Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Receives $1 Million Gift To Support EMPAC

News Type

For Immediate Release TROY, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced that Amy and David Jaffe, Class of 1964, have made a gift of $1 million to create the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. The Jaffe Fund will support commissions, performances, and productions of contemporary work over the next five years. Their gift, in support of Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also will help launch the Artists-in-Residence program when the new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) opens in 2008. “This is a great day for experimental media and the performing arts at Rensselaer,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “With EMPAC we are creating an extraordinary, technology-rich environment to give our students and faculty broad exposure to facilities and programs that will enhance the Rensselaer education and research opportunities. Thanks to Amy and David Jaffe’s generosity, we will attract dynamic artists from all corners of the globe to give life to EMPAC and provide opportunities for our students to immerse themselves in projects at Rensselaer conceived and developed by emerging and world-renowned contemporary artists.” Johannes Goebel, Director of EMPAC, said, “It is such a joy to receive this generous gift from Amy and David Jaffe, which will allow us to commission new works to be developed, produced, and performed at EMPAC up to the opening of the new building and thereafter. A gift of this nature, focused on the commission and performance of new works, is rare in the arena of the performing arts. It shows that EMPAC’s mission is indeed rooted in Rensselaer and that EMPAC resonates with our alumni.” The Jaffe Fund will be used to launch EMPAC programs and activities for research and creation at the intersection of the arts and technology, science and engineering, according to Goebel. As a platform and a program, EMPAC will serve as a magnet to artists in a wide variety of time-based disciplines – performance, theater, dance, music, and film/video, Goebel notes. Both established and emerging artists will be invited to perform, create new works at EMPAC, and/or reside at EMPAC as an Artist-in-Residence. “Amy and I are very enthusiastic about the direction that Rensselaer is taking, and we think that EMPAC will offer exciting and challenging experiences for both students and faculty as well as become a major new arts venue for the larger community," said Jaffe. "We are very much looking forward to what the future will bring.” David Jaffe received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer in 1964. In addition to this commitment, the Jaffes support the Folsom Library and the Patroon Scholars program of the Rensselaer Annual Fund. They are members of the Stephen Van Rensselaer Society of the Patroons of Rensselaer.

About the Campaign

The $1 billion Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, launched in 2004, fuels the Institute’s strategic Rensselaer Plan, and supports groundbreaking interdisciplinary programs which have at their core the technologies driving innovations in the 21st century: biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and experimental media. The campaign aims to build the Institute’s unrestricted endowment, and also seeks funds for endowed scholarships and fellowships, faculty positions, curriculum support, student life programs, and athletic programs and facilities. To date, the effort has raised $671 million, more than three times the amount raised in Rensselaer’s previous campaign that ended in 1993.


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

August 6, 2006