Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 7, April 12, 2013



President Announces Commencement Honorands at Town Meeting

At the spring Town Meeting held at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on April 3, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced the four honorands for the 207th Rensselaer Commencement on May 25. Renowned human rights and civil liberties pioneer Congressman John R. Lewis will address graduates and receive an honorary degree. Also receiving honorary degrees will be: Retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula M. Burns, and Microsoft and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pioneer Patricia Q. Stonesifer.

“Congressman Lewis is indeed a ‘profile in courage,’ an extraordinary example of the power of an individual to change the world,” President Jackson said. “At about the same age as our students, he stood up for what was right by sitting down at lunch counters, walking across a bridge in Selma, and marching on Washington. In doing so, with a persistent commitment to non-violence, he helped lead our nation through the civil rights era to a new day. Long considered the ‘conscience of the U.S. Congress,’ for more than a half century he has remained steadfast in his pursuit of equality, justice, and fairness for all. We are honored to have this Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and true American hero address the graduates at Rensselaer.

“We also look forward to honoring and hearing from three other influential leaders in corporate America, the military, and the foundation and nonprofit sectors,” President Jackson added. “As chairman and CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns has led the transformation of a Fortune 500 company, and the conversation on the importance of inviting young people to pursue math and science careers. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen guided the U. S. armed services through a shift in mission and in culture. As Chair of the White House Council on Community Solutions, and a pioneer in Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Patricia Stonesifer has remained focused on creating access, reducing inequities, and expanding opportunities for others. Each has been global in reach and profound in impact, and we are honored by their participation in our

On the eve of Commencement, Rensselaer will convene for the 2013 President’s Commencement Colloquy. The honorands will participate in a discussion—titled “Leading Cultural Shifts: Courage, Creativity, Commitment”—led by President Jackson. The Colloquy, open to the Rensselaer community and the general public, will be held in the EMPAC Concert Hall beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24.

For more details on Commencement, go to

For more information on the Colloquy guests, go to

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 7, April 12, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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