Institute History

The Pittsburgh Building

The Rensselaer School was established in 1824 by Stephen Van Rensselaer “for the purpose of instructing persons … in the application of science to the common purposes of life” (Van Rensselaer to Blatchford, 1824). It is “…the first school of science and school of civil engineering, which has had a continuous existence, to be established in any English-speaking country” – Palmer C. Ricketts

In 1833 the school became the Rensselaer Institute, and in the 1850s its purpose was broadened to become a polytechnic institution. The name was changed to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1861.

Online Institute Histories | Items digitized from the original publications held in Rensselaer’s Institute Archives and Special Collections department.