Palmer C. Ricketts
Class of 1875Ricketts was appointed to the faculty upon his graduation from Rensselaer. Although he engaged in engineering practice for many years, this work was incidental to his academic leadership, for which he was proclaimed the “Builder of Rensselaer.”
1856 - 1934
He was named director of Rensselaer in 1892 and assumed the title of president in 1901. Starting with a small enrollment and meager resources, he was able to bring to reality the dreams of Benjamin Franklin Greene.
Rebuilding after a devastating fire in 1904, he enlisted the support of philanthropists and built the many buildings known today at the “green-roofed” campus.
Even more important was his influence on the curriculum, which he liberalized with the Department of Arts, Science and Business Administration.
He oversaw an enrollment increase from 200 to 1,900 with a corresponding expansion of the faculty, increased the number of degrees from two to 12, and established the Graduate School.