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Rensselaer Celebrates Philanthropic Partnerships

Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson presents the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award to performer Josh Groban.

October 14, 2019

Rensselaer Celebrates Philanthropic Partnerships

Scholarship dinner and Josh Groban performance commemorate significance of scholarship and arts education

On Saturday, October 5, more than 500 members of the Rensselaer community celebrated  individuals and organizations supporting student scholarship and education at the 2019 Coast to Coast East: Scholarship Dinner and Signature Performance by Josh Groban. The event took place during a weekend of festivities that began on October 3 celebrating the Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., 18th President of Rensselaer, who achieved 20 years of leadership this month.

At the scholarship dinner, President Jackson presented the Rensselaer Global Game Changers Award to the Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (CDPHP), which is led by Rensselaer alumnus John Bennett, Class of 1974, MD, FACC, FACP. This award recognizes those whose transformative investments have significantly enhanced Rensselaer’s efforts in making a world-class education available to deserving students, regardless of socio-economic background.

President Jackson also presented the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award to campaign co-chairs Kathleen M. and Paul J. Severino, Class of 1969, and a member of the Rensselaer board of trustees; Corning Incorporated, accepted by Thomas G. Capek, Class of 1986, senior vice president and chief engineer at Corning; and singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban and the Find Your Light Foundation. The Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes leading philanthropic partnerships propelling Rensselaer to a transformative third century as a state-of-the-art, innovative research and technology Institute.

Event attendees and members of the Rensselaer student body and staff enjoyed a private performance by Groban, accompanied by more than 30 Rensselaer student instrumentalists and choir members.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Rensselaer’s Transformative: Campaign for Global Change capital campaign currently underway and the Find Your Light Foundation, founded by the Groban Family Foundation. The event raised nearly $1.2 million in support of scholarship and arts education and solidified the two organizations’ commitment to provide students of all ages the opportunity to receive a quality education.

“It is the generous philanthropic support of each of you and all the honorees we recognize this evening that makes all this possible,” said President Jackson. “With your gifts, Rensselaer is able to continue to provide unparalleled education to our students, preparing them for a future of leadership, innovative thinking, and becoming pioneers of change in our world.”

“We are about making sure that every young person finds their voice — to become future professionals, leaders, artists, doctors, or rocket scientists,” stated Groban. “I think it’s so great that Rensselaer and Find Your Light can team up. We are of different universes sharing a similar passion and a similar goal.”

More than 30 corporations and organizations supported the event through sponsorships, including major event sponsors CDPHP, event underwriter; Dr. John Bennett ’74, event chair; members of the event executive leadership team; Albany Med, IBM, and Cindi and Curtis R. Priem ’82, P’22, dinner sponsors; Sodexo, United Airlines, Levrx Technology Inc., Corning, and Western Digital, Bridging the Gap Circle sponsors; and Columbia Development Companies, National Instruments, Wanda K. Denson-Low ’78 and Ronald Low, and Elisabeth Smith Golden and Arthur F. Golden ’66, corporate underwriters.

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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, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 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.