Select a Decade:
The Rensselaer School opens at the Old Bank Place, Troy, NY on Jan. 5th.
Amos Eaton appointed Senior Professor and oversees day to day operation.
First Commencement held April 26th. Ten graduates receive A.B. degrees.
John Chester named president of the Board of Trustees.
Eliphalet Nott appointed president.
Amos Eaton institutes a Rensselaer School Flotilla on the Erie Canal as a special summer session.
Rensselaer School moves to Van der Heyden Mansion and is renamed the Rensselaer Institute.
The Civil Engineering degree is awarded to four students at the spring commencement. The Bachelor of Natural Science degree replaces the A.B. degree
Did You Know: Before 1850, the B.N.S. and C.E degrees could be successfully completed in one calendar year.
Stephen Van Rensselaer III, patron and founder of the Institute, dies January 26.
Rensselaer Institute moves back to Old Bank Place.
Amos Eaton, Senior Professor and visionary of the Rensselaer Institute dies on May 10th.
Did You Know: Dr. Brinsmade purchased the equipment used by the Institute at a sale of Amos Eaton’s estate and returned it to the school to keep it in operation.
The Rensselaer Institute acquires the Infant School Property.
Nathan S. S. Beman appointed president.
Benjamin Franklin Greene begins a reorganization of the school into a three-year polytechnic institute with six technical schools.
A school uniform is adopted. The uniform is dark green, bronze buttons with R.P.I. on them, pants with black stripes and cap with a silver level on the front.
There was no Class of 1852 at Rensselaer due to reorganization of the curriculum in 1850.
First student publication The Commentator appears on campus.
School uniform is changed to blue military-style suit with buttons bearing the level symbol.
Benjamin Franklin Greene abruptly resigns and starts the Glenmore School.
Rensselaer Institute is officially renamed Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Additional requirements for the civil engineering degree extends the course to four years.
The Great Troy Fire destroys the Infant School Property.
The Main Building is completed on 8th Street.
Theta Xi is founded at R.P.I. on April 29th.
John F. Winslow becomes president.
The Transit, a student yearbook, is published by the junior class.
First Grand Marshal is selected by the student body.
Winslow Chemical Laboratory is completed.
Thomas Brinsmade was appointed president in 1868, but sadly he died after serving less than two month in office.
James Forsyth is appointed president.
The Rensselaer Association of Graduates is established.
The Polytechnic, a student newspaper, is published during the fall semester.
Garnett Baltimore is the first African-American student to earn a degree from Rensselaer.
The Polytechnic begins continuous publication as the student newspaper.
RPI joins the State Athletic Association and begins official participation in intercollegiate athletics.
First intercollegiate football game played against Ridgefield, A.C.
Rensselaer's first Gymnasium is built.
John H. Peck is appointed president.
Palmer C. Ricketts is hired as Director of the Institute.
Rensselaer exhibits at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
An Alumni Building is completed on Second Street.
Did You Know: George W. G. Ferris (RPI Class of 1881) designed and built the first Ferris Wheel for the exposition.
Institute basketball team forms just a few years after the game is invented. The first game is played against the R.R.Y.M.C.A. of Troy.
The office of Director is combined with the duties of President. Palmer C. Ricketts is appointed as the first person to serve as full-time president of R.P.I.
Varsity Baseball is reestablished after a thirteen-year hiatus.
First Varsity Hockey game is played against Williams College at the Ship Street rink in Cohoes.
Did You Know: Palmer Chamberlain Ricketts received a proposal to move the Institute to Columbia University in 1904.
Rensselaer purchases the Warren Estate and makes plans to build a campus up the hill from 8th Street.
Carnegie Building completed.
Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage gives $1,000,000 in memory of her husband, Russell Sage.
The City of Troy completes The Approach on the site of the old Main Building.
Walker Chemical Laboratory opens.
First Sophomore Soiree is held.
Russell Sage Laboratory is completed.
A Student Association is formed.
Degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering are awarded for the first time.
Phalanx, a senior honor society, is formed.
First Master’s degree awarded in Mechanical Engineering.
First Pushball Rush is held.
First Doctoral degree awarded.
