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The 2009 Presidential Fall Town Meeting: “Signs of Progress: Rensselaer Vignettes”

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

Fall 2009 Town Meeting
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good afternoon. And, special greetings to Hartford. Thank you for coming.

As we gather together as a community at our semi-annual meeting, we have the opportunity to assess our progress, to evaluate what our diverse, multifaceted, multidisciplinary community collectively has fashioned, and to examine our direction forward.

As I begin, I introduce our leadership team — some of whom have joined us recently. Please stand when I call your name:

  • Robert Palazzo, Provost;
  • Charles Carletta, Secretary of the Institute and General Counsel;
  • Virginia Gregg, Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer;
  • John Kolb ’79, Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Officer;
  • Eddie Ade Knowles, Vice President, Student Life;
  • John Minasian, Vice President and Dean, Rensselaer Hartford Campus;
  • Paul P. Marthers, Vice President, Enrollment, and Dean, Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions. Dr. Marthers joined us August 1st. He has more than twenty years of experience in higher and secondary education, including admissions work at Oberlin, Vassar, Bennington, and Boston colleges, and Duke University. Dr. Marthers comes to us, most recently, from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he was Dean of Admissions. Welcome Dr. Marthers;
  • Curtis Powell, Vice President, Human Resources;
  • Claude Rounds, Vice President, Administration;
  • Francine Berman, Vice President, Research. Dr. Berman, also, joined Rensselaer in August. She is a high-performance computing scholar with extensive experience in research, teaching, and academic leadership. Dr. Berman was the High Performance Computing Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Welcome Dr. Berman;
  • Robert Schlesinger, Vice President, Institute Advancement;
  • William Walker, Vice President, Strategic Communications and External Relations;
  • Walé Adeosun, Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer — who has been named chair of the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (CRF) Investment Advisory Committee (IAC) — by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
  • David Rosowsky, is our new Dean of the School of Engineering, who joined Rensselaer in July. Most recently, Dr. Rosowsky was Professor and Head of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, where he held the A.P. and Florence Wiley Chair in Civil Engineering. His research involves structural reliability, probabilistic modeling of structural and environmental loads, and probability-based design;
  • Mr. Evan Douglis is our new Dean of the School of Architecture. He comes to us from Pratt Institute, where he was Chair of the Undergraduate School of Architecture, and before that, he was on the faculty of Columbia University, the Director of the Columbia University Architecture Galleries, and a Visiting Professor at The Cooper Union. Welcome Mr. Douglis;
  • Wayne Gray, Acting Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences;
  • David Spooner, Acting Dean, School of Science; and
  • Johannes Goebel, Director, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

Please join me in welcoming those who recently have joined us, and in thanking our leadership team.

Today, instead of trying to cover developments over time, I thought it would be instructive to glimpse a few snapshots — illustrative vignettes — of “Rensselaer in action.” There are thousands we might look at, and these few are pulled, somewhat at random. But, I believe that each one has something important to say about the university we have become and about our future. I will tell four brief stories. Let us see what each reveals about Rensselaer.

I begin with a vignette which characterizes Rensselaer faculty, and Rensselaer research — and one that says volumes about our future — as an Institute and as a society.

VIGNETTE: eScience
An informatics revolution is under way, and the Rensselaer Tetherless World Research Constellation is at its forefront.

The exponential volume of data in the multiple disciplines of science has created a vast disconnect between extant data and its use in research and knowledge generation. Raw scientific data is rarely available publicly, making it extremely difficult for a scientist to pick up where another left off or even to reproduce the results. The volume, complexity, and heterogeneity of data resources has left scientists needing new ways to find, read, understand, and use the findings of other scientists. This scientific language barrier hinders the pace of discovery.

To bridge the gap, Constellation Professors Peter Fox, Deborah McGuinness, and Jim Hendler are creating a Semantic Web platform to compile and share this data on an unprecedented scale.

