Tribute Event To Celebrate 20 Years of Transformational Leadership

October 1, 2019

Tribute Event To Celebrate 20 Years of Transformational Leadership

Special guests and performances will honor Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson’s transformative leadership at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which has experienced extraordinary advancements in research, pedagogy, and the student experience in that time.

To mark the occasion, a tribute will be held on campus on October 3, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Concert Hall.

Special guests will provide remarks, including CDPHP President and CEO Dr. John Bennett ’74, and Rensselaer trustees IBM Executive Vice President Dr. John Kelly ’78, NVIDIA co-founder Curtis Priem ’82, and former Boeing Company Senior Vice President Wanda Denson-Low ’78. There will also be a musical performance led by Dr. Mary Simoni, the dean of the Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, along with members of the Rensselaer Chamber Ensemble. A dessert reception and fireworks display will conclude the evening festivities.

In the afternoon prior to the tribute event, there will be a free, celebratory campus-wide picnic lunch for the Rensselaer community, including students, faculty, and staff, and tours of key buildings added to the campus under Dr. Jackson’s leadership, including the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the East Campus Athletic Village, and the newly-renovated Commons Dining Hall.

Dr. Jackson is the 18th president of Rensselaer. A theoretical physicist, she holds an S.B. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT. Described by Time magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” Dr. Jackson has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. Before taking the helm at Rensselaer, Dr. Jackson was Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. She currently serves on the boards of major corporations that include FedEx and IBM. She holds 55 honorary doctoral degrees. In 2016, United States President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Jackson the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and engineering.

Community members intending to attend the events should register here.


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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