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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at Hockey Family Luncheon

Category: Regional
October, 2018
Heffner Alumni House
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

I am so delighted to be able to join our Division I Men’s Ice Hockey team, coaches, staff, and most of all, our players’ families.

I hope that you have enjoyed Family Weekend—including the game yesterday with the University of Connecticut—and learned a lot about the ways that your sons are growing intellectually, spiritually, and as athletes.

You will be hearing today from Mr. Richard Scammell of the Class of 1969, who is someone who bleeds Rensselaer red. Rich was not only one of the great Men’s Ice Hockey players at Rensselaer, his daughters Heather and Jennifer played ice hockey for Rensselaer as well. Rich just retired after 49 years of service to Rensselaer as an employee—and is missed by our Department of Research Administration and Finance.

I know that many of you are relatively new to Rensselaer—including the families of 10 Engineers who are members of the great Class of 2022, which is the most academically accomplished and diverse in our history.

You will find that Coach Dave Smith’s motto, “Every day a champion,” is something all of us live here—on the ice, in the classroom, and in our efforts to change the world, for the better.

Because of that focus, many of Rensselaer’s academic programs are top-ranked and world-class, and our faculty are well-recognized. Our faculty include members of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors, many fellows of technical and professional societies, and numerous recipients of national and international awards.

With our Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students, or CLASS, we strive to offer the very best student experience in the United States. Rensselaer Athletics is an important aspect of CLASS, and with the leadership of Dr. Lee McElroy, we do everything possible to make your sons’—and all of our student-athletes’— experiences here transformative.

Our student-athletes truly are role models here on campus. Despite the intense demands of playing a Division I sport, the average GPA of the Men’s Ice Hockey team is 3.3.

That is an accomplishment, especially at Rensselaer, where our coursework is just as intensely demanding as the sport.

Our Men’s Ice Hockey team helps to create community at Rensselaer by uniting us in fandom. Anyone who has experienced the Big Red Freakout can attest that to the passion of that fandom.

As Rensselaer graduates typically do, our Men’s Ice Hockey graduates do very well upon graduation, in terms of the distinguished businesses that employ them; the salaries they command; the graduate schools that accept them; the startups they launch; the inventions, designs, and discoveries they bring into the world—and the meaningful lives they lead.

Following in that path, we are very proud that Mike Prapavessis of the Class of 2018 signed an NHL contract with the Columbia Blue Jackets over the summer.

We welcome all the new Men’s Ice Hockey families to the Rensselaer family. We thank you for lending your extraordinary student-athletes to us—and we expect great things of all of them.

Thank you again for coming, and please, enjoy your lunch!