The platform is rooted in Semantic Web technology, which will mediate access to raw data in a vocabulary that the end user can understand. Semantic computer code, known as ontologies, provides underlying meaning and links to the information. Current technologies involve, primarily, words on a computer screen that require a human to interpret the words and then manually move to another Web site for more information. With semantic data, the computer can configure, coalesce, and interpret data from millions of different sources instantly, without the need for human intervention — allowing scientists to gain access to data from a variety of sources outside of their area of expertise.

Semantics adds machine-encoded definitions of vocabularies, concepts, and terms, and explains, in a variety of forms, their interrelationships, allowing scientists to bridge the gap between the question posed and the extreme complexity of the underlying data.

The Constellation is using semantic ontologies to build understandable, navigable Web sites familiar to the end user depending on the level and type of expertise. Behind the simple façade will rest billions of pages of data semantically tagged and ready to be accessed and interpreted by the computer. The user needs only to type a question, and it will be answered using data input by other users around the world.

This is heady work. More to the point, it is seminal and very important.

In one sense, what this vignette describes is not unique — by which I mean that, all across the Institute, Rensselaer faculty, along with graduate and undergraduate students, are engaged in exciting, transformative research — research that will be as game-changing as the semantic web and eScience, research that is creating new knowledge upon which yet new discoveries will be built.

Rensselaer researchers have successfully unraveled the source of contamination of the blood-thinner heparin, and have bioengineered a synthetic alternative; developed the darkest material; synthesized a unique, flexible paper battery; advanced green LEDs; controlled of the nature of graphene for future graphene-based nanoelectronics; modeled the causes of the New Orleans levee failures; developed a way to seek out dangerous proteins such as anthrax toxin, and render them harmless with light.

Rensselaer faculty and students are modeling Generation IV nuclear reactors to boost the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants; creating a new laboratory to develop and test next-generation radar systems; creating nanosculptures that could enhance new heat pumps and energy converters. They have uncovered small deletions in the genomes of children with autism that strongly correlate to brain function; and have used experimental flow measurement techniques to boost the performance of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Within the last year, we have launched new research centers:

  • The Center for Biochemical Solar Energy Research — seeking to develop the next generation of solar technology through the study of the energy-converting power of living plants;
  • The Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center — the first Rensselaer-led National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, the only NSF Engineering Research Center in New York State, which is developing light emitting technologies to enable revolutionary new systems;
  • The Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) — the collaboration between the Rensselaer School of Architecture and the venerable architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), bringing together architects, engineers, scientists, and students to innovate systems and materials to shift building performance toward sustainable and energy self-sufficient models;
  • The New York Center for Astrobiology — analyzing the wealth of data on the structure and chemical composition of the cosmos, collected over many NASA missions; and
  • The most recent — the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)-funded Center for Social and Cognitive Networks — is part of the newly created Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) to include four nationwide centers focused on different aspects of the emerging field of network science. Rensselaer will receive $8.6 million of the $16.75 million in total funding to lead the center for its first five years. An additional $18.75 million is anticipated from the ARL for a second phase, which would bring the total funding for the interdisciplinary center to $35.5 million over 10 years.

In addition to these research centers, Rensselaer received $7.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), granted through the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Rensselaer received 19 such grants to advance ongoing research programs, begin new research programs, hire researchers, support graduate students, and purchase instruments and equipment.

Another major endeavor is a six-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow Rensselaer researchers to investigate how different civil infrastructures within a city or county — such as roadways, water and power utilities, hospitals, banks, or law enforcement — interact with each other and with the natural environment after a disaster, enabling emergency officials to formulate better plans for dealing with and mitigating the effects of disasters.

In addition, the New York State stem cell initiative granted $1.08 million to two Rensselaer research groups to fund research on the growth and development of stem cells, and to provide insights into the role specific genes and biological molecules play in stem cell function in the human body.

