Shirley Ann Jackson

President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe.

A theoretical physicist, her research and policy focus includes energy security, the national capacity for innovation, and reduced support for basic research. She was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. She is a member of the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a Vice Chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chairs its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative. She is past President (2004) and Chairman of the Board (2005) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and AAAS. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the NYSE Euronext, serves on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and as a director of IBM, FedEx, Marathon Oil, Medtronic, and PSEG. Calling her a "national treasure," the National Science Board selected her as its 2007 Vannevar Bush Award recipient for "a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy."

Rensselaer President since 1999, Jackson has led an extraordinary transformation of the institute with an ambitious strategic effort known as The Rensselaer Plan. Guided by her vision, Rensselaer is home to the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (2004), the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovation (CCNI) (2006), and the bold new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) (2008). Under her leadership, more than 200 new faculty members have been hired, resulting in a reduction in class size and improved student-to-faculty ratios. Research awards have doubled and scholarships have increased. There have been innovations in curriculum, expansion of undergraduate research, and new award winning student life initiatives. More than $800 million has been invested in The Rensselaer Plan, including more than $650 million in renovations and new construction. In 2004, President Jackson launched a $1 billion Renaissance at Rensselaer capital Campaign. In 2006, the goal was expanded to $1.4 billion and the time frame extended to June 30, 2009. The goal was reached early, in October, 2008 - and the Campaign continues.

updated: 2008-10-21