Letter from President Katepalli Sreenivasan

I was appointed President of NYU-Poly very recently and want to take advantage of this opportunity to pass on a few thoughts.

Imagine a school that produces a third of the engineers in New York City. Imagine that some 45 percent of them come from disadvantaged families and that many of them are the first in their entire family to go to college. Imagine that, year after year, these students graduate
with an earning potential that ranks among the top ten four-year schools in the country.
Imagine that the school combines this educational mission with high-class research in a few well-chosen areas. That school is NYU-Poly.

Now, imagine a merger between this school and a great research university with extraordinary capacity in the social sciences, business, medicine, law, mathematics and sciences and other fields of human endeavor. Imagine now the incredible landscape that the combined institution will provide for students and faculty alike. Imagine how much more the combined institution can influence the City, the country and the world.

On January 1, 2014, if all goes according to plan, the merger between Poly and NYU will be official. We are at the beginning of a new phase in our history, and new opportunities are opening before us. As president, I will work with unsparing commitment to establish new relationships and collaborations with NYU and its global partners.

There will be challenges. While educating the next generation of inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs will always be our central objective, we must focus, as well, on being a great research institution. 

To that end, we have identified three broad research themes that cut across departments and build upon our strengths: urban engineering, bioengineering and information and communications engineering.

Our goal is to build world-class research centers in each of these areas. Our faculty is doing superlative work in those areas and our presence in other sectors—including clean energy and materials—is quite impressive.

I want to leave you, our dear Alumni, with an important message. Poly has undergone many changes already in one lifetime: from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn—or Brooklyn Poly— to Polytechnic Institute of New York, to Polytechnic University, to Polytechnic Institute of New York University. In 2014, it will become the Polytechnic School of Engineering of New York University. But it has always kept its name Polytechnic and its Brooklyn roots. And the name Poly is not the only thing that has remained intact. Its basic mission has not changed much either. The institution is still devoted to the idea of innovation in technology; it is still dedicated to the idea of providing opportunities for disadvantaged students; it is still committed to being special in combining excellence and diversity. About this continuity you should feel completely reassured. 

An institution is not simply made up of buildings and real estate, and name. It is more the people. It is not just the people who are the current occupants of the buildings either, but it is also the people who hold a common set of values. You, Poly’s alumni, are part of this common heritage. I urge you to feel close to Poly in its new journey, which is simply a more energetic journey under a different banner. 

Let’s focus on the new opportunities that the merger with NYU brings. It provides a larger array of possibilities for both the faculty and students. For instance, if a student wants to double major in Mechanical Engineering and Music, it should be more easily possible. If a student wants to work on the technology of imaging the brain by joining forces with the Medical School, it will be equally possible. Our faculty members have already begun collaborations with the NYU faculty on many fronts, and I foresee potential
explosion in this direction. 

There is exciting work going on here—too much to describe in a single letter or even in a single issue of Cable. Come see us when you are in Brooklyn or visit us on the Web at www.poly.edu to learn more. Working together we can ensure that Poly flourishes as a model of diversity and excellence: there is no substance without excellence and no soul without diversity. We need your energy and your support.

Until we meet again, on campus or in the pages of your alumni magazine, my very best wishes for your continued happiness and success. We take pride in your accomplishments and hope that you consider your affiliation with Poly a source of pride as well.