During Family Weekend, the Rensselaer community and visiting families gathered to celebrate and honor the academic achievements of 339 faculty and students at the Honors Convocation.
“It is a pleasure to honor their extraordinary efforts, and, by so doing, to encourage them to continue to strive,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson in her remarks. “When we consider all of the honorees today, some quite young, and some well into their careers, we see how excellence is incubated, the qualities and competencies we must develop to achieve it, and how the world can be changed by the continued pursuit of excellence.”
Parents, family, and friends looked on as Rensselaer Medalists, students with a 4.0 GPA, undergraduate awardees, graduate fellowship awardees, and faculty members were honored during the ceremony held in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.
Faculty members who have received endowed chairs were recognized. They are: N. Chanaka Edirisinghe, a recognized leader in the areas of finance and quantitative academic director of the master’s in quantitative finance and risk analytics, who was named the Kay and Jackson Tai ’72 Senior Professor; William Henshaw, an internationally recognized expert in mathematics was has been named the Margaret A. Darrin Distinguished Professor; Rick Relyea, a leading expert in aquatic ecology, who was named the David M. Darrin ’40 Senior Chair at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute; Humberto Terrones, an expert in nanostructures, who was recognized as the Rayleigh Chair for Theoretical Physics; Peter Tessier, an expert in protein engineering and associate professor in the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Chemical Biological Engineering, who was named Richard Baruch M.D. Career Development Professor; and Xie George Xu, a leader in the field of radiation dosimetry, who was named Edward E. Hood Jr. Endowed Faculty Chair.
When we consider all of the honorees today, some quite young, and some well into their careers, we see how excellence is incubated, the qualities and competencies we must develop to achieve it, and how the world can be changed by the continued pursuit of excellence.”—President Shirley Ann Jackson
President Jackson was recognized for several recent honors. United States President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board; the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution elected her as its vice chair; the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame recognized her as one of four honorees; and she was inducted into the Tech Valley Business Hall of Fame.
The 2014 Founders Award, the ceremony’s highest honor, was given to 70 students who were chosen for creativity, leadership, discovery, and the values of pride and responsibility.
In addition, 194 members of the Class of 2018 who are Rensselaer Medalists also were honored.
“At Rensselaer, we are re-envisioning ourselves as ‘The New Polytechnic’—an Institute that leads by bringing together many disciplines and perspectives, using advanced technologies to unite them, in order to take on the great global challenges,” President Jackson said. “It is the creative, open, and inquisitive natures of our faculty and students that bring The New Polytechnic to life. People who continue to pursue excellence throughout a lifetime accept that none of us can achieve the greatest heights on our own. It is when we combine our own explorations with the illumination offered by others that we truly light up the world.”