Changemakers in Class of 2021 Prepared To Make a Difference

May 21, 2021

Changemakers in Class of 2021 Prepared To Make a Difference

Resilient class includes many accomplished students poised to change the world

Four years ago, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Class of 2021 planted a red maple on the Troy campus and installed a plaque next to it with a quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

That sentiment resonates even more strongly as the class prepares to graduate, having completed their degrees amid an extreme — and ongoing — global health crisis. Due to health protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the graduates will be the only in-person attendees at their Commencement. But their resilience and accomplishments will be celebrated around the world.

Students who will be receiving degrees this week are individuals who have designed award-winning games, overcome personal adversity, played in concert with Josh Groban, conducted research abroad, and aimed to be role models for others, among many other notable pursuits.

The Strategic Communications and External Relations team at Rensselaer recently profiled some of the talented, driven, and compassionate members of the Class of 2021. A number of them can be seen in this video message celebrating all graduates:

The individuals profiled have wide-ranging backgrounds, interests, and future plans. They each embody the Rensselaer spirit of ingenuity and perseverance, which has enabled their success in developing unique expertise, defying the odds, creating communities, empowering women in business, and working on life-saving innovations, among other things.

These students embody the spirit of The New Polytechnic, a model for education and research that emphasizes collaboration across disciplines in order to solve global challenges.

As the Class of 2021 prepares to enter the post-pandemic world, society is facing many complex and interconnected challenges. This accomplished class of students has demonstrated that they will be both collaborators and leaders in the development of creative solutions — in keeping with the Institute slogan: “Why not change the world?”


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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