The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, located at Troy, N. Y. It was founded by Stephen Van Rensselaer in 1824 as a school of practical science, being the first school of science and the first school of engineering to be established in any English-speaking country. It was first opened to students in January 1825 and incorporated in March 1826. It was at first named the Rensselaer School, afterward the Rensselaer Institute and finally the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Lectures on land surveying and engineering were given as early as 1823; and after 1850 the Institute became more distinctly a school of civil engineering; the course at that time was lengthened from one year to three years. It now offers two courses of four years each, one in natural science and one in civil engineering. These courses include instruction in chemical analysis, mineralogy, metallurgy and assaying, as well as in the design and construction of roads, railroads, bridges, roofs, arches, dams, steam engines, electric engines, dynamos, turbines, foundations, waterworks, tunnels, sewers and canals. The degrees of B.S. and C.E. are conferred. The students in 1917 numbered 687 and the faculty 63. Its influence has been widespread. Students have come to it from 42 of the States of the Union and 25 foreign countries, and its graduates are at present practising their profession in 45 of the States and 19 foreign countries. Its standing as a professional school is shown by the following extract from the report to the German government by Prof. A. Riedler of the Royal Polytechnicum of Berlin: “The greatest number of renowned hydraulic and railroad engineers of America are graduates of this school.”