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Front Cover: From left, chemical engineering majors Avery Chan 
Jennifer D. Wilke t 94 and Amy L. Gilman '94 in the Unit Operations 
Laboratory of Goddard Hall. Finding ways to help students learn bet- 
ter is the focus of a host of initiatives all across campus. Photo by 
Jim Raycroft. Stories begin on page ©.This page: Students make 
their way through the aftermath of one of the many storms that have 
dumped more than seven feet of snow on campus this winter. Photo 
by Janet Woodcock. Back Cover. Over the years, many songs have 
vied for the title of WPI's alma mater. Photo by Janet Woodcock. 

J Story on page 30. 

WH Journal 






30 8T 


Reinventing the Classroom 

Michael Dorsey 

The WPI Plan has long placed the Institute on the leading edge of educational 
innovation. But innovation is a never ending process. Today, the campus is alive 
with new initiatives aimed at revitalizing the teaching of undergraduates. 

Breaking the Mold 

Diane Benison 

With a $550,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, WPI is testing a 
new approach to teaching that makes undergraduates full partners in the learning 
process, and helps faculty members make more productive use of their time. 

The Power to Change 

Diran Apelian 

Engineering education is at a crossroads, as universities face financial challenges, 
a changing employment outlook and shifting demographics. WPl's provost looks 
at how we reached this turning point and offers a prescription for the future. 

The Privilege of Teaching 

Ray Bert '93 

Jack Boyd has devoted 35 years to teaching new generations of engineers. As 
he approaches retirement, he talks about his career, shares his philosophy of 
teaching, and offers a critical view of the WPI Plan, which he helped create. 

To Alma Mater, Good and True 

Joan Killough-Miller 

For 82 years, a simple song by Willard Hedlund TO has been known as WPI's alma 
mater. But how did it earn that title, and does it still serve alumni and students 
today? A committee of the Alumni Association found some answers. 


9 Advance Word Michael Dorsey 
A Year of Remembering When. 

^ Letters 

African Marketplace a Sign of Changing Times; 
Thanks to the Pre-health Advisory Committee. 

A Communique Francis C. Lutz 
A Time for Reflection. ..and Change. 

Q0 Final Word Bonnie Gelbwasser 

Columbus' Legacy Sends Lyle Wimmergren on His Own Voyage of Discovery. 


Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers. Diane Benison, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller, Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Designer. Michael J. Sherman • 
Photographer, Janet Woodcock. Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • Paul J. Cleary '71 • James S. Demetry '58 • Judith Donahue SIM '82 • William J. Firla Jr. '60 • 
William R. Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the 
Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the L'.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official WPI policies. We welcome letters to the editor Address correspondence to the Editor, WPI Journal, 
WPI, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280. Phone: (508) 831-5609, FAX: (508) 831-5604, Electronic Mail (Internet), Postmaster: If undeliverable, please send form 3579 
to the address above. Do not return publication Entire contents © 1994. Worcester Polytechnic Institute 


A Year of Remembering When 

Every year is filled 
with events that are 
tragic enough, joyous 
enough or surprising 
enough to linger in the mem- 
ory long after the year is 
over. But certain years stand 
apart from the rest. They 
crackle with the electricity of 
human drama and emotion. 
They seem filled with changes that have the 
power to define our times. Decades 
later, just the mention of 
the year brings back 
vivid images of people 
and moments. 

Such a year was 1969. 
Sirhan Sirhan was con- 
victed of the murder of 
Robert Kennedy and James 
Earl Ray got 99 years for 
killing Martin Luther King. 
Richard Nixon became our 
37th president and Golda Meir 
became the fourth prime minis- 
ter of Israel. 

In 1969 people walked on the moon for 
the first time, the supersonic Concord took 
its inaugural flight, and the FDA banned cy- 
clamates. The Saturday Evening Post ceased 
publication, Hurricane Camille ravaged the 
East Coast, the New York Mets won the 
World Series, and Charles Manson and com- 
pany murdered actress Sharon Tate and 
four others in Los Angeles. 

1969 was a memorable year at WPI, as 
well. Less than a month before the start of the 
year, President Storke made a major decision. 
Like many faculty members and administra- 
tors, Storke recognized that WPI did a perfect- 
ly fine job teaching students to be engineers 
and scientists. But perfectly fine no longer 
seemed good enough. 

Storke appointed a committee of faculty 
members to think seriously about WPI's mis- 
sion and to see if there might not be a better 
way to provide a technical education. The 
committee created the framework for what 
would become the WPI Plan, the ground- 




breaking undergraduate curricu- 
lum that the full faculty endorsed in the fall 
of 1970. 

The Plan was the product of much 
debate among faculty members, administra- 
tors and students. A few of those students 
were women. The first two female under- 
graduates enrolled in the fall of 1968, follow- 
ing a vote of the Board of Trustees in the 
spring of that year to change a century-old 
policy of admitting only men. The following 
fall, 24 more women matriculated, making 
1969 the year women truly began making 
their mark at the Institute. 

The WPI Journal will observe the 25th 
anniversary of these two pivotal develop- 

ments of 1969 in upcoming 
issues. In the meantime, we'd 
like to invite alumni to play a 
role in helping shape this cov- 
erage by sharing their memo- 
ries and thoughts with fellow 
Journal readers. 

We'd like to hear from 
women graduates. Tell us 
about your experiences as 
female students at a technical Institute where 
most of the students — and faculty members — 
were male. What were some of the challenges 
you faced? Who, or what, made your WPI 
years easier? How do you feel your WPI edu- 
cation — and your experiences as a woman at 
WPI — prepared you for your career? What 
has your experience been like in your career? 
Have you faced obstacles or realized rewards 
your male colleagues have not? Humorous 
recollections are encouraged, especially those 
that show how far we've come. 

If you graduated under the WPI 
Plan, we'd like to hear 
your thoughts about 
what you gained from 
your project-oriented edu- 
cation. Do you think the 
Plan has helped you in your 
career and personal life? Did 
it give you an edge over col- 
leagues from other colleges 
and universities? What do you 
think about how the Plan has 
«t evolved over the years? 

Please write down your 
thoughts and mail them to the editor, WPI 
Journal, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 
01609-2280. You may also fax them to (508) 
831-5604, send them via the Internet to, or e-mail them via 
CompuServe to 70337,1557. Our coverage of 
the 25th anniversary of women at WPI will 
run in the Spring issue, so we need to hear 
from you right away. The coverage of the 
Plan is set for the winter of 1995, so those 
comments should arrive by July 1. 
We look forward to hearing from you. 

—Michael Dorsey 


'!* i. 

Winter 1994 


African Marketplace a 
Sign of Changing Times 

To the Editor: 

I am an African-American alumnus of 
WPI. It's been many years since I received 
any kind of information or news from 
WPI— not that it was sorely missed. When 1 
was a student, WPI was severely lacking in 
outlets where 1 could express myself as a 
black man or satiate my cultural thirsts. In 
fact, the atmosphere on campus was benev- 
olently repressive. 

Imagine my surprise upon receiving the 
Spring 1993 issue of the WPI Journal and 
reading that WPI had held an African Mar- 
ketplace as a cultural event, and that there 
is a Black History Month Committee. I could 
never have imagined these things happening 
at the Institute. 

You see, I always felt that the Black Stu- 
dent Union was begrudgingly tolerated by 
the rest of the school in the 1970s. There 
was a misanthropic entity named the Tech 
Conservative Society, full of gloom and John 
Birch Society, that actively campaigned — on 
and off campus — against issues like the bus- 
ing controversy in Boston, financial aid to 
minority students, and black social activism 
on campus. 

The school's general atmosphere was 
"New England white" (no offense intended). 
There were few avenues of cultural satis- 
faction for black students, most of whom 
were from urban areas like New York and 

As a matter of fact, during my four and a 
half years at WPI (1971-76), the largest num- 
ber of black students attending the Institute 
at any one time was 24 (out of a total stu- 
dent body of 1,200). That number also in- 
cluded African students; it doesn't take an 
engineer to figure the percentages. 

All this is by way of saying we felt exclud- 
ed from many aspects of campus life and 
student body decisions. There were many 
times when we felt antagonism and a sense 
of being unwelcome — especially during 
intramural basketball games. 

This antagonism and indifference was 
not, however, institutionalized (at least not 
consciously). Certain members of the faculty 
and, particularly, the administration tried 
hard to accommodate the black students, as 
well as everyone else. I have fond memories 
of Dean Bernard Brown (now vice president 
for student affairs) and then financial aid 
director Ed Heselbarth. 

Anyway, wow — an African Marketplace! 
Are you guys making strides, or what? 
Thank you for letting me see photos of La- 
chelle Hatten '95, Naomi Carnegie '93 and 
Yvonne Harrison. Maybe I can recommend 
WPI to a young African-American student 
interested in going to a technical college. 

— Benjamin M. Jacobs '76 
Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Thanks to Pre-health 
Advisory Committee 

To the Editor: 

As one of the pre-health professions 
advisors at WPI, 1 was particularly 
pleased to see an entire issue of the 
WPI Journal dedicated to medicine (Summer 
1993). As this wonderful issue demonstrat- 
ed, the impact of technology on the practice 
of medicine continues to grow, and WPI stu- 
dents and alumni find themselves well pre- 
pared to contribute to a variety of medically 
related fields. 

As was mentioned in the introduction to 
the issue, the number of WPI students 
expressing an interest in medicine contin- 
ues to grow, and we rely on the ongoing 
advice of our Pre-health Professions Advi- 
sory Committee to help ensure that our stu- 
dents remain competitive and well pre- 
pared for admission to health professions 

The committee includes many WPI alum- 
ni who are actively involved in medically 
related careers, and 1 would like to take this 

opportunity to publicly thank all of the mem- 
bers for their work. In addition to WPI facul- 
ty and staff members, the committee is com- 
posed of 

— Dr. Nancy Berube '75, assistant professor 
of medicine, Family Health and Social 
Services, University of Massachusetts 
Medical Center 

— Dr. Gail A. D'Amico Mason '79, veteri- 
narian, Bath-Brunswick Veterinary Asso- 
ciation, Brunswick, Maine 

— Dr. Raymond M. Dunn '78, assistant pro- 
fessor of plastic surgery and clinical dir- 
ector of the Plastic Surgery Research 
Laboratory, University of Massachusetts 
Medical Center 

— Dr. Richard Glew, physician in chief, 
Medical Center of Central Massachusetts 

— Rebecca A. Griffith '91, medical student, 
University of Massachusetts Medical 

— Dr. Karl H. Kraus, assistant professor of 
small animal surgery, Tufts University 
School of Veterinary Medicine 

— Dr. Peter H. Levine, president and CEO, 
Medical Center of Central Massachusetts 

— Dr. Laima T. Pauliukonis '77, staff anes- 
thesiologist, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, 
Attleboro, Mass. 

— Marilyn Z. Pryor, professor of biological 
sciences, Mount Holyoke College 

— Dr. Thomas M. Villani '82, dentist, 
Brighton Marine Public Health Center, 
Brighton, Mass. 

As our program grows, we rely on their 
expertise to keep us on track. 

—Jill Rulfs, Assistant Professor 

Biology and Biotechnology 

and Pre-health Professions Advisor 

WPI Journal 


A Time for Reflection. . .and Change 

By Francis C. Lutz 

Leaders of industry, professional 
societies, and even the Accred- 
itation Board for Engineering 
and Technology are saying the 
time is ripe for change in technical 
higher education. Students in science 
and engineering programs, they say, 
need increased awareness of the glob- 
al society in which technologies are 
designed, manufactured and used. 
They need to gain leadership ability, 
problem-solving skills, and the capaci- 
ty to communicate orally and in writ- 
ing. And, everyone agrees, they 
should acquire eagerness for — or at 
least comfort with — assuming per- 
sonal responsibility. Never has there 
been a clearer call for the original ten- 
ets of the WPI Plan. 

In meetings with WPI students 1 
have found consistently strong support for 
the Plan, especially its required projects and 
its provision for seven-week terms. When 
students speak about the need for improve- 
ment at the Institute, they are most often 
talking about the social — not academic — 
aspects of the student experience. 

Still, over the past several years, con- 
cerns have been raised about our under- 
graduate curriculum, about the challenges 
of operating within seven-week terms, and 
about the meaning of grades and academic 
credit within the Plan. A self-study of the 
quality of the learning experience in the 
freshman year (completed in 1991 as the 
Institute prepared for its decennial accredi- 
tation by the New England Association of 
Schools and Colleges) affirmed our suspi- 
cion that we need to devote more attention 
to this critical time, when expectations for 
intellectual responsibility are established. 

Last summer, as a result of these con- 
cerns, I asked a group of faculty members, 
administrators and students to prepare 
some background about the Plan that could 
serve as a basis for further reflection and re- 
assessment. That group prepared a white 
paper that critically evaluates the mission 
and success of undergraduate education at 
the Institute. 

The committee identified a number of 

"At an institution so well 
known for educational 
innovation, curricular 
review and change is 
a process that never 
stops. " 

issues we need to think about. For example, 
the seemingly high proportion of above- 
average grades our students earn seems 
inconsistent with the low level of effort they 
themselves say they expend on their stud- 
ies. This doesn't bode well for our commit- 
ment to maintain our standards of academic 

The white paper was distributed to all 
faculty members in December, and in Janu- 
ary I challenged them to use it as the start- 
ing point for a much needed campuswide 
curriculum review. WPI is a recognized 
leader in moving engineering and science 
education toward a broader, liberal/profes- 
sional blend that emphasizes life-long learn- 
ing. But to maintain that leadership, we must 
focus anew on the process of learning and 
on what we can do to improve it. 

One thing we can do right away is 
more clearly define our expectations 
for students and our standards of aca- 
demic achievement and conduct. We 
must also strive to create a campus 
environment that facilitates learning. 

The learning environment is 
already evolving — even without our 
help. Just think of the tools our stu- 
dents have at their disposal. They 
may supplement their studies for 
many of our courses by reviewing old 
tests and completed homework 
assignments borrowed from students 
who've taken the courses. Through 
the Internet, they will soon be able to 
see the lecture notes of faculty mem- 
bers at other universities. And it 
won't be long before they are routine- 
~ ly using things like virtual reality 
simulations and self-directed multimedia. 
Developments like these challenge our tradi- 
tional ideas about teaching and learning. 

Student learning is closely linked to what 
has come to be called faculty productivity. 
As colleges like WPI continue to grapple 
with tight budgets, they must find ways for 
faculty members to make more productive 
use of their time while still maintaining — and 
possibly enhancing — the quality of learning. 
One way to accomplish this is for faculty to 
become managers of the learning process, 
using students as active partners to help 
teach other students. We must also acknowl- 
edge more fully that students have responsi- 
bility for their own learning. 

The quality of teaching and learning is 
also affected by what faculty members do 
outside of the classroom. In recent decades 
WPI has emphasized the vital importance of 
faculty scholarship. In large part this is 
because faculty members who are actively 
involved in a community of scholars make 
more effective instructors. There should be 
no debate about that. 

A related issue is the need to better de- 
fine the relationship between our undergrad- 
uate and graduate programs. It is unlikely 
that we will achieve any measure of success 
if we don't set out to merge these two levels 
of education into one continuous program. 

Winter 1994 

We may even find that better 
aligning undergraduate and 
graduate education results in 
less pressure on faculty and our 

These are not unrelated 
issues that can be addressed in 
isolation. We need to conduct a 
forward-looking curriculum 
review that begins with the 
aspirations of individual depart- 
ments and culminates in a com- 
mon commitment to learning. 
Such a commitment should 
encompass not just the Insti- 
tute, but our partners in the 
educational process: compara- 
ble universities, the professions 
our students pursue, the gradu- 
ate schools that educate our 
alumni, the high schools that 
prepare our freshmen, the col- 
leges that educate our transfer 
students, the publishers of our 
teaching materials, and the 
practitioners who define the 
state of the art in the disciplines § 
we teach. 

You will see as you read this * 
special issue of the WPI Journal * 
that the process of reviewing and changing 
WPI's curriculum is already well under way. 
(In fact, at an institution so well known for 
educational innovation, curricular review 
and change is a process that never stops.) 
The articles on pages 6-19 describe the 
many departmental curricula that are being 
reworked, the revision of our approach to 
mathematics instruction, the exciting pilot 
program in cooperative learning being sup- 
ported by the Davis Educational Foundation, 
and many more initiatives. These are all part 
of what is turning out to be an exhilarating 
era of educational change and revitalization. 

At the same time, we are beginning to 
address some of the larger issues facing us 
as educators. A group of faculty members, 
under the leadership of Lance Schachterle, 
assistant provost and associate dean of un- 
dergraduate studies, is evaluating the learn- 
ing experience in that critical first year. 

More than 60 faculty members attended an 
all-day workshop on that topic in January. 

Looking to the future, I've asked all of our 
academic departments to examine the cur- 
ricula of similar departments at other col- 
leges and universities with which they wish 
to be compared favorably. We need to see 
how we measure up in such areas as course 
content, depth of coverage, level of special- 
ization, curricular flexibility, opportunity for 
independent work, and exposure to labora- 
tory learning. 

Once we have this base level of compari- 
son, 1 have called on the faculty to establish 
the process by which our curriculum can be 
re-examined, not only to assure the competi- 
tiveness of our undergraduate program, but 
to renew and enhance our common commit- 
ment to excellence throughout the Institute. 

As the leaders of American industry call 
for exactly the attributes the WPI Plan set 

out to foster, and as accrediting 
organizations begin to recognize 
the value of outcomes over 
inputs in measuring the success 
of the educational process, the 
need to assess and validate what 
we do here at WPI becomes 
more critical. As we do so, we 
must be prepared to accept 
constructive criticism and be 
willing to make whatever 
changes will strengthen our 

Making changes is not 
enough, of course; curriculum 
innovation should lead to im- 
provements in learning. There- 
fore, measuring the learning 
that takes place in our program 
is a critical endeavor. We need 
to verify that the changes we 
make achieve the goals we es- 
tablish. One particularly power- 
ful outcome is how well the edu- 
cation we deliver serves our 
graduates as they pursue their 
careers and lives. 

Accordingly, I would be most 
interested in hearing from you. 
How has your WPI education 
affected you? If you are a Plan graduate, did 
the projects— Sufficiency, IQP and MQP— 
make a meaningful contribution to your expe- 
riences as a professional and as a person? 
How might we go about improving the educa- 
tion we offer? How can we best document our 
sincere belief that WPI graduates are compe- 
tent in their major disciplines? Would you or 
your organization agree to participate in a 
comparative analysis of achievement of grad- 
uates of WPI and other schools? 

Please send me your thoughts. The 
address is WPI, 100 Institute Road, Worces- 
ter, MA, 01609-2280. You can also reach me 
by fax (508-831-5774) or e-mail (fclutz® We look forward to hearing 
from you. You may be assured your obser- 
vations will have an effect on the curricular 
review we are beginning. 

Lutz is dean of undergraduate studies at WPI. 

WPI Journal 

Reinventing the 

By Michael W Dorsey 

Winter 1994 


In every corner of the 

WPI campus, efforts are under way to 

rethink, recreate, rebuild and remold 

the undergraduate curriculum. With 

restructured courses and sequences, 

new classroom and lab 

technology, and 

new ways of 



WPI continues 

to lead the way 

in educational 


Today, many of the nation's leading 
technological colleges and universi- 
ties are engaged in a spirited effort 
to revamp their decades-old 
approach to teaching students to be engi- 
neers and scientists. There are some practi- 
cal reasons behind this flurry of activity, a 
recent article in Business Week noted. 

For one, traditionally rigid engineering and 
science curricula encourage students to strive 
for individual achievement — good grades — 
even though corporate leaders say they need 
professionals who can work in teams to 
achieve common goals. While most technical 
programs have been built around well-defined 
academic disciplines with tightly drawn bor- 
ders, the work of engineers and scientists 
today is increasingly multidiseiplinary. 

And despite tremendous advances in 
computers and laboratory equipment, basic 
math and science courses are taught today 
much as they were half a century ago, with 
the result that students never really see how 
these subjects relate to their future careers 
and must wait until more advanced courses 
to experience the excitement of hands-on 
design and research. 

WPI got a head start on the rest of the 
pack when it created the WPI Plan 25 years 
ago. The shapers of the Plan understood the 
shortcomings of classical technical education 
that many of today's reformers are just now 
beginning to address. Through the years, the 
Plan has demonstrated its ability to prepare 
the kinds of engineers, managers and scien- 
tists industry needs — professionals able to 
work in teams, to lead, to think critically, to 
solve problems, and to communicate well. 
As society has evolved, the Institute has 
continued to assess its undergraduate pro- 
gram, frequently taking time to stop and ask, 
"Are there better ways to teach — and better 
ways for students to learn?" 

Over the past several years, with the 
dawn of a new millennium fast approaching, 
that question has been asked with increas- 
ing frequency by individual faculty members 
and academic departments. More and more, 
it is being tackled by the Institute as a whole 
(see Communique, page 4). In the pages that 
follow, we report on a few of the products of 
this soul-searching. 

One of the most promising of these prod- 
ucts is a program in cooperative learning 
funded by the Davis Educational Foundation 
(see page 13). Another exciting program, the 
Entrepreneurs Collaborative, is seeking to 
teach students the skills they need to be 
entrepreneurs and to bring an entrepreneur- 
ial perspective to the companies for which 
they work. For more on that initiative, see 
the Winter 1994 WW Mr*?. 

WPI Journal 

Rethinking the 

At least five academic departments 
have recently taken on the substantial 
task of evaluating and improving their 
undergraduate curricula. The Chemical Engi- 
neering Department, for example, is reorga- 
nizing its curriculum around three possible 
paths — environmental engineering, biopro- 
cess engineering and advanced materials. 

"Working within the 
requirements of ABET 
[Accreditation Board for 
Engineering and Technol- 
ogy], we will have a variety 
of courses — some already 
developed, some under 
development, and some offered by other 
departments — that will enable a student to 
get a degree in chemical engineering with 
one of these three interests," says Albert 
Sacco Jr., head of the department. 

The idea, Sacco says, is to make sure stu- 
dents have a solid grounding in chemical 
engineering while gaining a degree of special- 
ization in an area in which they may like to 
work. The new sequence will also expose 
students more fully to the social and policy 
issues with which professional chemical 
engineers must grapple. "With this approach, 
we feel we can graduate better, more mar- 
ketable chemical engineers while maintain- 
ing our ABET accreditation," he notes. 

The Civil Engineering Department has 
been working on its undergraduate and 
graduate programs for a few years, notes 
Department Head Robert W. Fitzgerald. "We 
concluded that we are comfortable with the 
undergraduate course offerings, in general," 
he says. "A few of our basic courses had gaps 
and overlaps, which we've addressed." 

One major effort has involved integrating 
the computer into the curriculum. A new 
freshman/sophomore-level course on com- 
puters in civil engineering has been pilot- 
tested (see page 17). A second pilot course 
on computer-aided design software in civil 
engineering is heavily oversubscribed. Both 
will be prominent in the curriculum. 

The department has also been placing a 
major emphasis on student advising, 
addressing the question of whether civil 
engineering majors should specialize in a 
single subdiscipline or acquire a broader 
exposure to the field. 

"Students often think it is best to go 
down a narrow path," says Fitzgerald. "We 
feel it's best for undergraduates to have a 
good grounding in the fundamentals, a 
strong computer background, and some 

depth in two or even three areas of civil 
engineering. In addition to better speaking 
and writing skills and an understanding of 
professional practice, these are the qualities 
employers tell us they seek." 

Fitzgerald says the civil engineering fac- 
ulty also wants to help students plan their 
entire curriculum to make the best use of 
their projects and courses in mathematics, 
science, the humanities and other dis- 
ciplines. "We don't intend to dictate, of 
course," he says. "All we hope to do is pro- 
vide guidance on how students can con- 

"The question we tried to answer is, 'What will a 
mechanical engineer need to know by the year 
2010?' With that in mind, we looked at the content 
of every course we teach." — Mohammad Noori 

struct an entire program that best 
meets their goals and needs." 

A major effort to rebuild the 
undergraduate curriculum in the 
Electrical and Computer Engi- 
neering Department began in 
1991 with the appointment of the 
Phoenix Committee, made up of 
six members of the ECE faculty. 
"There were several good reasons 
for this review," notes Department 
Head John Orr, "but the most important is 
that the practice of our profession is funda- 
mentally changing." 

The explosion of new technology like 
fiber optics and VLSI chips, the shift from a 
technology-driven to a customer-driven ori- 
entation in industry, and the increasing 
reliance of engineers on computer software 
led the committee to conclude that the 20- 
year-old introductory sequence, which took 
circuit analysis as its basic starting point, 
was no longer appropriate. 

The committee threw out a two-course 
sequence that all ECE majors take and creat- 
ed a four-course sequence that also takes 
the place of the first laboratory course in 
electrical engineering and a recently intro- 
duced survey course. The new sequence, 
which students may begin in the freshman 
year (most engineering students take their 
first engineering course in the sophomore 
year, Orr says), provides a comprehensive 
overview of electrical engineering. 

"In part," Orr says, "the change was de- 
signed to help students understand what 
electrical engineers actually do. Students 
report major increases in their level of 
understanding of the profession, compared 
with students in the previous sequence. 
Students also understand better the impor- 
tance of mathematics and physics in electri- 
cal and computer engineering." 

While the Phoenix Committee was getting 
down to work in Atwater Kent Laboratories, 
next door in Fuller Labs the Computer 
Science Department was evaluating the intro- 
ductory sequence for its majors. Like ECE, 
Computer Science has fashioned new cours- 
es for the freshman and sophomore years. 
But the department remains divided over a 
basic element of the new sequence: the 
choice of a primary computer language, 
notes Department Head Robert E. Kinicki. 

"There is a con- 
stant push-pull in 
the department 
between the 

the nontheoretical people as to which is the 
best way to teach students," he says. "The 
theoretical side wants to stay abstract, but 
the practical side wants to make sure our 
students can get jobs." 

The new sequence replaces courses 
developed four years ago that were built 
around a language called Scheme, a dialect 
of LISP, which is used extensively in artificial 
intelligence. Unlike many other computer 
languages, Scheme is based on formal math- 
ematical logic, and Kinicki says many stu- 
dents seemed to have trouble learning to 
program using these abstract concepts. 

The new sequence exposes students first 
to C, a language widely used in science and 
engineering. "Frankly, we were losing some 
students who were not mathematically 
strong enough to hack the Scheme ap- 
proach," Kinicki says. "Plus, I believe that 
most companies want C programmers." 

Students now learn programming and 
data structures in a two-course introductory 
sequence based on C. They begin to meet up 
with the more abstract elements of computer 
science in three new sophomore-level cours- 
es. The sophomore courses also introduce 
students to object-oriented programming, a 
technique of rapidly growing importance in 

The more theoretically oriented mem- 
bers of the faculty are not entirely happy 


Winter 1994 

with the new arrangement, Kinicki says, and 
the process of evaluating and fine-tuning the 
new sequence will continue, as will efforts to 
revamp the remainder of the undergraduate 
major program. 

"Our department spends a lot of time 
debating our approach to education, which 
is very, very healthy," he says. "At schools 
where they don't care much about the cur- 
riculum, they don't take the time to debate. I 
let the debate go on until I think there is a 
direction in which we can move forward." 

The Mechanical Engineering Department 
has just finished an intensive effort to 
restructure its undergraduate curriculum, 
notes Department Head Mohammad N. 
Noori. The curriculum, if approved by the 
faculty, will be implemented in the 1995-96 
academic year. (Some new courses may be 
offered as early as this fall.) The process co- 
incides with plans for a major renovation of 
the department's home, Higgins Labora- 
tories, scheduled to begin this spring. The 
renovation will include the creation of a host 
of new educational facilities. 

"For the past 30 years, the traditional 
mechanical engineering curriculum has 
changed little," Noori says. "While the 
content of our courses has certainly 
evolved, we've been teaching 
the same types of courses for 
decades. With all of the 
changes taking place in the 
discipline, we decided we had 
to address this issue." 

Divided into four groups 
representing the primary di- 
rections ME is taking — applied 
mechanics, design and manu- 
facturing, materials science 
and engineering, and thermal- 
fluids — the mechanical engi- 
neering faculty met weekly to 
talk about how best to pre- 
pare students. "The question 
we tried to answer is, 'What 
will a mechanical engineer need to know by 
the year 2010?'" Noori says. "With that in 
mind, we looked at the content of every 
course we teach." 

Noori says several major reports pub- 
lished in recent years have concluded that 
mechanical engineering, which has become 
a highly compartmentalized field, must fos- 
ter greater interaction among its subdisci- 
plines if it is to continue to meet the needs 
of industry. 

"Within each of our working groups," he 
says, "we've succeeded in identifying multi- 
disciplinary areas that can cross these bor- 
ders. For example, we are exploring the pos- 
sibility of offering a program that will bridge 
the gap between materials science, an exper- 

imentally based field, and mechanics, an 
analytical and computational discipline." 

Through efforts like this, the department 
will rebuild its curriculum from the ground 
up. In all, between seven and eight new 
courses will be created and changes will be 
made in another 15 to 20. Some courses will 
be eliminated. "This has been an enormous 
effort," Noori says. 

A committee is also working on the de- 
veopment of a freshman-year-experience 
course in which students will be exposed to 
hands-on projects and an overview of vari- 
ous engineering disciplines — not just mech- 
anical engineering. "After much discussion, 
we realized that this should not be an ME 
course, but should be taught to students in 
all engineering disciplines," Noori says. 

"We also decided that whenever a 
mechanical engineering course has multidis- 
ciplinary content and can be of interest to all 
engineers, it will carry the designation 'engi- 
neering science,' rather than mechanical 
engineering. We've already changed six ME 
courses to ES courses. Mechanical engi- 
neers need to know about 
other disci- 

plines and vice versa. That's what 
the real world is all about." 

Classroom Today 

At the White House on Oct. 22, 1993, 
Richard D. Sisson Jr., professor and 
associate head of the Mechanical Engi- 
neering Department, watched proudly as 
President Clinton announced the winners of 
the first round of 41 grants under the Tech- 
nology Reinvestment Program (TRP), a fed- 
eral program aimed at helping business and 

industry weather the transition to a post- 
Cold War economy. 

Among the winners was the REALIZA- 
TION Consortium, a group of five colleges 
headed by WPI. With $8.6 million in TRP and 
industry funding, the consortium, which 
consists of WPI, Cornell, MIT, North Carolina 
A&T and Tuskegee, will seek to create noth- 
ing less than a whole new way of educating 
engineers. (WPI is a key member of the 
Massachusetts Manufacturing Moderni- 
zation Partnership and the Massachusetts 
Bioengineering Center, which also received 
TRP awards. For more, see the Winter and 
Spring 1994 issues of the WPI Wire.) 

Sisson says the REALIZATION Consor- 
tium grew from the acknowledgement that 
while engineering education has traditional- 
ly been effective in teaching students to ana- 
lyze and solve problems, it has done a poor 
job of teaching them how to effectively meet 
customer needs. 

"The focus of the consortium is on that 
transition from customer need to final prod- 
uct," he says. Because 
there were no models 
within engineering edu- 
cation for such a pro- 
gram, Sisson says he 
and his colleagues 
looked at how students 
are prepared for other 
professions. They found 
the models they were 
seeking in architecture 
and medicine. 

"We asked the dean 
of architecture at MIT 
how they train archi- 
tects to be creative, be- 
cause you need creativi- 
ty to go from a customer 
need to designs you can 
analyze and test. He 
said, 'We give students a 
fuzzy problem — a gener- 
al definition of what 
we're looking for in a 
building. We have them 
work to solve it and we 
provide criticism while 
they do it.' " 
At the end of the project, the student 
designs are evaluated by a jury of architects 
from around the world. "This all happens in 
real time," Sisson says. "The criticism is 
right there in front of them. The experts may 
disagree, but the students learn by listening 
to the discussion." 

The other model, Sisson says, is the 
teaching hospital. Doctors learn to practice 
medicine by being given the responsibility 
to care for real patients. "They learn by 

By using 
television and 
other advanced 
tools, students will 
be able to work 
with students at 
other consortium 
colleges and to 
interact in real- 
time with profes- 
sional engineers 
at corporations. 

WPI Journal 

doing," he says, "but all the time there are 
experienced physicians who offer criticism 
and suggestions." 

From these examples, the consortium 
developed the Learning Factory, the frame- 
work for a new way of educating engineers. 
In addition to the idea of real-time critiques 
found in the architecture and medicine mod- 
els, the Learning Factory stresses teamwork. 

"Engineers don't work alone," Sisson says. 
"Through the consortium, we are going to 
give students the opportunity to work in geo- 
graphically dispersed teams, something that 
is becoming quite common in industry." By 
using interactive television and other 
advanced communication tools, students will 
be able to work with students at the other 
consortium colleges and to inter- 
act in real-time with engi- 
neers at corporations. 

The focus for all 
this activity will be 
the Design Studio of 
the Future, one of the 
new facilities in Hig- 
gins Labs, where stu- 
dents will work on 
progressively more 
complex design prob- 
lems during their four 
years at WP1. Like the pro- 
jects assigned to architec- 
tural students, the problems will 
be open-ended. 

Students will work on the problems in 
multicollege teams. They will use advanced 
computer-aided design tools and will also 
have access to a variety of equipment locat- 
ed on the campuses, at manufacturing com- 
panies, and in government labs for making 
prototypes of their products. "This will be a 
virtual design studio," Sisson says, "because 
not all of the colleges will have all of the 
equipment. But once you have a CAD file, 
you can send it over a network to another 
location to be produced." 

The ideas for the projects will come from 
companies affiliated with the consortium. 
The students will be required to carry their 
ideas right through to working products. As 
they work, they will consult with engineers 
at the sponsoring companies, getting feed- 
back on how well they are meeting the cus- 
tomer's needs and designing a quality prod- 
uct that can be made quickly and cheaply. 
At the end of the year, projects will be evalu- 
ated by a design jury. 

Since completing such open-ended 
assignments will encourage students to seek 
out information and skills that may not be 
taught at WPI, Sisson says a key element of 
the consortium will be the development of 
modular courseware — multimedia instruc- 

tion modules that students can consult on a 
"just-in-time" basis. "The idea of modular 
courseware fits well with WPI's philosophy 
of helping students learn how to learn," 
Sisson says. 

As they work on their projects, students 
will come to understand the importance of 
such basic concepts as project management, 
the design process and brainstorming, he 
adds. "If they do this four times during their 
careers at WPI, they will learn well how do 
these things." 

A critical goal of the initiative is to create 
a model that other universities can adopt. 
Over the next three years, the consortium 
colleges will work with 15 affiliate institutions 
to teach them how to run a learning factory. 
The consortium will also share its experi- 

"Engineers don't work alone. Through the consortium, 
we are going to give students the opportunity to work in 
geographically dispersed teams, something that is 
becoming quite common in industry." — Richard Sisson 

ences and course- 
ware through workshops and other 
vehicles. And the Society of Manufacturing 
Engineers will build a duplicate of the Design 
Studio of the Future at its headquarters in 
Dearborn, Mich., to serve as a showcase for 
its member manufacturing companies. 

One important idea the consortium will 
share, Sisson says, is how to manage stu- 
dent project work. "WPI is the lead institu- 
tion in this consortium for a number of rea- 
sons," he says. "First, we have one of only 10 
ABET-accredited programs in manufacturing 
engineering in the country. But just as 
important, we have more than 20 years of 
experience with student projects and we 
have a lot we can teach other schools." 

Reforms Are Adding 
Up in Mathematics 

Like a trip to the dentist, studying calculus 
has been an unpleasant but necessary 
chore for generations of engineering and sci- 
ence students. Characterized by tedious lec- 
tures and homework problems, calculus has 
always seemed far removed from the practi- 

cal, hands-on education students get in their 
other courses. 

But it doesn't have to be that way, says 
Samuel Rankin, head of the Mathematical 
Sciences Department. Having been active in 
the mathematics education community and 
having served as a reviewer of proposals for 
calculus reform grants for the National 
Science Foundation, Rankin became con- 
vinced not long after he joined WPI in 1987 
that "we had the right faculty to change 
things, and that WPI was the right setting for 

Rankin says two basic alterations were 
needed. First, it was important to introduce 
computers into the calculus courses to make 
it possible for students to be exposed to more 
complex problems than the simple textbook 

examples they 
were doing by 
hand. Second, it 
was critical that 
students see 
how calculus is 
actually used to 
solve engineering and 
science problems. 

have been guilty of 
teaching everyone as 
if they were mathe- 
matics majors," Rankin 
says. "We have to re- 
member we are teaching 
people who want to use mathe- 
matics but who don't necessarily want to 
devote their careers to it." 

In 1988 the department began experi- 
menting with a new calculus curriculum that 
introduced computers into classroom 
instruction. Then in 1990 it received a two- 
year, $1 19,000 grant from the NSF to develop 
a more comprehensive overhaul of the cal- 
culus sequence. 

Under the direction of William W. Farr, 
associate professor of mathematical sci- 
ences, a pilot course was run in the fall of 
1991. The course introduced two principal 
innovations: the use by students of a com- 
puter algebra system called Maple and the 
assignment of multiweek projects in which 
students use calculus to solve problems 
drawn from engineering and science. 

"One of the problems with most calculus 
courses," Farr says, "is that students tend to 
focus on manipulations. They never learn 
why they should use calculus, how to use 
calculus, or when to use calculus to solve 
problems. As engineers and scientists, that's 
what they need to know." 

Now, in addition to attending lectures, 
students spend time in a computer lab work- 
ing in groups on exercises that teach them 


Winter 1994 

about using calculus — and the computer— 
to solve problems. The lab itself, with its 23 
workstations, was funded by a major grant 
from the NSF; the department has applied 
for more NSF funding to add a second lab. 

During the course, the students also tackle 
several complex, open-ended projects. They 
are given three weeks to complete each one 
and to write a technical report summarizing 
how they attacked it. "In the reports I look for 
a student's abili- 

also acknowledged the upside — they had 
learned a lot." 

Farr and Petruccelli say that although 
they believe the new approaches are prom- 
ising, formal study is required to prove that 
the methods really are better for students. 
Recognizing the importance of assessment 
in curricular re- 
form, the 

It was important to introduce 
computers into the calculus 
courses to make it possible for 
students to be exposed to 

science problems. 

ty to mix words 
and equations, 
knowing when 
to use each to 
describe what 
they've done 
ly," Farr says. 
"To do well with 
these reports, 

students really have to understand what they 
are writing about." 

Many of the problems students are 
assigned — such as designing a crankshaft or 
studying the economics of an electric power 
system — are suggested by faculty members 
in WPFs engineering and science depart- 
ments. In complexity and relevance, they are 
far removed from the problems calculus stu- 
dents typically see, Farr says. 

While the new calculus sequence was 
being implemented, another team — 
Professor Joseph D. Petruccelli and Assis- 
tant Professors Balgobin Nandram and 
Minghui Chen — was revamping the basic 
statistics sequence with a $165,000 NSF 
grant. Like the new calcu- 
lus courses, the statistics 
sequence relies heavily 
on the computer and on 
learning through group 

In pilot classes in 
the fall of 1993, the 
three instructors took 
somewhat different 
approaches to teaching statistics 
For example, while Petruccelli tried to 
eliminate lectures entirely and have stu- 
dents learn the class material in groups, 
Nandram gave "mini-lectures" and had stu- 
dents get together in groups only to do pro- 
jects and lab exercises. 

The goal of the new approach, Petru- 
ccelli says, is to have students learn how to 
learn by actually using statistics to solve 
problems, rather than listening to lectures 
and reading a textbook. Used to the lecture 
approach, students were skeptical at first, 
he says. "Much of the burden was on them 
and I think they felt that. But in written 
assessments at the end of the course, some 




Sciences Department this year hired 
Assistant Professor Susan L. Ganter, who 
has made that her specialty. 

During the current academic year, 
Ganter has been working with Farr to assess 
the success of the calculus program. "At any 
one time, we have 10 sections of calculus 
under way," she says. "Four are running 
under the new model and the remainder 
under the old model. To compare the two 
approaches, we gave common finals to stu- 
dents in both tracks." 

She says the results show that students 
in the new sequence, 
in addition to learn- 

"Since we haven't had the 
engineering equivalent of 
Marcus Welby on television, 
and since students don't 
study engineering in high 
school, (the case study) 
may be their first true expo- 
sure to real engineering." 
— Christopher Brown 

ing computer skills, technical 
report writing, and calculus theory and 
practice, learn the basics of calculus manip- 
ulations at least as well as students in the 
traditional courses. Based on the success of 
the pilot program, the mathematics faculty 
will soon be asked to approve switching the 
calculus sequence entirely over to the new 
format beginning this fall. 

Ganter, who will perform similar assess- 
ments with the revised statistics and differ- 
ential equations courses (see page 18), says 
she will follow the students who pursued 

both the revised and traditional sequences 
to see how they do in later math courses 
and in their other course and project work 
at WPI. She also plans to interview students 
later in their academic careers to assess the 
impact of the new methods on their atti- 
tudes about and ability to use mathematics. 
At press time it was learned that the 
department's reform efforts will expand even 
further. The National Science Foundation 
has approved a two-year, $100,000 grant 
for a revision of the linear algebra 
sequence. The effort, to begin this 
spring, will be spearheaded by Assis- 
tant Professor Ansuman Bagchi. 

"With NSF support, we are essen- 
tially realigning and restructuring 
our entire freshman and sophomore 
curriculum," notes Rankin, who says 
his hope is that the department can 
ultimately transfer what it has learned 
in these efforts to the entire mathematics 

Introducing Marcus 
Welby, P.E. 

What does an engineer do? Surpris- 
ingly, many engineering students 
don't really know, says Christopher A. 
Brown, associate professor of mechanical 
engineering. To provide a window on real- 
life engineering for students and to give fac- 
ulty members a vital link to the concerns 
and needs of industry, Brown and several 
colleagues at WPI have 
turned to the case study, 
a tool widely used in man- 
agement education. 

Over the past few 
years, Brown, Richard 
Sisson, John J. Bausch 111, 
assistant professor of 
mechanical engineering, 
Sharon A. Johnson, associ- 
ate professor of manage- 
ment. James C. O'Shaughn- 
essy, professor of civil 
engineering, Jeanne Wenzel Ross, assistant 
professor of management, and David C. 
Zenger, assistant professor of mechanical 
engineering, have been developing case stud- 
ies to use in courses in environmental engi- 
neering, materials, management and manufac- 
turing engineering. 

The work has been supported by the 
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the 
National Consortium for Business and 
Technology, and AT&T, which in 1992 
awarded WPI a three-year, $200,000 grant to 
develop the case study approach. 

WPI Journal 


Brown says several case studies have 
already been developed. In one, which has 
been used in manufacturing and manage- 
ment courses, students are presented with 
the problem of determining the real cost of a 
discrete manufacturing operation like cut- 
ting a workpiece with a band saw. A number 
of factors can affect this cost, including the 
quality and cost of the blade, the cutting 
speed, and the cost of operating the ma- 
chine and changing the blade. 

Like the other studies, this one was 
developed in consultation with corpor- 
ations, including American Saw and 
Manufacturing Co. in East Longmeadow, 
Mass., which, in addition to saw blades, pro- 
duces software that companies can use to 
make such calculations. Students use a ver- 
sion of the software as they work on the 
case study. 

"This is a valuable study because we 
have an industry that is actually doing this 
kind of thing," Brown says. "We know that 
some of our engineers will work for compa- 
nies that aren't aware of how to do this — 
and that may be wasting money — so we feel 
we are making a real contribution." 

Brown says the greatest value of the case 
studies is that they expose students to the 
kinds of things engineers really do. "They 
use the specialized software engineers use 
and experience real-life engineering scenar- 
ios," he says. "Since we haven't had the engi- 
neering equivalent of Marcus Welby on tele- 
vision, and since students don't study engi- 
neering in high school, this may their first 
true exposure to real engineering." 

The case studies seem to work. Brown 
says that after the most recent offering of 
his materials processing course, where a 
quarter of the class time is devoted to case 
studies, 30 percent of students said the stud- 
ies changed their perceptions about what an 
engineer does. 

But while they are effective, Brown says 
case studies take far more time than simply 
preparing lectures. "It takes a graduate stu- 
dent a full term to develop a case study 
that takes two hours of class time to work 
through," he says. "You also have to add in 
a great deal of a faculty member's time. 
That can seem like an inefficient method of 

To make the idea more feasible for other 
instructors, Brown and his colleagues plan 
to write a book about using case studies in 
engineering education. "We have to sell peo- 
ple on the worth of this method," he says. 
"But as we look at shrinking budgets and 
higher student-faculty ratios, there will be 
less time for such activities. That's why sup- 
port from organizations like AT&T is so 

Defining the Future of 
Lab Instruction 

n 1991, the Chemistry Department opened 
the doors to its new Introductory Chem- 
istry Instrumentation Center. The lab repre- 
sented a major change in the way students 
in the Institute's introductory chemistry 
course would spend their lab periods. 
Funded, in part, by a major grant from the 
National Science Foundation, the center 
houses several clus- 
ters of sophisti- 
cated analytical ^ 

like gas chromatographs, 
Fourier transform infra- 
red spectrometers and spectrophotome- 
ters — the kinds of state-of-the-art tools one 
usually finds only in a modern chemistry 
research lab. 

Developed by Professors Nicholas K. 
Kildahl and Ladislav H. Berka, the center, 
part of the General Chemistry Laboratory 
in Goddard Hall, is the focus of a new 
approach to teaching introductory chem- 
istry that seeks to expose students early in 
their academic careers to real research. 
Working in teams, students in introductory 
chemistry use the instrumentation through- 
out the course to solve problems and lab 

The idea, notes Department Head James 
W. Pavlik, is to get students excited about 
scientific research at a time when they are 
still considering their career options. "Since 
most of WPI's 2,600 undergraduates take 
General Chemistry during their first year at 
the Institute," he says, "the new center is 
having a major impact on the education of 
virtually every WPI student. 

"This experience will certainly help pre- 
pare our engineering and science students 
to assume positions of leadership in an 
increasingly competitive technical world," 
adds Pavlik, who says the department is 
working to extend this approach to lab 

instruction throughout the entire undergrad- 
uate chemistry curriculum. 

According to Dean of Undergraduate 
Studies Francis C. Lutz, rethinking the un- 
dergraduate laboratory experience will be a 
major thrust of future curricular reform 
efforts at WPI. "Because of the real-world 
work WPI students do through their pro- 
jects, there is less of a need for hands-on lab 
work at WPI. On the other hand, to do the 
projects well, students need to learn hands- 
on skills, so in a sense there is more of a 
need for this type of instruction. I've called 
for this issue — and an examination of the 
best ways to deliver lab instruction — to be a 
priority for the faculty and the administra- 
tion in the months ahead." 

Lutz says the appearance of such infor- 
mation-age technologies as computer 
simulations, teleconferencing and 
virtual reality may provide oppor- 
tunities for lab instruction to be 
delivered in entirely new ways and 
for universities and academic depart- 
ments to share equipment and course- 
ware to lower the cost of lab instruction. 

Faculty members from virtually every science and 
engineering discipline have submitted proposals 
to the National Science Foundation under its 
Instructional Laboratory Improvement program. 

A significant move to address laboratory 
instruction is already afoot on campus, Lutz 
says. He says faculty members from virtually 
every science and engineering discipline 
have submitted proposals to the National 
Science Foundation under its Instructional 
Laboratory Improvement program. "We've 
already received some funds through this 
program, which supports new visions for lab 
instruction. It has made a big difference in 
the quality of education at WPI." 

Lutz says is he heartened by the amount 
of change and reassessment he sees around 
him today. "There seems to be a recommit- 
ment on the part of the faculty to our most 
important strategic goal: enhancing the ex- 
cellence of our undergraduate program. 

"Our faculty are scholarly people who 
recognize that there's an awful lot of schol- 
arship in the teaching process. They are 
active in understanding how teaching and 
learning interact. And they are deeply con- 
cerned about the kinds of skills and knowl- 
edge our graduates need to succeed today — 
everything from the ability to learn how to 
learn, which enables one to adapt more 
quickly to changing societal needs, to an 
understanding of other cultures, so vital in 
our global economy. It makes for some real- 
ly exciting times at WPI." 


Winter 1994 

Breaking the Mold 

How do you convert students from passive observers to active learners? 
WPI seeks the answer with a bold experiment in cooperative learning. 

By Diane Benison 


urn and look at the person on 
X your right. Now look at the per- 
son on your left. Four years from now, 
only one of you will still be here." 

That sobering prediction was part of the welcome 
many freshmen received during their first week at 
WPI — and at many other colleges of engineering and 
science — as recently as 25 years ago, says Francis C. 
Lutz, dean of undergraduate studies. It typified the 
competitive model of education found then through- 
out much of higher education — particularly in techni- 
cal disciplines. 

The birth of the WPI Plan in the early 1970s created 
a new model. The Plan reframed student responsibili- 
ties and faculty expectations. Students were no longer 

seen as passive vessels into which the faculty poured 
facts, the retention of which was measured by tests and 
rewarded with grades and, ultimately, graduation. 

The Plan required each student to complete three 
projects — the Humanities Sufficiency, the Interactive 
Qualifying Project (IQP), and the Major Qualifying 
Project (MQP). These graduation requirements sent a 
powerful message to students about the importance 
of integrating and applying what they learned in the 
classroom to the real world. 

Less explicit in the project experience was another 
message, that of the value of teamwork. Completing 
the IQP and MQP in teams gives students a preview of 
life as a professional, since no matter what their disci- 
plines, working engineers, scientists and managers 
(and, for that matter, social scientists and humanists) 
must invariably work together with others to design 
and manufacture products, solve problems, and tack- 
le unanswered questions about the universe. 

WPI Journal 


The cooperative model was a significant step away 
from the prevailing competitive style of education. 
But while it has been thoroughly integrated into the 
Plan's required project work, it has been slower to 
find its way into the Institute's classrooms. Since most 
students do not begin work on the IQP and MQP — the 
projects that are usually completed in teams — until 
their junior year, their early experiences at WPI often 
diverge little from the traditional model, Lutz notes. 

"During my more than two decades at WPI, I've 
seen us spend the vast majority of our time on stu- 
dent experiences in the upper classes. It's now time to 
turn our attention to the freshman experience." 

Lutz says he was moved by a statement made by 
Paul Grey, former president of MIT, who chaired the 
visiting committee of the New England Association of 
Schools and Colleges for WPI's 1992 reaccreditation. 
"He expressed his admiration for the sense of colle- 
giality that the projects create between faculty and 
students. It's our intention to bring that collegiality 
into the freshman year." 

A major experiment aimed at accomplishing just 
that began in 1992 with the aid of a two-year, $550,000 
grant from the Davis Educational Foundation. The 
grant is being used to introduce the concepts of coop- 
erative learning into introductory courses. 

Last year the grant funded a cooperative learning 

trial with the introductory biology sequence. This 
year it is supporting pilot programs in the Civil 
Engineering, Mathematical Sciences and Computer 
Science departments. All of this is aimed at finding 
innovative ways to both improve student learning and 
increase faculty productivity. To meet these two 
goals, the pilot programs make teamwork an integral 
part of the WPI experience right from the start of a 
student's academic career. 

The origins of the program funded by the Davis 
Foundation can be traced to a project started in 
1988 by Ronald D. Cheetham, professor of biolo- 
gy and biotechnology, and Judith Miller, associate 
professor of biology and biotechnology. The two were 
assigned the seemingly mundane task of reorganizing 
the introductory courses designed for biology majors 
(Biology I and If). 

Instead of simply updating the content of the two 
courses, Miller and Cheetham decided to use the 
assignment as an opportunity to move away from the 
traditional lecture and highly structured laboratory 
format commonly employed in introductory science 
courses — the "canned lecture/cookbook lab format," 
as they would later dub it in one of two articles they 
wrote about their experiences for the magazine 

"Although providing breadth of coverage, the tra- 
ditional approach allowed for little or no in-depth 
investigation of single topics," they wrote. "The stu- 
dents memorized buzzwords, but their involvement in 
the course was minimal. They had no say in the selec- 
tion of topics or in grading; they had little opportunity 
or incentive to participate in discussions or to inter- 
act with faculty; they had no need to consult primary 
research literature; and they were usually not re- 
quired to think analytically or creatively or to orga- 
nize their thoughts for written or oral presentation. In 
summary, students in the traditional introductory 
course participated passively, and consequently there 
was little long-term retention of course material and 
little stimulation of student interest." 

Cheetham and Miller wanted the new courses to 
not only solve these problems, but to more effectively 
"convey the spirit of biology as an investigative sci- 
ence." To do that, they turned to the techniques of ac- 
tive and cooperative learning. 

James E. Groccia, director of WPI's Center for 
Curricular Innovation and Educational Development, 
says "active learning requires students to solve prob- 
lems, ask questions, express opinions and support 
those opinions with reasons — in short, to think active- 
ly about the subject being discussed." 

Cooperative learning takes that a step further, 
Groccia says, by having students work in groups. 
They remain responsible for their own learning, but 
they are also encouraged to help others in their group 
learn. The idea is that by cooperating and taking 
advantage of the synergy of several minds working 
together, everyone will learn more. 

"In its simplest form, cooperative learning is a 
group of people working together to understand and 
solve a problem," Groccia says. "It occurs sponta- 


Winter 1994 

neously in families, in social and political organiza- 
tions, and in the workplace." 

In the classroom, cooperative learning can take 
many forms. Generally, students work together to 
complete a common task suitable for group work. It 
can be a highly effective way for students to master 
material and develop higher-order thinking and col- 
laborative skills, while still holding them individually 
accountable for their own learning, Groccia says. 

Cooperative learning is not a new idea. Increas- 
ingly, it is being practiced in elementary and sec- 
ondary schools across the country, though its use at 
colleges and universities is a relatively new phenome- 
non. While it is employed in many ways, cooperative 
learning has some basic requirements: 
— The groups must have positive interdependence 

that drives all members to want to learn. 
— Group members have to help each other learn by 
sharing, providing constructive feedback, and 
directly supporting and encouraging positive prob- 
lem-solving activities. 
— Group members must hold each other accountable 

for doing their fair share of the work. 
— Group members must be aware of and able to use 
appropriate interpersonal skills to communicate 
and solve problems within the group. 
— Groups must be able to discuss the process of 
learning and group dynamics to assess how effec- 
tively group members are functioning together. 

M ; 

'iller and Cheetham taught the revised Biology 
and II for the first time in 1989. The new 
.courses had no lectures or traditional lab 
experiments. Instead, students learned about molecu- 
lar, cell, organismal and environmental biology by 
working as teams to solve problems — for example, 
designing a unicellular organism to colonize the ficti- 
tious planet Xenon or a closed life-support system for 
long-term space flight. 

Since the new courses had no tests, grades were 
based on presentations and reports completed by 
groups at the end of each project, as well as a self- 
grading format and some grading of students by their 
peers. "Students could not passively participate in 
these courses," Miller says. 

Because there were no textbooks appropriate for 
this approach to biology, Miller and Cheetham wrote 
their own curriculum materials. (They did ask stu- 
dents to buy a standard text for use as a reference.) 
The original materials included a core of project mod- 
ules that asked questions that seemed simple, but 
which could only be answered after students had 
acquired a broad knowledge about biology. And 
unlike the problems typically included in introductory- 
level textbooks, these questions had more than one 
possible solution. 

To acquire the knowledge they needed, students 
were encouraged to gather relevant information by 
reading research material Miller and Cheetham 
reserved at the library. Students had to evaluate the 
meaning of the research and its relevance to their 
tasks, and then work together to synthesize and inte- 
grate it into coherent solutions to the problems at 

hand. Large- and small-group in-class discussions 
helped students digest what they were discovering. 

Student reaction to the trial run was mixed. Many 
students were unnerved by the lack of structure and 
by the open-ended nature of the problems. Biology 
majors worried that they were not learning enough 
facts to allow them to take advanced courses. 

Miller and Cheetham were also finding that active 
and cooperative learning required more of them as 
teachers. They discovered that they were putting in 
almost twice as many hours per week into teaching 
than they had when they taught the courses in the tra- 
ditional way. And with far more student-teacher inter- 
action than in a lecture course, they began to see how 
different cognitive styles affect student learning — 
especially in groups. Managing the dynamics within 
the project teams became a time-intensive task. 

To address student anxieties, Miller and Cheetham 
made some changes to the courses in 1990. They 
added some brief lectures and helped the teams 
break the problems into manageable components. 
They added quizzes to assure students that they 
were, indeed, learning facts, and adjusted the peer- 
evaluation part of the grading system to increase the 
incentive for all students to participate substantially 
in group projects. 

To find out how well their new approach worked, 
Miller and Cheetham secured a small grant from WPl's 
Educational Development Council. With the grant 
they commissioned Leonard Goodwin, now professor 
emeritus of social science and policy studies, to com- 
pare the attitudes and academic performance of stu- 
dents in the 1989 and 1990 sequence with those of stu- 
dents who had taken the sequence in 1987 and 1988 
under the traditional lecture format. 

He found that while many students would have 
preferred traditional lectures, most enjoyed working 
in project groups and had come to prefer problems 
that had more than one solution. Another survey con- 
ducted a year after students completed the revised 
course sequence showed that those who went on to 
take advanced biology courses said their experience 
with cooperative and active learning had fired their 
interest in biology. 

Goodwin's assessment also showed that biology 
majors who took the revised introductory courses did 
as well in advanced courses as students who had 
taken the traditional introductory sequence. In fact, 
instructors of the advanced courses believed they 
had gained an important edge over other students. 

"They were less likely than the previous year's 
group to expect the TAs or myself to tell them exactly 
what to do," one instructor said. "The students relied 
on themselves and each other much more than on the 
instructor. I got few complaints about the difficulty of 
the homework." 

"This year's sophomore class [which participated 
in the revised courses] is less afraid to ask questions," 
another said. "They seem more aggressive, and less 
likely to remain silent if dissatisfied. They also seem 
to have provided more highly creative answers on 
their essay exams. ..more alternative explanations 
than any preceding class I have taught." 

Dissatisfied with 
traditional teaching 
methods, Judith 
Miller helped inte- 
grate cooperative 
learning into an 
introductory biology 

James Groccia says 
cooperative learning 
improves student 
comprehension — and 
faculty productivity — 
by encouraging stu- 
dents to help each 
other learn. 

WPI Journal 


Justin H. Marshall '96 
presents some of 
his team's work on 
one of the weekly 
projects completed 
by students in 
Fundamentals of 
Civil Engineering. 

Dalin Tang lectures 
to students in Differ- 
ential Equations. In 
addition to attending 
lectures, students 
in the course met 
regularly in small 

Cheetham and Miller say they also noticed that 
students in the new courses developed collegia! rela- 
tionships with each other, creating a camaraderie 
missing in students from the traditional lecture class- 
es. As they continued to teach the new Biology I and 
II, they worked with John M. Wilkes, associate profes- 
sor of social science and policy studies, to study how 
students' cognitive styles impacted student satisfac- 
tion, group formation and group performance. 

By the end of 1992, though, as the number of stu- 
dents electing to major in biology and biotechnology 
was increasing, Cheetham — concerned that the gains 
in student learning might not outweigh the significant- 
ly greater time investment by the instructor — decided 
to return to the traditional format. Miller, though she 
also worried about the demands of the approach, 
wanted to continue using the cooperative learning for- 
mat. But she knew she couldn't do it alone. 

Fortuitously, at around this time, the New Eng- 
land-based Davis Educational Foundation invit- 
ed WPI to submit a proposal. Worried about the 
rising costs of a college education, the foundation 
was interested in exploring ways to increase faculty 
productivity while still maintaining — and quite possi- 
bly improving — the quality of education. The founda- 
tion, impressed with WPI's innovative approach to 
undergraduate technical education, chose the 
Institute to design a novel approach to the problem 
that might serve as a model for other colleges and 

As Miller and Cheetham were considering the 
future of their experiment in introductory biology, 
Lutz, Lance Schachterle, associate dean of undergrad- 
uate studies, and Denise R. Rodino, director of foun- 
dation relations, were meeting with individual faculty 
members and faculty groups, trying to find a way to 
meet the Davis Foundation's challenge. Their aim was 
to incorporate the project experience developed so 
successfully in the WPI Plan into introductory courses 
without unduly burdening instructors with the inten- 
sive faculty-student contact characteristic of projects. 

They decided that one solution might be to have 
paid student assistants share the teaching load. The 
idea would be for these assistants, whom they 
dubbed Peer Learning Assistants or PLAs, to lead 
small groups of students in solving problems and 
tackling joint projects. 

These group experiences would not only help stu- 
dents understand and learn the course material bet- 
ter, but reinforce the idea that they share a major 
responsibility for their own learning. And just as 
important, by managing the learning process, rather 
than being the primary deliverer of material, a faculty 
member could handle more students in the same 
amount of time. 

Unlike traditional tutors, PLAs would be carefully 
trained to anticipate and manage the kinds of issues 
and interpersonal problems that arise when students 
work in groups. Without actually showing the groups 
how to solve the problems they've been assigned, 
PLAs would help the students stay on track and get 
their work done. 

Seeing a promising model in the experience of 
Miller and Cheetham, Lutz, Schachterle and Rodino 
formed a team that included Miller, Groccia and 
Herbert Beall, professor of chemistry (who had been 
working on innovative ways to teach introductory 
chemistry courses), to combine that model with the 
idea of the Peer Learning Assistants. It was this con- 
cept that the Davis Foundation agreed to support with 
its $550,000 grant. 

The idea of increasing faculty productivity, widely 
discussed in academic circles in recent years, often 
sparks controversy, Miller says. "Some people view it 
as making the faculty work harder, or getting rid of 
some of them and making the rest work harder. But 
the idea behind the Davis grant is that, because insti- 
tutional resources are limited, faculty time has to be 
spent in managing the learning process rather than 
doing all the nitty-gritty of it. 

"Higher education is getting more and more expen- 
sive. Colleges are in financial trouble, so it is essential 
that faculty members use their time as productively 
as possible. If they can design a curriculum that incor- 
porates appropriate learning tasks and can then train 
a lower-paid staff to help implement it, their time is 
better spent than if they were to invest 40 hours a 
week working one-on-one with students." 

Miller is quick to point out that cooperative learn- 
ing does not mean simply replacing the faculty mem- 
ber in the classroom with a teaching assistant, some- 
thing for which many large universities have been 
criticized. "It takes a faculty member who's really seri- 
ous about and good at teaching to design a coopera- 
tive learning course," she says. "The task design is 
critical and the selection and training of the support 
staff are critical. It's not as if the faculty member is 
backing away from teaching. He or she should be the 
'guide on the side, rather than the sage on the stage,' 
as cooperative learning proponents put it." 

The Davis Foundation grant, received in the sum- 
mer of 1992, provided funds for pilot programs 
aimed at extending the cooperative learning, 
model to other lower-level courses around campus. 
But the first step was to test the PLA concept using 
the introductory biology sequence as the model. 

Miller and Groccia carefully selected students to 
serve as PLAs for the courses. They picked students 
who had already taken the introductory sequence 
under the cooperative learning format and done well. 
The PLAs, who were to be paid for a maximum of 10 
hours of work per week, were given an intensive 
three-day training session to prepare them for their 
role. (One of those PLAs, Juliet K. Vescio '93, wrote a 
manual that is being used to help train new PLAs. 
Vescio is now in a Ph.D. program in biology at the 
University of Virginia.) 

The PLAs were expected to work with project 
teams and to meet once a week with Miller, Groccia 
and Miller's teaching assistant. At those weekly meet- 
ings, the group discussed the students' progress, 
talked over the problems the groups were experienc- 
ing, and, when necessary, brainstormed to find ways 
to deal with the problems. "They had done this small- 


Winter 1994 

group work before," Miller says, "so they had 
learned — often by the seat of their pants— how to get 
along in a group, how to organize the group process, 
what tends to happen in group dynamics, and how to 
deal with it." 

To help students understand the value of the 
active and cooperative learning techniques they'd be 
using in the course, Miller started the first class peri- 
od with a simple exercise. She told each student to 
work with one or two neighbors and make a list of 
what they thought an employer or a graduate school 
might look for in a new graduate. 

"They came up with a list of skills that has little to 
do with course content and a lot to do with personal 
skills— thinking, problem-solving, creativity, ability 
to work well with others, and the ability to present 
their ideas orally and in writing," she says. "These are 
remarkably similar to the skills employers are, in fact, 
seeking. I pointed out how a traditional course, where 
you memorize stuff out of the textbook and spit it 
back on the test, is not going to teach you any of 
these things." 

The pilot program in introductory biology showed 
that the PLA model works, Miller says. PLAs provided 
the help the small groups needed and reduced the 
time she had been spending on that task. While she 
says it still took more time to teach under a coopera- 
tive learning format, the difference was only about 90 
minutes a week, instead of the 12 to 13 hours when 
she taught the course without PLAs. 

Proposals were solicited from every academic 
department and reviewed by Beall, Groccia and 
Miller. Three initiatives were funded for the 
1993-94 academic year. A second round of funding will 
soon be made available for three or four more pilot 
programs to be run in 1994-95. Here is a look at those 
first three pilot programs: 

Fundamentals of Civil Engineering 

This new course, taught for the first time in the fall of 
1993, was designed as a cooperative venture for the 
civil engineering faculty as well as the students. Nine 
faculty members taught sections, and others helped 
develop the curriculum, textbook and course materi- 
als. Frederick L. Hart, associate professor of civil engi- 
neering, was the principal investigator for the pilot 
project, while Professor Frank D. DeFalco, Associate 
Professors Robert A. D'Andrea, Tahar El-Korchi, P. 
Jayachandran and Guillermo Salazar, Assistant 
Professors Leonard D. Albano and Paul P. Mathisen, 
Visiting Assistant Professor Cornelia Demers, and 
Adjunct Associate Professor Norman Wittels made 

According to Hart, the course was intended to 
achieve three primary goals: to teach students to use 
computers to solve engineering problems, to make 
professional presentations, and to generate profes- 
sional engineering reports; to introduce students to 
the fundamentals of civil engineering and to introduce 
them to the field's various subdisciplines; and to 
teach students to solve engineering problems within a 
group environment. 

Enrollment in the first offering of the course was 
12; that jumped to 24 — the maximum number of stu- 
dents the department's computer lab can support — 
for the second offering during the first spring term of 
1994. The pilot course will be offered one more time 
this year. "Beginning next year," Hart says, "all civil 
engineering students will be encouraged to take this 
course as the first step in their major." 

After a week spent learning the various software 
packages they will need for their projects, students go 
on to study a different subdiscipline of civil engineer- 

ing each week. These modules, which cover structural 
engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical 
or soil engineering, foundations, surveying, construc- 
tion project management, and engineering economics, 
are taught by faculty members who specialize in these 

Each module includes a problem that students 
must solve by working in groups. To complete these 
weekly assignments, students have to spend time in 
the computer lab analyzing data and preparing 
reports and presentation materials. The groups share 
their results in weekly oral presentations and written 

The lectures also have a group learning compo- 
nent, as the instructors are encouraged to use what 
cooperative learning advocates call the "bookend 

VVP1 Journal 


approach." After presenting information, the instruc- 
tor gives the class a small problem to illustrate the 
application of that information. The students attack 
the problem in groups, and when they are done the 
instructor resumes the lecture. 

The bookend approach has several benefits, Hart 
says. Its function is analogous to a mental seventh- 
inning stretch. The students focus their attention and 
concentration actively on the material, since they are 
not passively sitting and listening to a long lecture. 

"The idea," he notes, "is to use a short, thought-pro- 
voking problem to help students synthesize and rein- 
force what is being passed on to them." 

In addition to the three primary goals, Hart says 
the faculty hoped the course and the weekly projects 
would help students understand how civil engineers 
approach real problems in the field and come to real- 
ize how much organization engineers require to tackle 
problems. "When they first started, I don't think they 
appreciated that," Hart says. "They didn't understand 
how much preparation is needed for a group to solve 
a problem. 

"In their weekly projects, we had them take on the 
roles of the members of a typical engineering team — 
field project manager, chief engineer, engineer and 
client. They then had to assign appropriate tasks to 
each group member and organize themselves to work 

effectively as a group. They learned that they needed 
to develop a strategic approach to the problem before 
they even went into the lab, or they wouldn't be able 
to make good use of their time. 

"We were extremely happy with the way the 
course worked," Hart adds. "When we had the oral 
presentations on Fridays, even faculty members who 
weren't teaching that week would attend. By the end 
of the course, as many as six or seven instructors 
were coming to see the presentations because the cal- 
iber of the student work was so high. They wanted to 
see what their colleagues were talking about." 

The caliber of the weekly project presentations 
was not the only indicator of the course's success, 
Hart says. The cooperative learning model allows fac- 
ulty to expose students to more content than would 
be possible in a conventional lecture course. "I think 
it would be nearly impossible to ask students to cover 
this amount of material — or material this complex — 
as individuals," he says. 

He says another important benefit is that the 
course whets students' appetite to learn and better 
understand the engineering material. "And," he says, 
"even if students don't like civil engineering, they still 
benefit by having a chance — at an early stage — to 
make an informed choice about their career." 

Differential Equations 

This Davis Foundation pilot project represents one 
more phase in a 10-year evolution of the way differen- 
tial equations is taught at WPI. With their grant, Dalin 
Tang, associate professor of mathematical sciences 
and the project's principal investigator, and Paul W. 
Davis, professor of mathematical sciences, decided to 
use cooperative learning to enhance the changes that 
have already taken place. 

"Ten years ago differential equations was a kind of 
toolbox course," Davis says. "It gave students a vari- 
ety of tools for solving specific mathematical prob- 
lems. But the tools and the underlying physical prob- 
lems were usually disconnected. The evolution over 
the past decade has been to teach the content 
through mathematical modeling — to let the needs for 
the mathematics evolve from a physical situation." 

By modeling real problems — for example, trying to 
determine why an automobile suspension system 
oscillates too much on bumpy roads — students come 
to better understand how to derive differential equa- 
tions and to appreciate how they are used. Since 
many of these problems are complex and open-ended, 
they are too complicated to give to a single student 
for a homework problem, and therefore lend them- 
selves well to group projects. 

With the help of one teaching assistant and eight 
PLAs, Tang, who taught the course to 175 students in 
the second fall term, and Davis, who taught 150 stu- 
dents in the first fall term, restructured the course. 
Under the new format, the class met as a group three 
times a week in an auditorium for lectures and then 
gathered twice a week in small groups with the PLAs 
to review course material and homework and to work 
on three major projects employing mathematical 


Winter 1994 

Tang says the group projects were designed to 
give students practice at working together and at 
using the group format to improve their learning. 
Because of the importance of the activities planned 
for the small groups, Tang says he placed a great deal 
of emphasis on the PLAs' training. 

"I visited the classes of all the PLAs while they 
were teaching," he says. "I exchanged ideas with them 
on an individual basis. We had e-mail discussions 
about teaching format and style, what a typical con- 
ference format should look like, and so on. I also 
asked them to submit their class notes for a certain 
day and made comments on them." 

While most students rated the new format a suc- 
cess, Tang says he and Davis learned ways they can 
improve the cooperative learning elements to make 
the course run more smoothly in the future. For exam- 
ple, he says they must spend more time at the start of 
the course acclimating students to group learning. 

In addition, the PLAs need more guidance from the 
faculty and teaching assistant in managing student 
groups. And, he says, the instructors should try to 
build more group activities into the lectures. "I feel 
there are a lot of things we can do to improve our 
model before we can claim complete victory." 

Tang and Davis say the format also requires some 
adjustment on the part of the faculty members. Since 
the small-group sections were handled by the PLAs, 
the instructors encountered students only in the lec- 
ture hall and during regular office hours. And because 
students had many of their questions answered in the 
group sessions, they didn't see students as often in 
their offices. "That's a disappointment," Davis says, 
"but the good news is that I was able to get other 
things done, and that's really what we were after." 

Techniques of Programming 

Like Davis and Tang, Craig E. Wills, assistant profes- 
sor of computer science, says he found the group 
component of cooperative learning to be an ideal way 
to give students in this sophomore-level course for 
computer science majors first-hand experience, not 
only with how the real world works, but with complex 
problems that are more readily solved by a team. 

"1 think the students learned the concepts of the 
course by working with each other," he says. "As a by- 
product, they learned what it takes to build a large 
software project — how to make it work and how to 
deal with the problems that can occur." 

Wills, who was assisted by two teaching assistants 
and seven PLAs, divided the 115 students in the class 
into 28 groups. He lectured to the entire class four 
times a week, sometimes giving traditional lectures 
and sometimes incorporating cooperative learning 
techniques to get students working actively together. 

The groups met once a week with the PLAs in a 
computer lab. Over the course of the seven-week 
term, the groups, with the help of the PLAs, each com- 
pleted three programming projects. While the stu- 
dents worked on the projects in the lab, they spent 
even more time on their own — often with the PLAs — 
in between lab periods tackling the assignments. They 
also routinely used electronic mail to communicate 

with each other and with the PLAs about their work. 

Wills says that by having students work together 
on their projects, he was able to assign them far more 
complex and realistic assignments than he would 
have, had the class worked on projects individually. 
For example, in one project, students wrote a pro- 
gram to manage an airline reservation system, a major 

Even more, he says, by creating software as a 
team, students had to come to grips with the need to 
carefully plan out a group assignment to make sure 
everyone understands his or her part and to be sure 
that the finished parts will work together to make a 
working program. 

Successfully completing such a project teaches 
students as much about human nature and group 
dynamics as it does about programing, he notes. 
"Using cooperative learning gave me a really good 
idea of what group work does for students," he says. 
"It makes them much more aware of others." 

Progress reports on the four pilot projects (in- 
cluding the introductory biology course) were 
part of a two-day conference on cooperative 
learning held at WPI in the fall of 1993. The meeting, 
funded as part of the Davis Foundation grant, attract- 
ed faculty members and administrators from WPI and 
more than 30 colleges and universities around the 
region. They came to learn how to adapt cooperative 
learning to college courses and to see how WPI's 
experiment was progressing. 

One of the points speakers at the conference agreed 
on was that cooperative learning can help reduce the 
sense of isolation students — particularly freshmen and 
sophomores — can feel in large lecture courses. As a 
result, students are more likely to seek help with 
course content they find difficult and are, therefore, 
less likely to fall behind. That simple preventative mea- 
sure can increase student retention — not only within 
majors, but also within the college, Miller says. "And 
improved retention rates add another measurable 
increase in teaching productivity," she notes. 

In the next year of the Davis Foundation grant, 
Miller says the major focus will be on evaluating what 
was learned from the first round of pilot projects in 
order to fine-tune the program. Aiding the principal 
investigators in that task will be formal assessments 
of the pilot courses conducted by Groccia and the 
instructors themselves. 

Miller says that in many ways, the program has 
already proved the value of the cooperative learning 
model and demonstrated some of its most important 
tenets. "Perhaps most important," she says, "coopera- 
tive learning debunks the notion that only teachers 
teach and only students learn. It puts the process of 
learning in a new perspective for everyone. Under- 
graduates come away from the experience more com- 
mitted to taking responsibility for their learning early 
in their college careers." 

Benison, a freelance writer and former newspaper editor, 
has written extensively for the WPI Journal. Her most 
recent story examined WPI's Global Perspective Program. 

From left, in a small- 
group session in 
Differential Equa- 
tions, PLA Michael 
Ferraris '95 works 
with Seann Ives '96, 
Benjamin Bennett '96 
and Shaun 
Vickers '96. 

Craig Wills, far left, 
confers with mem- 
bers of the teaching 
team for Techniques 
of Programming. 
From left, PLAs 
Joseph Branciforte 
'94 and Carla Caputo 
'96 and TA Paul 

WPI Journal 



Power to 


By Diran Apelian 

A world of issues and opportunities 

is facing engineering educators. 

How they respond will not only affect 

the competitiveness of our nation, 

but the hope and aspirations of 

generations of students. In a major 

address, WPI's provost maps out 

an agenda for the future. 

^W* \ 


^L v ' 

Hl \*j\ \ 

Engineering education is at a challenging crossroads. Some 
see it as a crisis; others as an opportunity to position our 
community and our society for the 21st century. It would be 
fair to say, however, that no one is satisfied with the status 
quo or with the prospects for the near term. 

The world is undergoing unprecedented change that is affecting 
not only governments and national boundaries, but institutions of 
higher education, as well. Colleges and universities that specialize in 
engineering education, in particular, face many threats. 

First, our product is too costly — our customers simply can't 
afford it. The quantity of financial aid awarded by private universi- 
ties is staggering, and it escalates year after year. Second, the 
promise of security and a good job has become less certain. Third, 
the resources once available to carry out much of the educational 
enterprise have shrunk dramatically. Fourth, interest among our 
young people in a technological, liberal education is wavering. 

To understand these issues, it is necessary to first examine the 
historical and social contexts of engineering education. 

Historical Context 

History shows that our roots and our values can be traced to 
many different lands. In the U.S., we are heirs to the French 
and British cultures, in particular. The French were the first to 
view engineering as an elite profession. In fact, the French word 
ingenieur stems from genie, meaning genius. This is quite different 
from some of the connotations Americans tend to associate with 

Louis XV established a civilian engineering corps, the Corps des 
Ponts et Chaussees, to oversee the design and construction of 
bridges and roads. In 1747 the corps created a school to train its 
members — Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees, the world's first civil engi- 
neering school. This led to the founding in France of other technical 
schools — the Grand Ecoles. 

The French recognized early on that engineering is a noble pro- 
fession that prepares future statesmen and leaders. The mathemati- 
cian Laplace wrote that the Ecole Polytechnique's goal was to pro- 
duce young people "destined to form the elite of the nation and to 
occupy high posts in the state." Over the years the graduates of the 
Grand Ecoles have proven their "power" by occupying posts in the 
highest economic strata of French society. 

The evolution of engineering in Britain took a quite different 
path. The English upper class believed in a more classical educa- 
tion. There was no meaningful governmental funding of higher tech- 
nical education during the Industrial Revolution. In fact, it was not 
until the early 1900s that both Cambridge and Oxford universities 
established chairs of engineering sciences. Some argue that Britain's 
decline as a world power is attributable to its failure to appreciate 
the importance of engineering education. 

In large measure, the Industrial Revolution in Britain was driven 
by ingenuity and entrepreneurial initiative. Knowledge was gained 
pragmatically in workshops and on construction sites. Young men 
became engineers through apprenticeships. As Sam Florman has 
characterized it, "In France engineering became associated with pro- 
fessional pride and public esteem, with leadership at the highest 
level. Whereas in Britain, engineering was considered a navvy occu- 
pation — the original navvies being the laborers on canal construc- 
tion jobs." 

Both of these cultures permeate the roots of American engineer- 
ing education. During its early days, the United States had virtually 
no engineers. When construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817, 
there were fewer than 30 engineers in the entire nation. We had no 


Winter 1994 

The British apprenticeship system (left) was an early influence on American engineering 
education. In 1957, Sputnik (right) helped fuel an explosion of interest in engineering. 

choice but to adopt the British apprenticeship model. The canals 
and shops, and subsequently the railroads and manufacturing facto- 
ries, became the institutions where surveyors and mechanics devel- 
oped into engineers. During the same period, the heritage of the 
French polytechnicien was also unfolding in America. 

West Point was founded in 1802 as a school for engineer officers. 
Sylvanus Thayer, appointed its superintendent in 1817, visited the 
Ecole Polytechnique and emulated much of what he learned there. 
Similarly, in the 1840s B. Franklin Green visited Ecole Polytechnique 
and assimilated what he learned into the philosophy of Rensselaer 
Polytechnic Institute. Norwich University, founded in Norwich.Vt., 
in 1819 on the principles of 
the citizen soldier, was a 
hybrid of the military and 
the polytechnicien. Founder 
Alden Partridge believed in 
the importance of a leader 
of society also serving the 

Interestingly, when Thay- 
er, upon his retirement, 
endowed an engineering 
school at Dartmouth Col- 
lege, he conceived of a two- 
year graduate program 
through which students 
would become professional 
engineers only after com- 
pleting a four-year prepro- 
fessional college course. 
Thayer believed engineers 
should be "gentlemen" before embarking on a professional educa- 
tion. He wanted the Thayer School to prepare engineers for the 
most responsible positions and the most difficult service, much in 
accord with Laplace's concept of the Ecole Polytechnique. 

In the 1860s, MIT and WPI were founded. It is interesting to note 
that WPI's motto, Lehr and Kunst, "theory and practice," bridges the 
principles of these two cultures. In that same decade, America 
launched a new era of higher education with the passage of the 
Morrill Act, better known as the Land Grants Act. This law autho- 
rized the federal government to aid the states in establishing col- 
leges of agriculture and the so-called mechanic arts, thereby provid- 
ing an education for the industrial classes. In the process, engineer- 
ing became linked with the mechanical arts and American engineers 
lost the elitism of the French polytechniciens. 

Slowly, the values of the profession were eroded. In time, engi- 
neering education was set apart from — and to some degree, below — 
education for other professions, such as law, medicine and science. 
The enormous growth of American industry — during and after the 
Industrial Revolution — and the appetite of industry for engineering 
employees led to engineers being placed in many subprofessional 
jobs, further reducing the social status of the profession in America. 

During World War II we saw much growth in the technology base 
of our nation. After the war the masses were educated via the GI Bill. 
In the postwar period, Vannevar Bush and others were instrumental 
in establishing the National Science Foundation, which funded the 
enormous growth in the infrastructure of our research universities. 
The establishment of the Department of Defense and the growth of 
the military-industrial complex further fueled this growth, produc- 
ing engineering graduates who specialized in fairly narrow fields. 

The Grinter Report of 1955 was a significant document in that it 
provided a framework for American engineering education and influ- 
enced its revitalization. Its authors assumed that while it would be 

difficult for colleges to incorporate all of the report's recommenda- 
tions into a four-year course of study, somehow it could all be 
packed in. The recommendations did not leave much room for the 
liberal side of education. 

In 1957 the launch of Sputnik and the establishment of NASA 
spurred an avalanche of interest in science, technology and engi- 
neering. In more recent years, we have seen the end of the Cold War 
and significant shifts in the nation's demographics. These changes 
present formidable challenges and lead us to question whether the 
educational process that has served society in the past is still rele- 
vant today. Will it serve us well as we enter the third millennium? 

Social Context 


rom a global perspective, it is crucial that America remain a 
major competitor. To achieve this, we will need a world-class 
educational infrastructure. In the early days of this nation, Noah 
Webster claimed that democracy will succeed only if the people have 
economic hope and educational hope. They are closely interlinked. 

The Competitiveness Policy Council recently forwarded to the 
White House these goals for the nation: 

♦ Raise national productivity growth to an annual average of 2 per- 
cent from the 0.7 percent rate of 1973-91 

♦ Achieve annual economic growth of at least 3 to 3.5 percent and 
create more high-wage jobs to restore full employment and a 
higher standard of living 

♦ Eliminate our external balance of trade deficit and halt the 
buildup of foreign debt that has turned us into the world's 
largest debtor nation 

The council included the following recommendations to the federal 
government for meeting these goals: 

♦ Through various tax credits and their "competitive life" depreci- 
ation allowance, raise private investment permanently by at least 
5 percent of GNP 

♦ Develop a major new export expansion strategy to increase 
export credits, eliminate export controls, and maintain competi- 
tive exchange rates 

♦ Improve the education and training of the work force through 
sweeping reforms throughout the educational infrastructure 

K-12 Education 

The K-12 education system, the pipeline to our institutions of higher 
learning, has some shortcomings. First, consider the school calen- 

WPI Journal 


"More and more, we are coming to 

realize that females and minorities are 

not being tracked into science- and 

math-oriented curricula. As a society, 

we will be committing suicide if we do 

not invest in the technical education of 

all the members of our society." 

"Test scores and other evaluations 

point out that our youth fare quite 

poorly in [technical literacy] (as well 

as in basic reading, writing and 

comprehension skills) when compared 

with their counterparts in Europe and 

the Pacific Rim. This is not acceptable; 

our system must respond." 

Top photo, Nancy Teasdale '88 completed an IQP 
examining solar-powered water pumping systems in 
Somalia. Bottom photo, high school students com- 
pete in WPI's annual Invitational Mathematics Meet. 

dar. The three-month summer break was established to enable boys 
and girls to work on the family farm. In fact, the school calendar was 
designed to be in sync with the agricultural calendar. 

Second, the average American high school senior has about one- 
third fewer school hours under his or her belt at graduation than his 
or her counterparts around the world. It's not a great surprise that 
U.S. test scores are one-third lower; if you work one-third less, you 
learn one-third less. 

Finally, there is a critically important disparity in what students 
within our nation's schools learn. More and more, we are coming to 
realize that females and minorities are not being tracked into sci- 
ence- and math-oriented curricula. As a society, we will be commit- 
ting suicide if we do not invest in the technical education of all the 
members of our society. 

Technical Literacy 

The technical literacy of the populace is another serious issue. Test 
scores and other evaluations point out that our youth fare quite poor- 
ly in this area (as well as in basic reading, writing and comprehension 
skills) when compared with their counterparts in Europe and the 
Pacific Rim. This is not acceptable; our system must respond. 


As we look at the demographics, it is clear that we in engineering 
education have our work cut out for us. The numbers are quite 
embarrassing and represent a major loss of human potential in our 
society. For example, 

♦ women, who make up 51 percent of the population and 45 per- 
cent of the work force, made up only 7 percent of the engineering 
graduates between 1950 and 1989. 

♦ Asians, who represent only 2 percent of the population, held 8.6 
percent of all bachelor's degrees in engineering and 7 percent of 
all Ph.D.s in science and engineering. 

♦ at 8 percent, Hispanics represent a growing sector of the popula- 
tion, though only 3 percent of graduates with bachelor's degrees 
in engineering in 1989 were Hispanic. 

♦ African-Americans, who make up 12 percent of the population, 
made up just 3.4 percent of the bachelor's degree holders in 
engineering in 1988. 

Our educational institutions must provide a nurturing environment 
for all students, irrespective of color, gender or race. 

Image and Professionalism 

The image of engineering must change to reflect the concepts of 
Thayer and Laplace. I'd like to share with you a story told to me by 
the CEO of a major French transnational corporation. This CEO was 
based in the U.S and was returning from France with his senior 
American staff. As they were going through U.S. customs, he was 
stunned to see that while he, with a great deal of pride, listed him- 
self as an engineer on the customs form, his staff members, many of 
whom were engineers of high distinction with Ph.D.s from some of 
our most famous research universities, had written in "executive" or 

Engineering is the only profession that does not require univer- 
sal statutory and mandatory licensing as a measure of minimal qual- 
ification to practice. Medicine, law, pharmacy, architecture, public 
school teaching — they all require licensing in addition to an accred- 
ited education. Either we must present a clearly defined, unified 
image to the public, or we should require of all engineering practi- 
tioners legally defined mandatory qualifications. 

It would be interesting to draw a parallel between engineering 
education and the concept of the teaching hospital. At a teaching 
hospital, practitioners teach and the next generation learns from 


Winter 1994 

those who actually practice medicine. However, at most of our uni- 
versities, the majority of the engineering professors have not actual- 
ly practiced engineering. 

Perhaps we should consider adopting the German model, where- 
in distinguished engineers from the industrial sector have a duty to 
teach a course at a university as part of their normal activity, and 
academicians have close ties to the industrial sector. 


In constant dollar terms, the U.S. accounted for half of the $2 trillion 
Gross Domestic Product of the world economy in 1970. Twenty years 
later, our share of the world's total GDP, now $15.7 trillion, had 
dropped to one-third, a reflection of the ferocity of global competition. 

Industrial globalization should perhaps be measured in terms of 
the percentage of revenues derived from outside the "home coun- 
try." Ronald Zarrella 71, president and COO of Bausch and Lomb, 
has addressed this issue (see 
"Globalization: The Next Big Wave," 
Spring 1993 WPIJournaf). 

"For America's 100 largest 
industrial companies," Zarrella 
wrote, "the percentage of non-U.S. 
revenues grew from 14 percent in 
1970 to almost 40 percent in 1990. 
For Japan's largest companies, the 
percentage is 57 percent; for Ger- 
many's, it is 69 percent. Further- 
more, for U.S. companies, those 
revenues have shifted from largely 
being derived from exports to 
being derived from manufactured 
products from outside the country." 

There is no doubt that we have a 
responsibility to ensure that our future engineers can function in 
transnational companies and can work in a global economy. Because 
corporations manufacture and sell globally, future engineers must be 
able to function in such settings. 

Imperatives for Undergraduate Education 

The societal and historical contexts I've outlined lead to an 
inescapable conclusion: we must change. Our greatest obstacle 
is fear of change. As George Bernard Shaw said, "Progress is 
impossible without change; and those who cannot change their 
minds cannot change anything...." 

In 1962 Gordon Brown, then dean of engineering at MIT, wrote a 
seminal piece titled "New Horizons in Engineering Education." 
Questioning the lack of integration in engineering education, he 
wrote, "Can our present educational structure meet the test of the 
times? If we assert that we want our students to become men of 
breadth and vision, able to integrate knowledge, we would ask our- 
selves whether we are giving them the opportunity to see knowl- 
edge in its totality. I believe we are not...." 

Integration and synthesis in engineering education is a topical 
issue. There are several initiatives at various universities and engi- 
neering colleges addressing this challenge. At Drexel University, for 
example, the National Science Foundation in 1989 funded the 
Enhanced Engineering Education Experience (E 4 ). The experimental 
curriculum is integrated around engineering principles and provides 
students a fresh perspective. The experiment was a success, and 
Drexel recently adopted this new approach throughout its College 
of Engineering. 

The motivation for the creation of the WPI Plan, the Institute's 

Joseph Bucciaglia '91 did his IQP on science edu 
cation at Worcester's Elm Park School. 

innovative, two-decade-old undergraduate program, was the 
acknowledgement of the deficiencies of the so-called passive learn- 
ing that occurs in conventional classrooms. The weaknesses of the 
conventional program are many. For example, 

♦ by their nature, conventional courses usually present knowledge 
in long, isolated corridors, but professional achievement 
requires extensive integration and application of knowledge. 

♦ a rigid academic program offers few opportunities for students 
to assume responsibility for defining their personal objectives, 
but students' success after graduation depends on this ability. 

♦ classroom experience is usually passive, but career development 
requires self-activation. 

♦ formal classes usually treat students as isolated learners, but 
practice involves personal interactions, shared experiences, 
mutual understanding and effective communications. 

The philosophy of the WPI Plan was best captured by one of the 

Plan's founders. Dean Emeritus 
William R. Grogan '46. He said, 
"Engineering education must take 
much more seriously those compo- 
nents that deal with the human 
dimension: communication skills, 
management abilities, and significant 
exposure to social and cultural fields 
of endeavor." 

Nurturing the development of 
professional values requires immers- 
ing students in real-world issues, as 
the required Plan projects do so 
well. At WPI, students spend a full 
year during their last three years 
engaged in project-based learning. 
Project work not only requires a 
mastery of the technical disciplines, but a command of scheduling, 
teamwork and communication skills. In addition, the project experi- 
ence at WPI helps students build self-confidence and promotes the 
synthesis of fundamental concepts. 

In 1988, an NSF workshop on undergraduate engineering educa- 
tion noted that the primary goals of the engineering educational 
process are to develop, in as individualized a way as possible, cer- 
tain capabilities in each student. They are 

♦ integrative capability, or the ability to recognize that engineering 
is an integrative process in which analysis and synthesis are sup- 
ported by sensitivity to societal need and environmental fragility. 

♦ analysis capability, the critical thinking skills that underlie prob- 
lem definition — these derive from in-depth understanding of the 
physical, life and mathematical sciences, the humanities, and the 
social sciences. 

♦ innovation and synthesis capability, the ability to create and 
implement useful systems and products, including their design 
and manufacture. 

♦ contextual understanding capability, the appreciation of the eco- 
nomic, industrial, political and international environment in 
which engineering is practiced, and the ability to provide soci- 
etal leadership effectively. 

These are critical issues that the faculties of many institutions are 
addressing. The WPI Plan is an example of a "re-engineered" pro- 
gram that works, though it is labor-intensive and requires tremen- 
dous faculty involvement. The underlying theme of the Plan is that, 
from the student's perspective, there must be meaning and pur- 
pose. As T.S. Eliot wrote, "The definition of Hell is a place where 
nothing connects with nothing." By connecting different kinds of 
knowledge, the Plan provides a meaningful educational experience. 

WPI Journal 


"We need to take proactive steps to 

continuously broadcast the value of a 

liberal technical education in preparing 

men and women to accept leadership 

positions in a society that is becoming 

more and more technological." 

i ! i r ix I 


' H '^ 

"As a nation-and as a profession- 

we must recognize the extraordinary 

opportunities that exist in global 

alliances. We must teach our students 

to appreciate the beauty of diverse 

cultures, just as the brilliance of a 

tapestry comes from the blending of 

many colors of thread." 

Top photo, Kenneth James '90, left, and Ira Nydick '90 

did an IQP evaluating the AIDS drug approval process. 

Bottom photo, students perform a ceremonial dragon 

dance at WPI's 1993 Cultural Festival. 


Conclusions and Implications 


here do we go from here? As a community of scholars, we 
should consider these recommendations: 

National Purpose 

Americans have always been individualists, but we have also had a 
strong, common purpose at our core. We have relied on a common will 
and a shared culture. We need to rejuvenate and strengthen our nation- 
al purpose and ensure that our national agenda reflects our values. 

Ability to Respond 

Apathy and negativism can become self-fulfilling prophecies. We 
need to respond to the challenges we face in engineering education 
in an organized manner and with excitement and vigor. 

Change of Culture 

As educators, we are privileged to be members of a noble profes- 
sion. We are charged with opening the minds of our students, and 
challenging and stretching their imaginations. We must not be afraid 
to open our own minds, as well, and we certainly should not be 
afraid of the changes we need to undergo. For the fact is, those 
changes will require courage and a sense of purpose. 

We need to change the role of the faculty and the reward system 
to value the integration, synthesis and application of knowledge, as 
well as the discovery of new knowledge. Alliances need to be estab- 
lished with the industrial sector, though they will not occur 

Change in Image 

We need to take proactive steps to continuously broadcast the 
value of a liberal technical education in preparing men and women 
to accept leadership positions in a society that is becoming more 
and more technological. And we must be sure that the education we 
offer the next generation emphasizes the importance of studying the 
impact of technology on society. 

We must also vigorously seek to improve our societal view of 
engineering. Recently, when a light bulb in my hotel room needed to 
be changed, I called housekeeping and was told, "Our engineer will 
be there right away." That does not match my image of engineering. 

Celebrate Diversity of Cultures 

As a nation — and as a profession — we must recognize the extraordi- 
nary opportunities that exist in global alliances. We must teach our 
students to appreciate the beauty of diverse cultures, just as the 
brilliance of a tapestry comes from the blending of many colors of 
thread. And we must emphasize the importance of learning lan- 
guages in our increasingly global economy. 


e must respond to these exciting challenges; too much is at 
stake to let these opportunities pass. We need to pave a path 
for the next generation, giving them hope and high aspirations. The 
job before us will require enormous energy and leadership. And 
there is no time to lose. As the Red Queen says to Alice in Through 
the Looking Glass, "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you 
can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, 
you must run at least twice as fast as that!" 

Apelian is provost and Howmet Professor at WPl. This article was excerpt- 
ed from his Alpha Sigma Mu Lecture, presented at the annual conference 
of the American Society for Metals in Pittsburgh on Oct. 18, 1993. 

Winter 1994 

It was an accident that 
got mechanical 

engineering professor 

Jack Boyd into teaching, 

but a natural talent and a 

deep-seated love for 

students has kept him at 

it for 35 years. Now, on 
the eve of his retirement, 

he shares his thoughts 

on education and WPI. 

By Raymond R. Bert '93 


he description on my schedule sheet for the spring of 1990 
reads simply — ES3001: Stat. Dev. of Class. Thermo.; Instructor: 

JL Boyd, J.M. (ME). Nowhere on the sheet is there any hint of just 
how different this class will be from all the others I've taken or will 
eventually take. 

Enter an older man. perhaps in his late 50s, with gray hair, glasses 
and a conservative jacket and tie. Speaking in a clear and direct style, 
but with an inflection that reminds one of a storyteller, he outlines the 
mechanics of the course and distributes the hrst of many typewritten 
handouts — complete with some god-awful handwriting. 

"There will be no exams until the end of the course, " he says to his 
mildly stunned audience. "The bulk of the work will be in the form of 
group projects and reports on those projects. The emphasis of my class 
is on gaining functional literacy. I'm not concerned that you remember 
everything off the top of your head, but I am concerned that you know 
how to work out a problem from start to hnish and understand what 
you 've done along the way. " 

Halfway through my sophomore year, I'm just beginning to get com- 
fortable with learning the blood and guts of mechanical engineering. 
Now I'm going to learn a new way to learn, as well. Thus am I intro- 
duced to Jack Boyd. 

WPI Journal 


Teaching, and showing budding engineers 
how to learn, is what John M. Boyd does 
best. As a professor of mechanical engineer- 
ing for 35 years, the last 28 at WPI, Boyd has 
helped guide thousands of students through 
the learning process. He is widely respected 
(if often disagreed with) for his teaching 
methods and for his honest opinions about 

Boyd says his own education and self-dis- 
covery during his college years were instru- 
mental in developing the philosophies that 
have shaped and guided his career. He took 
me on a walking tour of that stage of his life, 
pausing frequently to make note of curiosi- 
ties and the alternate routes he took along 
the way. 

Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, a 
poor steel town, Boyd did not drift naturally 
into college after high school. "I went to 
work for the Ford Agency as an apprentice 
mechanic," he recalls. "It didn't take me too 
long to realize that it was not such a good 
idea. I decided then to go to college. At $100 
a year, Ohio State was the only place I could 

Enrolling initially as an electrical engi- 
neer at the 25,000-student university, Boyd 
felt a bit lost in the hugeness of the school. 
"Can 1 tell you a story?" he asks. "I started 
out my first semester with no idea what I 
was doing. I was given a schedule to fill in 
my classes. So I started filling them in — one 
at 8 o'clock, one at 9, one at 10, 11, a break 
for lunch, 12:30, 1:30 — eight courses in all." 
He laughs at the memory of his naivete. 

He straightened that out, but eventually 
switched out of electrical engineering, intim- 
idated by what he saw as the superior 
knowledge of many of his peers, who had 
mastered the language of the field. "Looking 
back," Boyd notes, "that was probably my 
first encounter with the notion of a distinct 
difference between knowing facts and jargon 
and truly understanding concepts." 

Starting an example problem during 
a lecture in his thermodynamics 
class, Boyd, as usual, begins with a 
complete statement of the first law 
of thermodynamics. After detailing 
certain specific conditions and 
assumptions, he reduces the lengthy 
expression to a much shorter and 
simpler equation. 