No commencement ceremony was held in 1919. The Class of 1919 graduated in December 1918.
A Tug-of-War contest between freshmen and sophomores is held for the first time.
WHAZ broadcasts for the first time and is described as the largest college radio station.
Rensselaer Alumni Association reorganizes and incorporates.
The Troy Building is completed.
Did You Know: The Troy Building was slated for demolition in 1974 to make way for a new engineering building.
Amos Eaton Hall is opened. 1928 Commencement held in the new auditorium.
Architecture department is established.
The R.P.I. Players, a student theatrical group, is formed.
The Greene Building is completed.
Rensselaer Union Clubhouse is opened to students.
The Ricketts Building is dedicated in memory of Palmer C. Ricketts.
William O. Hotchkiss is appointed president.
The first Spring Break, called "Trip Week," was scheduled after the seventh week of the spring semester. Optional study trips were organized by faculty.
Lacrosse makes its debut.
Navy ROTC unit established at RPI.
Livingston W. Houston is appointed president.
V-5 and V-12 Naval training programs are established on campus.
Curtiss-Wright Cadette training program held at R.P.I.
Lois Graham and Mary Ellen Rathbun are the first women to earn a Rensselaer degree.
GI Bill triples student enrollment.
Post-war housing accommodates married students and expands the Rensselaer campus.
The Lacrosse team plays an exhibition game at the London Olympics.
Houston Field House is completed.
The Dutchman’s Shoes trophy awarded for the first time after an R.P.I. – Union football game.
Commencement is held in Houston Field House for the first time to accommodate record numbers of graduates.
Did You Know: Union won the first competition for the Dutchman’s Shoes, 20-0. Union kept the trophy for several long intervals including an eleven year stint from 1960 to 1970.
Did You Know: Over 80% of the 1950 graduates were veterans and 40% were married. The average age was 32.
Last accelerated class graduates in January.
Two-semester, four year program reinstated in September.
Lacrosse team wins national championship.
West Hall is purchased from the Albany Diocese.
Freshmen Dormitories are completed.
Hockey team wins national championship.
Did You Know: The hockey team was referred to as “the Bachelors.” The Bachelor was the RPI mascot from 1953 to 1958.
Academic departments are organized into Schools of Engineering, Science, Architecture and Humanities and Social Sciences. Deans head each school and report to a new Provost.
Richard G. Folsom assumes the presidency.
WRPI FM goes on the air.
Did You Know: From 1912 to 1957 members of the Order lived adjacent to the RPI campus.
Freshmen Week events are abolished.
A Faculty Council is formed.
Materials Research Center is completed.
Peoples Avenue Complex is purchased.
Rensselaer Union is opened to students.
There was no commencement speaker in 1968. Nelson Rockefeller cancelled due to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Students presented the "Requisites for a Technological University" to President Folsom.
RPI students joined the National Student Strike by staging a 40 hour sit-in at the Student Affairs Center.
Richard J. Grosh is appointed president.
Women’s basketball completes its first full season, women’s softball team plays its first game; women’s ice hockey “class” meets on Friday nights; and women's field hockey completes its first season.
President Nixon signs Title IX legislation June 23, 1972.
Communications Center is completed.
The first “Hockey Line” forms around the Union.
Did You Know: The record for longest time spent in the hockey line was 171 days in 1985.
George M. Low ’48 is appointed the 14th president of R.P.I.
Folsom Library opens.
Did You Know: During GM Week 1976, 1,800 students broke the Guinness world record for the longest unsupported circle.
Jonsson Engineering Center is dedicated.
RPI community mourns the loss of George M. Low, who dies on July 17th.
Daniel Berg appointed as acting president.
Hockey team wins the NCAA Div. I Championship.
Daniel Berg is inaugurated as president of RPI.
Center for Industrial Engineering is completed.
Roland Schmitt is appointed president.
President Jackson unveils The Rensselaer Plan.
Barton Hall residence is opened for the Fall semester.
Anonymous donor pledges an unrestricted $360 million gift to Rensselaer.
A late snowfall of 2.2 inches forced the first planned outdoor commencement to relocate inside the Houston Field House.
The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies is opened.