Retirement as President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dear members of the Rensselaer Community,

Over two decades ago, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Capital Region community welcomed me, Morris, and our son, Alan, into its family. We are deeply grateful for the support and friendship we have experienced throughout the years. I am extraordinarily proud of this university, and all that we have achieved working together, yet the time has come for the next chapter of my life and career. I will step down from my post as President of this great institution on July 1, 2022.

It has been the privilege and honor of my professional career to serve as President of Rensselaer since 1999. Throughout my tenure, the Institute has transformed into a vibrant community, with significant investments in new and existing academic, research, and residential facilities, including the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), the East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV), and the Center for Computational Innovations (CCI). Under The Rensselaer Plan and The Rensselaer Plan 2024, among innumerable accomplishments, we secured a $360 million unrestricted gift to the university (2001); increased research expenditures to $104 million (FY2019); invested more than $850 million in facilities and infrastructure for research, teaching, and student life; and hired more than 450 new faculty members since Fall 1999. As we have done this, we have transformed the student experience with Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS), The Arch, and our greatly enhanced support for graduate students.

Navigating the university through the unprecedented, global pandemic this past year tested our courage, agility, and flexibility. We passed the test with flying colors. Moreover, this year we were, once again, on the international stage as part of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, where we announced the launch of the Institute for Energy, the Built Environment, and Smart Systems (EBESS). We gained significant momentum in our Transformative: The Campaign for Global Change fundraising campaign and reached a record of more than $1 billion in our endowment. This fall, we will enroll the most accomplished freshman class in our history. Most importantly, we came together as one united and resilient university.  

All of us working together as a community – our students, faculty, staff, university administration, Board of Trustees, alumni/ae, and supporters – made these achievements possible. We pushed the limits of our own potential, and we continue pushing forward to reach even greater heights of excellence. 

Rensselaer is one of the nation’s greatest higher education institutions, and is on a trajectory unlike ever before in its history of changing the world. We continue to make groundbreaking strides through our investment in our brilliant students, our innovative pedagogy, and our global-challenge linked research. 

As we anticipate the bicentennial of the Institute, it is clear that we are on the cusp of a new era because of the collective fortitude and determination of the entire Rensselaer community. As I close out my tenure as President, I will be working with all of you to cement the key initiatives the Board has endorsed, and to move forward our capital campaign.

In the months ahead, I look forward to the opportunity to personally thank you for your collaboration, contributions, and support over the years. Let us look to the 200th anniversary of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with the relentless curiosity and commitment to make the world a better place that is the hallmark of this special institution.  

 

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Institute Professor, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, Professor of Engineering Sciences

 

 

 

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