"This expression, " he says, "is 
also called the Bernoulli equation. 
Now you'll see people approach 
problems all the time by starting off 
with this equation, because these 
are very common conditions. But 
ask someone what the Bernoulli 
equation is — its essence, where it 

came from — and often they won 't 
know, because they don 't start at 
the beginning. Make a slight change 
in the assumptions and they don 't 
know what to do. Now you know. " 
Still do. 

Electrical power systems' loss was thermo- 
dynamics' gain, as Boyd graduated with a 
bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering 
in 1952. He quickly landed a job with General 
Electric Co.; as before, though, his gut told 
him it wasn't right. 

A friend of his at the University of Massa- 
chusetts wrote to Donald Zwiep, then head 
of WPI's Mechanical Engineering Depart- 
ment (and now department head emeritus), 
telling him of Boyd's availability. On a visit 
to campus, Boyd also met a few other young 
professors, including Hartley Grandin Jr. and 
Raymond Hagglund, both of whom are still 
on the WPI faculty. Boyd was impressed 
enough to accept a position as an associate 
professor in the department. But that is not 
to say that he liked everything about the 
program as it was then run. 

"1 started in June," he says, "and I literally 
walked in the door and knew. I quit that 
same August." He was subsequently drafted 
and spent two years in the U.S. Army. ("I 
reached the illustrious rank of Pfc," he 
notes wryly.) Discovering he could get out of 
the service a little early to go back to school, 
Boyd enrolled at Ohio State, this time as a 
graduate student. 

"I was hired as a research assistant for a 
heart valve project, but the grant was pulled," 
he says. "So instead, I became a teaching 
assistant for a thermodynamics class. As it 
turned out — you have to understand my 
whole career has been based on a series of 
accidents — the professor had a heart attack 
and I was forced to teach the class." 

Thrown in cold, Boyd quickly made a 
major discovery: "I loved it. I was terrified, 
but I loved it." Testimony to his gift for 
teaching was his appointment in short order 
to a position as a full-time instructor while 
he was still enrolled in graduate school. "Of 
course," he adds, "as a result it took me 10 
years to finish my Ph.D." 

After earning his doctorate in 1962 and 
receiving a promotion to assistant profes- 
sor, Boyd married; soon after, he and his 
wife decided to move nearer the East Coast. 
"I looked at several schools, but had never 
heard of WPI," he says. 

Going through the archives of New- 
speak, WPI's student newspaper, 
one day, I came across the May 8, 
1984, edition. A front-page article 
headlined "The Great Debate" 
described a debate between Boyd 
and William Grogan, then dean of 
undergraduate studies. The two 
held opposing views on the direc- 
tion the WPI Plan should take. 

The striking part is not the arti- 
cle, but the accompanying photo- 
graph of the combatants (above). 
While his opponent is pictured in a 
fairly neutral posture, Boyd, leaning 
forward and jabbing his fingers 
toward his chest, is obviously loudly 
voicing a point. 

The picture conveys energy, fire 
in the belly. It depicts a man who 
cares deeply, a man who is commit- 
ted to a vision of excellence, and a 
man who will fight to keep it from 
being compromised. Call me 
biased, but I'll bet he won. 

What had been left out to this point in our 
conversation was a major — perhaps the 
major — turning point in the self-discovery of 
Jack Boyd. This kind of dramatic revela- 


Winter 1994 

tion — a singular, seemingly innocuous event 
that forever changes a person — is supposed 
to happen only in the movies. Yet here he 
was describing one vividly as he pulled a 
well-worn book from a shelf next to his desk. 
"During my graduate student days at 
Ohio State, I had an epiphany," he says. 
"See, I had made good grades simply 
because I worked my tail off. But I had little 
confidence that I could do anything. Then, 
wandering around a bookstore one 
Saturday, I came across this book, Lectures 
On Physics by Richard Feynman — a Nobel 
Prize winner, incidentally. On the very first 
page was a picture of Feynman playing the 
bongos. I found it utterly fascinating and 
bought it. 

While talking to Boyd in his office 
one day, we were interrupted by a 
pair of students knocking on his 
door. As they posed their question 
about the latest project in Boyd's 
thermodynamics class, it occurred 
to me that the scene unfolding 
before my eyes, though unremark- 
able, was so typical of the man. As 
he conferred with the students, he 
displayed the same air of stern 
sagacity and fatherly kindness that I 
remembered so well. 

The crux of the students ' inquiry 
was how to improve their initially 
rejected report to a level of accept- 

Boyd talks with Philip Muller '94. In 
his teaching, Boyd aims to give his 
students a "functional literacy." 

"I took it home and started reading it. 1 
thought, 'My God, I can understand this!' 
That same morning I began to re-educate 
myself. This is where you start, these are the 
assumptions — that's the way 1 teach. That's 
how you understand." 

That is the experience Boyd brought 
with him to WP1. In terms of education, he'd 
seen the good and the bad. Now, in his opin- 
ion, he was being introduced to the ugly. 
"Here was a school of only 1,400 men that 
was highly structured and rigid — even more 
so than Ohio State," he says. "1 became 
aware rather quickly that there was a grow- 
ing dissatisfaction with the rigidity — and 
even sterility — of the curriculum." 

The thrill of learning and understanding 
he himself had felt led him to want the same 
for his students. He wanted them to be 
swept up in the wonder and the challenge of 
it all. The development of his teaching style 
was born of that experience. 

ability. "What do we do to fix this?" 
they asked. Boyd responded simply, 
"Do what needs to be done. " 

The answer was so simple, so 
fundamental, that to ask for clari- 
hcation would have sounded fool- 
ish. The students nodded and left. 
Surely such an off-the-cuff remark 
was not intended to say as much as 
it did, but in six words Boyd ex- 
plained much of the learning 
process as he professes it. Pro- 
fessors may teach, but students 
must actively learn to think for 

"I was unhappy with the curriculum here," 
Boyd says about his early days at WPI. "I 
shot my mouth off a lot. As a result, I joined 
a group appointed by then President Storke 
to look into changes in the way we educated 

The committee's efforts were to lay the 
groundwork for the WPI Plan. Boyd says the 
members went back to the faculty and asked 

to be elected as a planning committee to 
make it clear that it would be the professors, 
not the administrators, who would shape 
the new curriculum that the faculty would 
ultimately have to implement. Of the exhaus- 
tive work of this committee of six, Boyd sim- 
ply exclaims, "It was the most incredible 
experience of my professional life; what an 

Debating and proposing and revising for 
endless hours, the committee eventually 
conceptualized the Plan. From an academic 
calendar based on seven-week terms, to the 
required projects, to the competency exam, 
the curriculum underwent radical changes. 

"The philosophy we set forth was that 
the minimum amount of time spent doing 
projects should be 25 percent," Boyd recalls. 
"The idea was to learn all about learning and 
about your discipline before undertaking the 
Major Qualifying Project. In many ways we 
tried to emphasize the general over the spe- 
cialized, to ensure that everyone had a prop- 
er grounding in the fundamentals." 

With the Institute adopting an education- 
al philosophy much closer to his heart, 
Boyd began to fashion each of his courses 
into a mini-Plan, replete with independent 
reading, group projects and all-or-nothing 
competency exams. He has stuck to that 
form to this day, demanding that students 
leave his class with a solid understanding — 
a functional literacy — in whatever area he 
was teaching. 

"I'm not a very good mechanical engi- 
neer, in the traditional design sense," Boyd 
tells me one day. "No kidding. I'm not very 
bright. But that's what helps, because I've 
fallen into all the same pits my students do." 
He is proud of his teaching, a fact as clear as 
his passion for it. 

That passion is also what makes him a 
stickler in the classroom. There are no C's in 
Boyd's courses. You must pass one exam 
just to demonstrate your functional literacy. 
For that you earn a B. Pass another, more 
difficult exam, and you earn an A. And when 
he says you must earn a B on that first exam, 
you will not pass the course until you do. 
Yes, your error may have been a momentary 
oversight, but it may also indicate a misun- 
derstanding of a basic point. But you may 
also take the test again; in fact, you may take 
it several times, if you need to. No matter 
that it's two terms later and you are no 
longer enrolled in the course; show Boyd 
that you know your stuff and you'll pass. 

By the end of Introductory Fluid 
Mechanics I knew Boyd fairly well, 
having been to his office many 
times to talk about class projects. 
He always managed to be helpful 

WPI Journal 


without shifting the burden of under- 
standing away from me — a hne line 
he walked with apparent ease. 

Having already passed the com- 
petency exam for my B, I stopped 
by to pick up the second exam — the 
one that would determine if I would 
receive an A in the course. Pulling 
my test out of the stack, Boyd 
glanced over it and handed it to me 
almost apologetically. He explained 
that though most of my analysis 
was correct, there was a basic error 
in one of my assumptions. 

"I know it was probably inadver- 
tent, " he said of the sign I had re- 
versed, "and I wanted to overlook 

ations filled out by his students and you will 
see that he is held in high esteem by the 
vast majority. 

For every student with a distaste for his 
style, there are five who wildly endorse his 
methods, which kept them up until all hours 
of the night, because people learn in his 
classes. Put aside Boyd's own protestations 
of being "not too bright," because the stu- 
dents know the real story. 

Near the end of my sophomore 
year, having nearly completed my 
second course in the Boydian 
method, I received a notice request- 
ing nominations for WPI's Trustees ' 
Award for Outstanding Teaching. 

it, but it involved too basic a princi- 
ple and I couldn 7. " Uncompro- 
mising. Fair. Exactly what I would 
expect from him. I had made a sim- 
ilar error in the "A test" for the ther- 
modynamics course. So my record 
shows two B's from Jack Boyd, 
which represents more learning 
than took place in any other course 
I took, regardless of the grades I 

Boyd is not liked by some students for what 
they see as his unyielding attitude. And 
there may well have been instances where 
he was a little too stubborn — too dedicated 
to his cause. But glance at the course evalu- 

Knowing several other students 
who would also feel that Professor 
Boyd deserved the honor, I began to 
hll out the form. 

It was then that I noticed that the 
nomination form included a list of 
past winners and a reminder that 
those winners are not eligible for 
future awards. There, near the top 
of the list, was: "1976.. Jack Boyd. " 
During my junior year, Boyd was 
named Best Professor in the first 
campuswide poll of students con- 
ducted by the student newspaper. It 
was an honor he would capture 
again the following year. 

Over the years, Boyd's passion for education 
and for WPI have led him to repeatedly ques- 
tion the school's commitment to the ideals of 
the Plan. He raised his voice against the elim- 
ination of the Competency Exam and the 
return to more standard course distribution 
requirements. He is raising it again as WPI 
considers what's been dubbed "Plan II." 

As he talks about these battles, some of 
the bitterness born of years of knocking 
hard against the administrative wall comes 
out. "First of all," he says, "what we need is 
for the faculty to come together and be fully 
invested in this new plan. At the same time 
that the original Plan was being formulated, 
we put together a faculty governance sys- 
tem. We had, at that time, a cohesive faculty 
being. We do not have that now." 

In an annual report he wrote for the 
provost and the head of the Mechanical En- 
gineering Department, Boyd voiced similar 
sentiments: "We desperately need an educa- 
tional study by a deeply committed elected 
faculty committee — with no administrative 
members." In that report, Boyd also present- 
ed a critique of the current system and a 
proposal for WPI to break the mold again in 
academic innovation. 

Shaking his head, Boyd laments, "It's 
gone. The excitement, the aspirations to be 
the best. The Plan was originally designed 
for up to 1,600 students, but it was used as a 
marketing tool to nearly double the school's 
population. The competency exam was 
abandoned in 1986, and engineering schools 
today are still too closely linked to vocation. 
We tend to train technicians rather than 
educate technologists." 

As he speaks about the problems he sees 
WPI facing in the coming years, Boyd seems 
tired. He's fought this fight once before, and 
he's not prepared to do it again two decades, 
later. Asked hypothetically if he would 
answer a call to help shape Plan II, he says 
no. Professor Boyd will retire at the end of 
the current academic year. 

Two years after my last class with 
Boyd, we met in the hall of Higgins 
Laboratories. We hadn 't spoken in 
quite a while, since my interest in 
materials science had taken me 
away from his held of expertise. He 
inquired as to the progress of my 
studies, and I told him that I had 
recently decided to add a second 
major in English. He seemed fasci- 
nated by the combination and 
asked if he could see my major pro- 
ject for the English degree when it 
was complete. 

It was a brief conversation, but it 
left a smile on my face. For all of 


Winter 1994 

with NCAIED. He says Indians come to the 
center to learn about business from success- 
ful Indian businesspeople in the company of 
other prospective business owners. They 
can participate in workshops and programs 
on all aspects of business ownership — from 

identifying a need to establishing an employ- 
ees' credit program. 

"They stay until they become good 
enough to fly on their own — up to two 
years," Wimmergren says. "During my seven 
months at the center I worked with 12 

Left, Wimmergren on the Navajo res- 
ervation in Arizona. Below, Navajo 
children dressed to learn about tradi- 
tional tribal dances. 

American Indian volunteers who had experi- 
ence — and often college degrees — in mar- 
keting, human relations, finance and other 

As a volunteer at the center, Wimmer- 
gren assisted with the implementation of 
aspects of its mission statement by working 
to develop and increase the region's Indian- 
owned and managed businesses, enlarge the 
Indian work force, and help those on the 
reservation forge a more secure future by 
establishing business relationships between 
Indian enterprises and private industry. He 
also helped set up an incubator system for 
new businesses and wrote The Entrepre- 
neur's Business Development Primer for Start- 
ing a Small Business to enable Indian people 
to learn at their own pace about marketing, 
finances, human relations, and other aspects 
of business ownership. 

"NCAIED's ultimate goal is to help tribes 
reduce their dependence on federal and 
state welfare assistance by teaching them 
to organize their resources, adopt sound 
management techniques, and become eco- 
nomically viable on their reservation," says 
Wimmergren, who notes that the foundation 
for success already exists. 

"Native Americans in the Southwest own 
land that contains valuable resources. 
Coupled with the tourist industry (which 
offers opportunities to manufacture and sell 
Native American products) and the tribes' 
own need to provide goods and services for 
themselves, the Indians have the potential 
to achieve a self-sustaining economy and, 
ultimately, a higher standard of living." 

The problem, he says, is that the tribes 
often live in isolated areas where running 
water and electricity aren't available, so 
they don't know what tourists need or ex- 
pect. "They have to be eased into this 
awareness; that's one of the functions of the 
center — to introduce Indians to the world 
beyond the reservation, the world from 
which much of their business will come." 

The key to success rests with individual 
members of the tribe — not outsiders, says 
Wimmergren, who with his wife will contin- 
ue to work with the center and with the indi- 
viduals they've gotten to know in the com- 
munities it serves. "If the Indian is going to 
be better off it will be because of Indian 
efforts and that means starting their own 
businesses. We want to help them as much 
as we can." 

WPI Journal 




Alma Mater W. R I. 








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Celebrating 25 Years 
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WPI Journal 





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O Pioneers! 

Joan Killough-Miller and Bonnie Gelbwasser 

After more than a century as a single-sex institution, WPI finally opened its doors 
to women undergraduates 25 years ago. For the women who've enrolled since 
then, there have been challenges, triumphs — and lots of memories. 


Michael Dorsey 

From cordless phones to wireless office networks to multibillion-dollar satellite 
communication systems, technology for sending information without wires 
promises to transform our lives. WPI is playing a major role in making it happen. 

On the Flash Track at Foxwoods 

Ruth Trask and Michael Dorsey 

The massive Foxwoods Casino and Resort has risen nearly overnight from the 
woods of southeastern Connecticut. Here is the story of nine WPI alumni who 
helped bring about what some call the "Legend in Ledyard." 


9 Advance Word Joan Killough-Miller 
What They Dared to Do. 

A Communique Alfred R. Doig Jr. 
First Impressions. 

£ Investigations Michael Dorsey 

Decoding Object Recognition; How Trust Saves Money in the 
Construction Industry; The Physics of Fiber-Optic Amplifiers; Casting 
Light on Lost-Foam Casting. 

1Q Explorations Bonnie Gelbwasser 

Fine-Tuning New Zealand's Fire Codes; Saving the Urban Forests; 
Helping the Sierra Club Save the Environment. 

QO Final Word Michael Dorsey 

Saved by Schindler, Michael Klein Got On With His Life. 

Cover: Images from the first 25 years of women undergraduates at WPI. The "firsts" pictured on 
the front cover are, clockwise from upper left, Denise C. Gorski 75, first woman to be Student 
Government president; Jayne Rossetti, left, and Leslie Small Zorabedian 72, the first two women 
undergraduates; Suzanne Call Margerum '81, the first woman inducted into the WPI Athletic Hall of 
Fame; and Judy Bagdis Largesse 77, the first woman undergraduate to be chosen Homecoming 
Queen. Photo by Janet Woodcock. Story on page 12. Opposite: "The Rainmaker," a 12-foot acrylic- 
sculpture that dominates the concourse of the newest casino at the Mashantucket Pequot's 
Foxwoods Casino and Resort in Ledyard, Conn. Photo by Janet Woodcock. Story on page 28. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor. Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller, Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • 
Contributing Designer (pp. 2-3, 12-21), Carol Hoyle Ballard • Photographer, Janet Woodcock. Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • Paul J. Cleary 71 • James S. 
Demetry '58 • Judith Donahue SIM '82 • William J. Firla Jr. '60 • William R. Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148- 
6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane 
Press, Burlington, Vt Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or officio/ WPI policies. We welcome letters to the editor Address correspondence to the Editor. WPI Journal. 
WPI. 100 Institute Road. Worcester. MA 01609-2280. Phone: (508) 831-5609. FAX: (508) 831-5604. Electronic Mail (Internet), Postmaster If undeliverable. please send form 3579 
to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1994, Worcester Polytechnic Institute 


What They Dared to Do 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

Editor's Note: Twenty-five years ago, WPI 
became a coeducational university. In cover- 
age beginning on page 12, we look at how the 
college made that transition after more than a 
century as an all-male institution and hear 
from women graduates about their experi- 
ences during the past quarter century. 

The 25th anniversary of the arrival of 
women undergraduates was noted on April 16 
with a special celebration on campus, 
"Women at WPI: Challenges and Achieve- 
ments! Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. " We 
preface our coverage of this important 
milestone with a report on that event. 

It was a time to shine, despite the pouring 
rain that soaked alumnae, students, 
faculty and staff as they scurried through 
cloudbursts between Alden Memorial and 
Riley Commons, reluctant to miss a word of 
a program 25 years in the making. The gath- 
ering was part reunion and all celebration. 

With more than 500 women undergradu- 
ates currently on campus and 142 "fresh- 
women" expected in the Class of 1998, the 
Institute has come a long way from 1968, 
when the first two female undergraduates 
entered, noted Bernard H. Brown, vice presi- 

dent for student affairs. Brown praised the 
first women to integrate WPI, calling them 
articulate and self-confident. "They quickly 
became part of the solution to everything 
that faced them on campus," he said. 

Helen Vassallo '82 (M.B.A.), head of the 
Management Department, moderated a 
panel discussion titled "Challenges and 
Achievements — What I Dared to Do!" She set 
the tone with poetry and quotations. 


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Blending past and present, 
student, professor and pro- 
fessional, the panel featured 
Holly Keyes Ault 74, assis- 
tant professor of mechani- 
cal engineering, Susan and 
Karen Daly of the Class of 
1994, who are just venturing 
out into the world of gradu- 
ate school and jobs, Patricia 
Graham Flaherty 75, owner 
of Graham Flaherty Infor- 
mation Systems, and John 
van Alstyne, retired mathe- 
matics professor and dean 
of academic advising. 

"I hate pedestals," de- 
clared van Alstyne as he 
stepped down from the 
podium to address his audience on a level 
footing. His reminiscences and encourage- 
ment drew a standing ovation from his for- 
mer advisees, who looked upon him as a 
counselor, father figure, and unflagging 
source of support. 

Later in the program, "van 
A" — "a special name for a spe- 
cial man, full of fondness and 
affection" — was called back on 
stage to receive the 1993 
William R. Grogan Award for 
exceptional service to WPI, 
which he was unable to accept 
in person last year. The award 
is named for his colleague and 
friend Bill Grogan, dean emeri- 
tus of undergraduate studies. 

Spring 1994 


Roundtable discussions on such topics 
as "Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling" and 
"Women's Issues at WPI" allowed for small- 
group interaction between different genders 
and generations. The groups discussed 
treatment in the work- 
place, balancing career, 
family and personal 
needs, as well as current 
campus issues: day care, 
equal opportunity in ath- 
letics, and mentoring and 
support for women, who 
still make up only 20 per- 
cent of WPI's student 

The male-to-female 
ratio at WPI was seen as 
good preparation for the 
workplace, where women 
engineers can still expect 
to be in the minority. 
"But what are we doing to 
help men adjust?" one 
alum asked. As WPI stu- 
dents, women are being 
prepared to deal with 
men and let sexist treat- 
ment roll off their backs, participants 
agreed. "Perhaps we are overpreparing 
them," one woman commented, speculating 
that "WPI desensitizes us to comments other 
women may see as harassment." 

During lunch, the assembly was 
addressed by WPI President Jon C. Strauss 
and keynote speaker Jane Shaw, president 
and COO of Alza Corp. and a 1992 recipient 
of an honorary doctorate from WPI. Shaw, 
who attributed her success in the pharma- 

e are working 
against our condi- 
tioned instincts. The cur- 
rent shift in the paradigm 
of the business world 
provides opportunities for 
women to succeed without 
having to adapt to playing 
the game by men 's rules. " 

— Jane Shaw 

ceutical industry to a combination of luck 
and vision, charged members of the audi- 
ence to be true to their value systems and 
remain optimistic. She projected a busi- 
ness environment in which women could 
be valued for their 
talent for teamwork 
and their tolerance 
for diversity. 

The program 
concluded with a 
videotaped presen- 
tation by Lora Brueck, 
WPI archivist and spe- 
cial collections librar- 
ian, who also arranged 
a display of photo- 
graphs and news clip- 
pings chronicling the 
history of women at 
WPI. Her tape told the 
story through inter- 
views and press cover- 
age from the early days 
of coeducation to the 
current campus scene. 
The last vestiges o 
those first 100 all-male 
years will soon disappear, Brown said. To 
hearty laughter and applause he announced 
that the urinals in the women's bathrooms 
of Sanford Riley Hall, where the first women 
undergraduates were housed, will be 
removed when the building is renovated in 
1995. "They were home to flower pots, 
Halloween decorations, art deco drawings 
and many memories," he said. "I suggest we 
have one bronzed, appropriately labeled by 
our women, and placed in the archives." 

WPI Journal 


First Impressions 

By Alfred R. Doig Jr., 
Vice President for 
University Relations 

It hardly seems possible that 
it has been almost a year 
since I joined WP1. The mem- 
ory of my first day on the 
job, in late August 1993, is still 
fresh. It seemed as though I had 
hopped aboard a speeding train. 
The academic year had just be- 
gun; with it came the rapid pace 
of seven-week terms. That ca- 
dence was more than matched 
by the energy of an innovative 
and ambitious institution. 

In the ensuing year, as I've 
taken part in the many activi- 
ties, pageants and celebrations 
so familiar and so important to 
WPI alumni and friends, things 
haven't slowed a bit. Still, I've 
caught my breath enough to 
offer you my initial impressions 
of WPI. First, let me back up to 
the spring of 1993 when it be- 
came clear that I was being con- 
sidered for the post of vice 
president for university relations. To secure 
the job, I decided I'd better make a full- 
speed-ahead, frontal assault on WPI. 

As a first step, I thought that I should 
visit the campus and learn something about 
the institution from its buildings and facili- 
ties. I must confess, even though I grew up 
in Massachusetts and had been to Worces- 
ter many times, I had no idea where WPI 
was. But with a city map in hand, I made my 
way to Salisbury Street, up West Street, and 
into the visitors' parking area. Now I was 
ready to fulfill my two objectives: to walk 
through some academic buildings and to 
secure an undergraduate catalog. 

From the beauty and well-manicured 
appearance of the campus and the high 
quality of the buildings and facilities, I 
gained a positive feeling for WPI's values 
and the sense of pride it takes in itself. The 
undergraduate catalog introduced me to the 
WPI Plan, an educational concept I found 
immediately attractive. I would make two 

Al Doig with his twin sons, Ian, top, and Andrew. 

more visits — one with spouse and children, 
and another to Gordon Library to bone up 
for my first interview. 

Yankee baseball great Yogi Berra is re- 
ported to have said, "When you come to a 

"This is a wonderful 

institution, for which all 

graduates, parents and 

friends can be justly proud. " 

fork in the road, take it." By the end of that 
interview, I felt I had arrived at a fork; I knew 
this was where I wanted to work. As good 
fortune would have it, President Strauss 
offered me the chance to take the fork and I 
accepted almost immediately. 

Since then, I've expanded on my first 
impressions. For example, I can tell those of 
you who have not been back to campus for 
some time to rest assured that your alma 

mater continues to be an out- 
standing institution still dedicat- 
ed to helping students develop 
academically and in other dim- 
ensions. It has preserved all that 
is valuable in the private higher 
education system, such as class- 
es taught by dedicated faculty in 
a supportive and intellectually 
stimulating environment. 

You should also know that 
the WPI Plan, now two decades 
old, is still a model for others to 
emulate. Even now, this unique 
pedagogical approach is being 
studied by many other colleges 
and universities, including that 
institution on the Charles River 
in Cambridge known for its engi- 
neering program (a place where 
1 worked for 13 years, by the 
way). With its emphasis on mix- 
ing practice and theory, the 
Plan is a more centered curricu- 
lum than you will find at any 
| other university. 

Among WPI's faculty and 
i| staff, the people responsible for 
= upholding the Institute's tradi- 
tion of excellence, there is an 
undeniable spirit of pragmatism that I find 
quite refreshing. It results in a no-nonsense, 
"let's-get-the-job-done" attitude. I think this 
attitude — and the success it has made possi- 
ble — are part of the reason WPI's work force 
is so amazingly stable. This is also a warm 
and welcoming community. I've been 
received with genuine openness, as have the 
ideas I've brought with me. 

My experience at WPI has truly exceeded 
my expectations. This is a wonderful institu- 
tion, for which all graduates, parents and 
friends can be justly proud. It's an institu- 
tion grounded on a fine tradition of academ- 
ic excellence and programmatic innovation. 
I guess a good indication of how I feel 
about WPI is that I know I would have 
enjoyed being a student here. But perhaps 
an even more telling measure of my belief in 
the programs and mission of this institution 
is how pleased and proud I would be were 
either — or both — of my sons to enroll here 
in the Class of 2012. 

Spring 1994 


Unlocking the 
Puzzle of Object 

During World War II, gunners on Navy 
ships were given cards depicting the 
silhouettes of allied and enemy aircraft. With 
these, they could learn to quickly distin- 
guish between friend and foe as they 
watched planes fly against the background 
of a bright sky. 

The science of object recognition has 
evolved significantly since then, driven for- 
ward in recent decades by amazing ad- 
vances in the power and 
speed of computers. But 
despite all that progress, in 
some fundamental ways mod- 
ern object recognition pro- 
grams share surprising simi- 
larities to the system used by 
those sailors 50 years ago. 

In most of the systems 
now in use, a computer 
attempts to identify an object 
by comparing its image to a 
collection of views of various 
objects stored in its memory 
in the form of computer mod- 
els. Much like the sailors 
scanning the aircraft silhou- 
ettes, the computer must sort 
through all of the models in 
its memory — and all of the 
views they contain — looking 
for the one view that most 
closely resembles the image 
it sees. The process is time 
consuming and requires expensive or un- 
weildy computers. 

To make their object recognition pro- 
grams run faster, designers often limit the 
number of views through which the system 
must sort, notes David Cyganski, professor 
of electrical and computer engineering at 
WP1. "Most people recognize the impossibili- 
ty of searching through all possible varia- 
tions," he says, "so they try to incorporate 
into their programs some reduction in the 
dimensionalities of the search required." 

But the simpler the search becomes, he 
adds, the higher the probability that the 
computer will make an incorrect match. If 
that computer is part of a missile guidance 
system or a targeting system on board a tor- 
pedo, a bad match could have disastrous 
consequences. For that reason, the U.S. mili- 

tary has long been interested in developing 
faster and more accurate ways to get a com- 
puter to recognize objects. 

Toward that end, the federal Advanced 
Research Projects Agency (formerly the 
Defense Advanced Research Projects 
Agency) is supporting research by Cyganski, 
Richard Vaz, assistant professor of electrical 
and computer engineering, and John Orr, 
head of the Electrical and Computer 
Engineering Department, with $435,000 
toward what is ultimately expected to be a 
three-year, $900,000 award. With the ARPA 
funds, the researchers will develop a totally 
new approach to object recognition — an 
approach that could be used in applications 
as diverse as navigation systems for auton- 

security in sending computer messages," he 
notes. "In fact, our model-building process is 
really an attempt to create a decoding algo- 
rithm." Much like a traditional object recog- 
nition program, the process begins with a 
series of views of an object, showing it from 
a variety of angles. But instead of simply 

"There is a parallel between 
our system and public key 
encryption systems. ...Our 
model-building process is 
really an attempt to create 
a decoding algorithm. " 

From left, Cyganski, Orr and Vaz are teaching computers to recognize objects in real time. 

omous vehicles and devices that automati- 
cally identify fingerprints. 

According to Cyganski, the new system 
avoids the pitfalls of earlier systems by elim- 
inating the need to create models that phys- 
ically represent objects, and by dividing the 
process of object recognition into two dis- 
tinct phases. 

In the first phase, object models are crea- 
ted. This computationally intensive process 
is done off-line, yielding the models that are 
then used to identify objects in real time in a 
simple and quick procedure that requires lit- 
tle in the way of computer power. What 
makes this second phase so fast, Cyganski 
says, is the novel way in which the models 
are created. 

"There is a parallel between our system 
and public key encryption systems used for 

recording the information in those views, 
the computer mathematically transforms 
the data — in a sense, boiling the object 
down to its essence. 

That mathematical essence is an equa- 
tion that is analogous to a decoder. "The 
largest computers built in the early days of 
computing were created to break enemy 
codes," Cyganski says. "It took a tremendous 
amount of computer power. But once bro- 
ken, a code could be decoded on a sheet of 
paper. Similarly, we expend a great deal of 
computer time off-line to 'break the code' 
and create these fairly simple models." 

If the models are decoders, the messages 
they decode are the images of unknown 
objects. The object recognition system 
processes each message with the various 
object models in its memory. One of those 

WPI Journal 

models will include the right code and 
reveal the message. "The message, simply, is 
'here is what 1 am and this is how 1 am ori- 
ented,'" Vaz notes. 

In fact, Vaz says, the actual products of 
the processing stage are two quantities. The 
first is a measure of how confident the 
computer is that the object it has selected is 
the right one. The second represents the 
object's orientation in space. 

Because the object models are actually 
compact analytical representations, rather 
than collections of different views of an 
object, they take up far less computer mem- 
ory than the models for traditional object 
recognition systems. In fact, the models for 
all of the targets a particular missile tracking 
system might encounter could be stored on 
a standard CD ROM disc. More important, a 
computer can process images with the mod- 
els in a fraction of the time most object 
recognition programs need to identify an 
object, making it possible to recognize 
objects in real time. 

The system that Cyganski, Vaz and Orr 
are developing differs in another important 
respect from traditional object recognition 
systems, Vaz says. "Most such systems can 
process only a certain type of imagery," he 
says. "For example, they work only for video 
images or sonar data. Our system will work 
for any kind of real or complex image data — 
from visible light, to synthetic aperture ra- 
dar data, to thermal signatures — or for any 
combination of these. The algorithm doesn't 
change at all. The only thing that changes is 
the nature of the models." 

The simplicity and versatility of the new 
object recognition system will make it ideal 
for a wide range of military and civilian 
applications, the researchers say. For exam- 
ple, it could be used in smart sensors that 
enable a missile to seek out specific targets, 
in weapons systems to help operators iden- 
tify targets at night or in low visibility, in 
medical imaging systems to help doctors 
spot indicators of specific illnesses, and in 
parcel inspection systems to spot weapons 
or other selected objects no matter what 
their orientation. 

With the funding from ARPA, which is 
being administered by the U.S. Army 
Research Office and its Night Vision 
Laboratory, the research team, which also 
includes three graduate research assistants, 
will use images of aircraft and military ve- 
hicles obtained by the Army using various 
imaging systems to develop the computer 
models. These will then be tested to see 
how accurately they can identify objects and 

determine their orientation, even when clut- 
ter and noise are present in the images. 

At the same time, the team will be devel- 
oping a standard method of determining the 
reliability of a given object recognition system 
under optimum conditions. This method will 
enable researchers to compare the potential 
performance of various systems and the confi- 
dence one can have in their ability to identify 
objects. "This is a critical part of machine 
vision research, but at the moment it remains 
a great unknown," Orr says. 

chase various types of construction services 
and the contractors that provide those 
services. Through special task forces that 
conduct research and action groups that 
implement the results of the research, the 
institute works to improve the cost effec- 
tiveness of the construction industry. 

In 1989, Salazar was asked to join a task 
force formed to build on the work of another 
group that studied the terms and conditions 
used in construction contracts. "We looked 
at what they had done," he says. "While it 

This Research Can 
Save You Money 
...Trust Me 

In his 1946 book The Bomb and the 
Opportunity, Henry Lewis Stimson wrote, 
"The only way to make a man trustworthy is 
to trust him; and the surest way to make a 
man untrustworthy is to distrust him and 
show your distrust." That simple axiom has 
proved true in all sorts of human interac- 
tions, from marriages to nuclear arms nego- 

Now, thanks to a major study by the 
Construction Industry Institute ( C II), it has 
been shown to apply as well to relationships 
between parties in construction projects, a 
realm where trust is often in short supply, 
says Guillermo F. Salazar, associate profes- 
sor of civil engineering. Salazar, an expert on 
construction engineering and management, 
was a principal investigator on the study. 

Founded in 1983, CII is made up of a 
cross section of large companies that pur- 

was a good piece of work with practical 
applications, we decided it was not funda- 
mental enough. It left unchanged the adver- 
sarial relationship that typically develops 
between parties in construction projects." 

Salazar says the task force members 
decided they had to get to the heart of that 
antagonism, though how to achieve that 
goal was by no means clear. "We spent the 
better part of a year spinning our wheels, 
knowing that the problem was primarily one 
of attitude, but not knowing how to articu- 
late it. Finally in early 1990 we started to see 
the light. The problem, we realized, is that 
we don't trust each other." 

At one time, Salazar says, most construc- 
tion agreements between owners and con- 
tractors were sealed with a handshake. Now 
they are likely to be outlined in lengthy con- 
tracts that are aimed as much at protecting 
the parties from the others as they are at 
defining each party's obligations and expec- 

"Everyone has come to assume that the 
construction industry should be a battle- 
field," Salazar says. "Everyone on the task 
force agreed that trust was the missing ele- 

SPRING 1994 

ment in many construction relationships, 
but they also suspected that it has to be that 
way, since otherwise you might lose money 
by exposing yourself. But we wondered, 'Is 
that really true?"' 

Upon reflection, the task force agreed 
that intuitively the cost of doing business 
should decrease as trust increases, since by 
trusting one can dispense with the expense 
of defending oneself from the damage the 
other parties might do and realize the bene- 
fits of having parties working together con- 


The top curve shows the relationship 
Salazar (opposite page) and his team 
expected to see between trust and 
construction project cost. The study 
confirmed the hypothesis, as the 
bottom curve demonstrates. 

structively. They plotted a curve to illustrate 
this hypothesis. The curve shows project 
cost dropping steadily as trust increases — 
up to a point (see above). 

That point — the optimum project cost — 
they labeled rational trust. "Beyond that," 
Salazar says, "is blind trust. If you are too 
trusting you expose yourself too much, and 
if the other party takes advantage of that 
trust, it can cost you a lot of money." 

Having laid out a hypothesis, the task 
force set out to determine how to test it. The 
first step was to define what trust means for 
those in the construction industry. The defi- 
nition they settled on is "the confidence and 
reliance one party has in the professional 
competence and integrity of the other party 
to successfully execute a project in the spirit 
of open communication and fairness." 

They also defined a set of 15 indicators 

that define where trust between parties can 
be observed during different phases of a 
construction relationship. And they devel- 
oped a methodology for measuring the 
added costs (redundant efforts, cost of inde- 
cision, cost of defensive procedures) and 
avoided costs (money not spent because of 
the willingness of the parties to work togeth- 
er rather than taking defensive postures) 
associated with different levels of trust. 

After a successful pilot survey in the 
summer of 1990, CM agreed to award WPI's 

"The problem, we realized, is 
that we don't trust each other. 
Everyone has come to assume 
that the construction industry 
should be a battlefield. " 

Civil Engineering Department $176,000 to 
conduct a full-scale study. Salazar, with 
members of the task force, spent most of 
1991 developing, testing and fine-tuning a 
questionnaire. Drawing on social science 
research on trust, on multiattribute utility 
theory, and on the considerable experience 
of the task force members — and with the 
guidance of an expert in questionnaire 
design — they carefully crafted questions 
designed to elicit the data they needed from 
CI1 members and several non-members. 

To distinguish their survey from the 
many others CII members receive each year 
from various task forces — and to make it 
more fun to complete — they computerized 
it. And in another effort to boost the return 
rate, each task force member called a group 
of targeted individuals asking them to send 
it back. A hot line was established at WPI for 
anyone who had questions about using the 
computerized survey. 

As a result, 165 of the 317 surveys were 
returned, an unusually high response rate, 
Salazar says. Since several respondees repor- 
ted on more than one project, the returns 
included 262 projects. The results were ana- 
lyzed and plotted, and the resulting graph 
agreed remarkably well with the one the 
task force had drawn two years before. 

"We feel the results of the research will 
allow people to move beyond the intuitive 
concept, with which most people would 
agree, that trust can lower your costs," 
Salazar says. "We've also developed a com- 
puter program that lets people see where 
their relationships with other contracting 
parties fall on the trust curve." 

Salazar said the next phase of the effort 
includes additional research on measuring 
added and avoided costs, as well as addi- 
tional studies on trust in different cultural 
settings. More important, it includes imple- 
mentation of behavioral changes on the part 
of owners and contractors that will help 
them trust one another. These efforts are 
being undertaken by researchers at WPI and 
elsewhere in the United States and around 
the world. 

Already, Salazar says, he sees a move- 
ment toward greater trust in construction 
relationships, a movement reflected in the 
growing tendency of owners and contrac- 
tors to form partnership arrangements 
instead of traditional construction con- 
tracts. In part, he says, this is due to the eco- 
nomic pressures that are forcing companies 
to downsize and lay off technical people 
whose role was to check up on "the other 
side." But he says there is also a growing 
recognition that trust saves money. 

"All of the sudden this has become a 
philosophical movement," he says. "Things 
are changing, and people are saying, 'lets 
work in a different way.' I think our research 
has had an impact on this movement by 
showing people that while trust is not the 
only variable that affects cost, it impacts all 
of the other variables that can help them be 
more cost effective." 

Understanding the 
Physics of Fiber- 
optic Amplifiers 

Since they were first introduced just a 
few decades ago, fiber-optic cables 
have become the dominant technology for 
delivering voice and data over long dis- 
tances. Cables made from bundles of hair- 
thin glass fibers can carry far more informa- 
tion than metal wires, and that information 
can travel farther without amplification, 
making fiber optics ideal for handling the 
heavy traffic of modern telecommunications 

Despite their advantages, most fiber- 
optic systems have a weak link in the form 
of electronic amplifiers. When light speeding 
through an optical cable reaches an elec- 
tronic amplifier, it must be converted to 
electricity, amplified, and then reconverted 
to light before it can continue its journey — 
an inefficient process that reduces the over- 
all transmission speed of the system. 

WPI Journal 

In addition, electronic amplifiers can han- 
dle only one signal or data stream at a time 
and must be reprogrammed each time the 
transmission rate of the cable is changed. In 
contrast, optical amplifiers, which transmit 
light in the same way as optical fibers, can 
handle multiple signals traveling at virtually 

Quimby adjusts equipment he uses 
to study the properties of optical 
amplifiers for fiber-optic systems. 

any speed. For these reasons, along with the 
fact that they require less maintenance than 
their electronic cousins, telecommunications 
companies would like to replace all of their 
electronic amplifiers with optical devices. 

Through a quirk of nature, scientists 
have discovered that the metallic atom 
erbium is perfectly suited as an amplifier for 
the newer 1.5-micron fiber optics being used 
in a new generation of transoceanic tele- 
phone cables. But the search is still on for 
amplifiers for the older 1.3-micron fiber 
optics in use in most telephone cables 
around the world. 

One of the key players in this international 
quest is Corning Inc., the company that devel- 
oped the first low-loss optical fibers that 
made the fiber-optic communications revolu- 
tion possible. Corning recently enlisted 
Richard S. Quimby, associate professor of 
physics at WP1, in the search. With a grant 
from Corning, Quimby will use 
several new techniques he has 
developed in optical spec- 
troscopy to test new materials 
produced by the company. 

"One physical phenome- 
non we will be looking at is 
called clustering," Quimby 
says. "To make an optical 
amplifier, you first add select- 
ed ions to an optical fiber. In 
some glasses, these ions have 
a tendency to cluster togeth- 
er. While this can sometimes 
have a positive effect, usually 
it tends to quench the ampli- 

In his laboratory, Quimby 
will also be testing the new 
glasses for an effect called 
excited-state absorption. 
"The basic mechanism of 
optical amplification goes 
back to Einstein's stimulated 
emission hypothesis of 1917," 
I he says. 

The hypothesis says that 
if a photon passes near an 
atom that is in an excited 
state, and if the energy of the 
photon exactly equals the dif- 
ference between the atom's 
current energy state and a 
lower energy state, the pho- 
ton will stimulate the atom 
to drop to the lower energy 
state, emitting its excess en- 
ergy in the form of another photon. This is 
the same phenomenon behind the operation 
of lasers. 

Interestingly, Quimby says, the photon 
that the atom emits is always identical in 
wavelength to the original photon. This is 
the reason optical amplifiers can handle 
multiple signals, as long as each signal is 
assigned a different wavelength. 

Excited-state absorption occurs when the 
energy of the photon matches the difference 
between the atom's excited energy state and a 
higher energy level. When that occurs, the 
atom will absorb the photon. A material that 
exhibits excited-state absorption may not 
work as an amplifier, Quimby notes. 

To test for these phenomena, Quimby 
exposes samples of Coming's new materials 
to light from a laser and then passes the 
light emitted by the samples — called fluores- 
cence — through a spectrometer. He also 
measures how long the samples continue to 
emit light after the laser is turned off. If the 
fluorescence dies out quickly, it may indi- 
cate that the photons emitted by atoms in 
the sample are being dissipated before they 
can exit the material. 

With the support from Corning, Quimby 
will be able to purchase needed equipment 
and provide partial support for a graduate 
student. He says that in addition to provid- 
ing useful scientific results to the company, 
the funded work will enable him to explore 
areas of physics that are of interest to him. 
"I think this is a good example of how collab- 
oration between universities and companies 
should work," he says. "There truly should 
be something for both parties. That's espe- 
cially true these days, as companies are 
coming under increasing pressure to justify 
their budgets." 

Casting Light on 
Lost-Foam Casting 


^^and casting is an age-old technique for 
%J fashioning parts from iron, bronze, alu- 
minum and other metals. In a process that 
has changed little over the years, sand 
mixed with binders that help it hold its 
shape is packed around a wooden form. The 
form is then removed, leaving a cavity into 
which liquid metal is poured. 

During the last decade, a new casting 
technique has begun to give this traditional 
method a run for its money. Called lost-foam 
casting, it replaces the wooden form with 
a mold made from expanded polystyrene 
(EPS) — the plastic foam used to make coffee 
cups and coolers. Sand — without the 
binders — is loosely packed around the plas- 
tic mold and the hot metal is poured in, 
vaporizing the plastic and filling in the void 
left behind. 

Though lost-foam casting was invented in 
the late 1950s, it has only been since 1981, 
when the patent on the process expired, 
that it has taken hold in industry. So far, 
automobile companies are the biggest users 
(all of the aluminum castings for the Saturn, 
for example — including the entire engine — 
are made with lost-foam casting), but the 
process is also being used to make every- 
thing from boat engines to tractors. It's esti- 


Spring 1994 

mated that 40 percent of all castings will be 
made with this technique within the next 
two decades. 

There are several good reasons (or this, 
notes Satya Shivkumar, associate professor 
of mechanical engineering. For one, it is easi- 
er to make plastic patterns with injection 
molding machines than to fabricate wooden 
patterns. Because the molds aren't removed 
from the sand before the metal is poured, 
the process is easier to automate. And foam 
plastics produce fewer potentially danger- 

tation at Stevens Institute of Technology, 
Shivkumar has been at work gathering the 
experimental data needed to fill that infor- 
mation gap. 

Much of this work has been supported, 
in part, by awards from General Motors — a 
major user of lost-foam casting — including a 
recent three-year, $150,000 research con- 
tract. The research has focused on a num- 
ber of factors that affect the quality of cast- 
ings made with the lost-foam technique. 
These include everything from the design of 

how well they work and whether we can 
improve them to make sure that the contact 
time between the degradation products and 
the cooling metal is as short as possible." 
Also under investigation are alternatives to 
the silica sand now used in lost-foam casting 
and other types of foam plastic that may 
vaporize faster and produce fewer fumes. 

To study the various factors that affect 
the success of lost-foam casting, Shivkumar 
employs a variety of techniques. Ther- 
mocouples and pressure sensors inserted 

ous gases when they are heated than do the 
binders used in traditional sand casting. 

"You can also cast far more complex 
parts in one piece with the lost-foam tech- 
nique," Shivkumar says, "giving you greater 
design flexibility." Plastic molds for parts 
that would normally be bolted together after 
casting can be glued together and cast all at 
once, he says. "At one company they can 
make a part in one piece that was formerly 
cast in 10 different pieces." 

For these reasons, Shivkumar says, parts 
can be produced 20 to 40 percent cheaper 
with lost-foam casting than with traditional 
casting. But the process is not without prob- 
lems. The interaction of liquid metal and 
polymer can result in defects unique to the 
lost-foam process. These include folds that 
can cause leaks and adversely affect pres- 
sure tightness. 

Because lost-foam casting is a relatively 
new process, scientists do not yet have a 
good understanding of why these defects 
arise or how to prevent them. For more than 
a decade, beginning with his Ph.D. disser- 

the gating systems that direct the molten 
metal into the molds to the shape of the tiny 
beads that make up the expanded poly- 
styrene plastic. 

Much of the work has focused on what 
happens to the foam plastic as it meets up 
with the liquid metal, Shivkumar says. "We've 
shown that the polymer is the key to the 
whole process. Most of the plastic does not 
turn immediately to a gas. Instead, it forms a 
gooey, viscous residue. We've done a lot of 
experimental studies and have created com- 
puter models to better understand how this 
and other degradation products form and 
how they are eliminated into the sand." 

The faster these products are eliminated, 
the better the casting, he notes. In fact, folds 
and other common defects most likely form 
when the viscous plastic comes in contact 
with the rapidly cooling metal. A thin coat- 
ing of a ceramic material normally applied to 
the plastic may absorb some of the molten 
plastic, Shivkumar says. 

"There are a number of commercial coat- 
ings in use," he says. "We want to find out 

Shivkumar, center, watches as 
Anthony M. Rodriguez '94, left, and 
Joseph E. Laskowski '94 pour molten 
aluminum into a foam plastic mold in 
WPI's Aluminum Casting Research 

into a mold measure how the liquid metal 
solidifies. Instruments like differential scan- 
ning calorimeters and thermogravimetric 
analyzers measure the physical properties 
of the polymer. Light and electron micro- 
scopes are used to study the characteristics 
of the finished metal parts. By placing the 
plastic pattern against a glass window, one 
can even observe what happens as the liq- 
uid metal is poured into the mold. 

Shivkumar says he hopes that his re- 
search will help provide the answers that 
will make the lost-foam technique attractive 
to a broader range of industries. "A lot of 
people are hesitant to use this process — and 
to make a major investment in new equip- 
ment — because of the lack of information. 
We hope our research will help them over- 
come that reluctance." 

—Michael Dorsey 

WPI Journal 


Fine-Tuning New 
Zealand's Fire 

New Zealand consists of four islands 
with a combined area about the size of 
Colorado and a population of more than 3 
million. This nation, where people live in 
everything from huts to high-rise apart- 
ments, is a world leader in building regula- 
tion. But it wasn't always so. 

Like many other countries, New Zealand 
had problems with its building codes; at one 
time there were 250 authorities responsible 
for implementing myriad bylaws and regula- 
tions that varied from area to area. The per- 
ception was that the codes were not only 
costly, but inefficient. 

In 1983, after four years of evaluation and 
examination by educational and private 
agencies, a national performance-based 
building code was implemented to regulate 
and standardize building construction and 
maintenance and to significantly improve 
fire safety. In 1991 the code became law. 

With support from the University of 
Canterbury in Christchurch and the New 
Zealand Fire Protection Association, Mark E. 
Anderson '94, Andrew T. Cox '95, Peter D. 
Irelan '94 and Theodore D. Woehnker '95 
examined New Zealand's building codes and 
identified challenges to their implementation. 
Paul D. Sullivan, a master's degree candidate 
in fire protection engineering, assisted with 
the project. Jonathan R. Barnett, professor 
of fire protection engineering at WPI, and 
Andrew Buchanan of the University of 
Canterbury were the co-advisors. 

In the spring and summer of 1993, the 
students interviewed representatives of New 
Zealand's Building Industry Authority, the 
New Zealand Fire Service and territorial 
authorities, as well as fire protection engi- 
neers, architects, designers, contractors, 
insurers, and building owners and man- 
agers. They found that while enactment of 
the code has enabled New Zealand to elimi- 
nate confusing local bylaws yet leave the 
code reactive to varying geographical needs, 
problems arise in three areas: paperwork, 
code compliance and liability. 

The students determined that education 
about the codes would be significantly 
improved by implementing a national train- 
ing program and by standardizing paper- 
work, among other improvements. They rec- 
ommended that a national governing body 

be charged with creating a uniform set of 
national procedures. Government officials 
would train representatives from each local 
authority who would then educate other 
individuals, such as members of the city 
council, contractors, designers and insur- 
ance personnel. 

They also recommended that paperwork 
be standardized at the national level and 
computerized, that individual authorities 
create site-specific instructions for each ter- 
ritory, that a peer-review system be imple- 
mented to assist local authorities in evaluat- 
ing innovative designs to ensure that health 
and safety requirements are met, and that 
periodic seminars be held to provide prac- 

Saving the Urban 

No one could ever accuse Jose F. Fer- 
nandes '95, Daniel D. St. Marie '95 or 
Phillip K. Woo '95 of not being able to see 
the forest for the trees. Last fall the stu- 
dents, working out of WPI's Washington, 
D.C., Project Center, inventoried and evalu- 
ated all public and privately owned trees 
within three demonstration sites in the city 
of Frederick, Md. The project was completed 
in cooperation with Jill Mahon of the Amer- 

Above, from left, Cox, Anderson, Pro- 
fessor Barnett, Sullivan, Woehnker 
and Irelan in New Zealand, where 
they evaluated that nation's fire 
codes. Opposite, American Forests' 
Jill Mahon with, from left, Woo, 
St. Marie and Fernandes. 

ticing fire protection engineers with in-depth 
training on FPE concepts. 

"New Zealand has taken a great step for- 
ward and committed itself to a new era of 
building regulation," the students wrote. "By 
implementing a performance-based code, 
the country is acting as a world leader in 
building controls." 

Their project won for Anderson, Cox, Ire- 
lan and Woehnker WPI's 1993 President's 
IQP Award. They traveled to New Zealand as 
part of WPI's Global Perspective Program 
(see WPI Journal, Spring 1993). 

ican Forests' Urban Forestry staff and was 
advised by Kent J. Rissmiller, assistant pro- 
fessor of social science and policy studies, 
and Hossein Hakim, associate professor of 
electrical and computer engineering and 
WPI's global program officer. 

Known as "urban forests," trees within 
cities provide wind breaks in cold weather 
and cool canopies in the heat of summer. 
Unfortunately, urban forests are in decline. 
The result is an "urban heat island effect" in 
which cities are, on average, as much as 12 
degrees warmer than the surrounding coun- 
tryside. The higher temperatures, in turn, 
result in greater energy consumption to cool 
buildings and in an increase in air pollutants 
associated with generating that energy, 
among other problems. 

To save urban trees, the federal govern- 
ment has instituted the Climate Change 


Spring 1994 

Action Plan, which will mandate the planting 
of appropriate trees. The plan will become 
law in the year 2000. In anticipation of this 
plan, American Forests and the Environ- 
mental Protection Agency, in cooperation 
with other government and nongovernment 
agencies, is putting into effect a Cool Com- 
munities program at eight pilot sites. The 
program is designed to implement strategic 
tree planting and surface-color lightening in 
cities and monitor the effects of these 
changes on energy consumption. The goal is 
to lower urban temperatures. 

Fernandes, St. Marie and Woo analyzed 
the condition of Frederick's urban forests 
and evaluated the benefits of their shade to 

Helping the Sierra 
Club Save the 

The Sierra Club was created in 1892 by a 
group of outdoorspeople and conserva- 
tionists to protect the Sierra Nevada and 
other West Coast mountain ranges. In the 
1950s the nonprofit agency gained national 
recognition after members successfully 
defeated a plan by the government to build 
two dams that would have flooded the 
Grand Canyon. 

the community. "Their work was instrumen- 
tal in developing mapping and evaluation 
techniques for the Cool Communities pro- 
gram," says Mahon. "These techniques can 
also be used for future regional and munici- 
pal planning." 

The students also proposed planting new 
trees to maximize the benefits of urban 
forests, evaluated the use of Geographic 
Information Systems and aerial mapping, 
and created a public awareness campaign to 
increase support for the Cool Communities 

"These students were able to learn and 
apply that new knowledge each day on the 
job," says Rissmiller. "And in applying it, 
they made a genuine contribution to the 
Cool Communities program. Their work will 
be the model for other communities working 
to preserve urban forests." 

Today it has 500,000 members nation- 
wide. With more than $40 million in income, 
the club is a major force in environmental 
activism and conservation. But like many 
other nonprofits, it has seen contributions 
decline as potential donors' incomes and 
resources have decreased. 

In the first-ever collaboration between a 
student team and the Sierra Club, Scott P. 
Krause '94, Kevin M. McBride '94 and James 
H. Phelps '94 assessed emerging technolo- 
gies used for fund raising to determine 
which would be most effective and efficient 
for the agency. James P. Hanlan, associate 
professor of history, was the advisor. The 
students completed their IQP at the club's 
San Francisco headquarters under the direc- 
tion of Kathryn Morrelli, head of fund raising 
for the organization. 

As a result of their research, Krause, 

McBride and Phelps recommended that the 
Sierra Club develop a computer bulletin 
board network in conjunction with its chap- 
ters for use in fund raising, activism and 
communication between members. The net- 
work could also be used to educate the pub- 
lic on the organization's mission, they noted. 
The system could facilitate the exchange of 
alert bulletins, newsletters and electronic 
mail at a fraction of the cost of mailing the 

The students also recommended that the 
club consider establishing a network that 
would enable the organization to distribute 
promotional computer software to bolster 
its fund-raising efforts and allow for the in- 
stitution of electronic funds transfer as a 
donation option. And, they said, the club 
should create an educational videotape that 
could be used to solicit high-level and large- 
gift donors. 

The Sierra Club followed virtually all of 
the students' recommendations. It has 
established a computer bulletin board that 
lets staff and volunteers at San Francisco 
headquarters access up-to-the-minute con- 
servation data, media releases, club activi- 
ties and other information. The club is inves- 
tigating the feasibility of adding bulletin 
boards that members and supporters can 

A new Sierra Club screen saver — soft- 
ware that displays graphics on a computer 
screen when the computer is not in use 
— was developed in conjunction with 
Microsoft Corp. It displays beautiful natural 
scenery and includes a form that purchasers 
can use to join the Sierra Club. And the club 
installed a new computer system that will 
make their personal fund-raising efforts 
more efficient. 

"One of the joys of working with this 
group of students was watching their 
increased appreciation of collegial organiza- 
tions," says Hanlan. "Much like a college fac- 
ulty, the Sierra Club functions as a group of 
colleagues with independent expertise in a 
variety of specialized areas. Staff members 
share ideas, cooperate in informing one 
another, and appreciate complexity and 
diversity of views. 

"At first, our students found this frus- 
trating. They wanted a hierarchical organi- 
zation with clear lines of command. As they 
worked on the project, however, they came 
to appreciate the strengths of mutual 
exchanges of expert opinion. They saw the 
way in which a seeming lack of hierarchy 
can foster thought and creativity." 

—Bonnie Gelbwasser 

WPI Journal 


For more than 100 years, WPI closed its doors to women under- 
graduates. But a quarter of a century ago, with a vote of the Board 
Trustees, all that changed. Here is the story of the Institute's 
years as a coed university and of the experiences of the pioneering women 
who forever changed this institution. 
By Joan Killough-Miller and Bonnie Gelbwasser 

e have been receiving an increas- 
ing number of serious inquiries 
from scholastically qualified young women who 
could benefit from the quality of education 
Worcester Tech provides. With a much higher 
percentage of women preparing for careers in 
engineering or science, it was inevitable that this 
college would open its doors to the ladies.... 

"Worcester Tech's founder, John Boynton, rec- 
ognized that the school would have women stu- 
dents someday when the trustees felt the time 
was appropriate. That time is now. " 

— President Harry P. Storke, 
Feb. 14, 1968 [quoted in Tech News] 

With those words, announcing the decision reached 
by the Board of Trustees four days earlier, President 
Storke set the stage for WPI's first 25 years as a coed 
institution. At the same time, Storke announced the 
inauguration of new academic programs with cours- 
es in chemistry, physics and math that he said 
"should be of particular interest to women." 


Spring 1994 

Below, a 1925 view of what a coed WPI might 
be like. Marietta Fletcher, opposite page, was 
one of two women on WPI's early faculty. The 
next female faculty member, Barbara Murphy, 
above, arrived in 1967. 

Though the Institute passed its first 100 
years as an all-male institution, its founding 
fathers never intended to rule out 
or ignore women. Ichabod Washburn, recog- 
nizing "the impossibility of providing for the 

contingencies in the future," gave 
the original trustees the power to 
change with the times. In his 1865 
letter of instruction, John 
Boynton described a school for 
both males and females, but 
allowed the school to limit the 
privilege to "males only" if it 
found it to be "more advanta- 
geous to the community." 

The privilege was indeed lim- 
ited from the start. The Worces- 
ter County Free Institute of 
Industrial Science opened on 
Nov. II, 1868, with Charles 0. 
Thompson as its principal. 
Although the opening-day notice 
did not mention gender, stipu- 
lating only that pu p i l s must 
be between the ages of 14 and 
21, when parents asked about 
enrolling their daughters, 
Thompson pleaded lack of 
space. "We cannot receive any 
women without undertaking to 
instruct all competent women 
who apply," he said. "This we 

have not room for now. It is our purpose to 

throw the school open to youth of both 

sexes as soon as we can." 

Ironically, Thompson didn't close the 

doors to female instructors. In fact, the 

Institute's first math instructor was his sis- 
ter-in-law, Harriet Goodrich, who had been 
his assistant when he was principal of 
Arlington (Mass.) High School. She was suc- 
ceeded the following year by Marietta S. 
Fletcher, who taught English, French and 
German for three years. After Fletcher left, 
the faculty remained entirely male until 1967, 
when Barbara F. Murphy became an instruc- 
tor of chemistry. (A number of women did 
serve prominently in the administration 
through the years — see story, page 15.) 

hen we first started taking 
evening classes on campus I 
inquired where the bathroom for women 
was located. It wasn 't! So my first profes- 
sor made up a sign saying "WOMEN, " 
which I put on the door of the men's 
room when I used it. 

"I really don 't believe WPI knew I was 
a woman until we came aboard on cam- 
pus. We used to joke that WPI thought I 
was 'Aubrey,' not Audrey." 

—Audrey Carlan '57 (M.S.) 

Although female students took an occasional 
course or two at WPI through the years, the 
Institute's student body remained steadfastly 
male until the 1950s. It was then that a small 
group of men and women employees of 
American Optical Co. in Southbridge, Mass., 
eager to take graduate courses in physics, 
convinced WPI to sponsor the classes, which 
were taught at American Optical. 

Eventually the Institute decided to create 
a formal graduate program in physics and 
the courses were moved to the WPI campus. 
Of the original students, only Audrey M. 
Carlan, a mathematical physicist in optical 
computing, and her husband, Alan, contin- 
ued; in 1957 they earned the first two gradu- 
ate degrees in physics awarded by the 
Institute. (By the end of the 1960s, three 
more women would earn graduate degrees 
at WPI.) 

At the age of 26, Audrey made history — 
and not only as the first woman to receive a 
WPI degree and half of the first husband- 
and-wife team to walk across the stage at 
Commencement. She was also WPI's first 
pregnant graduate, giving birth to her first 
child six weeks after receiving her degree. 
Now the mother of three children, she is 
professor emerita of mathematics at 
Southwest College in Los Angeles and cam- 
paign manager for her husband's bid for 
California state assemblyman. 

WPI Journal 


(J/ he girls stated that they 
*_S are a little scared and ner- 
vous about entering a school that 
was previously all male. ...The 
young ladies were on campus for 
about one half an hour last week 
and were already causing com- 
motion. Any student that went by 
wanted to know, 'Who are the 
girls?' This appears to be some- 
thing our 'co-eds' will just have to 

get used to. " 

Tech News, May 1, 1968 

Because the Board of Trustees' 
decision to admit women under- 
graduates came so late in the 1967- 
68 academic year, there was little 
time to recruit female students. 
Jayne Rossetti and Lesley E. "Lee" 
Small, the only two women accept- 
ed for the Class of 1972, hailed from 
nearby towns — Hopedale and 
Spencer — where each was No. 1 in 
her high school graduating class. 
They would live off campus their 
first year, as there was no time to make pro- 
visions for them in the residence halls. 

Rossetti says she and her classmate got 
an early taste of how they would be accept- 
ed by the male students. "In our orientation 

packets we all received a tiny dictionary," 
she says. "Under L was this poem: "'L' is for 
Lesley/and also for Jayne/They'U either 
leave pregnant/or else go insane." She says 
WPI's just barely coed status that year even 
came in for some ribbing from 
Janis Joplin during a campus 

It was a lonely time for these 
pioneers, who, as commuters, 
had difficulty integrating into 
campus life. Although she had 
been in all-male classes in high 
school, Small, now a database 
manager for Allen Rodman, P.C., 
in Maiden, Mass., told the 
Journal in 1988, "I was shy, and I 
didn't want any special treat- 
ment. I just wanted to be treated 
as one of the students." 

The next year 24 more 
women enrolled. Five were com- 
muters, but the rest — along with 
Small and Rossetti — moved into 
converted quarters on the first 
floor of Sanford Riley Hall. 
Amenities such as shower cur- 
tains, full-length mirrors and 
window drapes had been added. 
The women's wing was set off 
from the rest of the dorm by a 
pair of fire doors at one end 

Jayne Rossetti, left, and 
Lesley Small in 1968. 
Below, Audrey and Alan 
Carlan in 1957. 

and — perhaps more formidable — 
"Ma Riley" (see story, page 18). 

"I have wonderful memories of 
those early years with this very 
special group of women who really 
broke new ground and some early 
barriers for women at WPI," says 
Bernard H. Brown, vice president 
for student affairs who was then 
assistant dean of student affairs. 
"They were our resources for devel- 
oping our first residence hall regu- 
lations for women — security and 
safety issues, sign-in policies, bath- 
room issues and needs, and visiting 

Even with the influx, the ratio of 
men to women was still 74 to 1. 
Jayne Rossetti left the Institute for 
personal reasons before gradua- 
tion. After nine years as a weather 
forecaster with the U.S. Navy, she 
earned a bachelor's degree in com- 
puter science at Boston University 
and is now a senior engineer at Textron 
Defense Systems in Wilmington, Mass. In 
1972, Small became the first woman to 
receive a B.S. degree from WPI. The next 
year, 15 more undergraduate diplomas were 
awarded to women. 

Female enrollment grew slowly, but 
women students were still a visible minority. 
They went to the dining hall in pairs — or 
didn't go at all when the staring became too 
uncomfortable. Some wore miniskirts to 
class — though usually just once. And they 
all thought a lot about bathrooms — or rath- 
er the lack of bathrooms for women around 

"As a commuter my first two years, 1 
became friendly with the female secretaries 
in each of the academic buildings," remem- 
bers Mary F. Polanik Sherman 76, a math- 
ematics teacher at Grafton (Mass.) High 
School. "If there was a female secretary, that 
meant there was a ladies' room close by." 

"I spent many hours in WACCC [the old 
computer center in the lower level of the 
library]," says Virginia Z. Ogozalek, who 
received her master's in computer science 
in 1985 and is now a computer science in- 
structor at Worcester State College. "There 
was no women's bathroom in there. Women 
were supposed to walk outside — even in 
winter — and up about a million steps to the 
bathroom in the library." 

(Continued on page 16) 


Spring 1994 

Keeping the Records and the Books 

While WPI did not admit its first women undergraduates until 1968, women have played central 
roles in the administration since the Institute opened its doors 126 years ago. Two adminis- 
trative offices, in particular, have been occupied by women for most of the Institute's history. 

toward a Ph.D. in English at Radcliffe, she 
worked in the Radcliffe Library. In 1942, she 
and Lynn were hired by WPI, he as acting 
head of the Economics Department and she 
as librarian. 

At the time of Schoonover's retirement in 
1964, the library was scattered among six 
locations and consisted of 54,000 volumes — 
most of them technical. WPI honored 
Schoonover as its first librarian emerita. 

Albert C. Anderson, the lone male to 
steward the library, followed Schoonover 
and was involved in planning the $2.5 million 
George C. Gordon Library, which was com- 
pleted in 1968. He retired in 1992, and Helen 
Shuster, formerly head of technical services, 
was appointed head librarian in 1993. 

"It is no longer possible to contain all the 
knowledge and knowledge sources needed 
by the WPI community within the library 
building," Shuster says. "As director I need 
to understand the new information technol- 
ogy and how to use it most effectively to 
meet the needs of the WPI community." 

The Record Keepers 

n 1896, John K. Marshall was appoint- 
ed to the new office of registrar. He 
served until 1910. After Marshall's resigna- 
tion, the Institute was without the services 
of a registrar until 1916, when Josephine 
Frost was appointed. She was followed in 
1919 by Gertrude Rogers Rugg. 

Born in Brattleboro, Vt., Rugg was raised 
in Princeton and Grafton, Mass., and 
received her B.A. from Wellesley College. 
From 1914 to 1919 she was a part-time secre- 
tary to WPI President Ira Hollis and also 
worked in the Registrar's Office. 

She was originally hired to type the volu- 
minous records of committee and faculty 
meetings, at which each student's progress 
was discussed. She was a demon at the keys, 
Mildred Tymeson wrote in Two Towers, 
whose "nimble fingers typed the records 
almost as fast as her nimble brain could sort 

Rugg's role extended far beyond her offi- 
cial duties. She edited the school catalog and 
organized Commencement, among many 

Bonnie-Blanche Schoonover 

The "Bookkeepers" 

ith one exception, women have 
always kept the books at WPI. The 
books, in this case, are in the library, and 
two of those "bookkeepers" served for a 
total of 62 years. 

Elizabeth Francis was appointed WPl's 
first librarian in 1896. Mary Liscomb served 
in the job from 1900 to 1902 and was suc- 
ceeded by Cora Smith, who stayed for just a 
few months. The college then selected Emily 
Maud Haynes, sister of George H. Haynes, 
professor of economics and government. 
The choice proved prudent, for she spent 
the next four decades as head librarian. 

Haynes, a native of Sturbridge, Mass., 
earned a certificate from the Drexel Institute 
Library School. She maintained the expand- 
ing collections and moved with the books 
and periodicals to Alden Memorial when 
that building was completed in 1940. She 
retired two years later. 

Haynes' successor, Bonnie-Blanche 
Schoonover, grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. She 
earned a bachelor's degree at Morningside 
College and taught in the first junior high 
school in that part of the Midwest. She mar- 
ried a fellow teacher, Lynn Schoonover. 

Ultimately, she and Lynn came East to 
continue their educations. While working 

other tasks. "Gertrude was amazing," says 
Carol M. (Katie) Curran, secretary to Dean of 
Undergraduate Studies Emeritus William R. 
Grogan, who served as registrar in the 1970s. 
"Her responsibilities seemed endless, but 
she seemed to thrive on her work. 

"She walked with a regal gait," Curran 
says. "And she was known for her perfect 
penmanship — a real asset in those days 
when all permanent student records were 
handwritten with pen and ink." 

When she retired in 1959, Rugg was hon- 
ored as registrar emerita. In 1959 she was 
named an honorary member of the Alumni 
Association. Athena Pappas, who had been 
Rugg's assistant, became the next registrar. 
She held the post for about a decade, and was 
followed by Curran, who served until 1974. 

Gertrude Rogers Rugg 

Robert Long 11 then became the second 
man to hold the title of registrar. Long, asso- 
ciate professor of physics, also served as 
head of the Physics Department for a time 
while occupying the registrar's chair. Joseph 
Mielinski '63 took over for Long in 1985. 
Then in 1987, Paula Delaney '75 became the 
first alumna to become registrar. 

Since Delaney stepped down in 1992, four 
more women have served the Institute as 
registrar, including Jocelyn Kent Smyth, a 
member of the Class of 1982, and Janet 
Battaglia, both of whom served in an interim 
capacity. Kari Blinn became WPI's current 
registrar last year. 

— Bonnie Gelbwasser 

WPI Journal 


Especially in WPI's early years as a coed university, women, distinctly in 
the minority, felt conspicuous in class and on campus. 

public schools and a PC software trainer. 

Lorrie L. Comeford '84, assistant profes- 
sor of chemistry at Salem (Mass.) State 
College, says she laughed when asked if she 
was ever treated differently from male 
students. "Yes — all the time. Every day," she 
says. "I knew there was no official intent by 
the administration to treat women students 
differently or make them feel unwelcome, 
yet this was the atmosphere." 

The 1970s was a decade of adjustment, 
as some women reveled in the attention and 
the surplus of male companionship, while 
others cringed at the "fishbowl" atmos- 
phere. Many of the early women undergrad- 
uates remember being photographed as 
they walked across campus just because co- 
eds were still such an oddity. Allison J. Huse 
Nunn 73, now a critical care nurse at Holy 
Family Hospital in Spokane, Wash., says, 
"professors called on us a lot. They knew 
our names and faces in a sea of males." 

Incidents recalled in anecdotes from the 
classroom and laboratory range from off- 
color jokes (and the even more embarrass- 
ing apologies and jokes left unfinished 
because "There's a lady present!") to conde- 
scending comments and even outright 
harassment. "I was sexually harassed by a 
chemistry graduate student in my junior 
year," wrote a 1974 graduate. "Unfortu- 
nately, at the time I did not recognize it as 
such and did not report it. Instead, I took a 
C because I spent so little time in the lab 
that semester." 

Some women complained that they were 

not taken seriously ("What do you care? 

(Continued on page 18) 

(Continued from page 14) 

The gender gap was a constant issue 
for some women, and nonexistent for oth- 
ers. "I never expected to be treated any dif- 
ferently and didn't notice (or pay atten- 
tion) to any differences," says Elizabeth 
Hanlon Wood '78, an attorney in Hingham, 
Mass. "I cannot remember a moment when 
equality did not prevail," says Sandra 
Theros '82, a teacher in the Worcester 

Two Voices from 1 

Nancy Wood Popinchalk '73 

Computer Science Student 

University of Hartford, Hartford, Conn. 


was inspired 

to pursue an 
engineering career 
by my sister, who is 
15 years older than 
me. She hung 
around our Dad's 
automobile repair 
shop when she was 
growing up and took 
mechanical drawing 
and shop in high 
school instead ofs 
home ec. When she s 


was old enough to * 

drive, she bought an * 

old car, took the engine apart, and 

put it back together on her own. Mind 

you, this was in the mid-1950s. 

After high school and a brief stint 
in art school, she got a job in the 
engineering department at a local 
company and eventually went into 
management. She was ahead of her 
time. She took great pride in doing 
the unexpected; she loved figuring 
things out and encouraged me to do 
the same. I was shy and probably 
would have become a kindergarten 
teacher if she hadn't been there to 
challenge me. ^ 

I knew I would pursue some kind 
of math or science major in college. When I 
found out that WPI was accepting women, I 
knew immediately that that was where I want- 
ed to go. The fact that it was almost exclu- 
sively male was more of a challenge than a 
deterrent. I did not apply anywhere else. 

During my first year, 1 was one of 26 
women undergrads; we were definitely 
noticed. We got some grief from other stu- 
dents and some professors, but mostly we 
were welcomed. 1 think the administration 
wanted us to succeed and in many ways 
supported us more than some of our male 

I had opportunities I might not have had 
were I not a woman. For example, during my 
freshman year I was invited to join a team 
participating in the "Clean Air Car Race" from 
MIT to Cal Tech. What an experience! I think 
our team got a little extra attention because I 
was a woman — I was even invited to appear 

Spring 1994 


on the Today show with two other entrants 
(men) from MIT and Cal Tech. 

In those earlier years women had innu- 
merable opportunities to be pioneers. At 
first most of us felt we had to prove we 
could make it at WPI the way it was. We 
didn't focus on how we wanted to change 
the university to fit our needs, but rather on 
how we could blend in. WPI was going 
through other profound changes at the time. 
1 worked on a WPI Plan planning committee 
that was the beginning of the metamorpho- 
sis that led to the university becoming the 
unique place it is today. 

Many things happened during those first 
few years that seem insignificant now, but 
Nancy Popinchalk were important to 
today and with her those of us who 
Clean Air Car Race were there. There 
teammates. was the brief peri- 

od when Maryann 
Bagdis [now 

Maryann Bagdis 
Goebel] served as 
student body pres- 
ident when the 
elected president 
dropped out; and 
the time six or 
seven of us were 
invited to pledge a 
fraternity; and the 
time 1 worked with 
Dick Olson, math 
professor and 
men's crew advi- 
sor, to start the women's crew team in the 
spring of 1972. 

One of the pluses 1 got from WPI was the 
confidence that I have something to con- 
tribute. The team experiences in my projects 
were important in enabling me to succeed in 
predominantly male work environments. 

The career/family balancing act has been 
a big issue for me. I always felt pressure to 
have a career in engineering — to prove that 
women can be successful and that my four 
years at WPI were not wasted. When my first 
son was born I decided I was not willing to 
pay the cost of having it all, so I put my 
career on hold for 10 years. [Nancy and her 
husband, Paul Popinchalk 71, have two 
sons, Seth and Samuel.] 

The liberation of women in this country 
has made its greatest strides since the 
1960s, when 1 was a teenager. To truly be lib- 
erated is to have choices — to be freely able 

to choose, for example, between a fast-track 
career in a male-dominated field or to take 
time for parenting and feel that it is no less 
valid. I feel that I am quite liberated; 1 made 
the choices that worked for me. 

Now I find myself trying to figure out 
what I want to be when I grow up. Having 
worked on two nuclear plant construction 
projects and as an environmental specialist, 
I recently passed the EIT exam, the first step 
in going for my Professional Engineer's 
license. And I'm pursuing a 
computer science minor at 
the University of Hartford. In 
many ways I feel I am start- 
ing all over again. But I still 
feel, after all these years, 
that I have a lot of choices 
and options as a direct 
result of my WPI education. 

This fall Seth will enter 
WPI as a freshman — 25 years 
after I did. I'm told he will be 
the first student whose par- 
ents were both WPI under- 
grads. To his credit, Seth's 
choice of college resulted 
from his own research, not 
the undue influence of biased 
parents. The academic excel- 
lence of WPI is clear to him. 

place. I cancelled an appointment at UPenn 
and made an appointment, instead, at WPI. I 
met with Kay Dietrich, director of admis- 
sions, for about two hours and drove away 
knowing I would be back that August. 

Now as an alumna, I continue to believe 
that WPI is a special institution. It is unique 
in so many ways, from the WPI Plan to the 
professors to the administrators, coaches 
and students. But I found some of the most 
remarkable people to be the WPI women. 

Deb Sanna, right, with her sister Jen. 

Deb Sanna '93 

Electrical Engineer 
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory 
Martin Marietta Corporation 
Schenectady, N.Y. 

Oy t was June 1988. My junior year of high 
*_y school had ended and I had just begun 
the biggest trip of my life. I was going "out 
East" to look at colleges. My father and I left 
Madison, Wis., with a list of six schools. I was 
looking for a big, exciting university with a 
good engineering program, though I did 
remind myself to keep an open mind (which 
can sometimes be hard for a 16-year-old). 

After looking at several schools in 
upstate New York, my father and I began a 
scenic Sunday drive to Boston. We were on 
Park Avenue in Worcester when I noticed 
WPI. I looked it up in my college guide; I 
remember reading about projects and more 
projects. We weren't in a hurry so we decid- 
ed to stop and look around. 

It was beautiful. I knew this was a special 

My junior year at WPI was very special. I 
got to share the WPI experience with my sis- 
ter, Jen '95. Jen applied to WPI with some 
apprehension; she did not want to follow in 
my footsteps and be known as Deb's little 
sister. But she knew WPI suited her charac- 
ter: enthusiastic, outgoing, hardworking and 
unique. Some of our best times together 
were spent at WPI. The WPI environment 
helped us become more than just sisters — 
teammates, sorority sisters and best friends. 

Like all WPI students, WPI women work 
extremely hard academically. But WPI 
women also balance their time with student 
government, Greek life, SocComm, athletics 
and other school activities. One of the most 
memorable experiences I had at WPI was the 
1992-93 varsity swim season, when my sister 
and I and 19 other women did what no other 
women's swim team had done — achieve a 
winning season (9-6). These women exhibit- 
ed enthusiasm, energy and a drive for excel- 
lence. But that attitude is not specific to the 
women's swim team; it is the norm for the 
women at WPI. 

WPI Journal 


"Ma Riley" Remembers 

laine S. Kowalewski 71 
(M.S.) didn't expect to 
become a mother so early in 
life, but in 1969, when she 
accepted the post as dormi- 
tory counselor for the first 
women to move into Sanford 
Riley Hall, "Ma Riley" she 

"I was responsible for 
keeping order on the floor," 
Kowalewski says. "Not in the 
role of police officer, but to 
be available with help and 
information about anything I 
could and to assist with the 
organization of dormitory 
functions and parties. 1 tried 
to keep my door open. 1 was 
really very fond of the wom- 
en. Even though I was four years older, we 
all had a common bond." 

Kowalewski, who is currently pursuing a 
doctorate in mathematics education at 
Teachers College, Columbia University, said 
she came to WPI on the recommendation of 
her advisor at Merrimac College, where she 
earned her undergraduate degree. One of 
the few women to enroll at the Institute as 
graduate students in those years, she was 
approached by the administration and 
asked if she would be willing to take the 
dorm counselor job. "I just couldn't pass it 
up," she says. 

Having women and men living on the 
same floor of Sanford Riley presented few 
problems, Kowalewski told a reporter 
for the (Worcester) Evening Gazette in 
1969, though the men did try some tricks 
for getting beyond the locked doors 
that separated the male and female resi- 

Ma Riley stands between Gwynne Peterson '73 
and John Kaletski '72, who are now married. 

dence areas — such as taking the pins out of 
the hinges. 

For Kowalewski and the other women a 
more important challenge was adjusting to 
being a decided minority on campus, she 
says. "Perhaps we were all accustomed to 
being in the minority, in some sense. If we 
came from coeducational schools or col- 
leges, there were probably more men 
than women excelling in mathematics and 
the sciences and looking toward careers in 
these disciplines. 

"I think one reason all of us may have 
shared for choosing WPI was a desire to do 
what hadn't been done before. Perhaps we 
wanted to grasp the opportunity to receive 
an education in the sciences from an insti- 
tution with an excellent reputation — 
one that had previously been closed 
to women." 

— Bonnie Gelbwasser 

(Continued from page 16) 
You're only here for your 'M.R.S.'," was a 
common taunt), or were held to lower 
expectations than their male counterparts. 
Others said they felt the need to prove 
themselves. But in spite of some negative 
incidents, most women say they had equal 
opportunities academically, found support 
from many male faculty members and 
administrators, and found role models 
among the growing number of women who 
were joining the faculty and administration. 

Of the people women graduates recall as 
especially helpful, one name comes up 
repeatedly: John van Alstyne, retired profes- 
sor of mathematics and dean of academic 
advising. He's remembered as a supportive 
father figure to many WPI women. "Dean van 
A kept me in school. When 1 ran into financial 
trouble, he went out of his way to find a solu- 
tion so that 1 could stay at WPI," says Leslie 
A. Knepp Azaret '80, an engineering supervi- 
sor for AT&T Bell Labs. "Professor van A 
helped me put myself together and gave me 
the confidence to succeed and go after every- 
thing I wanted," says another alumna. 

e hated those girls 
from Becker!" 

—Eleanor M. (Cromwick) Kelly '81, 
Superintendent, Turner Construction Co., 

Washington, D.C. 

If blending in academically was some- 
times difficult, fitting in socially was even 
harder on a campus where males were used 
to traveling to mixers at Becker Junior 
College and local nursing programs. WPI 
women had to transcend stereotypes of 
being "eggheads" and "walking computers." 
While dancing at a fraternity party, a female 
student was asked by her partner if she was 
from Becker. When she told him she went to 
WPI, "he did a 180 and 1 never saw him the 
rest of the night!" 

Relations between the sexes eased up as 
more women enrolled and men saw that 
these "co-techs" were people, too. Dating 
progressed to marriage proposals, and 
today the Institute has many alumna-alum- 
nus couples. Lee Small and classmate John 
Zorabedian Jr. were the first. Michelle A. Riel 
Lord 74 received a proposal on Earle 
Bridge. Now a librarian in Southington, 
Conn., she and her former classmate John 
Lord will celebrate their 20th anniversary 
this year. 

Quickly, the women infiltrated previously 
all-male institutions: the dormitories, the 
student newspaper — even the fraternities. 
Nora Blum 73 became the first female editor 


Spring 1994 

of Tech News in 1969. Three women from 
that same class — Joyce (Caplovich) Wilson, 
Diane Gramer Drew and Janet Merrill Mam- 
brino — joined 29 men in pledging to Alpha 
Epsilon Pi fraternity in 1969, though they 
were unable to join the national fraternity. 

WPI women moved into positions of lead- 
ership in activities and student govern- 
ment — a great source of pride for their 

Mass., and Betsy Steigerwald Yingling '80, a 
planning engineer with Northeast Ohio 
Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, were 
among those who helped start a women's 
singing group, the Women's Chorale. 
Yingling remembers, "In my sophomore year, 
we were bused over to Anna Maria College to 
sing in their choir, directed by Malama 
Robbins. She loved us and we thought she 

Above, early members of WPI's first sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. Below, 
Malama Robbins, seated, at right, with members of the Women's Chorale. 

peers. And they founded their own extracur- 
ricular activities to express their interests 
and foster companionship. These included 
the first sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, estab- 
lished in 1977. Two others, Alpha Gamma 
Delta and Delta Phi Epsilon, followed. (Delta 
Phi Epsilon was recently closed by the 
sorority's International Executive Council.) 

Cynthia L. Bruder '81, now owner and 
president of Factor Designs Inc. in Topsfield, 

was wonderful. We convinced WPI to hire 
her and start a real women's singing group. 
And so, in my junior year, the Women's 
Chorale was born, and has since flourished." 
Longing for the opportunity to participate 
in competitive sports, women students, led by 
Patricia Graham Flaherty '75, created a wom- 
en's varsity sports program (see WPI Journal, 
Summer 1990). And in 1975, a chapter of the 
Society of Women Engineers was chartered. 

Mary Hardell, associate professor of comput- 
er science, was the group's first advisor. She 
is now co-advisor with Holly Keyes Ault 74, 
assistant professor of mechanical engineering. 

CJ/he year of our graduation, some- 
*_y one decided women would wear 
pink graduation gowns. There was a huge 
protest, and the decision was rescinded. It 
was too late, however, for those of us 
who picked up our gowns early. Several 
spectators at the graduation ceremony 
inquired if the pink gowns signihed high 
distinction. Isn 't it odd that they didn 't 
wonder why no men were graduating 
with this distinction? — The few, the 
proud, the PINK!" 

— LindaLeigh (Richert) Aberdale '88, 

Senior Software Engineer, 

Digital Equipment Corp., Palo Alto, Calif. 

Social changes, and the paths blazed by 
women before them, may make life even eas- 
ier for the female students of the 1990s. 
After more than two decades, women are 
now part of the norm at WPI. Perhaps just as 
significant, notes Francis C. Lutz, dean of 
undergraduate studies, time has shown that 
women are as capable as men of succeed- 
ing — and excelling — in the Institute's de- 
manding academic climate. 

"The women in the first coed classes 
tended to be the academic superstars — the 
cream of the crop from their high school 
classes," he says. "But one day I noticed that 
the female students in my classes had be- 
come average — no better or worse than 
their male counterparts in terms of perfor- 
mance on examinations. That was a good 
day for WPI, because it meant we had ad- 
vanced significantly in our ability to attract 
women to campus, and that women can be 
the equivalent, academically, of men and 

But while women have demonstrated 
their parity with men in academic perfor- 
mance, they are a long way from parity in 
sheer numbers. Though they now make up 
about 20 percent of the undergraduate stu- 
dent body, they are still outnumbered. 

"I remember registering at orientation, 
looking around at the line of students, and 
asking my parents where all of the women 
were," says Danielle N. LaMarre '89, now an 
environmental engineer with Camp, Dresser 
& McKee in Cambridge, Mass. "But that was 
the only time I was ever scared that I would 
not be able to handle being in the minority." 

WPI Journal 


Sherri L Curria '93, who works as a mem- 
ber of the Technical Assistance Team for the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 
Burlington, Mass., remembers a different ini- 
tial reaction to the lopsided male-female 
ratio. "I looked at my freshman orientation 
group and saw I was the only woman among 
20 or more men. My reaction then (1 was 18 
and boy-crazy) was, 'Wow! All right!'" But 
her elation wore off as she faced the difficul- 
ty of finding compatible female friends 
among a small number of peers. 

"1 think that's why I embraced the sorori- 
ty rush with such eagerness," she says. "I 
remember walking in and saying, 'Wow — 80 
women in one room!'" Tennis and student 
government offered other opportunities for 
Curria to receive guidance and support from 

Air Patrol) — also tend to attract more men 
than women. As part of her job, Jayne 
Rossetti once went to sea for two weeks on 
an aircraft carrier to test a new landing 
system. "People asked me if I was nervous 
being on a ship with all those sailors. But 
after being one of two women in a class with 
1,800 guys, I was prepared for anything." 

Says Teresa B. Tucchio '88, an engineer 
with the Electric Boat Division of General 
Dynamics, "1 was sitting at a meeting at work 
the other day and I realized that I was one of 
three female engineers out of about 50 there. 
That didn't intimidate me; it just caused me 
to reflect." 

"In my profession, the majority of stu- 
dents are now female," notes veterinarian 
Gail A. D'Amico Mason 79, who, with her 

other women students, who she says "went 
out of their way to help me with anything 
from calculus homework to informing me of 
which fraternity had the best-looking men." 

Many alumnae say being outnumbered at 
WP1 proved to be excellent preparation for 
the "real world," as graduates found them- 
selves facing similar situations in their pro- 
fessional lives. "When I first started at WPI 
the male-female ratio was a culture shock," 
says Marie J. Harriman '86, a mechanical 
engineer for Pitney Bowes in Stamford, 
Conn. "During my four years at the Institute I 
got used to it. Now, working in a male-domi- 
nated field, I'm glad I got through the 
acclimatization process. It made my first job 
that much easier, compared with my female 
colleagues in engineering." 

"Coping with men at WPI will prepare 
you for coping with men in the workplace 
and elsewhere," says Jennifer L. Mellone '86, 
a systems engineer with ESL Inc. in 
Sunnyvale, Calif., who notes that her avoca- 
tions — scuba diving and flying (including fly- 
ing search and rescue missions for the Civil 

husband, purchased Bath-Brunswick 
Veterinary Associates in Brunswick, Maine, 
in 1989. "In the business/engineering cli- 
mate, however, males predominate. But 'pre- 
dominate' doesn't mean 'dominate.' I think 
any women scientist or engineer graduating 
from WPI is fully prepared to function in an 
aggressive, fast-paced technological society 
with women or men." 

The ability to work confidently and com- 
petently in their sometimes male-dominated 
professions is just one of the qualities WPl's 
alumnae gain in their years on campus, 
notes Jeannine M. Machon '85, a consultant 
with Anderson Consulting in Hartford, Conn. 

"WPI women are special," she says. "I 
came to WPI, not because it was a male- 
dominated university, but because it was a 
top-five engineering school. One of the 
things I've noticed about myself and about 
other WPI women is our ability to work 
through a problem and to get along and 
work with all other team members. WPI 
women are always team players — willing to 
roll up their sleeves, solve problems, dis- 

cuss issues, and not stand apart from men 
on their teams. 

"The contribution that WPI has made to 
my being is the added strength I gained in 
being a woman at WPI, being treated as an 
equal, and not having to get caught up in 
any sexuality games. That inner strength has 
carried me this far in my career, and hope- 
fully will continue to carry me up the ladder 
of success." 

"WPI gave me the tools I needed to solve 
problems, work in teams, and provide the 
leadership I needed in many of my jobs," says 
Denise C. Gorski 75, an engineering manager 
for IBM Corp. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. "My lead- 
ership strengths developed through all types 
of opportunities we had, being one of the first 
classes with women on campus. I had the op- 
portunity to be the first woman student body 
president, which gave me the experience of 
dealing with controversy and solving problems 
for a large group of diverse people. 

"In my current job assignments I find 
myself dealing with these types of situations 
often and 1 have this experience to fall back 
on. WPI also prepared me for one of the 
toughest assignments I have had so far in 
my career — being a female manager manag- 
ing only men." 

e certainly want more women; 

I don 't make a secret of that. 

But first we have to have a real switch 

in women 's patterns — a shift in opening 

up their eyes to the opportunities that 

do exist for them in engineering and 

science. " 

— Kay R. Dietrich, 
WPl's Director of Admissions 

Although there are no stated goals with 
regard to the male-female ratio at WPI, the 
Admissions Office has seen a steady in- 
crease in the number of women applying to 
and enrolling at the Institute. Still, Dietrich 
says, the numbers have reached something 
of a steady state, and only minor changes 
are possible until societal barriers to femi- 
nine interest in engineering and other non- 
traditional fields are addressed. 

While some of the activities coordinated 
by the Admissions Office are designed 
specifically to reach and enroll women, 
there is a lot of overlap with the overall mar- 
keting effort, Dietrich says. For example, 
sorority members make phone calls to 
female applicants who express an interest in 
sororities, just as members of fraternities 
and other campus groups do. 

Another successful recruitment strategy 


Spring 1994 

Above, Judith Nitsch. Opposite, Leslie Knepp Azaret and former dean John 
van Alstyne. Azaret says van Alstyne helped her through financial troubles. 

has been a woman-to-woman "pen pal" pro- 
gram, in which current students write to 
prospective students stressing elements of 
the WPI experience — both academic and 
social — that have been found to appeal to 
women, for example, the teamwork common 
to WPI's required projects, and the explo- 
ration of the social impacts of science and 
technology that students undertake in the 
Interactive Qualifying Project. 

Once women students are accepted for 
admission, they receive several more letters; 
one comes from Judith Nitsch 75, who, after 
a successful career working as a partner in a 
major civil engineering firm, founded her 
own company, Judith Nitsch Engineering 
Inc. A recipient of WPI's John Boynton 
Young Alumni Award for distinguished ser- 

vice to WPI, Nitsch is now a member of the 
WPI Board of Trustees. 

The Admissions Office is also planning 
new initiatives, such as an overnight pro- 
gram in conjunction with the Society of 
Women Engineers. High school women will 
be invited to spend a day on campus attend- 
ing classes and activities, followed by a 
night's stay in a residence hall. 

One of the most effective recruitment 
tools WPI may have, though, is the impres- 
sive record of achievement — on campus and 
after graduation — of the women who have 
defied the odds and joined fully in the acade- 
mic and social life of WPI, participating as 
equals in activities, sports and academics, 
and earning their B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. 
degrees at this once all-male institution. 

WPI Journal 

Words of Advice 

LJ/he University Relations and Alumni 
*_y offices asked women graduates what 
advice they would offer current female stu- 
dents about coping with life at WPI and in the 
workplace. Here are some of their answers: 

"Remember, you are equal, not superior or 
inferior. Don 't allow anyone to treat you differ- 
ent from male co-workers or fellow students. 
Also, don't expect any concessions — or de- 
mand any— just because you are female. " 

Allison J. Huse Nunn 73 

Critical Care Nurse, 

Holy Family Hospital, 

Spokane, Wash. 

"Don 't expect to be treated differently. Do 

your work consistently and conscientiously and 

you will be appreciated and respected for it. " 

Elizabeth Hanlon Wood 78 

Attorney, Hingham, Mass. 

"Keep your options open, and realize that 
you don 't have to do everything at once. I 
worked for eight years and have been home 
(very happily) with my children for seven 
years. I am now in the process of getting an 
M.B.A. and doing some consulting. I feel that 
by keeping my options open and being flexi- 
ble I have been able to accomplish my goals. " 
Beth Driscoll Kinney 79 
Homemaker, Summit, N.J. 

"Work to form your own network of men- 
tors and friends, and serve in the same capaci- 
ty to new women engineers. " 

Denise Johnston-Hafenbrack '85 

Manufacturing Engineer, 

Blount Oregon Cutting Systems, 

Portland, Ore. 

"Be a strong female. Always ask questions. 
Demand to be doing the same work and to 
have the same responsibilities as your 
peers — whether they are male or female. If 
you don 't like your work or your work envi- 
ronment, don 't be afraid to change jobs. " 

Danielle N. LaMarre '89 

Environmental Engineer, 

Camp Dresser & McKee Inc., 

Cambridge, Mass. 

"Self-conhdence is the key in male-domi- 
nated surroundings. If you believe in your abil- 
ities and strengths, others will too. " 

Theresa A. Schmidt '92 

Technical Coordinator, 

GE Research and Development, 

Schenectady, N.Y. 



By Michael Dorsey t |_ V ^ ^ _ S 


Increasingly, voice and data transmissions are taldng 
to the airwaves as researchers and telecommu- 
nications companies bring about a bold era 
of wireless information networks. 

With its pioneering work in the field, WPPs Center 

for Wireless Information Network Studies is playing 

a major role in creating a new wireless world. 

It's 7 a.m. You board a New Haven Rai 
road train for the commute to you 
office in the Big Apple. As you glance a 
the headlines in The Wall Street Journal, yoi 
remember something you need to discus 
with a co-worker before an 8:15 meeting 
You reach into your jacket pocket for you 
personal communicator and tap in h 
phone number, catching her in the middle 
a traffic jam on the Long Island Expressway 

Completing the call, you decide you nee 
a new graph for your presentation at th 
meeting. You open your briefcase an 
retrieve your personal digital assista 
(PDA) — a battery-powered device about t 
size of a paperback book — and send a bri 
e-mail message over the airwaves to yo 
assistant, asking him to go to work on t 
graph as soon as he gets in. 

Turning again to the Journal, you re 
about a new company in Switzerland that 
might compete with your firm in the 
European market. With your PDA. you send 
a wireless fax to your Bern office, takir 
advantage of a global communications s 
vice that bounces your message off a satel- 
lite. In a few minutes, your small digital 
friend beeps to tell you a report from your 
Swiss colleagues has arrived. 

As the report scrolls across the screen, 
you decide you'd better bone up on the 
financial performance of your European sub- 
sidiary. With a few keystrokes, you link your 
tiny computer — wirelessly — to the local area 
network in your office, log on to the comput- 
er sitting on your desk, and call up a spread- 
sheet with the numbers you need. 

As the New York skyline looms in the dis- 
tance, you remember a lunch date you've 
scheduled for today. With your PDA, you tap 
into the Internet to read some observations 
from other computer users about a new 
Indian restaurant near your office. It sounds 
good, so you grab your personal communi- 
cator again and make a reservation with the 
restaurant's voice-mail system. 

As the train pulls into Grand Central, 
your communicator beeps to alert you to an 
incoming call. It turns out to be an aluminum 
siding salesman — one of the disadvantages, 
you think as you rush for a cab, of having 
your phone number travel with you every- 
where you go. 

That scenario, communications experts 
say, may be realized by the end of the 1990s 
— perhaps sooner. With the dawn sometime 
this decade of what has been dubbed per- 
sonal communications service, or PCS, the 

wireless communications industry hopes to 
unplug our telephones and computers, let- 
ting us stay in touch with other people and 
other computers no matter where on Earth 
we roam. 

Already, communications systems that 
use radio waves instead of wires are making 
tremendous inroads into the business and 
consumer markets. Cordless telephones, for 
example, are becoming commonplace in 
American homes. Some 17 million were sold 
in the U.S. in 1992 alone — topping sales of 
traditional wired phones. 

Introduced just a decade ago, cellular 
telephones are now becoming ubiquitous. 
There are more than 12 million cellular 
phones in the U.S. today and another 20 mil- 
lion worldwide, a number that may well 
quintuple over the next decade. In some 
areas of the world, including Eastern Europe 
and Asia, engineers are turning to cellular 
systems to rapidly expand telephone net- 
works without the expense of running wires 
across remote countryside or replacing anti- 
quated telephone equipment. 

The technology needed to transmit data 
with radio waves has also been evolving 
rapidly. Wireless local area networks are 
showing up in offices with increasing fre- 


Spring 1994 

quency and mobile data networks — which 
let users send short bursts of information to 
distant locations — are becoming more wide- 
ly available all the time. All of this adds up to 
a $100 billion industry that serves some 60 
million people in the U.S. alone. 

"The whole communications industry is 
in the process of migrating from wires and 
wired networks and services to wireless 
communications," says Allen Levesque '59, 
senior scientist in the Wireless and Secure 
Systems Laboratory within GTE Labora- 
tories (see story, page 27). "As people, par- 
ticularly in the business world, come to rec- 
ognize the convenience and efficiency you 
gain by accessing wireless networks, the 
industry will grow very, very rapidly." 

The rapid progress of the wireless indus- 
try has depended on basic research aimed 
at overcoming the significant challenges 
involved in transmitting information with 
radio waves. Over the past nine years, WP1 
has become a leading center for research on 
wireless information systems. 

Under the direction of Kaveh Pahlavan, 
Weston Hadden Professor of Electrical and 
Computer Engineering, the Center for 
Wireless Information Network Studies 
(CWINS) has developed an international rep- 

utation for its fundamental research on the 
characterization of indoor radio propaga- 
tion, analysis of high-speed data communi- 
cation alternatives, and studies of various 
wireless access methods. 

