This was an interesting weekend. I’ve never been that involved in the events of Homecoming & Reunion weekend, so being thrown in the deep end to appear at events and meet so many alumni was both a great experience and very tiring. I have a lot more respect for Red & White after seeing everything they do all weekend, setting up and staffing events from early in the morning until late at night. All the work they put in helps us stay connected those who came before us and our history, which is a large part of what makes RPI special.
I learned a lot about these traditions this weekend. I learned that, apparently, my title is actually the Grand Marshmallow, and that while many things have changed over time, others have stayed the same. It was interesting at dinner when I was talking to members of the Class of 1951 who grew up to work on the Apollo project, and had physics teachers who refused to teach this new “quantum physics theory.” But they lived in—and went to classes in—the same buildings as we did, complained about homework or hard professors, and knew that the quality of mercy is not strained. Despite all the differences across time, life at the ‘Tute is still the same in many ways.
I think the biggest surprise that I personally had was when the people we were seated with for the All-Alumni Dinner found out they were with the Grand Marshal and President of the Union; they were honored. How being seated next to my 21-year-old self is an honor when you have the experiences these men told us of—attending college with WWII veterans, working directly to place people on the moon, getting Ph.Ds in physics, and many more accomplishments—is beyond me. But I guess that just ties into the importance of the roles we hold, which I’m still getting to understand and try to live up to.
RPI has a diverse and interesting student body with different issues, concerns, and ideas. So if you have something you think I can help with, don’t be afraid to reach out to me or shoot me an email. I’m still, and probably always will be, growing into the role over this year, even with all the help and advice I’ve gotten while adjusting.
One of the people who’s worked the most to do this for me personally, and others over the past 30 years, is going to be leaving us at the end of this week. Linda Teitelman McCloskey has worked in the Union as the founding director of the Archer Center and previously the Director of Student Activities.
For years, she has helped members of the Union develop as leaders and people. While I’m still considering spending her retirement reception loudly whining at her for leaving, she’s done a lot to help me and previous Grand Marshals, so thank you Linda. A lot.