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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Success, Generosity, Service

Category: University Events
October, 2016
East Campus Athletic Village

Remarks at Patroon Recognition Brunch

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

It is my pleasure to welcome you to our annual Patroon Recognition Brunch. I hope that each of you enjoyed reconnecting with the people and programs that defined your Rensselaer experience.

Reunion & Homecoming is one of my favorite times of the year— for it is during this weekend that the complete Rensselaer community is brought together.

At Rensselaer, our motto is "Why not change the world?" Within this optimistic challenge, we fully include our alumni and alumnae, who are applying their knowledge, thoroughness, skills, experiences (the Rensselaer spirit, really) in a myriad of disciplines, sectors, and industries—all across the globe. Like our current students, you were drawn to Rensselaer because you possess a deep curiosity, a willingness to tackle the hard problems, and a turn of mind that allows you to find new solutions to them.

Here you cultivated that thirst for knowledge, while forging lifelong friendships in the residence halls, at WRPI, in the Student Senate, in the Houston Field House, or with the RPI Players. And through your generosity and dedication, you still undergird the student experience at Rensselaer—and foster a great sense of community, shared by all of the men and women who have been educated here, across the generations.

Many of you are like Frank Schafer, of the Rensselaer Classes of 1955 and 1958, who is here with his wife Lois—people who have achieved great success out in the world, but who never have forgotten the formative experiences provided by Rensselaer. Mr. Schafer grew up in Troy, living in the Eagle Mills home that was built by his ancestors in 1811—a home that predates Rensselaer. In addition to his family's long-standing physical closeness to the university, Frank has two degrees from Rensselaer (a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in Management Engineering). He and Lois have given to the Rensselaer Annual Fund dependably since they married in 1980, supported the Patroon Scholars Program, and recently qualified for the George M. Low '48 Patroon Society, thanks to a generous unrestricted commitment. Success, passion, drive, generosity, service—these are a part of Frank's story, a part of the Rensselaer story, and I know they are a part of your story, too. What wonderful company we keep!

You have made the choice to support Rensselaer, as we educate the next generation of inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs, architects, scientists, business leaders, and innovators. It is only through your continued engagement and commitment that we can, and will, change the world.  
Please know how privileged I feel to serve as the 18th president of this venerable institution—one that has played an integral role in the history of the United States—creating the physical, virtual, and intellectual infrastructure of our nation.

As you have heard me say, within The New Polytechnic paradigm, we are taking on an increasingly transformative role—both here in the United States and globally. As a community, Rensselaer always has looked outwards, and sought to improve lives on a grand scale.

As we approach our third century, in an increasingly competitive, global, and complex world, we are making this outward focus an intrinsic part of the educational experience we offer. Within the classroom and outside of it, Rensselaer cultivates, in new and exciting ways, the qualities our graduates will need for 21st century leadership: a global view, multicultural sophistication, and intellectual agility.

For this we thank you.  Through your philanthropy, you are seeding innovation, determination, and discovery. Your gifts are fueling students' desire for this robust academic experience.

Through our "Bridging the Gap" initiative we are striving to erase the disparity between our available financial aid resources, and the amount students truly need. This will allow us to bring a world-class Rensselaer education within the reach of every talented and motivated student, regardless of means. 
I know that many of you here today were recipients of scholarship support during your time at Rensselaer, and that you have made the inspiring decision to "pay it forward," and to support the young leaders of tomorrow.

As you may know from your personal experience, such support helps to keep students focused on their studies, and allows them the time to truly explore and be enriched by all that Rensselaer has to offer. Our students also feel a great sense of pride in being buoyed up by their forebears—by people like you, who approve of their dreams, because you have shared the same dreams. That is the power of the Rensselaer community.

On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of Rensselaer, we are grateful for the many ways in which each of you supports the Institute.

You may be part of our past, but you also are the pride of our present, and the foundation of our future.
Your generosity and dedication truly change the world.

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.