The world of wireless data commu- 
nication is really two worlds. One, 
the realm of mobile data services, 
lets users send data over wide areas. The 
second, the province of wireless local area 
networks, lets computers communicate over 
the airwaves with other computers and 
backbone networks inside buildings. 

Mobile data systems are the offspring of 
the highly successful paging industry and 
employ the same high-power, low-speed 
radio transmissions used by pocket pagers. 
The field is dominated by two companies: 
Ardis, a joint venture of IBM and Motorola, 
and RAM Mobile Data, created by RAM 
Broadcasting and BellSouth. Both let busi- 
nesses stay in touch with field technicians 
and do credit card verifications, among 
other applications; mobile data networks 
are also used by portable computer users 
for sending electronic mail. 

Mobile data systems are expected to 
grow significantly in the years ahead. They 

currently generate $260 million in revenue 
and serve 380,000 customers, but that could 
jump to $2 billion and 3.4 million people in 
just four years, The Wall Street Journal repor- 
ted recently. What may make that growth 
possible is the introduction — already under 
way — of mobile data systems that use cellu- 
lar telephones. 

While it is now possible to transmit data 
with a cellular phone, slow transmission 
speeds and less-than-perfect signal quality 
make it impractical. The introduction of digi- 
tal cellular systems — the trend in the cellu- 
lar industry — may eliminate these problems, 
lowering the cost of using mobile data ser- 
vices and making them available to more 
users in the U.S. 

By going digital, cellular systems will also 
reduce the congestion that began to affect 
cellular service in some metropolitan areas 
in the mid-1980s as more and more users 
competed for the same frequencies. 
Information transmitted digitally can be 
compressed, increasing the capacity of a 
system several times. In addition, several 
schemes have been developed that will let 
more users share the frequencies allocated 
to mobile radio services. 

"There are two basic resources for wire- 

WPI Journal 


less communications: frequency and time," 
Pahlavan says. "And there are three ways of 
using those resources in a cellular system." 
The first is called frequency division multi- 
ple access, in which each caller is assigned a 
separate frequency. This is how the existing 
cellular system works. 

Time division multiple access 
(TDMA) places multiple users on 
the same frequency by breaking 
each signal into small packets 
and sending them out at precise 
intervals. Phones at the other end 
look for packets arriving at the 
proper intervals and put them 
back together to recreate the 
original calls (see illustration). 

"With code division multiple 
access, or CDMA, a technique 
developed by the military, you 
take advantage of both frequen- 
cy and time," Pahlavan says. 
"Callers use all of the frequen- 
cies all of the time, unlike FDMA, 
and can broadcast continuously, unlike 

To distinguish callers from one another, 
each is given a unique computer-generated 
code or signature. The receiving phones 
search out signals that have the 
proper code. Because it diffuses 
every signal over the entire 
range of available frequencies, 
this technique is also called 
spread spectrum. 

The standards developed for 
the next generation of digital cel- 
lular service using TDMA can 
increase the capacity of a cellu- 
lar system by up to six times, 
Pahlavan says, while CDMA 
claims a more than tenfold 
increase in capacity. "With 
CDMA, however, you are talking 
about soft capacity," he notes. 
"Because everyone uses the frequencies at 
the same time, as you add more and more 
users the quality will deteriorate." 

Beyond digital cellular technology lie 
communications networks — still on the 
drawing boards — that will zap voice, data 
and fax transmissions to virtually any spot 
on the globe using satellites. One system 
already announced, the $3.4 billion Iridium, 
will be built by Motorola in cooperation with 
a number of international partners. William 
Gates, chairman of Microsoft, and Craig 
McCaw, head of the cellular telephone giant 
McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 
recently announced plans to raise $9 billion 
to build an even larger system called 

Also under development is PCS. In 

essence, personal communications service 
will be an extension of cordless telephone 
technology that will enable callers to use 
their portable phones just about anywhere 
they go — not just within their own homes. 
Still in development, the structure of PCS 
will be similar to that of cellular systems. 

+ "TrT^ O0©0< 



Bottom, Pahlavan at the 1992 PIMRC 
conference in Boston. Top, two modes 
for digital cellular systems: TDMA 
(time division multiple access) and 
CDMA (code division multiple access). 
See the article for an explanation. 

Cellular networks are divided into large 
geographic units called cells. Cellular 
phones transmit to large antennae in the 
middle of each cell that are, in turn, connect- 
ed to each other by conventional phone 
cables. As a user travels along, his call is 
handed off from cell to cell, allowing the call 
to continue uninterrupted. 

PCS networks will be broken up into 
much smaller cells — dubbed microcells — 
served by small antennae located on the 
tops of buildings or telephone poles. 
Because they won't have to broadcast very 
far, PCS devices will require much less 
power than cellular phones. That means 
they can be much smaller, lighter and less 
expensive. "In its most advanced form, a PCS 
unit will resemble Captain Kirk's communi- 

cator from Star Trek," Pahlavan says. "You'll 
just open it up wherever you are and start 

The FCC is expected to auction off a 
generous portion of the ultrahigh frequency 
section of the electromagnetic spectrum for 
use by PCS. There should be enough band- 
width to enable these pocket- 
size devices to send everything 
from text to video to multimedia 
files, enabling users to contact 
other human beings, send elec- 
tronic mail, or tap into global 
computer networks and compu- 
ter databases. 

PCS-like services are also 
envisioned in Europe and Japan, 
where the second generation of 
cordless telephone service is 
already in operation. 

While the promise of all PCS 
systems is great, the reality is 
still taking shape, Pahlavan says. 
"PCS is like the unicorn. You can 
define it, but you can't see it. There are still 
many obstacles to overcome before it 
comes about." These include the challenge 
of getting the many companies interested in 
investing in PCS and the many nations that 
want to build PCS networks to 
agree on standards, a problem 
that already plagues the devel- 
opment of competing digital cel- 
lular systems, he notes. 

"Part of the problem with 
setting standards," Levesque 
says, "is that the technology 
moves so fast and the standard 
setting process is comparative- 
ly slow. It takes several years to 
make a commitment to a stan- 
dard, and in the meantime sev- 
eral other competing standards 
may come along. That is why 
the standard-setting bodies in 
the U.S. have decided, in effect, to let the 
market forces prevail with digital cellular." 

Just as the mobile data industry seems 
primed for explosive growth, the com- 
panies that make wireless local area 
networks (LANs) are forecasting a 
bright future for their technology. According 
to Pahlavan, wireless LANs have several 
important advantages over conventional 
wired networks. 

First, he says, they are much easier — and 
less expensive — to install. Running wires 
through walls can be difficult and costly, 
unless they are put in when a building is con- 
structed or remodeled. And once the wiring is 
in place, rearranging and relocating offices 
can become an expensive undertaking. 


Spring 1994 

Then there are trade shows, temporary 
offices like political campaign headquarters, 
large, open work spaces like factory floors, 
buildings made largely of marble or stone, 
and historic buildings. Wireless networks 
are often the preferred way to link com- 
puters together in such places, since run- 
ning wires doesn't make 
sense, is too costly, or 
simply isn't allowed. 

While they have ad- 
vantages, wireless LANs 
also have an important 
shortcoming, Pahlavan 
says. Wired LANs that 
transmit at 10 million 
bytes (10 megabytes) per 
second are now common 
and 100-megabyte sys- 
tems are on the market. 
The next generation will 
operate at 650 megabytes 
per second, a speed that 
will make it possible to 
send interactive TV and 
multimedia files. 

While they are gaining 
speed all the time, wire- 
less LANs that use radio 
(some systems transmit 
data optically) are pokey 
by comparison. The most 
advanced systems have 
reached the 10-megabyte- 
per-second mark, but 
most wireless LANs on 
the market are considerably slower. Signif- 
icant research is going on to speed up wire- 
less LANs and incorporate them into more 
demanding environments, Pahlavan says. 

The speed limitation, and the reluctance 
of companies that had already invested 
heavily in wired LANs to switch gears, made 
the growth of the wireless LAN industry 
slow for much of the 1980s. But the growing 
popularity of battery-powered portable com- 
puters — everything from laptops to personal 
digital assistants like Apple Computer's 
Newton — has changed all that. Now that 
people can work on their computers far 
from the nearest plug, they want the same 
freedom when they tie into a computer net- 
work. Adding a wireless system to an exist- 
ing LAN can make that possible. 

Also contributing to the renewal of inter- 
est in wireless LANs are technological 
strides that have lowered the cost of wire- 
less modems and shrunk them from bulky 
boxes that required a lot of power to credit 
card-sized devices that plug into a portable 
computer. As a result, PC World recently 
noted, the number of wireless nodes 
installed in the U.S. jumped from just 8,000 

in 1989 to nearly 30,000 in 1992. It should hit 
the million mark in two years. 


hen Kaveh Pahlavan arrived at 
WPI in 1985, the field of wire- 
less data communications was 
still in its infancy. Soon after joining the elec- 

Pahlavan, right, and Ph.D. candidate Ganning Yang in WPI's Center 
for Wireless Information Network Studies. 

trical engineering faculty, Pahlavan, who 
began working on wireless indoor radio 
communications as a consultant to GTE 
Laboratories in Waltham, Mass., in the early 
1980s, founded the Wireless Information 
Network Group. Six years later, the group 
evolved into the Center for Wireless 
Information Network Studies. 

"This was the very first university 
research program on wireless indoor data 
networks in the U.S.," Pahlavan says. "Within 
a year or two, Rutgers and Virginia 
Polytechnic universities founded similar 
centers. For many years, these three were 
known as the major programs in the United 
States. Now many people in the telecommu- 
nications industry identify WPI with wireless 
activities. We started at just the right time." 

Over the past eight years the center has 
produced six Ph.D.s specializing in wireless 
communications — more than any other 
university, Pahlavan says — and center 
researchers have published more than 100 
papers and conference proceedings. 
Pahlavan is editor-in-chief of the Inter- 
national Journal of Wireless Information 
Networks, which published its inaugural 

issue in January, and is currently co-author- 
ing with Allen Levesque a book that will pro- 
vide a comprehensive overview of the field 
of wireless information networks. 

Pahlavan has also been active in estab- 
lishing and organizing international meet- 
ings of researchers who specialize in wire- 
less communications. In 
1990, he was one of the 
founders of the IEEE 
(Institute of Electrical 
and Electronics Engi- 
neers) International Sym- 
posium on Spread Spec- 
trum Techniques and 
Applications. In 1991, he 
was founder, organizer 
and program chairman of 
the IEEE Workshop on 
Wireless Local Area Net- 
works, which attracted to 
the WPI campus more 
than 200 scientists, engi- 
neers and managers from 
10 nations and all of the 
major manufacturers of 
wireless technology. 

That same year, Pah- 
lavan was one of the 
founders of the IEEE 
International Symposium 
on Personal, Indoor and 
Mobile Radio Commu- 
nications (PIMRC), the 
first international confer- 
ence on wireless commu- 
nications. The meeting was held at Kings 
College in London, where Pahlavan deliv- 
ered the sole tutorial. Since then it has been 
held again in London (1991), Boston (1992) 
and Yokohama (1993). This year it will move 
to the Netherlands. 

The work of CWINS has garnered the 
financial support of many of the key players 
in the rapidly expanding wireless communi- 
cations industry, along with the National 
Science Foundation. Major supporters 
include NYNEX Corp., Comdisco Software, 
Digital Equipment Corp., Apple Computer, 
Motorola Inc., GTE and Raytheon. 

A major thrust of the research conducted 
by the faculty and graduate students of 
CWINS is how radio waves propagate, partic- 
ularly through wireless LANs. In a wired net- 
work, signals can go in only one direction — 
down the cable — so one can assume that 
when a message is sent from one computer 
to another on the same network, it will get 
there and be understood when it arrives. 

But things are more complex with wire- 
less systems. Radio waves leaving an anten- 
na travel in many directions at once. In an 
office, those signals tend to bounce off the 

WPI Journal 


walls, the floor and the ceiling — not to men- 
tion file cabinets and furniture. That means 
each bit of data will arrive at the receiving 
computer from many directions and with 
many different time delays, something com- 
munications engineers call multipath distor- 
tion. The same phenomenon causes ghost- 
ing on TV screens in weak reception areas. 

For the computer, multipath distortion is 
like being a confused caller to a radio talk 
show who forgets to turn down the volume 
on his radio. He hears his own voice first 
through the telephone and then a few sec- 
onds later through the radio. The confusion 
caused by data arriving from many direc- 
tions becomes more severe as the rate of 

been recorded in offices and manufacturing 
facilities operated by General Motors, 
Norton Co. and Infinite Inc. Some of this 
work was funded by a major grant from the 
National Science Foundation. 

In a 1993 study sponsored by NYNEX 
Inc., Jin-Fa Lee, assistant professor of electri- 
cal and computer engineering and one of 
several faculty members in the Electrical 
and Computer Engineering and Computer 
Science departments affiliated with CWINS, 
conducted a study of radio wave propaga- 
tion in and around office buildings in New 
York City. "NYNEX's primary interest was in 
modeling radio propagation in the streets of 
New York," Pahlavan says. "We provided 

evaluate a system before they build it. 
"Implementing a wireless system can be 
very expensive," Pahlavan says, "so you 
want to be able to simulate the system first 
to see how well it will work." 

One type of simulation software creates a 
multipath profile of a wireless setup by 
using a technique called ray tracing to plot 
out the various paths radio signals might 
take as they travel from transmitter to 
receiver. Another useful tool for wireless 
systems is based on block-oriented soft- 
ware, which lets an engineer create a system 
on a computer much as a child builds struc- 
tures out of Tinkertoys, Pahlavan says. 

"The various components of a communi- 

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Above, from left, graduate students Andrew Parker, 
Jimmy Wang and Mohammadali Ghazanfari study radio 
propagation in the lab. The top diagram uses a technique 
called ray tracing to show the many paths radio signals 
can take from a transmitter to a receiver inside an office. 
The highest peak on the graph represents signals arriv- 
ing through a direct path. The remaining peaks are sig- 
nals that have bounced off walls and objects. The time 
delays cause what is known as multipath distortion. 

transmission increases, which is why data 
rates for wireless LANs tend to be consider- 
ably slower than those for wired LANs. In 
addition, the garbling of data tends to 
increase as the distance between two com- 
puters increases, limiting the area that can 
be covered by a wireless system. 

To learn more about the problems of 
multipath distortion and how to solve them, 
CWINS has developed numerical models of 
radio propagation. "The core of any work in 
this area is a good radio propagation mod- 
el," Pahlavan says. "If you don't have a good 
model, you are in trouble. Most of our work 
to date has focused on radio propagation. 
This is what we have become famous for." 

The models CWINS has developed are 
based, in large part, on radio propagation 
data gathered in numerous controlled exper- 
iments in the center's laboratory in Atwater 
Kent Labs, as well as data collected in the 
field. For example, Pahlavan says, data have 

them with the measurements and created a 
computer model of three city blocks." 

CWINS researchers have also worked on 
ways to combat multipath distortion to 
overcome the data rate limitation. These 
include the use of spread spectrum and 
adaptive equalization, a technique in which 
a radio receiver monitors the characteristics 
of signals arriving from various directions 
and attempts to compensate for the frequen- 
cy shifts and time delays. 

Another promising technology is the sec- 
tored antenna, which receives radio signals 
from many narrow "slices" of space around 
the receiver. The idea is to isolate each pos- 
sible path signals might take and "hear" 
each signal separately. The signals from the 
various paths are then added together to 
create a stronger, more reliable signal. 

In addition to these basic studies, the 
center is also at work on software tools that 
designers of wireless systems can use to 

cations system are represented on the 
screen as blocks," he says. "You can design 
a system or add to an existing system by 
pulling together the proper blocks. The soft- 
ware then analyzes the performance of the 
system. This is the trend in tool develop- 
ment — making it as simple as possible to 
create and test systems." 

With significant work already completed 
on modeling and software tools, Pahlavan 
says he would like the center to turn next to 
the development, evaluation and installation 
of actual wireless information networks for 
specific applications, such as wireless class- 
rooms and campuses. But he notes that a 
never-ending challenge for the center will be 
to keep up with the constantly changing na- 
ture of the field of wireless communications. 

"Doing research in this area is like run- 
ning on hot sand," he says. "You can never 
put your foot down for long. You have to 
keep jumping to new things all the time." 


Spring 1994 


or most of his more than 
30-year career at GTE Corp., 
Allen H. Levesque '59 has 
been deeply involved with research 
aimed at improving the accuracy and 
efficiency with which data is trans- 
mitted from one location to another 
without the aid of wires. Today, with 
wireless data networks poised to be- 
come one of the most important tech- 
nologies of the early 21st century, 
Levesque is helping guide his compa- 
ny — and the world — into this bold 
new era of communications. 

Levesque, now senior scientist 
reporting to the director of the Wire- 
less and Secure Systems Laboratory 
within GTE Laboratories in Waltham, 
Mass., began his career at what was 
then the Sylvania Applied Research 
Laboratory after earning a master's 
degree in electrical engineering at 
Yale University in 1960. 

After doing part-time graduate 
work at Harvard and MIT, he re- 
turned to Yale in 1962 to earn a Ph.D. 
in electrical engineering, and then 
returned to the Sylvania Lab. When 
GTE, which had purchased Sylvania 
in 1959, moved its laboratories from 
Bayside, N.Y., to Waltham in 1969, 
Levesque and many of the other 
Sylvania researchers were invited to 
join the GTE operation. 

He remained with GTE Labs until 
1974, when he joined GTE Govern- 
ment Systems Corporation, located just a 
few blocks away, where he managed a wide 
variety of projects in digital communications 
and was named to head a research and 
development group within the business unit. 
In 1988, when GTE formed the Electronic 
Defense Communications Division within 
GTE Government Systems, Levesque was 
named senior scientist reporting to the gen- 
eral manager. 

Much of the work he has done over the 
years has been in the area of advanced digital 
radio communications. For several years he 
was involved with research aimed at develop- 
ing reliable radio systems for communicating 
with the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. He also 
managed a research and development group 
that developed advanced high-speed modems 
for transmitting data over high-frequency mili- 
tary communication bands. 

"My own individual work in this area 
included a lot of research on what is called 
error-control coding," Levesque says. "This 
is basically sets of techniques for encoding 
data so it can withstand the vagaries of 
radio communications media." Levesque is 

Al Levesque 
Is Helping 
Shape a World 
Without Wires 


co-author of Error Control Techniques for 
Digital Communication, published in 1985 by 
Wiley-Interscience. He is also the author of a 
number of papers on digital communication 
and once served as associate editor for IEEE 
Transactions on Communications. 

While he did not know it at the time, the 
work he and other scientists were doing to 
improve data communications for the mili- 
tary was setting the stage for today's revolu- 
tion in wireless communications. "A lot of 
the technology being employed in these new 
wireless communications systems originat- 
ed in the military communications environ- 
ment," he says. "So many of the techniques I 
am dealing with today I've actually been 
working with for a number of years." 

In recent years, Levesque says, his work 
has turned more and more to issues facing 
the commercial wireless communications 
industry, including the challenges of over- 
laying wireless data services onto existing 
wired and wireless voice networks. "I've 
dealt with a number of these issues, as well 
as with the problems of translating different 
communications protocols when you con- 

nect wired and wireless systems," he 

With its acquisition in 1990 of 
Contel Corp., GTE became the second 
largest provider of cellular telephone 
service in the U.S. The Wireless and 
Secure Systems Laboratory was creat- 
ed at that time to become the focal 
point for the company's efforts to con- 
tinue to be a major player in the evolv- 
ing world of wireless communications. 
In April, Levesque joined the new 
lab, where he will coordinate the work 
under way there in the area of data 
communications. "I will also serve as a 
technical liaison across projects and 
across departments at GTE Labs," he 
says. "And I will be the primary tech- 
nical interface with the rest of the 
company — including the operating 
divisions that will actually provide 
these services — in the area of wireless 
data communications." 

Levesque has also been active in 
digital and wireless data communi- 
cations outside of GTE. Until a few 
years ago, he taught digital commu- 
nications as an adjunct professor at 
Northeastern University, where he 
also advised graduate students. He 
has for several years served on tele- 
communications industry subcom- 
mittees working to set standards for 
such new technologies as digital cel- 
lular networks and personal commu- 
nications service (see main story). 
At WPI, he is a member of an advisory 
board for the Center for Wireless Infor- 
mation Network Studies and has been a 
longtime member of the Electrical and Com- 
puter Engineering Advisory Committee, a 
board made up of distinguished members of 
the electrical engineering profession who 
provide advice and guidance to the faculty 
of the Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Department. Levesque has also been active 
with the WPI Alumni Association, having 
served previously as chairman of the Alumni 
Fund Board and currently as a member of 
the association's Executive Committee. 

"Through my collaboration with CWINS 
and the ECE Advisory Committee," Levesque 
says, "I hope to be able to provide some 
insights to WPI on the evolution of the wire- 
less center and also to try to influence 
research directions and the development of 
the ECE curriculum. Wireless is one of the 
most exciting sectors of the telecommunica- 
tions industry, and I believe the program at 
WPI will evolve to prepare students well for 
the challenges of the field." 

— MD 

WPI Journal 




Two years ago it was 
rolling Connecticut 
woodland. Now its the site 
ol the largest gambling 
casino in the Western 
Hemisphere. Among the 
many people who helped 
bring this project into 
being almost overnight 
are nine WPI graduates. 

By Ruth Trask and 
Michael Dorsey 

In The Wizard of Oz, 
Dorothy and her newfound friends 
come upon the Emerald City rising 
dramatically from the edge of a field of 
poppies. That story comes to mind as one 
drives along Route 2 in southeastern Con- 
necticut these days. After passing a series of 
small towns and speeding through a rural 
landscape of farms and forests, drivers are 
often startled to see a massive green, violet 
and white edifice looming just ahead 
through the trees. 

The building is part of the rapidly grow- 
ing Foxwoods Casino and Resort in Ledyard, 
Conn., reportedly the largest gambling casi- 
no in the Western Hemisphere. Owned by 
the more than 300 members of the Mashan- 
tucket Pequot Tribe, the complex of casinos, 
bingo halls and hotels has become a popular 
destination for gamblers and vacationers 
from all over the Northeast, and has provid- 
ed a much-needed shot in the arm for the 
Connecticut economy. 

The Foxwoods story began in 1982 when 
an act of Congress gave the Pequots the 
funds they needed to buy back about 800 
acres of their ancestral land in Connecticut 
and place it in trust as a reservation, free of 
federal and state laws. To provide jobs for 

tribal members, the Pequots secured a fed- 
erally guaranteed loan to build a bingo hall, 
which opened in 1986. 

The hall, built by local contractor C.R. 
Klewin Inc., was highly successful, leading 
the Pequots to consider an expansion. The 
incentive to move forward arrived with the 
passage of the Indian Gaming Regulations 
Act of 1988, which authorized Native Amer- 
icans to build casinos on their own land in 
states — including Connecticut — where some 
form of gambling (even charitable "Las 
Vegas Nights") is legal. 

Foxwoods Phase II, an expansion of the 
bingo hall, was built next and in the spring 
of 1991 work started on Phase III— a 250,000- 
square-foot casino. Fearing the state of 
Connecticut might act to block the casino, 
the Pequots asked that it be finished in just 
over 200 days. Thus began a construction 
project so fast the term "fast-track" was 
inadequate to capture it. Instead, a new term 
was invented: "flash-track." 

Phase IV — a second casino with a 312- 
room hotel and a 1,600-vehicle, four-level 
parking garage — was open by Labor Day in 
1993. Another hotel, the Two Trees Inn, was 
built around the same time. Phase V, a new, 

60,000 square-foot bingo and exhibition hall, 
was completed in April and Phase VI — an 
expansion to the parking garage — was slated 
for completion by Memorial Day. Along the 
way, the tribe has also built a state-of-the- 
art, one-million-gallon-a-day wastewater 
treatment plant, a community center, hous : 
ing for tribal members, emergency services, 
and roads and other utilities. 

In essence, a small city — one complete 
with 139,000 square feet of gaming space, a 
shopping concourse, restaurants, and a 
modern theater complex — has grown up in 
the Connecticut woods in just two years. 
And this huge construction project is not 
finished. In the planning stages are an Asian 
theme park complete with a replica of the 
Great Wall of China and a 305,000-square- 
foot museum and research center on North 
American Indians. And, there is the possi- 
bility of further expansion of the casino 

The mammoth casino and resort project 
was designed chiefly by New England Design 
Inc., in collaboration with architects Jeter, 
Cook & Jepson. Overseen by C.R. Klewin, the 
construction has involved the efforts of 
dozens of specialty contractors, engineers 


Spring 1994 



and craftsmen who worked — sometimes 
around the clock — to keep up with the flash- 
track construction schedule. 

Prominent among these companies are 
four firms owned or headed by WPI alumni, 
as well as a pump supplier that includes WPI 
graduates among its senior officers. In all, 
nine alumni working for these five firms 
have made their mark bringing to fruition 
what has been called the most exciting con- 
struction project in New England in many 

Among those who have been on the 
Foxwoods site since nearly the start is 
Raymond Cherenzia 73CE, the owner 
and president of Cherenzia & Associates 
Ltd. in Westerly, R.I. Cherenzia's firm has 
done civil engineering, site engineering, 
land-use planning and environmental work 
for various parts of the project. Ray works 
closely with his brother, Salvatore "Sam" 
Cherenzia, the president of Cherenzia 
Excavation, a longtime family business co- 
owned by Ray. Sam is also the father of 
Joseph Cherenzia '94. 

Among the early work the Cherenzia 
brothers undertook for the Pequots were 
parking lots for casino patrons and em- 
ployees — Ray did the site engineering and 
layouts while Sam did the excavation and 
construction. Ray says the work provided a 
crash course in flash-track construction. 
"Things moved so fast," he says. "On the 
first employee lot, we had our guys out 
there around the clock shooting elevations 
to keep up with the pace. They set up lights 
so we could work at night." 

Cherenzia & Associates has also done 
layouts and as-built plans for other parking 
lots and for the water-line systems. Layouts 
show the builder every detail of a building 
site — from required grading to the location 
of structures, parking spaces, catch basins, 
lighting and signs; as-builts record every- 
thing about how a project was actually con- 
structed for those who may need to dig or 
do other work at the site. The firm also did 
the surveying, site plans, layouts and as- 
builts for the community center, road sys- 
tem and tribal housing. 

Ray Cherenzia, who is a registered pro- 
fessional engineer in Rhode Island, Con- 
necticut, Massachusetts and Maine, and a 
licensed land surveyor in Rhode Island and 

Connecticut, worked for Seaboard 
Engineering, Northeast Constructors, and 
Metcalf & Eddy., and was town engineer in 
Westerly, R.I., before founding Cherenzia & 
Associates in 1981. 

He says the firm has managed a kaleid- 
oscope of projects, including work for such 
diverse organizations and companies as the 
town of Stonington, Conn., M.A.N. Roland, 
the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, the Wash- 
ington Trust Company 
Inc., and the A&P Tea 
Company. But he says his 
work at Foxwoods has 
been the most challeng- 
ing and rewarding of his 

Walking through the 
courtyard of the Two 
Trees Inn, for which his 
company did the site lay- 
out and as-builts, Cher- 
enzia speaks with pride 
about seeing the prod- 
ucts of his firm's efforts 
everywhere he looks at 
Foxwoods. "It's hard to 
believe that just a few 
short years ago there 
was nothing out here 
but that original bingo 
hall," he says. "It's 
nice to have been a 
part of it." 

casino complex. As the structural engineer 
of record, he was responsible for working 
with the architect, Friar Associates Inc., in 
preparing the structural design and con- 
struction documents showing how the struc- 
ture would actually be built — often including 
what materials and details would be used. 

On a 150,000-square-foot, three-story 
building, that process would normally be a 
challenging enough assignment. At Fox- 

"We had our guys out there around the clock 

shooting elevations to keep up with the pace.' 

Ray Cherenzia 

The Two Trees 
Inn was also a major focus of the work 
that Carl S. Cianci '82CE did at Fox- 
woods. He is a partner in Cianci & Cianci, 
consulting structural engineers in Hartford, 
Conn. His firm was founded in 1973 as Mayo 
and Cianci, P.C., by his father, Paul S. Cianci, 
and Glendon R. Mayo. Carl joined the com- 
pany in 1983 and became a partner in 1985, 
when the firm took on its current name. It is 
registered to practice structural engineering 
in seven states and provides services to 
architects and owners for building designs 
and to contractors for design/build projects. 
Within the last 10 years the firm has also 
provided extensive forensic engineering ser- 
vices to the insurance industry. 

Cianci did the structural engineering for 
the $20 million, 282-room Two Trees Inn, 
which was built a short distance from the 


woods, the job was made even more difficult 
by the accelerated schedule. Conceived in 
January 1993 and started in mid-March, the 
hotel had to be partially open by the July 
4th weekend. 

"It was the speediest project I've ever 
worked on — maybe one of the speediest 
projects ever built," Cianci says. "The pace 
was unbelievable. We literally had to do the 
structural design for the foundation before 
the design of the hotel was complete. We did 
the design for the hotel while the foundation 
was being poured." 

The only way to build a hotel that fast, 
Cianci says, was to make it a modular build- 
ing. A factory in Pennsylvania manufactured 
large boxes, each of which consisted of two 
hotel rooms and a section of hallway 
between them. The boxes, complete with 

WPI Journal 


wiring and plumbing, were hoisted 
into position and fastened together 
on site. 

Because the building was built on 
Pequot land that is not part of the 
reservation, it had to meet all of 
Connecticut's building codes, includ- 
ing seismic requirements passed in 
1989. "As far as I know," Cianci says, 
"no one had ever done the structural 
engineering for a three-story modular 
building that had to meet wind and 
earthquake requirements." 

Cianci also did the structural en- 
gineering for the community center, 
a beautiful 92,000-square-foot build- 
ing that provides recreational and meeting 
facilities for members of the tribe. The steel- 
frame building is shaped like a bird; its 
wings house a pool and a gymnasium. "In 
these areas," Cianci says, "there are 90-foot 

"One day the fire marshal told them they had just 
four days to get a fire pump in every building or 
he would shut the project down." 
-Robert Simonds 

Above, Jack Fitzgibbons, left, and James Carr of H. Carr & Sons in the Phase 
V bingo hall. Center, the shopping concourse under construction in 1993. 

clear spans bridged by 'glu-lam' trusses. 
The steel plates connecting the wooden 
trusses are shaped like arrowheads. Those 
spans presented some unique challenges." 

Cianci says another memorable part of 
his involvement with Foxwoods was working 
with the Pequots, who have been insistent 
that all of the buildings — including the casi- 
nos — harmonize well with their natural sur- 
roundings and impact the land as little as 

"On the first day of the community cen- 
ter project, all of the members of the project 
team came to look at the site with the tribal 
chairman," Cianci says. "He explained his 
ideas and said that the tribe was very con- 
cerned about not cutting down any more 
trees than necessary. Finally he said, 'Let's 
go for a walk in the woods.' We were all in 
our suits, so we thought he was kidding. But 
he wasn't. So we went for a walk in the 

Working with the Pequots was also an 
interesting experience for Hayes Pump 

in West Concord, Mass., a distributor for 
pump manufacturers, notes Robert L. 
Simonds '69ME, vice president of the compa- 
ny. Hayes sup- 
plied the major- 
ity of the pumps 
used at Foxwoods, 
more than $750,000 

While much of 
the direct contact 
with the Foxwoods 
contractors was han- 
dled by the firm's Glastonbury, Conn., office, 
both Simonds and Gerry D. Nye '87MSM, a 
manager at Hayes, helped direct the contin- 
ual flow of water, fuel oil, heating and fire 
pumps, as well as complete sewage lift sta- 
tions, to the site. 

Simonds says the requests for pumps 
were spaced out over the course of the con- 
struction, though Hayes did have to meet 
one particularly large order. "They were 
using more and more water at the site as the 
buildings went up," Simonds says. "One day 
the fire marshal told them they had just four 
days to get a fire pump in every building or 
he would shut the project down. It was a 
challenge, but we rounded up the pumps 
they needed to meet the deadline." 


|oxwoods is not a typical casino. Instead 
of the neon and glitz one normally asso- 
ciates with Las Vegas-style gambling 
palaces, the buildings at the Ledyard resort 
are decorated in an understated but elegant 
style that reflects the Pequots' respect for 

nature and draws heavily on the tribe's tra- 
ditional patterns and colors. 

Large expanses of glass let visitors see 
the surrounding woods and hillsides, while 
waterfalls, rocks and acres of greenery bring 
a bit of nature indoors. Decorative panels on 
the building exteriors are based on the 
weave used in splint baskets made by the 
tribe for generations. And the purple and 
white dominating the color scheme mimic 
the colors of the wampum the Pequots once 
made from sea shells. 

Two firms, H. Carr & Sons, an interior 
contracting firm with offices in Providence 
and Boston, and Jesmac Inc., a Providence 
contracting firm, have played major roles in 
bringing the interiors and exteriors of 
Foxwoods to life. James Carr '74CE is presi- 
dent of H. Carr; Jack Fitzgibbons '75CE is 
vice president. The president of Jesmac is 
Rick Rudis '76CE. The three became friends 
while they were fraternity brothers at WPI. 

H. Carr & Sons, which was established as 
a family-owned plastering operation in 1930, 
currently offers a variety of state-of-the-art 
construction methods, including metal-stud 
partitioning and acoustical ceiling instal- 
lation, Carr says. The firm has participated 
in more than 3,000 projects, not the least of 
which was Copley Place, the elegant up- 
scale shopping and office complex in the 
heart of Boston. 

To satisfy the architect's unique design 
for that 600,000-square-foot project, H. Carr 
developed a new type of plaster application 
that ultimately reduced the cost to the pro- 
ject's owner. Similar specialty interior con- 


Spring 1994 


The distinctive and colorful bas- 
ket-weave patterns that can be seen 
on the exteriors of the buildings in 
the main Foxwoods complex also 
reflect Jesmac's efforts. "We in- 
stalled the exterior skin," Rudis says, 
"which is made up of plastic panels. 
We also installed a variety of other 
exterior finishings throughout the 


Above, from left, Tom Pureed, Jim Granger and Rick Rudis of Jesmac Inc. 
In the background are some of the plastic panels the company installed. 

struction methods were used at Foxwoods 
throughout the concourses, towering atri- 
ums and spacious rooms, where the Sheet- 
rock, drywall, decorative fiberglass column 
coverings and other interior finishes also 
bear the Carr stamp. 

A particularly distinctive section of the 
main concourse in the Phase IV casino is also 
a Carr product. One side of the concourse is 
lined with a long row of Colonial storefronts 
highlighted with pastel entrances, small- 
paned windows and fancy soffits. "We 
designed and built the storefronts using foam 
and fiberglass backup for the simulated plas- 
ter cornices and moldings," Carr says. 

Similar work went into creating the 
streetscapes and interiors for Cinetropolis, a 
high-tech theme park inside the new casino. 
The entertainment complex includes a 
games arcade; a theater where viewers are 
taken on simulated flights on a jet fighter, 
among other adventures; a 360-degree the- 
ater that can be converted to a nightclub; 
and another hall that can be set up as either 
a 300-seat, giant-screen theater or a 1,400- 
seat arena. 

H. Carr & Sons and Jesmac, on the 
Foxwoods site since 1991, have often 
worked around the clock, seven days a 
week, to stay on schedule as the project 
moved quickly from phase to phase. They 
have managed to stay on schedule — even 
ahead of it, at times — despite the flash-track 
pace and the vagaries of New England 
weather. "This was an especially tough win- 
ter," James Carr says. "There was lots of 
snow and for days at a time the temperature 

didn't reach double digits. Hard working 

"We are currently running two eight-hour 
shifts a day," Carr says on a cool spring day 
as his crews and those of Jesmac busily 
work on the bingo hall and parking lot 
expansion of Phases V and VI. "We usually 
have a basic staff of 10 — five site engineers 
and five superintendents. We also employ 
about 200 tradesmen." 

Jesmac, which specializes in interior 
construction finishes, exterior wall finish 
systems and sprayed fireproofing, has 
become a major subcontractor 
in the New England area since 
its founding five years ago. 
The company has done 
work on the Pfizer Organic 
Synthesis Project and the 
Polaroid 11-X facility, 
among other projects, 
and has seen its annual 
sales volume top $20 

Also representing 
Jesmac on site are 

Tom Purcell '92MG and Jim Granger '86CE. 
Purcell was assigned to the project from the 
start to finish of Phases III and IV; Granger 
joined the project team in the summer of 
1993. They've helped the firm complete a 
wide range of interior construction work at 
Foxwoods, including wall systems, sprayed 
fireproofing, light-gauge metal stud walls, 
gypsum wall systems and acoustical treat- 
ments. The company also did the interior 
work for the community center. 

s the latest phases of the Fox- 
woods project move toward 
completion at their typically 
dizzying pace, the complex remains 
a study in contrasts. Outside, the air 
is filled with noise and dust as cranes swing 
steel beams and pallets loaded with con- 
struction supplies over the unfinished park- 
ing garage; front-end loaders fill dump 
trucks with earth; power tools roar as work- 
ers apply the finishing touches to the new 
buildings; and trucks and jeeps hurry from 
one construction site to another. 

Inside, there is noise of a different sort as 
patrons place their bets at more than 300 
gaming tables, set some 3,000 slot machines 
spinning, and wander through the bustling 
concourses, restaurants and hotels, seem- 
ingly unaware of the frenetic construction 
activity just beyond the walls. 

'This was an especially tough winter. 
There was lots of snow and for days at a 
time the temperature didnt reach double 
digits. Hard working conditions." 
-James Carr 

These visitors, who arrive by the thou- 
sands each day in cars, limousines and 
buses, may never realize as they take in the 
grandeur of the complex and its surround- 
ings that they are witnessing the products of 
a small miracle of modern construction. But 
for the people who made it all happen, 
including nine graduates of WPI, Foxwoods 
will always be a monument to their talent, 
craftsmanship, hard work, and willingness 
to do whatever it took to get the job done. 

WPI Journal 



By Michael Dorsey 

It took more than four decades for 
Michael W. Klein, professor of physics, to 
feel ready to talk in public about his 
experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concen- 
tration camps during World War II and 
about Oskar Schindler, the man to whom he 
owes his life. Since the release of Steven 
Spielberg's Oscar-winning film about the 
German businessman, Klein has been talking 
about it a good deal as local groups ask him 
to come and tell, yet again, his compelling 
tale of horror, tragedy and survival. 

Klein's journey into the Holocaust began 
in Janoshalma, Hungary, not long after his 
13th birthday, when the Germans occupied 
his native country. Like all Hungarian Jews, 
Klein's family, including his father (a rabbi), 
his mother, and his 10 brothers and sisters, 
were ordered into the overcrowded ghetto 
of Baczalmas. For about six weeks they 
endured hardship and hunger. 

The men were eventually sent to work 
with a Hungarian forced labor battalion. 
Then one morning the women and children 
were lined up and marched three miles to 
waiting cattle cars. Without water and with 
only the meager food they had carried with 
them, they rode for five days. "Conditions in 
the cars were horrible," Klein says. "It was 
June 24th when they loaded us in and it was 
very hot. But the worst part was that there 
was no fresh air — there were just two small 
openings at the ends of the car." 

On the fifth day the train stopped. The 
doors of the cars were opened in unison as 
capos (prisoners who worked for the 
Germans) jumped aboard. With cries of 
"Raus! Raus!" ("Out! Out!"), they swung clubs 
with brutal force, beating the prisoners and 
driving them from the cars. This was the 
"welcome" all prisoners received to Bir- 
kenau, part of the infamous German concen- 
tration and annihilation camp in Auschwitz, 

"The German SS were all around with 
dogs and machine guns," Klein says. "They 
said old people and women with children 
should go to the right and women without 
children and men should go to the left. We 
marched down a 10-yard path made by the 
train on which we had arrived on the right- 
hand side and high-voltage barbed wire on 
the left-hand side." 

Being tall for his age, Klein went with the 
men. He noticed that his younger brother, 
David, was walking beside him. Remem- 
bering the SS officer's instructions, he sent 

him back to find their mother. Only later did 
he learn that in doing so he had sent his 
brother to his death, for, not fit for hard 
labor, the children and their mothers were 
taken immediatly to the gas chambers. 

Klein was assigned to Barracks 16 — the 
children's block — where a thousand children, 
their heads shaved, were crowded together, 
sleeping on the concrete floor and subsisting 
on a starvation diet. After seven weeks, Klein's 
father also arrived at Auschwitz and was 
assigned to the same camp as 
Klein. Auschwitz provided labor 
for nearby German factories and 
two days after his arrival the elder 
Klein was selected to go to work in 
the cement factory at Golleschau. 

"I cried very hard," Klein says, 
"that just two days after I met up 
with him again he was going 
away. He said, 'I am not saying 
goodbye to you. We'll see what 
we can do.' 

"The Germans wrote down 
the names of the people they 
selected — we didn't yet have our 
numbers tattooed on our arms. I 
went around and asked every 
prisoner if they wanted to change 
with me. There was a prisoner 
who had a brother in Auschwitz and wanted 
to stay with him. So I took his name — Gold- 
berger, Arnold." [Klein says he appears on 
Oskar Schindler's list under this name.] 

In leaving with his father, Klein escaped 
certain death, for the occupants of the chil- 
dren's block were gassed on Rosh Hasha- 
nah. But survival was by no means certain at 
Golleschau, which was a work-annihilation 
camp. Half of the workers died, were killed 
or were taken back to the gas chambers at 
Birkenau every three months. Klein's father 
would not survive his time at the camp and 
Klein worked with a broken hip to avoid 
being killed. 

At Golleschau, rocks were mined from a 
mountain for use in the cement factory. 
Klein and his father, working side by side, 
helped build a cable cart line that was to be 
used to carry the stones to the factory. Not 
long after his father was taken back to 
Birkenau, Klein was injured when a lorry ran 
over his foot. He ended up in the camp hos- 
pital — in reality a room with no medical 
equipment or supplies where injured and 
sick prisoners were held. 

Normally the hospital was a temporary 

way station for prisoners destined for the 
gas chambers. But by late December 1944 
the Germans, preparing to evacuate 
Auschwitz in advance of the arrival of 
Russian troops, stopped using the cham- 
bers. In January 1945 everyone in Klein's 
camp was evacuated — except for the 94 pris- 
oners in the hospital. 

"We were hoping that the Germans had 
all left and that we were free," Klein says. 
"But that same afternoon SS guards with 

Saved by 


Michael Klein 

Got on With 

His Life 

machine guns walked in, so we knew our 
hopes were dashed." 

Two days later the prisoners were load- 
ed into cattle cars. The train moved intermit- 
tently for about three days. Then the loco- 
motive was unhitched and the cars were 
abandoned on an isolated siding. A capo 
beat the other prisoners and forced them to 
scream for help every half hour. Several 
more days passed before a railway worker 
heard their cries and informed Oskar Schin- 
dler's brother-in-law, who worked for the 
German railway. 

The brother-in-law notified Schindler and 
the next day a locomotive pulled the cars to 
the village where Schindler had his factory. 
Prisoners working for Schindler used blow 
torches to unfreeze the locks on the cattle 
cars. When the doors were opened, the 34 
prisoners who had survived were fed hot 
farina. "Apparently Schindler knew that if we 
ate regular food we would die from diarrhea, 
because we had not eaten in eight days." 

Hot farina arrived again the next morning 
and then the prisoners were led or carried 
to Schindler's camp. Klein threw off his filthy 
prison clothes and jumped into the hot 


Spring 1994 

showers Schindler provided. "I just enjoyed 
tremendously the sensation of hot water 
flowing over my face and over my body," 
Klein says. 

The new prisoners were quarantined for 
three weeks. Still weak, Klein went to work 
in Schindler's factory making bullet casings. 
Klein says Schindler's "was the heaven of all 
camps." Workers were not beaten and were 
fed adequately. Each prisoner had his or her 
own bunk. But there were no medical facili- 
ties and most of the Jews who'd survived 
the trip with Klein to Schindler's camp ulti- 
mately died. 

By spring, it was becoming clear that the 
war was winding down. On May 8 Schindler 
gathered everyone together to tell them it 
was finally over. "We were all standing on 
the machines trying to see him," Klein says. 

"He said, 'I know what was done to you. And 
1 know what you went through you will 
never forget. But I hope you remember that 
this German did what he could." 

The next day the Russians came and the 
prisoners were on their own. Klein devel- 
oped a fever of 103, which he would endure 
for two years. He traveled in the back of a 
horse-drawn cart to Brno, Czechoslovakia, 
where he was hospitalized. He learned there 
that he had contracted tuberculosis. 

Because he was Hungarian, he wasn't 
allowed to stay in the Czech hospital. With 
great difficulty, he worked his way back to 
Hungary, where he learned that two of his 
sisters had also survived the war. His older 
sister took him to the American Zone in 
Germany; he would remain there in a hos- 
pital for five years. 

After two years, his temperature was low 
enough for him to begin to read. "I concen- 
trated all my energies on trying to educate 
myself," he says. "I taught myself German, 
which became my best language. 1 got books 
on math and physics and taught myself frac- 
tions and algebra." 

When he was well enough, Klein came to 
the United States. The Korean War had start- 
ed and many colleges were admitting as spe- 
cial students qualified young men and 
women who had not completed high school. 
Klein earned a bachelor's degree in engi- 
neering physics at the University of Colo- 
rado, graduating at the top of his class, and 
went on to earn a Ph.D. in theoretical phys- 
ics at Cornell. 

While at Cornell he met another Holo- 
caust survivor, who would become his wife; 
today they have two children and eight 
grandchildren. A professor at WPI since 
1979, he has also developed an international 
reputation for his work in theoretical 
physics, especially his pioneering work on 
explaining certain anomalous low-tempera- 
ture properties of glasses. 

"I have taken on as my motto, 'Never Look 
Back,'" he says. "I have looked forward and 
tried to establish for myself a normal life. It is 
this attitude that has helped my wife and me 
become active and useful members of society, 
rather than crying over the past." 

But Klein has looked back, too. In addition 
to his talks, he has written several articles 
about his experiences at Auschwitz and is at 
work on a book about his life. To verify his 
memories, he has taken trips back to Poland 
and Hungary. On a visit to the cement factory 
with his oldest son, he found it unchanged 
after nearly 50 years. "I could close my eyes 
and take him from place to place," he says. "I 
remembered every detail so well. These are 
things that are engraved in one's mind." 

Since Schindler's List opened, Klein says he 
has been frequently asked his opinion of its 
central character. "He clearly started out as 
someone trying to profit from the Jews by 
using their money to enrich himself," he says. 
"But as time went on he became more and 
more dedicated to saving the Jews who 
worked for him. He did that by drinking and 
womanizing with the SS — with the murderers. 

"People ask me, 'Did this make him a 
good man or a bad man?' I say if he hadn't 
done what he did he couldn't have saved 
anyone, so it doesn't really matter. 1 think he 
was a great man." 

WPI Journal 


SUMMER 1994 

- • • ■ • 


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Cover: Cut-paper illustration by 
Laura Tedeschi. Story on page 8. 
This page: In the spring, work 
began on the new 20,000-square-foot 
addition to Higgins Laboratories. 
This view shows the addition's second V 
floor shortly after the steel frame 
was completed. The outer wall of the 
original building can be seen at left. 
Photo by Janet Woodcock. 
Back Cover: The lush green of 
summer surrounds the entrance to 
Atwater Kent Laboratories. Photo by 
Janet Woodcock. 

WH Journal 








Net Assets 

Michael W. Dorsey 

The Internet is disorganized, hard to use, and easy to get lost in. But it's also a 
powerful way to communicate, meet new people, answer questions — even get a job. 
Here's a look at this "network of networks." 

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: New Order in an Old Industry 

Joan Killough-Miller 

Under Paul Kennedy '67, Kennedy Die Castings remade itself to survive the recession and 

foreign competition. Now it's a model for other small manufacturing companies to emulate. 

Getting a Job: A New Decade Brings New Realities 

Diane Benison 

Today's graduates are facing a tougher, more competitive job market. To get employed, 

they need a lot more than knowledge. 

All the Stops Along the Way 

Ruth Trask 

The Career Development Center helps students make career planning an integral part 

of their four years at the Institute. 

A Workplace Survival Kit for Technical Professionals 

Barbara Veal 

Once you've found a job, how do you keep it? And what can you do to keep moving 

up and growing personally? Here are some pointers. 

The Return of the Golden One 

Joan Killough-Miller 

As a child, he survived the Khmer Rouge, the jungle and a refugee camp in Thailand. 
Now an American citizen, Lee Kenseth Abel journeys back to Cambodia to find out 
what — and who — he left behind. 


Advance Word Michael Dorsey 
Wanted: A Helping Hand. 


This Dog Won't Hunt; Boyd Taught Students How to Think. 

Input Morton S. Fine '37 

Academia is Shortchanging New Engineers. 

Investigations Michael Dorsey 

Light at the End of the Tunnel for CNG-Fueled Vehicles; Tapping Into Clean 

Water at a Reasonable Cost; Where the Rubber Meets the Road. 

Final Word Joan Killough-Miller 
"Shy Inventor" Kept Byrd on Course. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller, Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • 
Photographer. Janet Woodcock. Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • Paul J. Cleary 71 • James S. Demetry '58 • Judith Donahue SIM '82 • William J. Firla Jr. '60 • 
William R Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the 
Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in Ms magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official WPI policies. We welcome letters to the editor Address correspondence to the Editor, WPI Journal, 
WPI 100 Institute Road, Worcester. MA 01609-2280 Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax (508) 831-5604, Electronic Mail (Internet), Postmaster If undelwerable. please send Form 3579 
to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1994. Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 



A Helping Hand 

The Spring 1994 WPI Wire included a 
story on the vital role that alumni, 
as members of the Alumni Admis- 
sions Program, play in attracting 
and admitting new WPI students. 
Alumni, of course, can also help by letting 
the Admissions Office know about talented 
high school students who might be interest- 
ed in what WPI has to offer and by talking to 
high school students, teachers and guidance 
counselors about the Institute. WPI can also 
use the help of alumni when it comes time to 
help students plan and launch their careers. 
As this issue of the WPI Journal goes to 
press, about a third of the Class of 1994 is 
still looking for work. With corporate down- 
sizings and realignments, and the continuing 
economic shocks of the recent recession, 
starting a career has become a far more 
challenging and uncertain task for graduates 
of engineering and science programs. The 
changing economy has also left many other 
WPI graduates seeking new jobs or rethink- 
ing their career plans. 

We thought this would be a good time to 
look at the changing employment picture for 
our graduates and at how the Institute is 

responding to that shifting landscape. Our 
coverage begins on page 20. As you'll see, 
WPI's Career Development Center, once pri- 
marily a placement service, now offers a 
wide range of career planning services. 

It also begins working with students long 
before they graduate — and continues long 
after they graduate. In fact, the center offers 
alumni many of the same services available to 
undergraduates, including access to job post- 
ings and a jobs hot line, a resume referral ser- 
vice, a library of literature and videotapes on 
corporations, and one-on-one counseling. 

This changing focus began about seven 
years ago when the WPI Alumni Association 
launched a new initiative called Career 
Connections. The program was designed to 
fill a real need among students and gradu- 
ates for sound advice on career planning 
and other career-related issues. 

The association also recognized that 
WPI's alumni body represents a tremendous 
resource, constituting 20,000 men and 
women with personal experience in career 
planning, many thousands of employers 
with jobs to fill, thousands of potential 
clients and associates, and thousands of 

professionals with valuable contacts. 

To bring these alumni together with each 
other and with current students, Career 
Connections, in conjunction with several 
WPI offices, created and funded the highly 
successful Career Day, an annual event that 
featured workshops, seminars, panel discus- 
sions and lectures on career-related topics. 
Other Career Connections initiatives includ- 
ed workshops and panels for alumni in spe- 
cific disciplines and a program that helps 
underclassmen choose a major. 

The programs were great successes, 
notes Sharon Davis, director of alumni pro- 
grams. Each garnered a high turnout and 
enthusiastic comments from participants. 
Many of those initiatives have been incorpo- 
rated into the programs of the Career 
Development Center, but that doesn't mean 
that the Alumni Association has set aside its 
interest in career planning. 

"Quite the contrary," Davis says. "In fact, 
the first goal of the association's new Master 
Plan is to continue to help undergraduates 
and alumni in developing lifelong career- 
related skills and to continue to develop 
career-related services." 

The association has two new initiatives. 
It will fund the installation of a computer at 
the CDC for use by alumni. The computer 
will let users tap into CDC services, such as 
Resume Expert Plus (see page 24), and pre- 
pare cover letters and other correspon- 
dence to prospective employers. 

The second initiative is a new database 
program that will match alumni with other 
alumni and undergraduates who are seeking 
information on careers or companies. This 
new Alumni Network will be made possible 
by the energy and talents of a host of alumni 
volunteers, Davis says. Those volunteers 
were identified through the survey done as 
part of the publication of the new Alumni 
Directory. The survey asked alumni if they 
would be willing to volunteer to help out 
with the Institute's career services. "We 
were pleasantly surprised to get 1,200 posi- 
tive responses," she says. 

Also pleased was Yvonne Harrison, 
director of the Career Development Center. 
Harrison says her office is keen to involve as 
many alumni as possible, and says the 
Alumni Network will help. For example, 
alumni can let the CDC know when they 
learn of new job openings. Through a pro- 
gram called Professionals in Action, they can 
help recent graduates learn more about 
their disciplines. 

"This is a program for underclassmen 
who want to know more about particular 

Summer 1994 


careers," she says. "They spend a day or 
two with an alum to see what his or her 
work is really like. Alumni can also make 
themselves available for informational 
interviews, which let students ask about 
their work, about how they've managed 
their careers, and about the kinds of 
opportunities available in their fields." 

Harrison says she also hopes to start a 
mentoring program that will match up 
alumni with specific underclassmen. "The 
alumni would meet with the students once 
or twice each year to make sure they are 
taking the steps that will make them more 
marketable to employers when they reach 
graduation." Also under consideration is a 
host program, in which alumni living in dif- 
ferent parts of the country would talk to 
students doing job searches or interview- 
ing in those areas about the quality of life, 
employment opportunities, and so on. 

The CDC also needs help from alumni 
in setting up summer work opportunities, 
co-op assignments and internships. 
"About a third of each class applies to do 
a co-op, but we simply don't have enough 
opportunities in most fields. We need to 
expand our undergraduate work pro- 
grams, and we're appealing to our alumni 
for help in doing so." 

Alumni can also play an important role 
in helping graduates find permanent 
employment — especially within their own 
companies. That not only means hiring 
WPI graduates for open positions, but 
making sure that others within their orga- 
nizations understand the value added by 
a WPI education. 

"Alumni should be our most important 
recruiting source, because they already 
know what our program is all about," 
Harrison says. "They understand it, and 
they can sell it internally to their counter- 
parts and peers. This is especially impor- 
tant at organizations that aren't familiar 
with us or haven't had as much exposure 
to our graduates. 

"Our alumni know the value of their 
own education. They know that WPI grad- 
uates possess the qualities their compa- 
nies are looking for — things like a team 
orientation and global experience. They 
can do a good job of raising WPI's visi- 
bility within their organizations. And this 
can have a great return. After all, when 
you are looking to build yourself up in an 
organization, you have to also build up 
your background, and that includes your 

—Michael Dorsey 

This Dog 
Won't Hunt 

To the Editor: 

Re: "To Alma Mater, Good and True" 
(Winter 1994). Let me say right off the 
bat, 1 think the present WPI alma 
mater is a dog. 

The whole thing is too long and cum- 
bersome, the music is difficult to remem- 
ber, and the words are even more difficult 
to remember and are at odds with the char- 
acter of the school today. 

Just look at the photograph that accom- 
panied the article (reprinted here). The 
WPI Student Alumni Society is singing the 
Alma Mater, and see how many of them are 
having to refer to the words. Would this 

happen at Dartmouth or Princeton or 
Cornell? No way. 

Although our class was drilled in the 
singing of this nightmare, I doubt if many 
remember the tune and the words. 1 don't 
myself, but I can sing the Princeton and 
Cornell alma maters by heart. Their 
words and music are uncomplicated and 

Take a poll of the total WPI alumni and 
see how many could sing our alma mater by 

heart. I attended the 50th Reunion of my 
class in June and almost all of the graduates 
at the Reunion Luncheon had to read the 
words in the program to cope. In fact, Alex 
Papianou '57 announced that he would lead 
the singing since he was probably one of 
only two alumni there who knew the tune! 

The present alma mater is an Edsel and 
should be given an honorable retirement. A 
new one should be chosen that would have 
no more than eight lines and an uncompli- 
cated melody that lends itself to harmony. 

Let's have a competition for a decent 
alma mater that can be presented to the 
student body, the faculty, the administra- 
tion and the alumni for their approval — not 
just to a committee. 

— Erling Lagerholm '44 
Carmel, Calif. 

Boyd Taught 
Students How 
to Think 

To the Editor: 


y husband and 1 are both members of 
the Class of 1989. We were so pleased 
, to see such an eloquent chronicle on 
Professor Jack Boyd ("The Privilege of 
Teaching," Winter 1994). 1 am truly sad- 
dened that Professor Boyd will not be a key 
player in the development of "Plan II." His 
was the class that taught students how to 
think. His enthusiasm and commitment are 
catching even today. Professor Boyd is the 
epitome of everything I valued at WPI. 

Many WPI students could have attend- 
ed schools like MIT, but they wanted a 
school with excellent teachers, not re- 
searchers who were inaccessible to them. I 
sincerely hope that the ongoing push at 
WPI for advanced research will not be at 
the expense of superior teachers. 

Undergraduates need mentors and pro- 
fessors who allow — and encourage — stu- 
dents to go to them with problems, to free- 
ly ask questions, and to even share a joke 
with. Professor Boyd is that type of men- 
tor. His humility and caring for his students 
is real. I never once went to his office with- 
out feeling better when I left. 

I am disappointed that WPI will no longer 
be home for Professor Boyd. I wish him all 
the happiness in the world and thank him for 
the part he played in my total education. 
WPI will never be the same without him. 

—Kathleen (Murray) King '89 
Stow, Mass. 

WPI Journal 


Academia is Shortchanging 
New Engineers 

By Morton S. Fine '37 P.E. 

As a result of a long and intense 
involvement with engineering regis- 
tration, I have reached the conclu- 
sion that, year after year, new crops 
of engineering graduates are being 
shortchanged by the profession and by 
academia. These students are not being 
given the knowledge they need about engi- 
neering licensure and its processes, with the 
result that comparatively few take the first 
step toward their professional registration. 
That's unfortunate for the students and for 
the stature of the engineering profession. 

It is ironic that only about one in four 
highly qualified engineers in this country 
may write the letters "P.E." (professional 
engineer) after their names. In sharp con- 
trast, virtually all physicians may use the 
title "M.D." (medical doctor), and they do so 
with pride. The title is prestigious and com- 
mands the respect of the public. 

Persons who have earned a doctorate in 
medicine may use their professional title 
whether or not a state subsequently licenses 
them to practice. But while the engineering 
profession, through the Accreditation Board 
for Engineering and Technology (ABET), 
sets the requirements for the baccalaureate 
engineering degree, the right to use the title 
P.E. is determined by the states. 

States grant professional engineering 
licenses to those who may offer services to 
the public. But thousands of thoroughly 
qualified engineers have no need for such a 
license. They are professional engineers in 
the best sense of the term, but they have lit- 
tle incentive to pursue the prestigious P.E. 
title and the strong identification with the 
profession that the title bestows. They also 
cannot qualify for the full-member status of 
their professional societies. 

The states' role in licensing engineers 
began in Wyoming in 1907. Officials needed to 
identify people who were qualified to write 
descriptions of water rights, but what began 
as an effort to regulate land surveyors blos- 
somed into regulation of the entire engineer- 
ing profession. As other states embraced the 
Wyoming concept, each wrote its own legisla- 

tion, created state boards with the necessary 
jurisdiction, and adopted various rules and 
regulations. By the close of the 1950s, every 
state had an engineering statute. 

The registration process that emerged 
does its job. It enables the states to deter- 
mine whether persons possess the minimal 
competence to offer engineering services to 
the public, whether that means designing or 
building dams, bridges, power stations, 
ships, planes, trains or skyscrapers. But it 
also creates a narrow definition of Profes- 
sional Engineer that excludes most people in 
the profession. 

Today, most engineers who seek state reg- 
istration are graduates of college and universi- 
ty engineering curricula accredited by ABET. 
They begin the process of seeking profession- 
al recognition by taking the F.E. (Funda- 
mentals of Engineering) examination, the first 
of two rigorous exams typically encountered 
on the road to professional status. 

The F.E. exam is considerably more diffi- 
cult than the Professional Engineer exam, 
which is normally taken only after an engi- 
neer has had a minimum of four years of 
qualifying work experience. Because the F.E. 
exam covers a broad range of principles that 
undergird our profession, it is best to take it 
at or near the end of the senior year in col- 
lege. Passing the exam becomes increasingly 
difficult as one's college years recede. This 
fact alone discourages most engineers from 
taking it when more than a few years have 
elapsed since graduation. 

Because the best time to take the F.E. 
exam is in college, ABET is in a commanding 
position to facilitate the process leading to 
the P.E. title. ABET should mandate, as a con- 
dition of accreditation, that engineering 
schools require all senior engineering majors 
to take the F.E. exam — take, not necessarily 
pass. Most seniors will pass the exam, but 
everyone should be required to take it. 

This requirement will start all ABET- 
accredited graduates on the road to becom- 
ing P.E.s. It will also be an acknowledgment 
by ABET that becoming a P.E. is one of the 
major goals of an engineering education, just 

as a major goal of an education in law is the 
attainment of the J.D. degree and the title 
"attorney," and of an education in medicine 
the M.D. degree and the title "doctor." 

There will be resistance to this new 
requirement. Most people — including many 
engineering faculty members — think of the 
F.E. exam only in connection with registra- 
tion and private practice. Since most such 
educators in this country don't need regis- 
tration and do not themselves possess the 
P.E. title, they are little motivated to encour- 
age seniors to take the exam. 

Furthermore, to most seniors the need 
for registration seems remote. Most are far 
from certain, at this stage in their still-matur- 
ing careers, whether they will have a need 
for a license. They naturally see registration 
as a bridge they can cross if they come to it. 
Thus they must be required by the more 
experienced of us to get the F.E. exam out of 
the way while still in college. 

This accreditation requirement by ABET 
would do more than any other single action 
our profession could take to facilitate the 
achievement of — and thereby broad use of — 
the P.E. title. It is a step wholly within our pro- 
fession's jurisdiction to take. We can take it 
without worrying about state regulations and 
the related complexities of politics. Truly, 
such a step would symbolize the determina- 
tion of our profession to make professional 
status more available to all engineers and to 
bring to our profession the unity and the 
recognition it needs and deserves. 

— Fine spent 20 years on the National Council 
of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, 
the organization that prepares and manages 
the F.E. and P.E. exams on behalf of state 
boards of registration. He was president of the 
council from 1974 to 1975 and executive 
director from 1976 to 1982. In the 1960s and 
1970s, he served 12 years on the Connecticut 
State Board of Registration for Professional 
Engineers and Land Surveyors. This article is 
an excerpt from a larger work by Fine. The 
entire work can be obtained by writing to him 
at P.O. Box 551, Bloom field, CT, 06002. 

Summer 1994 


Light at the End of 
the Tunnel for CNG- 
Fueled Vehicles 

The federal Clean Air Act of 1990 and the 
Energy Policy Act of 1992 have put 
pressure on cities like Boston to find 
ways to reduce air pollution caused by the 
millions of vehicles that use their roads, 
bridges and tunnels. One attractive solution 
to this problem is to convert a healthy share 
of those vehicles to cleaner-burning fuels 
like natural gas. 

In Boston, however, efforts to convince 
owners of fleets of vehicles to convert their 
cars, vans and buses to cleaner fuels have 
come up against a serious roadblock — restric- 
tions on travel through the city's longer 
underpasses and tunnels, including the tun- 
nels that provide the primary access under 
Boston Harbor to Logan International Airport. 

The restrictions, imposed by the Boston 
Fire Department, grew from concerns about 
the potential danger of fire and explosion 
posed by accidental releases of gaseous 
fuels within the tunnels. Now, thanks to a 
yearlong study by researchers in WPI's Cen- 
ter for Firesafety Studies, concerns about 
one such fuel — compressed natural gas 
(CNG) — have been allayed. 

Comparing the relative hazards posed by 
accidental fuel releases from vehicles pow- 
ered by CNG and gasoline, the study conclud- 
ed that gasoline spills pose a more significant 
fire and explosion hazard in ventilated tun- 
nels. As a result, the Boston Fire Department 
is removing its objection to CNG-fueled vehi- 
cles for all tunnels and underpasses that have 
effective mechanical ventilation. 

The WP1 study was funded by a two-year, 
$88,400 award from the Massachusetts 
Highway Department, which is being admin- 
istered by Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff 
(B/PB), the prime contractors for a major 
project to place Boston's Central Artery 
underground and build a third tunnel under 
Boston Harbor. Robert G. Zalosh, professor 
of fire protection engineering, is the study's 
principal investigator. 

The results were reviewed by a steering 
committee made up of representatives of 
the Boston Fire Department, the State Fire 
Marshal, and the Massachusetts Division of 
Energy Resources, Executive Office of 
Environmental Affairs, Highway Department 
and Turnpike Authority. It was the steering 
committee's recommendation that led to the 
Fire Department's decision. 

In the next phase of the WPI study, the 
research team will review the potential haz- 
ards posed by vehicles fueled by liquefied 
petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural 
gas (LNG). 

"Each fuel has unique characteristics, so 
it is important that we assess each individu- 
ally," Zalosh says. "For example, unlike CNG, 
LPG is heavier than air and won't disperse 
the same way in a tunnel. LNG is stored at 
cryogenic temperatures; when it spills onto 
the road surface, it boils rapidly into a 
vapor. A key part of the study involves cal- 
culating the vaporization rates and vapor 
release rates for these fuels in simulated 
incidents, such as a ruptured fuel line." 

ized tank as a result of a break in the fuel line 
near the tank, and how fast gasoline would 
spill and spread across the floor of a tunnel 
after a fuel-line break. These were chosen as 
the most serious types of releases likely to 
occur as a result of a traffic incident. 

Knowing the release rates for the two 
types of fuel, Zalosh and his students used 
computational fluid dynamics software to 
determine the size and duration of the vapor 
cloud that would result from each type of 
spill. They determined that, under most con- 
ditions, the vapor cloud from a CNG acci- 
dent would be smaller and would dissipate 
far more quickly than that from a gasoline 
spill from a comparable vehicle. 

In recent years, studies of CNG-fueled 
vehicles have also been sponsored by the 
cities of Baltimore, New York and Toronto; 
like the WPI study, these concluded that 
CNG restrictions should be relaxed or 
removed, Zalosh says. "What makes our 
study unique is that we have done a one-to- 
one comparison of gasoline and CNG using a 
consistent methodology and employing the 
same criteria for each fuel. We use the size 
and duration of the vapor cloud resulting 
from a gasoline spill as a benchmark mea- 
sure of the existing hazard posed by conven- 
tional-fueled vehicles." 

In the study, Zalosh and two graduate stu- 
dents developed computer models for a vari- 
ety of accident scenarios involving fuel leaks 
in tunnels of different sizes and with different 
ventilation configurations. The models were 
used to compute how quickly natural gas 
would be expelled from a standard pressur- 

In fact, they found that the vapor cloud 
from a CNG-fueled van would not extend 
much beyond the immediate vicinity of the 
van, or a few feet from the ceiling of the tun- 
nel, depending on how the tunnel is ventilat- 
ed. A leak from a bus would produce a larger 
vapor cloud, but the cloud would disperse 
completely within about five minutes. A 
gasoline spill, on the other hand, would pro- 
duce a vapor cloud over a much larger area 
and the cloud would persist for much longer 
than the natural gas cloud. Making matters 
worse, Zalosh notes, gasoline vapor remains 
flammable at lower concentrations than 
natural gas vapors and therefore must be 
diluted to a lower concentration before it 
becomes safe. 

Zalosh says the study demonstrated that 
the transverse ventilation configuration 
used in most tunnels, including the major 
traffic tunnels in Boston, aids in the disper- 

WPI Journal 

sal of a natural gas vapor cloud while actual- 
ly enhancing the formation of a gasoline 
vapor cloud. He says natural ventilation and 
the horizontal air movement caused by traf- 
fic are also effective in rapidly diluting any 
natural gas released into a tunnel. In a sep- 
arately funded follow-on study, the WPI 
researchers will measure the air flows in cer- 
tain unventilated tunnels and underpasses 
to help determine whether they may also be 
opened to CNG-fueled vehicles. 

Tapping Into Clean 
Water at a 
Reasonable Cost 

When someone turns on the faucet in 
the Boston area, the water that comes 
out probably originated far away in a 
system of reservoirs that starts with the mas- 
sive Quabbin some 60 miles to the west of the 
city. Through careful watershed manage- 
ment, the Massachusetts Water Resources 
Authority (MWRA) and the Metropolitan 
District Commission have been able to sup- 
ply clean water to their customers in Eastern 
Massachusetts from this surface water sys- 
tem without the need for expensive treat- 
ment plants. But that could change. 

Under new amendments to the federal 
Safe Drinking Water Act, communities that 
get their water from reservoirs will have to 
build filtration plants over the next few 
years unless their water meets several 
"avoidance criteria." They also require im- 
proved disinfection and corrosion control 
for water systems. In Massachusetts, the 
total cost of building new treatment plants is 
estimated at $1.1 billion. For the MWRA, the 
cost is $400 million. 

During the past few years, the MWRA has 
been looking at various treatment options 
for the Wachusett Reservoir, a major link in 
the chain of reservoirs that supplies Boston. 
It is simultaneously pursuing a dual track for 
treatment consisting of filtration and water- 
shed management plus nonfiltration op- 
tions. The agency has launched a study that 
compares treatment options that use filtra- 
tion with an option that involves just dis- 
infection to kill bacteria (water from the 
Wachusett does not meet the avoidance cri- 
teria for coliform bacteria) and corrosion 
control. The goal of the study is to find a 
way to meet the federal requirements at the 
most reasonable cost. 

As part of this study, Camp Dresser & 
McKee has awarded WPI a one-year, $82,000 

contract to conduct a water-quality analysis 
of the reservoir and to help run a demon- 
stration water treatment plant that will be 
used to evaluate various treatment schemes. 
Frederick L Hart, associate professor of civil 
engineering, is the principal investigator for 
the study. Graduate students Peter J. 
Grabowski and Gregg Giasson will take and 
analyze the water samples and operate the 
demonstration plant. 

Hart says the students will collect water 
samples monthly at various locations in the 
reservoir to see how water quality varies 
with the seasons. The students will also 
obtain samples under a number of specific 
conditions, such as high storm runoff. The 
samples will be analyzed for a variety of fac- 
tors, such as bacteria, organic and inorganic 
particles and dissolved matter, nutrients, 
and color. 

In the second phase of the study, Gra- 
bowski and Giasson will spend 16 hours a 
day, five days a week, at the reservoir oper- 
ating the demonstration water treatment 
plant, which contains a number of treatment 
units that can be connected in various com- 
binations. This will allow the students to cre- 
ate four different treatment trains, ranging in 
complexity from one that includes oxida- 
tion, mixing and coagulation, flocculation, 
clarification, disinfection, and filtration, to a 
simple scheme employing just disinfection, 
oxidation and adsorption. (Hart says studies 
have shown that oxidation often enhances 

In addition to operating the equipment, 
the students will collect data on the plant's 
operation and the quality of the water at var- 
ious stages in the treatment trains. They will 
then analyze and interpret the data, which 

From left, Professor Fred Hart and 
graduate students Peter Grabowski 
and Gregg Giasson in the demon- 
stration water treatment plant at 
Wachusett Reservoir. 

they, Hart, and Camp Dresser & McKee will 
use to make recommendations to the MWRA 
about the best course of treatment for the 
Wachusett. "The whole idea," Hart says, "is 
that from this work they will find out the 
quality of the raw water, the treatment 
options that best match that quality, and the 
costs involved in those options. They can 
then go ahead with a preliminary design for 
a water treatment plant." 

Where the Rubber 
Meets the Road 

On the surface, an asphalt runway might 
seem to have little in common with a 
high-tech space mirror. But to a re- 
search team at WPI, the surfaces of these 
disparate materials present an identical 
challenge — how to engineer things that are 
smooth and rough at the same time. 

The team, Christopher A. Brown, associ- 
ate professor of mechanical engineering, 
and graduate students William A. Johnsen 
(runway project) and E. Michael Shipulski 
(mirror project), is looking for solutions to 
this problem with two grants from NASA: a 
$77,000 award toward what is expected to 
be a three-year, $194,000 grant from NASA's 
Langley Research Center to study runway 
topography; and $44,000 toward what is pro- 
jected to be a three-year, $66,000 grant from 
NASA headquarters to help engineer a col- 
lapsible parabolic mirror NASA plans to use 

Summer 1994 

to create high temperatures in space by con- 
centrating solar energy. 

"With the runway, you want a surface 
that is smooth to minimize wear on airplane 
tires," Brown says, "but rough to maximize 
friction, which keeps planes from skidding 
off into harbors. Tire wear is a problem for 
aircraft; some military planes get fewer than 
20 landings on a set of tires. But a runway 
that's too smooth might cause planes to 
hydroplane when it rains. 

"The mirror will be made from 
metal coated with a polymer to 
protect it when the whole thing is 
folded up. The interface between 
the polymer and the mirror is 
where the light will be reflected. 
This region must be smooth to 
reflect light cleanly without scat- 
tering. But it must also be rough 
so the metal and the polymer can 
be glued together." 

The key to pulling off this 
trick, Brown says, is the fact that 
the same material may appear 
smooth or rough depending upon 
the scale at which things interact 
with it. A runway may seem 
smooth to a wheel rolling down 
its surface, but rough to the tread 
on the tire. A mirror may be 
smooth at the scale of light 
waves, but rough at the scale of 
the glue molecules that bind the 
metal and polymer together. 

To better understand this rela- 
tionship between topography and 
behavior, Brown has turned to 
fractal analysis, a type of non- 
euclidean geometry. Fractals are complex 
shapes that can be divided into smaller and 
smaller parts, each of which is similar in 
appearance to the part from which it was 
taken — much as a leaf of a fern is virtually 
identical in appearance to the whole fern. 
This is called self-similarity. 

Fractals have proven useful in describing 
natural phenomena like clouds, coastlines 
and mountains that are not composed of 
simple geometric shapes and which exhibit 
self-similarity. For example, seen from a 
short distance away, a mountain appears to 
be a collection of small hills on a larger hill. 
As one moves closer, each of the smaller 
hills turns out to have still smaller hills, 
which in turn have still smaller hills. 

Brown first began to consider the appli- 
cation of fractals to the engineering of mate- 
rials in the late 1980s, when he was head of 
the Mechanical Surface Treatment Group at 

the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. 
"In manufacturing surfaces we see similar 
phenomena," he says. "On a ground surface, 
for example, you might see little scratches 
on big scratches. Fractals began to look like 
an answer searching for a question. 

"Fractal analysis is a way of deriving 
order out of chaos. The geometry of a run- 
way, for example, is a jumble. If you tried to 
apply euclidean geometry to it, you'd have a 
difficult time. Like mountains, runways also 

Bottom, graduate student William 
Johnsen gathers data on the topogra- 
phy of a runway sample with a laser 
profilometer. Using "fractal recipes," 
one can analyze the data to see how 
the apparent smoothness or rough- 
ness of a surface changes as the 
scale at which one interacts with it 
changes (top). 

exhibit self-similarity. If you get close 
enough, you can't tell if you're looking at a 
runway or the Himalayas." 

To apply fractal analysis to a surface, one 
must first collect detailed information about 
its topography. To gather information about 
runway surfaces, Brown and Johnsen are 
using a laser profilometer built by Mark W. 
Mattei '94 and Matthew S. Mercer '94 as 
their Major Qualifying Project. The device 
bounces a narrowly focused laser beam off 
of the sample to measure the height of up to 
a million points on the surface of a sample 

roughly 6 inches on a side. Data on the mir- 
ror surface is collected with an atomic force 
microscope, a device capable of resolving 
individual atoms. 

The data is fed into a computer and fractal 
"recipes" are applied to it using patented soft- 
ware developed by Brown and Pat D. Charles 
'92, now a hardware engineer at Digital 
Fquipment Corp. (further work on the pro- 
gram is being done by Bruce Meacham '96). 
The analysis enables the researchers to ob- 
serve how the apparent smooth- 
ness or roughness of the material 
changes as the scale at which one 
interacts with it changes. For 
example, as one moves closer to a 
surface, its apparent area seems to 
grow, just as the apparent length 
of a coastline seems to increase as 
one moves closer and increasingly 
smaller inlets and projections 
become visible. 

Brown says that if one plots the 
apparent area versus the scale of 
interaction, the resulting curve 
rises steadily for a time, and then 
takes a sharp upward turn. This, 
he says, is the point where a sur- 
face seems to change from a 
smooth to a rough texture. He says 
the next step will be designing run- 
ways and mirrors so that this 
smooth/rough crossover falls 
between the two scales of interac- 
tion — between the scales of 
£ wheels and tire tread, and between 
1 the scales of light waves and glue 
I molecules. 

But first, Brown says, the 
researchers will need to more precisely iden- 
tify those individual scales. For runways, 
Brown and Johnsen will compare the informa- 
tion they gather about the topography of dif- 
ferent types of runways with information in a 
NASA database on tire wear and friction on 
those same surfaces. For the mirror, Brown 
and Shipulski will compare their data to mea- 
surements of how well various combinations 
of metal and polymer, made with a variety of 
manufacturing techniques, reflect light. To 
make these measurements they will use a 
laser apparatus built by Andrew R. Watzke '95 
and Jason Truscott '94 as their MQP. 

"With our measurement techniques, we 
are going to be able to understand more 
about the topography of these materials — 
and at finer scales — than has ever been pos- 
sible before," Brown says. "We feel that this 
understanding will lead to some real ad- 
vances in materials engineering." 

WPI Journal 


Unless you live in an isolated corner of the globe or rarely pick 
up a newspaper or magazine, you've probably heard of the 
Internet. You may even be one of the more than 30 million 
people around the world who have stepped over the elec- 
tronic threshold into cyberspace. But if you've not yet made the leap, 
you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Or perhaps youve 
decided to try the Net on for size, but don't know where to start or what 
to do once you get connected. 

In the pages that follow, you will learn about the experiences of a few 
WP1 students, faculty members and administrators who have used the 
vast resources of the Internet in a variety of ways-some typical and 
some quite innovative. These glimpses of life on the Net are intended to 
demonstrate, in a small way, what all the fuss is about. You will also find 
a brief look at what's out there and a beginner's guide to how to get at it. 
Before we begin, though, a caveat: the Internet is many things to 
many people, but one thing it is not is user friendly. In this brief article, 
we can't begin to tell you all you'll need to know to join the ranks of cy- 
bernauts. To top it all off, the Net is a work in progress. Things move, 
disappear and change-all the time. You'll need a good guide-prefer- 
ably a friend who's had some Internet experience. A good book is also 
essential (see page 15 for some recommendations). But most of all, you 11 
need patience and flexibility. But don't let this cautionary note discour- 
age you from joining the Net community. The learning curve is a little 
steep at first, but the rewards are worth it. 

The first question most people ask about the 
Internet is, "What is it?" The answer depends on your 
point of view. Physically, the Net is the world's larg- 
est computer network— actually, it's a network of ^ 
networks. It links computer networks at universities, 
corporations, government laboratories and agencies, 
nonprofit organizations, commercial services, and 
Internet service providers all over the world. 

Historically, the Internet was the U.S. government's 
answer to how to communicate after a nuclear war. In 
1969 the Department of Defense created ARPANET as an 
experiment to link the DOD with companies and universities 
doing military research. The network was based on dynamic rerout- 
ing- if one part of the network went down, information could be routed 
around it Also, unlike most networks of the late 1960s, ARPANET had no 
central computer to process messages. Instead, through a process 
called packet switching, every computer was capable of send- 
ing messages to every other computer. ^ 

" In the 1980s, ARPANET and a number of other 
government and academic networks be- 
came linked into a giant intercon- 
nected internetwork (Internet for 
short). Today the Net reaches 
every continent (there's 
even a connection at 
the South Pole). 


The Internet is a sprawling, disorganized and seemingly chaotic 
global "network of networks." But for those willing to learn new 
tools and a new language, it offers rewards beyond measure. 


Technically, the Internet is a collection of computer hardware of 
every make and persuasion linked by a common communications proto- 
col. TCP/IP (Transport Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol) is the lan- 
guage that lets all of these diverse machines talk to one other. 

The Net is big and growing bigger all the time. There are at least 3 mil- 
lion machines connected to it with high-speed links, with another 100,000 
to 200,000 hooking up monthly. But that doesn't include all of the comput- 
ers that share a single host (hundreds of thousands) or the people who 
connect their PCs and Macs to the Net through service providers. 

WPI's 1,900 computers are linked to the Net by NEARnet, a service 
provider. (That number will grow this fall when full Internet connectivity 
is extended to all residence halls.) Keeping this vital connection open is 
the job of the Campus Computer Center, notes Allan 
Johannesen, manager of academic time- 
sharing. "We try to provide an uninterrupted 
flow of information," he says, "since electronic 
communications with colleagues at other insti- 
tutions is becoming increasingly important to the 
WP1 community." 
There is also a human dimension to the Internet. 
The Net brings people (at least people with comput- 
ers and access to the Internet) together in a way that 
no other communications medium can, creating the 
kind of global village Marshall McLuhan envisioned 
more than 25 years ago. The Internet makes accessible 
to those people a vast array of information— the kind contained in elec- 
tronic databases and the variety stored only in the brains of those mil- 
lions of Internet users. 

This spring, Jerry Breecher, an engineer at Stratus Computer and an 
adjunct professor of computer science at WPI, dipped into this informa- 
tion well. Breecher has a teenage daughter with an interest in cows. He 
decided that making a sculpture of a cow might be a nice father-daughter 
project. Not being an artist, he was worried about getting the propor- 
tions right. What he needed was an analytical description of a cow. 

Breecher sent a message about his project to a newsgroup (a sort of 
electronic bulletin board) that specializes in algorithms for computer 
graphics. Almost immediately, replies began arriving from all over the 
U.S. and from Canada, England, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and 
New Zealand. They ranged from the serious to the "udderly ridiculous" 
("1. Obtain a cow of the desired shape and size; 2. Slice the cow into 
cross sections...."). In the end, Breecher took a suggestion to download a 
computer model from a Navy database that included x, y and z coordi- 
nates for a cow. 

The Internet gives users a variety of ways to get in touch with each 
other. The simplest and by far the most widely used is electronic mail. E- 
mail has important advantages over the telephone and regular mail 
("snail mail"). For one, it costs very little. Even if you pay for 
your own Internet connection, your monthly fee proba- 
bly lets you send and receive an unlimited number 
of messages. It's also far faster than the postal 
service and you don't need to worry 
about whether the recipient is there 
when you send your message. 

E-mail has become a common means of communica- 
tion at WPI. Students routinely use e-mail to talk to their 
professors, even using the network to exchange drafts of 
papers and project reports. Many departments set up 
electronic mailing lists for each class, so professors can 

How to Talk Like a Net Insider 
(and Avoid the Flamethrowers) 

First-time users of Usenet and e-mail are often puzzled by strange acronyms that appear in messages. These are 
just shorthand for commonly used terms (among Net users, anyway). The two most frequent are IMHO (in my humble 
opinion) and BTW (by the way). Use these in your messages, and everyone will think you're a Net veteran. 

Expressing humor on the Net is tricky. Assume readers will take your messages far more seriously than you do 
and will reply accordingly. People who take what you write the wrong way may "flame" you 
A flame is an angry message. One flame often begets others and soon 



you have a full-scale "flame war" on your hands. 

If you must attempt sarcasm, make it obvious by 
appending a smiley. Smilies are combinations of characters 
that, when looked at sideways, form faces. They are a way 
of saying, "hey, just kidding." Here are some examples: 

: ) basic smiling face, : - ) same face with nose, ^ 
8) person with glasses, 8 ( same person frowning, 
;-) person winking, :-o surprised person 

Finally, don't believe everything you read. While 

the Internet is awash with information, not all 

of it is useful or even accurate. For example, Craig 

Shergold is no longer dying and doesn't want any more greeting cards, thank you. 

And it's best to ignore any message marked "chain letter" or "make money quick." 

easily send out messages to all class members at once. 
And, for all members of the campus community, electronic 
messages frequently take the place of phone calls or notes 
sent through campus mail. 

The Internet lets faculty members and students who go 
off campus to do research and project work stay in touch 
with colleagues on campus. In fact, e-mail has become a 
vital link between faculty members and students who trav- 
el overseas to work at international project centers and 

Over the last decade, electronic mail has become a 
standard tool for college professors. With e-mail, faculty 
members stay in touch with colleagues at other institu- 
tions, exchange articles (often yet unpublished), reports 
and data, notify interested parties about conferences and 
workshops, and conduct a wide range of other academic 
and scholarly business they once did by phone or mail. 

David Brown, professor of computer science, has 
found ways to do much of his professional communicating 
over the Internet. He wrote a book with his dissertation 
advisor at Ohio State University via e-mail and uses the 
Net regularly to review papers for conferences and work- 
shops. And he's had a yearlong collaboration with a fellow 
researcher in artificial intelligence at the University of 
Michigan in the form of an e-mail dialogue. 

Brown also used his network connection to organize an 


international conference that attracted people from eight 
countries. "I organized it all from my office here," he says. 
"For the most part, we didn't use any paper in setting it 
up. Using the phone or the mail to communicate with peo- 
ple in all of those countries would have made things much 
more difficult." 

Finding financial support for one's 
scholarly activities is another important 
element of faculty life that has entered the 
realm of the Internet. In addition to using 
the Net to search for information on fund- 
ing sources (the National Science Foun- 
dation, for example, maintains a site where 
researchers can find out about its various 
grant programs), it is now possible to apply 
for grants by e-mail. 

Paramasivam Jayachandran, associate 
professor of civil engineering, is one of 
three principal investigators on a research 
project on computer technologies in design 
and construction that includes researchers 
at WPI, MIT, and Stanford and Columbia 
universities. The team recently submitted a 
grant proposal to the NSF using only e-mail. 
Faculty members are also concerned 
with publishing the results of their schol- 
arship. Increasingly, forums are becoming 
available for doing so on-line. Electronic 
journals and newsletters allow findings and 
new ideas to reach other researchers far 
more quickly than do conventional paper 
journals. Mohammad Noori, head of the 
mechanical engineering department, says 
he is a subscriber to the Hysteresis E-Letter, 
an electronic journal that reaches more than 600 

"Through this journal, I learned of the work of a 
researcher at the University of Maryland," he says. "Al- 
though we are in totally different fields — mechanical 
engineering and mathematical sciences — we have been 
working on a similar problem: the modeling of general 
hysteresis behavior. Now we plan to explore possible 

E-mail can be used for more than carrying on academic 
business, of course. The WPI Social Committee, which 
organizes a variety of entertainment and social events for 
students during the year, found an innovative way to do 
its job — and save money — with e-mail. According to Soc- 
Comm president Christopher Dagdigian '95, the group 
booked a campus date for the popular band They Might 
Be Giants using the Net. 

"We got the manager's e-mail address from WPI stu- 
dents who saw it on a mailing list devoted to fans of the 
band," he says. "Most of the details for the $30,000 produc- 
tion were worked out with e-mail before we eventually 
switched to phone calls and faxes. By booking the show 
directly, we avoided the 10 to 15 percent fee we would 
otherwise have had to pay an agent." 

Dagdigian says SocComm also uses e-mail to stay up- 
to-date on what campus programming groups at other 

Summer 1994 

schools are doing. And it advertises its events on a variety 
of specialized Internet mailing lists and news groups. For 
on-campus advertising, the group maintains a calendar of 
events on the WPI Gopher (see page 14). 

For Internet users who miss the real-time, two-way con- 
versations that telephones make possible, there is a pro- 
gram called Talk. This Unix utility lets you "ring up" another 
user and chat by typing your side of the conversation and 
watching what the person on the other end of the line types 
back. If you are the ringee, you can refuse the connection if 
you don't recognize the caller (or even if you do). But even 
when you think you know what you're getting into, there can 
be surprises, as Jason Macierowski '96 found out. 

"When I was a freshman, I got a random Talk request 
from someone at Mt. Holyoke College," he says. "I respon- 
ded, thinking it was someone I knew. It turned out to be a 
student who just liked my username. We talked for a cou- 
ple of hours that night and continued our conversation 
over the next couple of nights. We wound up going out for 
three months and still talk often on the Internet." 

Talk links just two people at a time. To reach a broad- 
er audience, many WPI students turn to a service called 
IRC or Internet Relay Chat. IRC is like a computerized CB 
radio. You choose a channel, give yourself a "handle" and 
then join in the running conversation. Ray Adams '94, now 
a graduate student in applied mathematics, has used IRC 
extensively since he came to WPI. On Jan. 16, 1991, Adams 
was on an IRC channel with a group of 
other college students, including a student 
at a college not far from Kuwait. "He 
informed us he heard explosions in the dis- 
tance a full half hour before the news media 
announced the beginning of the Gulf War," 
he says. 

After he left his hometown of Manchester, 
N.H., to come to WPI, Thomas Guyette '95 
used IRC to stay in touch with friends from 
high school without the "sinful" expense of 
long-distance phone calls. "It eased me 
through the transition," he says. "It also let 
me build friendships with people I wouldn't 
ordinarily have met." 

Like network news, mailing lists bring together people 
with common interests. The big difference is that you have 
to subscribe to a list — you can't just drop in for a quick 
visit every once in awhile. Once you've joined, the mes- 
sages are sent to you by e-mail and you send in your mis- 
sives the same way. 

Dave Brown uses Usenet and mailing lists to communi- 
cate with fellow researchers in artificial intelligence all 
over the world. "The news groups and mailing lists are 
vital means of keeping up with current issues in my 
research area," he says. "For example, there is an AI news- 
group where conference and workshop announcements 
are regularly posted. I now see more announcements that 
way than on paper. I also have an interest in audio equip- 
ment and have made some significant purchases based on 
information I got from newsgroups." 

Karen Lemone, associate professor of computer sci- 
ence, belongs to a mailing list called Systers, whose mem- 
bers are women who work in various areas of computer 
science. "Thousands of women worldwide belong to Sys- 
ters," she says. "When I post a request, I receive volumes 
of replies. Recently I was looking for a video 1 vaguely 
remembered, which I wanted to use in a class this sum- 
mer. Many people remembered the name; many people 
knew how I could get it. More than one woman offered to 
loan me her copy." 

Two years ago, David Messier, WPI's environmental 

The Internet: A Brief 
Travel Guide 

Usenet and mailing lists are other 
tools to which Net users turn to 
stay in touch with other people 
who share common interests and 
occupations, and to get answers to even 
the most esoteric questions. Usenet (also 
called network news) is a vast collection of 
special-interest bulletin boards covering all 
manner of topics, disciplines and subdisciplines. 

By organizing the millions of Net users into narrow cat- 
egories, Usenet has become a subject-oriented oracle. 
Can't get your new software to work with your Windows 
PC? Post a question to Strug- 
gling to remember the words to a Bob Dylan song you 
haven't heard for years? Ask rec. music. dylan. Want to 
know where to get Indonesian food in Toronto? Fire off a 
query to rec. travel. usa<anada. 

WPI Journal 

Once you've mastered a few Internet 
tools, it's time to get out on the 
information highway. Mere are 
some interesting roadside 

E-mail Tell the administration what you think. 

Write to president@whitehouse . gov 
Or vice-president@whitehouse . gov 

Telnet Peruse the card catalogs of most of the 
Boston-area libraries on the Boston Library Consortium 
Gateway. Telnet to tulips . lib . tufts . edu 
Type BLC at the username prompt. 

Anonymous FTP Get the Yanoff list of Internet 
resources. FTP to csd4 . csd . uwm . edu ; it's in the 
pub directory and is called 

Gopher Explore the Library of Congress Gopher, 
which has links to bushels of interesting information, 
including the federal budget, electronic books and 
magazines, and information on health and medicine. 
Gopher to marvel . loc . gov 

World Wide Web Look at paintings from the 
collection of the Louvre. Point your web software to 

http : //mistral . enst . f r/ 
~pioch/ louvre/ 

health and safety officer, joined a list called SAFETY. 
Administered by the University of Vermont, the list goes 
out to 900 people — from Ph.D.s to undergraduates — con- 
cerned about safety issues at colleges and universities, 
industries and government agencies around the world. 

"SAFETY operates as a cooperative community of peo- 
ple with overlapping technical interests and expertise in 
the wide-ranging field of environmental safety and health," 
Messier says. "We all have a genuine interest in helping 


Getting Started/ 
Getting Out There 


\ I 



Getting onto the Internet is be- 
coming easier all the time, as 
more companies and organi- 
zations get hookups and as 
more fee-based Internet providers pop up 
across the map. The first step is to see if 
your employer has a local computer net- 
work or e-mail system. If so, it may have an 
Internet gateway. If you can send e-mail to 
people outside of your organization, that's 
a good sign. Ask your local computer guru 
for help. 

If you belong to one of the major on-line 
information services, like CompuServe, 
Genie, Prodigy or America On-Line, you 
already have access to Internet e-mail and 
may soon be able to take advantage of 
other Internet services. Users of Delphi 
already have full Internet access. In addi- 
tion, some computer bulletin boards offer 
Internet services, like e-mail and Usenet. 

If none of these routes is available to 
you, you can pay a fee to an Internet pro- 
vider (you'll need a fast modem and the 
proper modem software). Many offer the 
full run of the Net for as little as $20 per 
month. You'll want a provider you can 
reach with a local call, if possible. The best 
way to find a provider is to check the lists 
in the books on page 15 or similar books. 

Once you're connected, what do you 
do? Here is a brief guide to some Net tools. 
The books on page 15 can tell you how to 
use them. See page 11 for a list of a few 
places they can take you. 
E-mail: To send an e-mail message, 
you'll need to know the recipient's Internet 
address. (You'll also need to learn about 
your system's e-mail software.) Internet 
addresses look like this: mwdorsey@jake. That's pronounced mwdorsey at 
jake dot wpi dot edu. 

If you don't know someone's address, 
you can use tools like finger, whois and 
netfind to try to find it. There is no all-encom- 
passing Internet directory, so searching for 
an address can be frustrating. Many Internet 
sites have an address called postmaster 
(WPI's is If you 
know someone uses a particular site but you 
can't find the exact address in any other 
way, a note to the postmaster should get it 
for you. 

Internet Relay Chat: The electronic 
equivalent of a party line. Type IRC and 
once you're in, type /list to see the avail- 
able groups, called channels. Join by typing 
/join and the name of the channel. Many 
are dedicated to special interests, although 
the conversation on most tends toward 
small talk. 


Summer 1994 

Multi-User Domains: Imaginary 
worlds where you take on a character 
and wander around environments like 
underground caverns or houses inter- 
acting with other players. Some 
MUDs are friendly; some pit 
users against one another. 
Usenet: A constantly grow- 
ing collection of bulletin 
boards — well over 5,000 at 
last count. There is one for 
virtually every special interest 
(if you can't find yours, just wait — 
several new groups are added 
every day). 

Many newsgroups have FAQs (lists 
of Frequently Asked Questions). These 
will help you learn about a group's 
focus and tell you what has already 
been discussed. Most groups post the 
FAQ once a month. You can also get 
them by anonymous FTP (see below) 
from They're in the directo- 
ries pub/usenet-by-group and 

To read news, you'll need a news 
reader; two popular ones are rn and trn. 
The software will also let you post your 
own messages. The books on page 15 
will prepare you for the realities of net- 
work news. For example, while some 
newsgroups are moderated, meaning 
someone filters out inappropriate or 
offensive material, most are not. You 
can probably guess whether groups like or althumor.tasteless are 
for you, but even seemingly benign 
groups attract the occasional rude or 
immature posting. 

Also, reading news 
can be addictive and 
time-consuming — espe- 
cially for the newbie 
(Net neophyte). About 
20,000 new messages are posted 
daily; some popular groups get 
hundreds of new posts every day. 
Mailing Lists: These 
also focus on a wide range 
of specialized topics and pro- 
fessions. You subscribe to a mailing list 
by sending a properly worded e-mail 
message to a mail server. Messages that 
you and other subscribers send to the 
list are bounced to the e-mail boxes of 
all other subscribers. See page 10 for 
some guidelines on sending messages 
to mailing lists or Usenet groups. 
Telnet and FTP: One of the great- 
est benefits of the Internet is the vast 
amount of information stored away on 


the millions of computers connected to 
it. Not all of it is freely available, of 
course, but a great many organizations 
have put some truly interesting and 
useful things — library 
//^ e= ^C catalogs, weather 
4-£^/ reports, books and 
^ magazine articles, data- 
bases, pictures and much, 
much more — where you can 
get at them. 

To access some informa- 
tion, you'll use telnet to log in 
=bb= to another computer. Make 
sure you know the right username 
and (if needed) password. To retrieve 
information from other computers you 
can use FTP (file transfer protocol). 
Many computers have special directo- 
ries for publicly accessible files and soft- 
ware. You use FTP to reach the comput- 
er and log in as anonymous; you give 
your e-mail address as a password. 
Before you FTP, you should know what 
you are looking for and which directory 
it is in. Most sites have a file called 
.index. Download this first to c °° *^ 
where everything is. 
Archie: How do you fin 
what's available for FTP- 
ing and where it is? That 
question led to the cre- 
ation of Archie, which 
lets you search through 
all the anonymous ftp 
sites in the world 
(which contain, by the 
way, more than a million files and pro- 
grams). You generally telnet to an 
Archie server near you. The servers 
tend to be busy; if you're not in a 
hurry, you can e-mail your request 
to the site. 

Gopher: A much simpler way 
to travel and search 
ir the Net. Gopher orga- 
V nizes everything into 
menus. You start at a 
*>^n^" ^y^-_ root menu and choose 
^^ numbered items that 

lead you to other menus or to actual 
files. Many organizations maintain their 
own gophers on which they keep spe- 
cialized information (see page 14 to find 
out about WPI's Gopher). Most Gophers 
have a menu item that will lead you to 
all the other Gophers. 

