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Commencement Colloquy

Leading and Thriving in Challenging Times
Leading and Thriving in Challenging Times

Distinguished Commencement Colloquy guests taking part in the discussion include (from left) Kenneth Chenault, Robert Richardson, President Jackson, Samuel Josefowitz ’42,
and Peter Schwartz ’68.

In addition to the more than 1,900 graduates receiving degrees at the 2009 Rensselaer Commencement ceremony, four distinguished guests also received honorary degrees and took part in the President’s Commencement Colloquy as part of the celebration. They shared insights on taking “The Long View: Leading and Thriving in Challenging Times,” in a conversation convened and moderated by President Jackson.

“The colloquy is an important opportunity to gain insight from these four outstanding leaders, as our graduates navigate the shift to this new phase of their lives,” President Jackson said. “We are in a time of tremendous economic uncertainty. A range of daunting global challenges must be addressed, including energy and climate change, health care, and a myriad of security issues. These world-class leaders understand the importance of taking the long view, of tapping into the opportunity that exists in the midst of troubling times, and of persevering despite obstacles and adversity.”

Kenneth Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of the American Express Company, provided the colloquy’s opening remarks, defining the qualities of leadership. Chenault serves on the boards of American Express and several other corporate and nonprofit organizations. A wide variety of civic, social service, and community organizations have recognized him for his public service leadership. In addition, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“We are in a time of tremendous economic uncertainty. A range of daunting global challenges must be addressed, including energy and climate change, health care, and a myriad of security issues.”
Peter Schwartz ’68, who also delivered the Commencement address, is an internationally renowned futurist, business strategist, and author. He is co-founder and chairman of Global Business Network.

Samuel Josefowitz ’42 is an entrepreneur, chemical engineer, and prominent art collector and art expert, who for many years led the Swiss-based mail order book and record club business he created and pioneered. In 2005, Josefowitz was made an officer in the Légion d’honneur by the French government in recognition of his contributions to French culture.

Robert Richardson, Ph.D., Nobel Prize winner in physics (1996), is the F.R. Newman Professor of Physics and vice provost for research, emeritus, at Cornell.

View the archived webcast at www.rpi.edu/news/colloquy.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.