weR is a new student organization—The Spirit of Rensselaer Society—designed to foster school spirit through student involvement. And there was another first at that game—families who could not join us this weekend could post messages to their students on the Jumbotron.

Suffice it to say that whatever activities or events you chose to attend, I hope they gave you a window into the more than 200 diverse clubs and organizations run by our Student Union. We consider these clubs to be more than just extracurricular activities. They make an important contribution to student growth by fostering social skills, creating connections, and broadening perspectives. A vital part of the Rensselaer experience is providing our students with the resources to stretch themselves creatively, physically, and intellectually.

I also hope that this weekend leaves you with deeper insight into the rigorous, interdisciplinary academic experience that Rensselaer offers. This was on display for those of you who had the chance to tour The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center—affectionately known as EMPAC. EMPAC—along with our Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, our East Campus Athletic Village, and our Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations—comprise the four physical “pillars” that represent the degree of physical and infrastructural change we have brought about that together, are helping Rensselaer to achieve greater prominence as a top-tier, world-class technological research university with global reach and global impact.

Family Weekend may be drawing to a close, but we urge family members to stay connected. Parents, I urge you to keep current with student life via the Parents of Rensselaer Association. You are already members by virtue of having an undergraduate here.

And, of course, to students I always say: Get involved, and stay involved, in campus life. It is a great way to help make the most of your time here.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to congratulate those who won awards yesterday at our Honors Convocation. Finally, on behalf of everyone at Rensselaer, I extend my gratitude to the staff of the Office of the Student Experience and to the Family Weekend Planning Committee for their hard work and dedication in putting this marvelous weekend together.

Please enjoy the rest of the day, and, for those of you who are traveling, I wish you a safe journey home. Thank you.

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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