Skip to main content

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at GM/PU Breakfast

Category: Regional
October, 2018
Rensselaer Student Union, McNeil Room
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

It is a great pleasure to be here with you this morning. I thank Grand Marshal Stefanie Warner and Union President Justin Etzine for hosting this breakfast, and I thank our Student Union members for the work they have put into making this weekend so memorable.

I thank, as well, Interim Vice President for Student Life Mr. LeNorman Strong, the Student Life Division, the Family Weekend Planning Committee, and all others involved, for what they have done to make this weekend successful, and for all that they do throughout the year to enrich the lives of Rensselaer students. The Division of Student Life is responsible for implementing our CLASS approach, or Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students, to ensure that students have the resources they need to thrive at Rensselaer.

As our Family Weekend 2018 draws to a close, we hope you will take a moment to reflect on what you have seen, and learned, over the last few days. Certainly, parents, we expect that you see evidence of your children’s growth, as they forge new friendships, discover new interests, and stretch their academic capabilities during their time on campus.

To the younger siblings who attended this weekend, we hope that you already feel a part of the Rensselaer family, and that you will consider following in your older brother’s or sister’s footsteps to join the brilliant scientists, engineers, architects, emerging business leaders, and scholars who call Rensselaer home.

And for our students, we hope that you gained a new perspective, as you guided your family around campus this weekend. Amos Eaton, the first professor of Rensselaer, nearly 200 years ago promoted a rather radical pedagogical philosophy—that we all learn best by teaching. So I hope that this weekend has given you an opportunity to solidify what you have learned thus far, by explaining new concepts and new ideas to your family.

While this weekend is always a high point because of the opportunity it offers for families to reconnect, it is also an important moment for us to celebrate our larger Rensselaer family, and to highlight the many ways we are preparing our students to change the world.

From the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, which helps our students develop leadership skills, to the Center for Career and Professional Development, we have created a comprehensive approach to ensure that our students are gaining the intellectual agility to see across disciplines, the multicultural sophistication to address great challenges, and a global view that recognizes our shared humanity, in all aspects of their education.

We know that our students and faculty are also inspired by the community that we create here on campus. So, as you enjoyed the music at the “Aca-tober Fest,” or listened to classical music, sampled delicious food at the International Festival, or cheered on our men’s ice hockey, football, or Quidditch teams, we hope that you got a sense of the diverse, welcoming, and inspiring community that thrives here at Rensselaer.

This community is enhanced by the work of our Student Union, which sponsors more than 250 diverse clubs and organizations. These clubs foster social skills, create connections, and broaden perspectives, and, indeed, are essential to our students’ growth.

Across all aspects of the Rensselaer experience, we are providing our students with the resources to stretch themselves creatively, physically, and intellectually. But as we challenge our students to grow, we also ensure that they are not alone in their journey. At every step of the way, Rensselaer students are supported and encouraged by our faculty, their fellow students, our alumni and alumnae, and of course, you, their beloved families. This network, across fields of study, across this campus, across generations, and across the world, is a vital part of our vision, and an essential ingredient in our students’ success.

We hope that as you return home, you will continue to nurture the connections you have made this weekend. If you have not already, please consider joining the Parents of Rensselaer Association. Our community benefits from all that you bring to Rensselaer. We hope that you will continue to engage with us, and offer us sage advice.

Before I conclude, I would like to congratulate, again, those students who received awards at our Honors Convocation.

Parents and families, I hope you enjoy your remaining time on campus, and travel home safely.