Rensselaer Announces $1 Billion Capital Campaign — the Largest in the University's History

$40 million Gift Provided by Rensselaer Trustee Curtis Priem '82, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center to be named in Priem's honor
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For Immediate Release TROY, N.Y. — President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have announced the largest capital campaign in the university's history. The goal is to raise $1 billion to support the Rensselaer endowment, faculty, students, and campus infrastructure by the campaign's end in 2008. To date, the effort has raised more than $610 million — three times more than Rensselaer's previous campaign that ended in 1993. The announcement was made at a gala on the evening of Sept. 10, marking the public phase of the capital campaign as well as the celebration of the university's accomplishments under President Jackson's leadership, including the opening of the new Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. "Rensselaer is ready to take its place among the handful of research universities that will shape the course of this century," Dr. Jackson said during the gala at the Alumni Sports and Recreation Center. "Our course is set. Our moment is now. Our campaign has begun." In an announcement that came as a surprise to the alumni, faculty, and guests in the audience, Rensselaer alumnus and Trustee Curtis Priem '82 stepped forward to announce his unrestricted gift of $40 million to Rensselaer. In recognition of this gift, Rensselaer will name its new arts facility, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, in his honor. "The power to change Rensselaer — and through the university's work, to change the world — is in your hands, in my hands, in our hands," Priem said. "And the time is now to make the investment." Priem enrolled in the first electronic music class at Rensselaer, taught by new music pioneer Neil Rolnick, where he developed music-generation software for the Rensselaer mainframe with a team of other students. He also played cello for four years in the Rensselaer Orchestra, and for the RPI Players orchestra. Dennis Powers '63, president of the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA), announced 100 percent participation from RAA board members in support of the campaign. The RAA is making its largest-ever gift commitment to support the expansion of East Campus athletic facilities. "This is a project that truly will benefit all Rensselaer students, and the RAA is pleased to be a partner in the effort," said Powers. The capital campaign, titled "Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute," will be led by Dr. Jackson as well as Rensselaer Trustees Paul Severino '69, Gary DiCamillo '73, and Thomas Baruch '60. The campaign will be guided by the comprehensive strategy mapped out in The Rensselaer Plan. During the next several months, the campaign will be introduced to alumni and friends of Rensselaer at a series of events to be held around the country. The first three events are scheduled for New York City on Oct. 6, Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 14, and Boston, Mass., on Nov. 4.


Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is one of America's leading research universities, with a student body of 5,100 undergraduates, 1,800 graduate students in residential programs, and 2,800 students in distance programs and at Rensselaer at Hartford. Rensselaer is known for providing an undergraduate education of undisputed intellectual rigor based on exceptional pedagogical innovation and has earned distinction in interactive learning and the application of information technology to education. Faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research in fields ranging from microelectronics to computational modeling and simulation, mathematical finance, advanced materials, environmental studies, lighting, and electronic arts. Fostering technological entrepreneurship, Rensselaer operates three business incubators, with a technology park that is home to some fifty companies. For more information on Rensselaer, the public may visit the university's web site at For more information on EMPAC, the public may visit Contact: Theresa Bourgeois Phone: 518.276.6531 Email:

September 11, 2004