Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
RPI Players Seventy-fifth Season Luncheon
McNeil Room of the Rensselaer Union
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Good afternoon. To our alumni and guests I extend a warm welcome to Rensselaer. I am delighted to share in this wonderful celebration commemorating 75 years of exceptional student theater at Rensselaer.
For those of you who remember treading the boards in the Old Gymnasium on Broadway, Rensselaer may seem greatly changed. But, one look around this room should assure you that the RPI Players are the same as you remember them vibrant, close-knit, funny, intense, hard-working, devoted to theater, and to each other and an important part of life at Rensselaer.
One wonders if the 14 students and two English professors who came together to form a dramatics club in November of 1929 had any idea that, 75 years and 250 productions later, we would be celebrating their legacy at Rensselaer.
The organization's longevity and lasting impact are noteworthy. I suspect they are due, in part, to the fact that the Players came to offer great substance. Through the years, the Players became a real company a supportive environment where students discovered true camaraderie, dared to explore opportunities for creative expression, and expanded their abilities through exceptional leadership experiences.
Today the RPI Players are an important campus resource and a model for a growing number of artistic enterprises which are a vital component of the scientific and creative Renaissance now occurring at Rensselaer.
The Institute's commitment to the performing and visual arts, and to exploring the intersection of the arts and technology can be seen in acclaimed performances and exhibitions offered by iEAR Presents!; in the Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication degree program; in offerings of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center currently under construction above Eighth Street; and in a growing number of student organizations.
In a moment you will be treated to a video montage of past Players' performances, to stories from Old Timers, skits by current Players, and a vision for the future of this organization to which you gave you time and your devotion.
Tonight, the five-month-long anniversary celebration culminates with the closing performance of Man of La Mancha. But, next year's season is already taking shape. The show and the Players will go on and continue to enrich the lives of individual students and the entire campus community.
Thank all of you for being here, for continuing to support the RPI Players, and for the part you have played over the years in making this remarkable organization the treasure that it is today.
Source citations are available from the division of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Statistical data contained herein were factually accurate at the time it was delivered. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assumes no duty to change it to reflect new developments.