Communications

  • It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Robert Conway on Monday, February 5, at the age of 78.
  • It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy ’49, an alumna and lifelong supporter of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on January 15. She was 96 years old.
  • Father Larry Rice has recently been informed by his order, the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (Paulist Fathers), that he will be reassigned this coming summer due to a severe clergy shortage.
  • In the event of severe weather conditions (snow, ice, wind damage, flooding, etc.) or a campus emergency, the Institute may determine that circumstances require a delay in operations, an early closure, or Institute closure. We have established the following Severe Weather and Emergency Policy with your safety and well-being as our priority.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is committed to maintaining a working, living, and learning environment free from harassment, unlawful discrimination, and inappropriate behavior and conduct.
  • Today we honor the men and women who have served, and are serving, in the United States Armed Forces. Our nation's service members are courageous, honorable, determined, and committed to duty, and they use these qualities to serve a cause greater than themselves. We are grateful for their service, sacrifices, and enduring contributions to our country.
  • By now you must be aware of the tragedy unfolding in Israel. We are appalled at the barbaric violence, and our hearts and prayers are with the civilians and our community members who are impacted. Yesterday, during our Town Meeting, I shared with you that we do not exist in a bubble here in Troy, and I think its vitally important for you to understand what that means. 
  • I am writing to update you on our progress toward our new 10-year strategic plan. In my June 2023 message to the community, I announced that the Rensselaer Forward committees had completed their work and that the draft reports were available for community input.
  • As we begin this new academic year, I want to remind you of some changes that we have made, and share with you some exciting new changes we are implementing with the goal of improving our ability to deliver on our mission.
  • It is with much sadness that I write to share news of the passing of Christopher Browne, creative director at RPI. He was 51.Chris joined RPI in April 2022 and oversaw creative for a number of university initiatives including research center openings, Rensselaer Forward, and for the campus block party. He left us far too soon. Chris was an outstanding artistic professional who had tremendous success as a creative director at many agencies where he built major brands.
  • The Steering Committees for Rensselaer Forward have made great progress on our strategic plan, and we look forward to sharing their reports with you by early October. Over the summer, we asked the committees to recommend top priorities and quick wins. At the top of the list across many of the committees (Translation, Research, and Regional Engagement) was a clear desire to see RPI invest in an office tasked with sharing the university’s intellectual capital with the world, through research, engagement with the broader community, entrepreneurship, and translation.
  • It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr. Zijie Yan ’11. Dr. Yan was an associate professor of applied physical sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate of Rensselaer’s Ph.D. program in materials engineering. On August 28, Dr. Yan was the victim of a tragic shooting on the UNC campus.
  • It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr. Zijie Yan ’11. Dr. Yan was an associate professor of applied physical sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate of Rensselaer’s Ph.D. program in materials engineering. On August 28, Dr. Yan was the victim of a tragic shooting on the UNC campus.
  • In 2020, a small group of students filed a class action lawsuit alleging Rensselaer committed a breach of contract when we pivoted to remote learning during the pandemic. I am writing today to inform you of our decision to settle the matter and provide some context for the settlement.
  • RPI has retained the Arts Consulting Group (ACG), an international organization dedicated to advancing the arts and culture, to conduct in-depth discussions with internal and external stakeholders to understand the culture, philosophy, and aspirations underpinning the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). This community input will inform the strategy for EMPAC moving forward and will lead to the recruitment of the center’s next director by the end of the year. EMPAC’s founding director, Johannes Goebel, retired last year after 20 years of service.
  • While we will investigate the full implications of the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action and comply with any new legal requirements, our commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive community for students, faculty, and staff with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints remains unwavering.
  • This morning, we announced that RPI will become the first university in the world to house an IBM Quantum System One on its campus.
  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca W. Doerge, Ph.D., as Provost, effective August 1, 2023. Rebecca joins the Rensselaer community from Carnegie Mellon University, where she is the Glen de Vries Dean of the Mellon College of Science and a member of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Department of Statistics and Data Science and the Mellon College of Science’s Department of Biological Sciences.
  • I am writing to update you on our progress toward our new 10-year strategic plan.
  • Please join me in extending sincere appreciation to Lee McElroy, associate vice president and director of athletics, who is retiring effective June 30, 2023.
  • As we conclude the academic year, I want to share some of the changes underway, inspired, in large part, by my conversations with the RPI community. You shared your concerns and aspirations and we have begun pivoting to implementing improvements to carry us forward as we approach our third century. For more detail on the initiatives described below, you can watch the full video from the recent Spring Town Meeting.
  • The federal government has declared an end to the Public Health Emergency related to COVID-19 as of May 11, 2023. The end of the state of emergency signals a new phase in how we live with and manage COVID-19.
  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed R. May Lee as Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Institutional Impact, effective April 10, 2023. RPI has a vibrant future, and this important new role will be a key part of our plan to enhance our national and international standing, as well as making RPI a force in the local and regional ecosystem.
  • As you no doubt have seen from local media, there were reports of an active shooter at some area schools this morning. Troy Police were called to Troy High School, which is less than a mile from campus on Burdett Avenue, to investigate a threat. As part of their response, they alerted our Department of Public Safety and set up a command post on our campus in the Sharp Hall parking lot.
  • To: The Rensselaer CommunityFrom: Martin Schmidt ’81, Ph.D., President Re: Free RPI Men’s Hockey Playoff Tickets  I invite you to help us fill the Houston Field House for Saturday’s home men’s hockey ECAC playoff game vs. Yale!We have secured a limited number of tickets that the Institute is making available for Rensselaer faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students.Help us cheer on the team at home, Saturday night at 7 p.m. Please email boxoffice@rpi.edu to reserve your FREE general admission ticket now.
