This year’s Reunion & Homecoming weekend delivered on the promise of a truly out-of-this-world experience, with an incredible array of educational, special interest, athletic, Greek, class, and social events—including a live video chat with NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman ’97 from aboard the International Space Station!

The conversation with Wiseman was a weekend highlight for all who attended. After a few words from President Jackson about Rensselaer’s historical involvement with the space program, faculty member Cynthia Collins spoke about an experiment with bacteria that she and her team sent into orbit aboard the space shuttle Atlantis.

After a few anxious moments as the satellite connection was established, Wiseman was patched in live. His pride in his Rensselaer degree was evident throughout his talk, as he excitedly answered questions about life in space, the experiments and missions he performs, and how Rensselaer prepared him for his career in space.

“RPI gave me an amazing education,” Wiseman said. “It also gave me a foundation in life skills; the ability to manage myself and my time. What you all are doing there at the college is fantastic.”

Auto ShowOther major events included President Jackson’s State of the Institute address, the FanFest carnival midway with free food, student performances, and more; The Auto Show, sponsored by Rensselaer Motorsport, which featured collector cars and a demo of this year’s SAE built car; and on Saturday night, VoicePlay brought down the house at EMPAC, with an amazing a cappella performance that featured all four of Rensselaer’s student a cappella groups.

A wide variety of groups participated in the celebration. Class years ending in 4 or 9 celebrated their five-year milestone Reunions. Of special note was the Class of 1964, who was welcomed into the 50 Year Club.

Twenty-seven Greek organizations hosted events. Alpha Epsilon Pi celebrated its 100th anniversary, and Phi Gamma Delta celebrated its 30th anniversary with the grand opening of a new house in downtown Troy.

Athletic teams also hosted events including breakfasts, tailgates, and athletic competitions with current students. The Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Sunday.
The football game vs. St. Lawrence included a special halftime show featuring the induction of the Class of 1964 into the 50 Year Club.
Special interest gatherings included a variety of student groups such as Phalanx, Air Force and Navy ROTC, crew, rugby, and the Society of Women Engineers. The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering celebrated its 100-year anniversary with a series of events, and the Departments of Biological Sciences and Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering hosted open houses for their alumni.

“Reunion & Homecoming has become a truly campuswide tradition,” said Jeff Schanz, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “Each year we reach more and more alumni through their schools and departments, and campus group affiliations. We are grateful for the support of all our campus partners who help to make the weekend such a success and a memorable and enjoyable experience for our alumni.”

Next year’s Reunion & Homecoming will be held Oct. 1-4. If your department or group is interested in being involved, contact program director Denise Done.
—Ellen Johnston