You will often find the same files and 
directories on more than one gopher. In 
reality, these are links (called pointers) to 
the same file, probably located on yet 

— - ^ — «-gg 


another Gopher. Gopher has one highly 
useful feature. If you find a file you'd like 
to keep, you can mail it to yourself. From 
within the file just type m A window will 
open up. Type in your e-mail address, hit 
return and the file will be on its way. 
Veronica: Most Gopher root menus 
have an item labeled "Search Gopher- 
space with Veronica." Like Archie, Ver- 
onica is a search tool. (Supposedly, the 
fact that Archie and Veronica are char- 
acters in the same comic strip is merely 
coincidental.) Select a Veronica server 
and a little window pops up on your 
screen. Type in a word or phase and 
Veronica goes to work. After a few min- 
utes you should see a list of files and 
directories that contain your keyword. 
One caution: once you've started a 
search, you can't stop it. If the server 
has trouble completing the search, you 
may wait helplessly for several minutes 
just to come up empty-handed. 
WAIS: A powerful, though not user 
friendly, way of searching for informa- 
tion in specific databases on the Net. If 
don't have a WAIS client on 
your computer, you'll have to tel- 
net to a computer that has 
one. WAIS gives you a choice 
of many databases. You se- 
lect the ones you think might 
have what you need, type in 
some keywords, and wait. 
You get back a list of files 
?-»^ rated as to their prob- 
able relevance to your 
search. The program will then grab 
those files for you. 

The World Wide Web: Cross 
Gopher with a Macintosh computer and 
mix in a liberal dose of MTV, and you'll 
get something like the World Wide Web 
(WWW). To get the most out of the 
Web, you'll need a software package 
called Mosaic, created by the National 
Center for Supercomputer Applications. 
You can get it by anonymous FTP from The MS Windows ver- 
sion is in the directory /PC/Mosaic; the 
Macintosh version is in /Mac/Mosaic. 

Mosaic uses hypermedia links to 
connect you to information — documents, 
pictures, maps and even bits of video. 
Web servers can also tap into Gopher 
sites, send and read e-mail, do WAIS 
searches, and retrieve files by FTP — all 
by pointing and clicking. It may just be 
the Internet tool to replace all other 
Internet tools. 

— MD 

WPI Journal 


other people solve safety problems and concerns and in 
learning more about other people's solutions." 

Patrick Dunn, associate professor of history, says he 
has gotten useful information from mailing lists that cater 
to historians and to people who have an interest in Third 
World development. "I had a student whose IQP was con- 
structing a water filter for developing nations," he says. "It 
consisted of a PVC pipe filled with sand. He wanted to 
know how small he could make it. Two people on the list 
had experience with these filters and sent the student 
their scholarly analysis. They also suggested a further IQP 
to test various ways to extend the life of the filter." 

On campus, a new mailing list is credited with substan- 
tially increasing the number of faculty members who use 
e-mail on a regular basis. Called simply wpijaculty, the list 
circulates only to faculty members and has become an 
active forum for discussing important campus issues. 

The Internet is not just useful for talking to friends 
and colleagues, of course. It is also a formidable 
research resource. But unlike libraries or well- 
organized electronic databases, the depths of the 
Net are not always easy to plumb. Like an explorer cutting 
through an uncharted jungle, a first-time Internet user 
needs a good guide. That, notes Helen Shuster, WPI's 
library director, is why many libraries are gearing up to 
help patrons tap into the huge volumes of information 
available on-line. 

"The role of the library is changing," 
Shuster says. "Traditionally, academic li- 
braries helped their patrons locate and use 
materials within the library building. But the 
library of the future will help users find the 
information they need, no matter where it is. 
Libraries will no longer be judged by the 
number of volumes and periodicals they 
bold, but by their ability to provide access 
to and speedy delivery of information. More 
and more, that information will be accessi- 
ble through the Internet." 

In the preliminary planning stages is a ren- 
ovation of the Gordon Library that will pro- 
vide more room for the modern computer 
workstations patrons will need to access elec- 
tronic information and for training rooms 
where they can learn the skills they need to 
conduct their own searches. In addition, 
Shuster says, learning about the Net is a high 
priority for everyone on the library staff. 

Donald Richardson, reference and com- 
puter and bibliographic services librarian, 
has already seen the Internet change the 
way he works with library patrons. He began 
to see the potential of the Net a few years 
ago when a graduate student requested a 
copy of a dissertation completed at Technion — Israel 
Institute of Technology. "Foreign dissertations are hard to 
track down," he says. "It may take weeks just to obtain 
ordering information. 

"That's where the Internet came in. I remembered seeing 
the name of a librarian at the university on a Usenet news- 
group. I found her e-mail address and sent her a message 
asking for help on how to obtain a copy of the dissertation. 
She replied with the ordering and cost information and we 
were able to order a copy without delay." 

More recently, Richardson received an e-mail message 
from a student working on his Interactive Qualifying 
Project at the London Project Center. He had used the Net 
to access the library's computer system and search a 
database for magazine articles on his project topic. Now 
he needed the library's help in obtaining copies of the arti- 
cles. "Internet access let the student and the library work 
together in a way that, while it might not have been impos- 
sible before, would not have been as fast or efficient." 

In recent years, Circulation Librarian Margaret Riley 
has earned a reputation as an Internet resource for the 
campus. She has helped introduce many students, faculty 
members and administrators to the Net and its assets, has 
tackled wide ranging requests for specific types of infor- 
mation, and has run seminars on the Internet. 

Riley says her role as an Internet guru began when she 
started using e-mail to forward interesting bits of informa- 
tion she discovered on her own electronic sojourns to peo- 
ple on campus she thought might find them useful. Not long 
after that, the College Computer Center created a special 
Usenet newsgroup on which she now posts descriptions of 
new and potentially valuable information sources. 

How to Reach Us Via the Internet 

If you look closely at the mastheads of the WPI Journal and the WPI 
Wire, you will find Internet addresses. Here 
they are again, in somewhat larger type: 
For the WPI Journal— 

mwdorsey@wpi . wpi . edu 

For the WPI Wire news section — 

nlnorum@wpi . wpi . edu 

For the WPI Wire Class Notes section — 

jkmiller@ jake . wpi . edu 

We encourage you to use these addresses to 

send us correspondence, address changes, class notes and story ideas. Joan Killough-Miller, who compiles the 
Class Notes section of the Wire, says using electronic mail makes submitting class notes a breeze, and it also makes 
it easier for her to reply and request additional information. 

WPI's news and publications offices are also represented on the Institute's gopher. To reach the WPI gopher, type 
gopher bigboote . wpi . edu The main menu will lead you to a variety of WPI information and 
documents, including the undergraduate and graduate catalogs. Check out the item called "WPI News" for current 
news releases and the complete text of Journal ana 1 Wire articles. 

Our World Wide Web server can take you to the WPI Gopher and other useful information. To reach our front 
door, point your Web software to http : //www . wpi . edu : 8080/ 

"I always tell people the Internet is a great resource, 
but it's undisciplined, disorganized and unevaluated," she 
says. "You have to know how to find it, how to assess its 
quality, and how to determine if it's what you really need. 

You need someone to mediate. That has always been the 
role of the librarian." 

To retrieve information, one uses tools like FTP (file 
transfer protocol), a program that lets a user log on to 
another computer and retrieve a file or software program 
located there. To use FTP, though, you first 
have to know what's out there and which 
computer has it. A powerful tool called Archie 
(see page 12) lets users search all of the infor- 
mation located in public FTP sites for files and 
programs that contain specific keywords. 

Users who do a search on the word 
"acoustics" are likely to learn about an FTP 
site at WPI managed by Richard Campbell, 
adjunct professor of electrical and computer 
engineering. The site includes information and 
data on the acoustics of concert halls around 
the country. 

Riley says many people are now developing 
lists and indexes of information located on the 
Internet. One of the best known is the Yanoff 
List, created and constantly updated by Scott 
Yanoff at the University of Wisconsin (see page 
11 to find out how to get it). The University of 
Michigan maintains a clearinghouse for indexes 
of information on specific topics. 

Riley is well-acquainted with one of those 
indexes. It's a guide to finding job hunting 
resources on the Net, which she created and 
continues to expand. The list is the outgrowth 
of a campus seminar Riley conducted last year. 

The list tells users about Usenet groups, 
Gopher sites and other places where jobs in 
various disciplines or geographic regions are 
advertised and where users can put their 
resumes on display. There are also places that have infor- 
mation about career-planning and job-hunting strategies 
and places where people discuss their job hunting experi- 
ences and tips. 

Riley's has become the most popular list on the Univer- 
sity of Michigan Gopher. Each month, it is accessed more 
than 4,000 times. The list may also soon be available at 
bookstores and libraries; Riley says a publisher has ex- 
pressed an interest in printing all of the lists in book form. 
(To find Riley's list, Gopher to and 
choose the menu item "Inetdirs." At the next menu select 
"All Guides." The guide is called Employment Opportunities 
and Job Resources.) 

While lists like Riley's make navigating the Internet more 
rewarding, they still leave users to deal with programs like 
telnet and FTP, which, while not overly complicated, are far 
from elegant. To make getting around on the Net simpler 
(and more fun), computer scientists at the University of 
Minnesota invented Gopher. With Gopher, getting at infor- 
mation is as simple as choosing a number on a menu. 

Most Gopher sites include a program called Veronica, 
which does for Gopher sites what Archie does for FTP 
sites (see page 12). Depending on what you're searching 
for, the list that Veronica assembles can include just a few 

items or several thousand. For those who search regularly 
for information on popular topics, trying to distinguish 
new items from those they've seen many times before can 
be frustrating. 

In an attempt to rectify this problem, computer science 

When All Else Fails, Read the Book 

When it comes to books about the Internet, Gordon Library Circulation Librarian Margaret Riley has read them all. 
She's even reviewed a few for an Internet mailing list read by librarians. Here is her recommended reading list: 

• The Internet for Dummies by John R. Levine and Carol Baroudi. IDG Books. 1 993. Part of the popular "Dummies" 
series of computer books, this may be the best (and funniest) guide for beginners. 

• Riding the Internet Highway by Sharon Fisher. New Riders Publishers. 1 993. Another excellent guide for newcomers. 

• The Whole Internet: A User's Guide and Catalog by Ed Kroll. O'Reilly & Associates. 1 994. This was the first big book 
on the Internet and remains an excellent resource, especially for those » 
who've already gotten their feet wet. — jM^^ 

• The Internet Complete Reference by Harley Hahn. 
Osbourne McGraw-Hill. 1994. Another good book for those 
who've graduated from newbie to cadet cybernaut. 

To learn more about services available on the Net, try: v ^\ H n 

• The Internet Yellow Pages by Harley Hahn. Osbourne 
McGraw-Hill. 1994. 

• The New Riders' Offidal Internet Yellow Pages by Christine 
Maxwell. New Riders Publishers. 1993. 

• Net Guide by Peter Rutten, Albert F. Bayers III and 
Kelly Maloni. Random House Flectronic 
Publishing. 1 994. (This is also a guide to 
on-line services like CompuServe and Prodigy.) 


majors Christopher Kmiec '94 and Gregory Snyder '94, 
with the assistance of their advisor, Craig Wills, assistant 
professor of computer science, developed as their Major 
Qualifying Project a new program called PIRANA (Per- 
sistent Information Retrieval and Network Access). A user 
registers his or her interests with PIRANA, then the pro- 
gram, at intervals, completes a Veronica search and com- 
pares its findings with the results of previous searches. 
When new items are identified, PIRANA sends an e-mail 
message to the user. 

Because the program requires considerable disk space, 
it was placed on the WPI academic computer system for 
only a short time as an experiment. In their project report, 
the students said that users at WPI and elsewhere who 
tried PIRANA found it quite useful. 

Gopher, Veronica and PIRANA all take the inherent disor- 
der of the Internet and organize it in a more logical and man- 
ageable form. But the application that truly elevates the Net 
into the world of entertainment is the World Wide Web. The 
creation of scientists at CERN, the high-energy physics lab in 
Geneva, the Web, in concert with Mosaic, a program created 
by the National Center for Supercomputer Applications, 
jazzes up the usual text-based Internet interfaces with graph- 
ics, colors, pictures and sounds. 

WPI Journal 


The World Wide Web makes use of hypertext. Instead 
of a typical computer screen, the user sees a colorful 
"page" with pictures, graphics and words set in attractive 
typefaces. Some of the words are highlighted or appear in 
a different color. These are hypertext links that, when 
clicked with a mouse, transport the user to another page, 
a photo, a map or other type of information located any- 
where in the world. Web software can also connect to FTP, 
Gopher and Telnet sites, making the World Wide Web the 
Internet's version of one-stop shopping. 

WPI's "webmaster" is Joseph Provo '94, a technical writ- 
ing major who got interested in the Web in 1993 and ob- 
tained a copy of Mosaic to try out. As part of a project he did 
last year for an experimental course called "Writing in the 
Information Age," Provo set up a Web server on a Computer 
Science Department computer and eventually obtained per- 
mission to move it to WPI's academic computing system. 

Provo now serves as the administrator for the Insti- 
tute's Web server. In that role, he created WPI's front door 
and the links that take users to other places at WPI, includ- 
ing Web pages maintained by the Computer Science 
Department that have information on department faculty 
members and educational and research programs, an 
interactive map of the campus (still in development), and 
"home pages" created by students. 

Provo says the software used to create home pages 
makes it easy to bring together words and graphics and to 
add links to one's favorite Web locations, encouraging stu- 
dents to express their creative urges. "Creating a page for 
the Web can be as complicated or as simple as you want," 
he says. "On my own home page, for example, I've incor- 
porated a strip from a contact sheet that has some photos 
of me. I use a slice of a fractal image to separate sections." 
Provo also created a page that compiles interesting infor- 
mation and quotes about coffee. 

Pat Dunn says he has seen firsthand the power of the 
World Wide Web. An expert on Russian and Soviet history, 
Dunn connects regularly to several Web servers in Russia 
and to a server in North Carolina called "Friends and 
Partners," to which computer users in the U.S. and Russia 
contribute. The servers contain information on both 
nations' science, food, medicine and economics, among 
other topics. A new feature is a visual and textual history 
of the U.S. and Russian space programs. 

"This is a wonderful example of Russians and Ameri- 
cans working together," Dunn says. "They are accumulat- 
ing very significant information that I think will be quite 
valuable in the future." 

Dunn says the information that is becoming available 
in the former Soviet Union at Web sites and on Gophers 
and Usenet newsgroups will likely make his work as a 
scholar easier. "Right now, there is a limited amount of 
information that I can use, although that is changing. 
The flow of information out of Russia has gone up by a 
factor of a hundred in just a few years." 

Russian scholars have limited technology, 
time and money to create information 
archives, he adds. Still, Dunn says he is 
already using some of the information 

now available — for example, a collection of high-quality 
photos of Moscow and a daily news summary gathered 
from Russian sources by Radio Liberty — in his teaching. 

Dunn says Russia came late to the Internet, only 
acquiring e-mail connections with the rest of the world 
about a decade ago. Little in the way of useful information 
exchange took place until researchers in Russia discov- 
ered a Usenet newsgroup called talk. politics. soviet and 
began joining in discussions with computer users in other 
countries. In 1992, that newsgroup became a conduit for 
information on the Soviet coup attempt. "All of a sudden 
one morning, messages began appearing saying tanks 
were in the street in front of the White House. I had the 
radio on, and the eyewitness reports were always about a 
half hour ahead of the media." 

Like much of the information posted on the Net, the 
reports of the coup were biased, coming primarily from 
academics who were against the coup because they were 
benefiting from Glasnost, Dunn says. "We learned very lit- 
tle about the common person's opinions," he says. "We 
later found out that 500 yards from the White House, peo- 
ple went about their business and didn't really care. You 
have to be careful not to mistake the world of the informa- 
tion elite for the real world." 

Despite the unevenness of the information now on-line, 
the fact that it is there at all is amazing to Dunn. "I just type 
a few commands and away we go to Russia," he says 
connecting his computer to a Russian Gopher. "That just 
blows my mind. If anyone had told me even five years ago 
that I could connect to an information site in Russia just 
like that, or that we'd be seeing the free exchange of infor- 
mation between our countries, I would have just laughed — 
I would have said they were nuts. But there, we just did it." 


vthor's Note: Much of the research for this 
article was conducted using the Internet. With 
FTP and Gopher, I retrieved articles and fact 
Lsheets on the Internet and its many services 
and information sources. I posted a message on campus 
computer bulletin boards asking members of the WPI com- 
munity to send me stories about how they use the Net and 
got back many replies via e-mail. These are the stories fea- 
tured in the article. And I got many hours of firsthand expe- 
rience with all of the tools described in this article 
and the accompanying ^^^^^^ — 


The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Fourteenth in a Series 

By Joan Killough-Miller 


the American manufacturing 
economy was ruled by auto- 
cratic multinational corpora- 
tions that controlled prices, 
dictated design specs, and 
hoarded large quantities of the 
parts they required. 

Lowly suppliers cast their 
wares and humbly brought 
them before these despots, seeking favor. If a supplier dis- 
pleased a corporate giant, the supplier was easily replaced. 
Wily executives would play competing suppliers against each 
other to get lower prices. Sometimes, when it was to the cor- 
poration's advantage, they would swallow a supplier whole 
by acquisition, or by bringing its capabilities in-house. 

Times have changed, and the balance of power has 
shifted. Over the last two decades, the corporate order has 
undergone a great transformation. Goliath is not so big and 
mighty, thanks to the new David, who might look a little bit 
like Paul Kennedy '67. A graduate of WPI's Management 
Department, he is president of Kennedy Die Castings, a fam- 
ily-run manufacturer and supplier of metal parts headquar- 
tered in Worcester. 

The company has seen radical changes since Paul's late 
father, Francis Kennedy, who earned a degree in electrical 
engineering at WP1 in 1930, bought his first die casting 
machine 18 years later. The elder Kennedy set up shop on 

Exchange Street in downtown Worcester, and moved the 
company to Harding Street a few years later. Kennedy Die 
Castings built a solid reputation with its steady customers, 
including Norton Co., which ordered cast flanges for its 
abrasive products, and Chevrolet, which needed metal 
ends for its brake lines. 

The company grew slowly. By the end of the 1950s, it 
had 60 employees. Two of Francis' sons, Robert, a Holy 
Cross graduate who is now vice president and treasurer, 
and Paul, who went straight from WPI into the army, joined 
the family firm in the late 1960s. "I wasn't smart enough to 
go anywhere else, so my father had to take me in," Paul 
jokes. His older brothers also followed their father to WPI, 
but didn't join the company. Francis Jr. '63 teaches 
mechanical engineering at Dartmouth; Richard '65 works 
for Norton. 

By the beginning of the 1980s, the recession had hit the 
Northeast manufacturing economy hard, and the Kennedys 
doubted that their business would survive. Competition 
from foreign parts manufacturers was intense, and Paul, 
who was made a partner in 1982, knew that it would take 
more than just courting new clients to keep Kennedy Die 
Castings afloat. 

The company not only survived the recession, but has 
grown sixfold over the past 12 years. Today it has 130 
employees and sales of more than $12 million. In 1986, it 
moved to a specially designed 48,000-square-foot facility at 

WPI Journal 


The Entrepreneurial Spirit 

the Worcester Airport Industrial Park. The Kennedys are on the verge 
of adding another 30,000 square feet to the building to meet the grow- 
ing demand for their products. Also on the horizon are an assembly 
operation in Clinton, Mass., a joint venture in Mexico, and a new plant 
to open in the South this year. In August, Kennedy Die Castings was 
expected to become the first fully certified ISO 9002 die casting compa- 
ny in North America. (ISO 9002 is an international quality standard 
important to businesses that compete in the global marketplace.) 

The saga of how the Kennedys turned their company around is 
more than just a local success story. It is a case study of the funda- 
mental revolution that has transformed the American economy. It 
was for this reason that magazine writer John Case chose the story 
of Kennedy Die Castings to illustrate a story he wrote for Inc. on the 
shift in the relationship between supplier and corporation. 

Case came to Worcester to write an article about Kennedy Die 
Castings and wound up with a full-length book. From the Ground Up: 
The Resurgence of American Entrepreneurship (Simon & Schuster, 
1992) chronicles the evolution of American business from Kenneth 
Galbraith's model of a handful of powerful multinational corpora- 
tions to a galaxy of upstart small companies like the Kennedys'. 

The way Paul Kennedy sees it, the once-autocratic large corpora- 
tions are becoming more dependent on suppliers. As a result, a new 
support economy is coming together. "1 see these multinational 
companies as big mother ships that float around the world, doing 
what they do," he says. "They need things, and they send down 
umbilical cords to suppliers like us. My job is to decide who we'll 
send goods up to — who will efficiently use our capital. When one of 
them doesn't look like a viable endgame, we cut that one loose and 
bring in another. 

"These companies are getting 
thinner and thinner, and that just 
leaves room for us to grow. They're 
doing less and less of the opera- 
tions. For instance, GM is trying to 
become a 'car assembler' — a pur- 
veyor and assembler of parts. They 
design the product, but they no 
longer want to be a vertically inte- 
grated manufacturer that starts 
from the bottom." 

In Francis Kennedy's day, Chevrolet would expect him to ship 
out orders for brake cable ends, casting so many thousand to the 
exact specifications supplied by the automaker. Now, a car compa- 
ny is more apt to purchase a complete brake subassembly, and may 
even ask the supplier to design, machine-finish and assemble it. 
Kennedy Die Castings employs three design engineers trained in 
computer-aided design, and markets its engineering services along 
with its expanded finishing capabilities and its just-in-time inventory 

Growth to Paul Kennedy means more than just more machines 
stamping out more parts. He has scoured the world and brought 
home the best possible technology for his Worcester plant. He is 
especially proud of a German vacuum extractor that sucks air from 
the molds as the molten metal is shot in. The end product has fewer 
air bubbles, making it stronger. That means that parts can be thin- 
ner and lighter. His travels to Japan have convinced him that the 
Japanese actually do more with a lower level of technology than the 
U.S. "The Japanese know how to use a piece of capital more effi- 

"I see these multinational companies as 
big mother ships that float around the 
world, doing what they do. They need 
things, and they send down umbilical 
cords to suppliers like us. My job is to 
decide who we'll send goods up to. yi 

Paul Kennedy, right, looks over 
the design for a die-cast part his 
company will make with Vasee- 
karan S. Rayan, a manufacturing 
engineer at Kennedy Die Cast- 
ings. Rayan, who received a 
master's degree in manufactur- 
ing engineering from WPI in 
1993, is one of three design engi- 
neers at the company trained in 
computer-aided design. 

ciently," he says. "Whatever they do, 
they do it once — right." 

Not all of the new technology the 
company uses comes from abroad. In 
conjunction with WPI's Aluminum 
Casting Research Laboratory, Kennedy 
is experimenting with metal matrix 
composites to achieve casting proper- 
ties not possible with the traditional 
zinc and aluminum alloys. Molten 
metal solidifies rapidly, making it diffi- 
cult to fill molds with long, narrow 
channels. Kennedy Die Castings has 
been working to develop a line of die- 
cast thermal-management products, or heat sinks, that will eventual- 
ly utilize the composite materials. The first applications to go to 
market will be cooling systems for Intel's new Pentium microproces- 
sor and for another, yet-to-be-announced high-speed, 64-bit micro- 


WPI students have made their 
mark on the Kennedys' die casting 
plant while being given the oppor- 
tunity to solve real-life industrial 
problems. The plant's central water 
cooling and recycling system was 
designed by a team of students as 
part of a Major Qualifying Project 
(MQP) that Paul Kennedy spon-" 

But Kennedy doesn't just invest 
in better equipment and the latest technology. He is constantly up- 
grading his employees, who spend an average of two hours a week 
at "Kennedy U," the in-plant classroom where workers receive ongo- 
ing job training and instruction that helps them improve their basic 
skills. Kennedy Die Castings has a full-time trainer on staff, and 
sends workers, many of whom are Southeast Asian and Hispanic 
immigrants, to Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester to 
improve their English and math skills. 

"We're not trying to be the Worcester school system," he says, 
"but one of the difficulties the U.S. has, vis-a-vis Japan or Germany, 
is that the educational level of our entry-level worker is relatively 
poor. You can't let your systems degenerate to the lowest common 
denominator just because of a lack of — I hate to use the word — feed- 
stock. We can't cull out most of the employee base and just deal 
with the elite. We're not an elite business. 

"That's the economic analysis," he concludes. "The humanitarian 
analysis is, we just think it's right." 

Total quality management, worker involvement and quality cir- 


Summer 1994 

cles are more than just buzzwords here. Quality control operations 
occupy a whole room of the plant, and cost and production data are 
posted daily. Profit sharing links performance to rewards, and work- 
er teams are charged with improving their own output. One team 

reduced rejects from 10 percent to 

less than 1 percent. It's not unusual 
for workers to halt the production 
lines and fix a problem instead of 
waiting for management to come to 
the rescue, or to stop a faulty order 
before it goes out the door. 

"We're not doing this because 
we're so smart or because we're so 
visionary," says Kennedy. "We're 
doing this because not doing it was 
wearing me out. I was getting tired 

of being a one-man band. ..a two-man band with my brother. Under 
the old system, every problem eventually rose up to the level where 
I handled it, or Bob handled it, or our general manager, Joe Deliso, 
handled it. 

"Seven or eight years ago, we were killing ourselves — seven days 
a week. One day we sat down in this office and said, 'This is killing 
us. Life isn't worth living if we're going to do this to ourselves. Let's 
either get the other people involved or get rid of the damn thing!' " 

With a stable product base of Stanley Tool components (Ken- 
nedy Die Castings makes 80 percent of the die-cast metal parts for 
the Stanley Tool Division, including seven to eight million handles 
for Stanley's retractable-blade utility knives each year), castings for 
traffic lights (about 50 percent of the U.S. municipal market) and 
housings for Bose speakers, Kennedy can afford to scout out new 
markets and explore more high-tech endeavors. He predicts that 
products utilizing the technology resulting from the aluminum 
matrix composite experiments now taking place at WPI could even- 
tually double the worth of his company, although he does not want 

to divulge specific applications. 

Access to the technological resources of WPI and other Mas- 
sachusetts institutions are just one advantage of doing business in 
Worcester, he says. Although he intends to open production plants 
abroad and in other regions of the U.S. to stay close to clients who 
relocate, Kennedy says the nerve center of his operations will 
always be Worcester. 

"New England is highly underrated as a manufacturing center," 
he insists. "It has a lot of advantages, and one of them is WPI." 
Although energy costs and labor costs are high in the Northeast, he 
says it is cheaper for him to make parts in Worcester than in the 
South or in Mexico, because his Worcester plant is so highly auto- 

Kennedy's favorite story points up an invisible advantage to 
doing business in the U.S. Years ago, he was talking to a colleague in 
Mexico. This was in the pre-Salinas era, before the dawn of NAFTA 
and other trade agreements. The Mexican die caster was paying his 
workers 25 cents an hour. "Why shouldn't I just move my whole 
plant down here?" Kennedy exclaimed. 

The Mexican die caster posed a simple question. "If you have a 
valve break, how long does it take you to fix it?" "An hour — two 
hours if we don't have the part in our plant, because we have to go 
into town to buy it from a supply house, or borrow it from another 
company," Kennedy answered. 

His colleague said, "If I have that same valve break, I have to first 
find international funds. Then I have to go find a vendor. Then I have 
to buy it and get it to the border, then I probably have to send some- 
body to pay some sort of bribe to get it across the border, and get it 
to my plant and have it assem- 
bled. So the net downtime 
would be something like two 

The Mexican businessman 
looked at Kennedy and said, 
"You must understand — differ- 
ent societies tax you in different 
ways. Your job is to understand 
what the taxes are." 

Here at home, high taxes 
and insurance rates, bad weath- 
er, and government regulation are barriers, but Kennedy says, 
"There are also advantages to Massachusetts, or Massachusetts 
would cease to exist. There's a premium for living here, but people 
continue to pay it. Well, why do they pay it? The point is to under- 
stand the premium and the counterbalances." 

He points out that although certain regional industries, such as 
shoe manufacturing, have foundered, the knowledge that supported 
them is still here, and can be translated into other ventures. "Really, 
the bottom line is the human capital. That's our future, our vision." 

Paul Kennedy is plainspoken and down-to-earth. He is also sur- 
prisingly calm for someone presiding over the opening of two new 
plants, $1.5 million worth of expansion at home, and uncharted new 
ventures. Perhaps his tranquillity comes from running regularly 
with a group of WPI faculty members and playing tennis with his 
wife, Joan. 

Still, he admits that he is sometimes motivated by blind fear. 
"We're not out there alone," he says. "We've got to continually get 
better, or somebody is going to catch us. That's the driver." 

"Seven or eight years ago, we were killing our- 
selves — seven days a week. One day we sat 
down in this office and said, ( This is killing 
us. Life isn't worth living if we're going to do 
this to ourselves. Let's either get the other peo- 
ple involved or get rid of the damn thing!' 


WPI Journal 


By Diane Benison 

re companies that hire 
college seniors looking 
for the same set of 
qualifications they've 

always sought? Are college 
seniors looking for the same 
things from employers as their 
counterparts of a decade or two 
ago? In short, are we witnessing a 
fundamental change in the social 
contract of the workplace? 

The answers to those ques- 
tions vary greatly depending on 
the character and size of the 
employers you talk to. The WPl 
Journal spoke with Yvonne 
Harrison, director of WPI's Career 
Development Center, and with 
executives at four companies 
ranging in size from a 25-person 
start-up to a Fortune 500 manufac- 
turer. All of these executives are 
involved in some way with hiring 
new college graduates, including young men 
and women earning their degrees at WPl. 
While their views on the realities of the mar- 
ket — and on whether those realities are real- 
ly changing — differed, they agreed on some 
fundamental points about what employers 
today want to see in their new hires: 

• Good Grades. These are no longer just 
desirable — they are a must. Without good 
grades, a senior won't get invited to a first 
interview with many companies. 

• Communication and Teamwork Skills. 
Superior communication skills (written and 
oral) and the ability to work effectively as 
part of a team are also absolute musts. In 
the minds of most employers, communica- 
tion and teamwork are linked: good com- 
munication means not just the ability to 
convey information clearly, but to deal with 
the interpersonal issues that inevitably 
arise when people work together. 

• Self-Knowledge. A graduating senior who 
knows what kind of work he wants to do, 
the kind of company he wants to work for, 
and why, is light-years ahead of the senior 
who just wants a job.. .any job. 

• Real-World Work Experience. This is not 
a catch-22. What employers want are grad- 
uates who have gained some work experi- 
ence, either through a co-op assignment or 
internship, or, in the case of WPl students, 
through a Major Qualifying Project at a 
corporate site. Experience, however limit- 
ed, is a significant favorable differentiator. 

Companies, of course, also want skills 
and interests that are a good fit with their 

a Job: 

A New 


Brings New 


own workplaces. All of the execu- 
tives we talked to say they come 
to WPl looking for students who 
have taken the courses or ma- 
jored in the disciplines that make ^^^^ 
the best match with the technical require- 
ments of the job. In today's rapidly changing 
technical world, the type of technical exper- 
tise WPl imparts is a valuable asset, they 
agree. Here's what else they said. 


■ ti 

he job market has changed, there's lit- 
tle doubt about that," says Yvonne Har- 
rison. "Corporations are no longer just look- 
ing for technical expertise. Technical exper- 
tise is something they can find without too 
much trouble at most universities. 

"What they want are the 'softer' things 
WPl has incorporated into its curriculum — a 
team orientation, the ability to communicate 
well, a knowledge of the humanities, famil- 
iarity with other languages, and exposure to 
other cultures. These are things we once 
might have associated with a liberal arts 
major. But now corporations are looking for 
these things, in addition to technical exper- 
tise, in new scientists and engineers." 

Another important change, Harrison 
says, is that employers who recruit at WPl 
are no longer content with the "novice" 
graduate. "That's the person who has done 
well academically and, perhaps, done a tech- 
nical project, but who has not had any expo- 
sure to corporate America. Corporations 
want people who know what it means to go 

to a 9-to-5 job and who have been exposed 
to working in an environment beyond the 
seclusion of a university." 

That means that students who have done 
internships and co-op assignments have a 
significant edge, she says. "As a matter of 
fact, companies like General Electric and 
IBM have focused a lot of their recruitment 
on summer and co-op hires. The tail-end hir- 
ing — the four-year program hiring — is for 
those positions they haven't already filled 
from co-ops and internships." 

Harrison says students today should also 
be prepared to start their careers at small 
companies, which are doing the majority of 
the hiring of new engineers and scientists. 
"This puts the focus on a different set of job 
skills," she says. "At a large corporation, you 
can be a specialist, but at a smaller company 
you have to do more and be more familiar 
with a wider range of things. 

"It also means that your growth potential 
will not necessarily be upward, but outward. 
You may not move up in the company, but 
you will take on more responsibility and 
have more to offer your next employer." 

For most new graduates, she adds, there 
will, indeed, be a next employer. ..and a next. 
"Today's students are not looking to stay at 
one company for 15 or 20 years. They expect 
to move around more. They are more likely 


Summer 1994 

to think, 'I am the expertise. I can move from 
one company to another, and as I grow I'll 
get more money and I'll get a better quality 
of life.' " 

Quality of life, she adds, is an important 
consideration for today's students. "They 
want their employer to feed their need to 
expand their technical knowledge and capa- 
bilities. They want flexible time to raise their 
families, the ability to share jobs, day care. 
They saw their parents sacrifice their fami- 
lies for their careers, and they don't want to 
do that. They don't want their lives to be 
totally summed up in a company." 

PAUL B. GRAUTSKI '84, a pro- 
ject engineer with Gillette Co. in Bos- 
ton, doesn't do the actual hiring for his divi- 
sion, but he plays an influential role in decid- 
ing which WPI graduates are offered jobs. 
Once a year, Grautski recruits at the Insti- 
tute for Gillette's Tech Ops program. Only 
one or two of the WPI seniors he talks to will 
be recommended for a second interview in 
any given year. 

Grautski is one of the first gatekeepers 
on the path to getting employed by Gillette. 
A product of the Tech Ops program himself, 
he says he takes care in making his recom- 
mendations because he's proud of the repu- 

Today's college 
graduates are facing 
a different — and more 
demanding — employ- 
ment landscape than 
their counterparts of 
just a decade ago. It 
takes more than a solid 
education to land a job. 
Companies are seeking 
high achievers, team 
players and people who 
know what they want. 
And it doesn't hurt to 
have some experience. 

tation of Tech Ops veterans and 
of the recruits he's recommend- 
ed. Tech Ops, begun 11 years 
ago, is shorthand for Technical 
Operations, which is also the 
name of the Gillette division where people 
who complete the program go to work. The 
program hires only mechanical and electri- 
cal engineers. 

Grautski, who has worked at Gillette 
since he graduated from WPI, focuses on 
process optimization in his day-to-day 
assignments. His job involves seeking out 
and assessing cutting-edge technology and 
looking for ways Gillette can use it to manu- 
facture higher-quality, lower-cost products. 

He says the company designs and builds 
most of the equipment it uses in its highly 
automated, high-speed manufacturing 
processes. Computer technology, high-speed 
camera systems, lasers, and sensors that mea- 
sure and observe the manufacturing process 
are all important components of those 
processes. Grautski also helps install, debug 
and maintain this modern technology. 

In his role as a hiring gatekeeper, Graut- 
ski is part of a team that recruits top stu- 
dents from a targeted group of universities 
and colleges that historically have produced 
the kinds of graduates Gillette seeks. The 
company sends graduates of those institu- 
tions back to campus to represent it in the 
recruiting process. Target schools currently 
include MIT, Northeastern University, RPI, 
Tufts University, the University of Massa- 
chusetts at Amherst and Lowell, and WPI. 

Grautski prescreens the res- 
umes of WPI seniors who express 
an interest in Gillette and chooses 
about a dozen he will actually inter- 
view. As he looks over the pool of 
applicants, he has a general profile 
in mind. High on his list of qualifica- 
tions is technical literacy. 

Because Gillette places consid- 
erable emphasis on the need to 
continuously improve its manu- 
facturing processes, Grautski 
looks for men and women inter- 
ested in and knowledgeable about 
leading-edge technology. While 
Gillette, like many companies 
today, looks for students who 
have had some work experience, 
it is far more important for gradu- 
ates to be familiar with the most 
up-to-date engineering tools — 
especially things like computer 
modeling, computational tech- 
niques and computer-aided design. 

"We're not necessarily looking for some- 
one who has straight A's," he says, "but it is 
important to have good grades. If someone 
doesn't have strong grades it may indicate 
that their understanding of the material is 

He says he also considers the courses a 
student has taken, which tells him something 
about a person's focus. "If they're applying 
for a job where they'll be doing machine 
design, but they didn't take courses appro- 
priate to that area, it makes me wonder how 
much they want the job," he says. "We don't 
want people who just want a job. We want 
people who want the job we're offering." 

Personality and communications skills 
are also critical, he notes. In today's work- 
place, it is much more important to be able 
to work as part of a team than to be an 
individual shining star. He says he tries to 
assess a student's team orientation by ask- 
ing open-ended questions like, "How do you 
feel about working in teams?" and "Tell me 
about your experiences with teamwork." 

"I also ask WPI students about their pro- 
ject work," he says. "If someone doesn't 
have the necessary communications skills to 
describe to me in some detail what they've 
spent two or three terms doing, that's a ma- 
jor problem. 1 sometimes interview students 
who've worked together on an MQP. The dif- 
ferences in the way they each explain it tells 
me who has the better communication skills 
and whether one of them might have just 
gone along for the ride." 

WPI Journal 


"If they're applying for a job 
where they'll be doing machine 
design, but they didn't take 
courses appropriate to that 
area, it makes me wonder how 
much they want the job. We 
don't want people who just 
want a job. We want people who 
want the job we're offering. 

—Paul Grautski '84 


Gillette's Tech Op program also seeks 
people who have a practical side, Grautski 
says. "We ask them about their hobbies. We 
want a hands-on person, rather than some- 
one who is totally theoretical. We try to get 
a sense of the things they've done with their 
hands. If someone wants to be a machine 
designer and has built a dune buggy or 
works on cars, we know he or she has a 
practical, hands-on side. 

"We also look for computer design expe- 
rience and familiarity with drafting stan- 
dards. Nothing an engineer conceives is any 
good if it exists only in his or her mind. An 
engineer has to be able to translate designs 
onto paper or into the computer so some- 
one else can build them. That ability is rare, 
but when we find it, it's a big plus." 

RICHARD P. WELCH '82 is direc- 
tor of customer support and quality 
assurance at Parametric Technologies in 
Waltham, Mass., a company that provides 
mechanical engineering software design 
solutions. Welch's department provides cus- 
tomer support over the phone. When he 
recruits new employees, he says he looks for 
people with a degree in mechanical engi- 
neering and some background in computer- 
assisted design software, preferably in a 

Unix environment. While it isn't necessary 
to have experience with Pro/ENGINEER, a 
Parametric product, it is an asset, he says. 
Welch says he looks first for bright stu- 
dents and places almost equal emphasis 
on good grades and good communications 
skills. "We also want someone who likes to 
tinker and play with software in a logical 
and methodical manner," he says. "The 
main goal of quality assurance is to make 
the product fail so development people 
can fix it before it gets into the market- 

New hires in Welch's department go 
through a three-month training program and 
then begin to provide technical support to 
customers under carefully controlled condi- 
tions. After they've gained experience with 
customers and with the company's prod- 
ucts, they begin answering calls directly. 

Parametric Technologies had 60 employ- 
ees when Welch joined it five years ago. 
Since then, it has grown into a 1,200-person, 
mid-size company, and it is still expanding 
rapidly, he says. The company is actively 
hiring. Welch says Parametric tends to 
attract new graduates who have firm ideas 
about what they want to do with their ca- 
reers. Many want to go into consulting, but 
don't yet have the background or exper- 
ience for it. He says he shows them that cus- 
tomer support is a good way to get that 
background and experience. 

Marty P. Ferguson '84, who 
recently started a new job with An- 
dersen Consulting in Boston, spent the first 
nine years of his career at General Electric 
Co., before his division was acquired by 
Martin Marietta. The new owner decided to 
retain a version of GE's Manufacturing 
Management Program (MMP), a highly com- 
petitive training program for new hires. 
MMP is recognized inside and outside the 
company for its role in producing out- 
standing leaders. In addition to his opera- 
tional responsibilities, Ferguson, an MMP 
graduate, has been a recruiter for the pro- 
gram for several years. 

MMP seeks primarily electrical and 
mechanical engineers who have good ana- 
lytical and problem-solving skills, 
Ferguson says. In recent years, the pro- 
gram has raised its expectations for poten- 
tial hires. It is no longer enough to have 
outstanding scholastic qualifications, 
Ferguson says. The program annually 
recruits 120 to 130 new graduates. Typ- 
ically, WPI students garner between 6 and 

10 of those positions. 

"Over the last 10 years, there has been a 
clear shift in what we expect of students," he 
notes. "We don't have as many management 
jobs as we used to. 

"We need people who can lead across 
organizations and not play the traditional 
managerial role, which implies hierarchy 
and bounds," says Ferguson. "We want peo- 
ple who can identify goals, assemble cross- 
functional teams, set priorities, and lead 
those teams to fulfill the goals. 

"The MMP program gives new employees 
the broadest base of experience with a 
diverse range of products and practices. It 
also gives young people a high degree of 
responsibility early in their careers. This 
program sets apart the people who come 
into it by offering diverse working environ- 
ments augmented by formal and informal 
training. It also offers them tremendous net- 
working opportunities. At the conclusion, 
the graduates are quite marketable within 
the company, so it puts them on the fast 
track. The program is well known outside 
the company, as well." 

What does Ferguson look for in the 25 
minutes he typically gets to spend with a 

"We need people who can lead 
across organizations and not 
play the traditional managerial 
role, which implies hierarchy 
and bounds. We want people 
who can identify goals, assem- 
ble cross-functional teams, set 
priorities, and lead those teams 
to fulfill the goals." 

—Marty Ferguson '84 


student? What distinguishes the student 
who gets a job offer from the one who 
does not? Good grades are certainly near 
the top of the list, he says, but candidates 
must also have excellent leadership, inter- 
personal and teamwork skills. 

But before he even sits down with stu- 
dents, Ferguson says he already has a 
good handle on which students have the 
best chance of acceptance into the MMP. 

Before talking to candidates, he says he 
does some informal networking on cam- 
pus, talking to faculty members and admin- 
istrators who may know the students. "I 
try to get to know the candidates before the 
interview comes along," he says. As a result 
of this groundwork, he is able to preselect 
many of the best students before the inter- 
view date. "In the interview I want to find 
those who have demonstrated leadership 
ability and are able to articulate the good 
news that's on the resume." 

From Ferguson's perspective, that "good 
news" should include work experience. 
More and more, he says, employers are plac- 
ing a premium on students who gain expo- 
sure to the workplace before they graduate. 
In particular, students who have completed 
a co-op have an advantage. "We want people 
who have experience in a team-oriented, 
hands-on environment." 

Are today's new hires different from those 
of a decade ago? "Their horizon is shorter," 
Ferguson says. "Today's graduates recognize 
that their career paths could lead them to 
other companies as soon as three to five 
years. Also, change globally is so rapid that 
switching career paths is often required to 
stay competitive in the workplace." 

graduate, but she has hired six grad- 
uates over the last two years, a number that 
equals 25 percent of her company's work 
force. Mlinarsky is vice president of engi- 
neering for Scope Communications Inc. in 
Northborough, Mass., which makes equip- 
ment used in the installation and mainte- 
nance of local area networks. Scope started 
as a four-person company spun off from 
Star-Tek Inc. when that company was ac- 
quired by 3Com Corp. 

When she interviews college seniors, 
Mlinarsky looks for the brightest people she 
can find. In fact, she says, the company 
screens out students with grade point aver- 
ages less than 3.5. Scope also asks students 
to take a paper-and-pencil test that assesses 
their technical knowledge. "It gives us a 

Scope is different from Digital 
Equipment Corp. or IBM. At 
large companies, people tend 
to develop narrow specializa- 
tions. At Scope, the design 
projects call for very talented 
engineers capable of develop- 
ing a broad base of technical 

— Fanny Mlinarsky 

good indication of their strengths and weak- 
nesses, and of how they approach prob- 
lems," she says. 

Students who have previous work experi- 
ence and those who have a clear under- 
standing of what type of design work they 
want to do are especially attractive, Mlinar- 
sky says. And as the company grows, it is re- 
cruiting not only graduates interested in 
designing and making products, but those 
well-suited to sales and marketing. "We want 
our products sold by people who under- 
stand them and can explain their purpose 
and operation," she says. 

One of the most important qualities a 
prospective Scope employee can have, she 
says, is the ability to work in the fluid envi- 
ronment typically found at small companies. 
"Scope is different from Digital Equipment 
Corp. or IBM," she notes. "At large compa- 
nies, people tend to develop narrow special- 
izations. At Scope, the design projects call 
for very talented engineers capable of devel- 
oping a broad base of technical expertise. 

"We are looking for people with a 'small- 
company mentality' who enjoy a challenge. 
We expect our engineers to make significant 
individual contributions to new-product 
development. Those who contribute to the 
company's bottom line are rewarded 

In talking to students, she stresses the 
advantages of working for a small firm. 
One of the most important, she says, is 
the primary role even new hires can play 
in shaping the company's new technolo- 
gy. "Scope Communications offers its 
engineers a chance to enter the fastest 
growing segment of high technology — 
local area networks," she says. "We have 
developed some very impressive technol- 
ogy and have achieved a high degree of 
miniaturization in the area of LAN test 

For the most part, the qualities that are 
most likely to appeal to a corporate 
recruiter, according to the people inter- 
viewed for this article, must already be set 
in stone by the time a student enters his or 
her senior year. By that time, three years of 
grades will already be recorded on a stu- 
dent's transcript. There will be little time 
left to accumulate work experience if the 
student doesn't already have it. And the 
course of an MQP is largely set by the time a 
corporate interview takes place. 

But there are a few areas that students 
can still work on as the time for job hunting 
approaches. For example, students can 
increase their chances of getting hired by 
developing the ability to assess and de- 
scribe their achievements and accomplish- 
ments in college, and to tell a prospective 
employer exactly why they want a particular 
job at a particular company. 

As Mlinarsky says, students need to do 
more soul-searching before they arrive at an 
interview. She urges students to figure out 
what they want to do with their careers 
before they approach a company. And when 
they get to the interview, her advice is to ask 
lots of questions — about the job and about 
the company. 

Making decisions that affect the course 
of one's life is never easy, Harrison adds. 
Figuring out the kind of work one wants to 
do can take introspection and reflection, and 
taking the right steps over the course of a 
four-year college career to increase one's 
marketability to employers can take a great 
deal of planning and time. "But in today's 
job-hunting climate, it will be time well 
spent," she adds. "Because more and more, 
this kind of planning and reflection is 
becoming more than the icing on the cake 
for job hunters. It's the cake itself." 

— Benison is a free-lance writer and editor 
who writes frequently for the WPI Journal. 

WPI Journal 


All the 
the Way 

To Make Sure Students 
Are Ready to Find Jobs 
When They're Seniors, 
the Career Development 
Center Helps Them 
Start Planning When 
They're Freshmen 

By Ruth Trask 

4 s the job market changes, so must 
WPI's Career Development Cen- 
ter, says center director Yvonne 
Harrison. For one, it has had to 
become more aggressive in making contact 
with potential employers and letting them 
know how WPI graduates can fill their 
employment needs. But more important, it 
has had to reach out to students and help 
them begin thinking about their future — and 
how they are going to prepare for it — from 
the moment they start their college careers. 
"Once upon a time, this was a placement 
office," Harrison says. "Our contact with stu- 
dents began late in their college careers. But 
now our focus is on career development, 
because so much of students' success in the 
job market depends on specific steps they 
should be taking throughout their four years 
at WPI. It's important to have a career plan 
right from the start." 

During their first term as freshmen, stu- 
dents are encouraged to take advantage of 
the CDC's Major Selection Program. The pro- 
gram makes available such services as peer 
counselors, assessment surveys and semi- 
nars. These help students identify their 
interests and learn about career areas — and 
majors — that match those interests. 
Harrison says the program helps students 
avoid the potential loss of time and credit 

that can be associated with changing majors 
well into their academic careers. 

The CDC also offers students some ways 
to see what professionals in their chosen 
careers actually do. Through the Profes- 
sionals-in-Action Program, 1,200 alumni have 
volunteered to serve as resources to stu- 
dents, who can ask them questions about 
their jobs and even spend a day "shadow- 
ing" them at their job sites. 

Once a student has thought about his or 
her future career, the next step is getting 
some real-world experience. "More and 
more, employers are telling us they want 
students who have work experience," 
Harrison says. "If they don't have this expe- 
rience, they will be less marketable and have 
a more difficult time getting a job." 

To help students gain that real-world 
experience, the CDC can direct them into 
part-time jobs and summer internships. 
Students can also arrange to spend extend- 
ed periods of time in professional-level posi- 
tions through the Cooperative Education 
Program, which places students in paid 
positions with leading companies for up to 
two eight-month assignments. 

Since it began in 1976, the Co-op Program 
has placed more than 1,500 students at more 
than 200 companies, including Hewlett- 
Packard, Pratt & Whitney and Raytheon. 
Although taking part in a co-op experience 
can extend the time required to earn a bach- 
elor's degree (students do not receive acad- 
emic credit for their work experience and 
may not enroll in any courses while on an 
assignment), most students claim the expe- 
rience gained is invaluable to their future as 
professionals, notes Mary Beth Harrity, 
associate director of the CDC and coordina- 
tor of WPI's Cooperative Education Program. 

"The co-op experience helps students 
demonstrate their abilities to possible future 
employers," she says. "It helps them make 
wise career-related decisions and allows them 
to test classroom learning in the laboratory of 
the real world." The money participants earn 
on their co-op assignments (about $1,900 a 
month) can pay a significant portion of their 
college expenses. But it is the experience 
gained that proves to be the biggest benefit of 
the program, Harrity notes. 

Statements from alumni underscore the 
value of this experience. Says Gerald Burns 
'91, a systems test engineer with Stratus 
Computer Inc., "If I had to pick one aspect of 
WPI that makes it stand out from other 
schools, it would be the many opportunities 
that we had to perform as young profession- 
als before graduation. This experience pro- 

vides a distinct advantage to WPI graduates 
in the minds of recruiters." 

As the time to begin the job hunt ap- 
proaches, students can tap into other CDC 
services. Resume Expert Plus, for example, 
is a computer system that offers a tutorial 
on preparing a resume and then lets stu- 
dents create their own professional-looking 

The staff of the CDC: clockwise from 
far left, Brad Groves, administrative 
secretary Martha DeMare, Yvonne 
Harrison, administrative secretary 
Pamela Riley, Karl vanLeer, John 
Litster, recruiting coordinator Dor- 
othy Campaniello and William Trask. 
Mary Beth Harrity is not pictured. 

resumes right on the screen. If they choose, 
they can store their resume in a CDC data- 
base. When employers contact the CDC 
looking for students with specific qualifica- 
tions, a staff member can search through 
the resumes on file and send the employer 
those that match its requirements. 

The CDC also coordinates the traditional 
October-to-April recruitment program, which 
attracts about 250 corporations to campus. 
Another computer system, Campus Recruit- 
ing Information Module or CRIM, lets students 
log in from the campus network and find out 
which companies have scheduled interviews. 


Summer 1994 

They can then sign up for an interview over 
the network 24 hours a day. 

Until just a few years ago, Harrison says, 
most seniors could expect to be recruited 
right on campus. But many of the larger 
companies that have traditionally recruited 
at WPI are hiring fewer students — or not 
recruiting at all. Today, students are more 

is just part of the CDC's responsibilities, 
says Harrison, who notes that it is also 
important to educate potential employers 
about WPI and about the quality of its gradu- 
ates. For example, to raise the Institute's 
profile among companies that may not be 
familiar with the college, the CDC is planning 
a series of business breakfasts at which 

likely to find jobs with smaller companies, 
many of which do not send recruiters to 
WPI. That means students must be more 
aggressive in seeking out job leads. 

To help, the center now maintains a tele- 
phone hot line that lets employers list posi- 
tions they are currently trying to fill; callers 
respond directly to the employers. "The hot- 
line method is quick and convenient for the 
job seeker, and is more cost effective for 
smaller businesses that don't have recruit- 
ing staffs," Harrison says. 

The CDC, in cooperation with Circula- 
tion Librarian Margaret Riley (see story, 
page 8), also offers seminars on searching 
out job opportunities through the Internet. 
"Today, students have to go out fishing for 
jobs," Harrison says. "Our role once was to 
give them the fish, but now we have to teach 
them to fish for themselves." 

Offering services to students and alumni 

department heads will explain to employers 
how WPI graduates can fill their needs. 

A faculty-employer consortium will bring 
faculty members interested in advancing 
WPl's career programs together with repre- 
sentatives from a broad range of compa- 
nies — including smaller companies that 
don't recruit at the Institute — to talk about 
WPI's educational programs and about what 
employers seek in its graduates. 

Showcase of Colleges, a program devel- 
oped by career development officers at the 
colleges of the Worcester Consortium for 
Higher Education, is aimed at reaching 
smaller employers in the Worcester area. 
Through the program, administrators from 
the 10 consortium colleges explain to these 
prospective employers what their graduates 
have to offer the job market. "We're opening 
up a valuable new dialogue with this pro- 
gram," Harrison says. 

Keeping WPI in the eye of industry is a 
constant concern for the CDC. Harrison is 
active as diversity advancement chairman 
and member of the board of directors of the 
Mid-Atlantic Placement Association, a group 
that includes college and university place- 
ment officers and corporate recruiters. She 
and William Trask, alumni counselor and for- 
mer director of the Office of Graduate and 
Career Plans (now CDC), are also active in 
the Eastern College Employer Network. Both 
organizations are subsets of the National 
College Placement Council. 

Mary Beth Harrity works with more than 
100 industries to place undergraduate stu- 
dents in work assignments. Brad Groves, 
assistant CDC director, Karl vanLeer, employ- 
ment counselor, and John Litster, job devel- 
opment coordinator, also keep in contact with 
industry. Litster, for example, is active in the 
Greater Worcester Chamber of Commerce. 

"Being part of these business-oriented 
organizations is important to WPI," Harrison 
notes. "It's a two-way street. We talk to em- 
ployers about our needs and they talk to us 
about theirs." 

One of the CDC's most pressing current 
needs is for a new home. Located in the for- 
mer library and chapel on the third floor of 
Boynton Hall, the CDC has the advantage of 
being surrounded by the beautiful stained- 
glass windows designed by Percy "Pete" 
Marsaw '30. But the room has grown too 
small for the expanding CDC operation and 
the cubicles in which recruiters meet with 
students do not afford much privacy. 

To rectify these problems, the center will 
move into newly renovated quarters in the 
first floor and lower level of Sanford Riley 
Hall in September 1995. The Admissions 
Office will move to Sanford Riley at the same 
time. On the first floor, the CDC will have a 
reception area, staff offices and a print and 
video library. Eight private interviewing 
rooms will be constructed on the lower 
level. "The new office should add greatly to 
the confidence of students and the conve- 
nience of interviewers," Harrison says. 

She also notes that the CDC is looking at 
how new and evolving computer and com- 
munications technologies can expand stu- 
dents' job-hunting horizons. Already, her 
office is gearing up to use teleconferencing 
equipment owned by WPI to begin offering 
video telephone interviewing, which will 
enable employers to interview students 
from a distance. "Before long," Harrison 
says, "we may see a student and an inter- 
viewer talking face to face even though one 
is in Worcester and the other in Cincinnati." 

WPI Journal 


Gone are the days when scien- 
tists donned fresh white lab 
coats and spent the day with- 
out human contact, except per- 
haps with other lab personnel or the sub- 
jects of their experiments. And engineers 
no longer have the luxury of living their 
professional lives in a vacuum, having the 
computer as their only connection to the 
outside world. Technical professionals 
today must learn modern survival tech- 

Most technical people consider "poli- 
tics" a negative word. They'd rather avoid 
having to deal with such issues. But if they 
don't learn to successfully participate in 
the political environment of today's 
workplace, they may not be around to 
help create tomorrow's new reality. To 
make sure they will have the time and 
resources they need to think and cre- 
ate, they must develop political savvy. 

Political savvy is the ability to real- 
istically size up a situation — what are 
the relationships between the players 
and what is at stake (someone's repu- 
tation, a new job, a career, etc.)? It also 
means understanding who has the 
power, who controls the finances, and 
what are each player's motives. It's 
important to evaluate the players' 
ethics. An unethical person reacts 
to political situations in a different 
manner than someone with his or 
her ethics in place. Sizing up all 
the nuances of a situation can be a 
tricky task. 

Political savvy has many bene- 
fits, the most important being 
improved job security. Employees 
who appreciate their political 
environment are better able to 
survive the cuts, slices and 
stabs of the system. And 
gaining insight into the 
motives and ethics of 
those who have 
power over your 
career puts you 
in a better 
position to 

A Workplace 
Survival Kit 
for Technical 

predict their behavior. Your potential for 
promotion also grows as you become more 
politically astute. 

It's also important to be aware of the 
career tracks that a company or other em- 
ployer offers. In that way, you can realistical- 
ly evaluate if an employer is a good match 
with your needs, talents and professional 
goals. Historically, most employers have 
encouraged their employees to worry more 
about meeting the employer's goals than 
their own. But in today's more employee- 
oriented climate, professionals have more 
freedom to work on their own goals, as well. 
The result is usually more productivity and 
better results — for employer and employee 

Keeping Pace 

Change is another issue all employees face 
today. On the global scale, change means 
right-sizing, reorganizations, corporate 
acquisitions and spin-offs. Changes like 
these inevitably affect all employees — even 
those who retain their jobs. On a more per- 
sonal scale, change can mean making a hori- 
zontal move within a company, getting new 
management as a result of a reorganization, 
or moving to a new employer. 

Employees must have a high level of flexi- 
bility to survive and function in a changing 
environment without losing perspective. They 
must also stay alert to and keep pace with the 
changing political climate to come out with 
the position — and the career — they want. 

Keeping Sharp 

Keeping your technical skills at their peak 
can be a time-consuming task. Current 
research suggests that you spend a mini- 
mum of one hour a day reading, studying 
and learning new information about your 
professional field. That may sound like a lot 
of time, but it amounts to just seven hours a 
week. Study time must be a priority, or it will 
inevitably lose out to something that seems 
more urgent or important at the time. 

There are dozens of professional pub- 
lications in any field. The best way to 
the massive amount of 
ion available in your 
to visit the library and 
a group of four to six 
ell-written publications 
that contain informa- 
tion of interest and 
which seem to 
keep abreast 

of industry trends. It may take several trips 
to the library to choose the best reading 
materials, but the time will be well spent. 

Another good way to keep up with indus- 
try trends is to attend professional confer- 
ences and trade shows, which can provide 
you with a wealth of new information. The 
newsgroups, mailing lists and information 
databases located on the Internet (see page 8) 
and similar services provided by on-line 
sources like CompuServe and America Online 
can also be invaluable resources for those 
who have the equipment to tap into them. 

Representing your company or institution 
at a professional organization, such as IEEE 
(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engi- 
neers) or ANSI (American National Standards 
Institute), can be an invaluable learning expe- 
rience that will also benefit your employer 
immensely. It is an opportunity to gain expo- 
sure to the industry's best minds and to share 
your own viewpoints to help shape future 
technology and technical trends. 

Managing Expectations 

Another important but often overlooked 
skill that can help pave the way for a more 
successful career is the art of managing 
expectations. It's also a skill that saves time, 
effort and expense in the long run. Since 
co-workers and supervisors are not mind- 
readers, the easiest way to manage your 
professional and personal relationship is to 
verbalize the expectations you have of oth- 
ers: expectations about their performance, 
about how you want them to interact with 
you, about the roles and tasks for which 
they're responsible, and so on. 

Talking about as many workplace issues 
as possible will increase the potential suc- 
cess of any project and make for smoother 
working relationships. A good way to be cer- 
tain of what you've worked out is to put it in 
writing and have the other parties confirm 
that they see things the same way. Everyone 
wants to do a great job, but unless you know 
in advance what is expected of you, you're 
at a disadvantage and you're likely to end up 
being frustrated. 

Managing Time 

Perhaps the most valuable skill you can learn 
in your career is the ability to manage time 
and prioritize tasks. Everyone has to deal 
with unscheduled crises and interruptions. 
You need to learn to handle them without 
neglecting your priorities and without losing 
your ability to concentrate on what is really 
important. The key is respecting the value of 

your time by not permitting it to be used up 
with petty time sinks. 

There are many good classes, seminars 
and systems that can teach you time- 
management skills. You may need to try sev- 
eral before you find one that works for you. 
You may also find that a time-management 
system that works well in your current job 
may not meet the needs of a new position. 
Experimentation is the key to finding the 
best time-management system for you and 
your job. 

Tackling Negotiation 

Most people dread negotiation because it is 
a form of conflict. But in reality, we negotiate 
on a daily basis in our personal and work 
lives. We negotiate with a salesperson over 
the price of a car, with a spouse over house- 
work or childcare responsibilities, or with 
outside vendors on the terms of a contract. 
Anyone can learn to negotiate for their own 
benefit and that of their employer. 

Technical professionals should become 
familiar with the art of negotiating and recog- 
nize it as a valuable skill. You won't always be 
able to assume that others will effectively 
negotiate for you. You may often be the only 
person with the technical expertise and pro- 
fessional qualifications to participate in 
important negotiations. You need to be ready 
and able to step up to the challenge. 

As with the other skills mentioned in this 
article, there are classes, seminars, tapes 
and books that will teach you to be a better 
negotiator. Take a seminar that includes 
practice negotiations; that's the best way to 
learn useful negotiating tactics. It's some- 
times scary to practice new skills in front of 
a room full of people, but that's a lot less 
scary than practicing in front of a customer 
or a new department head. 

Survival of the Fittest 

Today's professional marketplace is highly 
competitive. To survive and flourish, you 
need the best and most up-to-date skills. 
And to prepare for the challenges of tomor- 
row, you need to take advantage of the time 
you have today and use it wisely. It is within 
your control to set the stage for continued 
success in your career. You just need to 
accept responsibility for your own survival 
skills and go for it. 

— Veal is a product manager in the Micro- 
electronic Products Division of NCR in Fort 
Collins, Colo., a division of AT&T Global 
Information Solutions. 

WPI Journal 


The Return 
of the 

W Golden One 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

As a child, Lee Kenseth Abel '95 

escaped the killing fields of 

Cambodia and ultimately found a 

new life with a family in America. 

But he always wondered what had 

happened to the family he left 

behind. This year, he had 

the chance to find out. 

t was early January 
1994 as Lee Ken- 
seth Abel's plane 
touched down in 
Thailand. For the WPI 
junior, it was the first time 
he would set foot on 
Southeast Asian soil in 
more than five years. He 
was there to complete a 
project at WPI's Bangkok 
Project Center. But first, 
there was a more person- 
al mission to accomplish. 
He flew from Bangkok 
to Phnom Penh, the capital 
of neighboring Cambodia. 
There he bought a map 
and hired a car. After a few 
days of asking around, he 
directed his driver to take 
him to a small village 
about 35 miles outside of 
the city. Following Abel's 
directions, the driver 
stopped in front of a small house. A dog was 
asleep outside and two motorcycles were 
tucked underneath the structure. A sleepy- 
looking woman came to the door. 

"May I help you?" she asked. "Who are 
you looking for?" He replied in Khmer, his 
native tongue, but his accent, colored by 
more than a decade in Thailand and the U.S., 
made his words unclear. She seemed to 
think that Abel, with his Western clothing, 
was a friend of her older son, who had once 
worked for the United Nations. 

He asked her name and she told him. 
Then he called her "Mom." But after so 

many years, the woman seemed doubtful 
that this young man could be her long-lost 
son. She looked at him, struggling for recog- 
nition. Then she grasped his face and turned 
his head to the side. There, under his right 
ear, she saw a familiar mole. She knew. 

"She put her arms around me and cried 
out. Then she fainted," Abel says. "They all 
thought 1 was dead. She had gone to fortune 
tellers; some said alive, some said dead. She 
cried and cried. Me? I was just too over- 
whelmed...! couldn't really cry." . 

Despite the contradictory intelligence 
from the fortune tellers, his birth mother 
had never lost faith that her son was alive. 
Until that day, Abel had not known for sure 
if any of his relatives had survived Cam- 
bodia's killing fields, or whether he would be 
able to track down the family he had lost- 
almost 20 years before. 

It was in the spring of 1975 that the 
Khmer Rouge, soldiers of the Cambodian 
communist insurrection, began their final 
offensive against the American-backed Lon 
Nol government. Five-year-old Ly Chhem 
was living with relatives in Phnom Penh. His 
country had been at war for almost a 
decade. Prince Sihanouk, Cambodia's long- 
time leader, had been ousted in a right-wing 
coup one month before his birth. Hundreds 
of Cambodian villagers were being killed or 
left homeless as America drove deeper into 
the border with an illegal bombing campaign 
staged to flush out Viet Cong sanctuaries. 

To escape the shelling of the capital, Ly 
was sent with his grandparents to Battam- 
bang, a rural western province that borders 
Thailand. The rest of the family was to fol- 
low, but they could not have known that on 


Summer 1994 

April 17, just two weeks after Ly's departure, 
the Khmer Rouge would storm Phnom Penh, 
blowing up bridges, halting air traffic, and 
ordering a massive evacuation of the city 
dwellers to prison camps and torture cen- 
ters in rural regions of the country. 

It was the beginning of four years of 
genocide for so-called Democratic Kampu- 
chea, under the brutal leadership of Pol Pot. 
The Khmer Rouge targeted the wealthy, edu- 
cated classes as enemies of communism. 
Their reforms included the execution of any- 
one connected with the former government 
and the annihilation of all traces of foreign 
influence or upper-class culture. In the end, 
more than a million people died (some esti- 
mate two to three mil- 

Communist government. He thinks he remem- 
bers seeing him in uniform on occasion, but 
cannot recall his face. Years later he learned 
that his father was imprisoned by the Khmer 
Rouge and died of starvation. 

Ly spent the next two years in a Khmer 
Rouge camp. "When the camp started, there 
were maybe 2,000 children under the age of 
10. At the end. ..600," he says softly. "We 
were too young to execute, so they starved 
us and got what work they could out of us." 

When he left the camp, he was feverish 
and so weak he could not move his legs. He 
and other survivors were sent by train into 
the jungle, where he spent the next two years 
as a slave 

"You didn't know when you were going 

to die, you didn't know who was going 

to shoot you — the left wing, the right 

wing, the Vietnamese. It was like you 

were waiting to be executed, you were 

waiting to be told where to go" 


lion) by slaughter in the infa- 
mous "killing fields," from overwork and 
starvation in labor camps, or from the wide- 
spread disease and famine that ensued 
when Pol Pot closed Cambodia's borders to 
foreign aid and trade. 

In Battambang, Ly's grandparents per- 
ished from lack of food. Left on his own at an 
age when his American contemporaries were 
still in kindergarten, he was soon swept up by 
the Khmer Rouge, along with orphans of the 
slaughtered ruling class. Ly is not sure if his 
own father was associated with the pre- 

laborer grow- 
ing yams. "Everybody thought we were going 
to be executed," he says. "But they said it's a 
waste to kill us. Why not just let us die of 
malaria, and make some food for them?" 

In 1979, the Pol Pot government was 
overthrown by Vietnamese Communists and 
rival left-wing factions of the Khmer Rouge, 
with help from the Soviet Union. The coun- 
try was in chaos, and the jungles still dan- 
gerous. "You didn't know when you were 
going to die, you didn't know who was going 
to shoot you — the left wing, the right wing, 
the Vietnamese," Abel recalls. "It was like 
you were waiting to be executed, you were 

"Pure luck and lots of skill and 
hard work" led Lee Kenseth Abel, 
above, back to the village in 
Cambodia where his mother 
resided. His reunion with her after 
almost 20 years, opposite page, 
was the culmination of a remark- 
able and powerful tale. 

WP1 Journal 


waiting to be told where to go. I was too 
young to know anything. I was hungry. I just 
went day by day." 

Nine-year-old Ly was evacuated from the 
jungle. He returned to Phnom Penh to look 
for his family, but the capital had been emp- 
tied. "It was so quiet in the city, like a ghost 
town," he remembers. The war-ravaged 
country had been liberated from the Khmer 
Rouge, but conditions were still harsh. Food 
was scarce in the government orphanage 
where he spent several months. A top schol- 
ar himself, Ly noticed that among the older 
children, superior students were being sent 
off to Hanoi and to the U.S.S.R. He knew he 
would be drafted into the army as soon as 
he came of age. 

Ly saw only one chance for survival: 
refugee camps were being set up in Thai- 
land, and he'd heard there 
was plenty of food there and 
a chance to seek sanctuary in 
the United States. He fled the 
orphanage with four children, 
not much older than himself. 
They hopped a ride on the 
top of a train, then traveled 
for three days on foot. It was 
a dangerous journey. They 
had to duck snipers, fend off 
robbers and avoid land 
mines. And the Khmer Rouge 
were still righting at the bor- 
der. He was separated from 
his companions, only one of 
whom made it to Thailand 
alive. Ly finally crossed the 
border and managed to find a 
refugee camp. 

Run by the U.N., it was "basically just 
another concentration camp," Abel says, 
"but they were kind to us and didn't starve 
us or beat us up." There was no fresh food, 
supplies were short, and the refugees had 
little freedom. They got some protection 
from young, untrained guards, who were 
sometimes drunk, but at night were left to 
fend for themselves. 

Even in the chaos of the camps, Ly kept 
up his studies. He couldn't afford private 
tutoring, but sat outside, rain or shine, to lis- 
ten in on the sessions. It became a running 
joke that he could always be found in the 
camp library, in reality just a bamboo pavil- 
ion. After three years his application for 
refugee status was accepted; he was cleared 
to go to the United States under the spon- 
sorship of David W. Rosenberg of the 
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. 

Next came a processing center in the 
Philippines, where refugees were checked 
for disease, taught some rudimentary 
English, and briefed on American culture. In 

1987, Ly Chhem made it to the United 
States and went to live in Amherst, Mass., 
with Elaine Kenseth-Abel, a friend and for- 
mer co-worker of Rosenberg's, and Chris 
Abel. Elaine had already met Ly, having 
gone to the camp in Thailand to search for 
relatives of other Cambodian refugees liv- 
ing in the U.S. 

The Abels, who later moved to Miller's 
Falls, did not adopt Ly, since they felt adop- 
tion was not appropriate at his age and 
because of uncertainty over the fate of his 
natural parents. Still, 
he refers to Chris, 
Elaine and their four 
children as his "fos- 
ter" family. 

Ly completed a 
year of high school in 

himself," Abel says. "In the last few years 
he's opened up more and more, and he's 
started talking about what he's been 

When it came time to choose a topic for 
his Interactive Qualifying Project, Ly learned 
about the Bangkok Project Center, where he 
would go with four other students to study 
cross-cultural management of multinational 
corporations. He saw an opportunity to go 
back to Cambodia and search for surviving 
relatives, a mission that had been on his 

"He's had to fight for 

everything by himself, 

and he tends to keep 

his burdens to himself. 

In the last few years, 

he's opened up more 

and more, and he's 

talking about what 

he's been through." 

Amherst, then earned 
his diploma in 1991at 
the Northfield Mount 
Hermon School, where 
he excelled in math- 
ematics and science. 
He wanted to attend 
a small engineering 
school in New England, and WPI appealed to 
him — to the great delight of his American 
grandfather, Wally Abel '39, who showed Ly 
around the campus and introduced him to 
faculty members. 

"Ly was the only science-minded grand- 
child," Kenseth-Abel says. In the end, he 
chose WPI for its top ranking in U.S. News & 
World Report and its reputation for quality 
undergraduate programs. 

Wally Abel compares the adventures of 
his "adopted" grandchild to a fairy tale — 
from his narrow escape from Cambodia, to 
his new life as a successful engineering stu- 
dent. "He's had to fight for everything by 
himself, and he tends to keep his burdens to 

mind for years. "I think it was always there... 
the needing to know," says Kenseth-Abel. "He 
would sometimes get glimmers that some- 
one was still alive." 

Years ago, while he was visiting a 
Buddhist temple in Rhode Island, a Khmer 
woman recognized Ly from the refugee 
camp, and helped him get in touch with 
cousins in Battambang, where she also had 
relatives. He was told that someone had 
seen his mother alive in 1980, but rumors 
like that abound in refugee communities. 

He already knew that his father and two 
of his brothers were dead, but women stood 
a better chance of surviving the Khmer 
Rouge. Although women were also enslaved 


Summer 1994 

and tortured, men took the brunt of the exe- 
cutions. It has been estimated that of the 
victims of Cambodia's holocaust, 80 percent 
were males between the ages of 20 and 50. 

The Abels feared that without an Amer- 
ican passport, Ly would face hassles at the 
Cambodian border. After conversations with 
Marche Haddad, WPI's assistant director of 
global programs, they decided that he 
should apply for American citizenship. Ly 
passed the required test in October 1993, 
but was told he would have to wait five to 
six months for the next swearing-in cere- 
mony in Boston — too late for his scheduled 
January departure. 

The Abels appealed to Sen. Edward M. 
Kennedy's office, which contacted the U.S. 
Immigration and Naturalization Service. A 
local Superior Court judge agreed to swear 
Ly in at the Franklin County courthouse. 
"Between a drug dealer and a wife beater, 
they stopped to have this nice little natural- 
ization ceremony," recalls Kenseth-Abel. 
Just two days before Christmas, Ly Chhem 
got his wish: he became an American citizen 
and had his name legally changed to Lee 
Kenseth Abel. He got his passport in record 
time, and just days before his departure he 
was issued a new visa for Thailand with his 
American name. 

It was "pure luck and lots of skill and 
hard work" that led him to find his mother in 
the village where she had grown up. He just 
kept asking around on the streets of Phnom 
Penh, until he made contact with people 
who knew his relatives. "In Cambodia, every- 
body is related, and everybody knows every- 
one else," he says. 

His mother took him to see his three sur- 
viving brothers. Abel says he found his fami- 
ly members living comfortably, although 
from his perspective as an American engi- 
neering student, Cambodia seemed undevel- 
oped. "It was like going back 50, 60, 70 
years," he says. The level of technology and 
mass communication is improving in the 
cities, he notes, but in his mother's village 
there is no electricity or running water and 
there are no paved roads. A trip to Phnom 
Penh is required to mail a letter and newspa- 
pers don't regularly reach the countryside. 

By the time he found his mother, Abel 
was almost out of time. With his project in 
Thailand about to begin, he had only a few 
days with his mother and brothers; most of 
that was spent traveling to meet scattered 
relatives. Along the way he did have time to 
cause a commotion in Phnom Penh by roller 
blading to a stadium to see a soccer match. 

"They stopped the game and the players, 
the police. ..everyone wanted to see my 
roller blades, to touch them," he says. 
"Thousands of people wanted to see me 

skate. So I did spins and jumps and turns. I 
played basketball on my roller blades. Then 
I skated to Sihanouk's palace and there were 
almost some accidents as people slowed 
down to look at me. About 30 children ran 
after me." 

When his project was finished, Abel 
returned to Cambodia for a brief but less- 
frenzied visit. But lack of time wasn't the 
only obstacle he encountered in reuniting 
with his family. Although his mother and 
brothers were overjoyed at finding him 
alive, he was still a stranger to them, he 
says. And in their eyes, he was a foreigner. 

"It was a shock for everybody," he says 
of the reunion. "It's very strange; there were 
so many mixed emotions. Asian people are 
not very open to people they don't know. To 
them, I seemed like a tourist — the way I 
wore my clothes and the way I hung around 
and talked with Americans and Europeans." 

Then there was the irony of retaining 

"Before / went back to 
Cambodia, I didn't really 
appreciate my life. Now I 
see that I'm very lucky to 
be alive and to get this 
kind of education.' 


childhood memories — for example, fights 
over toys with his cousins — but not recog- 
nizing the people from those memories 
when they greeted him as adults. When he 
asked after a favorite cousin, he was told, 
"But he is standing right next to you!" What 
was hardest to accept was the distance that 
had grown between him and his Cambodian 

"She knows I'm her son, but I'm no longer 
the boy that she once knew," he says. "She 
tried to imagine what kind of life I'd been liv- 
ing, what kind of joys I'd had, or what kind of 
suffering I went through. She tried to get 
close to me. I thought when I saw her, I was 
going to feel very close to her. It was very 

He confided his feelings in a phone call to 
Elaine Kenseth-Abel after his return to 
Thailand. "To tell you the truth, Mom," he 
said, "I feel closer to you than my real mom. 
I just don't know her like I know you." 

After a few days of adjusting and playing 
with his younger relatives, Abel felt his 
Cambodian family begin to open up to him. 
He discovered that although he is consid- 
ered quiet and reserved by American stan- 

dards, among Cambodians he stands out as 
being active and outspoken. 

He also learned that he is two years 
younger than he thought he was. The date of 
birth on his immigration papers, Dec. 31, 
1968, was actually made up by immigration 
officials in Thailand, who were anxious to 
finish work and get to a New Year's Eve 
party. His real birthday is April 28, 1970, 
making him the same age as his American 
brother Leif. His Cambodian mother told 
him that he also has a half-brother, named 
Stephen Bell, living in the U.S. Abel says he 
believes he is in Connecticut, but so far has 
been unable to trace him. 

Abel plans to stay in contact with his 
newfound family, although he knows the 
inefficiency of the Cambodian postal system 
and the effort it takes for people in the coun- 
tryside to mail letters will make that difficult. 
Abel has sent letters and pictures to his fam- 
ily with friends traveling to Cambodia and 
has faxed messages though a Cambodian 
business owner he knows. So far, there has 
been no reply. 

He would like to visit again, but knows 
that there is no future for him in his home- 
land. Cambodia has no commercial industry 
and there are no jobs for a mechanical engi- 
neering major whose field of interest is man- 
ufacturing. However, his 1QP on cross-cultur- 
al management opened his eyes to global 
opportunities with American companies that 
are expanding elsewhere in Asia. 

When multinational companies are ready 
to move into Cambodia, he will be ready. "At 
WPI I am a lowly undergraduate," he says, 
"but in Cambodia, I am an expert. They need 
someone who understands both cultures." 
But for now, the demand for trained engi- 
neers in Thailand and some other Asian 
countries is so high, he says, "they grab 
whatever they can find." 

Abel says his journey back to his home- 
land taught him a great deal about himself. 
"Before I went back to Cambodia. I didn't 
really appreciate my life," says Abel. "Now I 
see that I'm very lucky to be alive and to get 
this kind of education. If I stayed in Cam- 
bodia, chances are I would be one of those 
people who barely finished junior high, or I 
could have been drafted into the army and 
shot and killed." 

One other thing he learned in Cambodia 
was his real name, the one his mother 
called him — Sovann Ly. "Sovann means 
Golden One," he told Kenseth-Abel by 
phone, "smartest, most fortunate. The stars 
and the planets and all the heavens were 
all great when I was born. Sovann means I 
would never die, good and kind people 
would always help me, and you know, Mom, 
it's true... I mean, it's really true." 

WPI Journal 




Kept Byrd 
on Course 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

Albert H. Buinstead didn't stick 
around WPI long enough to earn a 
diploma, but without him Admiral 
Richard E. Byrd might still be cir- 
cling the North Pole — that is, if he'd been 
able to find it in the first place. Byrd swore 
by the "sun compass" invented by Bum- 
stead, a member of the Class of 1898. "I do 
not hesitate to say that without it we could 
not have reached the poles," he once re- 
marked. "[The instrument] made it possible 
to fly with confidence to the North Pole, and 
to find our way back to our bases." 

Bumstead's compasses also went along 
to Antarctica with Byrd, who persisted in 
exploring places where proximity to the 
Earth's magnetic poles made a traditional 
mariner's compass useless. When Byrd said 
that he wished he could navigate at night as 
well as he did by day, Bumstead took that to 
heart, too. He came up with a simple and 
practical system based on a sextant reading 
of Polaris, the Pole Star. 

Soon Byrd was conferring with Bumstead 
before each voyage. The explorer carried a 
tiny American flag to the South Pole, which 
was later mounted and hung on the 
Bumsteads' dining room wall. Byrd also 
named a mountain in the Queen Maude 
Range, near the South Pole, for the inventor. 

In addition to the Bumstead sun compass 
and Mount Bumstead, some 38 million maps 
also bear his name. In his 25 years with the 
National Geographic Society, Bumstead pro- 
duced maps of every part of the world and 
revolutionized the science of cartography 
with inventions that made mapmaking 
quicker, neater and more accurate. 

Adjectives like "modest," "quiet" and 
"unobtrusive" abound in articles about 
Bumstead, who was often described as the 


Above, Bumstead, left, explains the 
operation of his sun compass to 
Admiral Byrd. Opposite page, 
Bumstead, standing, with Osgood 
Hardy, the assistant cartographer 
on the 1912 expedition to Peru. 

"shy inventor." "I have always been handy 
with my hands," he said, in a humble explana- 
tion of his genius. But a mysterious classmate, 
apparently a WPI alumnus and a reporter for 
the Washington Evening Star, described the 
real Bumstead as two different people. 

The profile described Albert H. Bum- 
stead, chief cartographer, as "an elderly gen- 
tleman with graying hair and mustache, both 
a bit unruly, [who] speaks in an odd low 
monotone." His counterpart, "Al," might be 
encountered almost any night, scurrying 
nervously around the basement of his 
Washington, D.C., home. 

"He has the same graying hair and mus- 

tache, still unruly — perhaps more unruly — 
but the voice is different," the writer ex- 
plained. "It is less even; it is more animated. 
There is a difference of about 20 years in the 
ages of Albert H. Bumstead and Al, in favor 
of the latter. Yet they are the same man. Al, 
in the cellar, is a magician; Albert, in the 
penthouse [his top floor office at National 
Geographic headquarters], is chief cartogra- 
pher, surrounded by maps of every charter 
corner of the world." 

The article, which appeared in 1934, has 
no byline, yet its author describes Bumstead's 
monotone as "a voice which was recognized 
recently over the phone by an old classmate 
who had seen him but once before in 34 
years." The WPI Journal noted the article in a 
news column, but was unable to identify the 
author. "Too bad good feature writers are so 
often nameless," it lamented. 


Summer 1994 


.4s /?e wenf through life, Bumstead pretty much invented 
what he needed, or what he thought others needed, from recycled 

parts and everyday objects. 

According to his 1940 obituary in the 
Journal, Bumstead studied electrical engi- 
neering at WPI for two years, then withdrew, 
although he was earning high grades in most 
subjects. After leaving the Institute, he stud- 
ied geography at Harvard for a year. He 
worked briefly as topographer for the U.S. 
Geological Survey, then retired to Townsend 
Harbor, Mass., where he spent nine years 
"trying to run a farm and finding I couldn't," 
according to his own admission. 

In 1912 Bumstead was recruited by 
Hiram Bingham as chief topographer on an 
expedition to Peru that uncovered Machu 
Picchu, "Lost City of the Incas." When he 
returned, he was appointed to the National 
Geographic Society. 

Bumstead and his wife, Annie Sweeney, 
had five children. Two sons attended WPI. 
G. Newman Bumstead '30 followed in his 
father's footsteps, eventually becoming chief 
of geographic art for the National Geo- 

graphic Society. He died in 1967. Robert 
Bumstead '31 was the only Bumstead to 
receive a degree from the Institute. A retired 
mechanical engineer and insurance execu- 
tive, he lives in New Hampshire. 

As he went through life, Bumstead pretty 
much invented what he needed, or what he 
thought others needed, from recycled parts 
and everyday objects. The famous sun com- 
pass was actually a retrofitted alarm clock, 
with a 24-hour dial plate and a hand to cast a 
shadow on the face. It was developed in 
three weeks and rushed to Byrd just before 
takeoff. When Bumstead developed a fasci- 
nation for lapidary, the art of grinding and 
polishing gemstones, his basement work- 
shop gave birth to new apparatuses for his 
hobby. With his brother Ralph, he created a 
device for rapid transmission of stock quota- 
tions that established the basis for later 
communications technology. 

During World War I, Bumstead ap- 

proached the war department with a new 
map projector that laid down parallels and 
meridians in 20 minutes, as opposed to 
three or four hours for the ordinary method. 
He turned out an accurate map of the 
European theater of operations and later 
declined a patent on the new invention, giv- 
ing it over for government use. Although his 
patriotism was hailed in Washington, his 
New England neighbors were more leery. 

In 1917, residents of Townsend Harbor 
feared that Bumstead was transmitting intel- 
ligence to the Germans. Neighbors reported 
the suspected spy to the Fitchburg police. 
When authorities investigated the property, 
they found antennas wired to the elm 
trees — evidence of an innocent "wireless" 
operator who had an endless fascination 
with new technologies. As for Bumstead, he 
was off in Peru, on a second expedition to 
explore newly discovered relics from the 
distant past. 

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GRAFTON, MA 01519-1314 

FALL 1994 


Look Back at the 
Presidency of Jon C. Strauss 

WPI Journal 


m m "" 1 







r vH 


Repositioning the Institute: The New WPI and Beyond 

Jon C. Strauss 

In the final installment of his series of annual report messages, President Jon C. 
Strauss reports on WPI's continuing efforts to build on its traditional strengths 
to create the "university of the future," an institution with a broader appeal to 
prospective students and an enhanced quality of life. 

A Plan of Action: The Presidency of Jon C. Strauss 

Michael W. Dorsey 

By keeping WPI focused on the challenges it has faced, helping it seize new 
opportunities, and involving the entire WPI community in planning for the future, 
Jon Strauss helped the Institute transform itself into a stronger, better-known and 
more focused institution. 

Three Thousand, Three Hundred and 
Seventy-nine Days at One Drury Lane 

Jean A. A. Strauss 

In 1985, Jean Strauss became the wife of a college president, a role for which she 
says she felt unprepared. In the nine years that followed, she gained confidence 
and learned some valuable lessons. And through it all, she kept her sense of humor. 

The Year That Was: A Look Back at the Events of 1993-94 

Jon C. Strauss 

A growing global studies program, a host of educational innovations, major 
awards for research, improvements in diversity and student life, physical plant 
improvements, and continuing national recognition for the Institute — these are 
just some of the highlights of a busy year at WPI. 


17 Financial Summary Robert W. Gailey 

A look at the Institute's financial performance in FY93 

[§ Financial Highlights 

The fiscal year at a glance 

25 Development Highlights Alfred R.Doig Jr. 
A Year of Building 


27 Honor Roll of Donors 

Front Coven On the lawn in front of One Drury Lane, their home for more than nine years, are Jon and 
Jean Strauss and their sons, Kristoffer, left, and Jonathon. Photo by Janet Woodcock. Opposite: The 
many roles of a college president as carried out by Jon C. Strauss. Back Cover A crunchy blanket of 
fallen leaves covers the hillside by Gordon Library. Photo by Janet Woodcock. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser. Joan Killough-Miller, Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Designer, Carol Hoyle Ballard • 
Art Direction, Michael J. Sherman • Photographer, Janet Woodcock Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • James S. Demetry '58 • William J. Firla Jr. '60 • 
William R. Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the 
Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official WPI policies. We welcome letters to the editor Address correspondence to the Editor, WPI Journal. 
WPI. 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280 Phone: (508) 831-5609, FAX: (508) 831-5604, Electronic Mail (Internet), Postmaster: If undeliverable, please send form 3579 
to the address above. Do not return publication Entire contents © 1994. Worcester Polytechnic Institute 

The New WPI and Beyond 

Last year's annual report was 
prefaced with an editor's note that 
set forth an ambitious agenda: "In 
fiscal year 1993, the college com- 
pleted a major period of self-evalu- 
ation and began the weighty task of deter- 
mining how it will mold itself into the type of 
institution best able to thrive and grow in 
the decades ahead." As you will see, we 
have indeed been asking ourselves what it 
means to thrive and grow in these challeng- 
ing times. We've also come to appreciate 
that we have not yet completed — nor will we 
complete any time soon — our self-evalua- 
tion. In fact, continuous critical self- 
appraisal is the key to the growth in excel- 
lence to which we aspire. 

This annual report is the ninth and last in 
the series spanning my presidency of WPI. It 
begins with a review of the actions taken 
over the past year in response to the recom- 
mendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. 
The task force's report was the focus of my 
message in the 1992-93 annual report. 

One action taken was the hiring of 
marketing consultants Barton Gillet to study 
how WPI is perceived within its most impor- 
tant marketplace: the group of potential 
students. This report goes on to summarize 
our efforts this year to refocus WPI's image 
in that marketplace in response to Barton 
Gillet's recommendations. 

The report concludes with a look at our 
initial planning efforts for WPI's next 
comprehensive fund-raising campaign. The 
campaign will be designed to develop the 
funds needed to position WPI to best serve 
the needs of our students, our faculty and 
our society as we enter a new millennium. 

The emphasis on planning you will find 
in the pages that follow will not surprise 
readers of earlier editions of this annual 
report series. My first report, for the 1985-86 
fiscal year, established an agenda for strate- 
gic excellence; each successive report has 
commented on some aspect of our progress 
toward that agenda. This year's report 
continues that commentary. 


To appreciate fully why it seems necessary 
to reposition WPI, one must begin by 
looking back to the beginning of this decade. 
At that time, WPI was just concluding the 
highly successful Campaign for Excellence, 
which ultimately yielded $63.7 million — 
121 percent of its $52.5 million goal. At the 
request of the Board of Trustees, a steering 
committee was at work developing a new 
strategic plan to guide WPI's development 
through the 1990s. The resulting plan, which 
was approved by the faculty and the 
trustees in the spring of 1990, has six goals: 

GOdl 1 '. Enhance the Level of 
Excellence in Undergraduate Education 

uOSl 2: Enhance the Level of 
Excellence in Graduate Education 

Goal o! Increase the Quality and 
Quantity of Research and its Recognition 

Fall 1994 

Goal 4: Enhance the Quality of 
Life on Campus 

G03l 5: Meet the Needs of Professionals 
for Continuing Education 

Goal 6: Strengthen WPI's External 

With the passage of the strategic plan, 
we began focusing our operations toward 
achieving these goals; each year since we've 
highlighted our progress in the annual 
report. But by the fall of 1991, it was becom- 
ing obvious that the strategic plan might 
have to be rethought. Several external 
factors, most particularly the dramatically 
increasing cost of institutional financial aid, 
were placing enormous budgetary pressure 
on WPI, creating the prospect of an even 
more challenging future than that 
envisioned by the plan's drafters. 

Accordingly, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, 
whose members were drawn from the 
faculty, staff, student body and Board of 
Trustees, was charged with developing a 
comprehensive plan for the Institute. 
Reflecting the strategic plan where possible, 
it would maintain and enhance WPI as it 
charted a course through the many 
demographic, societal and financial uncer- 
tainties of the next decade. The plan also 
had to assure the financial equilibrium of the 
operating and capital budgets. 

Given the magnitude of its objective, it 
is not surprising that the Blue Ribbon Task 
Force did not succeed completely in devel- 
oping a comprehensive plan. But it did 
confirm that we face vexing, largely external- 
ly imposed financial problems. It also 
developed a framework for addressing them 
in the contexts of quality of life, academic 
experience and financial equilibrium. 

In its final report, the BRTF made a number 
of recommendations, but its vision for WPI's 
future is probably best captured by the follow- 
ing excerpt from the executive summary: 

"Quality in all we do is essential to our 
continuing success. WPI must take advan- 
tage of its strengths in technology and 
broaden along technical lines; be sensitive 
to the needs of its customers, both finan- 
cially and educationally; be flexible program- 
matically to meet their needs; and produce a 
higher quality program at a lower consumer 
and institutional cost." 

...and in these two recommendations: 

"That the WPI of the 21st century be 
a technologically based comprehensive 

"That WPI's 'broadening' include a more 
vital role for the Humanities and Social 

Science and Policy Studies departments in 
contributing to these emerging interface 

Under the guidance of the Community 
Council, which was formed in 1992-93 in 
response to a recommendation of the 
Commission on Residential and Social Life, a 
number of initiatives were begun in the fall 
of 1993 to respond to the BRTF recommen- 
dations. These included 

D> four campus open forums. These 
explored each of the BRTF emphasis 
areas — quality of life, academic experi- 
ence and financial equilibrium — and 
engaged the community in a discussion 
about parking under the aegis of the new 
Parking Committee. 

the hiring of the marketing firm of Barton 
Gillet to determine how prospective 
students would receive the BRTF recom- 
mendations relating to the academic 

D> the soliciting of proposals from the 
faculty to develop academic programs in 
"interface disciplines." These would 
build on our considerable existing 
strengths and broaden WPI's appeal to 
students who might not otherwise con- 
sider matriculating at what they perceive 
to be a narrow engineering school. 

As the fall of 1993 progressed, it became 
clear that the financial problems facing WPI 
were even more difficult than the BRTF had 
foreseen. Because of the continuing escala- 
tion in the amount of institutional financial 
aid WPI must make available to remain 
competitive, total tuition revenue net of 
institutional financial aid increased by just 
1 percent in 1992-93 and was projected to 
increase by only 2 percent in 1993-94 — even 
with constant enrollments. 

Moreover, applications were dropping 
and it appeared that quality might have to 
suffer to maintain enrollment. These indica- 
tors, combined with a continuing national 
decline in interest in technological higher 
education, suggested that a course marked 
by "business as usual" would be fraught 
with difficulty. Ways needed to be found to 
increase net revenue more rapidly than the 
costs of instruction. 


In its study of WPI's prospective student 
marketplace, Barton Gillet surveyed a total 
of 23,700 young men and women in the fall 
of 1993: 21,000 students who inquired about 
WPI during 1992-93 but never applied for 
admission (inquirers); 2,000 students who 
applied and were accepted, but who chose 

not to enroll (no-shows); and 700 students 
who matriculated as members of the Class 
of 1997 (freshmen). The survey uncovered a 
number of interesting — almost startling — 
facts about how prospective students 
perceive us. For example: 

t> 24 percent of the inquirers and 15 per- 
cent of the no-shows expressed an 
interest in the biological sciences; only 
4 percent of the freshmen expressed 
such an interest. 

24 percent of the inquirers were interest- 
ed in medical careers; only 8 percent of 
the no-shows and 7 percent of the 
freshmen were so inclined. 

[> The factor cited most often by inquirers 
and no-shows to explain why they did not 
choose WPI was a preference for a more 
all-around school (read university) over a 
technological institution (67 percent of 
inquirers cited this as a major reason and 
17 percent said it was a concern; it was a 
major reason for 43 percent of no-shows 
and a concern for 27 percent). 

O No-shows were more likely than the 
other groups to cite cost (39 percent 
major factor; 25 percent concern) and 
quality of life (21 percent major factor; 45 
percent concern) as reasons for not 
choosing WPI. 

Based on these and related data, Barton 
Gillet made several recommendations to 
WPI. Most important, they concluded that 
"only a major repositioning of WPI in the 
marketplace will succeed in making possible 
our escape from the current [financial] 
predicament." They said the basis for such a 
repositioning "already exits in the WPI Plan, 
the directions in which you have been lead- 
ing the Institute, and some of the imagina- 
tive proposals now on the table. What is 
needed is a focus and a unifying platform 
and direction for these initiatives." 

As part of this major repositioning, 
Barton Gillet, echoing the Blue Ribbon Task 
Force, recommended broadening WPI into a 
comprehensive university. Neither Barton 
Gillet nor the BRTF envisioned WPI compet- 
ing with Amherst or Wesleyan for English 
majors. Rather, both groups were seeking 
ways for WPI to attract those potential appli- 
cants who would profit from our strengths 
in areas such as the biological sciences, but 
who either don't apply or choose not to 
attend after they've been accepted. 

If we can find a way to get more of these 
students to apply with serious desire to 
enroll, we can be more selective based on 
the ability of our applicants to pay, thereby 
raising the net revenue we receive per 

WPI Journal 

student. In this way, we can reduce our cost 
for institutional financial aid, thus relieving 
the financial pressures we face. 

The challenge will be overcoming the 
obvious fears these prospective students 
have of being limited by attending what they 
perceive to be a narrowly focused engineer- 
ing school. We must find ways to communi- 
cate more clearly our existing broad 
strengths in the life and social sciences and 
in the liberal and fine arts. 

Once we attract these nontraditional 
students, who will not be seeking the rigors 
of a traditional engineering education, we 
must provide them with a stimulating and 
nurturing environment. The 
development of interface 
disciplines, an idea pro- 
posed by the BRTF, will 
help support this objective 
by creating academic dis- 
ciplines that prepare stu- 
dents in the liberal arts, 
humanities and sciences for 
the increasingly technical 
nature of these fields, as 
well as for new careers that 
cross the boundaries 
between technical and non- 
technical fields. We must 
also make progress on 
enhancing the breadth and 
quality of life at WPI. 

While the faculty worked 
to plan new programs 
in interface disciplines, Provost Diran 
Apelian and I "went on the road" last fall to 
meet with faculty and staff members, acade- 
mic departments, students, alumni, and 
trustees to discuss the implications of the 
Barton Gillet study and the BRTF recommen- 
dations. These many meetings culminated in 
a combined discussion at the February 1994 
retreat of the Board of Trustees. The 
essence of that discussion was captured in 
two planning papers: The New WPI (March 
22, 1994) and A Marketing Plan for the New 

The substance of the repositioning vision 
of The New WPI is captured in the following 
five fundamental hypotheses: 

1. To attract and nurture students who 
would not traditionally matriculate at 
what they perceive to be only an "engi- 
neering school," we must develop 
student-oriented programs in such 
high-demand areas as the pre-health 
professions, environmental studies, 
communications and global studies. 

2. To further differentiate WPI from its com- 
petitors in the marketplace, both for its 
programmatic excellence and its value, 

and to increase the employability of our 
graduates, the Institute should offer a new 
professionally oriented master's degree in 
all appropriate disciplines that WPI's four- 
year graduates could earn with just one 
additional year of study — possibly at a 
significant discount. 
3. To help graduates make a rapid and 
successful transition from WPI into work 
or graduate school, we should develop 
preferred supplier relationships with the 
various markets for our graduates. In the 
engineering professions, this would mean 
developing more co-op and intern oppor- 
tunities; in pre-professional areas, it could 

here is little question in the minds 
of most members of the WPI family 
that WPI must increase its appeal 
in the marketplace for nontraditional 
students while preserving and enhanc- 
ing its traditional strengths. 

mean negotiating preferential admission 
programs with appropriate graduate and 
professional schools. 

4. To respond to the concerns of prospec- 
tive and matriculated students regarding 
the quality of life at WPI, we should 
accelerate our efforts to fund and build a 
campus center and to improve the 
gender, racial and cultural balance among 
our students, faculty and staff. 

5. To emphasize the changes made in items 
1 to 4, to recognize WPI's status as a 
university in all but name, and to broaden 
our appeal to the 84 percent of the inquir- 
ers in the Barton Gillet study who 
expressed a preference for a more 
all-around school, we should change our 
name to WPI University (a name that will 
still hearken back to our roots). 

