Full Speed Ahead!
The themes of the December 2002 issue, Full Speed Ahead and Organizational Transformation, were written in such supercharged lets roll prose that I had to decompress for a day after reading it. I still cant quite understand what all the new initiatives in the hot fields like bio- and nanotechnology will lead to besides research dollars, but I dont really have to. I hope that the younger scientists and engineers caught up in this mad chase are having fun, but I wonder.
Two comments about other items in the magazine: First, Denis Fred Simon (Focus On) says that the resurgence of high-tech ... will be Darwinian, meaning it will be survival of the fittest. This misinterpretation of Darwin by Herbert Spencer and the social Darwinists has been around since the late 19th century and has long been challenged by biologists, philosophers, and social scientists. It seems rather odd to see the new dean of Rensselaers Lally School of Management and Technology repeating it in the 21st century!
Second, Mark Jordans letter states unequivocally that Aniceto Garcia Menocal was an officer in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Monte Calverts The Mechanical Engineer in America, 1830-1910 indicates that the Engineer Corps of the United States Navy (note that Civil is missing) underwent great changes in the post-Civil War period. In February 1879 a bill was passed which allowed the President of the United States to detail an officer from the Naval Engineer Corps as a professor in any school, ostensibly to promote knowledge of steam engineering and iron ship building
, but also partly [as] a way to employ naval engineers. Perhaps Menocal was detailed to investigate routes for the proposed canal by the Navy, but this could have been either as a Navy officer or as a civilian. I suppose it depends who was paying his salary and wonder if Jordan has checked the Navys records on this.
Investing in the Future
We hosted more than 3,200 individual students and their families during their college visits this past year and the enthusiasm for the Institutes building plans, curricular and research enhancements, etc., is visible during their time with us. You really have to live with the steady drumbeat of pilings being hammered in and the huge crane that is visible all across campus to understand the difference in feel that this campus has from others. We are moving forward with ambitious plans to make The Rensselaer Plan real. Despite uncertainties in the economy, families see us investing in ourand their childrensfuture.
Our recruitment cycle ended with the highest quality applicant pool ever seen. (And before one of our very quantitative alumni writes back, these are the applicant statistics, not the enrolling class, so there wont be a comparison in their memory banks.) Looking back into the early 70s statistics that we maintain, the quality of this applicant poolaverage SAT of 1324 and 75 percent in the top 10 percent of their high school classesexceeds all past applying student pools quite markedly. Women represent a larger percentage of the pool than in the past as do minority students. And, our Rensselaer Medalists number almost 1,000991 to be exactagain, the greatest number of Medalists to apply ever. So, the good news permeates the campusand, we hope, will lead to a robust first-year class.
Its great to know that this publication is an information source for our alumni and friends, but you should also know that it is a very important recruiting tool for prospective students and their parents. Stories that showcase studentslike race-car driver Erin Crocker 03help people see the lives they might lead if they come here. And, whats even betterwe deliver on that dream!
Wed love to hear from you! To provide space for as many letters as possible, we often must edit them for length. Please address correspondence to: Rensselaer Magazine, Office of Communications, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, or e-mail to email@example.com, or call (518) 276-6531.
|Rensselaer Magazine: March 2003|
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