Inside Rensselaer
Focus on:
Reunion & Homecoming Weekend

Rain, wind, and cool temperatures couldn’t stop a record 3,000 alumni and guests from returning to campus and enjoying Reunion & Homecoming weekend, Oct. 14-17. The large number of attendees is nearly triple the number who returned for similar events in the past.

“The huge success of this program is due in no small part to the collaboration of the entire campus community, and the fact that academics, athletics, Greeks, and student clubs and organizations all participated,” said Jeff Schanz, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “Thank you to all our campus partners who helped to make Reunion & Homecoming a memorable and enjoyable experience for our alumni.”

In addition to class years ending in 5 or 0 who enjoyed traditional Class Reunions, a wide variety of alumni groups gathered and several Institute milestones were celebrated, including the 175th anniversary of Civil Engineering at Rensselaer. The 175th Anniversary Celebration Dinner took place 175 years to the day that Amos Eaton announced the creation of Rensselaer’s civil engineering degree. The weekend provided a special opportunity for G. Wayne Clough, 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian, who spoke at the Presidential Colloquy along with President Jackson, to reconnect with his former faculty adviser, Davies Medal recipient James Mitchell ’51.

The weekend also marked the 10th anniversary of the O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Lab, the 20th anniversary of the Clubhouse Pub, and the 10-year celebration of the Office of the First-Year Experience Student Orientation program.

Twenty-two Greek organizations hosted events, including Pi Kappa Alpha, who celebrated their 75th anniversary, and Sigma Chi, who celebrated 60 years at Rensselaer. Greeks partnered with the alumni office to market their events, resulting in record numbers of alumni participants.

Athletic teams hosting events included baseball, field hockey, football, men’s lacrosse, softball, swimming and diving, women’s lacrosse, and women’s soccer. The varsity teams responded to the alumni support with victories by men’s hockey over Bentley, and a thrilling last-second win over Alfred by the football team. The football halftime show included an appearance from Byron Forster ’41, the oldest alumnus present, and the singing of the alma mater, led by President Jackson and the alumni volunteers who helped to plan their Class Reunions.

Special interest groups also participated, with receptions for Phalanx and the Society of Women Engineers, a minority alumni reunion, and a gathering for members of ROTC at the Armory.

President Jackson’s State of the Institute address, presented to a packed house at the EMPAC auditorium, was a centerpiece of the weekend. Other highlights included “Back to Class,” which allowed alumni to sit in on a live classroom; FanFest, a carnival midway at ECAV; and an amazing “A Cappella Extravaganza,” featuring all four student a cappella groups and the professional group
Vox Audio.

Congratulations to staff members who were recognized by the Rensselaer Alumni Association at its annual awards dinner. Rick Hartt ’70 was given the Albert Fox Demers Medal, Roger Grice, Ph.D. ’87, received the RAA Teaching Award, and Barb Nelson ’80 was honored with a Director’s Award.

Next year’s Reunion & Homecoming will be held Oct. 21-23. If your department or group is interested in being involved, contact alumni relations at

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 17, November 5, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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