I could go on and on, but there is little need, because the increased pace and importance of research at Rensselaer has brought us further recognition and growing opportunity. For example, in September, five Rensselaer researchers presented at the World Economic Forum “Summer Davos” Meeting in Dalian, China. Only five universities were invited to have their faculty present. The meeting drew a thousand of the world’s most promising innovators, businesses leaders, and government officials to learn firsthand about the leading-edge research, trends, and ideas taking shape in the world’s most advanced academic laboratories.

Our team presented ideas on how innovative research and education can lead the world into a new era of health, prosperity, connectivity, and high technology, culminating with an “IdeasLab” on innovative engineering. The Rensselaer contingent included:

  • Professor Robert Hull – Henry Burlage Jr. Professor of Engineering and Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering;
  • Professor Shawn-Yu Lin – Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy and Senior Constellation Professor of the Future Chips constellation;
  • Professor Anna Dyson – Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE);
  • Professor Jonathan Dordick, who led the team, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS); and
  • Professor James Hendler – Senior Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Research Constellation and Assistant Dean for Information Technology.

There is more. Rensselaer faculty are receiving high honors for their accomplishments across the spectra of their disciplines.

  • Dr. Robert J. Linhardt, whom I have just referenced, has been honored as one of the Scientific American 10. Dr. Linhardt is featured in the June 2009 edition of the popular science and technology magazine for his lifesaving work with the blood thinner heparin.
  • The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) will jointly present the inaugural Ken Kennedy Award to Dr. Francine Berman, the Vice President for Research. Dr. Berman is recognized for her efforts to build a national cyberinfrastructure, and is cited for “her influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure.” Dr. Berman is the first to receive this award, established to recognize substantial contributions to programmability and productivity in computing and significant community service or mentoring contributions.
  • Dr. Howard Littman, professor emeritus in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and fluid mechanics expert, was recently named a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for his “significant contributions” to the field of chemical engineering in fluid-particle systems, particularly the study of fluidized beds, spouted beds, and draft tube spout-fluid beds.
  • Dr. Joel Plawsky, professor of chemical engineering, was, also, named a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and cited for leaving a unique mark on the academic field and for significant contributions to the chemical engineering profession. His areas of interest are thin films, interfacial phenomena, and transport phenomena.
  • Dr. Wayne Gray, acting dean of the Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been elected a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society for the sustained excellence of his research and its impact on the cognitive science community. His primary research interests include integrated cognitive systems, computational cognitive modeling, and cognitive engineering. He investigates the interplay of cognition, perception, and action in routine interactive behavior.
  • Dr. Robert Hull, whom I referenced earlier, was named a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) — recognized for his advances in fundamental understanding of semiconductor thin films and nanostructures, and for distinguished leadership in the materials community.
  • Dr. Fengyan Li, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, has won a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Li will use the five-year research award to design, analyze, and implement computer algorithms for solving complex mathematical problems arising in sciences and engineering. In particular, she will apply and study a type of numerical analysis called discontinuous Galerkin methods.
  • Dr. Diana-Andra Borca-Tasciuc, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, also, has won a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She will use the five-year research award to further her research into using nanoparticles heated by an alternative magnetic field to fight cancer.
  • Dr. Leila Parsa has been named a winner of an Office of Naval Research 2009 Young Investigator Program Award. She will use the three-year research grant for investigations into the design and control of energy and power electronics converters — toward the development of new shipboard power systems of interest to the U.S. Navy and its Office of Naval Research.

That others recognize the excellence of Rensselaer faculty is a tribute to them, and an honor, also for our students who study and work with them. We will honor all of our faculty next month at the Board of Trustees Celebration of Faculty Achievement.

Let me share with you another vignette that reveals more about Rensselaer in action.

VIGNETTE — Engineers for a Sustainable World
“Why Not Change the World?” is a powerful question, charging all of us to become part of the solution. Through the campus chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (EWS), with faculty guidance, engineering graduate and undergraduate students are working on solutions to global challenges in Haiti.

