Alumni Hall of Fame

Livingston W. Houston
Livingston W. Houston
Fall 2011

Livingston W. Houston

Class of 1913
11th President
1891-1977

As the 11th president of Rensselaer, Livingston Houston guided the Institute through extraordinary growth and change following World War II.

He created the modern administrative structure, grouping academics into schools led by deans, and establishing a graduate school and research division. He pioneered new degree programs in geology, mathematics, and mechanics, and introduced programs in language and literature, philosophy, psychology, and economics.

Under Houston the cooperative education program was created and a branch campus in Hartford, Connecticut, was established. Houston’s imaginative and lucrative method of investing endowment funds was so successful that his advice was sought by many college presidents.

Houston advocated a greater emphasis on non-technical subjects and extracurricular activities, including college sports and student publications; he encouraged the formation and development of outstanding debating, dramatic, and musical organizations. To further expand college life, Houston brought to campus the Field House that now bears his name as an outlet for cultural and athletic activities and an arena for broader community interaction.