Inside Rensselaer
Board of Trustees Members Announce Personal Gifts for Presidential Residence
The members of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees have made a commitment of their personal resources to construct a new building that will serve as a space for entertaining visitors to the university, and as a residence for the president.

“The trustees have decided to make a unanimous collective gift to Rensselaer in anticipation of our future fund-raising efforts,” said Samuel F. Heffner ’56, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The new facility will be an important tool for use in our ongoing advancement programs.”

The building will be located on the same Tibbits Avenue parcel of land as the current president’s house, which was constructed in the early 20th century. The existing building has only limited space for university events, and is no longer suitable for the types of uses demanded by the burgeoning programs of the Institute, Heffner said.

Rensselaer recently completed the Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a $1.4 billion capital campaign that funded many of the priorities of The Rensselaer Plan. The plan included the construction of four major academic and student life platforms that have contributed to the transformation of Rensselaer as a fully realized technological research university. The trustee gift of the new building lays the groundwork for an even more ambitious fund-raising effort that is in the early planning stages.

“The success of The Rensselaer Plan under President Jackson’s leadership has positioned the Institute for future advancement efforts to realize the next phases of the plan,” Heffner said. “The trustees see the commitment to this new facility as a long-term investment in those efforts.”

The addition of the building will augment other programs, adding to the suite of facilities created in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and the East Campus Athletic Village.

“The success of The Rensselaer Plan under President Jackson’s leadership has positioned the Institute for future advancement efforts to realize the next phases of the plan,” Heffner said. “The trustees see the commitment to this new facility as a long-term investment in those efforts.”

“Those facilities gave us spaces we needed for the enhancement of academic, research, and student life programs,” Heffner said. “A new building, that enables the president to receive and entertain, appropriately, Rensselaer constituents, donors, and other high-level visitors, will enhance our ability to raise funds to support those programs and anticipated new ones.”

“The transformation of Rensselaer has brought the university onto the world stage,” Heffner said. “Every major university must have physical facilities appropriate to its goals. This gift will provide a place that enables President Jackson and her successors to greet high-level constituents in a manner that demonstrates the status of Rensselaer as a major research university.”

A previous private funding effort, with contributions by Rensselaer alumni and alumnae, supported the construction of the Heffner Alumni House, which opened in 1989. Since then, the house has become the center of alumni activity on campus, and has played a role in hosting events under the capital campaign.

The funds for this new project would not have been available for any other purpose, Heffner said. “The trustees have been very generous in their philanthropic support of the Rensselaer students and faculty. The gifts the trustees are making for this new facility are over and above their other commitments, and represent a unanimous personal investment by them in the long-term future of Rensselaer,” he said.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 14, December 11, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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