For example, graduate students Jaron Kuppers and Erin Lennox are among several engineering students helping a school in the village of Lascahobas in the interior mountains of east central Haiti. The school is without the most basic equipment — even paper, pencils, books. A local church group, with the help of donated photovoltaic panels, provided the school with electric lights last year. Now the goal is to provide sufficient sustainable electricity to support a computer center. GE has supplied additional solar panels, and Rensselaer has donated ten tablet PCs. Students are installing educational software on the laptops — software especially appropriate for older students and adults The challenge is to design an electric system that is stable, trouble-free, sufficiently weatherproof to survive hurricane season, and simple enough to be used and maintained by nonprofessionals.

Once functional, the computer center will enable students to learn writing skills and mathematics, and to leap-frog the need for paper.

Rensselaer ESW students had hoped to travel to the village with church members, but as with many projects, sometimes not all goes smoothly. In July, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Haiti because of political tensions and security concerns — precluding the Institute from officially sanctioning their travel.

One student said he was “honored” to be part of the ESW Haiti project because sometimes, “We get lost in the big vision, and doing a smaller project is important because the impact is so direct. This may be the most meaningful thing I’ll do in my college career.”

This vignette — again, merely representative of similar endeavors across our academic continuum — shows that faculty and students are engaged in activity integral to our founding mission — employing unique educational strategies for engaged, interactive, self-directed learning. Our academic emphasis is deliberately global in outlook, intellectually rigorous, sophisticated, and socially nuanced. Rensselaer provides an environment that promotes powerful, mind-opening new experiences, which foster intellectual agility, and the application of science for the important common purposes of life.

As you may know, it is our intention to build REACH–Rensselaer Education Across Cultural Horizons — into the engineering curriculum and, eventually, across our entire academic spectrum. International educational and research exchange will become a defining aspect of undergraduate education, building on our long-standing international Architecture programs in Italy, China, and India. Currently, we have exchange agreements in 12 countries with more than 18 institutions, and, last spring, the first contingent of engineering students attended semester-long programs in Denmark and Singapore. Another group of engineering undergraduates and faculty spent an intensive week in Pune, India, with students and faculty from the Pune College of Engineering, and the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, as part of the first Indo-U.S. Research Academy. The program brought together students and faculty experts focused on multidisciplinary challenges facing engineers and researchers of every nation.

Last spring, I led a Rensselaer delegation to explore collaborations in South Africa and Ghana, where we discussed capacity-building opportunities and exchanges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Rensselaer will bring its hallmark experiential learning programs to these universities through cooperative student projects, student exchanges, and research initiatives for faculty and administrators.

A third vignette tells us more about the students who seek us out.

VIGNETTE — Upstate Girls
Brenda Ann Kenneally grew up in the Capital Region. She makes mini-movies, and is writing a graphic novel. She is an independent journalist and a photographer who works on assignments for The New York Times Magazine. Like all of our students, she is bright, smart, talented, and focused.

She has a lifelong fascination with the dichotomy of work and life in the United States, and for the life-ironies of class inequality and culture, the emotional rather than physical state of poverty, the culture of work, and the culture of privilege. How these forces bind the fates and futures of young women have been her passion.

Because labor historians contend that the City of Troy is the prototype of the industrialization of America, she is following seven Troy women for five years, documenting that their escape routes out of generational poverty have led to further entrapments. Her open-ended documentary is titled, “Upstate Girls.” She shares her own story freely on the Web.

She was drawn to Rensselaer by its cross-disciplinarity — where literature, art, history, and technology unite in a way that becomes, as she puts it, “the umbrella for all the work I am doing.” She is working toward her Rensselaer doctorate in electronic arts.

The environment of a university should incorporate a stimulating overall intellectual milieu — where ideas are expressed, where contemporary events are examined for meaning and context, where the mind is enlarged through discourse and diversity.

