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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at 2017 Campaign Launch Dinner on EMPAC Theater Stage

Category: University Events
October, 2017

Campaign Launch Dinner on EMPAC Theater Stage

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

It is wonderful to see all of you again.

I hope you had the opportunity to tour the campus and to experience, first-hand, The New Polytechnic in action.

Some of you may have attended the CLASS ALIVE! luncheon. What a wonderful opportunity to hear from our bright and talented students.

And in light of the thought-provoking R.E.D. Talks many of you attended this afternoon, I anticipate that our dinner conversations will be fascinating.

On your way to the theater, you had the opportunity to experience transformative moments in the history of Rensselaer and to enjoy live student performances along our Transformational Walkway.

I hope you took a moment to enjoy the performers who are part of The Roots of Africa Music Ensemble.

For thousands of years, drum ceremonies have served to call communities of people to gather together, to participate in, and to carry forth, rituals and traditions central to their values, to their cultural identity, and to their very lives.

We too are gathered to beat the drums—to unite our alumni and alumnae around the world, and to join together to continue doing our part to transform the globe for the betterment of humanity.

Tonight, we are in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.

It is a venue like no other in the world—a beautifully designed, marvelously engineered, and technologically advanced masterpiece—for both performance and research.

As you entered the theater this evening, you experienced the marriage of art, science, and technology advanced by EMPAC.

The composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart you heard was performed by members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and recorded here at EMPAC for this special occasion.

As you walked across the stage to take your seats, you may have felt as if one of the eight woodwind instruments seemed to be playing right next to you, while music from other instruments seemed farther away—and each in its own location.

In fact, the music emanated from an array of 248 individual loudspeakers located along the back wall of the stage, each projecting an individual signal into the theater.

What you have experienced is a revolution in placing sound in space known as Wave Field Synthesis, which creates a localization for sounds that stays put—no matter where the listener stands in the room.

The loudspeaker array you see here was conceived, designed, and constructed here at EMPAC, and delivers the most refined level of quality yet achieved—anywhere in the world—in Wave Field Synthesis.

This is a new, transformative acoustic technology, and you are the very first to hear it.

This is just one example among many of the ways that Rensselaer changes the world—and an appropriate beginning for the launch of our Capital Campaign—a Campaign that will dramatically enhance the global reach and global impact of Rensselaer.

It is a Campaign that would not be possible without the support of you, our leading players in this vital endeavor. That is why you are seated on the stage in this wonderful theater—you are the stars who are helping, and will help, us to reach our philanthropic goals.

Tonight, as the curtain lifts on our Capital Campaign, we will need your insights, your support, and your engagement in ensuring that our next act at Rensselaer rivals the dramatic energy of our first two centuries.

Given the remarkable accomplishments of our alumni, alumnae, faculty, and students in the past, and in the present, that will be challenging. But together, we will make it happen.

I have the greatest confidence that, with the finest ambassadors for Rensselaer assembled on this stage tonight, together, we will realize the full promise of Rensselaer in its third century of education, discovery, and innovation—at the leading edge.

Please raise your glasses. To our students, to Rensselaer, to you!