Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute awarded 1,838 degrees to 1,672 students Saturday morning in the institute’s 209th commencement ceremony, held at the East Campus Athletic Village Stadium.
The degrees included 1,130 bachelor’s degrees, 544 master’s degrees and 164 doctoral degrees.
The students of the class of 2015 “represent the next generation of leaders, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, patent holders, game designers, architects, and innovators” in fields ranging from engineering and architecture to the fine arts, business and the military, according to a news release from RPI.
The commencement speech was delivered by Admiral Michelle Howard, 39th Vice Chief of Naval Operations, who was the first female promoted to four-star Admiral as well as the first African-American woman to attain a four-star rank in the Department of Defense.
The graduating class was also addressed by RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson, a theoretical physicist described by Time Magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science.”
Jackson has been president since 1999 and is now leading the institute in the concept of “The New Polytechnic,” described as “a university that serves as a crossroads for exceptional people across disciplines, sectors, and geographical regions and encourages serendipity by uniting a multiplicity of perspectives — as well as the most advanced tools and technologies — in order to address great global challenges.”
Class President Adam Koehr, a mechanical engineering major, also addressed his classmates.
During the ceremony, the institute awarded honorary degrees to Howard as well as filmmaker and critic Henry Louis Gates Jr., cybersecurity policy expert Craig Mundie and private equity pioneer David Rubenstein.