Inside Rensselaer
* Meet the Class of 2010: A Commencement Overview
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Meet the Class of 2010:
A Commencement Overview
More than 1,370 students will receive degrees from Rensselaer on Saturday, May 29, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the stadium at the Institute’s new East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV). They represent the next generation of leaders, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, patent holders, game designers, and innovators — in fields ranging from engineering to architecture, from fine arts to science, from game design to information technology, and from business to the military.

During the Institute’s 204th Commencement ceremony, Rensselaer will award 240 master’s degrees, 68 doctoral degrees, and 1,167 bachelor’s degrees. Some graduates have earned more than one degree. All numbers cited are as of May 14, 2010 and are subject to change.

Celebrating in a New Space
For the last eight years, Rensselaer has held the Commencement ceremony at Harkness Field. This year marks the first time that the stadium at the new ECAV complex will be used. More than 10,000 graduates and visitors are expected to attend the ceremony.

Meet the Class of 2010: A Commencement Overview *
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Last fall, the Institute officially unveiled ECAV. It represented the most extensive athletic construction project in Rensselaer history, offering athletic and recreation facilities that will change the student experience dramatically. The new $92 million complex is the latest in a decade-long physical transformation of Rensselaer.

A Global Community
In 2010, graduating students come from 42 states outside of New York state and 22 other nations including: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Egypt, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Outstanding Honorands
Peter Orszag, a noted economist, the 37th director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, is one of four outstanding guests who will receive honorary degrees during the ceremony. Orszag, who at 41 is the youngest Cabinet member in the Obama administration, also will deliver the Commencement address. Prior to his Cabinet appointment, Orszag was director of the Congressional Budget Office. He was the Joseph A. Pechman Senior Fellow and deputy director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. Under President Clinton, Orszag served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and as senior economist and senior adviser on the Council of Economic Advisers. Also receiving honorary degrees during Commencement are Robert Langer, a leader in biotechnology who currently serves as David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Neil deGrasse Tyson, a renowned astrophysicist who serves as Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City; and Harold Varmus, who currently serves as president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1989. President Barack Obama recently announced the appointment of Dr. Varmus to serve as director of the National Cancer Institute.

* Meet the Class of 2010: A Commencement Overview
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Rensselaer’s Own
This year 17 Rensselaer employees are graduating and 13 children of Rensselaer employees also are graduating.

All in the Family
The Rensselaer degree is well-known throughout the world as a symbol of technological excellence and achievement. Rensselaer alumni are leaders. They are collaborative, able, and smart. This year, 140 members of the Class of 2010 are Rensselaer “legacies,” students with relatives who attended the university.

Parting Gift
Each year at Commencement, the graduating class presents the university with a gift. The Class of 2010 is excited to present a unique and spirited gift to the university, already raising more than $10,000 toward the creation of a green roof on the Rensselaer Union Bookstore. A green roof — an example of a sustainability concept — is a plant-based multipurpose roofing choice capable of rain water filtration and collection, cultivation of edible and inedible plants, and general public enjoyment. Members of the class are also working with the Student Sustainability Task Force and Campus Planning and Facilities Design to raise funds and coordinate the project. To date, 151 members of the class, representing 15 percent of the class, have donated to the project so far. In addition, 53 students became Patroons of Rensselaer with their gift of $100 or more. The class hopes to raise $50,000 to complete the project.

Continuing Academic Excellence
Many graduates will continue their studies after graduation. Among the schools that graduates Albany Medical College, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth Medical School, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, Rutgers, Stanford, Texas A& M, Tufts Medical School, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and of course, Rensselaer.

Hot Jobs! Meet the Next Generation of Innovators
Preliminary results indicate that, despite the economic downturn, Rensselaer students — in all areas of study, including management, humanities, social sciences, information technology, and engineering — are still getting good jobs. Heading from the stage to offices and locations around the country, Rensselaer graduates will work for companies that include: Apple, Bloomberg, Boeing, Capital IQ, Constellation Energy, Edwards Lifesciences, General Dynamics, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Sandia National Laboratories, Walt Disney Animation, Working Buildings, and Yahoo!

“While this year’s cohort of college graduates is still facing a rough job market, there are some small signs of improvement,” said Tom Tarantelli, director of the Career Development Center, and acting assisting vice president for student life. “The market is percolating a bit, and we anticipate hiring this year will be up about 4 to 5 percent.”

Meet the Class of 2010: A Commencement Overview *
Tarantelli noted some of the key factors that have helped Rensselaer students land jobs include: gaining work experience while in college; networking among family, friends, and alumni; and pursuing a non-traditional career.

“Today’s employers desire students who have had some experience while in college,” Tarantelli said. “This is what gives a student the competitive edge when it comes to landing a full-time job. Students should not be discouraged but ready to take advantage of opportunities when they become available. That is the nature of today’s market.”

Awarding Excellence in Counseling
James Napolitano ’77, professor of physics, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the David M. Darrin Counseling Award, which will be presented during the Commencement ceremony. The award was established by David M. Darrin ’40 to recognize a faculty member who has made an unusual contribution in the counseling of undergraduate students. The selection of the award recipient is made by Phalanx, Rensselaer’s student leadership honorary society.

Student Service, Leadership, Scholarship Honored
At the May 21 Class of 2010 Zero Year Brunch and Awards Celebration, several graduating seniors were honored for their contributions to the Institute. The Willie Stanton Award, presented to the senior(s) judged to have contributed the most in service to the student body, was awarded to Sara Brown, a mechanical engineering major from Waterbury, Conn., and Daniel Hogan, an electrical engineering major from Absecon, N.J. The Livingston W. Houston Citizenship Award, honoring the “first citizen of the college,” ranking high in character, leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability, was awarded to Whitney Coleman, an electronic media, arts, and communication major from Etiwanda, Calif. The Leopold L. Balleisen Prize, honoring a senior student athlete who has won a varsity letter in at least one sport during two undergraduate years and who stands highest academically in the senior class, was awarded to Ariel Hubert, a biology major from New Port, N.H.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 10, May 28, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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