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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at Commencement Thank You Breakfast

Category: University Events
June, 2017
Commons Dining Hall

2017 Commencement Thank You Breakfast

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

I am delighted to be here this morning to express my gratitude to all of you. The 211th Commencement at Rensselaer was superb in every aspect.

We had a wonderful graduating class. We had wonderful honorands in Secretary Ernest Moniz and Dr. Roger Ferguson. We had wonderful weather!

And we had all of wonderful you, making one of the most important occasions in the lives of our graduates and their guests, enjoyable in every moment. I thank you for your extraordinary efforts, not just for the Commencement Ceremony itself, but also for the President’s Commencement Colloquy and all of Senior Week.

I appreciate the work of…

  • our many volunteers;
  • our faculty members who participated in the ceremony, as well as our Deans and Cabinet members;
  • the people in Strategic Communications & External Relations, and in the President’s Office, who planned, coordinated, and communicated about Commencement;
  • the many men and women in our Physical Plant, Environmental & Site Services, Parking & Transportation, and Public Safety, who readied our campus for thousands of visitors—and all of you who made those visitors feel so welcome.

We speak often of The New Polytechnic, our vision of Rensselaer as a great crossroads for talented people in many different disciplines, focused on sprawling and interconnected challenges. At our 211th Commencement, we saw a very fine example of The New Polytechnic in action.

I know that for all of you, throwing such a grand party every May is a logistical trial of considerable magnitude. And each May, you pull it off.

Commencement is more than a test of competence. In its pomp and circumstance, in its festive and elevated tone, it is a reminder to all of us of the value of the work we do.

No matter what your individual role, we all focus on one thing at Rensselaer: educating talented young men and women—offering them a student experience that is both nurturing and inspiring—so we can send them off to make the world a better place.

This is, simply, the most important work in the world. And at Commencement, we celebrate not just the accomplishments of our students, but also our own accomplishments, and of the entire Rensselaer community.

Now, we have sent the members of the Class of 2017 off to make their marks upon the world. I know that they will honor all that we have done for them, and they will make us proud.

I am grateful to you for making our farewell to them so memorable and meaningful.

Now, please, enjoy your breakfast, and enjoy your day!