As part of Family Weekend, the Rensselaer community gathered in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Oct. 19 to celebrate and honor the academic achievements of more than 330 faculty and students at the 2013 Honors Convocation.

“We believe that excellence is excellence, and it deserves to be celebrated at every stage of a career,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “This event affirms the fact that we are a community of scholars. All of us are engaging in the pursuit of knowledge; and the challenge implicit in our motto ‘Why not change the world?’ applies to every member of the Rensselaer family.”

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 (EMPAC) Concert Hall.

Faculty members who have received endowed chairs were recognized. They are: Francine Berman, cyberinfrastructure pioneer and professor of computer science, who was named the Edward P. Hamilton Chair–Distinguished Educator; Richard Gross, an expert on biocatalytic and chemical synthetic methods, who has been named the Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering Constellation Chair; Heng Ji, associate professor of computer science, who was named the Edward P. Hamilton Career Development Chair; and Ganpati Ramanath, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who has been named the John Tod Horton ’52 Professor of Materials Engineering.

Additional endowed chairs who were recognized are T. Ravichandran, information systems expert, who was named the Irene and Robert Bozzone ’55 Professor of Management and Technology; Ge Wang, biomedical imaging expert, who has been named the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan Professor of Engineering; and Catherine Royer, an expert in molecular biophysics, who was named the Biocomputation and Bioinformatics Constellation Chair. Stacy Patterson, a computer scientist, was recognized as the Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor in Computer Science.

President Jackson was recognized for several recent honors. The British Royal Academy of Engineering named her to its Standing Committee for International Activities; the United States Department of Energy named her to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board; the United States National Medal of Technology & Innovation added her to the Nomination Evaluation Committee; and the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame recognized her with its Trustees Award.

The 2013 Founders Award, the ceremony’s highest honor, was given to 68 students who were chosen for “creativity, leadership, discovery, and the values of pride and responsibility.” In addition, 185 members of the Class of 2017 who are Rensselaer Medalists also were honored. The Rensselaer Medal is awarded to the top math and science juniors at nearly 4,000 high schools around the world.

“Honors Convocation does not benefit merely those people being recognized, but the totality of Rensselaer,” President Jackson said. “Awards are about inspiration. To excel comes from the Latin for ‘to surpass’—to go beyond the accomplishments of others, to transcend the status quo. In recognizing you, our honorands, we motivate others to achieve great things as well. By publicly honoring you, on a stage such as this, in the presence of family, friends, and peers—we collectively raise the bar higher. Today, we joyously bestow upon you the title of ‘role model’—a person whose success, we hope, will inspire the rest of us to see things in new ways, and potentially to unlock novel approaches to solving difficult global challenges. Role models can be a transformative force for all of us.”