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"Let Us Begin"

The inauguration of Rensselaer's 18th President,
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.

“Among your roles will be fund-raiser, budget cutter, spiritual confessor, parental substitute, provider of wholesome and tasty dorm meals, politically correct and hip leader, example of physical fitness, towering public figure, and just one of the guys!’’
Charles M. Vest, president of MIT, at the investiture ceremony

It was a week to remember. The inauguration of Shirley Ann Jackson as Rensselaer’s 18th president was celebrated with a host of events that brought nationally known figures and delegates from more than 100 universities to campus.

The week began with a jazz concert featuring Branford Marsalis in the renowned Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Inaugural events—from the formal investiture ceremony held at the Houston Field House to academic symposia and a gala celebration—gave campus the opportunity to interact with high-level representatives of government, business, and academia.   

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joined more than 650 celebrants at the inaugural gala held at the Rensselaer Technology Park in Jackson’s honor.

“I believe Rensselaer is an institution destined to thrive under the leadership of Shirley Ann Jackson—physicist, professor, public servant, and pioneer,” Clinton said. “It is very fitting that Rensselaer, a university that for 175 years has pioneered scientific and technological innovation

President Jackson at the Inauguration Ceremony
Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson is flanked by Neal Lane, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy, and Samuel Heffener '56, Chairman of Rensselaer's board of trustees.

that has transformed America, will now be led by a true pioneer. Throughout her life Shirley Ann Jackson has pushed back the frontier of science and professional achievement for African-Americans, for women, and for all Americans who have ever sought to follow their dreams and take the road less traveled.”

Photographs by Gary Gold, except where noted.

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