  • To: The Rensselaer CommunityFrom: Martin Schmidt '81, Ph.D., PresidentRe: COVID-19 Update
  • In honor of National Employee Appreciation Day, and to celebrate the hard work and great spirit of our RPI community, you're invited to enjoy a free scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's on Friday, March 3!Employees can show their Rensselaer ID at the Ben & Jerry's located at the Rensselaer Union on Friday between 12 p.m.-5 p.m. to receive a free scoop of ice cream (cup or cone).Fun fact: Our Ben & Jerry's was the first one on a college campus!
  • I’m writing to announce the formation of the Rensselaer Forward Strategic Planning Committees, and I’d like to thank the chairs, vice chairs, and members for their service on this important initiative. The new Rensselaer Forward Plan, which will guide us for 10 years following our bicentennial in 2024, will address foundational issues across all portfolios and will have significant impact on our future as one university.  
  • February 21, 2023In 1994, through the generosity of several members of the Board of Trustees and at the direction of the President, the Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award was established. This award, which is given annually, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction and consists of a $10,000 honorarium. 
  • On February 11, 2023, the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) hosted Rensselaer’s 19th President, Dr. Martin Schmidt ’81, in a live-streamed conversation with RAA Board member Matt Siegel '85. (The talk was originally planned with RAA President Meghan Lenihan Moulder ’10, who was called away on a family emergency.) This virtual event gave the global alumni population an opportunity to hear from Dr. Schmidt on various topics including: Stories of his time at RPI; why he chose to come back to his undergraduate alma mater; his initial experience over the first six months; “One Rensselaer” and his vision for RPI and the role alumni play; his vision for the future as the Institute approaches Its 200th birthday celebration.
  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Dr. Robert Hull as Vice President for Research, effective February 1, 2023.  
  • TO: The Rensselaer CommunityFROM: President Martin Schmidt ’81, Ph.D.RE: Appointment of Dr. Vivek Ghosal as Acting Dean of HASSI am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Vivek Ghosal as the Acting Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), effective January 1, 2023.
  • January 20, 2023To: The Rensselaer CommunityFrom: Martin Schmidt '81, Ph.D., President  Re: Rensselaer Forward Update
  • As the Fall 2022 semester comes to a close, I want to thank you for a wonderful first term as president of RPI. Lyn and I wish you and yours happy holidays and a healthy, restful break. New Year’s Day will mark six months in office for me, and in striving to honor the commitment I made at the very beginning to open communication with you, I wanted to take the opportunity to briefly reflect on our first months together and my thoughts on what is ahead for us.
  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mary Simoni as Acting Provost, effective January 1, 2023. Dr. Simoni has served as Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences since October 2011. 
  • As you may recall, in July of 2021, RPI offered an anonymous climate survey to faculty and staff. The online survey was intended to help the university understand its strengths and weaknesses. A 24-member Climate Survey Task Force was appointed in May by Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson to work independently and review the survey findings, make actionable recommendations based on the survey responses, and develop a climate survey report. 
  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr. Ernie J. Katzwinkel as Vice President for the Division of Administration, effective December 1, 2022. Mr. Katzwinkel has served as the Acting Vice President for Administration since November 2021. Before being appointed as Acting Vice President, he served 10 years as Director of the Physical Plant. 
  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr. Matthew J. Ter Molen as Vice President for Institute Advancement, effective January 1, 2023. Matt Ter Molen joins the Rensselaer community from Syracuse University, where he has held the position of Chief Advancement Officer and Senior Vice President since being appointed in December 2014.
  • I’m writing today to thank two members of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees who are stepping down from their leadership roles — Arthur Golden ’66, board chair, and Wanda Denson-Low ’78, vice-chair. Their guidance and judgment have helped to propel Rensselaer forward in so many ways. 
  • Please join me in extending best wishes and congratulations to Curtis Powell, our Vice President for Human Resources, who is retiring from Rensselaer on January 1, 2023. Curtis let me know shortly after I began as President that he wished to retire. I am grateful that he stayed on for the past several months to assist me in my start up, and I will very much miss his wisdom and sage advice.
  • As the festival of Thanksgiving approaches, it is a time to express our thanks and gratitude. Rensselaer will close both the Troy and Hartford campuses at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, to allow members of our community to avoid the expected heavy traffic patterns and spend additional time with family and friends.  
  • Please join me in extending best wishes to Gary Zarr. After the separation of Ms. Richie Hunter, Gary was asked to serve as Interim Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations (SCER), and as planned, he will be leaving Rensselaer at the end of the year. 
  • Please join me in extending sincere appreciation to Johannes Goebel, founding director of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), who is retiring effective November 15, 2022.
  • This is our annual request for Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient nominations for the Class of 2023 Commencement, and future Commencement exercises.  The conferral of honorary degrees is a long-standing academic tradition that not only recognizes individuals of singular achievement but also brings honor and recognition to the Institute. I urge you to give some thought to the nomination of individuals who deserve to be honored for their accomplishments and who would honor Rensselaer by their participation in Commencement. 
  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Joel Kincart as Acting Vice President for Institute Advancement, effective Monday, October 17, 2022.  Mr. Kincart has served as associate vice president for development and fundraising since February 2020 and was responsible for leading all fundraising staff. Mr. Kincart, partnering with former Vice President Graig Eastin, led strategic relationships with individuals, corporations, and private foundations. 
  • Dr. Prabhat Hajela has decided to step down as Provost of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute effective December 31, 2022, and return to the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering faculty. 
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is committed to maintaining a working, living, and learning environment free from harassment, discrimination, inappropriate behavior, and conduct.
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