Reunion & Homecoming offered attendees a wide variety of educational, special interest, athletic, Greek, class, and social events. Highlights of the weekend included an amazing opportunity to hear live and in person from two very special NASA guests, and the induction of seven new members into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.
The NASA program, titled “Rensselaer Polytechnic and NASA: Challenges, Opportunities, and New Frontiers,” featured a discussion with President Shirley Ann Jackson, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden ’08 (hon.), and NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman ’97. Administrator Bolden discussed some of NASA’s goals for the future, such as the plan to send a manned mission to Mars by 2030, and their work in asteroid redirection. He also spoke about Rensselaer research, and how the partnerships between NASA and Rensselaer could work to the benefit of both organizations. Wiseman talked about the medical and psychological challenges of space travel, and shared stories about his experiences during his time on the International Space Station. He followed up the presentation with an autograph session and photo opportunity at ECAV.
President Jackson’s State of the Institute Address to alumni focused on “The New Polytechnic: A Dynamic Paradigm for the Modern Technological Education.” Following the address, the 2015 class of inductees was welcomed into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.
Other major events included the FanFest carnival midway, which featured free food, student performances, a rock climbing wall, a space simulator, 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, a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Student Union with the “Extravaganza,” featuring student group performances across campus.
A wide variety of groups participated in the celebration. Class years ending in 5 or 0 celebrated their 5-year milestone Reunions. Of special note was the Class of 1965, which was welcomed into the 50 Year Club.
Twenty-four Greek organizations hosted events, including Lambda Chi Alpha, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of their chapter house.
Athletic teams also hosted events including breakfasts, tailgates, and athletic competitions with current students. The Athletics Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was held on Sunday. The football game vs. the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy included a special halftime show featuring the induction of the Class of 1965 into the 50 Year Club.
Special interest groups included student groups such as Phalanx, ROTC, Crew, and the Society of Women Engineers. Several departments and schools also hosted open houses for their alumni.
“Reunion & Homecoming is truly a campuswide tradition,” said Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations Jeff Schanz. “Alumni are connecting with each other and the Institute 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.”
Next year’s Reunion & Homecoming will be held Oct. 6-9. If your department or group is interested in being involved, contact program director Denise Done.