The New WPI also proposed a companion 
investment plan totaling $10 million over 
five years to help implement this reposition- 
ing vision. A significant portion of that 
investment plan was to be directed at 
broadly marketing WPI University as The 
University of the Future, an institution where 
students would be prepared to provide 

leadership in an increasingly technological 
world. Another major portion of the 
proposed investment was to be used to 
create a supportive environment for the 
nontraditional students we would attract 
with the new student-oriented programs in 
the pre-health professions, environmental 
studies, communications and global studies. 
While the specifics of The New WPI have 
encountered intense criticism from faculty 
members and students, there is little 
question in the minds of most members of 
the WPI family that WPI must increase its 
appeal in the marketplace for nontraditional 
students while preserving and enhancing its 
traditional strengths. As 

WPI works to respond to 

the challenges of the mar- 
ketplace, it must recognize 
that while it is important to 
continue improving the 
quality of its program, that 
will not be sufficient. Barton 
Gillet commented directly 
on this issue: 

"Much of the debate at 
WPI seems to revolve 
around program quality — 
whether the Institute ought 
simply to do better what it 
already does. Put plainly, 
that is just not the issue. 
The market research does 
not indicate that prospec- 
tive students have any 
problem with the quality of WPI's program. 
Rather, they prefer a more rounded insti- 
tution. Most of the Institute's prospects are 
convinced that they will find in a broader- 
based university a more rewarding student 
life, an experience more conducive to lead- 
ership development, better preparation for 
professional study, a broader perspective 
on the world around them, and generally, a 
more prestigious qualification. Only a thin 
slice of the prospective student pie is willing 
to consider what is perceived to be a narrow 
engineering school." 

To maintain progress on developing The 
New WPI vision as we seek to build con- 
sensus for future directions, the trustees in 
May 1994 authorized WPI to invest $600,000 
beyond the approved budget. In addition to 
funding the first year of development for the 
interface disciplines, this investment will 

Chemistry Professor James Dittami 
and student Hua Qi analyze bio- 
molecules on an NMR scanner. 
Developing programs in high- 
demand areas like pre-health is 
integral to the New WPI vision. 

Fall 1994 

enable WPI to continue work toward 
repositioning WPI to satisfy the needs of the 
marketplace. Specific investments will also 
be made in staff support for the Pre-Health 
Professions Program and for a women's 
advocacy program that will help recruit and 
retain women at all levels. 

An ad hoc faculty committee chaired by 
Professor George Phillies has reviewed 18 
proposals for new interface disciplines. 
Most of these focus on course or curriculum 
design for new majors or specialties that will 
use our existing strengths to attract new, 
nontraditional students. We will need 
special marketing efforts to alert prospec- 
tive students to these exciting new oppor- 
tunities. New programs 
have been recommended 
in American studies, envi- 
ronmental policy, interna- 
tional studies, pre-law, 
teacher certification, tech- 
nology and policy, techni- 
cal theater, and economics 
and technology. It has also 
been recommended that 
funds be allocated to 
expand and better market 
existing programs in entre- 
preneurship, computer 
networking and communi- 
cations, environmental 
studies, pre-health studies, 
industrial engineering, and 
technical communications. 

As work continues on 

refining and implementing 

The New WPI vision, it will 

be important to keep these fundamental 

questions in mind: 

[> How, in a period of no growth or even 
contraction, can WPI continue to benefit 
from the excitement, enthusiasm and 
new ideas that come with the 
recruitment of new faculty and staff 

t> How, when interest in studying tech- 
nology related disciplines is dropping, 
and when the cost of preserving and 
enhancing the quality of its academic 
programs is outpacing the ability and 
desire of families to pay for a higher 
education in these disciplines, can WPI 
position itself to gain greater control 
over its revenue? 

D> How, in this period of intense competi- 
tion for resources, can the Institute 
maintain the strengths of its effective and 
distinctive outcome-oriented educational 
program, while still striving for the 
efficiency necessary to prosper? 

\> How, when traditional federal and corpo- 
rate support for education and research 
is static at best, does WPI make its case 
for support sufficiently compelling to 
succeed over increasingly aggressive and 
sophisticated competition? 
And how can we continue to increase the 
recognition for this distinctive institu- 
tion, recognition upon which rests the 
success of its future recruitment and 
resource development efforts? 

Comprehensive Campaign 

Ultimately, the continuing development of 
The New WPI vision will require significant 
new resources; that will be the basis for a 

A natural question then will be, what 
added value do students gain by attending a 
private institution like WPI? Beyond the 
value added by an outstanding faculty, 
leading-edge facilities, and a unique and 
renowned curriculum, there are the less tan- 
gible qualities summarized by the term 
quality of life. As prospective students begin 
to ask the "value-added question," WPI will 
find even greater impetus for raising the capi- 
tal resources needed to transform its campus 
to provide the amenities associated with 
comprehensive universities. It will need to 


he comprehensive campaign will 
raise endowment and program 
resources for the scholarships, 
fellowships, professorships and pro- 
gram opportunities that will support 
the academic and quality of life 
objectives of The New WPI vision. 

comprehensive campaign, which is already 
being planned by the Board of Trustees. 
This comprehensive campaign will raise 
endowment and program resources for the 
scholarships, fellowships, professorships 
and program opportunities that will support 
the academic and quality of life objectives of 
The New WPI vision. 

Included in the program resources will 
be money to fund the continuing develop- 
ment of technology to assist in learning and 
teaching. For many years, knowledgeable 
people have predicted that the latest 
technology, be it radio, movies, television, 
computers, personal computers, CD-ROMs 
or multimedia, would revolutionize educa- 
tion. Yet the real impact of technology on 
education has been minimal. It now appears 
that computers and communications tech- 
nology, in combination with powerful 
artificial intelligence and virtual reality 
software, will finally fulfill those predic- 
tions, making possible sophisticated and 
affordable self-paced learning. 

build a campus center 
upgrade its residence halls 

O build a new home for the 
Department of Human- 
ities and Arts 

D> renovate Salisbury Lab- 
oratories to create a 
modern facility for the 
life sciences 

O provide a new, central 
location for the Office of 
Physical Plant 

l> close West Street to 
create a safer campus 
and an attractive 
pedestrian mall 

[> move parking off the cen- 
tral campus and "re- 
green" the Quadrangle 

D> upgrade the visual appeal 
of the campus 

D> and renovate and 

expand the facilities of 

Gordon Library 


WPI has a truly exciting opportunity to build 
on its strengths as it creates the University of 
the Future. But no one can do this alone. It 
will be important that all members of the 
WPI family come together during the next 
year to build consensus for what the BRTF 
termed "bold and aggressive action." While 
the challenge arises from problems in 
attracting enough students with the ability 
and the desire to pay for WPI's traditional 
products, the market data demonstrates 
that these problems can be turned into 
opportunities. And that can be done without 
compromising on quality and by building on 
the Institute's strengths through the 
creation of interface disciplines. 

Renovating Salisbury Laboratories to 
create a home for the life sciences is 
one of several capital projects that 
will likely be goals of a new compre- 
hensive fund-raising campaign. 

Fall 1994 

President's Commission and my involvement in the 
Association of Independent Technological Universities, 
the American Council on Education and other organiza- 
tions, have been clearly recognized. 

"But a lot of WPI's growth in recognition, of course, 
has been based on our accomplishments. You don't get 
recognized for a PR campaign. You get recognized for the 
accomplishments you highlight in that campaign. The 
fact that we've had something to say is clearly a result of 
the entire community's work — especially the faculty's 
work — and not just mine." 

that have chronicled the new knowledge uncovered by 
the research community at WP1. Another is the more than 
tripling of annual research support at WPI, from roughly 
$2.5 million when the Strauss presidency began to $7.9 
million in the most recent academic year. One measure in 
which Strauss says he takes special pride is the tripling of 
the four-year average number of Ph.D.s awarded by WPI, a 
figure that currently stands at 20. 

Not unrelated to the Institute's success in research — 
and its growing reputation in the community of 
scholars — is the physical infrastructure that has been 

From left, new 
laboratories like 
these for work in 
magnetic reso- 
nance imaging 
and fire science 
have helped build 
a foundation for a 
growing research 
program. The 
installation of 
a high-speed 
tions network and 
the construction 
of Fuller 
were part of a 
campaign to 
improve the 
Institute's com- 
puter facilities. 

Some of WPI's most significant work over the past 
decade has been its effort to enhance its involve- 
ment in research. Before the mid-1960s, scholar- 
ship was all but nonexistent at WPI. A focused effort to 
spur research resulted in a 20-fold growth in research 
sponsorship between 1965 and 1980. But to many on the 
faculty, that was just a necessary first step. 

In 1984 a faculty committee, chaired by James Pavlik, 
head of the Chemistry Department, undertook a major 
study on educational and professional development that 
culminated in a set of sweeping recommendations. These 
included the expansion of the Office of Graduate Studies 
and Research, improvements to the Institute's educational 
and research facilities, and the creation of funds to provide 
seed money for research and educational development. 

President Strauss' commitment to scholarship 
proved to be the catalyst that helped bring about these 
and other changes (including the upgrading of the dean 
of graduate studies and research to a full-time position, 
the creation of the post of director of research adminis- 
tration, and the establishment of the Research and 
Educational development councils). These changes, in 
turn, helped build an institutional foundation for a grow- 
ing research program. Another contributing factor was 
the recruitment of dozens of new faculty members — 
nearly half of the Institute's tenure-track faculty — over 
the past nine years. 

There are many ways to measure the products of this 
endeavor. One is the flood of articles in refereed journals, 
presentations at academic conferences, and news articles 

built for research on the WPI campus. This includes a 
host of new laboratories and research centers in a wide 
range of disciplines, many completed or established 
with major awards from philanthropic foundations, 
corporations and government agencies, as well as the 
generous financial support of WPI alumni. 

They include labs for aluminum casting, biomedical 
sensors, bioprocess engineering, ceramics processing, 
computational mechanics, computer and information 
networks, fire science, and magnetic resonance imaging, 
as well as centers for crystal growth in space, image 
understanding, inorganic membrane studies, powder 
metallurgy, shock/dynamics/seismic analysis, and wire- 
less information networks. 

These and many other physical and programmatic 
changes and improvements over the past nine years 
have been made possible by a significant growth in the 
Institute's annual bounty of financial support. During the 
Strauss presidency, the yearly value of cash, gifts-in-kind 
and pledges received by WPI tripled, to $18.3 million. A 
significant factor in that growth was the highly success- 
ful Campaign for Excellence, which sought to raise $52.5 
million (a goal that seemed unattainable to many) and 
instead brought in $63.7 million in gifts and pledges by 
its conclusion in late 1990. 

Gifts of endowed funds and prudent investments 
helped double the market value of WPI's endowment to 
$126.5 million. Income from the endowment, in turn, has 
helped offset some of the costs of operating the univer- 
sity (as well as supporting scholarships, fellowships and 


Fall 1994 

professorships). And, gifts received during the campaign 
and since have helped transform the campus by sup- 
porting a host of renovation and construction projects. 

Among the most visible of these is the George F. 
Fuller Laboratories, a magnificent home for the informa- 
tion sciences at WPI, which was completed in 1990. 
Fuller was the capstone of a comprehensive campaign to 
improve the Institute's computing capabilities over the 
past decade. 

Through gifts, discounts, special licensing arrange- 
ments and direct purchases, WPI and its departments 

have made hundreds of personal computers and 
high-power workstations available to students in general- 
access labs, have placed state-of-the-art computing 
machines on the desks and in the labs of faculty mem- 
bers, have upgraded the academic and administrative 
computing facilities (more than once), and have 
acquired a wealth of educational, research, statistics, 
and administrative software. Starting with a major con- 
struction project in 1989, the Institute has also linked all 
of these machines to each other — and to the rest of the 
world — with a high-speed campus network. 

Other major construction projects completed in the 
last decade include the restoration of Alden Memorial, 
which in 1992 was reborn as a home for the performing 
arts; the construction of the Fitness Center in Alumni 
Gym; the transformation of the Pub in the basement of 
Sanford Riley into Gompei's Place, a pizzeria and deli; and 
the conversion of the former home of the Lambda Chi 
Alpha fraternity into Institute Hall, a small student resi- 
dence. Beyond enhancing its existing campus, WPI has 
succeeded in expanding its grounds over the last decade 
through the purchase of numerous nearby properties, 
many of which now house WPI administrative offices. 

Along with the growth of scholarship, resources and 
facilities has come increased recognition, much as 
Strauss predicted in his inaugural message. For the most 
part, WPI's rising profile is difficult to quantify, but posi- 
tive indicators include its success in recruiting students 
from cities and towns well removed from New England 
and considerable anecdotal evidence that the name WPI 

is now far less likely to be greeted with puzzled looks 
beyond our own backyard. 

Perhaps the most concrete gauge of the Institute's 
enhanced reputation has been its consistently high 
ranking in the annual review of colleges by U.S. News and 
World Report, which placed WPI first in the North among 
regional universities four of the last five years. 

This year, WPI was moved into the far more competi- 
tive group of national universities (along with the likes of 
Harvard, Princeton and Yale), a reflection of its reclassi- 
fication as a Doctoral II University by the Carnegie 

Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. While the 
Institute lost its No. 1 ranking, the change, triggered by 
the growth in the WPI graduate program, only served as 
further recognition of the progress WPI has made in 
scholarship and research. 

These and WPI's many other accomplishments have 
been enumerated in Strauss' nine annual report 
messages. More than a simple recounting of events and 
activities, these messages have formed a continuing 
chronicle of WPI's efforts to develop a comprehensive 
strategic plan for its future. 

"The concern for planning and the need for insti- 
tutional plans have become more and more important in 
higher education, as they have in all forms of human 
endeavor," Strauss says. "But it is also the case that 
planning is a very strong part of my own career expecta- 
tions and of my own approach to management." 

The process of shaping a plan for WPI began in 1985 
when Strauss asked each of the Institute's academic and 
administrative departments to develop plans incorporat- 
ing their goals and objectives for the next five years. 
These plans, in turn, helped establish the goals for 
the Campaign for Excellence and set the stage for the 
development of overall institutional objectives. 

The next step on the journey to a strategic plan was 
the development, in 1985-86, of a concise institutional 
mission statement by the Board of Trustees, and the 
passage, in 1986-87, of a statement on institutional goals 
by the faculty. In 1988-89, Strauss appointed three study 

(Continued on Page 14) 

WPI Journal 


Three Thousand, Three 
Hundred and Seventy-nine 
Days at One Drury Lane 

The first time I saw One Drury Lane was 
from the back of a tandem bike as Jon 
and I peddled into Worcester on the 
last day of June 1985. 1 was 30 years old and 
we'd been married for just 16 days. While 
Jon was supremely qualified to become 
WPI's 13th president, being the wife of a 
college president was a position for which I 
had no resume. At that moment, from my 
vantage point on the rear seat of the 
tandem, both the house and the role I was 
soon to play seemed enormous — unfillable. 

In those first months and years, I'm sure I 
committed many a faux pas. Fortunately, 
there were lots of wonderful people encour- 
aging me to just be myself. They never made 
me feel uncomfortable when life at One 
Drury Lane took whimsical turns. 

Lately, I've grown quite nostalgic about 
what living in Worcester meant to us. You 
can't live in one place for almost a decade 
and not go through monumental changes. 
During our first year in Worcester a fresh- 
man mistook me for a student and asked me 

By Jean Strauss 

out. More recently, at Commencement, 
parents would ask me if I had a son or a 
daughter graduating. So I know that I at least 
look different. 

There are a thousand memories we will 
take with us of our days within the walls of 
One Drury Lane. And there were numerous 
lessons I learned during my time at WPI that 
will guide me in the future. For example: 

Rule No. 1: Never Hold a Glass of Water 
When You Welcome Visitors 

The first time Don Berth '57, then vice 
president for university relations, came by 
the house, I was a bit nervous. Hoping to 
make a good impression, I exuberantly told 
him how glad I was to welcome him to One 
Drury Lane. To my horror, I realized that I'd 
accidentally spilled the glass of water I was 
holding all over Don's shirt and tie. 1 can still 
see the incredulous look on his face. To his 
credit, Don still visited us frequently over 
the years, though he always seemed wary 
around me if I had anything in my hands. 

Rule No.2: Never a Borrower Be 

For the first faculty wives tea I hosted, I 
borrowed a neighbor's silver tea service. 
This neighbor was wonderfully generous, 
but she neglected to tell me that the ornate 
ball on top of the teapot had broken off and 
had been temporarily reattached with a 
small wad of bubble gum. As I poured the 
first cup of tea for one of my guests, the ball 
fell off and landed right in her cup, trailing a 
stringy glob of gum. Without cracking a smile, 
she said, "I think I would prefer coffee." 

Rule No. 3: Always Check the Flue 

The reception for the first Presidential 
Founder's Dinner (for donors of at least 
$100,000) was held at One Drury Lane. A 
blizzard was raging outside, so five minutes 
before guests were to arrive I decided to 
light the logs in the fireplace to create a 
nice, warm, homey feel. Never thought to 
check the flue. 

Pine boughs make a fast fire — and a lot of 
smoke. Within seconds, every fire alarm in 
the house sounded. It was quite a scene as 
people ran around opening windows, trying 
to fan out the smoke with copies of National 
Geographic, while Jon took the batteries out 
of the alarms. 

Fortunately, because of the storm, our 
first guest was late. She arrived moments 
after we'd closed the last window. "What a 
lovely smokey smell. This place is so warm 
and homey," she said as she walked in. 


Fall 1994 

Rule No. 4: Always Check Under the Hood 

A young cat was hanging around the 
neighborhood one February. To get warm, 
it climbed onto the engine block of an Alpha 
Tau Omega fraternity member's car, which 
was parked in the driveway of One Drury 
Lane. When the student started the car, he 
heard a yowl. Opening the hood, he discov- 
ered that the poor animal had been severely 
injured by the fanbelt. "I've killed President 
Strauss' cat! Now I'll never graduate!" he 
thought as he raced off to a vet, who man- 
aged to stitch up the cat for a sizeable fee. 

Relieved, the student arrived on our 
doorstep that night with the cat wrapped in 
a blanket. When Jon answered the door, the 
student blurted out nonstop what had 
happened, finishing with, "...and don't 
worry, the vet says your cat will be okay." 
Finally able to get a word in, Jon shrugged 
and said, "But that isn't my cat." The story 
has a happy ending. Jon, an old ATO him- 
self, took the stray in. We named it Fanbelt. 

Rule No 5: Tenure Has Advantages, Even 
for College Presidents 

When our chocolate Labrador Retriever, 
Gracie, had 12 puppies (by our German 
Short-Haired Pointer, George), I was con- 
cerned that we wouldn't be able to find 
homes for such a large litter. I'm not as 
imaginative as Jon. 

At the weekly faculty dinners we hosted, 
Jon would bring a couple of the tiny pups up 
to the dining room and pass them around 
the table. In less than a month we'd found 
homes for the whole lot. Interestingly, most 
of Gracie's pups went to faculty members 
who had not yet received tenure. (It's proba- 
bly just a coincidence that everyone who 
took a pup ultimately did!) 

Rule No. 6: Never Gloat 

One fall I had several trustee wives to 
One Drury Lane for a luncheon. During the 
meal, we got into a discussion about the 
differences between men and women — 
particularly about how mothers are more 
instinctively attentive to the needs of their 
children than are fathers. To illustrate, 
I related a recent incident. 

Jon was watching our son Kristoffer, 
who was then a toddler. Engrossed in the 
newspaper, Jon lost track of Kristoffer's 
whereabouts. After searching the house, he 
finally found him in the master bath — seat- 
ed inside the toilet, happily splashing water 
as if he were in a wading pool. 1 said, rather 
emphatically, that that would never have 
occurred on my watch, and everyone nod- 
ded in agreement. 

Two of the wives asked if they could 
come back later to see Kristoffer, who had 

been napping. 1 was just finishing getting 
dressed for the trustee dinner when the 
doorbell rang. As I hurried downstairs, 1 real- 
ized I had no idea where Kristoffer was. As I 
approached the door, I saw him — inside the 
downstairs bathroom, sitting in the toilet, 
happily splashing. Sheepishly, I answered 
the door with a wet kid in my hands. I've yet 
to live that one down. 

Rule No. 7: Always Use Water and Soap 
to Remove Food Coloring 

One afternoon, our son Jonathon had his 
new friend from pre-school over to play. The 
boy's name was Gabriel, and he had beauti- 
ful blond hair. After the kids had enjoyed 
themselves for a couple of hours, Gabriel's 
mom called to say she'd be over soon to 
pick him up. I was in the laundry room when 
Jonathon tapped on the door. "Hey Mom! 
Come see what we did!" 

He led me by the hand to the living room. 
Everything was fine, except that most of 
Gabriel's hair was a deep forest green. "It 
works!" Kristoffer said, proudly holding up 
the bottle of green food coloring that came 
with his chemistry set. 

I didn't know Gabriel's mom all that well, 
so 1 wasn't sure how she'd feel about her son 
coming home with a new hair color. We raced 
to the kitchen sink and I tried to wash the dye 
out with water. That only made it worse. 
Jonathon kept his head. "Here, Mom," he 
said, handing me a bottle. "Try soap." 

It worked — sort of. At least it wasn't as 
green when Gabriel's mom arrived. The next 
day she told me that at bedtime that night, 
Gabriel's father had asked him if he'd been 
upset when Kristoffer and Jonathon dyed his 
hair. Gabriel nodded vigorously; "I wanted it 
to be orange," he said. 

Jon and I spent exactly three thousand, 
three hundred and seventy-nine days in One 
Drury Lane. It doesn't seem so long unless I 
think about all the events that occurred. My 
mother died. Both of my sons were born. I 
found my birth family and wrote a book 
about the experience. Our kids learned to 
walk, then to talk, then to draw hiero- 
glyphics on the walls with crayons. 

We made some wonderful friends during 
our time in Worcester, and shared in many 
happy occasions — and some sad ones. We 
will not forget our days (or these friend- 
ships) now that we've moved on to a new 
adventure. It was a privilege being a resident 
of One Drury Lane. I grew to care about WPI 
the way I do about my own alma mater. 

Nine years ago, when we first arrived, 
One Drury Lane seemed huge and unfillable. 
As we spent several weeks packing up our 
belongings, I knew we had managed to at 
least fill the house — and our hearts. 

Quest to 


Prior to accepting the post of WPI 
president, Jon Strauss served as 
vice president for budget and 
finance at the University of Penn- 
sylvania and senior vice president for 
administration at the University of 
Southern California. In both jobs, he 
had great success with a decentralized 
approach to management and budget- 
ing, wherein academic departments are 
given greater responsibility for creating 
their own budgets and for generating 
the revenues to support their activities. 

"The major emphasis of my work 
in higher education. ..has been on 
bringing the faculty closer to the man- 
agement issues and helping them 
understand and become more active in 
resource generation," Strauss told the 
WPI Journal in his first interview as WPI 
president in 1985. "While I am interested 
in faculty participation in more responsi- 
ble and effective use of resources, my 
major interest is in faculty involvement 
in resource development." 

His hope was to institute a similar 
system at WPI. How did that process 
go? Here is his assessment: 

"We developed some rich databases 
on how we earn and how we spend our 
revenues on a decentralized basis, but 
we have not moved from the analysis to 
the synthesis. We have not made our 
departments responsible for earning 
the revenues to cover their program 
costs. In part that reflects the character 
of what historically has been a small 
college, now maturing as a medium-size 
university. And in part that reflects all 
the other things that have been on our 

"These have been tempestuous bud- 
getary times and there are only so many 
things you can change at once. But we 
do have the data on a decentralized 
basis that we have used in the budgeting 
process and that people are using to 
understand how we do our business. I'd 
recommend continuing to develop the 
data and using it in our decision making, 
because the more years you have of the 
data the more valuable it is and the 
more trends you can see." 

WPI Journal 


(Continued from Page 1 1) 

groups made up of trustees, faculty and staff members, 
and students to look at the challenges the Institute 
faced in the areas of enrollment, student life and 
academic programs. 

The study groups reached two fundamental con- 
clusions. First, they said it was imperative that WPI be 
recognized nationally for the quality of its educational 
programs and research. And second, they noted that the 
WPI Plan, the foundation of the successes the Institute 
had realized for more than two decades, was the still the 

increasing the quality and quantity of research and 
its recognition; enhancing the quality of life on 
campus; meeting the needs of professionals for continu- 
ing education; and strengthening WPI's external 

In the months that followed, WPI's future direction 
was sharpened by the work of the Marketing Task Force, 
which looked for ways to increase the yield of students 
who could afford to pay WPI's full tuition, and the Com- 
mission on Residential and Social Life, which, among 
other recommendations, strongly urged the Institute to 

From left, 
students in a 
recent Strive 
summer program, 
part of WPI's 
efforts to increase 
its diversity; a stu- 
dent project team 
in London, one of 
numerous places 
around the world 
students can now 
complete projects; 
a materials testing 
laboratory, impor- 
tant to a multi- 
research center 
in intelligent 

best vehicle for future excellence. They recommended 
that the Plan be enhanced and that the spirit behind it be 
revitalized and infused into all aspects of WPI. 

This phase in WPI's strategic planning produced the 
recommendation that WPI establish several multidisci- 
plinary research centers; develop new, nontechnical 
majors to take advantage of growing student interest in 
fields like management, the humanities and the social 
sciences; commission a comprehensive study of WPI's 
space utilization needs, including the need for a campus 
center; and seek to broaden the diversity of the faculty, 
staff and student body. The Applied Bioengineering and 
Intelligent Processing of Materials centers were 
established and the space study was undertaken; the 
remaining recommendations became the focus of later 

In 1990, five years of planning crystallized in a formal 
strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of 
Trustees that spring. The plan had six goals: enhancing 
the level of excellence in undergraduate education; 
enhancing the level of excellence in graduate education; 

begin planning for a campus center and argued for the 
importance of community at WPI, which it said was 
WPI's third tower, joining learning and skilled arts. In 
response to a commission recommendation, Strauss 
created the Community Council to foster the spirit of 
community on campus. 

In 1990-91, WPI took some time away from pondering 
its future to take stock of its strengths and weaknesses. 
The motivation was the 10-year review by the New 
England Association of Schools and Colleges, which 
accredits WPI's educational program. Many faculty and 
staff members spent a good part of the year preparing 
the materials NEASC would need to complete its review, 
including special self-studies on the freshman-year 
learning experience, intellectual and community culture, 
and the role of assessment at WPI. 

As expected, WPI was reaccredited for another 10 
years, with high praise for the excellence of the under- 
graduate program, the creativity and loyalty of the faculty 
and staff, the Institute's emphasis on research and schol- 
arship, its established culture of balanced budgets, and 


Fall 1994 

perhaps most important, the unique "colleagueship" 
between students and (acuity. The association also point- 
ed out a few areas where WPI had fallen short of his goals. 
One of the most important was the need to increase the 
diversity of its faculty, staff and student body. 

As they have for most educational institutions that 
concentrate on technical disciplines, enrolling more 
women and more students of color, and increasing the 
diversity of its faculty and staff, have been especially 
daunting challenges for WPI. For a variety of reasons, 
women and minorities have always been underrepre- 

sented in engineering and science. Reversing that trend 
takes creativity and hard work. 

WPI has made progress. More focused equal opportu- 
nity hiring practices have helped boost the diversity of 
the staff and administration. New admissions programs 
aimed at reaching out to women applicants, combined 
with the growing number of women faculty members, 
have helped increase the representation of female 
students in the undergraduate population to about 20 
percent, from about 15 percent nine years ago. And stu- 
dents of color now make up 4.5 percent of freshmen and 
sophomores, triple the percentage of nine years ago. 

Contributing to that last accomplishment have been 
a variety of programs launched over the past decade. 
These have included COMET, a program supported by 
GTE Corp. and the Massachusetts Board of Regents 
that helped prepare students of color in Worcester for 
academic programs in science and technology, the 
School/College Collaborative, which has sought to 
increase the quantity and quality of science and 
technology education in the public schools, and the 

General Electric Foundation Scholarships, which provide 
awards to underrepresented minority students based on 
academic achievement and financial need. 

In 1991 United Technologies Corp. awarded WPI a 
five-year, $500,000 grant to support its efforts to increase 
diversity and pluralism. The award funded the creation 
of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the development 
of Strive for College and Careers in Mathematics, 
Engineering and Science. Strive provides enrichment and 
support for academically talented high school juniors 
from underrepresented minorities interested in careers 
in science and mathematics. Its centerpiece is a four- 
week summer program on campus that introduces 
students to the excitement of scientific investigation. 

Augmenting efforts to enroll greater numbers of 
students from underrepresented minorities have been 
programs aimed at helping to support and retain these 
students. These include the new Office of Minority 
Student Affairs and EMSEP (Excellence in Mathematics, 
Science and Engineering Program). The latter includes a 
special new-student orientation, support programs, and 
an early intervention program. 

In addition to helping open the door to a WPI educa- 
tion to a broader group of students, the Institute also 
devoted considerable effort and thought over the past 
nine years to improving the quality of that education. In 
part, this has meant "fine-tuning" the experience students 
gain from the WPI Plan, the innovative, project-driven 
educational program approved by the WPI faculty nearly 
25 years ago. The fine-tuning included the adoption of 
distribution requirements by all academic majors and the 
elimination of the all-or-nothing Competency Exam, one of 
the Plan's four original degree requirements. 

Among the most significant enhancements to the 
Plan over the past decade has been the enormous 
growth in opportunities for off-campus project work. In 
1987 the London Project Center, modeled after the 
Institute's first off-campus residential center in 
Washington, D.C., was inaugurated. Since then, project 
centers and programs have been established in more 
than 15 countries on five continents. 

In 1991, these programs, along with on-campus initia- 
tives like the Center for International Studies, were 
brought together under the umbrella of the Global 
Perspectives Program, which seeks to give all WPI 
students a better understanding of and appreciation for 
other cultures and other ways of doing business — 
qualities increasingly valued by business and industry. 
The International Scholars Program was also created to 
recognize, with a designation on their transcripts, 
students who make global studies a substantial part of 
their academic careers. 

By the time the Institute adopted its overall strategic 
plan, a variety of trends were already conspiring to 
make its objectives and strategies almost obsolete. In 
particular, shrinking high school graduating classes and 
declining interest among young people in science and 
engineering were making the process of filling WPI's 
entering classes more and more challenging. 

WPI's efforts in recent years to cast its admissions net 
well beyond its traditional recruiting region and the con- 
tinuing attractiveness of the WPI Plan helped the Institute 
continue to meet its enrollment targets. (In fact, it 

WPI Journal 


increased undergraduate and full-time graduate enroll- 
ment during a time when many of its competitors were 
seeing their classes shrink.) But it accomplished this feat 
by admitting an ever greater percentage of its applicant 

Perhaps more important, the ability of WPI's students 
to pay its tuition declined steadily in the late 1980s and 
early 1990s, just as the federal and state governments 
were cutting back on their grant and loan programs. As a 
result, an ever growing percentage of WPI under- 
graduates have required financial assistance, placing a 
greater and greater burden on the operating budget. 

"In a five- to six-year period, our institutional aid as 
a percentage of tuition went from 10 percent to 30 
percent," Strauss says. "Nothing else in this world 
changes that rapidly. That's been especially challenging 

Building a Board 

When asked for his list of the most significant achievements of his nine 
years in office — the ones that will have the most enduring benefits 
for WPI — Jon Strauss places the growth and development of the 
Board of Trustees close to the top. 

"The board is more than 80 percent different than it was nine years ago," 
he says. "That wasn't an accident. I've put a lot of effort into board recruit- 
ment and board development, and by many measures we have one of the 
most distinguished boards in the country. Even if you compare us to institu- 
tions with which we would not normally be compared, on a board-to-board 
basis, we will equal or excel almost any cohort of institutions. That's exciting, 
and it will pay enormous dividends to this institution moving forward." 

at an institution like ours with enormous fixed costs and 
longtime commitments to people and programs." 

To respond to these challenges, President Strauss in 
1992 appointed the Blue Ribbon Task Force. The group's 
overriding objective was to fashion a new plan for the 
coming decade. In its final report, prepared for the 
Board of Trustees in May 1993, the task force made a 
number of recommendations organized into the broad 
categories of academic program, quality of life and 
financial equilibrium. 

In addition to echoing previous calls for a campus 
center and urging continuing development of the Global 
Perspectives Program, the task force called for the 
creation of interface disciplines, academic programs that 
cross WPI's traditional disciplinary boundaries and that 
might appeal to "humanists who need to function in 
a technological world." It was also suggested that 
the Institute hire a marketing firm, Barton Gillet, to 
determine, among other things, the potential demand 
for these and other new programs. 

In the following months, the task force's report, 
combined with the study by Barton Gillet, became the 
launching pad for The New WPI. In the months ahead, as 
WPI continues its quest for the new ideas, the new direc- 
tions, and the new approaches that will keep it strong, 
continue to build its reputation and its appeal to new gen- 
erations of students, hone its mission, and bolster the 
excellence of its programs, Strauss says it is his hope that 

the Institute will not lose the sense of urgency that has 
kept it working toward a workable plan for the future. 

"Our own success in the short term has been an issue 
for WPI," he says. "We've made our enrollment targets. 
We've met our budget targets. We've done so by expect- 
ing our faculty and staff to perform and work much 
harder, and they have. We have this record of success, 
and yet we're being a contrarian. 

"We've been fortunate, but the risk increases every 
year. Can we continue to maintain enrollment while 
everyone else is losing theirs? We hope so, but it could 
catch up with us. The impetus is increasing. You'd hate 
to do the right thing for the wrong reason." 

As he prepared to assume his new post, Strauss said 
he will miss having the ability to influence the future 
"of a very important institution. Certainly, I'll miss the 
interactions I've had with students, because I will not 
have that in my new role. I will not miss always having to 
be conscious of being the figurehead. It will be nice to 
lead a more normal family life that doesn't always 
revolve around being the president of WPI. 

"Most of all, Jean and I will miss the interactions we 
have had with the people of WPI. This has truly been one 
of the most extraordinary experiences of our lives. I am 
very proud to have been the 13th president of WPI, and 
even more proud of the hard work and enthusiasm of 
the WPI community that made possible the successes of 
the last nine years." 


Fall 1994 


By Robert W. Gailey 

Vice President for Business Affairs 
and Treasurer 

WPI's overall financial position at June 30, 
1994, continues to be strong. The 
Institute's investments and fund balances 
are at an all-time high. The Endowment 
Fund realized an increase in book value of $2.4 million 
for the year. Although WPI enjoys the flexibility of hav- 
ing 54 percent of its endowment restricted by the 
Board of Trustees, a low debt to total endowment ratio 
and a healthy total endowment per student ratio, WPI's 
growing tuition dependence, and its relatively high and 
growing financial aid burden will provide a challenge 
to the operating budgets in the years ahead. 

Total assets increased by approximately $16 mil- 
lion, or 7.6 percent, to $227 million, while total liabili- 
ties increased by $6.2 million. Debt service (principal 
and interest) represented 5.2 percent of unrestricted 
current fund expenditures and mandatory transfers for 
the fiscal year. Investment in property, plant and 
equipment (less accumulated depreciation) increased 
by 14.3 percent to $59.2 million. 

The market value of the Endowment Fund was 
$126,518,000 as of June 30, 1994. Although the fund's 4 
percent total return was the lowest in several years, it 
exceeded the 3.2 percent benchmark established by 
the trustee Investment Committee. The total return 
compared favorably with the Standard and Poor's 
stock index gain of 1.4 percent and the Shearson 
Lehman intermediate bond index gain of -0.2 percent. 

Total Current Fund revenue increased by $3.3 mil- 
lion in fiscal year 1994 to a total of $81.4 million; this 
represented a gain of 4.2 percent over fiscal year 1993. 
There was a small positive bottom line from operations 
for the fiscal year of $10,392, but the Institute increased 
its overall fiscal position (total fund balance) by $9.9 
million, a 5.8 percent gain for the year. 

Total funds expended for instruction and depart- 
ment research increased slightly to 34.6 percent of 
unrestricted educational, general and auxiliary rev- 
enue. While the annual funds expended for operations 
and maintenance of the physical plant increased slight- 
ly, accumulated deferred maintenance on the WPI cam- 
pus continued to total about $15 million. 

Student aid awarded from unrestricted current 
funds increased by 13.6 percent to more than $11.5 mil- 
lion; it represented 24.4 percent of the total revenue 
(including room and board) collected from undergrad- 
uate students and 27.7 percent of undergraduate 
tuition (discount rate). 

While auxiliary operations (housing, food service, 
bookstore, etc.) generated $7.3 million in revenue, the 
cost to generate that resource ran slightly lower. The 
Institute's policy of operating auxiliary services on a 
self-supporting basis was maintained. 

4% Other 

Physical plant, 
computing and other 


Student Aid 

5.M Direct expenses for 
educational and 
research operations 

/ / / / 

y y ^ 










/ ./ 



l l 

w / 



^^^ s 






\j/o Endowment income, 
gifts and other 
internal revenue 

69 ^ Tuition, room and 
board, educational 
and other fees 

WPI Journal 



Years ended June 30, 1994 and 1993 

1. General Operating Funds (Thousands of Dollars) 




Tuition, fees and other educational revenues 
Student financial aid 

Gifts, grants and bequests, as recognized 
Revenues from sponsored research programs 
Total staff benefit expenses, before allocation 
















2. Endowment and Similar Funds (Thousands of Dollars) 1994 



Beginning market values 



+ 11.5% 


Investment results 

Income (interest and dividends) 

Realized gains 

Change in unrealized gains 



Total investment results 





Used in support of college 

Transferred to restricted funds 




Net reinvested in endowment 




Additions to endowments, mostly from gifts 




Ending Market Value 




Five-Year Summary of Total Return Data 

'94 '93 




WPI Total Return 

WPI Policy Index 


Shearson Lehman Int. Bond 

CPI Index 

4.0% 11.9% 
3.2 13.5 

1.4 13.6 
-0.2 10.5 

2.5 3.0 







Copies of the complete audited financial reports for 
Worcester Polytechnic Institute for fiscal year 1994 
can be obtained by writing to: 

Office of Business Affairs 
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 
100 Institute Road 
Worcester, MA 01609-2280 


Fall 1994 

The Year That Was. . 

A Look Back at the 

Major Events of 1993-94 by JO n c. stress 

Some of the many accomplishments at 
WPI during the 1993-94 fiscal year are 
highlighted below against the six goals 
of the Strategic Plan. 

GOB1 1 1 Enhance the Level of 
Excellence in Undergraduate Education 

• WPI's highly successful Global Per- 
spectives Program continued to expose 
students to other cultures through on- 
campus programs and project and course 
work abroad. A total of 209 students par- 
ticipated in off-campus projects in 1993-94, 
up 33 percent from 1992-93. 

•The Massachusetts Academy of Mathe- 
matics and Science continued WPI's com- 
mitment to improving pre-college science 
and mathematics education. Seventy-six 
outstanding high school juniors and 
seniors from Central Massachusetts were 
involved in the second year of this pio- 
neering program of excellence sponsored 
by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
All 31 of the graduating seniors are attend- 
ing prestigious universities, including 14 
who are enrolled at WPI. 

•The combined B.S./D.V.M. pro- 
gram, run in conjunction with the 
Tufts University School of 
Veterinary Medicine, yielded 13 
new students for 1994-95. This pro- 
gram enables a student to earn 
admission to both WPI and Tufts 
while still a senior in high school. 

•A major grant from the Davis 
Educational Foundation continued 
to support educational initiatives 
in the departments of Biology and 
Biotechnology, Chemical Engineer- 
ing, Civil Engineering, Computer 
Science, Mathematical Sciences, 
and Mechanical Engineering. 
These initiatives introduce the 
active, collaborative learning typical of the 
WPI Plan projects into first- and second- 
year courses in a cost-effective manner. 

•The new Entrepreneurs Collaborative, 
modeled on the highly successful 
International Scholars Program, began 
this year. Donald F. Berth '57, former vice 
president for university relations, and 
Professor Arthur Gerstenfeld are leading 

a group of faculty members, students 
and alumni seeking to learn the skills of 
• The Class of 1998 was on track to exceed 
our goal of 650 freshmen by at least 40. Of 
the more than 715 paid deposits received 
by the spring deadline, 21 percent were 
from women and 4.5 percent were from 
students of color. Some 74 percent of 
these students were in the top quintile of 
their high school classes; their median 
verbal and math SAT scores are 530 and 
650, respectively. 

That's the good news. The bad news is 
that there was an 8 percent drop in appli- 
cations last year; in order to achieve this 
fine class we accepted 86 percent of our 
applicants. This is a clear indication of the 
high degree of competitiveness among 
technological universities today. 

Our expenditures for undergraduate 
financial aid in 1994-95 should be right on 
our $12 million budget for a tuition dis- 
count of 29 percent (it was 28 percent last 

Two examples from the growing 
Global Perspectives Program: Above, 
Corinne Kachler '96, Michael Conklin 
'96, Kimberley Scofield '96 and 
Antonio Delgado '96, who completed 
a project in San Candido, Italy, last 
summer. Left, Ahmed Al-Baiti '95 
(second from left) and William Herron 
'96 (far right), who studied biogas 
generators in Botswana. 

WPI Journal 


year). The drop in applications and the 
increase in tuition discount argue strongly 
for broadening WPI's programs as well as 
our appeal to prospective students as was 
advocated by the Blue Ribbon Task Force 
and outlined in The New WPI proposal 
(see page 2). 
• In response to a challenge from the Blue 
Ribbon Task Force, more than 50 faculty 
members working in teams produced 18 
proposals for the development of new 
programs in what we are calling interface 
disciplines. The objective is to broaden 
WPI's appeal to students who would not 
normally consider an engineering school 
and strengthen our program offerings in 


areas of high societal demand. An ad hoc 
committee of faculty governance chaired 
by Professor George Phillies recommend- 
ed seed funding for the best of these pro- 
posals starting in the summer of 1994. 
• Following up on work on the freshman 
year learning experience completed as 
part of WPI's 1991 regional accreditation 
by the New England Association of Schools 
and Colleges, a group of faculty and staff 
members organized a three-day Future 
Search Conference in June for over 60 of 
their colleagues. Their objective was to 
bring the excitement of project-based 
learning, characteristic of the upper-class 
years at WPI, to the freshman year. 

Goal 2: Enhance the Level of 
Excellence in Graduate Education 

• WPI awarded 17 Ph.D.s at Commencement 
on May 21, 1994. While this total fell short 
of 1993's record of 28, it contributed to an 
impressive four-year running average of 
doctorates awarded, which has risen from 
seven to 20 over the last 10 years. This 
is a strong testament to the improving 
quality and quantity of faculty scholar- 
ship at WPI. 

•In view of our success in awarding 
Ph.D.s, the Carnegie Foundation for the 
Advancement of Teaching this year 
reclassified WPI from a Comprehensive 
University to a Doctoral II University. 

• During the past year, the Management 
Department and the Fire Protection 
Engineering Program delivered distance 
learning programs to remote sites through 
the use of two-way compressed video 
equipment made by PictureTel Corp. This 
equipment is maintained by the Instruc- 
tional Media Center for use by the WPI 

• The University Relations Office was partic- 
ularly successful this past year in securing 
industrial support for graduate fellow- 

Above, Judith Nitsch '75, founder of 
her own engineering firm, speaks at a 
seminar offered by the Entrepreneurs 
Collaborative. Left, Michael Ferraris 
'95, left, works with math students 
in a program in cooperative learning 
sponsored by the Davis Foundation. 


Fall 1994 

ships. The 13 fellowships now in place 
provide an excellent foundation for 
communication, collaboration, and it is 
hoped, future support. 

Goal 3: Increase the Quality and 
Quantity of Research and its Recognition 

• Twelve-month research support through 
June 1994 totaled $7.1 million, an increase 
of 25.6 percent from the previous period. 
(This does not include $5 million in fund- 
ing for the Center for High Performance 
Computing, $800,000 in NSF support for 
the renovation of Higgins Laboratories, 
and more than $1 million in gifts designat- 
ed to support research.) 

•The Carl Gunnard Johnson Powder 
Metallurgy Center received national recog- 
nition and support from the Alfred P. Sloan 
Foundation and eight corporations. This 
multidisciplinary initiative is the result of a 
collaboration of faculty members from the 
manufacturing, materials and management 

•The Aluminum Casting Research 
Laboratory was awarded a $1.4 million, 
five-year contract from the U.S. 
Department of Energy as part of its Metals 
Initiative Program. 

• In the Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Department, Professors David Cyganski, 
Richard Vaz and John Orr were awarded 
$900,000 over three years by the 


Clockwise from top, associate pro- 
fessor Yitzhak Mendelson (pointing), 
teaches an introductory course in 
biomedical engineering, part of a 
new interface discipline in pre-health 
studies; views of a distance learning 
program in management; a scene 
from a summer conference on the 
freshman experience at WPI. 

WPI Journal 



Lk. . 


Advanced Research Projects Agency 

(ARPA) for research on model-based object 


Three of the initial 140 awards from the 

federal Technology Reinvestment Program 

supported consortia lead by WPI: the 

Realization Manufacturing Coalition, the 

Top, from left, professors David 
Cyganski, Richard Vaz and John Orr 
with the products of their work on 
model-based object recognition. 
Bottom, NSF Young Investigator 
Grover Swartzlander. 

Central Massachusetts Manufacturing 
Partnership, and the Massachusetts 
Bioengineering Center. 

• Professor Grover A. Swartzlander Jr., new 
last year in physics, was named an NSF 
Young Investigator with as much as 
$500,000 in support over the next five years. 

Goal 4: Enhance the Quality of 
Life on Campus 


• Four students from the second class of 
WPI's summer program for minorities, 
Strive for College and Careers in 

Mathematics, Engineering and Science, 

matriculated as members of the Institute's 

Class of 1998. 

• The Office of Human Resources strength- 
ened WPI's affirmative action hiring 
procedures this past year. Now the hiring 
pools for all jobs with underutilization of 

women or minorities will include suitable 
candidates from whom an affirmative 
selection will be made. 

• Under the leadership of Blanche Pringle, 
the new Director of Minority Student 
Affairs, the first year of Excellence in 
Mathematics, Science and Engineering 
Program (EMSEP), our new minority orien- 
tation and advising program, proved an 
extraordinary success. Twenty-five of the 
27 participants will continue in 1994-95 
with excellent reports of progress and 

• A two-day Search Conference on 
Community and Pluralism was held on 
campus in January with the active partici- 
pation of more than 70 faculty and staff 
members, students, alumni, trustees, and 
neighbors. The resulting Pluralism 
Advancement Model, which includes 
specific tasks and timetables to improve 
pluralism at WPI, will be managed by the 
Community Council in 1994-95. 

•A well-attended conference in April 
celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 
admission of women undergraduates at 
WPI. Jane Shaw, president and COO of Alza 
Corp. and a 1992 recipient of an honorary 
degree from WPI, gave the keynote 

Fall 1994 

Community Life 

• Dean of Students Janet Richardson led a 
community-wide effort to define the 
program for the planned campus center. 
With a program in place, nearly $2.5 mil- 
lion raised for the building, and good 
prospects for significant additional fund- 
raising, ground breaking for this facility, so 
important to enhancing the quality of life 
on campus, could well occur within the 
next two years. 

•The first year of our new Healthy 
Alternatives Program was a resounding 
success. This program, sponsored by 
FIPSE and led by Mary Cox, started several 
initiatives to educate students about the 
effects of alcohol and other drugs and 
sponsored social and athletic programs 
to empower and support WPI students 
who choose to abstain. 

• The Community Council championed the 
implementation of the recommendations 
of the Blue Ribbon Task Force while work- 
ing to improve the sense of community on 

•Our NCAA Division III intercollegiate 
athletic program and our active club and 
intramural sports programs continued to 
enjoy high levels of participation and suc- 
cess. The wrestling team was the New 
England Division 111 champion, the varsity 
football team was the Freedom 
Conference champion, and the soccer 
team won the Constitution Athletic 
Conference championship. The women's 
tennis team was the MAIAW state champi- 

on and the women's field hock- 
ey team qualified for the ECAC 
•After extensive study, the 
Parking Committee, chaired by 
Professor Ted Crusberg, found 
that the 796 official parking 
spaces on campus can accom- 
modate the demand on all but NEILN0RUM 
the worst snow days, given active enforce- 
ment. It did point out, however, that such 
important new projects as the campus cen- 
ter, the proposed closing of West Street, 
and the "greening" of the Quadrangle 
(including the removal of the main faculty 
and staff parking lot), will surely require 
the addition of many new spaces. On our 
space-poor campus, that will most likely 
require the construction of at least one 
parking structure, albeit one that the WPI 
community would be loathe to support 
through parking charges. 

Physical Environment 

• The long awaited expansion and renova- 
tion of Higgins Laboratories, home of our 
premiere Mechanical Engineering Depart- 
ment, has begun. This $8.5 million project 

includes some 20,000 additional square 
feet of space, primarily in a new addition 
adjacent to Alumni Gymnasium, and the 
complete renovation of the original labora- 
tories. The addition was scheduled for 
completion in the fall of 1994 with the total 
project to be completed by fall of 1995. 

To date, some $7.5 million in funding 
has been identified for the project, includ- 
ing large gifts from the Alden, Keck, Lufkin 
and Stoddard Foundations, an award from 
the National Science Foundation, gifts 
from several individuals, and anniversary 
gifts from the Classes of 1943, 1944, 1954 
and 1969. Lots of excellent naming oppor- 
tunities remain for those who might be 
inclined to provide additional support for 
this important project. 

WPI Journal 


•The campus computer network was 
extended to all major residence halls during 
the summer of 1994. The expansion provid- 
ed telephone, computer communications 
and cable television services to all rooms. 

• Although it will little change the external 
appearance of the building, a planned 
$720,000 renovation of the heating and 
ventilation system in Goddard Hall will 
improve the safety and efficiency of this 
long-time home of the Chemistry and 
Chemical Engineering departments. 

• A complete renovation of Freeman Plaza, 
which sits between Salisbury Laboratories, 
the Washburn Shops and Gordon Library, 
was recently completed. A new look for 
this important campus meeting place 
will set a new standard for our campus 

•Last fall, WPI acquired the Salisbury 
Estates, an apartment complex adjacent to 
the WPI campus. Presently operated as 
market-rate rental housing, this 108-unit 
complex, which sits on 6.5 acres adjoining 
Salisbury Pond, may become another 
student housing option in the future. 

Goal 5: Meet the Needs of Professionals 
for Continuing Education 

• Our new Nypro Leadership Institute, a 
week-long residency program for midlevel 
managers from the worldwide facilities of 
NYPRO Corp., has proven to be a great 
success. It is serving as a model for other 
such programs currently being designed 

by the Office of Continuing Education. 
•The faculty approved a new certificate 
program that will recognize the comple- 
tion of individually designed programs of 
graduate courses in computer science, 
engineering and mathematics. 

Goal 6: Strengthen WPI's External 

• Once again in 1993, WPI was ranked No. 1 
among comprehensive institutions in the 
North by U.S. News and World Report. 
Interestingly, with its reclassification by 
the Carnegie Foundation to Doctoral 
University II, WPI will find itself competing 
with the likes of Harvard and Stanford in 
future U.S. News rankings. In this company, 
it will probably be a few years before WPI 
wins a No. 1 ranking again. 

• The Presidential Founders, which honors 
alumni and friends with cumulative giving 
to WPI of at least $100,000, recognized 16 
new members at the Founders Day Dinner 
on Nov. 11,1993. 

•The grand total of cash gifts ($11.4 mil- 
lion), gifts-in-kind ($3.4 million) and net 
new pledges ($3.5 million) for the 1993-94 
fiscal year is $18.3 million. This exceeds 
last year's all-time record of $17.3 million. 

• At a joint dinner in October 1993, members 
of the Board of Trustees and the Institute's 
departmental advisory committees heard 
trustee Leonard E. Redon 73, general man- 
ager and vice president for market devel- 
opment of Eastman Kodak's Imaging 

Group, speak on "A New Kodak." The 
seven advisory committees, made up of 
distinguished alumni and friends, have 
proved invaluable in providing advice, 
reviewing progress and developing 
support for WPI's ambitious plans — 
departmental and institutional. 
• Seven new members were elected to the 
WPI Board of Trustees during 1994-95. 
George T. Abdow '53, chairman of Abdow's 
Big Boy Restaurants, was elected in 
October 1993 to complete the unexpired 
term of alumni trustee Arthur J. LoVetere 
'60. Claude-Alain Tardy, vice president and 
general manager of Norton Co., Thomas A. 
Corcoran, president of the Martin Marietta 
Electronics Group, and H. Kerner Smith II, 
president and CEO of Riley Consolidated 
Inc., were elected as term trustees in 
October 1993. Michael A. DiPierro '68, 
president of Baystone Corp., and Philip R. 
Morgan, president and CEO of Morgan 
Construction Co., were elected as alumni 
and term trustees respectively in May. 
John C.S. Fray, professor of cellular and 
molecular physiology at the University of 
Massachusetts Medical School, was elect- 
ed a term trustee in June. 

Of particular note is the fact that Philip 
Morgan is the fifth generation of Morgans 
to serve on WPI's board. His father, Paul S. 
Morgan, and his grandfather, Philip M. 
Morgan, both served as board chairman, 
and his great-great-grandfather, Charles H. 
Morgan, was a member of the founding 


Fall 1994 


1993-94: A Year of Building 

By Alfred R. Doig Jr., Vice President for University Relations 

One of the joys of working in devel- 
opment is seeing concrete results 
from your work — sometimes quite 
literally. As I've walked across cam- 
pus each morning over the past six months, 
I've watched with fascination as a three- 
story addition has risen beside Higgins 
Laboratories. Today the addition is nearly 
complete and its gleaming expanses of glass 
contrast stunningly with the handsome 
brick facade of this 52-year-old building. 

The addition is just one phase of a com- 
prehensive rebirth of Higgins, a process that 
will, a year from now, produce a modern 
home for mechanical engineering at WPI. 
This $8.5 million project is under way today 
thanks to the generous gifts we've received 
from many corporations, foundations and 
individuals. Prominent among these are $2.4 
million from the George I. Alden Trust, $1.5 
million from the Stoddard Trust, $500,000 
from the Lufkin Trust, $425,000 from the 
W.M. Keck Foundation, $222,000 from 
Pauline W. Heald, $200,000 from Raymond J. 
Perreault '38, $150,000 from the Elsworth 
Foundation, $150,000 from Norton Co., and 
$75,000 from Mr. and Mrs. Milton Higgins. 

In addition, the Classes of 1944, 1954 and 
1969 dedicated the unrestricted portion of 
their anniversary class gifts — nearly 
$423,000— to the Higgins project and the 
National Science Foundation awarded the 
Mechanical Engineering Department 
$800,000 to help rejuvenate several of the 
building's research labs. 

These and many other gifts and pledges 
have brought the total raised to more than 
$7.5 million, leaving about one million to go. 
It is gratifying to see that a substantial por- 
tion of the funding for the Higgins renova- 
tion and expansion has come from local 
sources: family foundations, corporations 
and individuals right here in the Worcester 
area. This hearkens back to the campaign 
that originally raised the funds to build 
Higgins, a drive in which many of these 
same families and corporations participated. 

The start of the Higgins renovation was 
one of the highlights for WPI last year. In the 
development area, the highlight was the 

The old and the new contrast in this view of the nearly complete 
20,000-square-foot addition to the 52-year-old Higgins Laboratories. 

$18,246,779 in cash, gifts-in-kind and pledges 
received by the Institute, a new all-time high. 
Of this total, $11,384,472 was in cash, 
$3,400,099 was in the form of gifts-in-kind, 
and $3,462,208 was in pledges. Included 
in that total is $2,245,084 in giving to the 
annual Alumni Fund, also a new all-time 
record total. 

As the Institute looks ahead to its next 
major comprehensive fund-raising 
campaign, achievements like these 
bode well, indeed. The official announce- 
ment for the new campaign is still a year or 
more away, but already we are beginning to 
think about the programs and initiatives for 
which we will seek funding. 

Before we can set these objectives, we 
must have a clear idea of the directions in 
which we want the Institute to move in the 
decade ahead. Then we must consider the 
strategic investments — new academic pro- 
grams, improvements to the quality of life, 

physical plant changes or additions, and so 
on — that will be needed to create the 
momentum to move us in those directions. 
Those investments, in turn, will become the 
major goals of the campaign. 

This planning process is already under 
way and will continue this year under the 
guidance of interim president John Lott 
Brown '46. But the final stages in the process 
must await the appointment, sometime next 
summer, of WPI's 14th president, who will be 
charged with the responsibility of leading 
the Institute through the campaign period. 

Presidential leadership will play a vital 
role in the success of the upcoming cam- 
paign, much as it did during the highly suc- 
cessful Campaign for Excellence of 1985 to 
1990. President Jon C. Strauss was instru- 
mental in helping the Institute develop the 
objectives for that drive and, working with 
former vice president Don Berth '57, labored 
hard to be sure that the $52.5 million target 
was not only met, but exceeded. In the 

WPI Journal 


Fiscal Year 1994 Fund-Raising Results 

(in percent) 

Cash Received 


'Does not include gifts-in-kind 

Total Activity 



"tat., . 9 tinJ 9 Gt 

F °% 

ro «**7**. 9 



6/ 'ts. 

Vef # t 








'9e s 


process, he helped raise the Institute's fund- 
raising sights. 

An important element in that sight-rais- 
ing process was the creation of the 
Presidential Founders, a group of men, 
women and family foundations who have, 
since the Institute's creation, made cumula- 
tive gifts and pledges to WPI equaling or 
exceeding the $100,000 founding gift of John 
Boynton. During the Campaign for Excel- 
lence, gifts from the Presidential Founders 
accounted for half of all dollars raised. 

In the years since the campaign, we've 
added 65 additional Presidential Founders, 
bringing the total to more than 200. Sixteen 
new members joined us for the annual 
Founders dinner in 1993, when the Institute 
honored Miriam Rutman and the late Walter 
Rutman '30. Another 16 new members came 
on board before the night of the 1994 dinner, 

at which the White family — Anne and 
Leonard '41 and Shirley and David 75 — were 

Clearly, support at the Presidential 
Founder level has made a tremendous differ- 
ence to WPI as it has sought to become a 
stronger institution. But in reality, every gift 
to WPI counts. Every dollar we receive helps 
raise the Institute's level of excellence. And 
every thing we do to make this an even more 
outstanding institution adds to our growing 

The quality and innovation of WPI's edu- 
cational programs, the reputation and 
strength of our faculty, the record of 
achievement of our alumni — these are all 
good reasons to invest in the future of this 
institution. Another good reason is our sin- 
cere commitment to being a good steward of 
your investment. 

Honored at this year's Presidential Founders dinner, David White '75 and his 
father, Leonard White '41, together run the R.H. White Construction Co. 

Whether you make a gift of cash, a 
planned gift or a bequest; whether you make 
a gift of an endowed fund or a gift that will 
be put to immediate use; and whether you 
choose to restrict your gift to a particular 
purpose, such as financial aid, or let WPI 
determine where it can best be put to use, 
we will use your dollars wisely and make 
sure that they go as far as possible to sup- 
port the goals and missions of the Institute. 

You can also feel confident that you are 
investing in an institution that is financially 
sound. WPI recently compared its financial 
picture to those of 46 other colleges and uni- 
versities that, like WPI, have received an A 
bond rating from Standard and Poor's. While 
the Institute has some areas of concern (for 
example, there is too little flexibility in its 
operating budget to respond to unforseen 
expenses), the picture on the whole is quite 

For example, in the areas of debt to 
endowment ratio (a measure of relative debt 
load), endowment per student, the size of 
the quasi-endowment (unrestricted endow- 
ment funds), and the ratio of quasi-endow- 
ment to restricted endowment, WPI has per- 
formed better over the past three fiscal 
years than the median for the group of 46 
institutions. In addition, WPI's relatively low 
level of deferred maintenance is laudable. 

Our many generous donors do not make 
gifts to WPI simply because of our financial 
performance, of course. It is loyalty to this 
institution, a sincere belief in its mission and 
outcomes, and a desire to see it become an 
even better university in the years ahead 
that lie behind so many of the contributions 
we receive. 

On behalf of the trustees, faculty, staff 
and students of WPI, I'd like to take this 
opportunity to applaud that vision and to 
thank everyone who has invested in WPI 
over the past fiscal year. On the pages that 
follow, you will find the names of many of 
these benefactors. 


Fall 1994 


Giving to WPI: 1993-94 

WPI gratefully acknowledges the support of the thousands of individuals, 
foundations and corporations whose contributions of $14,784,571 in 
cash and gifts-in-kind through the Alumni Fund, the Parents Fund, mini- 
campaigns and general development efforts during the 1993-94 fiscal 
year (July 1, 1993, to June 30, 1994) are already at work making WPI a stronger and 
more outstanding institution. Space does not permit the listing of all their names. 
An additional $3,462,208 was pledged during the fiscal year. These commitments 
will be listed in future reports as they are received as cash or gifts-in-kind. 

$100,000 and 

George I. Alden Trust 
Philip G. Atwood '37 
Harry F. Chapell '54 
China Technical 

Consultants Inc. 
Davis Educational 

Digital Equipment 

Robert A. Foisie '56 
George F. and Sybil H. 

Fuller Foundation 
Estate of 

Edith B. Green TO 

Caleb D. Hammond '37 
Pauline W. Heald 
Robert W. Hewey '40 
Milton P. Higgins 
William D. Holcomb '38 
Howmet Turbine 


W.M. Keck Foundation 
Eugene V. Kosso '46 
Richard A. Lufkin Trust 
Commonwealth of 

Paul M. Murphy '38 
Douglas G. Noiles '44 
Norton Company 
Raymond J. Perreault '38 
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 
Stedman W. Smith '36 
Stoddard Charitable Trust 
United Technologies 

Viewlogic Systems Inc. 
Howard C. Warren '42 

$25,000 to 

Walter L. Abel '39 
Joyce G. Adderley 
Herbert Asher '44 

Eleanor W. Bateman 
Robert H. Beckett '57 
John R. Brand '36 
Allen Breed '46 
Robert B. Davis '46 
Dining and Kitchen 

Administration Inc. 
Exxon Education 

Fairlawn Foundation 
Raymond J. Forkey '40 
Hoche-Scofield Foundation 
Richard T. Gates '52 
General Electric Foundation 
Raymond R. Hagglund '56 
Hewlett-Packard Company 
John E. Hossack '46 
Mr. and Mrs. William Henry 

IBM Corporation 
Rolf Jensen & Associates 
Steven T. Kelley 
Estate of Mary C. Knight '28 
Luther C. Leavitt '34 
William M. Lester '28 
The Macamor Foundation 
Thomas M. McCaw '46 
Procter & Gamble Company 
Mr. and Mrs. Richard 

Elijah B. Romanoff '34 
Texaco Inc. 
Estate of William B. 

WPI Alumni Association 

$10,000 to 

Allied-Signal Inc. 
Carl W. Bettcher Jr. '41 
Cushing C. Bozenhard '46 
EdwardS. Coe Jr. '31 
Mary Jane Coe 
Corning Inc. 
GTE Corporation 
Hartford Steam Boiler 

Inspection & 

Insurance Company 
Charles R. Healy '56 
Gerald F. Hickey '46 
William H. Hills '54 
Ingersoll-Rand Company 
August C. Kellermann '46 
Kemper National Insurance 

Paul N. Kokulis '45 
Mrs. David A. Kuniholm '40 
Estate of Richard 

Lamothe '61 
John H. Lancaster '39 
Gordon B. Lankton 
Liberty Mutual 

Insurance Co. 
Myles McDonough 
Motorola Inc. 
Pfizer Inc. 

Raytheon Company 

Tarek M.A. Shawaf '55 
John J. Shields '69 
Raymond B. Shlora '40 
William R. Steur '35 
Harry W. Tenney Jr. '56 
The Torrington Company 
Xerox Corporation 

Note: a p " after a name indicates parent(s) of WPI students/alumni. 
* = deceased 

$5,000 to $9,999 

BASF Corporation 
Edward C. Berndt Jr. '45 
John E. Bigelow '44 
Anna Harrington Boardman 
John Lott Brown '46 
Philip G. Buffinton '49 
Central Sprinkler Company 
CIGNA Corporation 
Dr. and Mrs. Noel L. Cohen p 
Daniel I. Coifman '67 
Communications Satellite 

Allan J. Costantin '54 
Donald G. Craig '57 
Paul M. Craig Jr. '45 
Edward J. Curtis Jr. '64 
Custer Powell Inc. 
Cutler Associates Inc. 
DOW Chemical Company 
Mrs. Dwight Dwinell '34 
Ruth H. and Warren A. 

Ellsworth Foundation 
Neil A. Fitzgerald '38 
Leslie Flood '46 
A.J. Gilford Charitable Trust 
Greater Worcester Community 

Dale G. Freygang '74 
Alfred E. Green '45 
Hanover Insurance Company 
Philip B. Heald 
Lawrence B. Horrigan Jr. '56 
Industrial Risk Insurers 
Allan B. Johnson '46 
Joseph H. Johnson Jr. '46 
Johnson Controls 
Arthur R. Koerber '40 
Carlton G. Lutts Jr. '46 
Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation 
Medical Center of Central 

Mobil Foundation Inc. 
Fred S. Moulton '44 
National Fire Sprinkler 

Neles-Jamesbury Corporation 

Werner M. Neupert '54 
New England Power Service 

New England Telephone 

and Telegraph Company 
Robert S. Parks '93 Trust 
Polaroid Corporation 
The Presmet Corporation 
Walter L. Robb 
John T. Rushton '39 
Sean D.S. Sebastian '83 
Shawmut Worcester 

County Bank 

Carl F. Simon Jr. '46 
J. Morrison Smith '37 
Estate of Edith Gates 

Snow '26 
Robert C. Stempel '55 
Sullivan Family 
Donald Taylor '49 
J. Headen Thompson '36 
John G. Underbill '44 
David T. Van Covern '53 
Charles F. Walters '55 
WPI Worcester County Club 

$2,500 $4,999 

Estate of Leslie Morgan 

Abbe '22 
Paul A. Allaire '60 
Allmerica Financial 
Diran Apelian 
Gerald R. Backlund '55 
Paul W. Bayliss '60 
C. Edward Bean '44 
Bemis Company Inc. 
Harvey A. Berger '58 
Paul R. Beswick '57 
Harold D. Burt '33 
George Button II '46 
James L. Carr Jr. '74 
Mrs. Richard A. Carson '44 
Coopers & Lybrand 
Frederick J. Costello '59 
Michael A. DiPierro '68 
Robert E. Duffy '45 
Howard J. Dworkin '55 
John E. Edfors '55 
Leland P. Ekstrom '42 
Janet Forkey 
John F. Gabranski '75 
Michael M. Galbraith '58 
General Motors Corporation 
Mark S. Gerber '69 
David F. Gilbert '54 
The Gillette Company 
Albert S. Goldberg '48 
Robert W. Goodfader '60 
Edward L. Griffith Jr. '69 
Grinnell Corporation 
Michael S. Gutman '58 
Daniel J. Harrington Jr. '50 
John F. Harvey '77 
Mrs. George W. Hazzard 
Roger J. Heinen '73 
Roll H. Jensen 
Charles C. Johnston '57 
Everett M. Johnson '44 
Chandler W. Jones '26 
Franklin S. June '45 
Margaret N. Kalenian 
John F. Kelley III '65 
Richard D. Kirk '54 
Hans H. Koehl '56 

WPI Journal 


John Lee '46 

Cole Contracting Inc. 

Ward D. Messimer '39 

Mrs. Richard E. Bliven '27 

Paul I. Pressel '44 

Eino 0. Leppanen '32 

Christopher R. Collins '56 

Charles R. Michel '37 

Roland C. Bouchard '66 

William Price '37 

Bruce G. Lovelace '68 

Charles F.H. Crathern III '52 

Bruce D. Minsky '77 

Edouard S.P. Bouvier '55 

Richard A. Prokop '37 

Russell R. Lussier '54 

David S. Crimmins '58 

Robert B. Mirick '39 

BP America 

Mr. and Mrs. Gunnar 

James H. Maloney Jr. '46 

Gordon F. Crowther '37 

Monsanto Fund 

Craig F. Bradley '69 

Randholm p 

Marsh & McLennan 

Henry S.C. Cummings Jr. '50 

Morgan Construction 

Harrison K. Brown '39 

John B. Robinson p 

Companies Inc. 

Earl M. Curtis '36 


Kevin J. Burke '60 

Robert W. Schramm '46 

Massachusetts Electric 

C. Marshall Dann '35 

Peter B. Myers '46 

W. Richard Byrnes '54 

Richard B. Scott '54 


Mrs. Phillip R. Delphos '26 

John M. Nelson 

John W. Chandler '44 

Robert F. Shannon '50 

Frank L. Mazzone '46 

Albert M. Demont '31 

Robert L. Norton 

Chevron Corporation 

William E. Shanok '64 

Richard J. McBride '56 

William P. Densmore '45 

Robert W. O'Brien '38 

Joseph J. Concordia '56 

Irving Skeist '35 

Herman Medwin '41 

Thomas R. d'Errico '41 

Mark F. O'Neil '80 

George A. Cowan '41 

Edward H. Smith '46 

Merck & Co. Inc. 

Robert L. Diamond '56 

Francis J. Oneglia '42 

C. Chapin Cutler Sr. '37 

Southern New England 

Microsoft Corporation 

Walter G. Dick '49 

Alex C. Papianou '57 

Vladimir T. Dimitroff Jr. '44 

Telephone Company 

Harry L. Mirick Jr. '54 

PaulC.DisarioJr. '42 

Ronald B. Paris '46 

Peter C. Dooley Jr. '44 

Society of Fire Protection 

Charles A. Mitchell '46 

Emerson Electric Company 

Parker Hannifin Corporation 

Donald B. Esson '69 


MITRE Corporation 

Cornelius J. Enright Jr. '60 

James Z. Peepas '49 

Daniel F. Farrar '84 

Spag's Supply 

Alfred A. Molinari Jr. '63 

Robert L. Favreau '52 

Edward H. Peterson '43 

James C. Ferguson '41 

Stephen W. Spakowsky '69 

National Fire Protection 

William J. Firla Jr. '60 

Edward J. Power Jr. '54 

Warner S. Fletcher 

Harvey W. Spence p 


Ford Motor Company Fund 

John W. Powers '61 

Fluor Corporation 

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Sullivan p 

Northeast Utilities Service 

The Foxboro Company 

Henry B. Pratt '32 

Victor J. Geraci '84 

Edward J. Sydor '50 

Timothy A. French '73 

Olive Higgins Prouty 

Arthur and Susan Gerstenfeld 

John W. Sztuka Jr. '70 

David P. Norton 62 

tr mi it -I'—- 

Anson C. Fyler '45 


W.R. Grace & Company 

Donald A. Taft 72 

Henry W. Nowick 56 

Herbert F. Gale '34 

Simon D. Ramo 

Lee P. Hackett '61 

Robert M. Taft '38 

Julius A. Palley '46 

r\ i !• ri * pi . * ri 

Milton W. Garland '20 

Edward W. Randall '49 

Joseph M. Halloran Jr. '40 

Tambrands Inc. 

Public Service Electric & 

Gas Company 
Raymond J. Remillard '49 
Roger P. Roberge '45 
Rockwell International 

Reynald J. Sansoucy '55 
Sara Lee Corporation 
Lawrence F. Scinto '51 
Kenneth W. Shiatte '53 
Society of Fire Protection 

Jon C. and Jean A. Strauss 

C. Stewart Gentsch '58 

Samuel Ringel '47 

William E. Hanson '32 

Roger H. Tancrell '56 

Bennett E. Gordon Jr. '65 

Kenneth W. Roberts '68 

Hercules Incorporated 

TRW Inc. 

Joel P. Greene '69 

Rodney Hunt Co. 

Joachim Herz '54 

Steven A. Udell 70 

Peter T. Grosch '69 
Richard M. Gross '69 

John H. Rogers Jr. '56 
John E. Rogerson '42 

Neil M. Hodes '70 
D. Brainerd Holmes 

United Telephone- 
Eastern Inc. 

Grumman Corporation 
Ralph P. Guertin '62 
David H. Hall '68 
Leslie B. Harding '41 
Warren G. Harding '42 
Stephen J. Hebert '66 
Thomas S. Heefner '61 

Milton E. Ross '40 
Stephen E. Rubin '74 
Anthony J. Ruscito '70 
Philip B. Ryan '65 
David M. Schwaber '65 
William F. Shields '64 
Paul W. Snyder '53 

Hyde Manufacturing 

International Association 

for Fire-Safety Science 
D. Alden Johnson '54 
Timothy C. Johnson '71 
Charles A. Kalauskas '69 

Westinghouse Electric 

Estate of Hester D. Wetherell 

Technologies Inc. 
Plummer Wiley '35 
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph 

Wojtowicz p 

Warner C. Sturtevant '45 

John T.E. Hegeman '45 

The Stanley Works 

Andrea J. Fielding Kaneb '84 

Howard E. Swenson '44 
Leonard H.White '41 

Leonard Hershoff '43 
Jay P. Hochstaine '62 

Edward Stokel '46 
Stone & Webster Inc. 

Arthur T. Katsaros '69 
Thomas C. Kee '54 

$250 to $999 

Peter H. Horstmann '55 

Nam P. Suh 

Jean Keller p 

Crosby L. Adams '57 

Holbrook L. Horton '29 

Lawrence R. Sullivan '40 

Atwater Kent Foundation 

Donald H. Adams '52 

$1,500 to $2,499 

Hughes Aircraft Company 

John W. Sutcliffe '38 

Morey Kraus 

Joseph D. Adams Jr. 76 

Michael L. Abrams '77 

Clayton E. Hunt Jr. '34 

Claude-Alain Tardy 

Donald T. Kremer 70 

Aetna Life & Casualty 

James S. Adams '49 

Leonard Israel '44 

Marshall B. Taylor '68 

PhilipA. Kulin'39 

Arthur M. Aframe '69 

Robert H. Adams '48 

M Howard Jacobson 

W. Gordon Thatcher '40 

M. Leonard Kuniholm '38 

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. 

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. 

Harry T. Jensen '33 

Francis G. Toce '60 

Arthur Lagadinos '46 

Robert E. Akie 73 

Aerospace Corporation 

Charles F. Jones '48 

John M. Tracy '52 

Peter H. Levine 

Akzo America Inc. 

Joseph J. Alekshun Jr. '56 

Steven M. Kay '72 

Irwin T. Vanderhoof '48 

Carl J. Lindegren III '82 

Paul R. Alasso '54 

Richard W. Allen '45 

Robert C. Keenan '70 

Helen G. Vassallo '82 

Richard W. Lindquist '54 

James A. Alfieri '59 

Robert C. Appenzeller '46 

George J. Kennedy '45 

Romeo J. Ventres '48 

Francis W. Madigan Jr. '53 

Patricia A. Allard '83 

Arthur Andersen & Company 

William A. Kerr '60 

Davis S. Watson '46 

Thomas F. Mahar Jr. '55 

Robert A. Allen '59 

Christian S. Baehrecke '56 

Kinefac Corporation 

Charles F. Whitcomb '46 

Carlos A. Maltos Diaz '80 

Raymond L. Alvey Jr. '50 

Roy E. Baharian '44 

Douglas W. Klauber '67 

Richard T. Whitcomb '43 

Peter J. Martin '62 

Alza Corporation 

Bruce M. Bailey '51 

Victor E. Kohman '43 

David H. White '75 

John T. McGrath III '36 

Amoco Corporation 

Richard A. Barlow '57 

Wilmer Kranich 

Malcolm K. White '46 

Millipore Corporation 

Arthur W. Anderson '57 

Jonathan R. Barnett '74 

Ernest R. Kretzmer '45 

Philip A. Wild '50 

Paul R. Mullaney '46 

G. Albert Anderson '51 

James L. Bartlett Jr. '39 

Joseph A. Lagana '67 

John Wiley & Sons Inc. 

Paul E. Nelson '32 

Gordon C. Anderson '44 

Leon H. Bassett '51 

Walter E. Lankau Jr. '64 

John H. Williams '49 

Howard I. Nelson '54 

Merico E. Argentati 70 

Bechtel Group Inc. 

Craig B. Laub '77 

Richard B. Wilson '39 

Edwin F. Nesman '55 

Ashland Oil Inc. 

J. William Belanger Jr. '58 

John H. Lauterbach '66 

Ronald L. Zarrella '71 

Rowland M. Newcomb '46 

Emanuel S. Athanas '32 

C. Gordon Bell '93 

John B. Lawson '63 

David A. Zlotek '69 

New England Power Company 


Donald F. Berth '57 

John W. Lebourveau '44 

Donald N. Zwiep 

New York Stock Exchange 

Dennis Aves '84 

J. William Bowen '66 

Thomas E. Lempges '46 

North American Philips 

Avon Products Inc. 

Bristol Myers Squibb 

Allen H. Levesque '59 

$1,000 to $1,499 


William E. Bachmann '50 

Paul W. Brown Jr. '55 

Arthur J. LoVetere '60 

J. Carleton Adams '23 
American Cyanamid 

Erving Arundale '37 
Edwin G. Baldwin '45 

William J. Norwood III '81 

Carl W. Backstrom '30 

Daniel A. Bundza '57 
John L. Buzzi '57 

Joseph J. Maggi '67 
Zareh Martin '40 

John F. O'Brien 

O'Brien & Gere Engineers 

Frank C. Baginski '45 
Everett E. Bagley '52 

Richard S. Carrara '63 

Martin Marietta Corporation 

Robert J. O'Malley '39 

Brownell M. Bailey '80 

Wilder R. Carson '39 

Robert E. Maynard Jr. '63 

Robert A. Painter '43 

Kenneth E. Baker Sr. '52 

Frederick M. Chakour '45 

Thomas G. McGee '64 

Banta Corporation 
Gerald J. Bibeault '42 

Alfred G. Parker '33 

Norman E. Baker '50 

Edwin B. Coghlin Jr. '56 

John M. McHugh '56 

Philip Morris Inc. 

Walter J. Bank '46 

Charles H. Cole '30 

Samuel W. Mencow '37 

John A. Bjork '44 

Ralph W. Piper Jr. '42 

George M. Banks '69 


Fall 1994 

C.R. Bard Inc. 
Barnett Banks Inc. 
Carl P. Baron 77 
John H. Barrett Jr. '46 
Francis L. Barry '44 
Harry S. Barton Jr. '55 
Robert W. Batchelder '49 
John C. Bayer '45 
Edward J. Bayon'31 
Karen L. Bean '86 
Robert W. Bean '82 
Arthur F. Beaubien '81 
Paul G. Beaudet '68 
Paul H. Beaudry '49 
David S. Becker '56 
Susan Coombs Becker '84 
Todd H. Becker '86 
G. Standish Beebe '34 
Robert E. Behringer '53 
Hugh C. Bell '55 
Salvatore J. Bellassai '42 
BellSouth Services Inc. 
Keith R. Bennett 76 
Carl F. Benson '36 
Penny J. Bergmann 76 
Paul H. Bergstrom '38 
Stephen E. Bernacki 70 
Eugene R. Bertozzi Jr. '38 
Rene R. Bertrand '57 
Mark A. Besse '83 
Fermo A. Bianchi Jr. 73 
J. Alfred Bicknell '33 
William R. Bingham '46 
Charles N. Bissell '34 
Mrs. HaroldS. Black '21 
John R. Black '53 
Louis A. Blanchard '57 
Henry S. Blauvelt '39 
Laurence E. Blomstrom '56 
Earl M. Bloom Jr. '55 
Robert E. Boddorff '46 
The Boeing Company 
Joseph E. Boggio '58 
John T. Bok 70 
Thomas A. Bombicino '44 
Paula Mesite Bordogna '80 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. 

Richard J. Bors 73 
Boston Edison Company 
David P. Bova '63 
Henry J. Bove '47 
John R. Boyd '69 
Michael J. Boyden 74 
Russell P. Bradlaw '49 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. 

Brady Jr. p 
Ronald S. Brand '40 
Melvin H. Bredahl '46 
Alan S. Breitman 70 
Fred J. Brennan '49 
FredT.BrierlyJr. '42 
Alan K. Briggs 76 
George E. Brooks '36 
Frederick G. Broshjeit '59 
John J. Brosnihan '67 
Gedney B. Brown '55 
Paul J. Brown Jr. 73 
James R. Buchanan '60 
Gary S. Bujaucius 77 
Steven M. Burgarella '84 
Henry K. Burger '53 
Richard F. Burke Jr. '38 

WPI Journal 

Donald M. Burness '39 
Thomas 1. Burns 74 
Newton H. Burr '44 
Carrol E. Burtner '47 
Clifford W. Burwick '56 
Scott J. Bury '88 
Richard C. Butterworth '55 
Robert H. Cahill '65 
Jean Salek Camp '84 
Bernard M. Campbell Jr. '58 
Edwin C. Campbell '43 
Campbell Soup Company 
Mr. and Mrs. Armand 

Capistran p 
Capital Cities/ABC Inc. 
Elso R. Caponi '45 
Dana B. Carleton '32 
Carl H. Carlson '29 
Allen S. Carnicke 75 
John W. Carpenter Jr. '46 
Patricia A. Martone 

Carrolo '84 
Kenneth L. Case '69 
William P. Casey Jr. 76 
Donald E. Casperson '69 
Victor B. Castellani '62 
Paul M. Castle '66 
Lee W. Catineau '54 
Donald A. Cauley 77 
Robert L. Chang '55 
Richard M. Chapman '58 
Walter J. Charow '49 
Raymond F. Cherenzia 73 
Alexander S. Chodakowski '41 
Paul A. Christian 73 
Chrysler Corporation 
Church & Dwight 
Company Inc. 
CIBA-GEIGY Corporation 
Todd R. Cimino '84 
Wayne J. Civinskas 77 
George A. Clark 74 
J. David Clayton '44 
Clorox Company Foundation 
Edward H. Coburn Jr. '48 
Richard A. Coffey Jr. '51 
Morrel H. Cohen '47 
Matthew V. Colagiuri '88 
Raymond W. Coleman 72 
Commonwealth Electric 

Commonwealth Gas 

George E. Comstock '46 
Consolidated Edison of 

New York 
George H. Conley Jr. '46 
John F. Conlon Jr. '55 
The Connecticut Light & 

Power Company 
Connecticut Mutual Life 
Insurance Company 
Robert F.I. Conte '57 
J. Desmond Cook '86 
John R. Corf '46 
Nicholas A. Cotsidas '62 
Richard H. Court Jr. '67 
John B. Coyle '35 
Roger M. Cromack '48 
Philip B. Crommelin Jr. '52 
Marshall W. Cross '64 
Kevin J. Crossen 73 
Catherine M. Culnane '84 
William D. Cunningham 77 

Robert Cushman 
Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. 

Cutroni p 
Merritt E. Cutting '34 
Walter G. Dahlstrom '36 
Bernard R. Danti '56 
George G. Davenport III '69 
Warren H. Davenport '34 
Daniel L. David 72 
Harold C. Davis Jr. '44 
Michael A. Davis '62 
Paul W. and Sharon C. Davis 
Dr. and Mrs. Ross Davis p 
Davis Corporation of 

Debra R. Weinstein Dean '83 
Phillip S. Dean '35 
Henry N. Deane'31 
Domenic W. DeAngelo 79 
James J. DeCarlo Esq. '80 
John L. Dehnert '59 
Gene E. DeJackome 74 
Delta Air Lines Inc. 
Howard J. Dember '48 
David P. Demers 74 
Mr. and Mrs. William A. 

Allen R. Deschere '38 
Susan A. Butler DesMarais '86 
Ralph A. Desrosiers '88 
Dexter Corporation 
Thomas M. Di Francesco 73 
Richard J. DiBuono '62 
Arthur M. Dickey '65 
Richard J. Dickey '85 
Gregorys. Dickson 71 
Robert G. Dietrich 
Mario P. DiGiovanni 75 
Stephen P. Diguette 72 
Anne M. McPartland Dodd 75 
Glenn W. Dodwell 77 
DanD. DohertyJr. '81 
Alfred R. Doig Jr. 
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert J. 

Michael W. Donahue '90 
William J. Dowd '64 
David A. Drab '85 
Randall P. Drabczuk '84 
John E. Driscoll '28 
Alfred L. Dunklee '61 
Linda S. Dunn '84 
Joseph B. Dzialo 76 
Wayne E. Eastman 70 
Robert M. Edgerly '45 
Charles J. Egan '34 
Edward W. Eidt Jr. '57 
Eli Lilly & Company 
Richard M. Elliott '38 
Franklin P. Emerson '49 

Foundation Inc. 
Richard E. Epstein '63 
Stephen A. Erikson '69 
Paul E. Evans '48 
Factory Mutual System 
David R. Fairbanks '52 
Alan S. Feitelberg '84 
Peter R. Fenner '64 
Martin P. Ferguson '84 
Richard J. Ferguson '57 
Oscar A. Fick Jr. '38 
Joseph L. Fischer '46 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas P. 

Fischer p 
Niel I. Fishman '48 
Robert W. Fitzgerald '53 
John J. Fitzgibbons Jr. 75 
Stephen L. Fitzhugh 75 
Patricia A. Graham 

Flaherty 75 
Robert J. Flaherty '85 
Robert W. Flanagan Jr. 74 
Florida Power & Light 

James D. Fogarty '61 
Warren F. Follett '69 
Alan S. Foss '52 
Thomas R. Fournier '69 
George F. Foxhall '61 
Charles S. Frary Jr. '34 
Roger F. French '44 
Linda S. Fritz '74 
Richard W. Frost '62 
Richard C. Furman '69 
John J. Gabarro '61 
Michael Gaffin '55 
Andre F. Gagnon '80 
Cynthia L. Gagnon '82 
Theodore E. Gazda '46 
John H. Geffken '63 
General Dynamics 

William F. Gess Jr. '58 
F. Clark Gesswein '64 
Frederick C. Gilbert '48 
David A. Gillespie '82 
Andrew J. Giokas 70 
Donald J. Girard '46 
Donald P. Givens '66 
Joseph Glasser '35 
Mrs. Allan Glazer '47 
Paul R. Glazier '37 
Gerald H. Gleason '49 
Kenneth E. Gleason Sr. '33 
Arthur E. Goddard II '63 
Charles N. Goddard '63 
Loretta M. Goeller 76 
Edward M. Gonsalves '81 
David L. Goodman '62 
Alexander L. Gordon '36 
Saul Gordon '50 
Denise C. Gorski 75 
Martina R. Gorski-Strong '84 
Willard T. Gove '40 
Winfield D. Gove '24 
Robert N. Gowing '49 
Paul B. Grautski '84 
Thomas B. Graves 76 
Leland E. Gray Jr. '48 
Bruce M. Green '69 
George D. Greenwood '34 
Donald J. Grenier '55 
R. Reed Grimwade '50 
Frank A. Gross Jr. '46 
GTE Sylvania Inc. 
James G. Hackendorf '60 
Joseph Haddad '34 
Alan R. Hahnel 74 
David L. Haight '44 
Allan L. Hall '30 
James R. Hall 76 
Raymond E. Hall '31 
Carl A. Hammar '54 
Janet L. Hammarstrom '80 
George E. Hanff '38 

Timothy B. Hardy '85 
Bradford J. Harper '59 
Hartford Insurance Company 
Francis S. Harvey '37 
Alan F. Hassett 70 
Bradford F. Hawley '51 
Charles M. HealeyJr. '26 
David G. Healey '69 
Herbert S. Hebel '59 
Fred H. Hedin '26 
Mr. and Mrs. Ari Helenius p 
Harold F. Henrickson '36 
John F. Henrickson '65 
Peter M. Herron '67 
Mr. and Mrs. Walter 

Hewitson p 
Patricia M. Hickey '88 
Merrill W. Higgins '42 
Richard H. Hill '83 
Hoechst Celanese 

David H. Hoercher '80 
George L. Hogeman 
Franklin K. Holbrook '43 
Hollingsworth & Vose 

Ralph H. Holmes '37 
Mr. and Mrs. John M. Holt p 
Honeywell Fund 
Keith E.Hongisto 71 
Glendon C. Home '62 
Malcolm D. Horton '50 
Richard B. Hosmer '61 
Household International Inc. 
Raymond K. Houston '38 
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert 

Howard p 
William C. Howard '45 
Donald W. Howe Jr. '38 
Harris C. Howland 70 
David B. Hubbell 73 
Mark Hubelbank '68 
Douglas E. Hudson '83 
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen S. 

Leonard G. Humphrey Jr. '35 
Thomas F. Humphrey '59 
Charles F. Hunnicutt '65 
Lewis W. Huntoon '62 
Daniel Hurley '80 
Daniel L. Hussey '25 
Frederick E. Hyatt Jr. '36 
[MO Industries 
Instron Corporation 
International Paper Company 
Alfred E.Irelan '61 
ITT Corporation 
John P. Jacobson '65 
Robert S. Jacobson '46 
David A. Jacqmin 78 
Eugene A. Jakaitis '52 
Asjed A. Jalil '61 
James River Corporation 
David S. Jenney '53 
Mark R. Johnson '81 
Richard P. Johnson '57 
W. Evans Johnson '51 
Johnson & Higgins 
Johnson & Johnson 
Arthur W. Joyce Jr. '50 
Kevin E. Joyce '56 
William B. Juhnevicz '58 
Kenneth A. Kadezabek '82 


John M. Kahn 
Peter Kalil '49 
Frank A. Kania 73 
Samuel B. Kaplan '39 
Carl H. Karlsson '60 
Francis J. Kaszynski Jr. '60 
Stuart C. Kazin '61 
Frank H. Kean Jr. '33 
Richard C. Kee '55 
John H. Keenan '34 
Averill S. Keith '43 
Eleanor M. Cromwick 

Kelly '81 
John F. Kelly '82 
Michael S. Kenniston 78 
Norman A. Kerr '42 
Carl A. Keyser '39 
Thaddeus J. Kielar '80 
Francis J. Kiernan 75 
Carleton F. Kilmer Jr. '64 
Osmond L. Kinney '35 
Lothar W.Kleiner 70 
Walter E. Knapp '38 
George W. Knauff '41 
Mark G. Knights 77 
William L. Knoblock '56 
Steven G. Kochman '83 
Stephen R. Kolek 77 
Victor A. Kolesh '41 
Peter P. Koliss '38 
Mark A. Koretz'71 
Jeffrey Korn 73 
Robert J. Kowal 73 
Harold A. Krieger '44 
Marshall P. Krupnick '59 
James A. Kudzal 74 
Frederick J. Kull '46 
Albert J. Kullas '38 
Kenneth N. Kummins 78 
David H. Laananen '64 
M. Stephen Lajoie '64 
Peter A. Lajoie '60 
Leonard B. Landall '39 
David G. Lapre 74 
Alfred F. Larkin Jr. '44 
Law Engineering 
Stephen R. Lawry '80 
Edward J. Ledden 74 
Richard G. Ledoux '61 
Sang Ki Lee '60 
Henry E. Leikkanen '55 
Thaddeus J. Lelek 70 
George N. Lemmon III '65 
Joel I. Leonard '60 
Marshall S. Levine '55 
Robert S. Levine '66 
Carl W. Lewin '39 
Daniel G. Lewis Jr. '47 
Lester L. Libby '35 
William G. Light 71 
Edward E. Lindberg '60 
Paul R. Lindberg '66 
Richard C. Lindstrom '55 
Lester N. Lintner '32 
Charles Lipson '60 
Michael A. Littizzio '63 
James M. Lockwood 70 
Loctite Corporation 
Eugene C. Logan '45 
Fred H. Lohrey '56 
Joseph D. Lojewski '52 
George H. Long Jr. '57 
Lotus Development 

Charles L. Loveridge Jr. '48 
Peter H. Lukesh '66 
Richard J. Lyman '37 
John Machonis Jr. '63 
Douglas B. MacLaren '54 
Homer E. MacNutt Jr. '49 
Frank A. MacPherson '51 
Roger H. Maddocks '63 
Ellen E. Madigan '92 
Mark A. Mahoney 74 
George A. Makela '35 
Kenneth M. Makowski 73 
John F. Malloy Jr. '54 
Paul R. Malnati '66 
Steven E. Mandell 79 
Paul A. L. Mannheim '61 
John F. Manning Jr. '80 
William E. Mansfield '51 
Suzanne J. Call Margerum '81 
Louis J. Marsella '56 
George A. Marston '30 
Robert R. Martin 75 
Robert W. Martin '39 
Lawrence J. Martiniano 74 
Michele F. Mass 78 
McDonnell Douglas 

James E. McGinnis '41 
Robert E. Mcintosh Jr. '62 
James G. McKernan '48 
Malcolm G. McLeod '54 
Donald M. McNamara '55 
Harold A. Melden Jr. '49 
Brian C. Mellea 76 
Orlando R. Mendez '67 
Richard T. Merrell '33 
Behrends Messer Jr. '43 
Charles B. Miczek '46 
Edward A. Mierzejewski '69 
John E. Miller 
Minnesota Mining and 

Manufacturing Co. 
John D. Minott '57 
Robert F. Mizula '80 
Gerald F. Morris '65 
Morton International Inc. 
Paul V. Moruzzi '82 
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory A. 

Moser p 
John S. Mudgett '38 
Frederic H. Mulligan 71 
Charles F. Mulrenan '51 
Duncan W. Munro '51 
William J. Museler '64 
Albert F. Myers '45 
William H. Nagel '53 
Nalco Chemical Company 
Anthony P. Napikoski '80 
Narragansett Electric 

National Starch & Chemical 

Stanley P. Negus Jr. '54 
Robert M. Neumeister '45 
Robert K. Neunherz '55 
New England Business 

Service Inc. 
New York Telephone 

Niagara Mohawk Power 

Arthur E. Nichols Jr. '54 
William R. Nims '66 

Maurice Nirenstein '49 
Norfolk Southern Corporation 
Torbjoern G. Nygaard 75 
Walter 0. Nygaard '38 
Occidental Oil & Gas 

Terence P. O'Coin '83 
Kevin W.O'Connell'71 
Manus H. O'Donnell '83 
John F. Ogorzalek '61 
Michael A. O'Hara 78 
William J. O'Neil '58 
Richard C. Olson '50 
Richard S. Olson '65 
Verner R. Olson '35 
Steven W. Opolski '84 
James F. O'Regan '49 
Irving F. Orrell Jr. '51 
Michael C. Ortolano '84 
Edmund S. Oshetsky '46 
OSRAM Sylvania Inc. 
Joseph J. Osvald '65 
Pacific Telesis Group 
Arthur A. Padovano '65 
Earl G. Page Jr. '43 
John R. Palitsch 74 
William D. Parent 70 
Mr. and Mrs. Juan Miguel 

Parodi p 
John W. Patterson '44 
Bruce F. Paul '56 
Roy A. Pearson Jr. '58 
John A. Pelli 70 
Daniel J. Pender '63 
Alton L. Penniman '51 
Edward G. Perkins 72 
Ronald S. Perzan '59 
John H. Peters III '40 
Donald W. Petersen Jr. '66 
C. Raymond Peterson '44 
Donald F. Pethybridge '38 
Robert J. Petit Jr. '90 
Barrett S. Pett 75 
David J. Pietraszewski '69 
Edward F. Pietraszkiewicz 75 
Eric 0. Pisila '67 
Leonard Polizzotto 70 
Gary G. Pontbriand 74 
Frederick M. Potter '33 
Walter B. Power III '55 
Foster C. Powers '37 
Robert E. Powers '45 
William E. Powers Jr. '44 
PPG Industries Foundation 
Thurl Richard Price 72 
Howard B. Pritz '58 
Provident Mutual Life 

George P. Prozzo '57 
Wilfred L. Prue 72 
John W. Putis Jr. '80 
Quabaug Rubber Company 
Manuel J. Queijo '44 
Raymond J. Quenneville '35 
Martin A. Rafferty '55 
Mr. and Mrs. Ronald 

Redmond p 
Donald P. Reed '28 
Ronald D. Rehkamp '68 
Walter A. Reibling '54 
Norton S. Remmer '60 
John H. Reynolds '62 

Lester J. Reynolds Jr. '50 
Joaquim S.S. Ribeiro '58 
David J. Ripple '58 
George P. Rizzi '59 
Gerald C. Robblee '86 
Harvey G. Roberts '58 
Nancy L. Roberts 77 
James L. Roche '69 
Thomas D. Rockwood 79 
Richard L. Rodier '46 
William C.Rogler Jr. '57 
Rohm and Haas Company 
Stephen W. Rollins '84 
William M. Rolya 70 
F. Paul Ronca '24 
Morton J. Rosenberg p 
Louis J. Rossi '61 
Edward J. Roszko '39 
Paul A. Rougeau '63 
Jennifer E. Udall Roy '84 
Eugene L. Rubin '53 
Walter J. Ruthenburg III '65 
Edwin M. Ryan '41 
John P. Ryan Jr. '81 
Elmer S. Sachse '46 
Donald R. Sanders '49 
Carleton R. Sanford '27 
Donald F. Sanger '62 
Edward A. Saulnier '59 
Alice A. Sayler 74 
Walter C. Scanlon '50 
Warren H. Schafer '38 
Ralph P. Schlenker '57* 
John H. Schmidt '64 
Roland W. Schmitt 
Steven H. Schoen 76 
Bruce E. Schoppe '60 
Michael S. Schultz 75 
Robert J. Schultz '55 
Kenneth G. Schurzky '67 
David L. Schwartz 75 
Richard J. Schwartz 70 
Wayne E. Schweidenback 73 
Robert E. Scott '45 
Robert J. Scott '69 
Roy A. Seaberg Jr. '56 
Stephen Selinger '69 
Joseph A. Senecal '69 
William A. Seubert '54 
Michael D. Shapiro '65 
Jeffrey E. Shaw '68 
Daniel H. Sheingold '48 
Shell Companies Foundation 
Philip C. Sherburne '34 
Philip R. Sherman '88 
Michael J. Shorr '92 
Steven J. Silva 76 
Albert J. Simonti 74 
Robert A. Sinuc '66 
Robert F.H. Sisson '81 
Richard G. Skoglund '65 
Herbert H. Slaughter Jr. '46 
PaulS. Sledzik'61 
Mr. and Mrs. David Sluter p 
Alan F. Smelewicz 79 
Charles S. Smith '35 
Donald W. Smith '54 
Everett P. Smith '40 
Dennis E. Snay '63 
Fred S. Snively '60 
Society of Fire Protection 

Eric W. Soderberg '35 
Software & Systems Inc. 
Donald A. Soorian '46 
Warren A. Spence 74 
George V. Spires III '64 
Warren R. Standley '63 
Charles M. Stasey '57 
Peter G. Stebbins '66 
Michael J. Stephens '57 
Peter J. Stephens '56 
Charles B. Stewart 
Francis E. Stone '40 
Michael Stone '84 
George M. Storti '61 
Howard H. Street 111 '59 
David B. Sullivan '59 
M.F. Sullivan 70 
Lance G. Sunderlin 76 
Sun Life of Canada 
Martin Surabian '69 
Benjamin M. Surowiecki '65 
Alan H. Suydam '67 
Roger W. Swanson '51 
Gerrit S. Swart '55 
Francis B. Swenson '38 
John H. Sylvester '30 
David E. Szkutak 79 
Joan M. Bolduc Szkutak 79 
Alvin E. Tanner '57 
Thomas J. Tantillo 75 
William E. Tanzer '67 
William R. Taylor '55 
Tech Old Timers 
Edwin D. Tenney '59 
Harry Terkanian '40 
Texas Instruments 

The Textron Charitable Trust 
Textron Inc. 
Peter A. Thacher 74 
Thiokol Corporation 
Leo J. Thomas 
John S. Thompson Jr. '69 
Joseph A. Toce 70 
David A. Tone '63 
Gerard A. Toupin '66 
Towers Perrin Company 
Travelers Insurance Company 
Mr. and Mrs. Michael W. 

