On May 16, nearly 1,900 students received degrees from Rensselaer at the 203rd Commencement ceremony, held on the Harkness Field. They represent the next generation of leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, patent holders, and innovators, in fields ranging from engineering to architecture, from fine arts to science, and from business to the military. The Institute awarded 1,147 bachelor’s degrees, 621 master’s degrees, and 166 doctoral degrees.
Ivar Giaever ’64 carried the Rensselaer mace at the head of the procession. Giaever, Institute Professor Emeritus, won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1973.
During the celebration, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson charged members of the Class of 2009 to be bold and innovative as they venture forth into the next chapter of their lives.
“The world is facing enormous, even critical challenges, and they lend certain urgency to the idea of progress. However, all of you find yourselves in the fortunate position of having been educated to contribute to that progressindeed, to direct and to shape it,” President Jackson said. “Fortunately, we are also in the midst of a great new age of discovery, as thinkers across a broad milieu work to solve the large problems that confront usthinkers like you,” she said.
“I believe we have given you roots, and we have prepared you well to grow, to flourish, and to succeed in your chosen professions, in your continued education, and in your personal lives,” she said. “Be proud of what you have achieved. And remember, this is just the beginning of a lifelong journey.”