VP addresses RPI community in first column


My first eight months at Rensselaer as the new Vice President of Student Life have been great, and I have had the fortune of meeting so many wonderful people. It is my honor to lead the team in the Division of Student Life, and I appreciate my colleagues for their hard work and commitment to our students. I am so glad to be part of the RPI family and I thank everyone for the continued warm welcome to my family and me.

It truly is a pleasure to have the opportunity to pen a regular column in The Poly. Here I will communicate with the Rensselaer community regarding Student Life and other campus updates. If you have questions you would like me to address, or ideas you would like me to explore in a future column, please reach out to me at

Last month I wrote to the university community to announce the retirement of Mark Smith, dean of students. Mark had a ubiquitous presence among our students and served in the Rensselaer Division of Student Life for 30 years. Mark cared very deeply for our students, and placed them at the very center of everything he did. His many contributions will have a lasting impact on our community, and we appreciate his years of dedication and service!

Dean Smith dedicated his efforts in promoting and supporting academic excellence, personal development, and continuous improvement programs for our students while creating a compassionate campus environment. Consequently, many of our alumni and alumnae have positive memories of their student experience and the Rensselaer community.

I have appointed Cary Dresher to the role of acting dean of students. He has been a member of the Division of Student Life since 2010, most recently serving as the Associate Dean of the Off Campus Commons. Cary is completing coursework at Northeastern University for a doctoral degree in higher education. I greatly appreciate Dean Dresher for his willingness to continue serving the students of Rensselaer in this new capacity.

As we prepare for the 2016-2017 academic year, we are excited to announce an addition to the Residential Commons: City Station West! This new student housing option is part of the City Station complex on 6th Avenue and consists of three and four person apartment suites. You can learn more about City Station West at

I am very pleased to announce that Nicholas Dvorak ’16, 126th president of the union, has been selected to receive the 2016 Independent Sector Student Community Service Award. This award honors outstanding students for their leadership in community service throughout New York State. Awards will be given this month at the annual meeting of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities. Please join me in congratulating Nick and thanking him for his service to our university and the community.

Go, Engineers!

Frank E. Ross III, Ph.D.

Vice President for Student Life