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Sunny Skies, Warm Memories

Click below to enlarge photos

Photos by Gary Gold

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Reunion ’05 brought nearly 1,000 alumni and guests to campus in June to enjoy a weekend of activities in sunny, warm temperatures. Alumni met their former classmates and were brought up-to-date on Rensselaer at such activities as breakfast with the deans, tours of campus and Troy, a “Renaissance Fair” held in the new Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, a dinner cruise, and a variety of class get-togethers.

The Class of ’90 had presciently planned a pool party at the Robison Pool, the Class of ’70 made a special effort to reunite the “co-eds,” who originally numbered 24 in a class of 1,000, and the Class of ’55 enjoyed meeting President Shirley Ann Jackson at a garden party at the President's Residence.

Sean O’Sullivan ’85 gave the alumni keynote address, titled “Engineers Without Borders,” in which the co-founder of MapInfo talked about his work helping to rebuild war-torn Iraq. He urged alumni to think about ways they, too, could take action to help change the world.

The president’s annual State of the Institute Address was well attended. “The changes on the Troy campus, and to the overall student experience, have been remarkable — especially in the last five years — and they stand as tangible evidence that Rensselaer has embarked on a new chapter in its illustrious history. And we are garnering attention nationally, and internationally, as never before,” she told the crowd assembled in the Darrin Communications Center.

“This Reunion marked my first return to campus in 20 years, and I marveled at how the campus has both grown and been gentrified,” said Erik Pettersen ’65.

The originality of entries in the Parade of Classes hit a new high, with bribes ranging from ice cream sundaes and a “Shirleytini” cocktail to a Congressional proclamation. The 50 Year Club headed up the march, led again this year by Izzy Warshaw ’23, who at 103 years old danced all the way through the parade and through his 82nd Reunion. Parade themes ranged from the “many hats” of the Class of ’75, and the “student body” presented by the Class of ’85, to the Mexican Siesta Fiesta of the Class of ’90.

Each Reunion class, from the Class of ’55 celebrating its 50th Reunion to the Class of ’00 marking its fifth, gathered for lively reminiscing at their culminating gala dinners.

“At the Saturday evening dinner, classmates shared memories of our times at RPI,” said Rick Hartt ’70. “How many of us remember attending an 8 a.m. class on the coldest day of the year when it was -28F? Or wearing freshman beanies until the football team won its first game? What kind of slide rule did you have? Who took Data Processing and unfortunately dropped their punch card stacks?

“At the dinner there were also two students who keynoted for us and described a very different Rensselaer that did have some familiar rings to it,” said Hartt. “The students were great and I hope that we continue this as a tradition at our Reunion dinner.”

Traditions, old and new, are the hallmark of Reunions and this occasion was no exception.

“What a Reunion! We had great attendance for our class activities and induction into the 50 Year Club,” said John Schmidt ’55. “It was a real pleasure to see all the positive changes on campus.”

Mark your calendars for Reunion 2006!

Classes ending in 1 or 6, mark your calendars for your milestone Reunion June 8-11, 2006! To help with the planning, contact the Alumni Office at or (518) 276-6205. Or visit the Web site at

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

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