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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Transformed and Transformative

From the President's Desk

September 22, 2017

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: Transformed and Transformative

To the wonderful community of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:        

On October 13, 2017, we will launch a new capital campaign that will allow us to realize The Rensselaer Plan 2024—and to position Rensselaer for leadership in its third century, to live out its legacy of being transformative in the world at large.

Before we set off for a new destination, however, it is worthwhile to look back, and to take stock of our journey thus far. Since 1999, Rensselaer itself has been transformed, thanks to The Rensselaer Plan, and to the vigorous support of our alumni and alumnae, trustees, faculty, students, staff, and friends—especially as embodied in our previous capital campaign, which was so successful that we extended our goal to $1.4 billion, and reached that goal nine months ahead of schedule.

As a result, we have been able to put in place the people, programs, platforms, and partnerships that allow soaring ambitions for our future.

We have hired more than 360 tenured and tenure-track faculty (and continue to hire more each year), focusing on five “signature thrusts,” crucial areas of multidisciplinary research. By adding this strong new talent, Rensselaer was able to triple its research awards and expenditures, even in a difficult funding climate.

To stay on the leading edge in education as well as research, we have added 21 new academic degree programs in emerging fields. We also have created CLASS, Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students, so we could offer one of the best student experiences in the nation.

We have modernized our Troy campus with world-class platforms for research, education, and student life, including the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Center for Computational Innovations, and the East Campus Athletic Village. We have renovated, updated, re-purposed, and refurbished myriad pre-existing facilities, and have greatly expanded and upgraded our technological infrastructure.

We have attracted distinguished partners to amplify our efforts, affiliating, for example, with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in both research and education, and working alongside IBM in groundbreaking efforts that include the Jefferson Project at Lake George, the Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory, and Health Empowerment by Analytics, Learning, and Semantics.

The world clearly has taken note of our accomplishments. Applications for admission to our freshman class numbered nearly 20,000 this year—about four times as many as in 1999.  Many of our programs are now top-ranked, including our Information Technology and Web Sciences program—the very best of its kind in the nation; and our overall U.S. News ranking reached its highest level in over 20 years.

Now, with the advent of a new capital campaign, we are poised to accomplish even more—to apply our unique strengths at Rensselaer to truly great challenges, to change the world.  

In the next few months, I will write to you regularly about our overall vision for the campaign, its specific goals, and the progress we are making. This promises to be the most exciting leg of the journey yet, and I look forward to making it with you!