Treeman p 
Alden F. Tucker '52 
Stephen J. TurekJr. '44 
Turner Corporation 
Oliver R. Underhill Jr. '31 
United Engineers & 

Constructors Inc. 
United Illuminating Company 
John S. Vale '60 
William VanHerwarde 75 
Shirley Hossack Van Winkle 
Vincent P. Vignaly '83 
Kenneth R. Wadland 72 
Richard K. Wagner '63 
William M. Walker '43 
Richard W. Wallahora '68 
Warner-Lambert Company 
Burl S. Watson Jr. '49 
William A. Webb 
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Weig p 
John B. Weigele 73 
J. Richard Weiss Jr. '42 
Axel H. Wendin '26 
John J. West Jr. '88 


Fall 1994 

Westinghouse Education Fund 
Harold E. White '39 
Mark D. Whitley 73 
Morgan M. Whitney Jr. '59 
George E. Whitwell 77 
John L. Wilki Jr. '46 
Bruce G. Willbrant '60 
John H. Williams Jr. '47 
Robert S. Williamson '31 
Mr. and Mrs. John R. Willis p 
Thomas M. Wilsack '84 
Paul C. Wilson 70 
Bruce W.Woodford '61 
Charles E. Woodward '31 
John D. Writer '51 
William E. Wyman '35 
Wyman-Gordon Company 
Yang Xu '91 
Robert A. Yates '57 
Michael H. Zack 73 
Thomas P. Zarrilli 76 
Mary M. Zoeller 73 

$125 to $249 

ABB Combustion Engineering 

Robert B. Abbe '38 

Thomas J. Abdella '81 

Stephanie P. Cullen Abisla '88 

Stephen J. Abrams '53 

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald J. Ackman p 

John S. Adams '92 

Aid Association for Lutherans 

John Albernaz 77 

Stephen A. Albino 77 

Alcan Aluminum Corporation 

Algonquin Gas Transmission 

Christopher J. Alicandro '88 
Edward K. Allen Jr. '33* 
D. Ray Allshouse '49 
David J. Altieri 76 
Paul G. Amazeen '64 
William L. Ames '42 
Analog Devices Inc. 
Chester L. Anderson Jr. '49 
Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson p 
Robert E. Anderson '68 
W. Roger Anderson '51 
Mark G. Andrews 72 
Stephen R. Andruchow '69 
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore 

Angelakis Sr. p 
Sonja M. Annecharico '90 
Edgar C. Ansaldi '32 
David L. Anthony '48 
Daniel L. Appelbaum '88 
Kenneth C. Arifian 72 
Arizona Public Service Company 
Neil W. Armstrong '57 
John E. Arnold 79 
G. Gilbert Ashwell '38 
Frank Aspin '42 
David J. Aspinwall '80 
John H. Atchison Jr. '57 
Augat Inc. 
Anni H. Autio '82 
Michael R. Aylward 73 
Philip Backlund '57 
Henry H. Baker Jr. '50 
Garry P. Balboni 74 
Lawrence K. Barber '37 
Robert J. Baron '67 
Robert E. Barrett '31 
James P. Barry Jr. '87 
John W. Barry 73 

Wayne R. Barry '81 
Patricia M. Craig Barstow '84 
Thomas R. Barstow '83 
Glen A. Bashian '82 
Baxter International Inc. 
Andrew M. Beaudoin '61 
Katherine R. Fowler Becker 75 
Robert H. Becker 74 
Michael C. Beckerle '83 
Beckman Instruments Inc. 
John H. Beckwith '49 
James H. Beech Jr. 76 
Robert D. Behn '63 
Brian N. Belanger '66 
John V. Bellantoni '82 
Richard B. Belmonte 73 
Laurence K. Bennett '88 
Michel R. Benoit 74 
Kenneth C. Benton '63 
Marcia J. Huber Berg 79 
Mrs. Robert Berger 
Michael T. Bergeron '80 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. 

Bergeron p 
Carl G. Bergstrom '35 
Donald P. Bergstrom '68 
Norman A. Bergstrom Jr. '68 
Alexander Berman 11 '82 
Daniel T. Bernatowicz '52 
Scott A. Berry '83 
Kathleen Berthelette '80 
Kent E. Berwick 75 
Glen R. Betz '44 
Bruce E. Beverly 73 
John W. Biddle '60 
Francis J. Bigda '49 
George S. Bingham '40 
Scott W. Bishop '88 
Peter G. Bladen 70 
Bonnie J. Cook Blair '81 
Mr. and Mrs. Gilles M. Blaisp 
Jeffrey E. Blaisdell 73 
A. Michael Blaney 79 
Walter A. Blau Jr. '35 
Douglas P. Bobseine '68 
BOC Group Inc. 
Arthur R. Bodwell '64 
Richard D. Bohigian '63 
Paul A. Bonczyk '59 
Peter J. Bondy '67 
Allan J. Bonomi 75 
Harvey S. Bornstein '88 
David F. Botros '90 
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel G. Boucher p 
Robert L. Bourget '59 
John J. BoursyJr. 71 
Cameron P. Boyd '69 
Jack F. Boyd '39 
William E. Boyd '47 
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. 

Boynton p 
EliG. BraleyJr. '48 
Santo M. Bramande '57 
Douglas W. Brand '80 
Robert B. Brautigam '41 
James E. Breed '45 
Daniel K. Breen 70 
Robert J. Brennan 76 
Todd J. Brennan '80 
Oliver G. Briggs Jr. 70 
Charles J. Brine 72 
Stephen J. Brodeur '68 
Erik A. Brodin 75 
John E. Brogan '50 
Richard Brontoli 73 

Mark W. Brown '82 
Dave C. Brownell '88 
Stephen B. Brownell '64 
Cynthia L. Bruder '81 
David L. Brumback 111 '50 
William A. Brutsch '62 
Chiara L. Whalen Bubin '84 
James R. Buell 73 
Gasper Buffa 74 
Frederick J. Burg '38 
John P. Burgarella '50 
Paul T. Burgarella 79 
Alan D. Burke '55 
Francis X. Burke '92 
John F. Burke 72 
Allan T. Buros Jr. '67 
William E. Burpee '34 
Ronald H. Burrowes '91 
Malcolm S. Burton '40 
George L. Bush '27 
Philip A. Buttacavoli '88 
Peter J. Caffrey '86 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cahill p 
John A. Calcio '87 
Donald R. Campbell '53 
Donald W. Campbell 74 
Mark Candello 75 
David I. Caplan '48 
William E. Carew Jr. '37 
Donald C. Carlson '65 
Hilding O.Carlson '31 
Richard H. Carlson '50 
Carolina Power & Light 

Gerard E. Caron '68 
Matthew J. Caron '88 
Stephen B. Carroll '82 
Gary E. Carver 74 
John P. Casey 76 
Robert R. Cassanelli '62 
Thomas K. Caste '61 
Robert J. Cataldo 77 
Caterpillar Inc. 
Robert E. Cavallaro '65 
Chester Cekala Jr. '81 
Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Ceppetelli p 
Brian D. Chace '69 
James Mon-Her Chen 73 
Ernst E. Chenoweth '64 
Wayne P. Chepren 74 
Paul B. Cherubini '67 
Mr. and Mrs. Bradford L. 

Chetwynd p 
Robert E. Chiabrandy '53 
Francis A. Christiano II '91 
William A. Chudzik '69 
Francis A. Cichowski Jr. '61 

Jennifer A. Pollard Clark 78 
Henry J. Clark III '88 
Marcel H. Clavien '63 
William H.Clogston '91 
Robert N. Cochran '51 
Samuel W. Cocks '48 
James L. Coffin '88 
Carl J. Colangelo '83 
Mr. and Mrs. A. Frederick 

Coleman p 
William V. Collentro '66 
David R. Collette '67 
William L. Collins 78 
John J. Concordia '48 
John F. Conlon 111 '82 
Edward G Conway '33 
David A. Coombe '65 
Thomas R. Copp 71 
John A. Coppola '49 

William D. Coulopoulos '48 
James E. Coyne Jr. '83 
E. Bruce Crabtree '39 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Craig p 
Daniel C. Creamer '68 
William J. Cronin Jr. 77 
Edward D. Cross '40 
Michael E. Crowley '87 
Carlton E.Cruff 71 
Earl R. Cruff '49 
CSC Index Inc. 
Andrew J. Cucchiara 72 
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Cullen p 
Robert B. Cummings '80 
Robert A. Cunneen '81 
William J. Cunneen '51 
Timothy H. Cupples '93 
John M. Cuth 72 
Michael J. Dabkowski 76 
Dermot J. Daley '82 
Paul Dalton '58 

Mr. and Mrs. Matteo D'Anellop 
Scott R. Davidson 77 
James W. Davis 73 
Truman S. Dayton '46 
Paul J. DeAndrea 75 
Chester A. Deane '27 
Robert H. DeFlesco Jr. '68 
Cheryl M. Delay '87 
GaryT. DelGrego'91 
Frank J. DeMarco Jr. '50 
Joseph A. DeMauro '80 
John S. Demko '59 
Mr. and Mrs. David C. 

Dempster p 
Edward C. Dench '39 
Mr. and Mrs. Manuel A. De Sa' p 
Richard R. DesJardins '85 
Anthony V. DeSpirito Jr. '87 
Garrett H. DeVlieg '65 
William J. Dewkett 74 
Edward T. Diamantis '93 
Anna Maria K. Diaz '83 
S. Carlton Dickerman '40 
Norman L. Diegoli '48 
Mark T. Dillon '86 
James P. DiMilia 73 
Laura Zarrella Dion '83 
Charles W. Dodd 74 
Donald W. Dodge '50 
Maryellen Doherty 79 
Marylou D. Place Domino '81 
Patrick J. Donahue 78 
Michael J. Donati '82 
Robert A. Donnan '48 
R.R. Donnelley & Sons 

Robert E. Douglas Jr. '91 
Richard A. Downe '64 
John F. Downes 78 
Edward R. Drechsel Jr. '49 
Kenneth R. Dresser '41 
Donald R. Drew 75 
Raymond G Dube '64 
Curtis T. Dudley '80 
Richard F. duFosse 71 
Mr. and Mrs. Roger M. Dufourp 
Clifford J. Dufresne '86 
Henry J. Dumas Jr. '56 
Mr. and Mrs. John 

Dunkelberg Sr. p 
David E. Dunklee Jr. '63 
Francis X. Dunn '83 
Carl R. Dupre '68 
Richard A. Dziura 78 
James C. Eilenberger '81 
Wlfred C. Ekberg '36 

C. Milton Ekberg '32 
David S.Elario'itl 
Louis G. Elias '86 
William C. Emerson 78 
Richard P. Engert '84 
Jacob N. Erlich '62 
Bruce M. Eteson 72 
Howard S. Ewing '50 
Paul J. Exner 71 
John A. Facca '67 
Robert Fair 75 
Michael T. Falcinelli 79 
Jeffrey A. Farash 76 
F. William Farnsworth '59 
Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Felton p 
Thomas H. Ferguson 73 
Joseph G. Ferrara '67 
Joseph A. Ferrari Jr. '87 
Malcolm E. Ferson '49 
George L. Fetherolf Jr. '44 
Gregg A. Fiddes '85 
James Figucia '88 
Morton S. Fine '37 
WilliamS. Fischer '81 
Joseph B. Fitzgerald '88 
Michael A. Fitzgerald 74 
Mark J. FitzMaurice '81 
Mark D. Flaherty '86 
Pierre A. Fleurant 78 
Thomas J. Foley '89 
John W. Fondahl '45 
Conrad B. Fong 73 
James F. Ford 70 
George H. Forsberg '62 
Paul N. Fortier '84 
MarkC. Fortin '91 
James M. Fowler 78 
Douglas E. Fraher '83 
Gerda Frank 

Pamela M. Baradine Frank 76 
Charles S. Frary 111 '65 
Kenneth C. Fraser '40 
Stanley Friedman '50 
Theodore C. Fritz Jr. '53 
Steven J. Frymer '67 
Robert C. Fuller '81 
Rafael R. Gabarro '51 
Gerard A. Gabriel 79 
Mr. and Mrs. Dana H. Gaebep 
Joseph H. Gaffen 74 
Robert F. Galligan '57 
Edward L. Gallini '57 
Willard A. Gallotte '24 
Kenneth A. Gamache 79 
Nicolas W. Ganzon '91 
Lori Garon p 
George A. Garrison '53 
Richard R. Garstka 77 
William H. Gascoyne '81 
Walter M. Gasek Jr. '59 
Wayne D. Gass '59 
Jay S. Gehrig 78 
David W. Geiger '65 
Hazel A. Fotheringham 

Geraghty '85 
Clinton A. Gerlach '42 
Mr. and Mrs. John Gerry p 
Carl P. Gerstle 78 
David M. Giddings 75 
Raymond G. Giguere '53 
Jeffrey E. Gilbertson '90 
Joseph B. Gill '58 
Michael S. Gipps 73 
Cathryn M. Ricci Giunta '80 
Mr. and Mrs. James Giurleo Jr. p 
Robert W. Glamuzina '68 

WPI Journal 


Albert B. Glenn '34 
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George W.Golding Jr. '43 
Carl L. Goldknopf 72 
Richard L. Goldman '55 
Amaro Goncalves '85 
Willard W. Goodwin Jr. '63 
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 

Dickson B. Goon '86 
Malcolm G. Gordon '48 
Stephen P. Goudreau '90 
Joseph F. Goulart '67 
Philip J. Gow '43 
David L. Gradwell '68 
Robert J. Grande 76 
James J. Grasseschi '86 
Jeffrey W.Gravdahl76 
Stanley W. Graveline '58 
Don E. Green 76 
Lawrence S. Green '61 
Michael C. Greenbaum 73 
Jack B. Greenshields II 71 
Robert A. Gregorio 79 
Robert M. Griffin '58 
Robert J. Grillo 77 
Joseph R. Grimes Jr. '82 
John R. Grimwade 79 
Halsey E. Griswold '51 
Kevin A. Griswold '88 
Jeffrey A. Gross '82 
Prescott E. Grout '46 
J. Edward Guild '36 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert 

Diane M. Gunn 76 
Berton H. Gunter '68 
Gordon T. Gurney '41 
Alan R. Gustafson '57 
Frank G. Gustafson '40 
James B. Gustafson '65 
Lynn L. Gustafson '82 
Richard N. Gustafson '59 
Richard G. Gutowski '89 
William J. Hakkinen 70 
David C. Hall '84 
Kathleen Lies Hallren 79 
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hamelp 
James L. Hammett Jr. '65 
Robert B. Handyside '47 
Robert J. Hansen '80 
Norman M. Hardy '60 
George R. Harris 73 
Harris Corporation 
Donald W. Haskins '33 
Sameer S. Hassan '48 
Daniel J. Hastings Jr. '37 
Philip C. Hayes 73 
Paul F. Hayner Jr. '69 
Howard W. Haynes '38 
Donald B. Hayward '58 
Roswell J. Heald '62 
Kenneth M. Healy '53 
Joseph J. Hearne '46 
James G. Hedrick Jr. '50 
David K. Heebner '67 
William C. Hees '59 
John C. Heid 76 
Barry J. Heitner'76 
William E. Helliwell Jr. 71 
Andrew J. Heman '69 
Allyn W. Hemenway Jr. '57 
Alison P. Carroll Henderson '87 
Robert B. Henderson '84 
Robert W. Henderson '48 

Kenneth E. Hermance Sr. '57 
Rolando A. Herrera '86 
Carl P. Hershfield '48 
Eric B. Hertz 77 
Jeffrey S. Hewes 73 
G. Christopher Heyl '84 
Lisa A. LaChance Heyl '84 
Robert D. Hickey '68 
Lisa L. Lacourse Higgins '87 
Timothy M. Higgins 73 
Victor E. Hill '27 
James B. Hills '69 
Malcolm S. Hinckley '48 
Allen G. Holbrook '80 
Richard G. Holden '44 
Thomas C. Hollocher Jr. '53 
John H. Holmes '68 
Robert M. Holt '66 
John J. Homko 73 
Kenneth A. Homon '62 
Richard B. Hopewell 71 
William H. Hopf '58 
Richard B. Hopkinson 77 
Thomas A. Horan '85 
Robert J. Horansky '68 
Brian M. Horgan '89 
Richard K. Home '48 
Thomas Houston '60 
Robert A. Hoyt '56 
Thomas C. Huard 72 
Arthur J. Hughes 79 
Peter B. Hunt '84 
Mrs. Lawrence K. Hyde '22 
Barry M. Hynds 74 
Jeffrey A. Hynds '69 
Joseph J. lantosca Jr. '83 
James F. Ingraham Sr. 74 
Intel Corporation 
David C. Ireland '81 
Larry Israel '61 
Leighton Jackson '33 
Edward H. Jacobs '42 
Irwin Jacobs '60 
Chester F. Jacobson '59 
William A. Jacques '49 
John J. Janas III 79 
Michael T. Janus '91 
Mary L. Jarvis 74 
Bruce R. Jenket 79 
Stephen G. Jennette 76 
Ankur Jethi '93 
Ronald E. Jodoin '68 
George W. Johnson 71 
Jerry L. Johnson 70 
Kenneth E. Johnson '65 
Mark L. Johnson 76 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Johnson p 
John D. Jolls 70 
Douglas A. Jones '82 
Asher L. Joslin '33 
Edmond H. Judd '50 
Thomas M. June '51 
Jaak Jurison '54 
Charles A. Jutras 74 
Mark A. Jutras '85 
Barry J. Kadets '64 
Edward W. Kaleskas '68 
Stephen E. Kaminski 73 
Stephen J. Kaneb '82 
Jay A. Kapur '91 
Robert Karakoosh '38 
Bryan A. Kashiwa 73 
Francis E. Kearney '50 
Mel G. Keegan '61 
Duncan K. Keill '84 
Keith M. Kelble '91 

Paul W. Kelley 72 
Arne A. Kellstrom '48 
David P. Kelly '82 
Jeffrey T.Kelly '86 
Kevin J. Kelly 75 
Francis E. Kennedy Jr. '63 
Daniel J. Kennefick 79 
Thomas H. Kent 77 
John K. Keough '87 
Roger J. Kern 70 
Otto Kern Jr. '48 
Thomas M. Kiely '68 
Beth Driscoll Kinney 79 
Gary L. Kiontke 75 
Steven J. Kirincich '89 
Donald E. Kirk '59 
Ivan H. Kirsch '60 
Miklos Z. Kiss '90 
Kimberly A. Berg Kitchens '83 
Carlton B. Klein 78 
Charles S. Knothe '66 
Douglas A. Knowles 76 
Russell H. Koelsch '65 
Joseph W. Kolis 79 
Kenneth W. Kolkebeck 72 
Andrew M. Kopach 76 
David T. Kosewski '89 
Chester Kotowski 74 
Darwin W. Kovacs 73 
Michael J. Kozakiewicz 74 
Donald H. Kray 73 
Eric M. Krichbaum '82 
Gary R. Krumpholz 78 
Roger W. Kuenzel '59 
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kuffel Jr. p 
Frederick J. Kulas 73 
Mr. and Mrs. Albert P. 
Kupcinskas Jr. p 
Mitsuo Kuwada '83 
Raymond F. LaBine '53 
Robert C. Labonte '54 
Joyce M. Lachance '82 
Raymond J. Laferriere '47* 
Michael E. LaFleur '82 
Bruce L. Lamarre 76 
Joan M. Landry '85 
Steven J. Landry '87 
Theresa B. Langevin 79 
Jeffrey W. Laprise '85 
Ernest A. Larose '50 
David E. Larson '91 
Kent D. Larson '80 
Jane I. Lataille 75 
Paul G. Laurienzo '81 
David J. Lavallee '89 
Lawrence R. Lavallee '59 
Jacqueline Lawn p 
Kent C. Lawson 70 
Aaron W. Laznovsky '91 
Mark F. Lefebvre '80 
Michael E. Legere '89 
James I. Leighton 77 
Anthony F. Leketa '69 
LeoE. Lemere Jr. '51 
Mr. and Mrs. James Lemons p 
Roger R. Lesieur '61 
John P. Letourneau '80 
Nathan R. Levine '36 
Stephen C. LeViness '82 
Elliott W. Lewis '52 
John R. Lewis '65 
Jeffrey C. Lindberg 74 
Donald E. Lindsay Jr. '84 
Mitchell J. Liro Jr. 77 
James F. Liston Jr. '80 

Roger A. Litman '58 
Joseph W. Little '61 
Robert S. Lloyd '39 
David J. Lodigiani 79 
Calvin F. Long '46 
Lisa A. Longwell '84 
Gregory Loukedes '93 
Bernard A. Lovelace '38 
Russell A. Lovell Jr. '40 
Malcolm E. Low '61 
Eugene F. Lowe Jr. '30 
David B. Luber '65 
Alvin A. Luce '41 
Terrence P. Luddy 73 
Raymond K. Lum '80 
David A. Luoma '62 
David N. Lyons '62 
Kenneth A. Lyons '46 
Kenneth R. MacDonald 78 
Stephen N. MacDonald '90 
Otis E. Mace '31 
Timothy J. Mackie 70 
Anne L. Madara 76 
Neil M. Mager '82 
John V. Magnano '66 
Fred C. Magnuson Jr. '57 
Joseph J. Magri 73 
Mr. and Mrs. John F. Mahoneyp 
Marc F. Mahoney 76 
William C. Maine '36 
Stephen A. Maiorano 73 
A. George Mallis '38 
Allan R. Mandelin '44 
Paul A. Mandeville '80 
John C. Mangiagli Jr. 76 
Harry S. Mankey '50 
John F. Mar '83 
Michael A. Marando '90 
John C. Margo '50 
Stephen A. Mariano '85 
Anthony J. Marino '87 
Marion Merrell Dow Inc. 
Edward R. Markert '34 
Alfred J. Marotta 79 
Hannah H. Martel 79 
Joseph A. Marubbio '61 
Frederick W. Marvin '46 
Suresh S. Masand 74 
Edward J. Masterson '88 
Ronnie R. Materniak 75 
Scott E. Mathews '82 
Philip A. Mattson '68 
William H. Mawdsley 73 
Jeffrey M. May '89 
Richard G. Mayer '40 
Peter D. McDermott 73 
David McEwan '39 
Steven L. McGrath 74 
David F. McGuigan 74 
Michael G. Mclntyre '84 
Wallace McKenzie Jr. 73 
JohnD. McKeogh'51 
William R. McLeod Jr. '58 
Thomas G. McNeice 76 
Kevin M. McQuaid '67 
Milton Meckler '54 
Jill E. Fabricant Meier '80 
Bernard J. Meister '62 
David D. Melanson '93 
Douglas L. Melanson '83 
Jennifer L. Mellone '86 
Frank D. Meoli 70 
Ronald L. Merrill '59 
Frederick P. Mertens '57 
Paul J. Messias '90 
John R. Messier 76 

Robert A. Meyer '52 
Stanley L. Miller '51 
William L.Millette Jr. '88 
Philip A. Minotti '89 
William P. Mitnik '34 
Harry H. Mochon Jr. '49 
Richard A. Molongoski '81 
Ralph K. Mongeon Jr. '55 
Donald K. Montgomery '83 
Jeffrey H. Moody 75 
Thomas G. Moog '87 
Herbert S. Moores '61 
John L. Mooshian '29 
Stephen J. Morgan '82 
George R. Morin '46 
Robert P. Morin 75 
Elizabeth A. Morrison '81 
Homer R. Morrison '35 
William F. Mufatti '51 
Robert B. Mulholland Jr. '60 
Peter J. Mulvihill 78 
Douglas C. Murdoch '91 
Barbara G. Weiss Murphy '81 
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Murphy p 
Eugene L. Murphy '68 
Walter J. Mussoni '49 
Russell B. Naber 74 
Herbert P. Narbeshuber '53 
Ronald F. Naventi '66 
The Nellie Mae Fund 
John L. Nenninger '80 
Thomas A. Nery 76 
Robert P. Neville '82 
Richard J. Newhouse 75 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Newton p 
Donald L. Nichols '46 
Patrick J. Nicholson 78 
Charles R. Nickerson 74 
Mr. and Mrs. Terence 

Nickolette p 
Herman A. Nied '50 
Roland L. Nims '35 
Helge V. Nordstrom '50 
Ronald A. Norris 77 
Northern Telecom Inc. 
Augustus J. Nunes'81 
Bruce E. Nunn 73 
Allison J. Huse Nunn 73 

Paul G. Nystrom '41 
Michael W. Oakes 77 
Gunilla A. Oberg '93 
David F. Oberhauser '90 
Colleen A. O'Connor '80 
Thomas J. O'Connor '59 
Robert J. Oftring '81 
Edward F. O'Hara '68 
John W. Oldham '87 
Janet L. O'Leary '84 
Olin Corporation Charitable 

David N. Olson '57 
Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Olson p 
Richard C. Olson '67 
James A. O'Neill '93 
Bruce R. Orenstein 79 
Edward M. Ortman '89 
Ronald C. Ouellet '80 
Andrew J. Owen '89 
Owens-Corning Fiberglas 

Edward W. Pacek '41 
Michael R. Pacek '82 
Steven S. Packard 72 
Richard H. Palm '69 
Danny E. Palubeckis '89 
Mark K. Pankoski '80 


Fall 1994 

Armand L. Paquette '26 

Donald F. Rapp '69 

Lionel H. Seccombe Jr. '45 

Shawn L. Sullivan 72 

Katherine M. Kruczek 

Stephen A. Parent 79 

Nikitas D. Rassias 72 

Joseph J. Sedor '87 

Sun Microsystems Inc. 

Vignaly '84 

Elizabeth Roughan Parker '84 

Lionel C. Reed '35 

JohnB. Seguin'51 

Robert F. Sutherland Jr. '57 

Paul R. Vilandre '58 

Gordon M. Parker '61 

Morgan R. Rees '61 

David J. Seibel '85 

Kathryn A. Spieler Swain '84 

Andrew J. Viszmeg '85 

Robert E. Parker '64 

David A. Reeves '80 

Ralph E. Sellars Jr. '58 

Edward 1. Swanson '45 

Spiro L. Vrusho '57 

Russell W. Parks '41 

Melissa A. Young Reeves '80 

Stephanie J. Chapman Sequin '84 

Mr. and Mrs. John F. 

Mark D. Waddell 76 

Robert M. Pascucci 72 

John L. Reid '51 

Lisabeth T. Shablin '86 

Sweeter Sr. p 

Michael L. Wagner 77 

Arthur D. Patten '80 

Laurent O. Rheault 79 

Arnold G. Sharp '53 

Willard M. Sweetser Jr. '63 

Thornton H.Waite 71 

Alvin B. Pauly '69 

Christine Ribeiro '89 

Peter M. Sharpe '80 

Kenneth A. Swenson 78 

Kevin F. Wall 76 

John D.Payne '81 

John C. Ricciardi '82 

Kathleen E. Molony Shea 77 

Edward T. Swierz '47 

John M. Wallace '62 

James D. Pearl '82 

Charles M. Richardson '46 

Neil M. Shea '67 

Robert C. Sykes 73 

Francis J. Walsh Jr. '80 

Robert J. Pearson '80 

Donald B. Rising '57 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shea p 

Anne-Marie Sylvia '81 

Mary Foley Walsh '85 

John F. Peavey '39 

Elaine M. Kokernak Ritchie '82 

Joseph P. Sheehan '48 

Frank Barry Sylvia Sr. '64 

Yee Kwok Timothy Wang '90 

Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Pelletierp 

Mr. and Mrs. John Rixon p 

Robert W. Sherburne 78 

Alfred G. Symonds '65 

Kathleen A. Warburton 79 

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Pence p 

Joseph J. Roberts '80 

Craig Sherman '80 

Norman P. Szamocki 74 

Robert H. Warburton Jr. 78 

Mrs. Julian B. Pendleton '25 

James A. Robertson '26 

Howard Sherry '65 

Kenneth H. Szeflinski 74 

Daniel P. Ward '84 

William F. Perkins '80 

Bruce S. Robinson 70 

Howard A. Sholl '60 

Edward A. Szkutak Jr. '80 

Louis A. Wargo '64 

Edward B. Pero '66 

John W. Roche IV '80 

John R. Shotliff '71 

Karla J. Twedt Szkutak '84 

Jerry H. Warren '80 

Andrew T. Perreault '69 

Paul A. Rollo '87 

Siemens-Allis Inc. 

C. Stephen Szlatenyi Jr. 73 

Brian G. Wasko '82 

John J. Perrone '67 

Harvey J. Rosenfeld '59 

Ojars M. Silarais '65 

John J. Szostek '69 

John W. Watkins 75 

Edward C. Perry Jr. '47 

Sheldon W. Rothstein '61 

Mr. and Mrs. Deborah Silvestri p 

Jeffrey L. Szwarc '80 

Steven C. Watson 71 

Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 

Thomas H. Rothwell '53 

Ronald Simmons 75 

Stanley Szymanski '64 

Leonard J. Weckel '66 

Russell E. Person '63 

Phillip J. Roux 79 

William P. Simmons '41 

Thomas Szymanski 73 

Stanley C. Wells Jr. '60 

Neal D. Peterson '51 

James E. Roy Jr. '67 

Arthur G. Simonian '87 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Table p 

Andrew P. Wemple 74 

Paul A. Peterson 78 

Steven H. Roy '83 

Harry W. Simpson '58 

Bradford Tannebring 78 

Ronald P. Wen '88 

Richard M. Peterson 74 

Frederick F. Roys '82 

J. Robert Sims '90 

Ronald D. Tarallo Jr. '86 

Mark A. Wendell 74 

Stephen W. Petroff '68 

James F. Rubino 74 

Charles J. Sisitsky '67 

Daniel P. Tarkiainen '80 

Richard T. Wester '60 

Petrolite Corporation 

David J. Rubinstein '82 

Neil J. Skidell '87 

Phyllis K.Tarnoffp 

Western Massachusetts 

Peter R. Picard '67 

Smil Ruhman '49 

Richard E. Skowronski 78 

Michael G. Tashjian '34 

Electric Company 

Wayne L. Pierce '68 

Donald W. Rule '69 


Caroline A. Tatara '85 

Richard V. Whalen '80 

Michael D. Piispanen '88 

Jean M. Reny Runge 75 

Stephen R. Slavick 73 

Norman J. Taupeka '58 

Stephen J. Wheaton '85 

Arthur L. Pike '48 

James D. Russell 77 

Ellen M. Sloan '89 

Melinda F. Taylor '87 

Mrs. Alfred J. Wheeler '51 

Walter E.Pillartz Jr. '61 

William A. Russell '26 

Mr. and Mrs. Sylvia Smit p 

Robert D.Taylor '31 

John J. Wheeler '49 

Edward W. Piltzecker Jr. '67 

Erin T. Ryan '89 

Charles E. Smith Jr. '82 

Eugene J. Teir '33 

Terry A. Wheeler '82 

Mr. and Mrs. Christos 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rzasap 

David E. Smith 79 

Tenneco Inc. 

Elliot F. Whipple '67 


Wayne M. Saari '82 

David K. Smith '67 

Douglas A. Tenney '86 

Gordon P. Whitcomb '34 

Robert E. Pizzano Jr. '85 

Jacob A. Sacks '36 

Gregory F.X. Smith 78 

Andrew D. Terwilleger '62 

Robert F. White '64 

Suzanne C. Piatt 

Patricia A. Pfeiffer Salamone 75 

Myron H. Smith '60 

Donald W. Thompson '50 

Mark J. Whitney 74 

Robert T. Pleines '68 

Edmund J. Salate '48 

Russell M. Smith '47 

Ronald E. Thompson '52 

Howard P. Whittle '54 

James R. Plummer '91 

Mark F. Samek 72 

Stephen E. Smith '87 

Walker T. Thompson '62 

Howard A. Whittum '34 

Joseph F. Pofit '46 

Ellsworth M. Sammet '49 

Stephen H. Smith '66 

Wallace B. Thompson Jr. '49 

Richard M. Wholey '88 

Guenther T. Pollnow '66 

Edward G. Samolis '52 

SmithKline Beecham 

John B. Thornton '93 

Stanley M. Wilbur '62 

Daniel T. Pond '86 

Harry W. Sandberg '45 


Michael C. Thorogood 77 

Dean C. Wilcox 78 

Kenneth A. Poole 78 

Douglas R. Sandor '81 

Richard F. Socha 73 

Ronald S. Tiberio '92 

James C. Wilkinson '91 

Albert P. Popoli 73 

Donald E. Sands '51 

Thomas J. Socha 74 

Thomas C. Tillman '85 

Franklyn Williams '44 

Donald G. Post '53 

Deborah M. Sanna '93 

Walter H. Sodano '40 

Brian M. Timura 78 

David E. Wilson '66 

Bettina Tuttle Potter 78 

Mr. and Mrs. Carl G. 

Richard A. Sojka 72 

Mark S. Tino '80 

John E. Wilson '46 

David F. Pouliot 73 

Santesson p 

Stanley W. Sokoloff '59 

John E. Titus '80 

Joyce C. Wilson 73 

A. Hamilton Powell '37 

Mark J. Sarmiento '92 

Thomas R. Sokolowski '64 

Mark C. Toomey '91 

Roger D. Wilson 70 

John D. Powers 72 

Lawrence A. Savage '81 

Harry A. Sorensen '30 

The Toro Company 

William M. Wilson '35 

Stephen J. Powlishen 74 

Brian J. Savilonis 72 

Jack E. Speight '84 

James H. Torrey Jr. '80 

Jeffrey S.Wnek 75 

William F. Pratt '67 

Edward A. Sawtell '38 

Leslie A. Reed Spiars '89 

Melissa J. Towler '93 

Robert A. Wojciak '87 

Irvin S. Press 74 

David E. Sawyer 76 

Gary M. Staab '86 

Terry G. Tracy '65 

Stephen J. Wojciak 75 

Maurice Pressman '38 

Randall P. Saxton '26 

Standex International 

Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. 

Robert F.Wolff Jr. '58 

Charles B. Price 111 76 

Raymond W. Scanlon 72 


Triantafillou p 

Daniel G. Wong '84 

Robert D. Price '85 

Elton J. Sceggel '42 

Brian K. Standley '88 

Paul G. Trudel '67 

Ronald W. Wood '65 

Carl B. Pritchett Jr. '46 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. 

Stanhome Inc. 

Steve A. Tuch '82 

Kimball R. Woodbury '44 

The Prudential Insurance 

Schachner p 

Mr. and Mrs. Michael 

Hugh K. Tufts Jr. '54 

Thomas 0. Woodbury '81 


Scott E. Schaefer '85 


Daniel Turner '64 

Gordon G. Woodfall 74 

MichaelS. Przybyla '81 

Richard S. Schaufeld 76 

Thomas S. Staron Jr. '62 

Lee D. Turner 74 

Robert C. Wright '36 

Milosh T. Puchovsky '88 

Herbert S. Schiller 77 

John E. Stauffer '60 

Paul W. Ulcickas '63 

Lisa M. Wylie '80 

Mr. and Mrs. Gaetano Pucillo p 

Richard G. Schmitt '52 

Richard H. Steeves 70 

Union Camp Corporation 

John H. Wyman '36 

Charles C. Puffer '35 

Timothy R. Schmoyer '87 

Carl J. Stefanik '62 

The Upjohn Company 

Joseph A. Yanikoski '87 

Jay J. Pulli 75 

Henry A. Schneck '65 

Robert Stein 71 


Yankee Gas Services Company 

Mr. and Mrs. Madhukar 

Kurt A. Schneider '51 

Kenneth J. Steinhardt 78 

The UPS Foundation 

Jon A. Zapolski '92 


Edward D. Schrull 72 

Robert A. Stengard '45 

David S. Ure '87 

Arthur Zavarella '30 

William U. Pursell Jr. '59 

Raymond W. Schuh '37 

Jeanne Travers Stetson '86 

Richard M.Urella '81 

Robert E. Zawistowski 78 

Donald W. Putnam '32 

Roy N. Schumacher '80 

Paul B. Stewart '60 

David J. Usher '64 

Louis W. Zitnay 70 

Stephen M. Pytka '68 

Eric L. Schwartz '84 

Mary-Jane Hall Stimson '81 

Alan M. Vale '92 

Frank J. Zone Jr. 70 

Michael P. Quarrey '83 

Andrew D. Schwarz '86 

Philip B. Stiness '84 

Erik C. Van Bork '84 

Zurn Industries Inc. 

Robert K. Quattrochi '49 

Science Applications 

Robert A. St. Jean '60 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. 

Peter L. Quinn '89 

International Corporation 

Donald F. Stockwell '51 

Van Kirkp 

Richard P. Quintin '55 

Charles P. Scopelitis 73 

Thomas A. Storey '80 

Arsenio Vargas '88 

Peter Rado 70 

Gregory A. Scott 77 

Lisa Krauss Strampach '80 

Robert P. Vary '91 

Mr. and Mrs. Sheikh Rahman p 

Richard A. Scott '62 

Stephanie A. Strohbeck '84 

Richard D. Ventre 74 

Surinder S. Rana '84 

Richard A. Seagrave '48 

Michael R. Strong '93 

Andrew F. Vesper '85 

Ronald P. Ranauro '83 

Robert P. Seaton '43 

Peter J. Sugda'61 

JosephP.VignalyJr. '82 

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WPI Journal 




David Brooks, Alison Chisolm, Diane Benison, Michael Dorsey, 
Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trash 

It's been more than three decades since Rachel Carson's Silent 
Spring awakened the world's environmental consciousness. 
In that time, hundreds of alumni have used their WPI education 
as a stepping-stone to rewarding careers in environmental 
management and protection. Here are some of their stories. 






Advance Word Michael Dorsey 

Environmental education covers the academic spectrum at WPI. 


A disappointing celebration; Marietta Fletcher also a Sinclair; thanks for the Internet 
story; promote, but don't mandate, the F.E.; Fine's article "timely and necessary." 

Ingenuities Michael Dorsey 

The World Wide Web: future shock meets the Internet; building a new home on the Web; 

new WPI network aims to get alumni on the Internet; a vital connection for job hunters. 

Explorations Angela Innamorati 

Student projects In Thailand, Botswana, the Tyrol and Puerto Rico focus on 

environmental issues. 

Investigations Michael Dorsey 

Tackling the scourge of heavy metals: a tale of three research projects; finding 
out how deep-sea fishes follow their noses; how poor decisions can add up to 
global problems. 

22 Final Word Joan Killough-Miller 
The search for Everett Leach. 

Cover: Illustration by Robert G. Cuoco. Story on page 18. Opposite: By 
good fortune, a great deal of this winter's sparse snowfall arrived in time 
for the 1995 Winter Carnival, held recently. The WPI community enjoyed 
such wintry activities as snow sculpting and frozen turkey bowling 
(seen here). Photo by Jason Philbrook '97. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor. Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller, Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • 
Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • James S. Demetry '58 • William J. Firla Jr. '60 • William R. Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • 
Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester. 
Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press. Burlington, Vt. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do nol necessarily relied the opinions of the editors or official WPI policies We welcome letters to the editor. Address correspondence to the Editor. WPIJoumal. 
WPI. 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280. Phone: (508) 831-5609. Fax: (508) 831-5604. Electron:, Mail (Internet). mwdorsey®mpi edu Postmaster If undelweruble. please send Form 3579 to the 
address above. Do not return publication Entire contents © 1995. Worcester Polytechnic Institute 


Education Covers 
the Academic 


By Michael Dorsey 

In this special issue of the WPI Journal we 
look at the field of environmental science 
and engineering. Starting on page 9, we 
report on four projects with environ- 
mental themes completed by WPI under- 
graduates at the far corners of the globe. 
Beginning on page 12, you'll find profiles of 
five current research projects that revolve 
around ecology, environmental engineering 
and environmental psychology. Finally, 
starting on page 18, we present eight stories 
of WPI graduates who have built interesting 
careers in the environmental arena. 

There is, of course, another side to the 
environmental field at WPI — environmental 
education. Since the dawn of the WPI Plan in 
the early 1970s, students have been able to 
take courses, pursue undergraduate majors, 
and complete projects in environmental 
studies. In the early days of the Plan, most of 
the courses and majors were pursued 
through the Interdisciplinary Studies 
Division (now the Interdisciplinary and 
Global Studies Division). Since then, the 
environment has become the focus for pro- 
grams centered in eight academic depart- 
ments and programs (including Interdis- 
ciplinary and Global Studies), and oppor- 
tunities for students to concentrate their 
course and project work in an environmen- 
tal discipline have grown dramatically. 

WPI's 1995-96 undergraduate catalog 
devotes two pages to describing the range of 

environmental offerings available at the 
undergraduate level. Emphasis areas in envi- 
ronmental engineering exist in the Chemical 
Engineering Department, the Manufacturing 
Engineering Program, the Mechanical 
Engineering Department, and the recently 
renamed Civil and Environmental Engi- 
neering Department. 

The civil and environmental program 
focuses on water quality control systems re- 
lated to water supply and waste treatment. 
The chemical engineering program intro- 
duces students to areas like pollution pre- 
vention, environmentally friendly packaging, 
and the abatement of air, water and soil pol- 
lution. In manufacturing engineering and 
mechanical engineering, the emphasis is on 
designing products to minimize environmen- 
tal impact and on environmentally con- 
scious manufacturing. 

Other emphasis areas have been created 
in the departments of Biology and Biotech- 
nology, Humanities and Arts, and Social Sci- 
ence and Policy Studies. The focus areas in 
biology and biotechnology include ecology 
and environmental biology. In humanities 
and arts, students may pursue a degree in 
literature, history, or philosophy and reli- 
gion with an environmental orientation, 
preparing for careers in such fields as law, 
business, government service, environmen- 
tal activism and journalism. 

In social science and policy studies, stu- 
dents can focus on environmental issues as 
part of any of the department's three exist- 
ing degree programs: economics, economics 
and technology, and society, technology and 
policy. Currently in development is a new 
degree program called environmental policy 
and development. 

Winter 1995 

Sustainable development will be a theme 
that permeates the new major program, 
says Michael J. Radzicki, associate professor 
of social science and policy studies and one 
of the creators of the new major. "The philo- 
sophy of sustainable development is: don't 
use renewable resources faster than they 
can be substituted for; don't create any 
more pollution than can be assimilated by 
the environment; and don't encourage more 
growth than the environment can support. 
In essence, the idea is to tie your stan- 
dard of living to the carrying capacity 
of the environment." 

Students will explore the require- 
ments for and difficulties of sustain- 
able development in a number of 
ways. For example, they will use a 
computer simulation being developed 
by an Interactive Qualifying Project 
team. In the game, players attempt to 
run a nation on a sustainable basis, 
deciding how much of the country's 
labor resources to allocate to things 
like manufacturing and renewable 
resource stewardship. Through pro- 
jects like this one, students at WPI 
can explore real-world environmental 
problems and issues and get valuable 
insight into the kinds of social, tech- 
nological and political interactions 
they are likely to encounter in their 

Each year, dozens of students 
complete IQPs, Sufficiencies and 
Major Qualifying Projects with envi- 
ronmental themes. Most are students 
who do not intend to pursue an envi- 
ronmental degree program or empha- 
sis, but who have a strong interest in 
understanding the potential ramifications of 
the environment in their careers and lives. 

The topics for these projects are far- 
ranging. Of the 12 broad thematic divisions 
in which IQPs are categorized, four touch 
directly on environmental issues: Envi- 
ronment and Technology; Energy and Re- 
sources; Regional Studies and Planning; and 
Economic Growth, Stability and Planning. 
Project teams working in these divisions in 
recent years have looked at the effective- 
ness of automobile recycling, studied atmos- 
pheric pollution in Athens, and prepared 
environmental curricular materials for local 
public schools. 

Through WPI's corporate project cen- 
ters, MQP teams have tackled many environ- 
mental problems of concern to managers at 
companies like Norton, Raytheon, Polaroid, 
Wyman-Gordon and Monsanto. At Norton, 

students have helped the company experi- 
ment with converting its fleet of vehicles to 
run on natural gas and helped find ways to 
reclaim and reuse abrasives used to make 
grinding wheels. At Raytheon, students have 
helped find alternatives to the ozone-deplet- 
ing chemicals used in metal cleaning and fin- 
ishing processes. 

"These projects are very popular," notes 
Richard D. Sisson Jr., professor and head of 
the Manufacturing Engineering Program. 

'These projects are 

very popular. That's a 

reflection of the interest 

students have in the 
environment. They want 

to do some good for 

society and they feel this 

is something to which an 

engineer can make an 

important contribution 

— Richard D. Sisson Jr. 


"That's a reflection of the interest students 
have in the environment. They want to do 
some good for society and they feel this is 
something to which an engineer can make 
an important contribution." 

Increasingly, students are traveling over- 
seas to complete such projects. The stories 
starting on page 9 provide just a few exam- 
ples. Some of WPI's international project 
centers, including the Ecuador Project Center 
in Guayaquil and the Venice Project Center, 
were created, in part, to address environ- 
mental issues, but opportunities to pursue 
projects with environmental themes exist 
around the world. 

A recent grant from the Fund for the 
Improvement of Post-Secondary Education 
is making it easier for students to do envi- 
ronmentally related projects overseas— and 
for students from overseas to complete envi- 

ronmental studies in this country, according 
to Lance Schachterle, assistant provost for 
academic initiatives and principal investiga- 
tor on the grant. The grant supported the 
creation of the United States/European 
Community Environmental Projects Coali- 
tion, which is being run by WPI in coopera- 
tion with Howard University, the Technical 
University in Darmstadt, Germany, the Eind- 
hoven University of Technology in Holland, 
and the University of Limerick in Ireland. 

WPI students who travel to Europe 
are likely to learn about some of the 
most comprehensive environmental 
laws in the world, Sisson says. "A few 
European nations, including Germany, 
essentially say that a company owns 
its products for the entire life of those 
products. If you buy a computer, the 
company has to take it back when you 
are done with it and recycle or reuse 
it. This is something our engineers 
need to become familiar with." 

Funding from the AT&T Founda- 
tion is supporting an innovative effort 
to teach students about the impor- 
tance of multidisciplinary teams in 
manufacturing enterprises through 
the use of case studies (WPI Journal, 
Spring 1994). One of the studies, 
developed by Sharon Johnson, associ- 
ate professor of management, James 
O'Shaughnessy, professor of civil 
engineering, and Sisson, looked at a 
waste elimination program developed 
by Hyde Manufacturing Co. in South- 
bridge, Mass., a maker of household 
tools and knives. 

Not all of the environmentally 
related course and project work takes 
place at the undergraduate level, of course. 
WPI currently offers master's and Ph.D. pro- 
grams in environmental engineering through 
the Civil and Environmental Engineering 
Department (in fact, about half of the depart- 
ment's graduate students are pursuing envi- 
ronmental degrees). Students also frequent- 
ly complete master's theses and doctoral 
dissertations on environmental topics in 
many other departments. In addition, cours- 
es that delve into environmental issues are 
offered in a number of disciplines. In Manu- 
facturing Engineering, for example, a new 
course developed and taught by Sisson and 
O'Shaughnessy introduces students to envi- 
ronmental issues in manufacturing. 

"This course is quite timely," O'Shaugh- 
nessy says, "because we are seeing great 
changes in manufacturing and environmental 
engineering. The chemical industry has said 

WPI Journal 

that in the 1990s, the cost of environmental 
compliance will exceed the cost of raw 
materials in manufacturing. But even more, 
industry is coming to see that minimizing 
waste and pollution makes good business 
sense. When you recover a waste and 
reuse it, you spend less on raw materials 
and on equipment to treat waste." 

O'Shaughnessy, who has served as 
chairman of the American Society of Civil 
Engineers Task Force on Pollution Preven- 
tion, obtained funding from the Massa- 
chusetts Toxic Use Reduction Institute at 
the University of Massachusetts to teach 
courses on toxic use reduction through 
WPI's Continuing Education Office. Also 
participating in the courses, which help 
companies comply with the Massachu- 
setts Toxic Use Reduction Act, were 
Sharon Johnson and Raymond Lizotte, an 
engineer at Texas Instruments. 

At the undergraduate level, O'Shaugh- 
nessy is team leader for environmental 
course and project materials being de- 
veloped by the Realization Consortium, 
which is pioneering a new approach to 
engineering education with a major grant 
from the federal Technology Reinvest- 
ment Program (WPI Journal, Spring 1994). 
Led by WPI, the consortium also includes 
Cornell, MIT, North Carolina A&T and 

"I'll be focusing on pollution preven- 
tion and waste minimization in the materi- 
als I'll be developing," O'Shaughnessy 
says. "The idea is to put together course 
modules that can be used at any of the 
participating schools — in fact, at any 
school that teaches engineering and 
design. We eventually hope to put these 
materials on the World Wide Web (see 
page 6) to make them widely available." 

With topics like waste minimization, 
pollution prevention and design for the 
environment to ignite students' interest, 
O'Shaughnessy says the job of getting stu- 
dents excited about environmental issues 
is becoming easier. It's a change he says 
he's seen in his own career as an environ- 
mental educator and consultant. 

"Until recently, I was always reactive, 
working at the end of the pipe to clean up 
the waste generated by manufacturers," 
he says. "When you talked to industry 
about waste treatment, they became 
defensive. Now we can be proactive. We 
talk about reducing waste and saving 
money, and industry gets excited. That 
gets me excited too. Now our job is to 
pass that excitement on to our students." 


A Disappointing 

To the Editor: 

Upon receiving the Spring 1994 WPI 
Journal, I looked forward to reading 
"Memories of a Quarter Century: 
Celebrating 25 Years of Women at WPI." 
When my husband, Paul '68, attended 
WPI, there were no women students. As 
the parent of two daughters, Jaime (Yale 
'98) and Erin (a high school junior), it was 
interesting to look at the history of 
women at WPI. 

However, I was upset to note that in 
your "celebration" of 25 years of women's 
accomplishments, you were unable to 
highlight the accomplishments of any 
women in any of the accompanying arti- 
cles. I counted 12 separate articles about 
men and 31 pictures of successful men 
(along with a photo of one lone woman). 
Were no women graduates in 25 years 
worthy of mention? Have no women been 
successful enough to highlight, especially 
in this celebration issue? What kind of 
message are we sending our daughters, 
female students and female alumni — that 
their accomplishments just don't rate? 
What a disappointment! 

Susan Arruda 
Wilmington, Del. 

Marietta Fletcher 
Also a Sinclair 

To the Editor: 

What a wonderful surprise it was to see 
the picture of my great-grandmother, 
Marietta Fletcher, at the top of page 12 in 
the Spring 1994 WPI Journal. My mother, 
still alive in her 90s, remembers her grand- 
mother with loving affection. 

Marietta S. Fletcher was indeed one of 
the first female members of the WPI facul- 
ty. Her education included an extended 
visit in the home of a German family, where 
she gained a deep sense of familiarity with 
Germany and its people. She taught 
English, French and German at WPI (then 
the Worcester Free Institute). In 1870, only 
a few years after the founding of the 
Institute, she married Professor John E. 
Sinclair, who taught mathematics at WPI. 
While Marietta's tenure as a teacher lasted 
only a few years, her husband remained 
with WPI for nearly four decades as head of 

the Mathematics Department. 

It is unfortunate that your article did 
not mention Marietta Fletcher's married 
name of Sinclair. I believe she married dur- 
ing the period when she was teaching. The 
arrival of her first child, my grandmother 
Luise Sinclair, caused her to leave her 
teaching post. 

Incidentally, Marietta's (and John 
Sinclair's) descendants have maintained a 
close relationship with WPI. They include 
myself, Louis C. Smith (WPI Class of 1872), 
David S. Cummings '72 and Stephen J. 
Cummings '76. I serve on the President's 
Advisory Council. The present John E. 
Sinclair Professorship at WPI was funded 
by Professor Sinclair's life insurance, the 
beneficiary of which was Marietta, until her 

Winter 1995 

death. Also, the manufacturing company 
started by Professor Sinclair, now called 
Lowell Corp., has created the John K. 
Sinclair Scholarship Fund at WPI. 

Thank you for the article "0 Pioneers," 
which put the highlight on my great-grand- 
mother. May her memory be preserved for 
years to come. 

Henry S. "Pete" Cummings '50 
Holden, Mass. 

Thanks for the 
Internet Story 

To the Editor: 

Thank you for your excellent article on the 
Internet in the Summer 1994 WPI Journal. I 
am a member of the "slide-rule generation" 
who is trying to educate myself in the ways 
of computers. Any help I can get is very wel- 

While I have always enjoyed reading WPI 
publications, this article is the most person- 
ally useful one I have read in the Journal dur- 
ing the past 39 years. Please include more of 
this type of article in the future. 

Philip C. Jones '55 
Charlestown, R.I. 

Promote, But Don't 
Mandate, the F.E. 

To the Editor: 

I read with great interest Morton Fine's arti- 
cle in the Summer 1994 WPI Journal suggest- 
ing that the ABET accreditation process for 
engineering curriculums include a mandate 
that all seniors sit for the Fundamentals of 
Engineering (F.E.) examination ("Academia 
is Shortchanging New Engineers"). While 1 
understand the arguments advanced by the 
author, I disagree with his conclusions. 

The thrust of the article is that practic- 
ing engineers should see that new gradu- 
ates are required to take the first step 
toward registration, whether they wish to 
or not. The article stresses the difficulties 
imposed by waiting beyond graduation to 
start the process and appears to define reg- 
istration as a prerequisite to a successful 

Having waited until 12 years after gradua- 
tion to take the F.E. exam, 1 will admit that it 
is made more difficult by the passage of 
time. In my case, the delay was not due to 
trepidation about taking the exam. Rather, it 

reflected the reality that, as an engineer and 
manager in a large manufacturing company, 
there was no benefit at all to my being regis- 
tered. Only after I decided to redirect my 
career toward consulting did any benefits 
arise. While the delay did not enhance my 
taking the exam, it did not prevent me from 
preparing for and passing it, nor would it do 
so to others. 

In fact, a greater impediment to registra- 
tion for individuals in a manufacturing envi- 
ronment is obtaining the letters of recom- 
mendation from P.E.s familiar with the indi- 
vidual's work, which must be submitted as 
part of the application process. I know sev- 
eral individuals who have avoided applying 
because of this requirement, and not 
because of examination issues. 

Admittedly, it would have been more 
convenient had I taken the exam while in 
school. However, the end of a student's 

"The end of a student's 
senior year is not neces- 
sarily the best time to 
include an additional 
mandated requirement." 

"More effort should be 
devoted to this subject in 
order to inform WPI stu- 
dents about the importance 
of engineering registration." 

senior year is not necessarily the best time 
to include an additional mandated require- 
ment, especially one as stress-laden and 
requiring as much preparation as the F.E. 
exam. Coupled with the costs of taking the 
exam (fees for registering with the state for 
the exam, fees to the testing company for 
taking the exam, and more fees for complet- 
ing registering with the state after passing 
the exam), it can be argued that the immedi- 
ate benefits to the student do not outweigh 
the cost. 

While there are some professional draw- 
backs to not being registered, the list is not 
as extensive as implied by Mr. Fine. I'm not 
sure which professional societies restrict 
full membership to P.E.s (certainly not 
AIChE), but the lack of registration has little 
or no effect on most careers. The great 
majority of registered engineers practice in 
consulting roles. Certainly, a P.E. is neces- 
sary if one wishes to open a one-engineer 
shop, but for most engineers practicing as 
employees there is no pressing need. 

Regarding the ability of a physician to 
use the title M.D. without having to be 
licensed to practice, an engineer is just as 
free to use the titles B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. after 
his or her name. Many Ph.D. recipients 
freely use the honorific "Doctor" prior to 
their names. Achieving registration has no 
bearing on the use of these titles, nor on the 
prestige and respect that is or is not granted 
to them. More commonly, nonengineers 
either question the meaning of the initials 
P.E. or have no idea of their significance. 
Even among engineers, the title is some- 
times seen as an achievement worthy of 
merit, but not one of consequence. 

Perhaps before those of us in practice 
impose another requirement upon graduat- 
ing seniors, we may want to become better 
educated about professional registration 
ourselves. Once we have defined the bene- 
fits of registration and reached agreement as 
to the value thereof, we can consider requir- 
ing seniors to join us. Until that time, a more 
aggressive informational campaign, using 
such resources as student society chapters, 
may be our best means to promote the initi- 
ation of the registration process. 

George A. Dainis 79 P.E. 
Mansfield, Mass. 

Fine's Article "Timely 
and Necessary" 

To the Editor: 

1 read Morton Fine's article "Academia is 
Shortchanging New Engineers" (Summer 
1994) with great interest. It was timely and 
necessary. It also reflects my sentiment on 
the subject. I wrote similar articles myself 
more than 20 years ago for professional pub- 
lications. I believe more effort should be 
devoted to this subject in order to inform 
WPI students about the importance of engi- 
neering registration. 

Victor (Vung) K. Chun '51 P.E. 
Los Angeles, Calif. 

WPI Journal 


Spin on the 

Editor's Note: In the Summer 1994 issue, 
we brought WPI Journal readers up to 
speed on the vast and constantly growing 
Internet ("Net Assets"). The response to 
that story has been quite positive, and 
we've received a number of requests to 
provide readers with similar information 
on a regular basis. (It should be noted that 
many of those requests arrived by e-mail, 
at least a few sent by readers who were 
enticed into taking their first steps into 
cyberspace after reading the JournalJ. 

In that spirit, we introduce this new 
department. We'll use this corner of the 
Journal to talk about new developments 
in science and technology and to define 
and demystify some of the buzzwords you 
may ftnd yourself reading about in news- 
papers and magazines (and, perhaps, on- 
line). In this hrst installment we '11 contin- 
ue our dialogue on the Internet and tell 
you how alumni may soon be able to ven- 
ture into cyberspace courtesy of the WPI 
Alumni Association. 

The World Wide 
Web: Future Shock 
Meets the Internet 

In an article in Harper's Magazine in 1965, 
author Alvin Toffler defined future shock as 
"the dizzying disorientation brought on by 
the premature arrival of the future." Over 
the past three decades, the future has been 
arriving with greater and greater speed. In 
1995, it seems that what's hot today can turn 
cold in the blink of an eye and today's 
emerging technology can become tomor- 
row's household tool. 

The World Wide Web is a good case in 
point. Last summer, when we mentioned the 
Web in the Journal, this Internet service was 
still coming into its own. Since then, the 
Web has exploded, with thousands of new 
sites having come on-line and many more 
being added every day. 

Having broken through the informal ban 
on the use of the Internet for blatant adver- 
tising, the Web is becoming an almost man- 
datory storefront for companies and corpo- 
rations of all sizes. And with its ease of use, 
potential for dazzling and creative graphics, 
and its ability to speed text, pictures, sound 
and video to computers all over the world, 
the World Wide Web is quickly eclipsing 
Gopher, yesterday's hot Internet tool. 

A good indicator of the Web's growing 
popularity is its increasing presence in the 
media. Stories on the Web abound in news- 
papers and magazines. The national news- 
weeklies Time and Newsweek now have col- 
umns on electronic resources that regularly 
feature Web sites, as do frequent articles 
and columns in major newspapers. 

The Web was conceived in 1989 by scien- 
tists at the CERN in Geneva and developed 
over the course of the next few years. It 
employs a concept called hypermedia, 

Winter 1995 


which means that the doc- 
uments one retrieves 
through the Web may con- 
tain links that, when 
clicked with a mouse, will 
transport a user to other 
information, often located 
on another computer in 
some other corner of the 

The first Web brow- 
sers (software needed to 
take advantage of the 
Web's hypermedia for- 
mat) were text-based. In 
1993 the first multimedia 
browsers appeared. The 
most popular is Mosaic, 
created by the 
National Center 
for Supercompu- 
ter Applications. 
By the end of 1993 
the first versions 
of Mosaic written 
for personal com- 
puters were re- 
leased, setting the 
stage for the pop- 
ularization of the 

To use the Web, 
you'll first need ac- 
cess to the Internet. 
See the Summer 1994 
Journal for some tips for 
getting connected or pick up one of 
the books mentioned in that issue or any of a 
slew of other Internet books now at book- 
stores. For personal use, you'll need a recent 
generation Macintosh or an IBM-compatible 
computer with enough power and memory 
to run Microsoft Windows 3.1. 

You'll also need a browser. You can re- 
trieve Mosaic by ftp from 
(the directories are /PC/Mosaic and /Mac/ 
Mosaic). Netscape is a commercial product 
that can be obtained free by ftp for evalua- 
tion purposes (be sure to read the license 
that comes with the package for details on 
long-term usage restrictions.) It's at ftp. in the /netscape/mac and 
/netscape/windows directories. 

To use these programs you will likely 
need other software (MacTCP for the Mac 
and a Winsock.dll and a windows 32-bit up- 
grade for Windows). The installation instruc- 
tions that come with the software will ex- 
plain these requirements and may point you 
to shareware versions of the packages. 

Things will get easier for Windows users 
this year when Windows 95 is finally re- 
leased with its built-in Internet software. 
IBM's new Warp version of OS/2 already pro- 
vides this function. Also, commercial 
Internet software is available that makes 
using the Web much easier (one popular 
package is called Internet-in-a-Box). Internet 
service providers often equip users with 
Web software, and if you belong to an on-line 
service like CompuServe or America On-Line, 
you should get Web access later this year. 
(Users of Prodigy already have it.) 

OK, you've got your browser installed 
and working. So where do you go? Here are a 
few interesting places I've found. The first 
three are actually useful lists that will link 
you to many, many other sites. Try these to 
start with. In no time, you'll find yourself 
ranging far and wide around the Web as you 
follow the links. To travel to the following 
sites, you'll need to learn how to type in a 
URL (Universal Resource Locator — a fancy 
name for an Internet address) with your 
browser. In the examples below, the URLs 
are in bold type. 

Yahoo: A Guide to the WWW: http:// 

The Whole Internet Catalog: http:// 

EINet Galaxy: 

Library of Congress: http://lcweb.loc. 
gov/homepage/ A wealth of information; the 
Global Electronic Library has links to federal 
government Web servers, including the 
White House, as well as many World Wide 
Web guides; Thomas has the full text of bills 
before the House of Representatives and a 
guide to how laws are made. 

National Public Radio: http://www.npr. 
org/ Story lineups, recipes and other infor- 
mation from a host of NPR news programs. 

The Virtual Tourist: http://wings.buffalo. 
edu/world/ You start with a map of the 
world, select a region and ultimately work 
your way down to clickable maps of World 
Wide Web sites in specific states or nations. 

Zarf Guide to Interactive Games: http:// :8001/afs/cs. 
user/zarf/www/games.html These are 
games and other unusual diversions accessi- 
ble through the Web, including chess, a tarot 
card reader and the Magic 8-Ball. Also check 
_the_Net/ to see some of the strange things 
people have hooked up to the Net, including 
cameras continually trained on offices, doors 
and aquariums. 

—Michael Dorsey 

Building a New 
Home on the Web 

One of the sites you can visit on your Web 
excursions is WPI ( 

Recognizing how easy the Web makes it to 
access and retrieve information, WPI late 
last year formed a committee, led by Helen 
Sinister, director of the Gordon Library, to 
design a new Web server that would offer 
visitors a more comprehensive, useful and 
easy-to-navigate bundle of information about 
the university. 

The result of the committee's work re- 
cently went on-line. Visitors arrive first at the 
WPI home page, a concise, attractive and 
simply organized departure point. A Visitors 
Center provides newcomers with informa- 
tion about WPI and even a virtual tour of the 
campus. An on-line Admissions Office (still 
in development) will cater to the interests 
and needs of potential undergraduate and 
graduate students and will even allow stu- 
dents to apply through the Internet. 

Other buttons on the main menu lead to, 
among other things, home pages for academ- 
ic and administrative departments and cam- 
pus organizations (a selction of the Gordon 
Library's on-line services can be reached 
through the Web), WPI publications (includ- 
ing the undergraduate and graduate cata- 
logs), news releases and calendars, periodi- 
cals (including the Journal), information 
about WPI educational programs (including, 
eventually, courses offered through the 
Web), a campus phone book, and personal 
home pages maintained by members of the 
WPI community. There is even a guest book 
to "sign" and a place where visitors can 
leave suggestions or request more informa- 
tion about what they find on our Web site. 

The WPI Web pages will always be under 
construction, as Web page builders are fond 
of saying, with new information being added 
all the time. We hope Net browsers (people, 
not software, that is) will find many reasons 
to stop back often. 

— MD 

New WPI Network 
Aims to Get Alumni 
On the Internet 

The wealth of information now being made 
available on the WPI World Wide Web server 
should be of special interest to alumni who 
want to stay in touch with goings-on at their 
alma mater. But to get at this treasure trove, 
one needs access to the Internet, something 

WPI Journal 


F. AS H -OK-' 

that can cost at least $20 per month — a sum 
that may seem a bit steep for many. 

All that may soon change. Currently an 
ad-hoc committee of the Alumni Council, 
spurred by a suggestion from WPI's College 
Computer Center (CCC), is exploring ways to 
give alumni who have their own computers 
and modems an inexpensive and easy route 
not only to WPI's on-line offerings, but to the 
Internet at large. The committee is chaired 
by Harlan Williams '50 and is being assisted 
by Margaret Riley of the Gordon Library and 
the staff of the CCC. 

The committee has taken a look at other 
universities that offer this service to their 
alumni, including RPI. Rensselaer Alumni 
Network News (RANN) employs a dedicated 
computer on campus that alumni can reach 
through their modems. Users are charged a 
$40 monthly service fee. For that they get 
access to the Internet and to alumni and 
campus newsgroups and information. 

One drawback to the RPI arrangement is 
the fact that alumni outside of the local call- 
ing area must pay long-distance charges on 
top of the monthly fee. In addition, if WPI 
were to implement such a system, issues 
such as the cost of the necessary equipment, 
the responsibility for maintaining it, control- 
ling access to the network, and the potential 
for the network to strain computers also 
used by faculty, students and staff would 
have to be addressed. 

The cost of dialing into the network could 
be reduced by linking alumni to WPI's com- 
puters through a data communications ser- 
vice such as Infopath, a service of NYNEX. 
Through Infopath, callers in Eastern 
Massachusetts would dial a local NYNEX 
modem bank, rather than calling long-dis- 
tance to Worcester. Their call would be rout- 
ed to WPI through NYNEX data communica- 

tions paths and 
callers would be 
billed by NYNEX 
based on the quan- 
tity of data trans- 
mitted over the 
telephone lines. 
Williams College is trying an entirely dif- 
ferent approach. Its alumni network will be 
accessed through a commercial on-line ser- 
vice, most likely America Online or Compu- 
Serve. By paying a monthly fee as low as $10, 
participating alumni will get full Internet 
access, will be able to use all of the offerings 
of the on-line service, and will be able to 
puruse special services available only to 
Williams alumni. Both CompuServe and 
America Online services can be reached via a 
local phone call from much of the country. 

Harlan Williams says the committee 
would appreciate feedback from alumni con- 
cerning how they might use the proposed 
network and what information they would 
like to have made available to them. 
Questions, comments and suggestions can 
be addressed to Williams through the Alumni 
Office (100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 
01609-2280) or c/o mwdorsey® 
— Joan Killough-Miller 

A Vital 
for Job 

As you browse through 
WPI's Web service, you're 
likely to come across Marg- 
aret Riley's constantly grow- 
ing guide to job hunting and 
career resources on the 
Internet (it's in the Gordon 
Library section and on 
Margaret's own home page — http:// html). The 
list developed by the Gordon Library circu- 
lation librarian has grown considerably since 
it was mentioned in the Summer 1994 
Journal — and not just in length. It has also 
added thousands of new users and won grow- 
ing recognition. 

Riley and her expertise in Internet job 
hunting have been featured in stories in the 
Scientist, Boston Business Journal and Work- 
ing Woman, among other publications. She 
has also been a consultant for a new book on 
Internet job-hunting tips by Joyce Lane 
Kennedy, who writes a syndicated column on 
career-related topics. 

Riley says the list, which is part of a large 
set of subject-oriented Internet guides housed 
at the University of Michigan, is still the most 
comprehensive on the Net. She continues to 
update it monthly, a task that grows more and 
more time-consuming as use of the Net for job 
hunting and recruitment escalates. 

"As people realize that other people are 
using the Internet as a job-hunting and re- 
cruiting resource, more and more people and 
organizations are setting up services," Riley 
says. "Many companies, as they join the 
World Wide Web, are including their job 
opportunities. Corporate recruiters are join- 
ing. The Internet in general (and especially 
the Web) is becoming the new place to look 
for a job." 

Riley says she finds the information in her 
guide by personally scouring the Net and by 
subscribing to Internet mailing lists that 
announce new services. She also receives 
electronic mail from people who are creating 
new services and want to get into the guide. 
(She says she will not add companies that 
charge for job hunters to read their listings 
unless they make a reasonable amount of 
information available at no charge.) 

She says she also receives many e-mail 
messages from around the world sent by 
users of her guide. While many people write 
to thank her for creating 
the listing, a great deal of 
the mail is from people 
who need help using 
basic Internet tools to find 
the information. "People 
are still learning the ba- 
sics," she says. "Contrary 
to what many people 
think, most peo- 
ple are not 
Internet lit- 
But it's 

not just individuals who are coming to grips 
with the vast sprawl of the Net, as Riley 
recently discovered. Governments, too, some- 
times need to catch up. "I got a call from 
someone at the federal Office of Personnel 
Management," she says. "The committee that 
runs the federal job list has convinced OPM to 
change their procedures based on the amount 
of recruiting going on through the Internet. 

"It was in large part because of my guide 
that they realized how far behind the federal 
government is. Because of that the OPM will 
be incorporating the use of the Internet in its 
application procedure, its recruiting proce- 
dure and several other of its practices." 

— MD 


Winter 1995 


Projects From Around 
the World Focus on 
Environmental Issues 

By Angela Innamorati 

Helping Solve a 
Garbage Disposal 
Problem in a 
Thai Slum 

Dealing with garbage is a major problem in 
the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok. With infre- 
quent municipal waste collection, residents 
are left to pile trash in huge mounds on 
roads and to dump it into the canals and 
drainage system. The result is water conta- 
mination, the proliferation of rats and cock- 
roaches, and the rapid spread of disease. 

"The problem is so bad, it takes less than 
a week for a recently cleaned water source 
to refill with trash," says Jason Anderson 
'95, who with Sandra Davis '95 spent seven 
weeks in Thailand last year examining the 
waste problem in Klong Toey and develop- 
ing ways to help residents clean up their 

The Interactive Qualifying Project, a final- 
ist in the 1994-95 President's 1QP Awards 
competition, was sponsored by the Duang 
Prateep Foundation, which is dedicated to 
helping improve the quality of life for slum 
residents. It was advised by John F. Zeugner, 
professor of history at WPI and director of 
the Institute's Bangkok Project Center. 

Before traveling to Bangkok, the students 
did a literature search on solid waste man- 
agement and learned about life in the slums. 
Once in Thailand they observed the daily 
activities of more than 1,000 families and 
talked to three influential nongovernment 
organizations to learn about potential strate- 
gies for getting slum residents involved in 
improving their surroundings. 

Part of the garbage problem in Klong 
Toey can be traced to the inefficient city 
trash collection service for the slum area. 
The service consists of six people who must 
walk several miles each day carrying up to 
three tons of trash in wheelbarrows. Low 

morale among the collectors results in a 
high rate of absenteeism and poor service. 
In fact, Davis says, the government collects 
garbage in the slums an average of just two 
to three times a year. "They do it if an impor- 
tant person is scheduled to visit," she says. 

Anderson and Davis say they believe the 
lack of interest in the garbage problem con- 
tributes to a general feeling of indifference 
and hopelessness on the part of slum resi- 
dents. The students say residents respond 
to virtually any problem, from mounting 
garbage to AIDS, with the phase "Mai ben 
rai" ("It's no problem/It's O.K.") 

The students set out to attack the gar- 
bage problem from a number of directions. 
For example, they mathematically analyzed 
the current garbage collection system and 
suggested ways it could be improved. They 
pointed out potential new disposal sites 
and mapped out a more efficient collection 

They designed educational materials to 
encourage residents to play a more active 
role in cleaning up their community. The 
materials included posters that highlight 
proper garbage disposal methods and the 
importance of recycling, among other top- 
ics. They also created brochures and T- 
shirts that illustrate the connection between 
improper waste disposal and disease. 

The students also made recommenda- 
tions for a variety of low-cost clean-up meth- 
ods aimed at reducing the improper dispos- 
al of garbage. These included the purchase 
of trash barrels and the fencing of proposed 
dump sites. They emphasized that these are 
the minimum steps that must be taken to 
begin turning the trash problem around. 

"Although we would have liked to solve 
the problem completely, we had to be realis- 
tic," Davis says. "We hope we started the 
ball rolling and that the people who inhabit 
the slums will take a proactive stance in 
making theirs a better community." 

Anderson says the project was "intense, 
intriguing and exciting. Not only did we devel- 
op and improve our presentation skills, we 
learned about tolerance and cultural diversi- 
ty," he says. Davis says her experience in 
Thailand changed the way she interacts with 
the international students at WPI. "Everyone 
in Bangkok was so helpful and attentive," she 
says. "They went out of their way to help me 
get acclimated. I want to do the same for stu- 
dents who come to WPI from overseas. It's so 
important and takes so little effort, but it 
makes such a big difference." 

"Cross-cultural encounters are the most 
vivid learning experiences," says Zeugner. 
"Watching Jason and Sandy grapple with 
their astonishment, frustration, confusion 
and elation was an educational experience 
for me." 

Will Biogas Be a 
Viable Alternative 
to Firewood In 

Ahmed Al-Baiti '95 of Tanzania, William 
Herron (who has since transfered to the 
University of Alabama), and Corey Lewis '95 
of Bloomfield, Conn., shared a common 
desire when they enrolled at WPI: they want- 
ed to go to southern Africa to do one of their 
required projects. When they decided to 
travel together to the Republic of Botswana 
to do an IQP focused on that nation's energy 
problems, they found that they would first 
need to solve a more immediate problem — 
raising the money for the trip. 

The students hoped to look for renew- 

WPI Journal 

This page: Jason Anderson and 
Sandra Davis (in foreground) in the 
Klong Toey slum; Ahmed Al-Baiti, left, 
and William Herron in Botswana. Next 
page: from left, Antonio Delgado, 
Corinne Kachlert, Gail Concannon, 
Michael Conklin, Philipp Herget, 
Hanna Herharter of the Innichen Tour- 
ist Association, Kimberley Scofield 
and Dean Emeritus William Grogan in 
Innichen; from left, biologist Eduardo 
Cintron, Rafael Chavez and Susan 
Moriera prepare to fly with their pilot 
to Isla de Mona. 

able energy resources Botswana might turn 
to in order to end its reliance on wood for 
cooking and heating and its dependence on 
imported oil and gas for diesel engines, 
appliances and lamps. The heavy use of 
wood is a special concern, because (coupled 
with a growing population) it is leading to 
the depletion of the nation's forests and 
endangering its land and water. 

The students estimated that their 
expenses for the seven-week trip would run 
about $13,000 more than what the Institute 
could contribute. Seeking to raise the need- 
ed funds, they contacted local congressmen, 
small business owners, black organizations 
and energy groups. They also approached 
the U.S. and Botswana embassies. "It was a 
lot more difficult than we imagined to raise 
the money," Lewis says. "We found that peo- 
ple were interested in making contributions, 
but were skeptical because nobody else had 
yet done so. It was a vicious cycle." 

The students also turned to friends and 
relatives for help. They even contemplated 
selling their stereo systems and cars to 
finance the venture. "It wasn't until then that 
people realized how serious we were and 
that we'd do it at any cost," Lewis adds. 

To reduce their financial needs, the stu- 
dents reworked their expenses, cutting 
meals down to the bare essentials and ask- 
ing J. Raheem Hosseini '89, director and gen- 
eral manager of Kgalagadi Resources Devel- 
opment Co. Ltd in Gaborone, Botswana, for 

help in finding inexpensive lodging. 

It was then that the students received 
their first contributions. They came from 
W.A. Bland Addison Jr., associate professor 
of history, who co-advised the project with 
Tom Hartvig Thomsen, associate dean of 
student life and international student advi- 
sor, and Edward Clarke, professor emeritus 
of engineering and science. 

"They started the ball rolling," says Al- 
Baiti. "After that, we called everyone back 
and asked again if they would help out. The 
response was quite a bit different this time." 
Among the contributions the students re- 
ceived were several corporate gifts, including 
nearly $2,000 from United Technologies. 

Once they reached Botswana, the stu- 
dents learned more about the nation's disap- 
pearing firewood supply. They estimated that 
within a decade the country (78 percent of 
which is now covered by desert) would run 
out of fuel. "The people of Botswana were 
only addressing the problem with short-term 
solutions," Herron says. "For example, they 
were planting eucalyptus trees to use as fire- 
wood because they grow so fast." 

After researching potential alternatives, 
the students recommended that Botswana 
use biogas as a cooking fuel and as a replace- 
ment for petroleum products (importing 
these products costs Botswana millions of 
dollars each year). Biogas, a mixture of meth- 
ane, carbon dioxide and other gases, is pro- 
duced by fermenting animal and human 
waste and vegetable matter. 

The students say the waste from the 
nation's four million head of cattle alone 
could generate enough biogas to fill all of 
Botswana's energy needs. "Biogas is the 
most affordable renewable energy resource, 
and it can be readily produced in 
Botswana," Lewis says. "In addition, it is not 
harmful to the environment." 

The project won the 1994-95 President's 
1QP Award. Despite the thoroughness of the 
student's research and recommendations, 
the Botswanian government is unsure about 

making the switch to biogas, Herron says. 
"They just aren't looking at the long-term 
effects of what they are doing. After all, why 
should they pay for biogas when they can 
get firewood for free? Still, the increasing 
ecological and energy problems the nation 
faces may change their attitudes." 

Balancing Tourism 
and Cultural 
Preservation in 
the Tyrol 

Innichen (San Candido), an isolated region 
of the southern Tyrol on the border between 
Italy and Austria, is known for its beauty and 
its skiing. Thanks to the work of six WPI 
juniors, it may also be known as the newest 
addition to WPI's growing global network of 
project sites. Last summer, Estado Aragua, 
Gail Concannon, Michael Conklin, Antonio 
Delgado, Philipp Herget, Corinne Kachlert 
and Kimberley Scofield traveled to Innichen 
to examine the feasibility of establishing a 
WPI project center there and to study the 
impact of tourism on the local economy. 

The idea of establishing a project site in 
Innichen grew from a conversation in the 
summer of 1993 between William R. Grogan 
'45, dean emeritus of undergraduate studies, 
and Fabio Carrera '84, coordinator of WPI's 
Venice Project Center. The topics for the 
first two projects were suggested by David 
B. Dollenmayer, associate professor of 
German and coordinator of WPI's foreign 
language Sufficiency program. 

"The area is extremely interesting histori- 
cally," Grogan says. "Innichen was part of 
Austria until after World War I, when it was 
annexed by Italy. All of the town's 3,000 resi- 
dents speak both Italian and German." 
Advance work by Grogan, Dollenmayer and 
Carrera led to an agreement by the town to 
provide the students and their advisors with 
housing at no cost. An office, complete with 


Winter 1995 

photocopy and fax machines (not to mention 
a spectacular view), was also made available. 

As part of their "bootstrap" project, 
Concannon, Conklin and Kachler set out to 
identify potential student projects in 
Innichen and to learn all they could about 
the region's history, culture and geography. 
They did extensive library research, con- 
ducted telephone interviews, and went door- 
to-door to talk to townspeople about their 
concerns. The result was a list of 29 poten- 
tial projects, most of which would focus on 
environmental issues in the region. 

"The town is interested in determining 
how growing traffic from tourists, whether 
hikers or mountain bikers, is affecting the 
local environment," Concannon says. 
Innichen's majestic hills have long been a 
lure for skiers. In recent years, interest in 
hiking and other outdoor activities has 
drawn vacationers to the region year-round. 

For their project, Delgado, Herget and 
Scofield took an initial step toward address- 
ing those concerns. They surveyed farmers, 
tourists and town officials to find out how 
these groups viewed the importance of the 
growing tourist industry and its potential 
impact on the 26 mountain farms that line 
the Innichberg (the slope above the town). 
They found that while residents and town 
officials believe tourism is beneficial to 
Innichen's economy, they fear that it may 
diminish the traditional Tyrolean culture. 

"The attractiveness and uniqueness of 
the Alpine farms, if they are preserved, will 
provide an attraction for tourists and 
income for the Tyrolean town," the students 
noted during their presentation to the town. 
They recommended a number of ways to 
achieve a balance between tourism and cul- 
tural preservation, including running guided 
tours of a few farms combined with exhibits 
of traditional methods of farming, baking 
and craft-making, and developing a program 
that would enable visitors to live on a farm 
and participate in farm life for a period of 
time in exchange for a fee. 

The team members made their presenta- 
tions in German; most had completed a 
Sufficiency in the language to prepare for the 
projects. Delgado, a resident of Venezuela, 
presented his portion in Italian. The invita- 
tions to the event were printed in both lan- 
guages, while the students' final reports 
were written in German and English. One of 
the projects, "Farming on the Innichberg: 
Preserving a Unique Culture," was a finalist 
in the President's IQP Awards Competition. 

"These projects were among the best I've 
ever seen," Grogan says. Innichen mayor 
Edgar Passler also gave the students high 
marks. "We don't get many Americans here 
and sometimes they are not so nice," he 
says. "Your students have completely 
changed the opinion of the people here 
about Americans." 

Solar Energy May 
Make a Puerto 
Rican Paradise 
More Livable 

For the six biologists who spend their days 
studying rare fish, iguanas, sea turtles, 
stingrays, sharks, octopuses and other exot- 
ic animals, Isla de Mona, an island off of 
Puerto Rico, is a paradise. But it is a par- 
adise that comes at a cost. Living conditions 
on the island are primitive. In part, that is 
because financial and environmental restric- 
tions prevent the operation of the diesel 
generators that provide electricity for the 
biologists and two maintenance people for 
more than 10 hours a day. 

Although the Puerto Rican government 
would like to improve the accommodations 
on Isla de Mona and provide electricity 
around the clock, their primary concern is 
the welfare of the island's nonhuman inhabi- 
tants. That's why the Departamento de 
Recursos Naturales y Ambientales asked 
Rafael Chavez '95 and Susan Moreira '95 to 

study the situation and recommend an inex- 
pensive, waste-free and environmentally 
sound alternative to the diesel generators. 

In addition to producing air pollution and 
creating the potential for a fuel spill, the gen- 
erators are costly to operate and maintain. "It 
costs $600 for fuel and $1,200 to transport 
that fuel every two weeks," says Wilhelm 
Eggimann, professor of electrical and com- 
puter engineering, who advised the project 
with Anita Sheperd-Mendez, a co-advisor at 
WPI's Puerto Rico Project Center in San Juan. 

To learn more about the problem, the stu- 
dents met with representatives of the De- 
partamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambien- 
tales and with the researchers and staff on Isla 
de Mona. "They also spent several days at 
the research station to see firsthand how the 
biologists have to live and work," Eggimann 
says. "The facilities were rather primitive." 

The students recommended that the 
island's electricity be generated with photo- 
voltaics. "PV is versatile, economically feasi- 
ble and ecologically safe in many applica- 
tions," Moreira says. "It is a great way to 
generate power in geographic locations like 
the Isla de Mona, where the only free energy 
source is the sun." 

The students developed four economic 
models that compared the cost of the diesel 
generators to three possible ways of imple- 
menting a solar-energy system. They found 
that although the initial installation costs of 
a PV system are high, the system would cost 
about a third of the amount spent on the 
diesel generators over a 20-year period. 

"The solution they proposed made per- 
fect sense. It considered economic, techno- 
logical and environmental issues," Eggimann 
says. "There is a good chance that the 
Departamento of Recursos Naturales will 
actually install one of the proposed sys- 
tems." The project was a finalist in the 1994- 
95 President's IQP Awards competition. 

— Innamorati served as acting assistant direc- 
tor of the News Service during part of 1994. 

WPI Journal 



Flushing Soils Clean 
of Metals 

Among the most difficult problems environ- 
mental engineers face is treating hazardous 
waste that has been spilled onto, leached 
into, or buried under the ground. Once 
released into the earth, wastes like organic 
solvents and heavy metals can become 
bound to the soil or slowly dis- 
perse until they contaminate 
groundwater. Often the only way 
to recover the waste and treat the 
soil is to dig up huge quantities of 
earth and cart it off to treatment 
sites or dumps, an expensive 

With funding from the Envi- 
ronmental Protection Agency, 
Robert A. D'Andrea, associate 
professor of civil engineering, and 
James C. O'Shaughnessy, profes- 
sor of civil engineering, have been 
conducting laboratory tests of a 
technique they've developed for 
removing metal wastes from soils 
on-site by flushing them out with g 
solutions containing chelating § 
agents. These are chemicals, like t 
citric acid and EDTA, that can ~ 
bind tightly to metals and keep 
them in solution. Some of these 
agents are also used by phys- 
icians to treat heavy-metal poi- 

"The EPA is interested in our 
technique because it is a possible 
remediation method for the Lipari 
Landfill in New Jersey, a major 
Superfund site," D'Andrea says. "It 
may also prove useful at a number 
of other Superfund sites in 
Northern industrialized states that 
have similar soils and long histo- 
ries of manufacturing and dispos- 
ing of metal wastes." 

The permeability, or hydraulic conduc- 
tivity, of the soil is a critical factor in deter- 
mining whether or not the technique will 
work. D'Andrea says the conductivity of soil 
can vary by more than 10 orders of magni- 
tude, from dense clays that are almost 
impermeable to loose gravel that is highly 
permeable. "That's more variance than you 
will find in just about any other engineering 
parameter," he says. 

The soils that are most likely candidates 
for flushing are mixtures of mainly sand and 
gravel, with small amounts of fines, a grain- 
size distribution that is often the result of 

glacial deposition. These soils are reason- 
ably permeable to water and are also capa- 
ble of latching onto heavy metals before 
they wash down into the groundwater. 

To conduct their tests, D'Andrea and 
O'Shaughnessy gathered numerous samples 
of this type of soil from various sites around 
New England. After preliminary evaluation, a 
soil deemed to have the greatest potential 





I is M 

V O'^M'*" tLt V 

V J 

, .-*'V«V.< , rt'-V.-'>VO'-'}Y.''-' 


O'Shaughnessy, left, and D'Andrea 
with some of the permeameters they 
used to test their technique for flush- 
ing heavy metals from soil. The dia- 
gram by graduate student Alton Day 
Stone shows how a chelating agent 
solution would be sprayed onto con- 
taminated soil and allowed to perc- 
olate down to drains. 

for successful treatment was chosen. The 
soil, obtained from a site in Worcester, was 
artificially contaminated by treatment with 
solutions containing varying concentrations 
of metal salts. It was then placed into tall 
plexiglass columns. 

Because previous research had shown 
that columns filled with soil were prone to 
clogging when repeatedly flushed with water, 
the researchers also conducted tests with 
similar soil packed into small plexiglass 
cubes. The cubical containers, called multidi- 
rectional hard-walled permeameters, permit- 
ted the direction of the flow of water to be 
varied by 90 degrees to reduce the chance of 
clogging and to enable the 
researchers to investigate metal 
precipitation. The permeameters 
and an associated piping system 
were based on an apparatus 
designed as part of a Major Qual- 
ifying Project by John T. Germain 
76, now a principal research asso- 
ciate at MIT. 

In tests with the columns and 
cubes, D'Andrea and O'Shaugh- 
nessy flushed the soil multiple 
times with plain tap water and 
with solutions containing various 
chelating agents. They found that 
each of the six metals they tested 
(cadmium, copper, chromium, 
lead, nickel and zinc) reacted dif- 
ferently to the flushing. 

Copper, for example, was unaf- 
fected by the water rinses, but 
could be completely removed from 
the soil with repeated rinses with 
an EDTA solution. Up to 80 percent 
of chromium was removed in some 
trials with tap water rinses alone, 
while the addition of the EDTA 
solution removed only an addi- 
tional 1.5 percent. 

To put this technique into prac- 
tice in the field, D'Andrea says, a- 
temporary barrier would be con- 
structed to surround the contami- 
nated soil. A solution of chelating 
agents would be trickled onto the 
soil surface while wells would 
pump the water collected from 
underdrains beneath the ground, drawing the 
chelating agent solution through the soil. 

For his thesis, master's degree candidate 
Alton Day Stone proposed the use of this 
method to treat contaminated soil at a site 
in Cambridge, Mass. "In this study, Stone 
applied the laboratory results to show that 
more than 50 percent of the metals in the 
soil could be recovered," D'Andrea says. 
"Though we wouldn't achieve complete 
removal for all metals, it should be possible 
to reduce the metal concentrations to safe 
levels — and levels that meet state stan- 
dards — in a relatively cost-effective way." 



Winter 1995 

Trick May Provide 
an Economical 
Heavy Metal 

Within the cells of all living things are 
tiny quantities of heavy metals. 
Elements like iron, copper, selenium 
and zinc are critical components of 
enzymes that enable organisms to 
carry out such life-sustaining functions 
as the transport and storage of oxygen 
and the metabolism of food. To keep 
these valuable substances from wash- 
ing away into the lower reaches of the 
earth, fungi, molds and bacteria in the 
top layers of soil capture them and 
keep them in circulation. 

Research by Ted Crusberg, associ- 
ate professor of biology and biotech- 
nology at WPI, has shown that the same 
physiological processes that enable 
these organisms to absorb small quan- 
tities of metals may also protect them 
from the toxicity of much larger con- 
centrations of these elements. This pre- 
viously unknown defense mechanism, 
in turn, may become the basis for a 
simple, effective and economical way of 
treating heavy metal waste. 

For several years, Crusberg has 
been studying the ability of a Peni- 
cillium mold to entrap heavy metals. 
Initially, the work focused on beads 
made from the cell walls of microbes 
from which the living matter had been 
chemically removed (WPI Journal, 
Winter 1990). More recently, Crusberg 
has started experimenting with living 
cells. "I've found that the living organ- 
isms are easier to work with," he says. 
"But more important, they are also 12 times 
more effective at absorbing heavy metals." 

Using various analytical techniques, 
including electron microscopy, Crusberg 
and his team (which currently includes eight 
undergraduates and two graduate students) 
have shown that Penicillium uses an enzyme 
secreted through its cell membrane to cre- 
ate an environment in which metal ions bind 
to phosphate ions. The resulting metal phos- 
phates are trapped within the periplasm, a 
fluid layer that lies between the cell mem- 
brane and cell wall in fungi. The process, 
called biomineralization, is similar to the 
way coral cells build their protective shells 
and to the way bones are formed. 

Tackling the Scourge 
of Heavy Metals 

The first three stories in this edition of "Investigations" 
profile WPI teams that are developing three quite differ- 
ent ways of dealing with the problem of heavy metals in 
the environment. Unlike the many manmade pollutants 
that have contaminated the Earth, heavy metals are nat- 
urally occurring substances. Many, such as chromium, 
nickel, cobalt and copper, are actually necessary in 
small quantities to sustain life. But when these same 
metals are released into the environment in large quan- 
tities as waste from manufacturing and metal-plating 
plants, as components of agricultural pesticides, in 
sludge from sewage treatment plants, in products like 
batteries, paint and electrical equipment, and in the 
exhaust from gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, they 
can become a serious threat to health, causing acute 
and chronic toxicity and even cancer. 

Federal environmental laws and regulations now 
prohibit the wholesale release of metal wastes into the 
environment and make manufacturers liable for the safe 
and responsible disposal of any waste they generate. 
These laws, plus a growing awareness that treating 
waste and recovering the metals can often be more 
cost-effective than buying new raw materials, has 
focused attention on finding more effective and eco- 
nomical ways to extract metals from the waste stream. 

But even as industry works to keep heavy metals 
out of the environment, vast quantities of waste, the 
legacy of more than a century of industrial activity in 
this country, lie buried in thousands of underground 
sites, slowly releasing metals into the soil and ground- 
water. Recovering these wastes and treating contami- 
nated soils— a major focus of the federal Superfund 
program— is proving to be a difficult and extremely 
expensive undertaking. 

"This is really an interesting protective 
mechanism," Crusberg says. "The metals 
never reach the interior of the cell, so the 
organism is in no danger. The only problem is 
that as the cells growing in culture trap more 
and more of the metal, they get very large 
and heavy and will ultimately settle to the 
bottom. Then, getting adequate oxygen and 
nutrients to the cells becomes a problem." 

Studies in Crusberg's lab have shown 
that the Penicillium mold is highly effective 
at absorbing virtually any heavy metal. It 
also survives well in even highly concentrat- 
ed metal solutions. In addition, the mold is 
easy to grow in a continuous process. 

The cells tend to cluster into pea-sized 

beads that can be freeze-dried and later 
revived. The beads are easy to keep 
suspended in solution, thus eliminat- 
ing the need to immobilize the cells 
in columns or grow them into mats, 
techniques that are required for other 
types of biological agents used in waste 

"It should be possible to send a 
small quantity of freeze-dried Peni- 
cillium beads to an industrial site," 
Crusberg says. "The beads would be 
placed in a bioreactor, and from that 
initial supply, the company could grow 
all the fungus they need. That's another 
major advantage of living cells over 
dried cell walls." 

The fungal beads, which Crusberg 
calls biotraps, should prove an effec- 
tive and low-cost method for treating 
industrial waste streams containing 
heavy metals. The beads, once they 
become saturated with metal ions, 
could be removed from solution and 
burned in a kiln. The only thing left 
behind would be the metals, which 
could be recovered and reused. 

Another possible application for the 
biotraps is the treatment of water con- 
taminated with radioactive metals 
(including uranium and plutonium) 
from nuclear reactors and nuclear 
weapons plants. "These wastes are now 
very difficult to treat," Crusberg says. 
"I've already had some preliminary 
talks with people at some of the nation- 
al nuclear laboratories about testing 
this application." 

Crusberg has also had discussions 
with engineers at the Worcester waste- 
water treatment plant about testing the 
organism's ability to remove copper 
from the treated water before it is dis- 
charged into the environment. "Copper 
leaching from water pipes in the home is a 
major problem in the Northeast, where the 
leaching is significantly enhanced by acid 
rain," he says. "The copper eventually finds 
its way into municipal wastewater. There 
are EPA regulations in the works that may 
require municipalities to remove that cop- 
per during wastewater treatment, before it is 
discharged. Biotraps may prove to be an 
economical way of doing that." 

In addition to studying how the Peni- 
cillium mold goes about trapping heavy met- 
als, Crusberg has been working to give that 
ability to other microorganisms. He and his 
team have obtained the gene that produces 
the enzyme responsible for heavy metal bio- 

WPI Journal 


mineralization. The next step will be to use 
genetic engineering methods to transfer the 
gene to other bacteria, fungi or molds. "We 
should be able to give this resistance to 
almost any microorganism," he says. 

Pillared Clays May 
Stack Up Against 
Heavy Metals 

Clay is a component of soil made up almost 
exclusively of very fine particles. These tiny 
shards of mineral matter bind readily to 
metallic ions, making them good candidates 
for filtering heavy metals from industrial 
waste streams. But the fine grain structure 
of clays also renders much of their interior 
surfaces inaccessible for adsorption. To 

clays with a solution containing inorganic ium 
polymeric cations (positively charged ions clay 
capable of linking together to form a poly- 
mer). The clay particles are allowed 
to settle out of solution, 
forming layers. When the 
clay samples are baked at 
a high temperature, the 
polymeric ions form pil- 
lars that become chemi- 
cally bound to the clay 
particles, pushing the clay 
layers apart. 

Once they have created 
pillared clays, the research- 
ers use a variety of techniques, including 
electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, to 
study their physical properties. These in- 
clude the size of the channels created by the 

making it possible to regenerate the 
beds and recover and reuse the metals. 
As part of their re- 
search, the team will 
develop computer mod- 
els to simulate the 
processes that occur 
when the clays adsorb 
and release the met- 

date, this has limited their 
utility for waste treatment. 

With a grant from the 
Environmental Projection 
Agency's Risk Reduction 
Engineering Laboratory in 
Cincinnati, Yi Hua Ma, pro- 
fessor of chemical engineer- 
ing, and Alfred A. Scala, professor of chem- 
istry, are experimenting with a technique 
that may overcome this shortcoming. The 
technique involves creating tiny pillars that 
force apart the layers in clay, creating chan- 
nels through which wastewater can flow. 
Working with Ma and Scala on the project is 
Danyan Li, a postdoctoral researcher whose 
Ph.D. dissertation at Michigan State Uni- 
versity focused on pillared clays. 

To create a pillared clay, the researchers 
mix natural or synthetic montmorillonite 

pillars and the total 
surface area available 
for adsorbing heavy 
metals. "Our two de- 
partments have many 
years of experience 
using these techniques 
to study other porous 
materials, most notably zeolites, that can be 
used as ion exchangers," Ma says. "It was 
this expertise that led us to realize that pil- 
lared clays may prove effective as exchange 
agents for heavy metals." 

In addition to the structural characteriza- 
tion, Ma, Scala and Li will use fixed beds of 
pillared clays to measure their effectiveness 
in removing a range of heavy metals from 
water. They will also determine whether 
they can get the clays to release the heavy 
metals in exchange for benign ions like sod- 


Above left, a photomicrograph of a 
pillared clay. Inset, from left, Ma, Li 
and Scala. Center, a 40-micrometer 
sphere of copper phosphate that has 
formed in the mycelia of a Penicillium 
fungal bead. Inset, Crusberg. Far 
right, a scanning laser beam captures 
dye as it disperses in a simulated 
ocean environment. Inset, from left, 
Baird, Johari and Jumper. 

als. The models will help the researchers 
determine how to optimize the adsorption of 
the pillared clay systems. "These models 


Winter 1995 

should be generally useful in evaluating and 
optimizing processes involving absorbents," 
Ma says. 

"If they prove successful," Scala says, "pil- 
lared clays could be used to treat concentrat- 
ed metal wastes produced by manufacturers 
like metal platers, lowering or eliminating the 
cost of disposing of these materials. By 
enabling companies to recover metals they 

now dispose of, the technique should reduce 
their raw material costs and make their oper- 
ations more efficient and competitive." 

Finding Out How 
Deep-Sea Fishes 
Follow Their Noses 

Hundreds of meters beneath the surface of 
the ocean lies a strange, alien world. Here, in 
a still, cold, pitch-black realm, live exotic 

species of fish well-suited for life in a watery 
desert where the main sources of food are 
ultimately derived from more fertile waters 
far above, and where encounters with other 
creatures — including others of one's own 
species — may be few and far between. 