My definition of an intellectual environment incorporates academic rigor, scientific discovery, technological innovation and entrepreneurship, international activity, diversity in multiple dimensions, community service, artistic creativity, athletics, and just plain fun — all in balance, of course.

The array of topics and the expertise of our guest lecturers spans every sector:

  • Marshall N. Carter, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Group and deputy chairman of its parent company NYSE Euronext.
  • ESPN Radio and TV personality Mike Greenberg,
  • A.P. “Preetham” Parigi, managing director, Entertainment Network (India) Limited,
  • World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee,
  • political leaders — Governor David Paterson, Congressman Paul Tonko, both of New York state, and Connecticut Congressman John B. Larson,
  • ... and artists celebrated trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, renowned musician Béla Fleck, the Japanese group Boredom, and new works by Bang-on-a-Can co-founder David Lang.

If you have heard one or more of these, or other, presenters, you are part of the intellectual conversation at Rensselaer.

VIGNETTE: Athletics
The final vignette comes in the form of a letter from a parent. I have edited the letter to ensure privacy — but you will understand the meaning. In the letter, the parent: thanks “…the athletic department and RPI for giving [our student] the opportunity and privilege of competing … at the intercollegiate level.  We visited [recently] …. and we are very pleased to see such dramatic personal growth in such a short period of time.

“… each individual … at RPI, starting from the first time we walked into the admissions office, whether it was in person, by telephone or e-mail, aside from being extraordinarily courteous, has bent over backwards to be helpful and informative. This was true before [our student] gained admission, and it is even more apparent having an accepted matriculating student.

“[The coach] was very straightforward with us when [our student] was applying, and it was apparent from the first moment … that [the coach] was an astute individual who ran a good program.  The [student athletes] we met seemed to be a close-knit crew committed to the team as well as to academics. After [our student] was accepted, and we visited again last April, we were greeted with a lot of personal warmth from [the coach] and from … potential teammates.  I believe their attitude towards an accepted student helped our bewildered high school senior, a child who had trouble making decisions, [become] 100% certain that he wanted to attend RPI. 

“[Our student is independent ] for the first time [and] … over the last 2 months, and we continue to be impressed with the academics, the athletics, and the … team.  You have top-notch facilities, and a first-class staff.  The promises made by the school about the availability of help and support have been promises kept.  We can already see the personal growth in [our student], the physical growth from the supervised strengthening program, and hopefully we will see academic and athletic success. 

“We believe that athletics make(s) a great combination with academics for young people, and we are happy that [our student] has found an institution where he can study and train with like-minded individuals. The first year of college can be such a tumultuous period ….  We see athletics as a steadying force in that storm. 

“On a very personal level, [our student] is the first individual from our extended family to compete in intercollegiate athletics, and we could not be prouder. …”

Hearing this letter, we cannot help but think of how the first-class facilities of our new East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV) have enhanced campus life — for our student athletes, for those who play intramural and club sports, for the entire Rensselaer community.

But, there is more. The letter I quoted from speaks to the full spectrum of support throughout the campus community. Everyone contributes, whether or not one has a specific role with entering students. The vignette tells us that Rensselaer is transforming to have a unique, technologically focused undergraduate residential college, embedded within a great technological research university.

We are doing this through CLASS — the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students Initiative. CLASS involves both residentially based and time-based clustering. Groups of residence halls — our “Commons” — are supported by live-in Commons Assistant Deans (who are student life professionals), as well as upperclass and graduate student assistants living in the residence hall clusters. We, also, will have Faculty Deans of the Commons, who are tenured professors, living in university-owned houses near the residential commons. Faculty Deans will be responsible for the overall leadership in guiding the intellectual, cultural, and social life of students in the residential commons, in partnership with the student life professionals.

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.

Similarly, as part of CLASS, we are extending our award-winning First-Year Experience, to phase in a Sophomore Year Experience, in which all sophomores (beginning with the class entering this fall) 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.

