Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. To Speak at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute April 11

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Image credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

March 22, 2017

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. To Speak at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute April 11

Talk will include a conversation with President Shirley Ann Jackson

The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, will take part in a conversation with Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, a recent recipient of the National Medal of Science, on Tuesday, April 11. The event will be held in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center on the Rensselaer campus.

“We are delighted to draw visitors of the stature of Chief Justice Roberts to Rensselaer, and to have our students interact with them,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “It is one thing to tell our students that intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global view are valuable. But it is another to allow them to hear from sophisticated and intellectually agile individuals who have united unlike ideas in their own careers—and in the process, changed the world. The result is not just education, but also inspiration.”

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, was born in Buffalo, New York, January 27, 1955. He married Jane Marie Sullivan in 1996 and they have two children—Josephine and Jack. He received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1976 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979. He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979–1980 and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term. He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States, and he took his seat September 29, 2005.

In the last year, Rensselaer has played host to many notable guests, including former CIA Director John O. Brennan and Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Cech. During Reunion & Homecoming weekend last fall, President Jackson moderated a panel discussion with three alumni National Medal winners—Ted Hoff ’58, the inventor of the microprocessor, Steve Sasson ’72, the inventor of the digital camera, and Jayant Baliga ’74, the inventor of the insulated gate bipolar transistor. At the 2016 Commencement ceremony, Rensselaer bestowed honorary degrees on Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, David J. Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian, and Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize winner and the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas. They also took part in the President’s Colloquy discussion on “The Unity Underlying Diversity.”

Campus speakers such as Chief Justice Roberts help to demonstrate the vision of The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The foundation for this vision is the recognition that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration—working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions—to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit