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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at the Zero Year Reunion

Category: University Events
May, 2018
Heffner Alumni House

Zero Year Reunion

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

Good morning, Class of 2018! I hope that you are enjoying Senior Week.

I must congratulate you on a truly inspired banner design. The striking image of a hockey player, an infinity symbol emblazoned on his or her jersey, aptly captures several defining aspects of the culture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

First, you capture how all Rensselaer students share the athlete's virtues of hard work, focus, and determination, which, obviously, are essential for success at the highest levels of intellectual endeavor. Second, you capture our culture of hockey, and the delightful memories you have made with each other while cheering on the Engineers at the Houston Field House.

And, with the infinity symbol, I am pleased to see that you recognize both the limitless potential a Rensselaer education confers, and the unbounded opportunities that await you once you graduate and prepare to change the world.

Finally, replacing the number eight in the image of your class year with two cogs is a clever and creative way to acknowledge how deeply you value the connections you have made during your time here—and how eager you are to make new Rensselaer connections in the future—in particular, with other Rensselaer alumni and alumnae.

This truly is a wonderful banner, and it will be displayed prominently whenever you return to campus.

We look forward to the times that you do return, whether to the Heffner Alumni House or to the Houston Field House to watch a hockey game with old friends. When you return to campus as Rensselaer alumni and alumnae, you do so as members of a very special group—as part of the lineage of distinguished individuals who, armed with a Rensselaer education, have changed the world. We are confident that each of you will similarly distinguish yourselves in your chosen field. And we look forward to celebrating your accomplishments.

First, however, I thank all of the members of the Class Council for their many contributions to the Class of 2018 and to Rensselaer. I thank President Brenna Buckley and Vice President Reed Freeman for their leadership, as well as Class Dean Jennifer Forbes, and Assistant Director of Student Activities Maria Roberts for supporting the Class of 2018.

I would also like to thank Class Gift Chair Huntington Gazecki, and the Class Gift Committee, for coordinating the generous class gift, the supplementing of the Student Relief Fund.

And I welcome the new Alumni Council Leadership for the Class of 2018: President Ellie Mees, Vice President Hannah Merrow, Secretary Steve Sperazza, and Treasurer Erica Lane. We thank you in advance for giving so generously of your time in order to keep the Class of 2018 connected to Rensselaer.

Thank you, Kareem Muhammed, for joining us today and for your leadership as President of the Rensselaer Alumni Association.

Congratulations to our students graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Given the intellectual rigor of the coursework at Rensselaer, such perfection truly is a remarkable achievement.

Finally, I thank all of you, the Class of 2018, for enriching our community, and our lives, during your time here.

Now, please take your champagne flutes and raise them in the air, as I provide the traditional toast.

To you, the members of the Class of 2018: I thank you for all you have done for Rensselaer during the past four years, and for all that you will do in the years to come. As new alumnae and alumni of this great university, it is now your turn to make your mark, and change the world.

Thank you!