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Nominations Being Sought for Honorary Degrees and Speaker for the 2012 Commencement Ceremony

To: Rensselaer Community
From: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President and Professor of Physics
Date: August 22, 2011
Subject: Nominations for Honorary Degrees and Speaker for the 2012 Commencement Ceremony

This is our annual request for commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient nominations for the Class of 2012 Commencement, and future commencement exercises.

The conferral of honorary degrees is a long-standing academic tradition that not only recognizes individuals of singular achievement but also brings honor and recognition to the Institute. I urge you to give some thought to the nomination of individuals who deserve to be honored for their accomplishments and who would honor Rensselaer by their participation in commencement.

The five categories of honorary degrees at Rensselaer are: Engineering, Science, Arts, Humane Letters, and Laws. A candidate for an honorary degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute should have made an outstanding contribution to society, and should have made a significant contribution to his or her professional field. Special attention will be given to candidates who have achieved outstanding success in fields that are related to the educational objectives of the Institute. Appropriate candidates should also embody the basic ideals of personal integrity and good citizenship that the Institute seeks to foster. Candidates for commencement speaker need to have strong oratorical skills.

Additional criteria for degree recipients are listed below and a nomination form is available on Rensselaer's website as a link off of the President's page. The Faculty Honors Committee and the President's Committee on Honors will evaluate all nominations in developing a list of nominees to be submitted to the Board of Trustees.

Please send nominations to Theresa Hobbs, Office of the President, Room 3030, Troy Building. Nominations received by September 6, 2011 will be considered for the 2012 Commencement ceremony.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this important tradition. Your participation in this process will ensure that we have a creative list of qualified candidates to consider.

Additional Criteria

Each degree recipient should be at least one of the following:

  • A major contributor to science, engineering, architecture, the arts, management, or public policy, exemplifying Rensselaer's tradition of excellence.
  • An interpreter of science, engineering or architecture as writer, artist, critic, humanist, or educator, including secondary school level.
  • A leader in industry, an innovator in the application of science and technology to the productive needs of society.
  • An original thinker or influential spokesperson in relating scientific and technological activity to public policy and needs.
  • An outstanding Rensselaer alumnus or friend who has shown special interest in and support of Rensselaer.

Members of the academic/nonacademic staff and active Trustees of Rensselaer are not eligible candidates. A candidate must be present in person to receive the degree.