Welcome Class of 2024
From the President's Desk
As President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and on behalf of the entire Rensselaer community, it is my very great pleasure to welcome the Class of 2024 into the Rensselaer family.
We are delighted to have you here, and given that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, we fully appreciate that you are beginning your college career in an unusual way.
By now you already have learned much about the history of Rensselaer. Chances are that you know our students have gone on to build a lot of bridges. Certainly, this includes literal bridges, like the Brooklyn Bridge. But our graduates have also built bridges between disciplines and cultures and individuals.
Our magnificent facilities represent the dreams of many — built to create collaborations and conversations among those in the arts and media, business and design, and science and engineering.
Our society needs more than ever to build relationships, sometimes between unlikely parties. Your imagination, thought, questions, analyses, and solutions are needed by this world. That is why this is the best possible time to be at Rensselaer.
It will not be easy. Great achievements never are. In fact, you will work harder than ever before, and you will be stretched — sometimes uncomfortably. But, as you work and stretch, you will build new intellectual strength, agility, and endurance.
Your university career began a few weeks ago and I imagine that you still are excited, nervous, and, perhaps, a bit overwhelmed. Remember — you are smart, resourceful, and talented. You belong here. We have a great deal of experience in selecting students who will thrive at Rensselaer, and every one of you is here because we know that you can succeed and flourish.
Above all, never lose sight of the fact that you are not alone as you embark on this adventure of living and learning. The Rensselaer community includes caring men and women whose sole purpose is to help you thrive, and to make your experience here as rich and rewarding as possible. At the top of the list are your resident advisers, your academic advisers, your professors, and all of the people in the division of Student Life and the Office of the First-Year Experience.
Although you may not see each of these people every day, you may be sure they are working, all the time, to make your experience better and Rensselaer stronger. Please, take advantage of all of these people here and the resources they offer.
Even during this global pandemic, we are fully committed to delivering our world-class education, and carrying out our research mission at the highest levels. To fulfill that commitment, our focus is on limiting risk and managing consequences for the entire Rensselaer community. The steps we are taking are intended to preserve the health, safety, and well-being of everyone in our community.
Before you become engrossed in your work and activities, I wish to plant a few thoughts which, I hope, will grow and flourish in your minds, and hearts, in the days ahead.
The first is this: Rensselaer is a special place — an exciting, surprisingly intricate community of people, places, and experiences. Rensselaer is also wonderfully diverse — intellectually, socially, ethnically, and with regard to geographic origin. This gives you unparalleled opportunities to grow, and to contribute, in ways you can barely imagine today.
You have come to Rensselaer in search of the best education possible, and we — the faculty and staff, my cabinet, and I — will do all within our power to provide you with that, confident in our belief that there is no better way to be prepared for the challenges of the future than to be well-educated.
But, the precise texture of your education will be determined by you. Focus on your studies and keep your eyes, and minds, open to unexpected opportunities and possibilities of all sorts — both within and beyond the classroom and laboratory. You, the Class of 2024, are our newest changemakers who will graduate during our bicentennial year. Now, you are taking your places in a tradition of excellence, discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship — established 196 years ago by our founders, and, which, now — with over 100,000 living alumni and alumnae — extends to the farthest reaches of the globe.
I look forward to meeting each of you virtually, and when circumstances allow, in person. Meanwhile, I will host a virtual Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. The Town Meeting will be recorded and posted to the Rensselaer website.