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  • RPI's Main Building

    RPI's Main Building

    Rising from the ashes of the 1862 fire, Rensselaer unveiled the Main Building on Eighth Street, its first purpose-built facility. This landmark housed everything from a library to cutting-edge laboratories. Though fire claimed it four decades later, Troy’s Approach was built on its footprint, symbolizing an unbreakable bond between Rensselaer and its city. A testament to resilience and innovation in our 200-year journey.

  • Albert M. Harper

    Albert M. Harper

    In a first for its 200-year history, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) reached a landmark moment with the election of its inaugural Grand Marshal, Albert M. Harper, Class of 1867. This wasn’t merely a title; it was the birth of a student-led tradition that would come to symbolize RPI’s commitment to student governance and representation.

    Handpicked by his peers, Harper assumed a role that would set the standard for student leadership at RPI for generations to come. His election laid the cornerstone for RPI’s democratic values within its academic community, promoting student voices in the Institute’s evolving landscape.

    Today, as we commemorate our bicentennial, we celebrate this seminal ‘first’ as a key pillar in RPI’s legacy of fostering academic and social growth. Albert M. Harper’s trailblazing role as Grand Marshal enshrines RPI’s dedication to empowering its students in every aspect of Institute life.

  • The Rensselaer Polytechnic

    The Rensselaer Polytechnic

    On September 25, 1869, a milestone unfolded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with the inaugural issue of The Rensselaer Polytechnic. Though the first stint of publication was brief, ceasing post-Fall semester, the paper resiliently re-emerged in 1885, continuing to engage the campus community till today. From chronicling student endeavors and campus dynamism to diving into the depths of technical and scientific dialogues, the paper became a mirror reflecting the intellectual vitality of RPI.

    Past issues, a digital trove of RPI’s evolving discourse, are preserved online for posterity on the Institute Archives’ Digital Assets site, signifying a 200-year tradition of innovation extending into the realm of journalism.

  • Edwin Bryant Crocker and Theodore Dehone Judah
    May 29th, 1869

    Edwin Bryant Crocker and Theodore Dehone Judah

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: 200 Years of Pioneering Progress—Linking a Nation Through Rail

    On May 29, 1869, a monumental chapter was added to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s 200-year history. Edwin Bryant Crocker, Class of 1833, and Theodore Dehone Judah, a student in 1837, completed the iconic transcontinental railroad, forever changing the landscape of America.

    This feat was more than an engineering marvel; it represented RPI’s commitment to solving grand challenges. The railroad linked the East and West coasts, knitting the fabric of a nation and propelling the United States into a new era of growth and connectivity.

    As we celebrate our bicentennial, this unparalleled ‘first’ serves as a cornerstone in RPI’s rich legacy. Crocker and Judah’s achievement embodies our enduring mission: to prepare leaders who not only excel in their fields but also shape the future. Their work exemplifies the impact that RPI graduates have had, and continue to have, on our world.


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