In addition to the traditional set of important events during Alumni Weekend, this past weekend saw another major milestone: the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Rensselaer Collegiate Store. The newly renovated store, which is now managed by Follett Higher Education Group, replaced the RPI Bookstore at the start of the 2015 fall semester with a major renovation and a facelift to the connecting hallway.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was well attended including many members of RPI’s administration, such as President Shirley Ann Jackson, Vice President for Administration Claude Rounds, and Vice President for Student Life Dr. Frank Ross III. All three were present, along with Grand Marshal Marcus Flowers ’16, President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16, and Follett Corporation Chief Financial Officer John Fitzgerald.
Rounds spoke first at the ceremony, and praised the new store’s appearance as a product of “months of hard work and planning.” Dvorak also commended the Collegiate Store as “a testament to the cooperative efforts of both student leaders and administration.” He proceeded to thank those who were involved in the process. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Institute, especially Dr. Jackson and Claude Rounds for their dedication, commitment, and support throughout every step of this process, and to Follett for their willingness and passion to partner with us.”
Jackson then spoke after a short introduction from Rounds. She thanked Rounds and Fitzgerald for their work towards the establishment of the new store, along with many members of the administration who contributed to the project. “For three years, student leaders, including past Presidents of the Union and members of the Executive Board, as well as Grand Marshals […] have been involved with the process that has brought us to this day.” She proceeded to commend Dvorak and Flowers for their commitment to the project. “We believe our students should have access to a Collegiate Store as sophisticated as their classrooms,” said Jackson of the new store. “Gone are the days when the sole tool for learning […] was a massive, printed textbook.”
Finally, Fitzgerald was greeted with applause when he asked, “What do you think of the store?” He then proceeded to explain that Follett “make[s] it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn, and fans to celebrate.”
Following the speeches, the ribbon was cut, and those present at the event were free to shop as the first official customers of the Rensselaer Collegiate Store.