The Rensselaer Plan
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 Reaching for the Stars
Family Ties
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Good Connections
Houston Field House
President's View

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Making a Difference
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Alumni Weddings
Looking Ahead



Jeff English ’75 Troy, N.Y.

I grew up in Troy and my mother is an alumna of St. Lawrence University. Every year she would buy a pair of tickets from their alumni association for the SLU game at the Field House (not yet named after Houston then), and as a result I attended several of these games in the ’50s and ’60s, sitting in the visitors' section. All the time I would be rooting for St. Lawrence, not having any idea at the time that I would enter Rensselaer in 1971.

Probably the most memorable moment from those experiences was in the late ’60s when an RPI defenseman, having picked up a loose puck, was headed around to the back of the goal to start a break-out play when he inadvertently put the puck past his own goaltender teammate to score one for SLU. I'll bet he still goes over that one on sleepless nights!

In the fall of my freshman year I had no doubt that I would be looking forward to cheering for the home team the entire hockey season at the Field House, so I signed up for the Pep Band. I believe the 1971-72 season was the last for A. Olin Niles as band conductor, and his was also the last paid faculty involvement in the Pep Band. Student leaders have had the responsibility ever since.

To have played under the baton of Olin (as we always addressed him, with his approval) was a unique experience, since he was a connection to a long-gone era at Rensselaer. He wrote either the melody or the lyrics to our fine fight song, “Hail, Dear Old Rensselaer,” in collaboration with Mr. Root ’34 (this is noted on the sheet music). I believe one or both of them also had a hand in composing our alma mater.

After participating 13 seasons in the Pep Band, some slightly younger compatriots convinced me that it was time to hang it up, so we bought season tickets, which we continue to faithfully hold on to every season.

Over the 29 seasons I've been watching the varsity hockey program (and I know there are many who have been at it far longer, some going back to the construction of the Field House), there have been many great games played, and certainly the 1984-85 NCAA Championship season was very gratifying. The most electrifying moment I have ever been a part of at the Houston Field House occurred, however, in the last home game of the 1989-90 season when Tony Hejna scored the tying goal with scant seconds left in regulation to force Cornell into overtime where the Cherry & White went on to win early in the extra session. The win propelled Rensselaer to second place in the final league standings and a trip to the ECAC tournament. Hejna’s tying goal sent the crowd into a frenzy that still reverberates in that grand shed.

Jeff English ’75 Troy, N.Y.


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