Troy, N.Y. – As signs of autumn such as falling leaves and cool weather days can be found across the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus, the university will be buzzing with activity as thousands of Rensselaer families are expected to visit Oct. 21-23 to celebrate Family Weekend.

For more than 60 years, parents, family members, alumni, and friends have made the annual trek to the Troy campus to attend Family Weekend.

“This year the theme for Family Weekend is ‘I love RPI’ —celebrating not only the memories of Rensselaer families and students, but also this amazing campus tradition,” said Shante Brown, assistant dean and parent liaison in the Office of the First-Year Experience. “Family Weekend is designed to not only reinforce our students’ love of Rensselaer, but to also foster the same feeling of community in family members. The annual event is one we value as an important part of the journey that students and their families go through. The weekend is a great time for families to reconnect with their student in the context of their life at Rensselaer, while getting to know their friends, their living and learning environments, and their daily routines.”

The annual event—co-hosted by the First-Year Experience and Student Success offices—typically attracts thousands to campus to experience the season and life at Rensselaer and the surrounding Capital Region community. Overall, the event brings more than 4,000 people to campus.

More than 60 events have been planned, in collaboration with the Rensselaer Union, the Office of the Registrar, Residence Life, Athletics, the Office of the Provost, and Enrollment Management in addition to many others.

During the three-day event, students and their families will have an opportunity to glimpse life at Rensselaer through a variety of cultural offerings and performances, academic classroom programs, tours, dinners, film screenings, the annual Punkin Chunkin’ competition, and athletic events, along with events taking place in the Troy community. This year, the event is supported by more than 80 undergraduate and graduate student, faculty, and staff volunteers.

On Friday, Oct. 21, John Kolb ’79, vice president for information services and technology and chief information officer, will discuss the history and traditions of Rensselaer. The program will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. the Fischbach Room in the Folsom Library.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, President Shirley Ann Jackson will deliver a presentation about recent progress and accomplishments at Rensselaer. The talk will take place in the theater of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), from 9 to 9:30 a.m. The 23rd annual Honors Convocation ceremony, which celebrates the outstanding academic achievements of students and faculty, will immediately follow in the EMPAC concert hall at 10 a.m. Honors Convocation also will recognize 205 Rensselaer Medalists from the Rensselaer Class of 2020, representing the largest incoming class in the Institute’s history. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Rensselaer Medal, which honors the top math and science students from around the country.

On the playing fields, events include the men’s football game vs. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with a special half-time show led by Rensselaer Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Air Force, Marines, and Navy in honor of Military Appreciation Day. In addition, individuals can lend their support to Rensselaer teams by attending men’s hockey vs. Niagara University, women’s field hockey game vs. Vassar, and men’s soccer vs. Bard College.

For individuals interested in getting a glimpse of the diverse cultures on campus, the annual International Festival event will showcase over 25 different countries and cultures representing the Rensselaer Union international student organizations and individual members of campus. The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room.

Families also will have an opportunity to attend the annual Fall Fest Celebration. The free community event features student demonstrations, entertainment, and hands-on activities for individuals of all ages. Area businesses and community organizations also participate. The event will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the East Campus Athletic Village.

While visiting Rensselaer, families will have an opportunity to see how students are immersed in The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The foundation for this vision is the recognition that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration—working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions—to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.

To view the complete schedule of events, visit


Join the social media discussion to get highlights and updates regarding Family Weekend 2016 by using the hashtag  #RPIfamily.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science “to the common purposes of life.” For more information, please visit