In this environment, a fish's most valu- 
able asset may be its nose, says Ronald C. 
Baird, director of corporate relations at WPI 
and an affiliate associate professor of biolo- 
gy and biotechnology. "It 
has long been known that a 
number of fishes use 
pheromones to attract 
mates and that the chemi- 
cal sense is important to 
them," Baird says. "I have 
been interested in deep- 
sea ecosystems, and it is 

hatchetfish and other deep-sea fishes, he 
decided that to understand how these fish 
use their noses to locate food and mates, he 
would first need to better appreciate how 
chemicals disperse in the open ocean. After 
developing some rudimentary mathematical 
models, he realized that he would need the 
help of someone versed in fluid dynamics 
and computational techniques. 

That someone was George Y. Jumper, 
then associate professor of 
mechanical engineering 
at WPI and now senior 
aerospace engineer in 
the Aerospace Engi- 
neering Division of the 
U.S. Air Force Phillips 
Laboratory at Hanscom 
Air Force Base in Mass- 

clear that in those environments, chemical 
reception must play a very important role in 
the life of many of the species found there." 

Baird, who holds a B.S. in zoology from 
Yale, an M.A. in zoology from the University 
of Texas, Austin, and a Ph.D. in biological 
oceanography from Harvard, has taught and 
written extensively on deep-sea fishes, oce- 
anic ecosystems and natural resources man- 
agement. He is currently a courtesy profes- 
sor of marine science at the University of 
South Florida's Marine Sciences Institute, 
where he taught for eight years, a member 
and past chairman of the National Sea Grant 
Review Panel, and the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rep- 
resentative to the Gulf of Maine Regional 
Research Board. 

In the mid-1980s, when Baird became 
interested in the olfactory sense in the 

achusetts. Jumper brought to the table a 
broad technical background ranging from 
chemical engineering and physical gas 
dynamics to target acquisition and system 
optimization theory honed in his work for 
the Air Force. 

"I had originally asked George to improve 
the modeling of the pheromone dispersion 
in the ocean, which alone did not seem to 
yield meaningful results," Baird says. 
Jumper says he found himself haunted by 
the inability of the model to explain the obvi- 
ous ability of the hatchetfish to find mates. 

"Finally, one night I began to dream 
about spherical molecules moving about in 
space, hitting each other and the walls of 
their container," Jumper says. "The spheres 
then turned into hatchetfish and I awoke 
with a start. I realized that pheromone dis- 
persion alone could not explain the prob- 

WPI Journal 


lem, because the fish were also moving — a 
lot faster than the pheromones. The next 
day I applied the equations for the collision 
of molecules against a wall to the problem of 
fish swimming into a patch of pheromones, 
and it cracked the problem." 

In their work, Baird and Jumper also made 
use of encounter theory, which attempts to 
explain how organisms come in contact with 
each other. "We thought this would be a 
good starting point for a theoretical analysis 
of the problem," Baird says, "since fish have 
to not only detect an odor, but to 
locate its source. In the deep mid 
ocean, there are no local cur- 
rents to move pheromones in a 
linear fashion, 
creating a scent 
trail. So we had 
to develop a 
new theory 
about how an 
might locate 
the source of 

an odor in the absence of direction- 
al information from currents." 

The model developed by Baird and 
Jumper incorporates an understanding of 
how deep-sea fishes detect chemicals in the 
water, gained through knowledge of the 
physiology of fish olfactory systems; esti- 
mates of the abundance and vertical distrib- 
ution of a number of these species, derived 
from trawl studies conducted by Baird and 
others; and data on how chemicals disperse 
in deep water, derived, in part, from diffu- 
sion theory and studies that tracked the 
movement of dye released hundreds of 
meters deep in the ocean. The model was 
enhanced with the help of Hamid Johari, 
assistant professor of mechanical engineer- 
ing, who joined the research team in 1993. 
He brought a wealth of knowledge about dif- 
fusion processes and experimental tech- 
niques to the mix. 

The analysis revealed that one of the 
most critical factors in determining whether 
a fish is likely to locate a potential mate or 
meal (and whether, in turn, a species is like- 
ly to survive) is a variable they call the per- 
ception distance. This is the distance at 
which a fish is able to first recognize and 
locate a target organism. The probability of 
successful encounters with such targets 
increases exponentially as the perception 
distance increases. 

"Any factor that can change the percep- 
tion distance can have a profound effect on 
the probability of encounter," Baird says. 

"To enhance reproductive success, for 
example, females of some species release 
pheromones into the water, while the males 
have developed inordinately elaborate olfac- 
tory organs to increase their ability to pick 
up the pheromone scent. 

"Animals encounter things in real-time 
and 3-D," Baird says, "so the physics of real- 
time, 3-D encounter is a critical dimension in 
understanding aquatic ecosystems. It begins 
to explain why organisms look the way they 
do — why, for example, some male deep-sea 
fish have very large noses, or why the larva 
of pelagic species are often as clear as 

A model that accounts for 
the many variables that 
can influence percep- 
tion distance and 
encounter proba- 
bilities can be 
complex and 
require con- 
siderable com- 
puter power to 
run, Baird says. 
For this reason, 

The hatchetfish 
Sternoptyx diaphana, resi- 
dent of a strange deep-sea world. 

with funding from the Advanced Research 
Projects Agency, Baird, Jumper, Johari and 
mechanical engineering graduate student 
Michael J. Rider are adapting encounter 
algorithms to run on high-performance, mas- 
sively parallel computers in collaboration 
with the Enterprise Computing Institute 
(formerly WPFs Center for High Perfor- 
mance Computing). 

In other work, the researchers plan to 
begin gathering new data on chemical dis- 
persal in simulated aquatic environments 
using a sophisticated water tunnel and other 
equipment in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory 
in Higgins Laboratories. 

The research on deep-sea encounter the- 
ory is just one aspect of a multidisciplinary 
program in ecological engineering at WPI 
that began in 1989 when the Institute 
received a multiyear grant from the Rodney 
Hunt Co., a maker of water- and sewage-con- 
trol equipment in Orange, Mass. The grant 
has supported educational and research 
programs that apply the tools and tech- 
niques of engineering and computer science 
to environmental and ecological problems. 

"This program grew from the recognition 
that there are a host of problems in these 

fields that are so complex they don't lend 
themselves to one-discipline solutions," 
Baird says. "Ecologists are generally not 
well-versed in engineering and computer sci- 
ence. At the same time, engineers and scien- 
tists have skills, exciting technology and 
computational methods that can be applied 
to ecological problems. As an oceanograph- 
er and ecologist, I saw all of this expertise 
around me at WPI and I thought, 'Let's see if 
we can bring these people together to work 
on a problem of real ecological interest.'" 

To date, more than 10 graduate and 
undergraduate students have worked on 
research projects through the ecological 
engineering program. Their work has con- 
tributed to four papers in top ecological and 
oceanographic journals and to several invited 
presentations at national scientific meetings. 

"These are not, by and large, students 
who intend to pursue careers in the environ- 
mental field," Baird says. "Rather, they are 
using engineering theory and tools they will 
eventually employ in their careers and 
applying them to real problems that just 
happen to have an ecological thrust. In the 
process, they're gaining a new appreciation 
for the environment. That's the real goal of 
this program — to expose engineering stu- 
dents to ecological issues. 

"In the next century, the environment may 
surpass the economy as our principal nation- 
al concern. Clearly, all engineers and scien- 
tists will find themselves dealing with issues 
that relate to the environment and the global 
environmental implications of technology. 
Just as important, future engineers and scien- 
tists must understand that they will be called 
upon to play important roles in solving the 
environmental problems we face." 

How Poor Decisions 
Can Add Up to 
Global Problems 

In 1982, James K. Doyle, assistant professor 
of social science and policy studies, earned 
a bachelor's degree in environmental sci- 
ences at the University of California, 
Berkeley, and set out to help solve the 
world's environmental problems. But he 
soon made a fundamental discovery that 
would change the course of his career. 

"I realized that the primary cause of 
these problems is human behavior," he says. 
"I had thought I could have a fine career fix- 
ing environmental problems, but each time a 
problem was fixed, people would turn 
around and create a new one. So I decided 


Winter 1995 

to go to the source and find out how people 
think about the environment and how they 
make the decisions in their daily lives that 
contribute to environmental problems." 

Doyle went back to school and earned a 
Ph.D. in social psychology at the University 
of Colorado in 1991. Since then he has been 
studying judgement and decision making, 
particularly the kinds of decisions individu- 
als make that concern risk to themselves 
and risk to the environment. As an example, 
Doyle points to the risk people face from 
exposure to radon gas in their homes. 

Working with the Environmental Protec- 
tion Agency, Doyle studied the results of a 
campaign in the Washington, D.C., area to 
encourage people to purchase and use 
reduced-price test kits. "We found that 
about half of the people who went to the 
trouble of buying the kits never sent them in 
for testing," he says. "Of those who did, only 

Doyle: going to the source. 

about half retested, which is recommended. 
Those whose kits measured more than 50 
picocuries per liter were sent a free kit for 
retesting. Half of those never came back. 
Only a few percent of people with a radon 
problem followed through to correct it. 

"Before this study, the EPA had focused a 
lot of its efforts on getting people concerned 
about the risk of radon. But that's not 
enough. Dealing with a radon problem is 
such a long and technical process, most 
people just can't make it all the way 
through. So we suggested to the EPA that 
the time to get people involved is when 
houses turn over, because then there are 
brokers and other professionals to make 

"The environmental 

movement would like 

us to think globally, 

but as a social and 

cognitive psychologist, 

I don't think we now 

have or will soon 

develop the capacity 

to do that" 

sure things get done. With that approach, 
more than half the people with radon prob- 
lems correct them." 

In another study, Doyle tried to assess 
whether people are accurate judges of the 
way some risks, like those tied to radon 
exposure, accumulate over time. "For exam- 
ple," he says, "if you live in a flood plain, the 
chance of a hundred-year flood occurring in 
any one year is one in a hundred. If you live 
there 25 years, the odds of at least one such 
flood rise to 22 in a hundred. If people don't 
understand that, it might explain why so few 
buy heavily subsidized flood insurance. 

"Previous studies had concluded that 
people don't buy the insurance because 
they greatly underestimate how risk accu- 
mulates. We found that people are better at 
making such estimates than they'd been 
given credit for, but they don't buy the 
insurance anyway. They understand the risk 
and they worry about it, but these feelings 
get lost in the complications of everyday life. 
If they're having trouble getting jobs or feed- 
ing their families, flood insurance simply 
goes to the bottom of the priority list." 

While people can sometimes think ration- 
ally about how risk accumulates, they are 
less clearheaded when it comes to quanti- 
fying how much they value the environment, 
Doyle has found. "It is easy to get people to 
say they value the environment, but it is 
much more difficult to get them to say exact- 
ly how much they value it," he says. 

"If you ask them how much they'd be 
willing to pay on their water bill to clean up 
a toxic landfill leaking chemicals into the 
groundwater, they might say $10 a month. If 
you ask them how much they'd pay to clean 
up five landfills, they'd still say $10 a month. 
In your methodology, you have to be able to 
deal with problems like these. You also have 
to be wary of trying to get a value out of peo- 

ple when there is no value to be gotten until 
you ask the question." 

Often, people's impressions about the 
environment and about risk are shaped by 
their own biases. For example, a recent IQP 
advised by Doyle showed that people tend 
to believe that larger animals, animals that 
are the most similar to humans, and animals 
unlike those they see every day, are the 
most likely to be endangered. "People have 
trouble imagining that an insect can be 
endangered," he says. 

Often, biases are shaped or fueled by 
reporting in the media, Doyle says. For ex- 
ample, people tend to overestimate their 
risk of dying from causes that are heavily 
reported (murder, car accidents) and under- 
estimate the risk from lesser-reported caus- 
es (diabetes, cancer). A current IQP is look- 
ing at whether people's concern over global 
warming is shaped by the impressions they 
get from the media concerning how much 
disagreement there is among climatology 

"There is substantial disagreement over 
minor points, such as which countries will 
be most affected, but there is almost com- 
plete agreement that global warming will 
happen over the next century," Doyle says. 
"But do people mistake the quibbling over 
details for disagreement on the big picture?" 

Given the limitations of the human mind, 
are people up to the task of managing the 
global environment? "I'm certain that right 
now, we are not up to the task," Doyle says. 
"We have limits on our working memory, 
limits on the ways in which we can perceive 
the world, and limits on our judgement and 
problem-solving abilities that make it diffi- 
cult for us to comprehend complicated, mas- 
sively interconnected systems, let alone 
manage them. The environmental movement 
would like us to think globally, but as a 
social and cognitive psychologist, 1 don't 
think we now have or will soon develop the 
capacity to do that." 

Is there an alternative? Doyle says rather 
than trying to manage the environment on a 
global scale, environmental scientists 
should focus on trying to get people to make 
better decisions in their own lives — to help 
them see that their actions, while seemingly 
inconsequential, help contribute to prob- 
lems on a global scale. "It's the idiosyn- 
crasies of our minds and the way we think 
that cause us to make bad decisions," he 
says, "and all these little everyday decisions 
add up to things like global warming, ozone 
depletion and species extinction." 

—Michael Dorsey 

WP1 Journal 


fcWflRDi f OR A 

fllanij UIPI 
f raduatei have 
found that help- 
in? protect the 
environment can 
make for an 
exciting and 

By David Brooks, Allison Chisolm, 

Diane Benison, Michael Dorsey, 

Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask 

Illustration by Robert G. Cuoco 

In the few short decades since the modern environ- 
mental movement began, some major achievements 
have been recorded. In this country, these include 
the creation of the Environmental Protection 
Agency and a host of other federal, state and local gov- 
ernment bodies dedicated to environmental preservation; 
the passage of myriad laws and regulations governing 
water quality, land use, and the release of hazardous 
materials into the environment; and a sea change in public 
attitudes about the value of protecting the natural world. 

As a result, today we live in a cleaner and safer world. 
But the battle to protect the environment is far from 
over. Important threats remain to our air, water and land. 
Huge quantities of toxic materials still lie buried under- 
ground all over the country, a threat to human health and 
the fiscal health of those who may unwittingly purchase 
polluted land. And industry must still grapple with the 
best and safest ways to deal with the hazardous byprod- 
ucts of manufacturing. 

None of this is news to the several hundred WPI 
alumni who have built careers in various aspects of the 
environmental field. In the pages that follow, we invite you 
to meet just a few of these talented men and women. 

These eight stories were reported by staff writers 
Michael Dorsey, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask, and 
by David Brooks, a photographer and writer who lives in 
Warren, N.H., Allison Chisolm, a Worcester-based free- 
lance writer, and Diane Benison, a former newspaper edi- 
tor who writes regularly for the WPI Journal. 



Winter 1995 

SmALL Plaiict 

HflRK flflD PflULfl nOUJICK HtLP 

Companies im money ono 
Protcct th€ CnviRonmcnT 

In 1959, when Henry ("Hank") Nowick '56 
began his career as a process engineer at 
Monsanto Chemical Co., protecting the 
environment was not a major focus for the 
chemical industry. Few environmental laws and 
regulations were yet in effect, and the impact of 
pollution on the environment and human health 
was not well understood. But all that would soon 
begin to change. 

The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent 
Spring in 1 962 alerted the world to the dangers of 
environmental pollution by pesticides, and in the 
process launched the international environmental 
movement. The first Earth Day in 1970 demon- 
strated the growing popular concern over pollu- 
tion and environmental degradation, a concern 
that helped fuel the creation of the Environ- 
mental Protection Agency and the subsequent 
passage of landmark environmental protection 
laws, such as the Resource Conservation and 
Recovery Act and the Clean Air and Water acts, 
over the following two decades. 

Today, a different sort of environmental rev- 
olution is taking place. Where the environmental 
movement of the 1970s and 1980s grew primarily 
from a desire to clean up the world's air, water 
and soil, and to find safer and more reliable ways 
to dispose of the products of our industrialized 
society, today there is a growing realization that 
protecting the environment can be good 

More and more, companies are looking for 
ways to reduce their production of waste and to 
reuse hazardous materials — strategies that not 
only reduce the need to dispose of chemicals, but 
lessen the risks involved in storing and handling 
these materials. The potential for significant savings 
and improved safety are motivating many compa- 
nies to accelerate their environmental efforts. 

Nowick says his 35-year career in chemical 
engineering has been greatly influenced by the 
environmental movement. When he joined Mon- 
santo in 1959, he was a technology specialist 
whose primary responsibilities were improving 
the manufacturing processes for existing prod- 
ucts and bringing new products developed in 
Monsanto's laboratories into full-scale industrial 
production. He also became involved in starting 
up new chemical production units in Mexico, 
Spain, Italy, Germany and England. 

In recognition of his contributions to the 
company, Nowick in 1979 was one of a handful 
of employees offered a full-year academic assign- 
ment at a university and in a field of his choice. 
He elected to study the emerging field of envi- 
ronmental engineering at the University of Cali- 
fornia at Berkeley. 

"My years of varied industry experience gave 
me a perspective that many political-action envi- 
ronmentalists didn't share," Nowick says, "name- 
ly, that American industry was run by intelligent, 
well-meaning and caring citizens, like me, who 
had been unaware of the long-term impacts that 
new products and their by-products might have 
on the land, air and water. The solutions to these 
problems required intensive study and strategic 
planning, not sloganeering and name-calling." 

When he returned to Monsanto, he was 
assigned to develop a coordinated hazardous 
waste management program for the company's 
Springfield, Mass., plant. In that job he developed 
training programs, conducted environmental audits 
for several Monsanto plants, and designed pro- 
grams that enabled the company to meet environ- 
mental regulations in a cost-effective manner. 

He also became corporate Monsanto's lead- 
ing public speaker, concentrating primarily on 
environmental issues and industry compliance 
with government regulations. And he was a char- 
ter member of the Massachusetts Hazardous 
Waste Facility Site Safety Council, one of several 
boards on which he has served over the years. 

At the many national conferences Nowick 
attended, he was introduced to the new revolu- 

Hank and Paula Nowick, founders of 
Nowick Environmental Associates. 
After a 35-year career with Monsanto, 
Hank Nowick set out on his own. The 
firm he and Paula created helps compa- 
nies comply with environmental regula- 
tions and reduce their production of 
hazardous wastes. 


WPI Journal 


"ffly yean of varied industry experience ?ave me a perspective that many 
political-action environmentalists didn't share, namely, that American 
industry was run by intelligent, well-meanin? and carin? citizens/' 

tion in environmental engineering. He learned 
that the most effective — and economical — way 
to tackle hazardous waste is to produce as little 
as possible. "The idea was," he says, "wherever 
possible, to reengineer your product and 
processes so as to minimize hazardous materials. 
Engineers were being asked to design more effi- 
cient processes, substitute materials, recover, 
recycle, and create new uses for by-products." 

At Monsanto, for example, Nowick decided 
there had to be an alternative to paying between 
$50 and $300 per 50-gallon drum to dispose of 
waste resins generated at the plant. Drawing on 
his contacts at other chemical plants, he discov- 
ered that Polaroid was faced with similar costs for 
disposing of waste solvents. By commingling 
Monsanto's waste resins with Polaroid's waste sol- 
vents, Nowick was able to generate a fuel that 
could be sold to companies that produce concrete 
shale aggregate, replacing the more expensive 
petroleum-based fuels they were using. "That ini- 
tiative produced hundreds of thousands of dollars 
of savings for everyone," Nowick says. 

After taking early retirement from Monsanto, 
Nowick entered the consulting business in envi- 
ronmental engineering and founded his own com- 
pany, Nowick Environmental Associates, in January 
1994. His wife, Paula, is vice president of the firm. 
A major objective of the company is to help indus- 
tries that process or handle hazardous chemicals, 
or that create hazardous by-products, comply with 
complicated state and federal regulations. 

"I read the Federal Register every day," No- 
wick says. "It enables me to keep my clients 
abreast of amendments to environmental regula- 
tions, pending legislation, pertinent legal interpre- 
tations and current laws that may affect them. 
This is an ever-changing, ever-challenging field." 

Because each state can add more stringent 
amendments to the federal law, companies doing 
interstate business must comply with many varia- 
tions. "We recently trained workers in an 
Arizona-based company on the mandates they 
must follow to avoid violating federal, Mass- 
achusetts and Arizona environmental regula- 

tions," Nowick says. "The sessions took eight 
hours, including certifying exams." 

Nowick presents training and certification 
programs in a wide variety of environmental top- 
ics. His largest training group included 993 Air 
National Guard reservists at Westover Air Re- 
serve Base in Chicopee, Mass. "It took 32 ses- 
sions to train everyone," Nowick says. "I also 
produced a video to train absentees or newcom- 
ers. By the end of that assignment, I could give a 
five-hour training session with no notes." 

In its first year of operation, Nowick Asso- 
ciates has developed toxic use reduction plans for 
15 industries in Massachusetts. One such company 
is a printing plate producer that uses concentrated 
nitric acid in its photoengraving etching process. 
For years the firm had been disposing of the spent 
acid in its wastewater discharge after first neutral- 
izing it with sodium hydroxide. 

Nowick was asked to investigate whether it 
was possible for the company to reduce its use of 
nitric acid and sodium hydroxide, both of which 
are expensive and potentially hazardous to work- 
ers and the environment. Nowick proposed the 
use of a recently developed acid recycling system 
that uses diffusion dialysis. Trials in the plant 
demonstrated that 95 percent of the spent nitric 
acid could be recovered and purified for reuse. 

"Not only was the nitric acid discharge cut 
significantly," Nowick says, "but the need for 
sodium hydroxide was drastically reduced. The 
company was able to realize its goal of producing 
high-quality etched products while producing as 
little waste as possible. This strategy not only sig- 
nificantly lowered the risk associated with the 
storage and handling of hazardous chemicals, but 
it will have financial benefits by reducing the need 
to purchase raw materials, as well as lowering 
operating and waste-disposal costs." 

"We have found that many companies do not 
have the resources to research alternatives like 
this," Paula Nowick says. "Larger companies have 
downsized their research and development staffs, 
and smaller companies, especially in New 
England, have to focus their energies on surviving 

in fiercely competitive markets. Given strict envi- 
ronmental regulations and today's economic cli- 
mate, the environmental consultant has become a 
vital asset for many industries." 

Public conservation efforts can also frequently 
benefit from the types of services that Nowick 
Environmental Associates offers. For example, a 
consortium of 20 high schools in Western Mass- 
achusetts needed help in finding the most cost- 
effective way of disposing of small quantities of the 
many spent and out-of-date chemicals purchased 
for use in classroom demonstrations and experi- 
ments. Since only licensed hazardous waste dis- 
posers are authorized to deal with these potential- 
ly dangerous chemicals, each school was looking at 
costs ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for disposing 
of less than a 50-gallon drum of waste. 

"First, we compiled a master list of the chem- 
icals from all 20 schools," Nowick says. "Through 
the industrial contacts I have made over the 
years, we found companies that could use many 
of these chemicals in their operations. We even 
found a roofing contractor to take some excess 
asphaltic materials from one of the schools." 

Currently, Hank and Paula are gearing up to 
help companies comply with regulations being 
prepared by the Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration and the Environmental Protection 
Agency that will require manufacturing compa- 
nies to review and improve their operations to 
ensure the health and safety of employees and 
neighboring communities. 

"Part of the process of complying with these 
Process Safety Management regulations will 
require the application of the concepts of total 
quality management, making sure everyone in the 
company — from managers on down to line 
workers — becomes involved in the decision mak- 
ing about processes that employ hazardous mate- 
rials," Paula says. 

While Nowick Environmental Associates is 
their first joint business venture, Hank and Paula 
Nowick have been partners since first meeting at 
WPI in 1958, becoming engaged in Paris in 1961, 
and marrying in 1963. 

L *K *K *K **L *K *K *K **L **L **L *K 9*l #» 0*l *K #» ** #» #» #» #\ 0\. #* #* #\ ** /\ f\t 

% *.% * m % v ♦ *.* * m % n ±j . m % i % *. ♦ w * m % if * m * * m + if w .„♦ t ♦ * m % . m % * m % * m * w *.+ ^ ♦ ;,; •.:! 


Winter 1995 

"Given strict environmental regulation! and today's economic climate, the 
environmental consultant has become a vital asset for mamj industries." 

"It's fascinating to look back at the changes in 
environmental awareness that have occurred 
over that time," Paula says. "It's just as fascinating 
to think about how much our life together has 
deepened our appreciation of the loving care that 
needs to be given to all evolving things — especial- 
ly relationships. All beautiful things need protec- 
tion and reverence." 

— Michael Dorsey and David Brooks 

flflncy Coward Hclpi K«p 
th€ Spirit of Cartu Dam Aliv€ 
in thc Pacific Rim 

Over the past two decades, the annual 
celebration of Earth Day has lost much 
of its original excitement and visibility. 
But in the late 1970s, when Nancy S. 
Convard '80 was in high school, it was still a new 
and powerful idea, one that influenced her choice 
of college and helped shape her career. 

When Convard decided she wanted a career 
that combined her budding concern for the envi- 
ronment with her knack for math and science, she 
went looking for colleges that would enable her to 
merge these interests. At the time, WPI was one 
of the few universities offering an undergraduate 
degree in environmental engineering. That, plus 
the WPI Plan, with its project-based approach to 
education, led her to enroll at WPI in 1 976. 

What she didn't realize then was how her 
choice of career and college would help her 
achieve another of her goals: seeing the world. For 
the first 20 months after she graduated from WPI, 
Convard worked in Massachusetts for the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency. But since then 
she's pursued her career entirely in the Pacific 
Rim, working in Southeast Asia, for a small Pacific 
island republic and, most recently, in Hawaii. 

Her life in the Pacific region began in 1982 
when she left the EPA to join the Peace Corps as 
an environmental engineer. She was sent to 
Thailand to work with the provincial government 

in Roi-Et on water resource projects. She helped 
plan, design and build small dams, spillways and 
rain catchment tanks. She also spent a great deal 
of time in the village of Ban Payamnom Noi help- 
ing out with a variety of environmental projects. 

When her two-year hitch in the Peace Corps 
was over, she signed on for a third year and was 
given the freedom to design her own assignment. 
She decided to go to Chiang Mai University in 
northern Thailand, where she worked as a 
researcher and instructor in the environmental 
engineering program. Fluent in Thai, she taught 
courses in environmental engineering and indus- 
trial wastewater treatment to Thai students. She 
also helped conduct water quality surveys in 
northern Thailand. 

"I liked working in Thailand," she says, "and I 
liked the fact that my work made a clear differ- 
ence in the lives of people." She realized that to 
remain in the environmental field she would need 
an advanced degree. She was accepted by several 
universities, but chose the Master of Public 
Health Program at the University of Hawaii. 

She attended the university with a prestigious 
scholarship from the East-West Center for 
Intercultural and Technical Exchanges. Funded by 
the U.S. government, the East-West Center has a 
staff of full-time researchers, fellows and associ- 
ates and sponsors a cadre of graduate students at 
the University of Hawaii. Of the 150 to 200 stu- 
dents who conduct research through the center 
each year, about 25 percent are from the U.S. 
and the balance come from various Asian and 
Pacific island nations. 

Convard says her work through the East- 
West Center gave her valuable international pro- 
fessional ties. But the public health program 
focused more on identifying and managing envi- 
ronmental risks, and less on treating and mitigat- 
ing them, which were her interests. To learn 
more about the practical, hands-on side of envi- 
ronmental work, she stayed on to earn a second 
master's degree in civil engineering in 1987. 

With her graduate work complete, she took 
a job as executive director of the Environmental 

© © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © 

WPI Journal 

Early in her career, Nancy Convard 
worked as an environmental engineer in 
Thailand, where the local fauna includes 
elephants. She has remained in the 
Pacific Rim since then, running an 
environmental agency for an island 
nation and working for several con- 
sulting firms in Hawaii. 


"I believe it i$ important to balance environmental and public 
health concern) with real- world needs, such at housing economic 
development and $o on. Sustainable development and assessing risks 
to the environment and human health are both key to 'environmental 

David Ploss, right, and H. Robert Nyce 
of Ploss Associates. The firm, founded 
by Ploss in 1985, provides a range of 
environmental services and also offers 
an on-line information service that 
keeps clients up to speed on the 
latest news on environmental laws and 

Quality Protection Board of the Republic of 
Palau. Palau was then part of the United Nations 
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and was 
administered by the U.S. Located about 800 miles 
southwest of Guam, Palau is made up of some 
340 islands in the Caroline chain, many of which 
are uninhabited. Its 15,000 citizens live in an area 
roughly twice the size of Washington, D.C. 

The Republic of Palau gained its independence 
last October, the last U.N. Trust Territory in the 
Pacific to do so. When Convard went to Palau in 
the late 1980s, the U.S. EPA was working with 
local officials to help them prepare to manage 
their own environmental programs after indepen- 
dence came. 

Convard says the nation's early environmen- 
tal program focused primarily on sanitation and 
rural environmental health. But the newly estab- 
lished Environmental Quality Protection Board 
was charged with addressing other environmental 
issues and creating new programs for the coun- 
try, whose small economy was built primarily on 
tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing. The 
tourist industry is considered to be of great 
importance to the nation's economic future. 

"When I arrived, the board was not very ac- 
tive," she says. "Its staff was implementing the 
program through other government depart- 
ments. My role as executive director was to man- 
age the technical staff. I reported to an appointed 
board that made policy decisions based on the 
staffs technical analysis and recommendations." 

For nearly three years, she helped set the new 
agency's scope and agenda. She and her staff 
reviewed the nation's existing environmental regu- 
lations, drafted new regulations, and recommend- 
ed others to meet unaddressed needs. Under her 
direction, the board became a quasi-independent 
government agency, no longer under the control 
of any other department or ministry. She said this 
helped the board remain objective as it reviewed 
the nation's development efforts, which were 
largely directed by the national government. 

"The board had pretty much all of the pro- 
gram areas that the U.S. EPA has: water supply, 

marine water quality, solid waste and hazardous 
waste, which in Palau primarily meant pesticides, 
household hazardous waste, petroleum products, 
and so on," she says. 

"Palau is a wonderful place. It has some of the 
best — if not the best — scuba diving in the world, 
and it has some terrific people. I had a great time 
there; it was the part of my career of which I'm 
most proud. But the time came for the Palauans 
to take over. Since I left, I've stayed in touch with 
many of the people I worked with there." 

In the spring of 1990, Convard began a new 
job with PRC Environmental Management Inc., a 
consulting firm in Honolulu. A year later she was 
offered the opportunity to open a Honolulu 
office for EnviroSearch International, a small firm 
based in Salt Lake City. 

"EnviroSearch wanted to do international 
work and I had contacts in the Pacific region that 
allowed me to get project work," she says. "I 
worked on projects for governments and agen- 
cies, particularly the American Samoan govern- 
ment and the South Pacific Regional Environment 
Program, a regional international environmental 
technical assistance organization with representa- 
tives from governments throughout the Pacific 
region. I also added another continent to my 
resume when I was asked to conduct an assess- 
ment of hazardous waste management in 

After two years with EnviroSearch Inter- 
national, she joined Parametrix Inc., a 300-person 
consulting firm based in Washington state. While 
Parametrix is known in the mainland U.S. as a 
multidisciplinary environmental firm, its Honolulu 
office had focused largely on water/wastewater 
engineering. Convard was asked to expand the 
environmental practice in Hawaii and in the 
Pacific, which she did until late 1994, when the 
company decided to scale back its Hawaiian 
operation and focus on the Pacific Northwest. 

In November 1994 she joined Barrett Con- 
sulting Group Inc., which has a 300-person staff 
that works in offices in California, Washington, 
Hawaii and Guam. As senior environmental engi- 



Winter 1995 

"Uavin? the opportunity to tap into needed information with a few 
keystroke! putt an end to flipping and browsin? through mountains of 
manuals and document!." 

neer/project manager in Honolulu, she will con- 
tinue to work with several clients she brought 
with her from her previous job and further devel- 
op her expertise in areas like toxic waste remedi- 
ation and solid waste management — in Hawaii 
and in the international arena. "We're looking at 
potential projects in the Maldives, Southeast Asia 
and the Cook Islands, among other areas," she 
says. "A four-month assignment to develop 
improved solid-waste management and environ- 
mental agency strengthening should be complet- 
ed by this fall." 

Convard says her work as an environmental 
consultant has been quite varied. Her earlier 
assignments — including her Major Qualifying Proj- 
ect at WPI — dealt with water quality. The MQP, 
completed with Betsy Steigerwald Yingling '80 and 
Grace (Crooker) Levergood '80, was a study of 
the Muschopauge Reservoir watershed in Rutland, 
Mass. "That project was actually similar to some of 
the work I've done as a consultant, where the 
environmental impacts of development projects 
are considered in the planning process or manage- 
ment of water resources," she says. 

Today, many of her assignments in Hawaii 
focus on the environmental assessment, environ- 
mental audit, investigation and remediation of 
hazardous waste sites. For the foreseeable future 
she says she will likely continue this work on an 
international scale, helping governments balance 
economic development with adequate environ- 
mental controls. For her industrial clients, she 
sees her work turning more and more to areas 
like pollution prevention and waste minimization. 

She says her work on international environ- 
mental projects has been particularly exciting, 
"because it solves real problems and provides 
proactive environmental management. I believe it 
is important to balance environmental and public 
health concerns with real-world needs, such as 
housing, economic development and so on. Sus- 
tainable development and assessing risks to the 
environment and human health are both key to 
'environmental management.'" 

— Diane Benison 


EnviRonmtnTflL itRvicu to thc 


hen companies need more solid 
footing as they slog through the 
quagmire of environmental health 
and safety regulations, they can log 
into an on-line service maintained by Ploss 
Associates, an environmental consulting firm in 
Northboro, Mass. The service can give them 
answers around the clock, seven days a week. 

F. David Ploss 70, founder and president of 
Ploss Associates, designed the new service, called 
Ploss Environmental and Safety Information 
Service. "We wanted businesses that had been 
dependent upon trade journals or that found 
themselves swamped with regulatory data to be 
able to get the information they need from a cen- 
tral source in a concise form," Ploss says. "Having 
the opportunity to tap into needed information 
with a few keystrokes puts an end to flipping and 
browsing through mountains of manuals and doc- 

Agencies such as the U.S Occupational Safety 
and Health Administration and the Environmental 
Protection Agency are going on-line, Ploss says, 
but it still takes companies too much time to 
wade through all the latest regulations. And 
smaller companies, which his firm serves, rarely 
have a full-time regulatory affairs employee to do 
the work. Ploss says he and his staff glean the 
information they offer on-line on their own for- 
ays into the Internet. "We get the information 
because we need it in our work with specific 
clients," he says. 

He says he decided to start the unique ser- 
vice about a year ago when he was downloading 
information from OSHA and realized that his 
client needed the same information but might not 
know how to find it. Now he makes the informa- 
tion — including news about proposed legisla- 
tion — available to clients for a small monthly fee- 

It can be accessed by modem or through the 
Internet. So far, more than two dozen companies 
have signed on. 

Michael Alberts, director of corporate safety 
and security for Cabot Safety Corp. in Sturbridge, 
Mass., is one of the service's clients. "I find that if 
there's something hot going on, I can find it," he 
says. "It cuts right to the chase." Norman Faucher, 
owner of CAC Industries Inc., says such a service 
has long been needed. "Before I joined, I was often 
unable to easily access the latest regulations, so I'd 
follow the old ones and hope for the best," he 
says. "I'd sometimes find out later that many were 
outdated by at least a couple of months." 

In addition to access to information, the 
monthly fee also gives clients on-line support and 
two hours of free phone consultations each quar- 
ter. For a higher fee, companies can set up a bul- 
letin board system for their employees. "For 
example," Ploss says, "a firm with 10 manufactur- 
ing plants around the country might want its own 
internal memo system so staff managers can dis- 
cuss the latest EPA and OSHA regulations among 
themselves. Our service could, if requested, then 
supply them with the names of key agency per- 
sons to contact about regulatory changes." 

Although the budding on-line service is 
presently on the front burner at Ploss Associates, 
the firm also specializes in providing solutions to 
environmental, safety, industrial hygiene and reg- 
ulatory problems at companies — small and large 
— around the country. It conducts environmental 
site audits, environmental due-diligence investiga- 
tions, industrial hygiene sampling and safety 
audits, and industrial program development, 
among other services. 

"We also develop and assist in the implemen- 
tation of hazardous waste management programs, 
audit existing programs and provide required 
training for clients," Ploss says. 

The firm has completed a wide variety of pro- 
jects since Ploss founded it in 1985. For example, 
it evaluated how fly ash is handled at the incinera- 
tion facilities of a large municipality, prepared a 
corporate safety manual for a large New England 


WPI Journal 


"Liabilities that are not at first apparent in proposed mergers can cost a 
firm millions of dollars. We can evaluate the potential liabilities before 
the transaction is completed and can, possibly, prevent a firm from 
assuming significant financial responsibilities." 

corporation, and prepared and implemented a 
"Worker's Right To Know" program at a small 
printing company. 

Ploss Associates also has experience in making 
environmental risk assessments prior to business 
acquisition and mergers. Its clients currently 
include a leading private investment company in 
New York and a development company and law 
firm in New England. "Liabilities that are not at 
first apparent in proposed mergers can cost a firm 
millions of dollars," Ploss says. "We can evaluate 
the potential liabilities before the transaction is 
completed and can, possibly, prevent a firm from 
assuming significant financial responsibilities." 

Ploss says he relies on networking to build his 
business. "When you work for yourself, you're 
your own salesman. You follow up on referrals. 
You make cold calls. You ask people if they have 
any problems that you can help solve. We've 
been fortunate in being able to get ahead on a lot 
of word-of-mouth and repeat business." 

The "we" behind Ploss Associates is a WPI 
alumni duo. Working with Ploss as a project 
manager is H. Robert Nyce Jr. '93, who has 16 
years of environmental experience, mostly in the 
construction and consulting field. He has man- 
aged air-quality, safety, industrial hygiene and reg- 
ulatory projects for a number of firms, including 
an abrasives manufacturer, machine shops, con- 
struction businesses, printing facilities, and trash- 
to-energy plants. 

Ploss' own experience includes course work 
at the Harvard School of Public Health and nearly 
two decades at Norton Co., where he was cor- 
porate administrator of Environmental, Health 
and Safety Services. He has also worked as a 
chemical engineer for Factory Insurance Asso- 
ciation, a fire protection insurance carrier 
in Detroit, and for Kemper Insurance Co. in 

He has served on committees to develop 
industrywide compliance procedures and has 
been retained as an expert witness in numerous 
environmental- and safety-related legal cases. An 
authority on Workers Right To Know legislation 

and OSHA compliance, he has been a consultant 
to the Grinding Wheel Institute, the Abrasive 
Grain Association, the Smaller Business Asso- 
ciation of New England, the Risk and Insurance 
Managers Society, and the Associated Industries 
of Massachusetts. A registered environmental 
assessor, he is also certified as a safety profes- 
sional, hazardous materials manager, environmen- 
tal inspector and plant engineer. 

"When necessary, we add the services of 
additional certified industrial hygienists and safety 
professionals, as well as toxicologists, biologists, 
hydrogeologists, geologists and surveyors," Ploss 
says. "But most of the time, it's just the two of 
us." And that's just how he likes it. "You know," 
he says with a grin, "I really do like being my own 
boss and calling the shots." 

Calling the shots is something that comes nat- 
urally to an experienced rower, coxswain and 
crew coach who once made it to the finals of the 
Canadian Nationals in the singles event. For more 
than 13 years, beginning in 1972, Ploss coached 
the WPI Crew Club, a six-day-a-week job. Under 
his guidance, the team won numerous titles, 
including the Four With Coxswain title at the 
National Championships in 1978, the City of 
Worcester Championship (for 12 years), and the 
New England Championships in 1979. 

In 1982 he led the first alumni contingent and 
student crews to row in the Reading Regatta in 
England (a preliminary race to the famed Henley 
Regatta), where they won three trophies. Ploss' 
dedication as rowing coach, along with his work 
as a class secretary, a class agent, and chairman of 
the 15th Reunion of his WPI class, won him the 
1 985 John Boynton Young Alumni Award for ser- 
vice to WPI. 

Like rowing, Ploss says he finds that being an 
entrepreneur has its rewards and its risks. "I'm in 
control of my career now," he says. "I didn't feel 
that way when I worked for a big company. On 
the other hand, I have to think about a lot of 
other things that I wouldn't have otherwise — like 
meeting a payroll." 

— Ruth Trask 

f oRmtR (HcmicAL CncinuR 

I) A LflllMR f OR THC LARD, 

In the mid-1980s, Paula (Green) Curry '82 
dealt with dirty water. A chemical engineer, 
she designed industrial wastewater treat- 
ment systems to help companies meet clean 
water requirements. While her clients now had 
clean water, Curry discovered they didn't really 
understand the host of other environmental reg- 
ulations their businesses faced. "They needed 
legal advice," she says. And the regulations fasci- 
nated her. So she decided to become a lawyer. 

A native of Auburn, Mass., Curry graduated 
from Boston College Law School in 1990 and 
joined the 100-year-old Boston law firm Bingham, 
Dana & Gould as an associate. A national firm 
with more than 200 lawyers, Bingham, Dana & 
Gould offers its clients a full range of legal ser- 
vices. Curry is a member of a small group that 
offers counsel on environmental issues. 

While she practices environmental law, Curry 
says she operates more as a businessperson. A 
large part of her work is providing environmental 
due diligence, she says, by arming businesspeople 
with the right information — both legal and tech- 
nical — to make an acquisition decision. 

For Curry, environmental issues are "not just 
for people who live in Cambridge and wear 
Birkenstock sandals. These are real business 
issues people have to deal with." On many cases, 
she reviews technical data on a piece of property, 
including groundwater and soil tests, and under- 
takes literature searches on the site and sur- 
rounding area. 

"My goal is to get the best possible outcome 
for my clients," she says, "and help them work 
through all kinds of messes," from owning envi- 
ronmentally hazardous sites on the federal 
Superfund list, to lending money to companies 
who bought property discovered to have been a 
toxic dumping ground a generation ago. 

Winter 1995 


"fTlij ?oal i$ to ?et the best possible outcome for rwj clients and help them 
work through all kinds of messes." 

"What my clients want to know is, What is 
the likelihood I will have to pay for this?'" Curry 
says. "I help them evaluate the risk." And the 
risks can be significant if a $35 million to $40 mil- 
lion transaction is at stake. 

As for the potential price tag for cleaning up a 
hazardous waste site, Curry refers her clients to 
environmental consultants. "I try not to advise 
my clients whether or not to buy a property," 
she says. "The client picks a team and we 
approach the problems together." 

Why should businesses worry about the envi- 
ronment? If they want to buy, sell or build on 
land, they have no choice- — especially if the land is 
in densely developed New England. Several state 
and federal laws enacted over the last 20 years 
have changed the commercial real estate land- 
scape, especially where ground or water contam- 
ination is suspected. If tests reveal contamination 
from hazardous waste, the federal Superfund Act 
imposes strict liability for cleanup costs on any 
person who ever owned or operated a business 
on the site, without regard to fault. 

"Basically, the government can go after any- 
body in the chain of title," Curry explains, and ask 
them to clean up the mess. Other common 
statutes businesses wrestle to comply with are 
the revised federal Clean Air Act, Massachusetts' 
Chapter 21 E (Massachusetts' Superfund statute), 
and local sewer regulations. 

Since Curry first entered the field of environ- 
mental law, she says she has seen clients become 
more sophisticated about environmental laws and 
regulations. "These statutes have been around 20 
years now," says Curry. "People have grown 
more comfortable with the laws and are more 
likely to evaluate the risks themselves." 

So why switch from chemical engineering? As 
Curry has explained to WPI student audiences, 
law and engineering careers have different expec- 
tations. Engineering courses, she says, often lead 
students to solve a problem with one right 
answer. But law school professors want to see 
your reasoning, not your answers. Fewer clear- 
cut solutions may bother engineers, she says, but 

she doesn't mind working through gray areas. 

There are also more women in law, Curry 
notes, particularly in the first years of practice. 
"That's one less hurdle to overcome," she says. 
As an engineer, she often found herself the sole 
woman on a plant floor and had trouble convey- 
ing her competence to her male colleagues. "That 
made it difficult to do the job," she recalls. 

In an environmental law practice, Curry is con- 
stantly challenged by a wide variety of tasks. 
Emergencies arise where she must evaluate mater- 
ial quickly. For example, a company on the verge 
of signing a deal may suddenly uncover a box of 
papers with environmental information. Inspectors 
from the Environmental Protection Agency may 
appear on a company's doorstep. At any one time, 
she may juggle eight to 1 different projects. 

"You have to be up on a lot of various stat- 
utes," she says. "You've got to be a generalist 
within your specialty." 

Curry and her husband, Scott Curry '82, 
recently acquired a new specialty — parenting. She 
took a five-month maternity leave last September 
to welcome their son, Davis, into the world — a 
world, she hopes, that will be a little cleaner for 
his generation. 

— Allison Chisolm 

PtTCR Tunnicufft Hm Built a 

Project ConjTRuaion 

I hen Peter W. Tunnicliffe 74 decid- 
I ed to enroll at WPI, the field of 
I environmental engineering was 
^^^0 new, as was the WPI Plan. He says 
he was willing to gamble on one, but not on both. 
As a member of one of the early Plan classes, he 
was free to choose the Plan or WPI's more tradi- 
tional curriculum. Concerned that the Plan's lack 
of grades might hamper his ability to get a job, he 
opted for the traditional route to a degree in civil 
engineering with an environmental emphasis. 

Paula Curry began her career as a chemi- 
cal engineer specializing in wastewater 
treatment. In 1990 she earned a law 
degree and now is an associate at a 
Boston law firm, where she counsels 
clients on environmental issues, includ- 
ing those surrounding the purchase of 
real estate. 




"We're ?oin? to tee an auiful lot of global environmental opportunities at 
more underdeveloped countries be?in to ?et their water * ijstemt up to 
the current state of the art." 

Having worked for a number of years 
in environmental construction for the 
firm of Camp Dresser & McKee, Peter 
Tunnicliffe was named head of a CDM 
subsidiary, CDM Engineers and Con- 
structors, in 1993. The group specializes 
in undertaking environmental projects 
on a design-build basis. 

Now president of CDM Engineers and Con- 
structors, a subsidiary of Camp Dresser & McKee 
Inc., Tunnicliffe says environmental engineering 
appealed to him because it enabled him to blend 
his interests in chemistry, the life sciences, engi- 
neering and the environment. It also offered good 
prospects for employment. 

At that time, the focus of environmental engi- 
neering was water quality and wastewater treat- 
ment. Under the Clean Water Act, the federal 
government was funneling large amounts of con- 
struction money into state and local government 
projects like sewer systems and water treatment 
plants. There was a growing need for engineers 
with expertise in design and construction. 

Having received his degree in civil engineer- 
ing, Tunnicliffe decided to take a job with Camp 
Dresser & McKee, one of several firms that made 
offers. He says the company's varied portfolio of 
environmental projects appealed to him. "Some 
of the other offers would have pigeonholed me," 
he says. "One company wanted me to be an ion 
exchange specialist. That seemed too limiting." 

Starting in Camp Dresser's construction 
group, Tunnicliffe worked on a wide range of con- 
struction projects, including water treatment 
plants, wastewater plants, transmission mains, and 
sewer lines. "I learned an awful lot about construc- 
tion very quickly," he says, "faster, in fact, than I 
could have in many alternate career paths. That 
exposure shaped the rest of my career." 

In 1979 he was assigned to the company's 
New York City office, where he worked on 
some heavy construction projects designed by a 
firm acquired by Camp Dresser. "They had a lot 
of problems," he says. "I rolled up my sleeves, 
began to resolve them, and ended up relocating 
to New York and taking over the heavy con- 
struction group." 

While in New York, he earned a law degree at 
Brooklyn Law School, something he felt would be 
an asset in his work in construction management. 
In 1981 he was named head of the reorganized 
New York office, which was working on major 
design jobs, including projects for wastewater 

plants and landfills. Over the next several years, as 
Camp Dresser became an important consultant 
and contractor in the field of hazardous waste, 
Tunnicliffe began managing projects in that area, as 
well, including work for the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency and industrial clients. 

In 1 99 1 , as part of a companywide reorgani- 
zation, Camp Dresser established several prac- 
tice-oriented groups focused on national market 
trends. In 1993, one of those, created to meet a 
growing interest of industrial and municipal 
clients in design-build projects in the environ- 
mental field, became CDM Engineers and 

Traditionally, clients have contracted sepa- 
rately with designers and builders to get environ- 
mental projects constructed. But with design- 
build, an approach now common in Europe, a sin- 
gle contractor is responsible for the entire pro- 
ject, which can often save money. Tunnicliffe says 
he believes this design-build concept will become 
prevalent throughout the environmental field. 

CDM Engineers and Constructors' 14-mem- 
ber staff consists largely of construction project 
managers and superintendents. For specific pro- 
jects, the subsidiary works with professionals 
from other Camp Dresser units, particularly peo- 
ple with design or construction experience. 

"Our mission contemplates further growth in 
the areas of responsibility assigned to our project 
managers and superintendents," Tunnicliffe says. 
"It doesn't contemplate growing a series of 
redundant services that would compete with the 
parent. One of the core philosophies of Camp 
Dresser is to function as one team throughout all 
the operating units. We're not set up to compete 
among ourselves. That's different than many 
firms that are set up on a localized profit-center 
basis. Our goals are structured to promote team- 
work between units." 

Tunnicliffe says he is optimistic about the 
future of environmental engineering. In particular, 
he says the international market will provide a 
great deal of work for firms like his. "We're going 
to see an awful lot of global environmental 


^ Jl ajJ\ aaJ\ 4fJ| 4fJJ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aaJ\ aa^\ ^\ 

Winter 1995 

"Business and industry are learning through experience that pollution 
prevention and the safe disposal of hazardous waste reduce the exposure 
of workers to toxic materials and help them stay healthy." 

opportunities as more underdeveloped countries 
begin to get their water systems up to the cur- 
rent state of the art," he says. 

"This is happening now on the Pacific Rim. 
Water system upgrades will be followed by 
wastewater treatment and, ultimately, by solid 
waste- and hazardous waste-related work. There 
are tremendous water treatment and wastewater 
needs in Eastern Europe because of uncontrolled 
industrialization. Drinking water is in trouble 
there and basic wastewater needs are not being 
met well. All around the world, there are 
tremendous environmental needs that will have 
to be addressed in the next decade or two." 

— Diane Benison 

Still An Activist at Hcart, 


fllAnAGc Hazardous Wash 

The development of hazardous waste sites 
is controversial and unpopular, and even 
more so for low-level radioactive waste- 
disposal facilities," says Domenic Forcella 
70. "But in this initiative, the community, not 
some outside agency, makes the decision as to 
whether or not it will participate in the selection 
of a local site." 

Forcella is chairman and executive officer of 
the Connecticut Hazardous Waste Management 
Service (CHWMS) in Hartford, an independent, 
quasi-public agency created by the Connecticut 
Legislature in 1983 to promote the responsible 
management of hazardous waste to help safe- 
guard the state's air, water and land. It also helps 
business operate more efficiently by providing 
technical assistance in pollution prevention. 

In 1987 the agency's scope was broadened to 
include low-level radioactive waste. Through an 
innovative voluntary siting program, CHWMS 
hopes a community will volunteer to host a facili- 
ty for the management of the low-level radioac- 
tive waste generated in the state. He says the 

new approach gives more control and bigger 
incentives to a community to establish a site than 
traditional state siting programs. 

Under the program, local governments make 
the decision to begin discussions about hosting a 
facility. "It is not imposed on them as has tra- 
ditionally been done," Forcella says. The commu- 
nity can design criteria for the site to meet its 
needs, and with the state it develops a "facility 
development agreement" that spells out the 
responsibilities of each party and carries the 
weight of contract law. For its participation, and 
to offset its costs, the community receives finan- 
cial compensation from the state that it can use 
in any way it sees fit. Other states are studying 
the program, Forcella says. 

The activities of CHWMS and its 20 employ- 
ees are guided by a 10-member board of direc- 
tors. Its members include Gerald R. Backlund '55, 
manager of regulatory affairs at the Stamford 
(Conn.) Research Laboratories of Cytec Indus- 
tries Inc. Another WPI graduate, Joseph M. 
Amarello '82, is assistant manager for policy and 
regulation for CHWMS. 

Forcella says that one of CHMWS's most 
important current missions is promoting waste 
minimization and pollution prevention among the 
state's industries. Through the Connecticut 
Technical Assistance Program (ConnTAP), it pro- 
vides companies that wish to reduce their waste 
output with financial and technical assistance. 

Attitudes about pollution prevention have 
changed over the last few years, Forcella says. 
Once thought of merely as "the right thing to do, 
environmentally," today it is seen as a more eco- 
nomical and efficient way to manage a manufac- 
turing operation. "Business and industry are also 
learning through experience that pollution pre- 
vention and the safe disposal of hazardous waste 
reduce the exposure of workers to toxic materi- 
als and help them stay healthy," he says. "A 
healthy work force can mean increased produc- 
tion and profits." 

Forcella says managing Connecticut's waste 
disposal problems is becoming more difficult all 

the time as other states attempt to close their 
borders to out-of-state waste. The lack of ade- 
quate disposal sites for waste leaves Connecticut 
facing the potential for the loss of industry and 
jobs and increases the potential for irresponsible 
disposal and illegal dumping, he says. 

All this makes the need for in-state waste dis- 
posal solutions more critical, although no less 
complex or controversial, he says. "While simple 
solutions are desirable, they are increasingly 
more unlikely. Solutions to the technical and 
environmental problems of waste disposal are 
within reach, but they will not come without 
some expense, and there will be complex political 
and social hurdles to surmount." 

Forcella's interest in public service began 
when he was a student at WPI. He was instru- 
mental in setting up a program called the 
Worcester Area Free University, which was 
open to anyone without age restrictions or resi- 
dence requirements. "Our goal was to bring peo- 
ple from institutions of higher learning together 
with people from the community at large who 
were seeking solutions to problems," he says. 
"We placed more emphasis on practice than on 

He also became interested in environmental 
issues as a student, serving on the Worcester 
Chamber of Commerce's Beautification Council 
and Environmental Committee and helping orga- 
nize the Institute's observance of the first Earth 
Day in 1970. After receiving his degree in civil 
engineering and starting a job in the Worcester 
City Planning Department, he began his graduate 
work in civil engineering and environmental plan- 
ning at WPI and founded the Worcester Ecology 
Action Center, which used radio shows, political 
lobbying, speakers and advisors in its efforts to 
improve Worcester's environment. 

In 1974 he interrupted his graduate work to 
become the first chairperson of the Inland 
Wetlands Commission in his hometown of Plain- 
ville, Conn. During the next several years he 
worked at a variety of jobs, including substitute 
teacher in the Plainville schools, instructor at 


WPI Journal 


"Solutions to the technical and environmental problems of waste 
disposal are within reach, but they will not come without some 
expense, and there will be complex political and social hurdles 
to surmount." 

Briarwood College in Southington, Conn., justice 
of the peace, photographer, feature writer for 
the Plainville News, and consultant for an environ- 
mental studies program at Central Connecticut 
State College in New Britain. 

Long active in Connecticut politics (he is a 
past chairman of the Plainville Democratic Town 
Committee and a former vice president of the 
state's Young Democrats), he was nominated in 
1978 to run (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) as 
the Democratic Party choice for the 22nd State 
Assembly District, which includes Plainville. He 
also worked on the political campaigns of his 
father, a former mayor of Plainville, and former 
WPI professor Carl H. Koontz, who served as a 
city councilor in Worcester. 

"I started my first important post in 1979," 
he says, "when I was appointed by Connecticut 
Governor Ella Grasso as executive director of 
the Connecticut Council on Environmental 
Quality." For five years he served as an ombuds- 
man for the state, overseeing environmental 
issues and legislation and addressing citizens' 
problems. Under his direction, the council 
became involved in such potentially thorny issues 
as hazardous waste siting, drinking water contam- 
ination and solid-waste disposal. It also investigat- 
ed the impact of the construction of large shop- 
ping malls on the environment. 

In 1983 he received a Mellon Fellowship for 
Academic Research and enrolled at Yale 
University's School of Forestry and 
Environmental Studies to complete work on a 
master's degree in environmental policy. Three 
years later he stepped down from his executive 
director's post to pursue a Ph.D. in environmen- 
tal design and planning at Virginia Polytechnic 
Institute and State University under a 
Cunningham Fellowship for Dissertation 

"Dom's work with the Council on 
Environmental Quality has emphasized citizen 
concerns, and his efforts to solve problems that 
were varied and complicated have made us that 
much more effective," attorney Donald Mackie, 

then chairman of the council, said at the time. 
"His concern let the public know that the council 
is a unique government agency that has a man- 
date to follow through on citizen complaints." 

At Virginia Polytechnic, Forcella conducted 
research on facility siting procedures, small-quan- 
tity waste generators, household hazardous 
waste, and emergency response. He prepared 
reports on hazardous waste issues for local offi- 
cials in Virginia cities and towns. For two years he 
was a facility siting consultant to the National 
League of Cities. 

In 1987 he was named a senior policy analyst 
for the Natural Resources Center of the National 
Governors' Association. In that post he directed 
a pollution prevention study, staffed the 
Governors' Task Force on Solid Waste, coordi- 
nated a Superfund policy forum, directed work 
for the Waste Capacity Assurance Project, and 
assisted in a survey of areas closed or restricted 
due to toxic contamination. This work required 
close collaboration with state environmental 
staffs, the EPA, industry representatives, and envi- 
ronmental groups. 

Over the years, Forcella's know-how and cre- 
ative approach to problem solving have made him 
a much-sought-after committee member and 
speaker. Among the many committees on which 
he serves are the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency/NGA Environmental Justice Work 
Group, the State and Territorial Solid Waste 
Management Officials Pollution Prevention Task 
Force, and the U.S. Department of Energy's 
Federal Facilities Compliance Act Task Force. 

He has written extensively about environ- 
mental issues and has presented the results of the 
work of CHWMS at national conferences and to 
work groups at the National Governors' Asso- 
ciation. He is listed in Who's Who in American 
Politics and Who's Who in Pollution Prevention. 

Forcella was appointed to his current post at 
CHWMS in 1992 by Governor Lowell R. 
Weicker Jr. In this highly visible job he says he 
draws on the varied experience he has gained 
over the years. Particularly useful, he says, is the 

political sensibility he began building more than 
20 years ago while an undergraduate at WPI. 

Active in a campus protest of the U.S. military 
invasion of Cambodia, he earlier had found him- 
self, as a member of the Student Activities Board, 
voting against a motion to spend student govern- 
ment money to rent a bus to carry students to 
Washington, D.C., for a moratorium in late 1969. 
He says he opposed using general student funds 
to support the political views of one segment of 
the student body, "even though I may have 
agreed with those views. 

"From that experience I learned the value of 
compromise," he says. "You have to push as far 
as you can for yourself, but you can't be inflexi- 
ble. You need to work hard to get things done, 
especially in the environmental arena where so 
many people hold diverse views. Sometimes, such 
as with our voluntary community siting program, 
we win one." 

— Ruth Trask 

(RoMflnTO CnGinuR 
Hm a fflcstAGC f or Toofly's 
$TUD«m: CnviRonmcnTflL 
CncinttRinG fm 

Cdward Jamro '73 learned early on the value 
of environmentalism. He grew up in Cen- 
tral Falls, R.I., in the 1950s, long before 
recycling was fashionable. When his mother 
made Ed and his brothers bundle rags and news- 
papers and cart them to the junk dealer, he found 
out that there was money in conservation — often 
enough for a movie or a hot fudge sundae. 

Now, as manager of environmental protec- 
tion for Monsanto Co.'s Indian Orchard Plant in 
Springfield, Mass., he is in a good position to get 
that same message out to today's young people. 
Environmental engineering pays, he says, and not 
just for those who work in the discipline, but for 
companies and communities. 


Winter 1995 

"never lose s i?ht of the fact that this really applies. Every time you help a 
worker do his or her job better, sou are also helping the environment." 

Jamro loves to talk about his work and to 
promote the field of environmental engineering 
to students at WPI, where he earned a bachelor's 
degree in chemistry, and at the University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned a mas- 
ter's degree in environmental engineering in 
1975. "In the late '60s and early 70s, when I got 
interested in this field, we had red rivers, white 
rivers, green rivers — rivers catching on fire," he 
says. "I know Institute Pond near campus isn't a 
good place to swim, but you should have seen it 
when I was a student." 

The first Earth Day in 1 970 had Jamro, then a 
freshman, on his hands and knees, picking up lit- 
ter in Institute Park with some of his Sigma Alpha 
Epsilon fraternity brothers. As a junior, he got his 
feet wet in the environmental field by monitoring 
carbon monoxide levels in the streets of 
Worcester through WPI's Environmental Sys- 
tems Study Program, a precursor of today's stu- 
dent projects. He says this work gave him cre- 
dentials to break into his chosen career. 

Jamro has spent the past 20 years working to 
minimize Monsanto's negative impact on rivers, 
groundwater, air quality and the environment in 
general. Since 1988 he has been responsible for 
compliance with federal, state and local regula- 
tions at the company's Indian Orchard Plant, the 
largest chemical plant in the state of Mass- 
achusetts, which produces resins and plastics. He 
played a leading role in the plant's voluntary 
waste-reduction effort, which halved total waste 
generation and cut toxic air emissions by 89.8 
percent between 1987 and 1993. Two MQPs by 
WPI students have helped to further reduce 
waste generation at Monsanto; a third project is 
planned for 1995. 

Jamro's professional accomplishments and his 
dedicated volunteer activism earned him a 1991 
Environmental Award from the Springfield Con- 
servation Commission and the 1994 Environ- 
mental Excellence Award from the National 
Association for Environmental Management. In 
his spare time, he mobilizes volunteer forces in 
the Greater Springfield community and among 

Monsanto employees. He helps organize 
Springfield's annual Earth Day Fair, and he helped 
found the nonprofit Local Emergency Planning 
Corporation to raise funds for local emergency 

Jamro has been recognized locally for starting 
a citizens' project to monitor water quality on 
the Chicopee River, and for sustaining a similar 
project on the Mill River, both in Western Mass- 
achusetts. On Saturday mornings he can be found 
with his 18-year-old son, Terry, dipping sample 
jars into the tea-colored water to assess 
dissolved oxygen levels, biochemical oxygen 
demand, phosphates, organic and total carbon 
levels, fecal coliform counts, and pH. 

He predicts that the job of the environmental 
engineer will get tougher and tougher, as 
stronger environmental protection standards are 
passed and as the drama of burning rivers and 
pea-green lakes passes from the public conscious- 
ness. He acknowledges that the first steps in 
addressing an environmental problem are often 
the easiest; it's eliminating the last bits of pollu- 
tants that demands the most of an environmental 
engineer. That, he notes, accounts for the cur- 
rent focus on "source reduction," which seeks 
more efficient manufacturing processes that 
reduce the need for hazardous reactants and 
avoid the creation of toxic by-products in the 
first place. 

The environmental engineer's most important 
charge, he stresses, is to make sure that environ- 
mental awareness trickles down. "If it's 3 a.m. and 
a scrubber stops working, what can you do?" he 
asks. "The operator has to have the motivation 
and the know-how to get it working or halt pro- 

He points to a diagram of the water cycle as 
he addresses a group of students at a recent WPI 
lecture. "Never lose sight of the fact that this 
really applies," he tells them. "Every time you 
help a worker do his or her job better, you are 
also helping the environment." 

Jamro reminds skeptics that what was accept- 
able for industry just a generation ago is unthink- 

Domenic Forcella, right, and Joseph 
Amarello '82 watch a videotape pro- 
duced by the Connecticut Hazardous 
Waste Management Service for local 
communities. The agency, headed by 
Forcella, runs an innovative voluntary 
siting program for hazardous waste 
facilities in the state. 

Edward Jamro with an Earth Day display 
about emergency planning and response 
projects in Springfield, Mass., in 1992. 
Jamro, who is manager of environmental 
protection for Monsanto's Springfield, 
Mass., plant, is also active in environ- 
mental organizations in the area. 

WPI Journal 


"A lite may look like a deli or a hairdrenin ? talon today, but you mi?ht 
find underground storage tanks that were paved over, or floor drains from 
a prior occupant that leaked industrial solvents or oils." 

Lisa and Geoff Wadge look over site plans 
in the offices of EnviroAudit Ltd. and 
EnviroCheck Ltd., which they founded in 
Connecticut. EnviroAudit specializes in 
due diligence work, while EnviroCheck is 
a computerized resource that provides 
clients with copies of government 

able today. As an example, he cites an environ- 
mental impact study from the 1960s that, in 
essence, concluded, '"Discharge into this river is 
OK because the river is so polluted already, it 
won't know the difference.' You weren't 
brought up the way we were," Jamro tells today's 
students, who will be tomorrow's environmental 
engineers. "I think we need one more generation 
of dedicated environmentalists to really make 
things change." 

— Joan Killough-Miller 

GcTTinG CnviRonmcnTAL 
Inf ORmflTion to t«€ Pcoplc 
Is tuc Goal of Lisa aiid 
Geoff UIadgc 

If you were thinking about buying a $5,000 
used car, you might have a mechanic look it 
over to make sure you weren't about to get 
stuck with a lemon. If you were about to 
sink $1 million into a piece of commercial real 
estate, you might want to hire a different kind of 
expert to save you from jumping into the pur- 
chase of an environmental nightmare — a sort of 
"environmental detective" who could dig up any 
dirt on the site's past, run background checks on 
its previous uses, and cross-reference the findings 
with data from local, state and federal agencies. 

That's precisely what Lisa (Katz) Wadge '82 
and Geoff Wadge '81 do. They are a husband- 
and-wife team of private environmental investiga- 
tors with the scientific and legal know-how to 
evaluate the potential liabilities of any type of real 
estate — residential, commercial or industrial. 
Their clients may be prospective buyers or sell- 
ers and include businesses, hospitals and universi- 
ties, as well as banks and investors. Their services 
are vital to those who need to know exactly 
what they're getting into before embarking on a 
real estate transaction. 

The Wadges, who met at WPI and were 

married on the lawn of Higgins House in 1982, 
have launched two successful businesses that 
work together to offer clients peace of mind. 
EnviroAudit Ltd., founded in 1988, is an environ- 
mental consulting firm that performs customized 
site assessments. These may range from looking 
up records at the local town hall, to testing soil 
and groundwater samples for contaminants, to 
locating and removing underground oil-storage 
tanks. "Our market niche is clearly the investiga- 
tive side, as opposed to the cleanup and remedia- 
tion sides," says Geoff. 

The need for such services comes from 
recent "transfer trigger laws," such as Connec- 
ticut's 1985 Transfer and Superlien Act. "It's a 
kind of lemon law for real estate transactions," 
Lisa says. "If the seller doesn't disclose certain 
conditions, the new owner has the right to seek 
recompense from the previous owner. 

"The intent is to encourage parties who are 
coming together in a purchase-and-sale environ- 
ment to 'fess up' about environmental conditions. 
The transfer trigger regulations have encouraged 
all people to understand and clean up even the 
smallest environmental liabilities. Under the con- 
text of these provisions, we're able to short-cir- 
cuit and resolve issues that the government has 
been unable to manage for years." 

To date, 1 1 states have enacted similar regu- 
lations, including chapter 21 E in Massachusetts 
and ECRA in New Jersey. The findings in some 
cases suggest that purchasers must show that 
they have performed "due diligence" and made 
"all appropriate inquiry" to determine if environ- 
mental factors might impact the value of the 
property or human health. 

"EnviroAudit is due diligence," says Lisa. "If 
you can show that you made the proper inquir- 
ies, you may have the right to go back after the 
prior owner, should something new come up." 
The company offers customized services pack- 
ages, with fees ranging from $300 for a simple 
database search, to $10,000 and up for soil and 
groundwater sampling using a large drilling rig. 
Although clients sometimes grumble at the initial 


.•_ _ * _ _ • _ m*a S*0 M*W •* W •*€ W 

Winter 1995 

"We believe that environmental information belongs to the people. 
The more people understand about what't happening in their community, 
the more real action we'll tee in manavin? environmental itsuet ." 

expense, the value of the information can be 

"A site may look like a deli or a hairdressing 
salon today," Lisa cautions, "but you might find 
underground storage tanks that were paved over, 
or floor drains from a prior occupant that leaked 
industrial solvents or oils." Other common find- 
ings include the presence of lead-based paint, 
asbestos or radon, as well as soil and groundwa- 
ter contamination resulting from ancient septic 

"Not all problems spell total disaster," says 
Geoff. "The solution could be as simple as 
removing a leaking tank and some contaminated 
soil. On the other hand, a groundwater pollution 
problem that requires pumping and treating can 
cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean 
up." Armed with this kind of information, a buyer 
can outline cleanup actions and negotiate costs 
with the seller — before it's too late. 

EnviroAudit grew out of Lisa's previous work 
in groundwater investigations for a small civil 
engineering firm. With her employer's encour- 
agement, she struck out on her own, working 
out of a small room in the couple's Killingworth, 
Conn., home. Geoff was working as a mechanical 
engineer for Union Carbide Corp. at the time, a 
job he'd taken after graduating from WPI. 

After seven months, EnviroAudit sales grew 
to the point where "things were too crazy 
around the house," he says. Geoff quit his job and 
the Wadges rented an office and hired their first 
two employees. Their dream of meeting a sales 
quota of $30,000 in the first year was surpassed 
with a whopping $90,000 worth of business. 

In the course of running a consulting business 
with current annual sales of $700,000 to $1 mil- 
lion, the Wadges found that obtaining govern- 
ment records was a constant obstacle. "We 
started to copy the records and keep them in 
our office.. .never realizing what we were start- 
ing," recalls Lisa. "Six years and a half-million 
pages later, we created a database that grew into 
a second company." 

EnviroCheck Ltd. is a computerized informa- 

tion library that provides access to a database 
with hard copies of government records. Using a 
newly programmed search routine created under 
Geoffs guidance, the Wadges can type in the 
name and address of any location in New England 
and search for relevant environmental data. They 
can provide clients with hard copies of environ- 
mental regulations, historical documents and lists 
of hazardous waste sites. 

How important is this type of information? 
Lisa relates the story of a state historical society 
that was planning an archaeological dig. "They put 
a Styrofoam cup into the water to get a sample, 
and the cup dissolved. We called the location up 
on the computer and found out they were work- 
ing on a heavily contaminated Superfund site and 
didn't know it. We're trying to get data out to 
people who might not be aware that this type of 
information is important to them." 

Tracking down information can consume 
more time and effort than many clients can spare. 
Environmental records are typically separated by 
environmental media (air, water, solid waste) and 
can be stored at numerous locations. Some gov- 
ernment offices are only open a limited number 
of hours each week. Although one is often 
required to make an appointment in advance and 
wait on line, there's no guarantee of locating the 
needed information before closing time. The 
records may be misfiled, missing or filed under a 
previous owner. With their computerized search 
facility and in-house records, EnviroCheck can 
find information faster and more cost-effectively 
than a manual search though bulging file cabinets 
at state and local offices. 

Clients of EnviroCheck might include a home- 
owner, the local dry cleaner, a Fortune 500 com- 
pany, local planning and zoning authorities, or 
lawyers and engineers representing any of the 
above. One of EnviroCheck's best customers is 
EnviroAudit, which consults the database for 
advice every day. 

In December 1994, the Wadges sold Enviro- 
Audit to a large New England utility company and 
retained ownership of EnviroCheck. Lisa remains 

as president of EnviroAudit and works one day a 
week for EnviroCheck; Geoff now works full 
time for EnviroCheck. Lisa describes herself as 
the "outside person," doing the marketing, 
obtaining records and responding to legal issues. 
Geoff is the "inside man," managing EnviroCheck. 
Until the recent transfer, he managed field activi- 
ties, such as drilling and sampling, as vice presi- 
dent of EnviroAudit. 

The Wadges say they enjoy their business 
partnership. "A lot of people shy away from 
working with their spouses," says Lisa, "but I 
think engineers are well-suited to work together, 
because we are pragmatic and problem-solving. 
We've had our tense moments, but I wouldn't 
trade working with Geoff for anything in the 
world." The flexibility of working together allows 
them to share in the care of 2 1/2-year-old son, 
Justin, as well. Both companies are located close 
to their home, in the scenic Connecticut River 
valley community of Centerbrook. 

The uniqueness of EnviroCheck, and the 
wealth of the information the Wadges have 
acquired, offer exciting possibilities, such as link- 
ing up with on-line computer services, or plotting 
the data by location, so that it can be searched 
and displayed in map form, rather than by typing 
in words. They intend to maintain their database 
in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, 
while expanding into Maine, New Hampshire and 

"There are other private companies that 
broker federal data, but there's no one else in 
New England that has what we have," Lisa says. 
"There's no one else crazy enough to do what 
we did! It's very time-consuming. Everything that 
we have is available to the public (under the fed- 
eral Freedom of Information Act), but it's more 
cost-effective for clients to get it through us. 

"We believe that environmental information 
belongs to the people. The more people under- 
stand about what's happening in their community, 
the more real action we'll see in managing envi- 
ronmental issues." 

— Joan Killough-Miller 

WPI Journal 




Search for 



By Joan Killough-Miller 

a twin-engine plane fell from the sky and 
crashed at the edge of a cornfield on the 
Isle of Wight. The pilot, a young 
American major in the Army Air Force, was 
killed instantly. From the next field, a 
farmer watched in horror as the plane 
caught fire and exploded. 

The news was relayed to the pilot's 
family. His civilian boss, Luther Martin 
'25, sent word to Alumni Secretary 
Herbert Taylor, who reported the death 
in the WPI Journal. "EVERETT W. LEACH, 
'38: Fourth graduate of the class to lose 
his life during the war, Ev Leach was its 
acknowledged leader. He was elected per- 
manent class president after having served 
in that capacity during the senior year. He 
was also president of Skull...." 

Leach was only one of many alumni of 
the 1930s and 1940s reported dead, missing 
or wounded during the war. In those days, 
the Journal devoted as many pages to a 
column called "From the War Theaters" as it 
did to "Around Boynton Hill." In 1950, 
Leach's photo appeared again in the Journal, 
when he was awarded a posthumous Distin- 
guished Flying Cross. 

His wife, the former Idella Muir, remar- 
ried and moved to the West Coast. Another 
classmate took on his duties as class presi- 
dent and agent. His alumni file was closed, 
and eventually came to rest in the archives 
in Gordon Library. 

But one person could not forget Everett 
Leach. Nils Askman, who trained with Leach 
at Standard Oil (later ESSO, and now Exxon), 
was filled with questions about his friend's 
death. Where, exactly, did his plane go 
down? Why was he flying the training plane 
over the English Channel that day? What 
happened to his remains? 

Askman and Leach became fast friends 
when they met in Standard Oil's student 
engineers training course and were later 
assigned to work in the same division. Both 
men enlisted in 1941. The Army split them 
up for training, but they were happily reunit- 
ed at Turner Field in Georgia. In an amazing 
series of coincidences, Askman and Leach 
found themselves posted to the same loca- 
tions over and over again through most of 
the war. 

In 1945 Leach was sent to England to 
work on a jet engine for a newly developed 
fighter plane. Askman was awaiting overseas 
assignment, but got only as far as Long 
Island, N.Y., when the war ended. He was 
there when he got the call from Delia Leach 

informing him of his best friend's death. 

Askman's career with ESSO took him to 
Europe and Asia, including several assign- 
ments in England. It was there that he met 
his wife, Daphne, a nurse from New Forest, 
not far from the Isle of Wight. While living in 
England, the couple investigated Leach's 
death, but uncovered very little, since most 
information was still classified. After retire- 
ment in 1978, they returned to Askman's 
hometown of Beverly, Mass., and had more 
time to devote to their search. Time had 
soothed the grief, and the transcontinental 
research project became a hobby. 

"It's been rather fun, really," says Daphne 
Askman of their long-distance detective 
work. A major breakthrough occurred sever- 
al years ago, when the Askmans tracked 
down Leach's grave in Worcester. Through 
correspondence with the RAF's Ministry of 
Defence, they learned that Leach had been 

One person 

could not forget 

Everett Leach. 

Nils Askman . . . was 

filled with questions 

about his friend's 


buried in a small cemetery outside of Lon- 
don, but that the remains of all Americans 
buried there had been moved in 1948, some 
to the United States. 

A fire had destroyed the relevant 
records, but on a hunch Askman wrote to the 
Worcester Department of Parks, Recreation 
and Cemeteries and struck gold. In 1993 he 
and Daphne received a map of the plot in 
Hope Cemetery and were able to pay their 
respects to Everett Leach. 

It was the brother of an English friend 
who finally led them to the site of the plane 
crash. When Daphne's mother died, she 
inherited a cottage near her childhood 
home. Neighbors David and Mary Hall took 
Nils and Daphne on a tour of the Isle of 
Wight, led by Mary's brother, Canon John 


Winter 1995 


Bean, the retired pastor of 
a church on the island. 

After lunch, the Canon 
drove them to Newport, 
Isle of Wight's capital city. 
Without explanation, he 
dispatched the ladies to a 
tea shop and led Askman 
across the street into the 
offices of the Isle of Wight 
County Press. They 
searched microfilm of the 
newspaper starting from 
July 1945. It wasn't long 
before Askman reeled to a 
brief report of the acci- 

A one-inch story gave 
the time, date and street 
location of the crash. Of 
some consolation was the g 
final sentence: "The Ryde 
ambulance and the N.F.S. '■ 
were promptly on the | 
scene, but the pilot was 1 
beyond all human aid and f 
must have died instantly." 

With those questions ~ 
answered, a new one 
arose. How to commemo- 
rate the big, good-looking guy, who didn't 
seem to have an enemy in the world? On a 
subsequent visit, Bean took Askman to 
Havenstreet Shrine, a monument erected in 
1917 by a farmer who lost his son in World 
War I. Over time it had become a memorial 
to all the local war dead, including those lost 
in battle over the Falkland Islands near 
Argentina in 1982. 

After viewing the shrine, relentless 
Askman stopped at a dairy farm across the 
street to ask if anyone remembered the 
plane crash. The farmer had been a baby 
during the war, but he directed the couple 
to 94-year-old Fred Aylett, a former owner. It 
was Aylett who had stood in his cornfield 50 
years ago and watched Everett Leach's 
plane plummet and burn. 

Aylett's eyewitness account confirms the 
RAF's report of the crash: Leach took off 
from Boscombe Down at 1130 hours to con- 
duct stability trials on the Airspeed Oxford 
NM247 at an altitude of 5,000 feet. Askman 
remembers that Leach was always looking 
for something to do, and what he loved most 
was to take up planes with a "red-cross con- 
dition" (having just been repaired) to check 
them out. "He always had his nose in fly- 

hard-headed Swede, does 
not make many friends. 
And when he does, they 
really count." 

Last fall, the Askmans 
visited WPI for the first 
time. They toured Ev's 
campus and shared their 
memories and the scrap- 
book of their quest. 
Leach's alumni folder was 
unearthed from the ar- 
chives in Gordon Library 
so they could page 
through photographs, 
news clippings, and let- 
ters in his familiar hand- 

Although Everett Leach 
was a WPI alumnus for 
only seven years, the frag- 
ile pages reveal a dedicat- 
ed Tech man, who signed 
his class newsletters, 
"Your Humble Servant." 

Above, Askman, left, and Canon Bean at the 
Havenstreet Shrine; right, the memorial to Leach. 

ing — and the mechanics of it, the engineer- 
ing, and the technology behind it." 

Aylett had seen the plane flying over the 
area for a while before it suddenly started to 
act up. "He said Ev just fought it all the way 
down," Askman relates. "And the fact wasn't 
lost on him either, that Ev was up around 
5,000 feet and could easily have bailed 
out. ..but he stayed with the plane." The 
young, life-loving engineer, with a wife and a 
promising career waiting for him back home, 
stayed with his plane and steered for the 
edge of the field, thus sparing the residents 
of the farm and village the fireball that took 
his life. 

Askman says that while finding the clip- 
ping in the County Press morgue brought 
tears, it also brought peace. "When I went to 
that newspaper office and I ran across that 
thing on the screen. was just like when I 
heard it back in '45, when Delia called me," 
he says. "Now, the sadness of his death has 
pretty much healed, and the memories of his 
life are always pleasant." 

Why did he search all these years? Like 
Don Quixote's loyal sidekick, Sancho Panza, 
Askman has a simple answer: "I liked him." 
Daphne elaborates: "My husband, being a 

The wartime correspondence was posted 
from different bases, but Leach doggedly filed 
his class fund-drive reports. In one appeal, he 
chides his classmates for neglecting their 
alma mater: "Hell, man, I'm busy too. Seven 
days a week and flying from four to twelve 
hours a day, and these letters take every- 
one's time. Please give us a break, will you?" 

It's been 50 years since Nils Askman lost 
his friend. He's found his grail and paid 
homage, with a bronze plaque dedicated to 
Leach's memory that was mounted at the 
Havenstreet Shrine in 1993. Canon Bean con- 
ducted a dedication ceremony with three 
prayers of friendship. Askman is at peace. 
"When a close friend or relative dies sudden- 
ly, you feel like you never had a chance to 
say good-bye. I figured this was kind of like 
saying good-bye to him." 

SPRING 1995 


•> • 

Riding the 

Surviving the Quake 
in Kobe 

Putting Light Through 
Its Paces 

Listening to Sounds 
and Siience 


Tracy Silva. Photo of model by John Ferrarone. This page: Todd A. 
Picthall '95, left, and Mark R. Paulsdn 195, students in WPI's 
acoustics course, take measurements m Trinity Lutheran Church in 
Worcester. Story on page 12. Photo by Jonathan Kannair. Back 
Cover: From left, Peter Quinn '89, Ned LaFortune '90 and Kevin 
Buckler '89, founders of Wachusett Brewing Co., with LaFortune's 
golden retriever Molson. Behind them is the barn on the LaFortune 
family farm in Westminster, Mass., and behind that Wachusett 
Mountain. This is the scene that appears on the company's truck 
and the half-gallon growlers in which it bottles Wachusett Country 
Ale. Story on page 29. Photo by John Ferrarone. 

i i n T iiiii»iii«iiiiiii n iii iii iii miiiTMT i rniM nniHTlHWi H nT> 

WH Journal 







» i 


•o,"* 1 *' 



Blowing Away Goose Tatum John F. Zeugner 

The earthquake that shook Kobe, Japan, in January left thousands dead. It also had 
a profound effect on the lives of those who survived, as this remarkable first-person 
account makes clear. 

The Light Fantastic Michael W. Dorsey 

Grover Swartzlander Jr., WPI's newest NSF Young Investigator, is a rising star in the 
science of nonlinear optics, a field poised to revolutionize the way we store, process 
and transmit information. 

Good Vibrations Michael W. Dorsey 

Since the early days of radio, the WPI Acoustics Lab has been quietly exploring the 

science of sound and preparing new generations of audio and acoustical engineers. 

Swimming Against the Odds John Gearan 
As a disabled swimmer, Jason Wening '97 is already behind at the start of 
every race. But through grit and talent, he's become the second best competitor 
on the WPI swim team. 

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Brewing Success Joan Killough-Miller 
For three WPI graduates, leaving good jobs to found a microbrewery meant taking 
a big risk. But the gamble paid off, and today Wachusett Brewing Co. is a hit. 


9 Advance Word Michael Dorsey 
The power of waves. 

Q Communique John Lott Brown 

Bringing a WPI education into the Information Age. 

A Letters 

Will the "New WPI" be a downsized university?; neighbor faults West Street closing 
plans; make a new pool part of the campus center; thoughts on Ev Leach and the 
F.E. Exam; a note on the title "Engineer." 

7 Innovations Michael Dorsey 
Serving the adult learner. 

32 Final Word Joan Killough-Miller 
Did Indiana Jones go to WPI? 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Contributing Writers, Bonnie (Jelbwasser. Joan Killough-Miller. Neil Norum and Ruth Trask • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • 
Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman • James S. Demetry '58 • William J, Firla Jr. '60 • William R. Grogan '46 • Robert C. Labonte '54 • Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 • 
Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, 
Mass.. and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington. Vt. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse news presented in this magazine do not necessarily relied the opinions of the editors or ofhcial WPI policies. We welcome letters to the editor Address correspondence to the Editor, WPI Journal. 
WPI. 100 Institute Road Worcester, MA 01609-2280. Phone: (508) 831-5609. Fax: (508) 831-5604. Electronic Mail (Internet), World Wide Web: 
http:,- www wpi edu, Ahoul_us/News/Journal/ Postmaster If undeliverable, please send Form .1579 to the address above. Do not return publication Entire contents © 1995, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 


The Power of Waves 

By Michael Dorsey 

[n this issue, we present readers with three very 
different takes on the idea of waves. In "Blowing 
Away Goose Tatum" (page 8) we witness the 
almost unimaginable destruction wrought by the 
brutal pounding of seismic waves on the city of 
Kobe, Japan. In "The Light Fantastic" (page 10) we 
explore the strange and beautiful dances light 
waves can be made to per- 
form. And in "Good Vibra- 
tions" (page 12) we look back 
on the WPI Acoustics Lab- 
oratory's five decades of work 
with sound waves. 

The concept of the wave is 
a powerful one. Periodic 
motion is at the heart of many 
natural phenomena, from the 
transmission of light and 
sound, to the tugging of gravi- 
ty, to the movement of the 
planets, to the beat of our 
pulse, to the interactions of 
the infinitesimal particles that 
compose all matter. Waves 
are primal symbols in philoso- 
phy, religion, literature and 
art, standing in for the cyclic 
nature of life or for the 
upwelling of new ideas and 
new technologies that change 
the course of history. 

The wave can also be a 
powerful metaphor for human 
interactions. Like ships plying 
a sea of space and time, we all cast off ripples that 
touch many other lives, often without our even 
knowing it. Certainly, Everett Leach '38 could not 
have fully understood how powerfully the wake of 
his young life would change the lives of those who 
knew him. 

In the Winter 1995 WPI Journal, Joan Killough- 
Miller wrote about Leach, the young airman who 
died in a crash of a twin-engine plane on the Isle of 
Wight in the summer of 1945 ("The Search for 
Everett Leach"). Leach clearly made an impression 
on Nils Askman, who trained with Leach at 
Standard Oil and then repeatedly found himself 
assigned to the same bases with his friend after 
both enlisted in the Army. After Leach's death, 
Askman was filled with questions. He spent more 
than 50 years tracking down the story of Leach's 
last moments. 

Since that story was published, the Journal has 
heard from several of Leach's classmates and 

friends, who not only remembered the young and 
energetic class president, but who were immeasur- 
ably enriched by their brief association with him. 
You will find a letter from one of those alumni on 
page 6. Another letter arrived just as this issue was 
going to press. It was from John Rushton '39, who 
also began his career at Standard Oil and who 
retired to Oregon in 1993 after working for many 
years in the lumber and forest products industry. 

The story about Leach "hit me right in the gut," 
Rushton wrote. Leach and Rushton did not become 
friends until after both had graduated from WPI. 
When Rushton took a job at Standard Oil's Bayview 
Refinery in Elizabeth, N.J., Leach took him under his 
wing. "In fact, I found out after a while that he was 
the one who recommended me to the fellow who 
had interviewed me at WPI," Rushton says. "I didn't 
find that out from Ev, but from the group leader. I 
owe Ev a lot just for that." 

Rushton visited Leach often. "I became real 
close to Ev and considered him one of my best and 
closest friends," Rushton says. "He was a fine man, 
and easy to bond with. I loved him like a brother." 

When World War II began, Rushton (whose 
height and nearsightedness disqualified him from 
flight training) enlisted with the first group of non- 
flying engineering officers in the U.S. Air Corps. 
After his commissioning, he was stationed at 
Cochran Field in Macon, Ga., as engineering officer 
for a squadron of Vultee Vibrator BT-13A trainers. 
While there he learned that Leach had been posted 
to Turner Field, not far from Macon. 

He drove down to visit Leach on Saturday, Dec. 
6, 1941. The next day, Leach took Rushton up for a 
look around. "We were out over the Gulf of Mexico 
when we were contacted and told to return to 
base," Rushton remembers. "When we got back we 
were told of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I took off 
posthaste to return to my post in Macon." 

Rushton and Leach stayed in contact. Rushton 
was transferred to Blythville, Ark., as technical 
inspector for a new training base. Both he and 
Leach were married, Rushton to the former Fran 
Young of Tacoma, Wash. They met up one last time 
in early 1943, when Leach and his wife, Delia, 
stopped off in Blythville on the way to Dayton, 
where Leach would work in flight testing. 

"That was the last I saw or heard of Ev until we 
got the bad news about the accident in England," 
Rushton says. "It sure shook us up, and we have 
also wondered exactly what happened." This win- 
ter the answer to that question finally arrived, like 
the reverberations from a distant thunder crash, 
echoing across the vast reaches of space and time. 

Spring 1995 


Bringing a WPI Education Into 

the Information Age 

By John Lott Brown '46 

Twenty-five years ago, the 
faculty of WPI created an 
innovative, project- 
based approach to tech- 
nological education. Today, the 
WPI Plan remains the core of 
our highly regarded undergrad- 
uate educational program. This 
year I have called upon WPI's 
faculty once again to display 
their creativity, this time by 
aggressively exploring and 
experimenting with today's 
communications and computer 
technologies — technologies that 
may have the power to greatly 
improve the effectiveness and 
the ease with which we deliver a 
WPI education. 

WPI is certainly no newcom- 
er when it comes to using mod- 
ern technology to enhance edu- 
cation. Not long after the Plan 
was implemented, Kenneth E. 
Scott '48, now professor emeri- 
tus of mechanical engineering, 
created the Instructional Media 
Center to capitalize on the edu- 
cational potential of television. 
Many of the videotapes pro- 
duced by the IMC over the 
years, including some made 20 
years ago, are still being used to 
augment classroom instruction. 
But since then, while computer use has 
permeated the campus, the investigation of 
the educational use of new technologies 
seems to have stagnated. We have re- 
mained, essentially, a chalkboard culture. 

The time seems ripe for getting back on 
track. Today we are seeing an explosion of 
new technologies, from multimedia, to virtu- 
al reality, to the World Wide Web. Clearly, 
these are developments that have the ability 
to transform the way we teach and learn. 
Already, many colleges and universities are 
devoting a great deal of time and energy to 

"WPI may actually 
be better positioned 
to move toward the 
introduction of new 
educational tech- 
nologies than any 
of its competitors. 
Iready, computers 
play a bigger role in 
supporting the educa- 
tional process at WPI 
than at any other 
institution with which 
I'm familiar." 


finding ways to use these technologies in 
their teaching programs. Many engineering 
institutions, for example, have formed coali- 
tions, funded by the National Science Foun- 
dation, with the major goal of restructuring 
engineering education by developing innova- 
tive curricula, delivery systems, settings and 
pedagogies. Use of information technologies 
is a prime component of these efforts. 

WPI must move vigorously to do the 
same kind of exploration, lest we be left in 
the shadow of competing institutions. If we 
don't act. we also risk losing credibility in 

the eyes of our most important 
constituency, our students. 
Prospective and entering stu- 
dents are increasingly sophisti- 
cated in the use of computers. 
It's reasonable to expect that 
they will also be enthusiastic 
about exploring ingenious 
"learning adventures" that 
make full use of ever more pow- 
erful computers and software. 
As we dedicate ourselves to 
this mission, we will reap bene- 
fits, both in attracting these 
students and in engaging their 
drive to learn. 

WPI may actually be better 
positioned to move toward the 
introduction of new education- 
al technologies than any of its 
competitors. Already, comput- 
ers play a bigger role in sup- 
porting the educational pro- 
cess at WPI than at any other 
institution with which I'm famil- 
iar. Computers are available to 
students in virtually every resi- 
dence hall room and hundreds 
1 of PCs and workstations are 
| available in general access labs 
1 all over campus. But with few 
. exceptions, the use of these 
I machines is limited to the 
working of problems, the send- 
ing of electronic mail, and the preparation 
of reports. 

There are only a few computer applica- 
tions at WPI that can be said to replace the 
traditional role of the teacher. But these few 
examples prove that we have the facilities 
and the imagination to succeed in this new 
business of technology-enhanced education. 
What's more, these innovators are prepared 
to share their experiences and insights — 
won at no small expense — with the rest of 
our community. We already have at hand 
the experience, talent and facilities to make 

WPI Journal 


it happen. We just need to bring these ele- 
ments to the forefront. 

No doubt, there will be obstacles to 
the broad implementation of educational 
technologies. And there will be significant 
delays before we see the benefits of this 
work in the form of improved education 
and reduced costs. Nonetheless, I am con- 
vinced that we should begin actively to 
explore broader use of educational tech- 
nology at WPI. That is why I asked our fac- 
ulty and staff to undertake three projects: 

1. A compilation of advanced learning 
materials that are already available — 
both hardware and software. These in- 
clude those that are free to anyone 
with access to the Internet and those 
that are sold commercially. We will 
also compile a list of consortia that 
have been formed to address the sub- 
ject of new educational technologies 
and a bibliography of related materi- 
als, books and journal articles. 

2. A preliminary effort to determine if 
suppliers of specialized equipment for 
learning technologies and software 
appropriate to education at WPI might 
be attracted to an instructional tech- 
nology conference at WPI. (A confer- 
ence is planned for October 1995.) 

3. The formation of a committee to ener- 
getically explore the practicality of im- 
plementing a broad technologically 
based approach to education. 

The committee has been formed and is 
moving ahead with all due speed. I have 
given its members my assurance that 
their efforts will be supported by me and 
my cabinet to the best of our ability. 1 
believe that I can also assure them that 
the WPI Board of Trustees will support 
this endeavor (financially, if need be), 
because, if successful, it could prove dra- 
matically beneficial to the Institute. 

Implementation of sophisticated, state- 
of-the-art teaching and learning technolo- 
gies could preclude the erosion of quality 
education that would almost surely occur 
if we were to continue passively, under 
the pressure of budgetary constraints, 
our traditional classroom methods. Most 
important of all, we could make our edu- 
cational process more effective, and align 
that learning process with the interactive 
learning experiences of our 21st century 
students. What a dramatic complement 
that would be to the 25th anniversary of 
the WPI Plan! 

— Brown is interim president of WPI. 

Will the "New WPI" 
Be a Downsized 

To the Editor: 

We have just finished reading the WPI 
Journal article titled "Repositioning the 
Institute" (Fall 1994). As both alumni and 
parents of an incoming freshman, we feel 
we must respond. 

We have been contributing alumni since 
graduating more than 20 years ago. We 
have followed the development of WPI over 
these years and agree with the six goals 
outlined in the Institute's strategic plan. 
Even the recommendations of the Blue 
Ribbon Task Force show insight into the 
need for keeping WPI current with the 
broadening needs of technology by includ- 
ing more humanities and social/political 
sciences. Our impression was that the 
focus was always on engineering and 
applied sciences: to provide the leaders for 
tomorrow's technology. 

After reading the above-mentioned arti- 
cle, we are concerned that the Institute's 
"new direction" will be that of a downsized 
"university." In other words, it will be a 
place for those who choose to achieve a 
mediocre education in a wide variety of dis- 
ciplines. This is not to say that a university 
cannot have an excellent engineering pro- 
gram. Many do, but only because they are 
so large that they can find both the people 
and the resources to have some excellent 
core programs. Please don't fool your- 
selves into believing this can be done on a 
campus of 2,700 undergraduates! 

It is interesting that the basis of these 
recommended changes is a survey looking 
at why students who applied didn't choose 
WPI. This was followed by the rationale 
that if WPI can be more appealing to a 
wider variety of students, then it can be 
more selective and choose more students 
who can pay. What about the students who 
did choose WPI? Do you really believe it 
was because WPI offered better financial 
aid? We certainly don't! Most likely their 
reasons were based on curriculum, reputa- 
tion and campus amenities. Experience 
tells us that large changes in programs will 
turn more students of "paying caliber" 
away than they will attract. Who wants to 
go to a college (or "university" ) that is 
unsure of its purpose? 

Reviewing the five hypotheses of "The 
New WPI," we believe that items 2 and 3 
[offering a professionally oriented master's 
degree students could earn with one addi- 

tional year of study; developing preferred 
supplier relationships with employers of 
WPI graduates] are very important to WPI. 
Item 1 [developing programs in pre-health 
professions, environmental studies and 
other high-demand areas] is already being 
done, but just needs to be emphasized 
more during recruitment. 

Item 4 [accelerating efforts to build a 
campus center; improving the gender, 
racial and cultural balance among stu- 

tells us that large 
changes in programs 
will turn more stu- 
dents of 'paying cali- 
ber 9 away than they 
^- will attract." 



dents, faculty and staff] is a social mandate 
that could overshadow all other efforts of 
WPI if it is given too much importance; 
besides, WPI already has a good cultural/ 
racial/gender balance for a private techno- 
logically oriented school. Item 5 [changing 
the Institute's name to WPI University] is 
simply a marketing ploy that could easily 
do much more harm than good. It could 
turn off potential "paying students" who 
are searching for a smaller technological 
school. From reading the section of the 
article titled "Comprehensive Campaign," 
we feel that the main emphasis of the next 
campaign will be a building program 
focused on item 4. (We get the impression 
that you feel appearance is worth more 
than content.) 

Finally, our personal concern centers 
around our son's recent decision to attend 
WPI. He chose it as an engineering and 
applied science college. He will receive no 
financial aid (in other words, he will be a 
true paying student). He is not attending to 
participate in a "quality of life" experience. 
He could have gotten that much cheaper, 
and much closer to home. We attended 
WPI during the transition to the WPI Plan 
(as a matter of fact, we were both on plan- 
ning committees our freshman year.) We 
saw firsthand how this change caused con- 
siderable turmoil and division on campus. 

Spring 1995 

The change was right then, though it hurt 
many who could not cope. We fear that this 
time you will have more turmoil and divi- 
sion, and no good results to justify it. The 
end result of this could very well be the fail- 
ure of WPI to provide students with the 
technological education that both they and 
the world need. 

This article has caused us to be con- 
cerned that WPI's emphasis has changed 
from providing a quality specialized educa- 
tion to simply making money and appealing 
to the "in" crowd. If this direction had been 
set a year earlier we believe our son would 
have chosen a different school. We, most 
definitely, would not have been as support- 
ive in his pursuing WPI. 

Needless to say we hope we are wrong in 
our assessment of WPI's direction, and that 
WPI will continue to be a leader in develop- 
ing high-quality graduates to be leaders in 
the technological arena. 

— Bruce and Allison (Huse) Nunn 73 
Spokane, Wash. 

Neighbor Faults West 
Street Closing Plans 

To the Editor: 

As a citizen of the city, a neighbor of WPI 
approaching one-half a century, and a for- 
mer paid consultant of WPI, I read with 
much interest the president's article on 
"Repositioning the Institute" (Fall 1994). 