Also, as part of CLASS, we are creating Class Deans, who will take over each rising sophomore class from the Dean of the First-Year Experience. The Class Dean will work with that class until it graduates. The Class Deans will be class advocates, and will be the connectors and facilitators for that class with all aspects of the Institute, and beyond. They will 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.

The overall focus of CLASS will be on providing a broader panoply of leadership experiences, mentoring, counseling, learning assistance, career planning; and intellectual, social, and cultural activities.

We recently appointed the first Residential Commons Assistant Dean — Ms. Shannon M. Hitchcock. She is a Rensselaer alumna, who graduated with the Class of 2005, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Since receiving her Master of Arts degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education in 2006 from Teachers College, Columbia University, she has served as the Assistant Dean of Residence Life.

Ms. Hitchcock currently supervises five undergraduate/graduate Resident Directors, who directly oversee a staff of 21 Resident Assistants, four Learning Assistants, and two graduate Teaching Learning Assistants in first-year residence halls, mixed housing, and upperclassmen apartments. In her new post, she is assigned to Blitman Commons. 

We, also, have filled two positions in Residence Life. Mary Gleason and Christina Lowery have been appointed to the positions of assistant dean of the residential commons, effective Nov. 16. Both have experience with residential colleges and living and learning communities. Ms. Lowery will reside in Hall Hall. Ms. Gleason will reside in the Polytech Commons.

Between now and January 2010, we expect to have two more live-in Commons Assistant Deans, the Class Dean for the Class of 2013, the first Faculty Dean of the Commons, and several Commons Faculty Fellows in place and assigned. The Faculty Fellows are individuals with outstanding achievement in their respective disciplines who promote student/faculty interactions by sharing research and scholarly experiences in informal settings with students.

One might say that at Rensselaer, it takes a village . . .

All of this provides the “shape” of Rensselaer today, and points to what we will be tomorrow.

Before we go to Q&A, I direct your attention to an exciting series of events during what we are calling Celebration Weekend — December 4 through December 6. Be sure to save the dates. Celebration Weekend will celebrate three important milestones:

  • The successful conclusion of the Renaissance at Rensselaer capital campaign, which surpassed our ambitious goal of $1.4 billion nine months ahead of schedule;
  • The tenth year of transformation under The Rensselaer Plan — forthcoming in May 2010 — which has been our guiding standard during this decade of accomplishment; and
  • The marking of my decade as President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

On Thursday evening, December 3rd, the Rensselaer Board of Trustees will celebrate faculty achievement with a lecture, award ceremony, and dinner. The lecturer is University of Chicago Professor Michael S. Turner, a theoretical cosmologist, who coined the term “dark energy.”

On Friday, December 4th, after a variety of events, there will be a concert and party at EMPAC — anchored by a performance in the Concert Hall by the legendary Queen of Soul herself — Aretha Franklin.

On Saturday, I will offer a ten-year retrospective of my tenure and of our accomplishments under The Rensselaer Plan. We have come a long way together over the last 10 years. This celebration of a decade of transformation at Rensselaer is an opportunity to showcase our extraordinary people, highlight the new programs, and tour our spectacular platforms. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to thank all of those in the Rensselaer community — our donors, trustees, faculty, students, staff, administration, alumni, and other special friends — for their tireless efforts in elevating Rensselaer as top-tier, world-class technological research university, with global reach and global impact. We are, indeed, better positioned than ever to change the world.

Saturday evening, there will be a gala concert by Grammy Award-winning and "classical music superstar" — violinist Joshua Bell, who has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking virtuosity.

It will be a weekend to remember. I hope you will plan to be with us.

Q & A
Now, I am happy to entertain questions. We are transmitting to Hartford and in order for them to hear your questions, please use the microphones which are located in the middle of the Concert Hall, and near the stage stairs.

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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