WPI must be complimented on finally 
developing a master plan. Just a few years 
ago the neighbors were invited individually 
to have a conversation with WPI executives 
and their consultant concerning neighbor- 
hood problems and the future goals of the 
college. When asked to discuss their master 
plan, the astonishing reply was that none 
existed. This appeared to us at the time to be 
a reflection on WPI's credibility or lack of 
long-range planning. Thus it is most reassur- 
ing to know that this great college, as recog- 
nized each year in U.S. News & World Report, 
has a vision and a plan for the future. 

It should be stated that WPI, to a large 
extent, has been an excellent neighbor. It 
maintained, under President Jon C. Strauss, 
an open dialogue with neighbors, kept us 
informed of all activities, and included us in 
a number of campus events. The Institute, 
by its presence, has also maintained the val- 
ues in the neighborhood and provided us 
with additional security by means of con- 
stant police patrols. 

The neighbors support WPI as it pro- 
gresses to university status and will cooper- 

ate in every manner possible. However, we 
ask that you review your master plan, not 
from an insulated vested interest viewpoint, 
but rather from the broad viewpoint of the 
common good. Off-street parking and the 
closing of West Street, as suggested in the 
plan to create a safer campus and an attrac- 
tive pedestrian mall, must be addressed con- 
sidering the concerns and interest of WPI, 
the neighbors and the community. 

The automobile age has been with us 
since the beginning of the century and traffic 
congestion increases with each year. WPI is 
aware from past futile attempts to close 
West Street that it is a major concern of the 
neighbors and the city. One must consider 
that West Street is the only street from Park 
Avenue to the West Side Artery that con- 
nects Salisbury Street with Pleasant Street. 
To petition to close a short section of the 
street to enhance the beauty of the campus 
and to permit students to cross West Street 
between periods (for a total of an hour a 
day), 120 days a year, and deny the taxpay- 
ers the use of their street for the other 23 
hours, 365 days a year, I submit is short- 
sighted and definitely not in the best inter- 
est of the community. 

Additional traffic will be forced onto the 
other side streets surrounding WPI. Other 

"While the 
need for a center for 
student communion 
is indeed genuine, the 
need for a new pool is 
just as important and 
should not go _j 

ignored. " 

solutions to this problem should be obvious, 
serving at the same time WPI's interests. 

The other problem that exists in the 
neighborhood is street parking. As WPI 
addresses the problem of eliminating park- 
ing in the central campus and regreening the 
quadrangle, it must also address the number 
of automobiles that employees, faculty and 
students bring to the campus each day. City 
regulations require business and profession- 
al offices and apartment complexes to pro- 
vide off-street parking. Should WPI be 
exempt from this regulation either by law or 

community obligation? The other nonprofit 
schools and hospitals in the city have solved 
this problem by providing off-street parking. 

The use of resident parking permits, as 
suggested by the college, is not a solution. It 
only identifies the problem. The only solu- 
tion is sufficient off-street parking for the 
WPI community. This priority should be as 
high on the list of capital improvements as 
the suggested student center. By the acqui- 
sition of a few additional parcels of land and 
the use of existing acreage, this problem 
could easily be solved. 

As we approach the millennium, we look 
forward to cooperating, as good neighbors, 
finding solutions to these problems in order 
that WPI may implement its plan and vision. 
Then WPI will become the great university 
that is its destiny. 

— John J. O'Malley 
Worcester, Mass. 

Make a New Pool Part 
of the Campus Center 

To the Editor: 

One of the lasting experiences of my under- 
graduate career at WPI was being a member 
of the WPI swimming team for four years and 
having the opportunity to swim at the New 
England Championship meet three of those 
years. Swimming was something 1 enjoyed, 
worked hard at, and got a lot out of. The key 
training facility for a swim team is, of course, 
a pool. A university swimming pool should 
serve as a practice and competition facility 
for the swim team and as a venue for physi- 
cal education and extracurricular activities. 
It should be a place for students to gather 
and enjoy recreational swimming. 

In recent years, much discussion has 
revolved around the need for a campus cen- 
ter at WPI. While the need for a center for 
student communion is indeed genuine, the 
need for a new pool is just as important and 
should not go ignored. Indeed, these need 
not be separate issues. It would be feasible 
to make a new pool a keystone of a campus 
center. This would be a way for the Institute 
to remedy one of its greatest inadequacies. 

The current WPI pool is a grossly anti- 
quated pit located in the basement of 
Alumni Gym. It was built in 1926, which 
means its 70th anniversary is fast approach- 
ing. Back in the 1920s, 20 yards was consid- 
ered a good length for a pool. But today, 
pools must be at least 25 yards to be consid- 
ered adequate by NCAA standards. Even the 
crudest pools are a minimum of 25 yards 
long and have at least six lanes. That is a 

WPI Journal 

"bottom-of-the-line" pool. What WPI has is 
less than that. To put it simply, WPI's pool is 
an embarrassment to the swimming team 
and the WPI community as a whole. 
The problems with WPI's pool include 

• its size: The pool's 20-yard length has sev- 
eral consequences. WPI is the only univer- 
sity in New England that has a swimming 
program and a substandard pool. 
Practicing in this pool is one thing; being 
forced to compete in it is another. Other 
universities refuse to travel to WPI be- 
cause our pool is of insufficient length. 
This means the WPI team has to travel 
more. Home meets must be held at Clark 
University, which has a regulation pool. 
Were WPI swimmers to compete in their 
own pool, they could never hope to quali- 
fy for the NCAA New England Champi- 
onship, the pinnacle of the swimmer's sea- 
son. The honor of attending this meet 
depends on achieving qualifying times. 
The more opportunities a swimmer has to 
qualify, the better his or her chances of 
making the championship. 

• its age and location: Because it is buried 
in the bowels of Alumni Gym, many peo- 
ple at WPI have never seen the pool or 
even know of its existence. WPI doesn't 
try to show the pool off to visitors; guides 
wouldn't dare take campus tours down 
there. In fact, this inadequacy has turned 
away a good number of students — possi- 
bly more than can be readily quantified — 
who wanted to swim at a school with a 
"real" pool. A new pool would be an 
extremely attractive feature to prospec- 
tive freshmen, even if they never used it. It 
would resonate the school's commitment 
to the total education of the individual. 

WPI's swimming program has great 
potential. We have good athletes and a dedi- 
cated coach, but we cannot expect to attract 
quality swimmers with our current pool. Our 
divers travel to Holy Cross to train; our 
swimmers travel to Clark to compete. While 
every school we compete against has been 
afforded the proper facilities, we have 
become a laughingstock. (Even Assumption 
College, which doesn't even support a swim- 
ming program, has a new pool.) 

With WPI's emphasis on academics, it is 
imperative that the Institute not overlook 
the social, athletic and extracurricular activ- 
ities that are so important to the total 
human equation. With all the hype about a 
campus center, please do not ignore the fact 
that we need a new pool just as desperately. 
It is my plea that the next large construction 
project at WPI include a campus center with 

a new 25-yard, six-lane pool. Such a facility 
would provide a new dramatic focus for 
campus athletic and social life. 

— Sean Donohue '93 
Worcester, Mass. 
The writer, now a graduate student in fire pro- 
tection engineering at WPI, was captain of the 
men 's swimming team in 1992-93. 

Thoughts on Ev Leach 
and the F.E. Exam 

To the Editor: 

It was with considerable interest that I read 
the Winter 1995 issue of the WPI Journal, 
which included an article about my class- 
mate Ev Leach and Nils Askman, with whom 
I shared structural engineering classes at 
Lafayette College in 1936-37. I spent two 
years at WPI and then transferred to 
Lafayette, where I took a reduced credit load 
due to a severe brain injury suffered while I 
was at WPI. Thus I went into the sophomore 
class with advanced standing that allowed 
me to take some junior-year subjects in 


"In the future 
I hope to see engin- 
eers have mandatory 
jurisdiction over all 
manufactured pro- 
ducts to ensure the 
public safety. " 



structures. It was there that 1 met Nils 
Askman and thus had the privilege of study- 
ing with both of the men mentioned in the 
article ("The Search for Everett Leach"). 1 
did not again meet up with either Ev or Nils 
after graduation. That these two men who 
had briefly touched my life should become 
close friends — what a strange quirk of fate! 

My other comment deals with the letter 
of George A. Dainis 79 in the same issue 
concerning an article by Mort Fine '37 on 
mandating F.E. examinations before gradua- 
tion ("Academia is Shortchanging New 
Engineers," Summer 1994). 1 must take issue 
with Mr. Dainis, who wrote that industry 
engineers do not require P.E. registration. It 
is true that currently such registration is not 
required in Massachusetts, but that is not 

true throughout the entire United States. In 
addition, it is only a matter of time before 
industry engineers will have to be registered 
to practice engineering, as more and more 
law suits are filed by consumers who have 
been injured by products produced by 
industry. The fact that a designer of an engi- 
neering project was not registered as a pro- 
fessional engineer is often a fact that juries 
take into account when it comes to awarding 
damages to plaintiffs. 

I believe George Dainis is living in a 
dream world of 25 or 30 years ago and not in 
today's litigious society, where lawyers file 
"shotgun" suits against anyone connected 
with a case. Often it is the manufacturer who 
has the "deep pockets" that finally pays the 
settlement or judgement. Let the seniors 
take the F.E. exam as part of their finals and 
be done with it. In fact, most seniors are 
smart enough to do so. 

— George Mallis '38 P.E. 


A Note on the Title 

To the Editor: 

I enjoyed reading George A. Dainis' letter to 
the editor (Winter 1995). All the facts in his 
letter are correct. However, I would like to 
add that although an engineer may use the 
title B.S., M.S. or Engineer after his name, he 
cannot legally use the title Mechanical Engi- 
neer, Electrical Engineer, etc., without regis- 
tration. In the past, all efforts to restrict the 
use of the title Engineer met with defeat due 
to the objection of special interest groups, 
such as contractors, designers, draftsmen, 
etc. Support is needed from all engineers to 
solve this dilemma. 

I believe the most important reason for all 
engineers to register is not for immediate 
career advancement, but for future increase 
in the status of our profession. I predict that 
with enough engineers registered, thus 
obtaining legal status, they will get more 
authority in critical corporate decision mak- 
ing. Right now, in most companies, people 
other than engineers are determining the final 
design, safety, price and so on of products. 
Sometimes their decisions are based on com- 
pany profit, rather than on engineering. The 
Challenger disaster and the Los Angeles MTA 
subway tunnel fiasco are just two cases in 
point. In the future I hope to see engineers 
have mandatory jurisdiction over all manufac- 
tured products to ensure the public safety. 

— Victor Chun '51 P.E. 
Los Angeles, Calif. 

Spring 1995 


Serving the Adult Learner 

By Michael Dorsey 

If you teach it, they will come. 
That's what WPI's Office of 
Continuing Education discov- 
ered last year when it decided 
to offer a certificate program in 
UNIX and C programming. 

UNIX is an operating system 
commonly found on time-sharing 
computers in industry and academia; C is a 
programming language well suited for a wide 
range of engineering, science and business 
applications. While UNIX and C have long 
been popular among computer science 
majors and technical professionals, the 
Continuing Education Office wondered if 
there might be an untapped market for 
courses on these topics among New 
England's high-tech work force. 

"We did a feasibility study in Massa- 
chusetts and discovered that there is a great 
deal of interest among manufacturing and 
service companies, financial services firms, 
hospitals and other employers in migrating 
from other operating systems to UNIX," 
notes Arlene Lowenstein, director of contin- 
uing education. "Since UNIX runs on distrib- 
uted workstations, it can lower a company's 
investment in computer hardware, and it 
requires less support staff than other sys- 
tems. There appeared to be a real demand 
for high-end training programs to prepare 
working professionals for this shift." 

In 1994 the Certificate Program in UNIX 
System and C Programming became the 
inaugural offering at WPI's Technology 
Education Center in Westboro, Mass., a new 
satellite facility established to serve the high 
concentration of information system pro- 
fessionals in the Greater Boston and Central 
Massachusetts areas. More than 130 people 
enrolled in the first year of the program, in 
either the eight-week full-time or the 26-week 
part-time classes. 

The UNIX/C program is just one of the 
ways WPI is responding to a significant 
change in the demographics of the American 
college population, Lowenstein says. 
"According to the College Board, part-time 
students now make up 45 percent of all stu- 
dents enrolled in colleges across the coun- 
try. Students 25 and older account for half of 

"To stay current in their fields, 
men and women today need to 
continually renew their knowledge." 

all college credit students and half of all 
graduate students." 

In part, this shift reflects the rapid 
turnover in technology, which makes even 
the best technical education a perishable 
commodity, notes WPI Provost Diran Apelian. 
"The 'shelf-life' of a science or engineering 
education grows shorter every year," he says. 
"To stay current in their fields, men and 
women today need to continually renew their 
knowledge. WPI has always placed a great 
emphasis on lifelong learning — it is, in fact, 
one of the hallmarks of the WPI Plan. A few 
years ago, we made meeting the lifelong 
learning needs of the region's professionals 
one of our highest priorities and codified it as 
Goal 5 of the Institute's strategic plan." 

To serve those needs, WPI now offers a 
wide range of programs, including the 
evening graduate program, the School of 
Industrial Management (now in its 46th 
year), and courses and workshops offered at 
remote sites with "live" instructors or by 
videotape. WPI also delivers programs at 
several corporate sites using compressed 
video technology. 

The Continuing Education Office offers 
more than 80 public seminars annually in 
three broad areas: product management, 
quality improvement and management 
development. "Our most popular quality 
programs today include statistical process 
control, failure mode and effects analysis, 
and geometric dimensioning and toleranc- 
ing," Lowenstein says. "And as more and 
more companies go to team-based manage- 
ment, our courses in leadership, team-build- 
ing, coaching and management skills will be 
in greater and greater demand." 

More and more, she adds, corporations, 
recognizing the benefits of having an up-to- 
date work force, are asking the Continuing 
Education Office to organize workshops 

specifically for their employees. 
This year Lowenstein's office will 
run at least 60 such corporate 
training programs. One of the 
longest running is the Nypro 
Leadership Institute, a weeklong 
workshop held at WPI that has 
been attended by more than 150 
employees of the Clinton, Mass., company. 

The newest initiative of the Continuing 
Education Office is a series of technical 
short courses to be offered on campus this 
summer. "The short course series is an exci- 
ting new direction for us," Lowenstein says. 
"Like our public seminar series, the short 
courses are designed to help working pro- 
fessionals update their knowledge and skills. 
But they will also showcase WPI's outstand- 
ing faculty and focus on new developments 
in technology and science." 

In all, 19 courses in civil and environmen- 
tal engineering, computer and information 
sciences, electrical and computer engineer- 
ing, fire protection engineering, manage- 
ment, manufacturing engineering and mate- 
rials science, and mechanical engineering 
will be offered between early June and late 
August. The leading-edge topics include 
design and construction integration, ultra- 
sound in medicine and industry, design for 
manufacturing and assembly, and the 
mechanical properties of biological tissues. 
A special one-day course on using the 
Internet will also be offered. 

"The market for lifelong learning is grow- 
ing, and more and more, professionals will 
be demanding new and innovative pro- 
grams — like this short-course series — to 
help them be successful in this rapidly 
changing world," Lowenstein says. "This is 
truly an exciting time to be in this business." 
For more information on WPI's continu- 
ing education programs, call 508-831-5517. A 
full schedule for the summer short course 
series, along with detailed descriptions of 
any of the 19 courses, will be mailed or 
faxed upon request. Information on con- 
tinuing education programs is now on the 
World Wide Web. Point your browser to to 
reach the Continuing Education Home Page. 

WPI Journal 


On Jan. 17, a massive, 7.2 
magnitude earthquake devastated 
the city of Kobe, Japan. Haifa 
million buildings and homes were 
destroyed, 5,422 people were 
killed, and the lives of many 
thousands of others were thrown 
into turmoil. Among those 
who felt the wrath of the Earth 
that day was a WPI history 
professor. Here is his first- 
person account of life during 
and after the Kobe quake. 

By John Zeugner 

The Kobe earthquake toppled the Hanshin 

Expressway, which connects Kobe to 

Osaka. Inset: the room in the Kobe College 

Alumni Building where Zeugner and his 

family spent several days after the quake. 


Proper Prayers 

It is about 8 p.m. on the fourth day after the quake. We're on the 
second floor <>l the Alumni Building at Kobe College, where we 
were moved after our house was condemned. .Mice and 1 and the 
children, Emily, Max and Laura Ruth, have been sleeping on the 
floor of a classroom, where the desks have been shoved into one cor- 
ner and carefully roped together in case of severe aftershock. Nov 
five more refugees have joined us in this room. We step around the 
futons on the linoleum. 

Mary Ewald, a missionary teacher at Kobe College High School, 
has come back from Kyoto with another missionary, a friend who has 
been putting her up for the past few nights. The friend suggests we 
pray together. We form a circle and the friend leads us in prayer: 
"Oh, Heavenly Father," she begins, "we give you praise and thanks 
for sparing us in this time of trouble." 

Alice and I look at each other. Praise and thanks? Who, after all, 
sent this time of trouble? "Oh, Father, in your endless goodness you 
have seen fit to bring us here together and to provide us widi food 
and water and safety. We thank you profoundly for diat succor in the 
midst of this tragedy." The theme is uniform: praise and thanks, 
thanks and praise. The litany runs on and on. My children shift from 
foot to foot. I begin to wonder if the missionary visitor has gotten 

^^^^^^^^ into some kind of rhetorical bind, or 
does she sense a certain resistance to 
her message and hopes to wear us 
down through repetition? 

Later I ask Mice, "WTiat did \ < >u 
think of the prayer?" She answers, 
"Heavenly Fadier, get a grip! You've 
almost sacrificed your most loyal ser- 
vants. What is going on here? ( iet a 

And there is survivor guilt— 
|p , 5,400 died and we did not. Why? 

Over the green pay phone in the 
building lobby my colleague at 
International University of Japan senses my unease. "John," he says 
calmly, "you want to know why you survived and others didn't? Is that 
what's bothering you? Well, I'll tell you why. Your house was stronger 
and had more rock under it. That's why, and that's all it means." 

The Gymnasium Shivers 

Four hours after the quake, we, along widi die students who resided 
in the collapsing dormitories, were required to move to the gymnasi- 
um, perhaps the sturdiest building on the Kobe College campus. 
About 300 female students and the five of us took up resilience on 
the polished wood floor. Overhead there were immense white paint- 
ed girders holding up the roof. 

How quickly we adjusted. I decided that if this was to be our new 
home, we should stake out a section along the side wall. At least then 
we'd be able to sit on the floor and lean back against something. The 
students, still in their pajamas and wrapped in blankets, formed 
eddies on the floor. Plastic liter bottles of orange juice were passed 
around periodically and a plastic bag of rolls went from hand to hand. 

At the entrance to the gym were two kerosene heaters, but thev 
were inadequate for the job of keeping the vast space warm. Of 
course there was no water or electricity, and the only operating 

(Continued on page 14) 


Z/ L« 0.0 

The progression above shows a laser beam rapidly diffracting in a 
"defocusing" material, a phenomenon that may help protect eyes 
and sensors from laser damage. The background pattern is part of a 
computer-generated spiral phase profile of an optical vortex soliton, 
one of Swartzlander's discoveries. Portrait photo by Patrick O'Connor. 

Spring 1995 


In Grover Swartzlander's 

lab, light can alter the 

properties of materials, 

it can be molded into 

stable stripes and grids — 

it can even be twisted 

into corkscrew-like 

vortices. Welcome to 

the brave new world 

of nonlinear optics. 

By Michael W. Dorsey 

n the early 1980s, Grover A. Swartzlander Jr. was a research assistant at 
Purdue University, working in a laboratory he set up with Alexander 
Kaplan, a Russian-born professor of electrical engineering. Under Kaplan's 
supervision, Swartzlander was passing beams of high-intensity laser light 
through sodium vapor and looking for unusual optical phenomena. 
"Sodium vapor is a good medium for studying optics," he says. "In high 
school and college physics labs, students often study die sodium spectrum 
because it radiates an exceptionally brilliant orange color. We were looking 
for nonlinear phenomena and were seeing some strange and beautiful patterns 
of light. We began placing different materials in front of the laser and watch- 
ing how they affected the diffraction of light in the sodium vapor. We saw 
some weird things — shapes that looked like lobsters or guitars. It was like 
taking a Rorschach Inkblot Test. 

"At one point we put a very fine mesh screen in front of the laser. This 
time we didn't see a crazy pattern. Instead, we saw an amazingly well-orga- 
nized array of square spots separated by dark lines. I found it quite beautiful 
and intriguing. Under low-intensity light it would appear to be a simple dif- 
fraction pattern. But under high -intensity laser light it would form an arrange- 
ment of spots diat was unusual and distinct. We figured there had to be some- 
thing fundamental going on inside that material." 

What Swartzlander had observed would come to be called dark soliton 
stripes and grids, a new twist to the already twisty field of nonlinear optics. 
Just two decades old, nonlinear optics is die study of what happens when high- 
energy beams of light pass through materials. Unlike the low-power light we 
encounter in everyday life, the intense beams from lasers can alter the proper- 
ties of the materials they pass through. Those altered properties, in turn, can 
affect the characteristics of light in an intricate pas de deux that produces some 
remarkable results. 

But the byproducts of nonlinear optics are far more than laboratory 
curiosities, hi fact, the field is poised to revolutionize the computer and 
telecommunications industries. By playing some of the same tricks widi light 
diat semiconductors play with electrons, nonlinear optics should drastically 
increase the capacity of phone lines, produce much faster and more efficient 
computers, and pave the way for a host of other 2 1st century technologies. 

In this hot new field, Swartzlander is considered a rising star. The signifi- 
cant and often-cited work of his first decade in the research lab, coupled widi 
his potential for future achievement, earned him a 1994 National Science 
Foundation Young Investigator Award. He was one of only about 1 80 ot the 
nation's top scientists and engineers to receive die honor last year. In addition 
to prestige and national recognition, die award can bring recipients up to 
$500,000 in government and corporate matching funds over a five-year period. 
Swartzlander joins three odier WPI faculty members in receiving the NSF 
award, which was previously known as the Presidential Young Investigator 
Award. James E. Rollings, associate professor of chemical engineering, won 
the honor in 1985. In 1991 it went to Tahar El-Korchi, associate professor 
of civil engineering, and Peter L. Levin, associate professor of electrical and 
computer engineering. 

(Continued on page 1 7) 


^^J^^ n ;l pleasant spring afternoon, three men gather inside the large, 
m W M ornate garage next to Higgins House on the WPI campus. For 
I ^m more than two decades, the garage has been home to the \\ PI 
^■1^^ Acoustics I ,aboraton . Today the small lab is packed with the 
tools of the acoustical engineer, from a huge steel reverberant chamber to a 
state-of-the-art digital tape recorder smaller than a paperback book. 

One side of the lab is dominated by a rack of oscilloscopes and elec- 
tronic instruments. Before the rack is a table, over which the three men 
now hover. On the table sit several plastic cups, their lids carefully fas- 
tened with white tape. A larger cylinder is attached to the end of a small 
boom that is, in turn, secured to a tripod. Both ends of the cylinder are 
covered with a fine mesh and three small holes in its side have been 
sealed with overlapping layers of latex. The business end of a small 
microphone has been inserted into the cylinder through one of these 
latex valves. When everyone is still, the room grows exceedingly quiet 
and you can just detect the high-pitched whine of a mosquito. 

Sam Martin, an entomologist with the U.S. Army Walter Reed 
Medical Institute, pushes a plastic tube through a latex valve on one 
of the plastic cups. He places the other end of the tube between his 
lips and draws in some air. When he withdraws the tube a few 
seconds later, it contains a small, grey, wriggling mass. He pushes 
the tube into the larger cylinder and blows gently to flush out the 
mosquito. "This is Anopheles freboni," he announces. "This one 
transmits malaria." 

With the tiny insect isolated, Richard Campbell '58, adjunct 
professor of electrical and computer engineering, and William 
Michalson ('85 M.S.; '89 Ph.D.), associate professor of electrical 
and computer engineering, turn on a tape recorder. For more 
than an hour, the recorder turns while the mosquito, prodded by 
taps and puffs of air, takes brief, buzzing 
flights. The recording is one of many 
the three men will make of sev- 
eral mosquito species that 
together comprise a sort of 
medical "most wanted" 
list. They include 

fynotn ea/unu^i tUat bUut out the, 
nxtGA, ojjjet GHXfiH&i ta lucjlt-teolt 
buovpA that Ina/ie mbbcjjiui&i, 

thUttfi with Aausull y&i mote 
titan 50 ifeafoi. 


Spring 1995 

the insects that are the prime vectors for malaria, yellow fever and encephali- 
tis, among other diseases. 

The project, funded as a pilot smdy with a $10,000 grant from Walter 
Reed, has two goals. One is to find a way to use the mosquito's own homing 
ability against it by building a high-tech sound trap. The other is to auto- 
mate the process of identifying mosquitos in the field — essentially capturing 
the expertise of an entomologist in a hand-held device. "The female of every 
mosquito species has a unique wing-beat sound," Campbell says. "It's this 
sound that attracts the males for mating. If you can reproduce this sound 
accurately and play it through a loudspeaker, you can draw all the males in 
and kill them or send them back to their nests dusted with poison, where 
they can kill even more mosquitos. 

"Perfecting an aural mosquito trap has been a dream of medical scien- 
tists for more than 50 years. While there have been some successes during 
that time, we believe that with state-of-the-art, multimedia, direct-to-disk 
recording and editing technology, and the sound-synthesizing equip- 
ment we have today, we can probably build a much more effective 
mosquito trap." 

Just as exciting, Campbell says, is the ability to identify a mosquito 
species solely from its sound signature. To avoid spending hundreds of 
thousands of dollars manufacturing and transporting perishable vac- 
cines it doesn't need, the U.S. Army sends advance teams of entomol- 
ogists to sites of likely future military engagements to sample the local 
insect life and determine which diseases will pose threats. "But as a 
result of cutbacks," he says, "the Army doesn't have enough ento- 
mologists to do this work. So Bill Michalson and I diought that we 
could build a hand-held box into which you could place a mosquito, 
push a button, and see a display identifying the species. That's 
something any lieutenant could do." f 

Central to the success of bodi projects is the application of 
modern acoustical engineering techniques. With their digital 
tapes of mosquito sounds in hand, Campbell and Michalson head 
for a lab on the second floor of Atwater Kent Laboratories to 
feed the data into a computer. Using sophisticated software, 

(Continued on page 21) 

Opposite, William Wadsworth with test subject 
Richard Beschle '50, who founded WPI's Biomedical 
Engineering Program. Above, Richard Campbell. 
Below, a graph of a mosquito wing-beat sound. 

By Michael \Y. Dorsey 

WPI Journal 


Blowing Away Goose Tatum (Continued from page 9) 

Fires rage throughout 
Kobe in the immedi- 
ate aftermath of the 
magnitude 7.2 quake. 

toilets were those outside, adjacent to the swimming 
pool. You took a bucket and filled it up from the 
pool, and dien used that water to flush the toilet. 

Some of the students enjoyed talking Japanese 
with my youngest daughter, Laura Ruth, who 
attended a Japanese kindergarten. For about an 
hour we sat dazed on the floor listening to the con- 
versations. Periodically, Chaplain Shigeru came in 
to announce that now it seemed that 1,800 were 
dead, but that the number 
was climbing; diat the 
Hanshin highway had turned 
on its side; that the Hankyu 
railway was totally out from 
our city, Nishinomiya, all the 
way to Kobe Center; or that 
fires everywhere were out of 
control. But mostly there 
was the hubbub of 300 stu- 
dents explaining to each 
other what had happened 
and listening to each other's 
And after a while, the brilliant, crisp sunshine 
outside seemed to indicate that nothing further 
could happen — that after this initial dark massacre, 
all would eventually be repaired. We thought about 
just leaving the gym and going back home; there 
was no water, gas or electricity there either, but at 
least there were chairs, a well stocked refrigerator, 
and familiar, if broken, dishes. And we would have 
done so, but at 9:52 a.m. came the first aftershock. 

The girders overhead shivered. Frosted glass lin- 
ing the left side of die entry to the gym simply splin- 
tered outward and fell onto the floor near the 
heaters. The girders lifted, settled, shivered again, 
and then stopped moving. The gym grew stone 
silent. The orange juice and rolls stopped circulating. 
No one spoke. Laura Rudi curled in a fetal position 
on the floor, put her hands over the back of her 
head, and then turned her face to me. "Is this when 
we die?" she asked. "I don't think so," I answered. 

Technology's Insane Juxtapositions 

On the third day we discover that die Hankyu Rail- 
way has opened a line from Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi 
to downtown Osaka, Japan's second largest city. 
Colleagues have found a public bath in Osaka and 
the lure of hot running water is irresistible. It is a 20- 
minute walk through nibble to get to Nishinomiya- 
Kitaguchi, and the crowds there are dense, unfriend- 
ly, shoving. But soon enough all five us are on a 
familiar, clean, velveteen maroon Hankyu train and 
moving swiftly toward Osaka. 

At Umeda Station the platforms are familiar 
and crowded, and the hordes familiar and normal. 
The swift passage, the moving walkways, the gleam- 
ing neon, the buildings intact — all normal, as usual. 
It is like Christmas morning; everydiing works. The 
restaurants and coffee shops are filled. There is no 
damage here; nodiing has been interrupted. 

Only a few refugees in the public bath can share 
our sense of the realities 40 minutes away. No one 
cares about life in the "zone of destruction" to the 
west. This is the Japan we used to know — safe, clean, 
sparkling, rich, sophisticated, self-possessed, hard to 
penetrate, but boundless in its rewards for that pene- 
tration. What quake and where? We soak in the hot 
tubs, splash the hot water, triple-rinse our hair. We 
towel off in the thick mist; dry in the hot air. We 
dress again and have tonkatsu, a breaded pork dish, 
in our second favorite tonkatsu restaurant. 

In Umeda Station we stop off at Kinokuniya 
Bookstore, browse the English magazines and 
books, and buy a few, pretending the "zone" isn't 
there. And then, 22 minutes on the local train and 
20 minutes walking brings us back to no heat, no 
water, no light, no food, no life. Max and I put 
down the magazines and books, take up the empty 
pots and pans, and walk down to get in line for 
water from a broken main in the roadway running 
along the foot of the campus. 

Media Games 

At 2:30 a.m. on the morning after the quake a 
phone call got through from Dennis Benton, an old 
friend at London's BBC World. He wanted to 
know how we were, but his boss wanted to know, 
"How was it, and what will you do?" After Dennis, 
I got passed to an "interviewer" who "prepared" me 
for "the presenter." 

"He will ask essentially the same questions I'm 
asking, so let's just run through them, shall we?" the 
interviewer said. "Yes," I answered. "I was in my 
underwear when we sprinted outside, afraid the 
house might explode. Alice was up cooking, using 
the stove, and she had turned on all the gas space 
heaters. Yes it's quite cold; in the 30s, in fact. Of 
course there is no heat, no water, no electricity." 
Just this odd phone, I thought. I recounted the trip 
to the gymnasium, the return to the house, the 
appearance of the house and those of several col- 
leagues that were damaged far worse than ours. 

All this was familiar, a glib recitation. The first 
two interviews with presenters went off easily. The 
BBC called about every three hours after that. 
When I was out they talked to Alice or to die 
Bannerjees, colleagues who teach at Kobe College 
and who moved in after dieir house collapsed. 

But by the third interview I sensed a certain 
edge in the presenter's voice, and the questions 
grew more direct. "Are you angry with the Japanese 
government for not doing more?" I was asked. "Not 
really," I answered. "They seem to be doing as 
much as anyone could under the circumstances." 
"Don't you know Japanese who are angry with the 
government? Is there no resentment against the 
lack of water, the lack of fire-fighting facilities?" 
"Not really. The Japanese are resilient and self- 
possessed, above all dogged in their determination 
not to complain." "Well, dianks for talking to us. 
We'll call again later." 


Spring 1995 

Afterwards, in discussions with Alice and the 
Bannerjees, I decided die media was not happy with 
our responses — it was, in fact, beginning to filter 
out our data, our modest contributions, since the 
data did not match the on-going story of incompe- 
tence and resentment. So here was die "Braestrup 
Thesis" illustrated once again. In Big Story, Peter 
Braestrup argued that media analysts, editors, com- 
mentators, reporters and writers tend to coalesce on 
a scaffolding of a story, and by the third or fourth 
day want only data that supports the story. Accuracy 
is not the issue; support for the story is the issue. 

Thus, Braestrup argued, the Tet Offensive dur- 
ing the Vietnam War was actually a victory for the 
Americans and the South Vietnamese, hut by the 
third day the media had decided the "story" was 
defeat — catastrophe for the Americans and die South 
Vietnamese. The counter data was shut out. The 
media convinced the public that Tet was a disaster. 
Support for the war evaporated; the President, in 
effect, abdicated; the opposition party won the elec- 
tion; and the war concluded with an ignominious 
American exit. All because die media understood the 
"story" to be disaster. 

The story of the quake in the U.S. media 
became, apparendy, the story of incompetence and 
resentment — a new variant of Japan bashing. The 
absence of looting; the infinite Japanese patience 
through adversity; the determination to stick by dead 
relatives; the civility in the midst of despair — these 
were peripheral to the "story" of incompetence and 
resentment. The Western lens wanted to see rage 
and it tirelessly swung back and forth above the 
action to fix on confirming anger. They sought a 
mother lode of rage, and not finding it in conversa- 
tions with us, moved on to more manageable news. 

The Japaneseness of the Response 

The government did make errors — predictable, 
horrible errors. Government by consensus means 
government by delay, by irresponsibility, by failure 
to lead, by bureaucratic standard operating proce- 
dures. No one expected a Kansai quake. No one 
planned for Kobe to be the center of such a disaster. 
Everyone knew the great quake would be in Tokyo, 
and will still be in Tokyo. Tokyo, someday, 
inevitably, will be destroyed. Unlike San Francisco, 
which plans ahead for its doom, Kobe had no inde- 
pendent water system. It had not enforced Japan's 
1981 earthquake construction codes on older hous- 
es, especially in areas traditionallv shunned by 
Japanese, such as the Korean ghettos and those 
places occupied by Japanese Eta or Burakumin, 
descendants of butchers and leather tanners. 

Kansai did not have severe quakes. Kanto had 
them. Hokkaido had them. Kansai did not have 
them. When I lived in Tokyo in the early 1980s, 
I knew the big one was coming because small ones 
occurred so frequendy. Earthquake directions were 
printed on posters everywhere — in English and in 
Japanese. In Kansai it was not an issue. It could not 

happen diere. Even when it actually did, it still 
could not happen. 

Right away, Switzerland offered its trained dogs 
to sniff out survivors in the rubble. Japan declined, 
but then 12 hours later realized the error of that 
decision and rescinded it. Switzerland sent the dogs 
and handlers. They landed at Kansai International 
Airport, where they ran amuck of die Ministry of 
Health and Welfare, which insists that all dogs 
coming into Japan be quarantined for a very long 
time. Another day passed before the rule was 
waived. The Swiss dogs found corpses, not sur- 
vivors, in the nibble. 

And then there was the refusal of American flu 
vaccine. Refugees living in school shelters were vul- 
nerable to infection. Flu soon enough flooded over 
them, but the Japanese turned down American flu 
vaccine as "inappropriate for Japanese." In Japan the 
key distinction is 
always between the 
inside and the outside. 
Those inside share, 
support, consent; 
those outside merit 
nothing. Public rude- 
ness astounds Wester- 
ners, just as private 
graciousness amazes 
them. But in catas- 
trophe, Japan is the 
inside and everything 
else is the outside. 
The Americans were 
dumbfounded to have 
their flu vaccine refused. But it was as if Rumania 
had sent special vaccines for the Northridge, Calif., 
victims. Who in America would have embraced 
Rumanian vaccine? Who in Japan would have 
embraced American vaccine? 

A member of Japan's 
Self-Defense Force 
stands guard over a 
devastated section 
of Kobe. 

Necessary Denials 

In the first eight hours after the quake, Chaplain 
Shigeru becomes the sole authority figure. He 
comes to the gym to tell us what is happening. The 
work crews report damage to him and he reports to 
the multitudes without homes on campus. By early 
afternoon he indicates to us that our home has been 
inspected and has been pronounced safe. We should 
return to it and await further developments. 

The prospect of days in the gymnasium have 
become grim and it is welcome news that we can go 
back home. Soon enough, our house, as the only 
standing unit of faculty housing, becomes a refugee 
center. The Bannerjees move in, as do Lisa and 
Brian, Misa and Mary, and sometimes Greg and Vic 

Twice a day for three days, I ask Shigeru if the 
house is safe. I point out that the pillars holding the 
upper balcony and roof of the house have shifted 
half off their pilings. I mention the cracks opening 
in the walls. I note that ceilings seem to be lower- 

WPI Journal 


Blowing Away Goose Tatum (Continued from prawns page) 

Quake survivors pass 
rail tracks in the city 
of Nishinomiya that 
were twisted by the 
force of the quake. 

ing, so that sliding doors on the first floor become 
harder and harder to open. Is it wise to have 1 3 peo- 
ple sleeping in such a structure? And always, 
Shigeru is prompt, authoritative and reassuring: the 
house has been inspected — it is entirely safe. 

I keep asking when the inspectors came by, 
because we have nearly always been in the house. 
We surely saw no such inspectors. If they had 
inspected while we were at the gym, might they not 
need to reinspect now? It is not necessary, Shigeru 
insists. The house is safe, and it is continuously 
being monitored. By whom and when? I wonder. 

Then on Thursday, the fourth day after the 
quake, two youngish Japanese in hard hats show up. 
Structural engineers. They walk through the house, 
pausing at die shifted pillars along die front, paus- 
ing even longer at the fissure line in the foundation, 
measuring the widening cracks in the rooms, and 
tell us, "Get out of die house immediately. It may 
very well come down in the next aftershock." 

We gather a few things and move back to die 
Alumni Building. On the way there I see Shigeru 
near the gymnasium. I run over to him. I am carry- 
ing my futon and some oranges in a plastic bag. 
"House inspectors finally came today," I say in my 
most chastising tone, "and they said the place is 

unsafe. They ordered us out 
immediately. There hadn't 
been any inspection. When 
they finally inspected, they 
said the building was com- 
pletely unsafe. But there 
were 12 or 13 of us sleeping 
there. You said the place was 
safe, but it wasn't safe. So 
you just li...." 

Shigeru, eyebrows 
bunched, cuts me off with a 
single word, uttered with 
amazing equanimity and 
panache. "Good!" he says. It is a silencing response, 
made up, I decide later, of several parts: One por- 
tion is the sentiment that whatever is standing is 
safe. Another is his desire not to have these gaijin 
underfoot and within infecting proximity of Kobe 
College students. Yet another portion consists of 
simply saying whatever it is these gaijin need to hear 
to be done with them. There is also a portion that 
admits that at some level, what is spoken in English 
to gaijin need not conform to truth. 

Over the next several days it also becomes clear 
that damage recognition is not an easy issue for 
educational institutions that want to remain com- 
petitive for a declining student pool. Admitting 
heavy damage could undermine the college's attrac- 
tiveness. I hear indirectly that the administration is 
furious when a Japanese magazine, within a week of 
the quake, produces a picture book that features an 
aerial photo showing the collapsed roof of the liter- 
ature building, where my office had been. Such pic- 
tures discourage applicants. 

Sirens and Helicopters 

From the second hour after the quake until we got 
to Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, there 
was a continuous sound of sirens. Only their loud- 
ness varied; they never stopped. In retrospect, the 
wailings were an announcement and endless itera- 
tion of pain — die squealing of crushed and torched 
humanity made bearable by the mechanical, elec- 
tronic distancing of the noise. From the fifth hour, 
the sirens were joined by a more ominous thud- 
ding — helicopters endlessly churning overhead. 

For most of the first day I believed that the 
copters had to be media-related. Their whirlings 
jiggled the house, but seemed a pale imitation ot the 
7.2 roar some hours before. By the third day we had 
adjusted to the noise — filtered it out, partially. We 
knew we could get some kind of water, some kind of 
electricity, and, because of Osaka's proximity, some 
kind of food. "We survived," Alice said, "but I won- 
der how we'll live." 

My daughter Emily, because she had turned 1 6 
and knew she was immortal, because she had no 
phone access to her friends, because it was becoming 
clearer and clearer diat she would not get a chance to 
go back to her school in Kobe, because she was 
bored and edgy, begged to use one of our bikes to try 
to reach classmates about an hour away. When Misa, 
a missionary teacher who had temporarily come to 
stay in the house with us, also needed to bike to 
Ashiya, we let Emily go with her. It was, after all, a 
wanner, brilliandy clear day, and in the sunshine, in 
the mucid soft caressing nature of Japan's mild win- 
ter, it seemed that aftershocks were impossible — all 
damage over, all destruction done. 

It was an idiotic decision, one we regretted the 
minute Emily was out of sight. Time passed quickly 
enough. Mr. Hata came in from Kyoto with a 
dozen Egg McMuffins, manna itself. Professor 
Ueno came in from Osaka and dropped off three 
gas canisters for die portable burner. Eaura Ruth 
played outside on the concrete apron fronting the 
house, despite the shifted pillars. The house shud- 
dered in the copter passings. Each siren seemed to 
chastise a parent for letting a young girl go off on a 
bicycle in such circumstances. 

Emily had planned to be back by 4 p.m.; 5:30 
came and went. If she had had an accident, I 
thought, diere would be no way to help her. More 
sirens, more helicopter thuddings. And then the 
blessed sound of tire spin on the roadway and onto 
our driveway. Emily and Misa were back. "Dad," 
she said, "you thought they were part of the media." 
She pointed to the noise overhead. "They're not. 
They're taking bodies out in bags and coffins. 
That's what they're doing. We saw them loading 
and loading." She burst into tears. 

Blowing Away Goose Tatum 

Forty-five years ago I lived to watch die Harlem 
Globetrotters, hi particular, I followed the gyra- 


Spring 1995 

The Light Fantastic (Continued from page U) 

dons of Goose Tatum. Sometime midway through 
the first quarter of every game he'd drop back and 
begin to do his astounding dribbling act, clipping 

the ball alon<> at about tour inches oft the floor. 
( )pposing guards made inevitable challenges, but 
( loose simply dribbled through them, around them, 
between his legs and theirs, circling, doubling back, 
always with the rat-tat-tat of that microdribble, 
machine gunning the ball, in amazing control, in 
dazzling figure eights across an expanse that clearly 
was entirely his domain. 

At 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 17, a jet-engine, superdeci- 
bel roar from the center of the Earth spiked 
upward, liquefying the man-made islands in Japan's 
inland sea off the city of Kobe, spiked upward 
beyond 7.2 on the Richter scale, spiked upward to 
throttle the fault line that ran six straight miles from 
the center of Kobe to die center of Nishinomiya, a 
city almost equally as large, spiked upward to clump 
500,000 buildings flat down, and spiked upward to 
bounce the house where we were living. Often 
enough we'd heard the Japanese say of earthquakes, 
when diey are side to side, no problem; but when 
they are up and down, very big problem, indeed. 

I was asleep on a futon in the tatami room 
downstairs; Laura Ruth was asleep beside me; Alice 
was already up in the gallej kitchen, making a 
brown sugar and butter frosting for a coffee cake 
she was about to put in die warming oven. The 
house, in the sudden, 10,000-jet-engine roar, 
bounced, lifted and fell back, lifted and fell back, 
bounced and bounced and bounced as God bullet- 
dribbled it in a 20-second demonstration that blew 
away Goose Tatum. 

I heard Alice's call above the roar, shouting to 
Emily and Max upstairs. I hunched over Laura 
Ruth, aware in the mad torque of the moment that 
the windows above our futon would have to bulge 
and splinter soon. And I wondered, and still do, in 
terror's empty chamber, why does the infinitely- 
greater-than-( loose God dribble houses, cities? 

About the Author — 

On Jan. 10, 1994, John Zeugner, professor of history at 
11 PI, moved to Kobe, Japan, with his wife, Alice 
I alentine, who teaches Japanese literature and culture at 
Chirk University, and their children, Emily, 16, Max, 
10, and Lit ii rii Ruth, >. For the next three months he 
directed, from Japan, II TPs Asian project centers in 
Bangkok and Hong Kong. 

On . Ipril 10 he took up his duties as Bryant Drake 
Guest Professor of Contemporary American History at 
Kobe College, the third oldest women's college in Japan. 
His contract with Kobe College called for three semesters 
of teaching, concluding in July 1995. But six days after 
the Kobe earthquake, which collapsed 40 percent of the 
structures at Kobe College, Zeugner and his family were 
asked to return to the i nited States, which they did the 
following day. He wrote Blowing Away Goose Tatum, 
which he describes as a "meditation" on his experiences 
during and after the quake, upon his return to 11 PI. 

n 1978 Swartzlander enrolled as an undergraduate 
physics majorat Drexel University. Already fasci- 
nated by the Geld of optics, he found inspiration 
in courses taught by Lorenzo Narducci, an early 
pioneer in nonlinear optics. A native of Italy, 
Narducci earned his Ph.D. at the University of 
Milan ,\nd taught physics at WPI tor 10 years 
before joining Drexel in 1976. 

In his sophomore year, Swartzlander began 
work as a co-op student at the Naval Air Develop- 
ment Center (now part of the Naval Air Warfare 
Center) in Warminster, Penn., just north of 
Philadelphia. 1 Ie started out as a research assistant 
in the Avionics Division and moved on to work in 
the Remote Sensing Division. 

"I worked on nonlinear optics research," he 
says. "We were taking infrared light and turning it 
into green light by doubling the frequency — some- 
thing physicists call second harmonic generation." 
The quest for efficient blue and green laser light is 
one of the hot topics in modern optics. Blue and 
green wavelengths, the shortest in the visible spec- 
trum, are important because they should make it 
possible to pack more bits onto CD-ROM disks. 

After graduating from Drexel, Swartzlander 
enrolled at Purdue University to begin work on a 
master's degree in physics. "I attended a department 
seminar given by Alexander Kaplan, who was a pro- 
fessor of electrical engineering and a renowned 
Soviet emigre," he says. "Kaplan knows how to 
make his work sound exciting. He was doing pio- 
neering theoretical research in nonlinear optics, a 
field that interested me. I found his talk quite inter- 
esting and I asked if I could do a Ph.D. with him." 

Swartzlander transferred to the Electrical 
Engineering Department and ended up earning a 
joint master's in that discipline and physics in 1985. 
When Kaplan later moved to Johns Hopkins 
University, Swartzlander followed him and com- 
pleted the requirements for a doctorate in electrical 
engineering in 1991. 

While working in Kaplan's lab at Purdue, 
Swartzlander deepened his immersion in nonlinear 
optics. In physics, the term "nonlinear" is applied to 
systems in which die output is not proportional to 
the input — in other words, where the system some- 
how changes the input in a nonlinear manner. One 
classic example is the transistor. 

A transistor is a sandwich made of three layers of 
a semiconducting material, such as silicon. The lay- 
ers are connected to an electrical circuit in such a 
way that a small current flowing between the first 
layer and die middle layer induces a much larger cur- 
rent between the middle layer and the third layer, hi 
diis way, the transistor amplifies the original current. 

Nonlinear effects in optical materials were not 
observed until the advent of die laser in the 1960s. 
Suddenly, materials like glass, which was once 
thought of as a passive transmitter of light, began to 
exhibit some strange behavior. "One of the first 

"Beauty is truly a guide 

in this work. There are 

many things in nature 

that are difficult to 

understand because 

they are so complex. 

But with optics, 

the way things look 

provides a clue to 

what is going on. " 

WPI Journal 


THE LIGHT FANTASTIC (Continued from previous page) 

\ w 

Top, a diffraction pattern 
produced with a fine mesh 
and a low-intensity light 
beam. At a higher intensity, 
a new pattern emerges. As 
a result of nonlinear effects, 
refraction is minimized and 
destructive interference is 
concentrated into narrow, 
stable bands. These are 
called dark soliton stripes. 
Discovered by Swartz- 
lander, these were the 
first spatial solitons ever 

effects scientists saw was damage," Swartzlander 
says. "The laser would destroy glass lenses and 
other transparent materials that seemed to have 
very little capacity to absorb light." 

When scientists began looking for the cause of 
their fried lenses, they found that the laser light was 
inducing a localized change in the refractive index 
of the glass. The skewed refractive index, in turn, 
caused the beam to focus down, concentrating all of 
its energy into a tiny section of the lens. "The 
intensity would get so high it would start ripping 
electrons off the atoms," Swartzlander says. 

Since the narrowing of the light beam was 
caused by the beam itself, the phenomenon was 
dubbed the self-focusing effect. As researchers con- 
tinued to probe such nonlinear behavior, they dis- 
covered that other materials can cause light to self- 
defocus, or rapidly spread out into a diffuse, dim 
blob. In his work at Purdue, Swartzlander experi- 
mented with yet another unusual nonlinear behav- 
ior (which Kaplan had predicted): self-bending. 

Kaplan had shown that a laser beam with an 
asymmetrical spatial-intensity profile (in other 
words, a beam that is more intense at its center than 
at its edges) will alter the refractive index of a non- 
linear material in such a way as to induce a nonlin- 
ear prism in the material. Like an ordinary glass 
prism, the nonlinear prism causes the laser beam to 
change direction. Since the effect occurs continually 
along the beam's path, the result is a gradual curv- 
ing of the beam's course. 

Because of limitations in the materials used, the 
earliest examples of self-bending were observed 
with pulsed lasers. This made it difficult to deter- 
mine whether the bending effect could be main- 
tained as a steady state, something that would be 
critical if the bending were to be used in a practical 
application. Knowing that sodium vapor has a larger 
nonlinear effect than most materials, Swartzlander 
and Kaplan set up an experiment using this gas and 
became the first researchers to observe a continuous 
self-bending effect. 

One of the most intriguing products of 
nonlinear optics is the soliton, or solitary 
wave. Although they were not observed 
with light until the 1970s, water solitons have been 
known to exist for more than 150 years. In 1838, 
while riding his horse beside a barge canal in 
Scotland, J. Scott Russell noticed that when a canal 
boat came to an abrupt stop, it pushed a large, soli- 
tary mound of water down the canal. Russell fol- 
lowed this lone wave for more than half a mile and 
was surprised to see that its height and speed 
remained undiminished. 

Six years later, Russell published a report on his 
observation in a journal of the British Association 
for the Advancement of Science, becoming die first 
person to describe a soliton. Exactly a century ago, 
two Dutch mathematicians, DJ. Korteweg and G. 
de Vries, published a nonlinear partial differential 

equation (the KdV equation) that captured the 
mathematics of waves in shallow waters, an equation 
that also described the inner workings of solitons. 

In water, a soliton occurs when two properties 
of traveling waves exactly counterbalance one other. 
The first is the relationship between a wave's speed 
and its height (tall waves travel faster than squat 
waves). A wave's speed also depends on its frequen- 
cy (waves of longer wavelength travel faster than 
waves of shorter wavelength). 

With a tall wave of short wavelength — like the 
wave created by the canal boat — the two opposing 
influences on the wave's speed can exactly balance 
each other and also work against the natural ten- 
dency of the wave to dissipate over time. The result 
is a wave that will travel long distances with no 
change in speed or height. One extreme example is 
the "tidal wave," or tsunami. 

In 1973 it was predicted that solitons could be 
produced in an optical fiber if the tendency of a 
beam of laser light to spread out in a fiber could be 
counterbalanced by the ability of the beam to 
increase the fiber's refractive index (a phenomenon 
physicists call the Kerr nonlinearity). 

The first optical solitons were produced with 
pulses of infrared light. When a pulse of white light 
is sent into a glass fiber, it tends to disperse in such a 
way that the longer wavelengths, which travel the 
fastest, outpace the shorter wavelengths and end up 
at the front of the pulse. Over time, the frequencies 
spread out and the pulse dissipates. 

At infrared frequencies longer than 1 .3 
micrometers, things get turned upside down, and 
shorter wavelengths travel the fastest. Physicists call 
this phenomenon negative group velocity disper- 
sion. At high intensities, the change in refractive 
index caused by the Kerr nonlinearity alters the 
arrangement of the frequencies of the pulse, so that 
the longer, slower frequencies end up at the front 
and the shorter, faster frequencies move to the rear, 
something known as self-phase modulation. 

When the negative group velocity dispersion 
and self-phase modulation are in balance, the pulse 
will not disperse and instead propagates as a soliton. 
In fact, solitons can travel for great distances in 
optical fibers with no change in size or speed. 
Solitons are also quite stable. Two soliton pulses 
traveling at different speeds or in different direc- 
tions can pass through one another and emerge 
from the collision unchanged. 

Because of their robustness, solitons have long 
been of considerable interest to the telecommunica- 
tions industry. While they can carry far greater vol- 
umes of information than conventional metal wires 
(and carry it much faster), fiber-optic systems, be- 
cause they gradually disperse light, require frequent 
amplification and reshaping. Placing repeaters every 
12 to 60 miles along a lengthv fiberoptic cable can be 
expensive, and the frequent need for amplification 
(often by electronic, rather than optical devices) lim- 
its the amount of data the fibers can carry. 


Spring 1995 

Solitons, on the other hand, can travel for great 
distances with less need for amplification. In labora- 
tory experiments, soliton pulses have gone well over 
3,500 miles with no signal degredation. Currently, 
Swart/.lander says, Bell Laboratories is building a 
trans-Atlantic fiber cable that will use solitons. The 
designers are hoping for data rates of 10 gigabits per 
second, nearly 10 times taster than conventional 
fiber-optic lines. 

The solitons that will speed across the Atlantic 
are called temporal solitons because they exist in 
time. But solitons can also exist in space. Spatial 
solitons can generate patterns discernable by the 
eye, as Swartzlander discovered in his experiments 
with die fine mesh and sodium vapor at Purdue. 

hitrigued by his results, Swartzlander did some 
numerical simulations of die system he was using 
and determined that the regular array of dots he- 
observed was actually a grid of dark solitons. Tt was 
the first time anyone had observed a stationary, 
two-dimensional optical soliton array. "It was 
thought that such patterns could not exist," 
Swartzlander says, "because the theory dien avail- 
able could only account for one transverse degree 
of freedom. We found numerically that we could 
get regular arrays of these grids and that they were 
stable. The criterion for stability is important in 
nonlinear systems; without it, chaos may develop." 

Swartzlander says the screen he placed in front 
of the laser created a two-dimensional diffraction 
pattern. "If you look dirough a screen window on a 
moonlit night, you can see multiple images of the 
moon — a nice regular pattern — because the screen 
diffracts the moonlight. That's linear diffraction. 

"When you add in nonlinear refraction, you get 
a counterbalancing between diffraction and refrac- 
tion. In the process, you create destructive interfer- 
ence that tends to get concentrated in distinct areas. 
These areas, where the light waves cancel each 
other out, are the dark solitons." 

After receiving his Ph.D. from Johns 
Hopkins, Swartzlander went to work for 
the Laser Physics Branch of the Naval 
Research Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. 
Working with branch head Anthony J. Campillo, 
another pioneer in nonlinear optics, Swartzlander 
began exploring whether nonlinear optical effects 
might become the basis for devices that can protect 
eyes and delicate optical sensors from direct expo- 
sure to high-intensity laser beams. With the advent 
of laser weapons and the frequent use of lasers in 
range finders and targeting systems, the potential 
for such exposure on the battlefield has grown 
tremendously in recent years. 

To further his research, Swartzlander indepen- 
dently applied for and received a two-year, 
$2 1 0,000 grant from the Advanced Research 
Projects Agency (ARPA). With the funds, he set up 
some experiments and computer simulations aimed 
at demonstrating that the nonlinear self-defocusing 

effect might be just the ticket for creating a practical 
laser protection device. The idea was to find nonlin- 
ear materials that are clear in regular light, so as not 
to impair normal vision, but that have the ability to 
instantly react to and defocus laser light, lowering 
its intensity to harmless levels before it can damage 
an eye or a sensor. 

The underlying goal of the laser-protection pro- 
ject was to find a way to get light away from a region 
of space. In the process of testing systems that 
accomplished just that, Swartzlander discovered a 
new phenomenon that dispatches 
light in an most unusual manner. 
Called the optical vortex, it is essen- 
tially a light wave diat has a spiral 
phase profile, rather than the sinu- 
soidal or sine wave profile one nor- 
mally associates with light, sound and 
water waves. 

When light is twisted into this 
corkscrew shape, something remark- 
able happens. Through destructive 
interference, light waves entering the 
center of a beam made up of optical 
vortices cancel each other out, leaving 
a dark core or filament at the heart of the beam. 
Seen from head on, the beam appears as a bright 
doughnut of light. 

Swartzlander realized that these hollow light 
beams might do some interesting and potentially 
useful things when directed into nonlinear materi- 
als. He sent them into materials that defocus laser 
beams — that is, materials that have a high refrac- 
tive index when exposed to low-intensity light, but 
that develop a low refractive index when exposed to 
high-intensity light. 

"That means," he says, "that in these materials, 
the refractive index is actually higher inside the dark 
core of the beam, where there is, for all intents and 
purposes, no light, than in the bright, outer part of 
the beam. The refractive index is what guides light. 
If you have a region of high refractive index sur- 
rounded by a region of low refractive index, what 
you have, in essence, is a waveguide. This is how 
optical fibers work." 

What Swartzlander had discovered was a way of 
inducing an optical fiber inside an otherwise uni- 
form material. Experimentally and using computer 
simulations, he demonstrated that the dark core of 
an optical vortex shrinks to a constant, unchanging 
diameter when it passes through a defocusing mate- 
rial. The opposing effects of refraction in the core 
and diffraction in the light areas result in a stable 
vortex that is highly resistant to change. It is, in fact, 
a soliton. 

Swartzlander's first report on the optical vortex 
soliton appeared in the journal Physical Review 
Letters in 1992 and immediately attracted the atten- 
tion of physicists around the world. In the article, he 
reported that in experiments at the Naval Research 
Laboratory, he had been able to introduce a laser 

-1000 -750 -300 -SO ,0 , 20 

An image of an actual 
optical vortex soliton. 
Twisted into a spiral 
shape and passed 
through a nonlinear 
material, a light beam 
forms a narrow dark 
region (the dip in the 
intensity profile graph) 
that behaves like an 
optical fiber. These sta- 
ble fibers can be used to 
guide other light beams. 

WPI Journal 


The Light Fantastic (Continued from previous page) 

Above, Swartzlander with 
graduate student Xiaoming 
Zhang. Below, under the 
right conditions, an optical 
vortex (A) can become 
unstable and generate tur- 
bulence (B-D). Swartzlander 
says optical turbulence may 
produce potentially useful 
changes in materials. 




beam into the dark core of an optical vortex soliton 
and guide it through a nonlinear material. This abil- 
ity to control light with light may open the door to 
some important applications. 

One of the most tantalizing is called an optical 
interconnection. Now in development are new gen- 
erations of massively parallel computers that will use 
thousands — and potentially mil- 
lions — of individual processors to 
solve complex problems quicklv by 
dividing them into pieces and assign- 
ing the pieces to separate processors 
that work in tandem. 

"The interconnections between 
these processors are potential bottle- 
necks," Swartzlander says. "You're 
talking about connecting planes of 
information with millions of different 
data channels. If you were to do that 
electronically, you'd get cross talk as 
the electric fields of all of those cir- 
cuits interfered with each other. It's very hard to fil- 
ter out that much cross talk." 

Replacing the wires with optical fibers can elim- 
inate the cross talk, Swartzlander says, though run- 
ning optical fibers between thousands of processors 
also represents a major challenge. But if one uses 
optical vortex solitons, the light will make its own 
path from one processor to another. In fact, by talk- 
ing advantage of the unique properties of vortices, it 
may be possible to continually reroute data through 
a nonlinear "bus," making and breaking connections 
between processors as needed. 

"When you have two vortices in water, they 
tend to spiral around one another," Swartzlander 
says. "They actuallv produce a force on each other 
that can change their orientation in space. We want 
to see if we can do the same thing 
with two optical vortices. If we can 
get them to interact with each other, 
we may be able to start playing some 
games, creating optical fibers that go 
where we want them to go. 

"You would start with a block of 
nonlinear material. You would then 
send two intensity profiles into one 
end, where they would create inter- 
acting dark channels. If you could 
control the inputs, it should be possi- 
ble to make the light come out where 
you want it to. Optical vortices might 
also be employed in optical logic. 
With vortices, you have two states — 
a vortex by itself that stays put, and 
two vortices that spiral around one 
another. That's a binary system, and binary systems 
are what make digital computers possible." 

The tantalizing prospects for optical intercon- 
nections and optical logic point the way to a brave 
new world where photons may one day replace 
electrons in all sorts of computer and communica- 

tions applications. But to make this photonic world 
a reality, it may be necessary to create an optical 
equivalent of the semiconductor, which is the foun- 
dation for modern computer technology. 

In his experiments with dark solitons, Swartz- 
lander may have found the basis for such an optical 
semiconductor. "When we think of dark solitons, 
we tend to think in terms of a small number of 
them," he says. "But by using mirrors and reflective 
boundary conditions in the laboratory, we can cre- 
ate what is essentially an infinite number of solitons. 
The result is very much like a semiconductor. With 
a semiconductor, you have a periodic array of 
atoms; here we have a periodic array of solitons. 

"In semiconductors, you have bands and gaps — 
very broad energy levels separated by gaps in the 
energy spectrum. This notion of band gaps is what 
revolutionized the semiconductor industry and 
made possible computer chips. Now we can do 
something similar in optics using these dark soli- 
tons. That may open up opportunities to do what is 
being called photonic band-gap engineering." 

While much of the excitement over solitons has 
focused on their potential to revolutionize comput- 
ing and telecommunications, there is another fron- 
tier that also intrigues Swartzlander. Using optical 
vortices, he says, it may be possible to fine-tune the 
properties of materials. "This is already being done 
experimentally, but it hasn't yet become a real sys- 
tems approach," he says. "We know that turbulence 
changes the state of any system where it exists — it's 
sort of a fourth or fifth state of nature. If you can 
produce optical turbulence in a material, you should 
be able to generate some interesting and potentially 
useful new properties." 

Optical interconnections. Photonic semi- 
conductors. Optically engineered mate- 
rials. Swartzlander says applications like 
these may well result from his research, but they are 
not the main reason he spends late nights in his lab. 
"I'm not trying to make a device," he says. "So 
whether or not something like an optical intercon- 
nect works is not paramount. What is important is 
that we explore the frontiers for beauty in physics. 
The concept of vorticity, for example, has funda- 
mental significance in many areas of physics." 

In fact, vortices are at the center of many con- 
temporary areas of the physical sciences, including 
some of the "grand challenges" of modern science — 
long-range weather forecasting, wind shear predic- 
tion, turbulence and chaos, and superconductivity, 
for example. "Superconductors exclude the magnetic 
field and remain in a superconducting state by gener- 
ating vortices," he says. "There are also superfluids 
that tend to go up the sides of a glass and try to 
escape. They produce something called quantum 
vortices, which are similar to the vortices we're look- 
ing at. Vortices are also precursors to turbulence." 

To study the relationship between vortices and 
phenomena like turbulence and superconductivity, 


Spring 1995 

Good VIBRATIONS (Continued from page I '/ 

scientists need good models. Water waves are a 
common system studied, hut Swartzlander says 
optical vortices may provide a better model. "Light 
waves are the same as any other type of wave," he 
says. "But since optical systems are very easy to con- 
trol and observe, they should serve as ideal plat- 
forms for experiments involving vortices." 

In recent work, Swartzlander and his longtime 
collaborator, Chin Thi Law at the University of 
Wisconsin, have discovered that die classical physics 
of vortices may link two of his most significant dis- 
coveries — dark soliton stripes and optical vortices. 
"We've found in observations of dark soliton stripes 
that there is an instability that can be excited in 
them," he says. "When diat happens, the dark soli- 
tons break up into vortices. So there appears to be a 
profound relationship between these two phenome- 
na. People who work in hydrodynamics would espe- 
cially appreciate this, because it is similar to some- 
thing they call a flow boundary. 

"When you have two layers of moving water 
passing one another, the interface will remain stable 
unless there is a small perturbation. Then the inter- 
face starts to form rolls and breaks up into vortices. 
In hydrodynamics this phenomenon was observed 
as far back as the 19th century. Now in optics, we're 
just beginning to see it. That's very enjoyable." 

With the Young Investigator Award from 
the NSF, Swartzlander, who joined the 
WPI faculty in 1993, says he will be 
able to expand his laboratory and delve further into 
uncharted domains of physics. With NSF funds and 
corporate matching gifts and discounts, he has 
already added a 25-watt argon laser and a new opti- 
cal table to his store of equipment, and a supermini- 
computer for crunching numbers may be added 
soon. (Currently, Swartzlander runs the complex 
computer models he uses to enhance and guide his 
laboratory work on computers at the Lmiversity of 
Wisconsin, working in collaboration with Law.) 

He also hopes to bring more students in as part- 
ners in his research. Currently, two Ph.D. candi- 
dates, a master's candidate and an undergraduate 
smdent work in his lab. Swartzlander has also 
worked with four undergraduates completing Major 
Qualifying Projects; two have been co-authors on 
published papers and one, Dennis Drugan, has pre- 
sented a paper at a major international meeting. 
But most of all, the NSF award will enable 
Swartzlander to spend more time doing what he 
enjoys most — watching the dazzling dances light 
can perform. "Beauty 7 is truly a guide in this work," 
he says. "There are many things in nature that are 
difficult to understand because they are so complex. 
But with optics, the way tilings look provides a clue 
to what is going on. You get a gut feeling about 
whether something is worth looking into. You see 
something with a certain symmetry and you say, 
"Aha! That must be something fundamental. It's 
like nature trying to speak to you." 

diey scan through graphical displays of the wing 
sounds and electronically snip and save the best 
ones. These are then looped into long segments and 
processed until the) exactly match the pattern and 
modulations of a female mosquito ready to mate. 

^^^J lie mosquito project is but the latest 
m episode in the long and rich history of 
Jg acoustics research and education at WPI, 
a history that dates back more than half a centurj . 
Over those five decades, three faculty members 

have directed an educational program that has pre- 
pared hundreds of WPI graduates for careers in the 
fields of audio engineering and acoustics. They've 
also conducted a wide-ranging research program 
that has touched on topics as diverse as hearing pro- 
tection, sound attenuation in spacecraft, and the 
sound quality of major concert halls. Today, under 
the direction of Richard Campbell, the program is 
poised to further expand its scope and capabilities as 
it makes plans for a new undergraduate project lab- 
oratory and a new global project center, both dedi- 
cated to audio and acoustical engineering. 

Campbell traces the origin of the program to 
Hobart Newell '18, who taught electrical engineer- 
ing at WPI from 192 1 to 1965. Before coming to 
WPI he helped set up radio station KDKA in 
Pittsburgh, one of the nation's first commercial 
broadcasters. He also worked with Edwin Howard 
Armstrong, the inventor of frequency modulation, 
and helped Armstrong build the first FM transmit- 
ter in New Jersey. In Worcester, Newell helped set 
up the world's second FM transmitter. 

The clarity of the FM signal demanded the 
development of high-quality loudspeakers, some- 
thing that intrigued Newell. He and a colleague 
formed a company to manufacture a high-fidelity 
speaker. "That was really die beginning of WPI's 
involvement with audio," Campbell says. To further 
his research, Newell set up an audio lab in the base- 
ment of Atwater Kent Laboratories (named for 

In the WPI Acoustics 
Lab, William Michalson, 
left, and entomologist 
Sam Martin record the 
sound of a mosquito as 
it buzzes around a test 

WPI Journal 


GOOD VIBRATIONS (Continued from previous page) 

A subject equipped for 
a test of Wadsworth's 
hearing protectors. 
The head gear kept 
the head properly 
aligned and a "bone 
driver" securely 
pressed against the 
subject's forehead. 

another WPI alumnus and radio pioneer) where he 
built an anechoic chamber, a room where all sounds 
are absorbed by special material on the walls, ceiling 
and floor. 

The program that Newell started flourished 
under its second director, William Wadsworth '40, 
a student of Newell's who earned his bachelor's and 
master's degrees in electrical engineering at WPI. 
Growing up in a wealthy family, "Waddy," as he 
was known to students and colleagues alike, was 
immersed in classical music as a child and developed 
a passion for fine music and music reproduction. 
Like Newell, he was drawn to loudspeakers; he 
developed a unique graphical approach to solving 
electrical problems, largely to tackle the complex 
feedback problems associated with speaker design. 

Throughout his 43 years as an instructor, 
Wadsworth taught students to solve problems 
through the use of his "Waddygrams," even after 
sophisticated electronic calculators made most 
graphical analysis systems historical curiosities. 
"Waddy believed that an engineer should be able to 
solve a problem on a mountaintop with pencil, 
paper and a straightedge," Campbell says. 

Mm^ the early 1950s, Newell moved from his 
M spacious house on West Street and donated 
t^ it to the Institute. It promptly became the 
new Acoustics Laboratory. The lab returned briefly 
to Atwater Kent in 1964, when the Newell House 
was razed to make way for Goddard Hall, and then 
found a new home in the three-story unit opera- 
tions lab in Salisbury 
Laboratories, left vacant 
when the Chemical 
Engineering Department 
moved into Goddard. 

During those years the 
lab acquired a Mauler 
Reverberant Chamber from 
Raytheon Co., which had 
used the steel-walled room 
and its three huge speakers 
to rattle air-to-air missiles 
with simulated jet engine 
noise. The growing space 
demands of the biology and 
biomedical engineering pro- 
grams forced a final move for the Acoustics Lab in 
the mid-1970s, this time to the Higgins House 

In 1952 the Acoustics Lab received a challenge 
that would occupy Wadsworth and a small phalanx 
of undergraduates and graduate students for the 
good part of a decade. The gauntlet was thrown 
down by the David Clark Co. in Worcester, famous 
then for the anti-G suits it was making for military 
jet pilots (the company would go on to make pres- 
sure suits for every manned U.S. space endeavor). 
David Clark had been asked by die U.S. Air Force 
and Navy to find a way to protect the hearing of air- 

men and sailors who work near the ear-shattering 
roar of jet engines. Not knowing where to begin, 
the company came to Wadsworth. 

"It was impossible to work on the flight line or 
on a carrier deck without realizing that you were in 
a very unhealthy place," Campbell says. "Any med- 
ical man or woman of the day, or any commanding 
officer, would have paid anything for a solution." 

Wadsworth developed a basic plan for a muff- 
type hearing protector that consisted of a hard 
fiberglass shell lined with plastic foam, sponge and 
chamois. He also designed and built an equivalent 
electric circuit that substituted resistors, capacitors 
and inductors for these materials. The circuit 
enabled the design to be fine-tuned and tested with- 
out the need to constantly fabricate new earmuffs. 

A number of protocols were devised to test the 
prototype protectors. The experimental work was 
funded by yearly grants of $10,000 to $12,000 from 
David Clark. Campbell, who joined the lab as a 
research assistant in 1957, served as a test subject in 
many of these experiments. 

For one of the tests, the subject sat in a convert- 
ed dentist chair inside the anechoic chamber with 
his head resting in a cradle to keep it pointed in the 
right direction. The hearing protectors covered his 
ears and a "bone driver" (a speaker that delivered 
sound direcdy to the bones in the head) was fas- 
tened to his forehead. Over all this was placed a 
shell resembling an ancient diver's helmet (see 
photo, page 12), which enabled very loud sounds to 
be delivered directly to the subject's head. 

The test, called the pure-tone loudness-balance 
method, enabled Wadsworth to compensate for the 
occluded ear effect, in which covering or partially 
blocking die ears artificiallv reduces a subject's ability 
to detect die direshold level for a sound. It worked 
well, Campbell says, "but what a price we paid! You 
could tell an Acoustics Lab staff member by the red 
impression in the center of his forehead caused by 
wearing the bone driver for hours on end." 

Hundreds of hours of tests and dozens of modi- 
fications of the muff design produced a hearing pro- 
tector that suited the needs of the Navy and Air 
Force. It also earned a patent for David Clark, 
although it would take six years for the application to 
win approval. Says Campbell, "Waddy made the 
mistake of calling die device an ear protector, so the 
Patent Office sent it to the wearing apparel division. 
Those poor patent examiners!" 

On the decks of carriers, the hearing protectors 
worked so well they made it impossible for sailors to 
talk to each other. The Navy came back to 
Wadsworth and asked him to come up with a way 
for carrier deck personnel to communicate — one 
that would not permit any radio signals to travel 
beyond the confines of the ship, where they might 
be intercepted by the enemy. 

"The transistor had been invented just a few 
years earlier, so there was no miniaturization — and 
nothing ran on batteries," Campbell says. "We built 


Spring 1995 

small FM receivers into the hearing protectors, 
using some of the 12 or so transistors then on the 
market. We ran thick cables around the perimeter 
of the deck and sent about 100 amperes of audio 
through them. The signals reached the receivers 
through inductive coupling. We also designed a 
special antenna that provided good reception no 
matter which way the head was oriented." 

^r Campbell earned his undergraduate degree in 
m ~ electrical engineering at WPI in 1958 and 
^^^ stayed on for two years as a graduate stu- 
dent, working all the while as a research assistant in 
the Acoustics Lab. In 1960 he decided the time was 
right to launch his own career as an acoustical con- 
sultant. For more than a decade he did most of his 
consulting for the David Clark Co. and the WPI 
Acoustics Lab. Much of that work was tied to the 
tremendous demand for new technology generated 
by the rapidly evolving U.S. space program. 

Campbell's introduction to aerospace research 
came while he was still a graduate student. In the 
late 1950s NASA began flying the X-15, the sleek, 
black rocketplane built to test the performance of 
aircraft at extremely high speeds and altitudes. 
David Clark built the pressure suits for the X-15 
pilots, including the suit communications systems. 
The company asked Campbell and Wadsworth to 
improve the performance of the pilot's microphone. 

During the project, Wadsworth was offered the 
chance to measure the noise generated by the X- 
15's powerful liquid-fueled engine. "He brought the 
best experimental hearing protectors we had," 
Campbell says, "including a supra-aural model 
made from glass jelly jars (glass is the perfect mater- 
ial for a hearing protector shell)." 

Wadsworth stood about 150 feet from the rock- 
et during a test firing. "He nearly collapsed from 
the enormous sound pressure on his body, his mea- 
suring instruments failed, and he turned and ran 
away from the sound," Campbell says. "Though 
shaken, he was quite pleased with the performance 
of his experimental design." 

Campbell, as a consultant to David Clark, went 
on to design the electronics and communications 
systems tor the Gemini space suit. Because of the 
exceedingly high noise produced by the Titan rock- 
et that would lift the Gemini spacecraft into orbit, 
NASA was concerned that noise inside the capsule 
would prevent the two astronauts from hearing 
voice communications during launch. 

David Clark and the WPI Acoustics Lab agreed 
to measure the ability of the Gemini suit to attenu- 
ate sound. The measurements would enable the 
researchers to predict the ability of the astronauts to 
hear and be heard. "I worked 16-hour days for a 
week to rebuild the anechoic chamber in Atwater 
Kent, replacing the sound-absorbing material, 
which was falling apart, upgrading the lighting, and 
preparing the room for all of the wires and tubes we 
would have to run in to support the suit. 

"It looked like Launch Control just outside the 
sound room door, as we juggled gas valves, signal 
settings, ventilation pipes and what all. Waddy him- 
self insisted on being one of the subjects. In the end 
we got really good data and showed the gang in 
Houston that if their predictions about sound pres- 
sure in the cabin were correct, there would be 
acceptable communication — and there was." 

By 1963, when early design work for the Apollo 
spacecraft began, Campbell was spending most of 
his time working for David Clark. He did much of 
the design work for the electrical systems in the 
sophisticated new flight suit Clark designed for the 
Apollo astronauts. Another firm was designing die 
communications gear for the "Snoopy hat" the 
astronauts would wear in the capsule, and North 
American Aviation was doing the communications 
system for the command module, itself. 

"There were some problems with this equip- 
ment," Campbell says. "After I made a few visits 
to North American's Downey, Calif., plant, where 
the command module was being assembled, I 
approached NASA and told them the equipment 
being put into the spacecraft wasn't going to work. 
They were in for some nasty surprises." 

David Clark had already developed a successful 
communications system for pressure suits used in 
the huge chambers where the Apollo spacecraft was 
tested in a simulated space environment. "As a 
result of that success, we got the contract to do the 
communications for the Block 1 spacecraft, which 
was intended solely for Earth orbital test flights," 
Campbell says. 

"There were a lot of things in that capsule that 
made my job difficult, including a new computer that 
produced a lot of electrical noise, and it took a great 
deal of work to get everything to work right. I 
remember delivering some newly potted headsets to 
Downey one weekend and then spending half a day 
in the spacecraft hooking up wires and trying to trace 
down a noise. That was AS 204, the one that burned 
three months later." 

The fire in Apollo 1 , during a launch rehearsal 
in 1967, an accident that killed astronauts Virgil 
"Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, 
was devastating to everyone who had worked on 
Apollo, Campbell says. Later, as work on the design 
of the Apollo hardware came to a close and the pro- 
gram moved forward to send 27 men to the moon 
and back, Campbell says "a period of postpartum 
depression" set in for those who had been heavily 
involved with the design work. "There's only one 
project like that in a lifetime," he says. 

Campbell, sometimes in collaboration with the 
WPI Acoustics Lab, continued to design electronics 
for space projects. He also designed large and com- 
plicated intercom systems for manufacturing plants 
where huge airplanes like the C5 and the Bl 
Bomber were built, as well as communications sys- 
tems for the National Football League. For the 
Navy's Sealab project, he designed the first carbon 

A Titan rocket lifts a 
Gemini spacecraft off the 
launch pad. Tests by the 
Acoustics Lab proved that 
the noise from the rocket 
would not prevent astro- 
nauts from hearing voice 

WPI Journal 


GOOD VIBRATIONS (Continued from previous page) 

"The best acoustical 
instruments in 
existence are the 
human ears and the 
human brain. Ym 
certain that 100 years 
from now, people will 
be saying exactly the 
same thing. " 

dioxide scrubber capable of diving to 1,200 feet. 
And he had time to design "the world's most popu- 
lar aviation noise-attenuating headset, still manufac- 
tured by David Clark," he says. 

"The headset is the most instantly recognizable 
piece of audio equipment in history," Campbell 
says, "as it appears in nearly every motion picture 
and television show where a helicopter is involved. 
Occasionally I will hear the clean output of my old 
noise-cancelling boom microphone over the broad- 
cast channel with great satisfaction." 

m mn 1972 Campbell bought some property in 

m Woods Hole, Mass., and began a second 
i^ career as a boat yard owner. He continued 
his interest in audio electronics and acoustics, 
though, designing intercom systems for television 
studios and power plants (he also designed the com- 
munications system that CBS Television News used 
in its broadcasts from the floor of die 1976 presi- 
dential conventions). 

A few years later he wrote a white paper for the 
Audio Engineering Society of America on the need 
for international standardization in audio equip- 
ment and testing procedures. As a result, the AES 
formed a standards committee, on which Campbell 
served. "The AES Standards Committee now cov- 
ers virtually everything in audio engineering," he 
says. Campbell's white paper earned him a fellow- 
ship in die AES. He is also a fellow of the Found- 
ation Les Treilles in France and has twice received 
the Citation of Outstanding Service from the Radio 
Technical Commission. 

Throughout this period, he remained in close 
touch with the WPI Acoustics Lab, and from 1 964 
to 1974 he was an invited lecturer in acoustics and 
audio engineering at WPI. By 1981, Waddy 
Wadsworth was ready to retire. "He said to me, 
'There's nobody to teach acoustics. Why don't you 
do it," Campbell says. "I thought it was a neat idea. 
Waddy and I taught the course together in 1981, 
and I've been teaching it ever since." 

Wadsworth was still teaching students his 
"Waddygrams" and he hadn't changed the content 
of the course much over the vears, even as the 
switch to seven-week terms in the early 1970s 
changed the demands on classroom instructors at 
WPI, Campbell recalls. "The students were coming 
out of class with their eyes glazed over," he says. 

Campbell set to work to revamp the course, 
building a detailed study of acoustical principals and 
audio electronics around the premise of creating a 
public address system for a specific hall. "We have a 
few components — a human, a microphone, a loud- 
speaker, an audience and an auditorium — and we 
analyze every bit of that to widiin a gnat's eye- 
brow," he says. "In the process, the students come 
to learn a lot about engineering." 

Students delve into a broad range of topics, from 
how speech works, to employing band-pass filters, to 
die principles of digital signal processing, to architec- 

tural acoustics, to transducers and loudspeakers. 
Along the way they measure the acoustics of a large 
church, learn about sound from the point of view of 
a musical performer, and visit Worcester's Mech- 
anics Hall, including its state-of-the-art digital 
recording studio. 

"Students take this course because they have an 
abiding interest in audio," Campbell says. "Most of 
them play music. They all have hi-fi equipment. 
Many have an interest in pursuing this kind of work 
as a career." Serious-minded juniors and seniors 
may also take an extensive, two-term course in elec- 
troacoustics offered by the Bose Institute, an educa- 
tional effort of Bose Corp., a manufacturer of loud- 
speakers and other audio equipment. For the past 
three years, Bose has opened its course to WPI stu- 
dents at no charge and has even provided vans to 
transport the students to the company's Framing- 
ham, Mass., headquarters. 

Undergraduates with an interest in audio also 
frequently choose Major Qualifying Projects in 
acoustics. Campbell and other professors in the 
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department 
serve as advisors to these projects, which in recent 
years have included the design of lightweight loud- 
speakers for outdoor concerts, an acoustical model 
of WPI's Alden Memorial, and a portable 16-bit 
audio sampler for musicians. The advisor for the 
audio sampler group was William Michalson, whose 
research interests include satellite navigation using 
the Global Positioning System, real-time embedded 
computer architecture, and system simulation and 
modeling. In recent years Michalson has also 
become active in the work of the acoustics program. 

Students completing such projects have access 
to the facilities of the Acoustics Lab, as well as to a 
high-end PC in Atwater Kent equipped with digital 
sound editing and acoustical engineering software. 
But this equipment is not sufficient to meet the 
needs of interested students, Campbell says. With 
Michalson and Frederick W. Bianchi, associate pro- 
fessor of music and director of WPI's computer 
music program, he would like to create a laboratory 
dedicated to acoustics and audio projects. To that 
end they have laid the groundwork for LAM ! , the 
Laboratory for Acoustics, Music and Multimedia. 

The new lab will have at least six IBM-compati- 
ble PCs and at least one high-end Macintosh com- 
puter. There will also be keyboards, equipment to 
hook electronic musical instruments to computers, 
loudspeakers, amplifiers, portable digital tape 
recorders, and networking hardware. A $25,000 
bequest from Professor Wadsworth, who died in 
1993, was the first of several major gifts needed to 
make the lab a reality. 

Developing in parallel with the new laboratory 
is an international project center dedicated primari- 
ly to student projects in musical acoustics. Campbell 
says he and others at WPI are currently working 
with officials at the Institut de Recherche et 
Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), part 


Spring 1995 

of the Pompidou Center in Paris, which Campbell 
calls the "center of gravity of research in music and 
acoustics," to establish a program that will enable 
students to spend seven weeks at a stretch conduct- 
ing MQPs and Interactive Qualifying Projects with 
IRCAM faculty members. 

One of the primary areas of research at IRCAM 
is concert hall acoustics — in particular, how the 
acoustics of concert halls affects die ability of musi- 
cians to perform, a subject Campbell says has long 
been neglected by acousticians and architects alike. 
"You can't make good music in a bad space — it's 
just not possible," he says. To understand what 
audiences and performers hear during a concert it is 
necessary to make detailed acoustical studies of per- 
forming spaces. 

Using binaural microphones that simulate the 
human ears and specially designed speaker arrays, 
acousticians send bursts of sound into a hall and 
then record the reverberating sound at several 
points around the auditorium. In a well-designed 
hall, the reverberations die out smoothly in about 
two seconds. In addition, there are no architectural 
features that cause sound to reflect unpredictably or 
to get lost. 

To accurately chart the acoustics of a hall, one 
must do measurements while it is empty and while it 
is full of people, for the presence of an audience 
gready affects die reverberation decay rate — general- 
ly for the better. Over the years such measurements 
have been made in a number ot major concert halls, 
but Campbell says a lack ot uniformity in the mea- 
surement techniques and equipment used has made 
analyzing the data and comparing halls difficult. 

That lack of uniformity was the motivation for 
the creation in 1990 of the Concert Hall Research 
Group, founded by Leo Beranek of the renowned 
acoustical consulting firm Bolt Beranek & 
Newman. With funding from the Acoustical 
Society of America and several private organizations 
and corporations, the group has begun to compile a 
database of concert hall measurements. So tar, sev- 
eral halls in Europe and 1 1 auditoriums in the U.S. 
and Canada have been recorded. 

Campbell, a contributor to the group, maintains 
a public collection of acoustical data gathered by the 
Concert Hall Research Group on the Internet 
( and plans to make the 
huge store of data available on a CD ROAI disk in 
the future. He also supervised the sampling done in 
Worcester's Mechanics Hall in 1993 and the 
Portland (Maine) City Hall Auditorium in 1994. 
This and other data is already playing an important 
role in one of the most active and critically impor- 
tant areas of modern acoustics, the computer mod- 
eling ot auditorium acoustics. 

Good computer models should enable acousti- 
cians to predict the acoustical quality of a hall 
before it is constructed, preventing costly mistakes, 
such as the much publicized first version of 
Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher 

Hall) in New York City. The original hall's acousti- 
cal deadness was lambasted b\ critics, audiences and 
musicians when it opened in 1%2. Ultimately, the 
hall was completely rebuilt. 

The best existing computer models are still no 
match for the experience and judgement of the best 
acoustical engineers, Campbell says, but they are 
getting better all the time. I laving complete and 
consistent data from major concert halls will enable 
the models to be validated and improved. 
Currently, Campbell is testing a model of the 

Portland auditorium devel- 
oped by an acoustical consul- 
tant to see if it can help 
explain an unusual feature of 
the hall. 

"In our measurements 
we found a seat in the diird 
row of the second balcony 
that has a big anomaly," he- 
says. "You would think a seat 
is a seat is a seat, but this seat 
is different. It has a funnv 

reflection coming from the stage, and another one 
coming from a wall on the right-hand side. We can 
see this as clear as a bell in the data, but does the 
model see it? So far, it looks pretty good." 

What is interesting, Campbell says, is that the 
area around the anomalous seat is where everyone 
wants to sit. "Whatever the anomaly is, people like 
it," he says. "That just goes to show you that the 
best acoustical instruments in existence are the 
human ears and the human brain. I'm certain that 
100 vears from now, people will be saying exactlv 
the same thing. 

"There is so much to human perception, and 
so much we simply don't understand. It's not just 
the nuts and bolts of frequencies and reverberation 
times. There are also things like emotion and cre- 
ativity. That's what makes this field so much fun." 

Top, Campbell explains 
the acoustics of Trinity 
Lutheran Church in 
Worcester to students 
in his acoustics course. 
Bottom, Campbell and 
Theodore Woehnker '95, 
in the balcony of the 
church, examine the 
speaker array used to 
test the acoustics of 
indoor spaces. 

WPI Journal 


Editor's note: This story first appeared in the Jan. 22, 1995, edition of 
the Worcester Sunday Telegram. It is reprinted here by permission of 
the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the author. 



Congen/to/ abnorma/it/es left 

jason Wening '97 with legs amputated 

below the knee. But with raw talent 

and equal measures of courage and 

determination, he has become 

a world-renowned swimmer. 

By John Gearan 


He slips out of his artificial legs as if they were a comfort- 
able pair of old slippers, resting them against a bench. He 
slides across the tile floor of the pool's apron, handpress- 
es himself onto the elevated starting blocks, and sets 
himself square on his knees. The race has not yet begun, 
but Jason Wening '97 knows he is already well behind. 

In a sport measured in fractions of seconds, Wening will hit the 
water at the feet of fellow competitors in adjacent lanes, behind 
from the start by at least a full body length. On his knees he is decid- 
edly shorter than his competitors and unable to propel himself from 
the blocks. When he surfaces he will be trailing them by about 10 
feet. He knows that at every turn he will lose another half a body 
length because he has no lower legs to push off the pool wall as 
other swimmers flip and explode in the opposite direction. 

He knows there are 39 turns in his specialty, the 1,000-yard 
freestyle. You do not need to be an applied mathematics major — 
which Wening happens to be — to figure out that he is losing 1.5 
lengths at the start and a half-length at each of the 39 turns. That 
means Wening must make up 21 body lengths (or 126 feet for a six- 
footer) just to get even. That equals 42 yards, almost two lengths of 
a regulation 25-yard pool. 

Spring 1995 

What is far easier to calculate is that Wening — 4-foot-6 without 
his artificial legs — competes against his peers at a distinct disadvan- 
tage. Nonetheless, Wening does not whine about uneven playing 
fields or anything else. Instead he swims hard and sometimes wins. 
Without lower legs with which to make a final kick to victory, with a 
deformed left hand, structural problems in his hips and thighs, and 
no feet, Wening goes all out against all odds. 

Among other handicapped athletes, Wening is a world record 
holder and gold medal winner. In the fall of 1994, while captain of 
the U.S. Swim Team, he brought home one gold and two bronze 
medals from the World Championships for Disabled Swimmers in 
Malta. During the 1992 World Disabled 
Games in Barcelona, Wening set three world 
records while capturing gold medals in the 
400-meter and 200-meter individual medley 
(breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and 

Against collegiate competition, Wening is 
flat-out good. "Currently, Jason is the second 
best on the team," says WP1 swimming 
coach Whit Griffith. "We make no exceptions 
for him. He received a varsity letter as a 
freshman and earned all his points. He's an 
outstanding person and an outstanding 

Indeed, Wening is WPl's top swimmer in 
his two best events: the 500-yard and 1, 000- 
yard freestyles. Everywhere he races he 
draws cheers from appreciative crowds, 
whether he's winning the 1,000 freestyle in a 
time of 1 1:49.88 against Wheaton or finishing 
second against Connecticut College in a time 
of 11:49.91. Think back to that 21-length 
handicap, and then contemplate the three- 
hundredths of a second difference between 
his first- and second-place finishes. 

What would Wening's time be without 
the birth defects that have left him "a bilat- 
eral, below-knee amputee," as he casually 
describes himself? Wening doesn't approach 
swimming or life from that point of view. He 
says he accepts what is. 

"Long ago I made that mental leap on my 
own," he says. "I asked myself all the ques- 
tions: 'What's going on here? Why am I dif- 
ferent? What freak of nature caused me not 
to have legs?' 1 really did fight that one for a 
long time. You never really get over it 
because it's a constant learning experience." 

Matter-of-factly he discloses how he was 
born deformed for no known medical rea- 
son. "My mother wasn't taking any drugs, 
prescription or otherwise, during her preg- 
nancy. Doctors have no explanation. My par- 
ents consulted genetic specialists and 
nobody has any idea where I came from," he 
explains with a disarming smile. 

In 1974 Wening was born with abnormal or missing parts. Lower 
leg bones were not there. "On my legs I had sort of two toes pointed 
down and no ankle. Since I couldn't walk on them, they had to 
amputate (the toes) to make my legs accessible to prostheses." 

When he was 3 years old, surgeons trimmed his legs below his 
knees. What Wening remembers about the operation and his hospi- 

tal stay is indicative of his positive outlook and upbeat attitude. "I 
recall my grandmother painting Winnie the Pooh on one of my leg 
casts," he says. 

Physical adjustments soon became secondary to psychological 
challenges. He had to overcome the stares of other youngsters and 
that nagging inner question of why. His parents, retired Lt. Col. John 
Wening and Charlotte Wening of Jefferson City, Mo., were support- 
ive, as was the military enclave that surrounded him much of the 
time. His parents brought him for swimming lessons in the third 
grade. "But they couldn't force-feed me the answers. I had to draw 
my own conclusions," he says. 

Wening, seen at poolside and in the locker room, leaves behind his pros- 
thetic legs when he enters the water. Despite his physical disadvantage, 
he is WPl's second best swimmer, a tribute to his fierce competitiveness. 

Entering the ninth grade in O'Fallon, 111., Wening had come to 
terms with his disabilities. "But in a sense you really never do, 
because something can always pop up." In a military family, there 
would be relocations, new friends to make, new cliques to encoun- 
ter, more explanations to give. And he had to keep pace with his 
younger brothers, Brian and Gregory. 

WPI Journal 


Between the ninth and 10th grades, 
swimming became a passion and provided 
him with personal goals. He had competed 
against his friends on the Seahawks Swim 
Team and done OK. When he discovered 
competition for the disabled, Wening real- 
ized that he was not so slow and had more 
talent than he had thought. His self-esteem 
and confidence blossomed. 

During his junior and senior years, he 
attended Patch American High, a Department 
of Defense system school in Stuttgart, 
Germany. He became a prize student-athlete, 
winning All-Europe honors for his swimming 
achievements. He chose WPI for its academic 
reputation and because he thought he could 
compete at the Division III level. 

Though he starts from his knees, thus far he has finished with 
his head high. Though he knows he will often be second best or 
lower, he has not become discouraged — even in an arduous and 
demanding sport like swimming. "It's not demoralizing to lose, 
because 1 learned a long time ago there were some swimmers I 
would never catch," he says. "I learned to swim my own race. As 
long as I'm beating my own time, I'm happy." 

This is the philosophy he spreads as the captain of the U.S. 
Disabled Swim Team and when he hollers encouragement as 
coxswain of WPI's women's crew team. "I tell them as long as you do 
your best and lose, you can't be disappointed with yourself." 

He is remarkably consistent and has unusual endurance. "My dis- 
abled team coach once said he loves to watch me 'go fishing.' He 
calls it fishing because when I leave the blocks, I'm behind everyone 
and oftentimes I just reel them back in. I really can't swim 50-yard 
races because I don't have the time to make it up. But in the 1,000, 
I have enough time." 

"When I leave the 
blocks, Vm behind 
everyone and often- 
times I just reel 
them back 
the l 9 000 I have 
enough time." 

When Wening talks about swimming, the 
little devil dances in his eyes. Clearly he wel- 
comes the challenge he faces in the pool. He 
also has a marvelous sense of humor. 
"Swimming is my drug of choice," he quips, 
only half-kidding. Recently, when Griffith 
had the team play "follow-the-leader," he 
ordered Wening's teammates to start off the 
diving blocks from a kneeling position, as 
Jason just had done. Down at the other end 
of the pool, Wening looked back and yelled, 
"You've got to be kidding, Coach. What is 
this, Disabled Awareness Day?" When asked 
for his height on information forms, Wening 
will sometimes write, "4 feet 6 inches and 5 
feet 8 inches with legs." 
But mostly he is serious about swimming. Nobody outworks him, 
Griffith says, and nobody stays in better shape. He has tremendous 
stamina and discipline, even designing his own more demanding 
workout schedules. He has simple needs and reachable goals. He 
wants to make a good enough time to qualify him for the New 
England regional meet. He wants to lower his world records for dis- 
abled athletes. And now that he's stopped growing, he'd like to buy 
better high-tech legs to replace the relatively cheap pair he's worn 
daily for almost three years. 

Wening knows there will always be curious stares and that some 
questions will never be answered. "But I've matured enough now that 
I can look ahead and see a time when I'm married and have kids and 
have to explain to my kids why their father doesn't have legs," he says. 
"And what will you tell your kids?" Wening is asked solemnly. 
Without hesitation, he quips, "I figure I'll wing that one when the 
time comes." As we've said, it's hard to stay ahead of Jason Wening. 

— Gearan is a columnist for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. 


Spring 1995 

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Fifteenth in a series 

Brewing ^ 

The Story of 
Wachusett Brewing Co. 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

Peter Quinn inspects the mash wort for a new batch of ale. 

"Our goal is to be 
the predominant 

brewery of 
Worcester County. " 

t 26, Edward "Ned" LaFortune III is a happy man. Even after 
the first blizzard of the new year, with a forklift stranded on 
the ice outside his brewery, with the temperature inside 
almost below freezing ("We can step into the cooler to 
warm up," he jokes), and with nary a drop of bottled beer to 
offer a visitor, the president of Wachusett Brewing Co. seems 
relaxed, even pleased, with how things are going. As his two part- 
ners struggle to tow the forklift back into the converted garage at 
Westminster Place, his father drops by with the mail. "My father 
went into shock when I first told him I was going to open a brewery. 
Now he works for me," says the younger LaFortune. 

Only six years ago, all three WBC owners were sitting behind stu- 
dent desks at WP1, wondering what they would do with their lives. "I 
figured 1 would start my own business someday," says LaFortune, 
"but I thought I would be doing something more along the lines of 
what we were doing down in Kaven Hall." When he graduated in 
1990 with a degree in civil engineering, LaFortune found a job as a 
project engineer with Camp Dresser & McKee. His friends Kevin 

Buckler and Peter Quinn had graduated the 
year before and were already working at 
General Dynamics and Advanced Environ- 
mental Technology Corp., respectively. 
LaFortune and Buckler both started making 
beer at home as a hobby, and soon found 
themselves engaged in a friendly competi- 
tion for the ultimate brew. They experiment- 
ed with different hops and yeasts, honing 
their skills on store-bought malt extracts, 
then advancing to more elaborate concoc- 
tions based on hand-ground grains. 

As they visited with microbrewers 
around New England and their chats became 
more and more technical, it dawned on 
them that with their engineering back- 
ground, they could build their own brewery. 
The two friends knew they would need some- 
one with biology and chemistry expertise, 
and they turned to Pete Quinn. Quinn had 
resisted the home brewing bug all along, 
arguing that if he started, he would get too 
involved. It took six months to convince him 
that their dream could be a viable business. 
Next came an apprenticeship at Ipswich Brewing Co., where 
they spent weekends learning the trade firsthand while continuing 
in their engineering jobs. "We did everything, from brewing and 
mashing in, to cleaning floors and filling bottles," LaFortune says. By 
the end of 1992, they were ready to begin building their brewing 
apparatus from salvaged equipment: a thousand-gallon stainless 
steel dairy vat became a fermenter; two tanks from a pharmaceuti- 
cal manufacturer were converted to a hot water heater and a brew 
kettle; and an industrial-size pressure cooker is used to mix grain 
with hot water to make the mash. 

Business plan in hand, the three brewmeisters incorporated in 
August 1993 and sought financing from family, friends and fans of 
their home brew. LaFortune says outside financing might have been 
an option, because venture capitalists are intrigued by the brewing 
industry and New England microbreweries have a success rate of 90 
percent or better. But the trio was committed to designing and 

WPI Journal 


building their own brewery, no matter how unconventional. They 
wanted to be independent of the terms and repayment costs of out- 
side financiers. In December 1994 they did borrow some capital 
from a commercial bank to begin operations and finance a Phase II 

Part of their financial strategy was to keep risk at a minimum by 
paying off their personal debts and keeping their lifestyles simple. All 
three are single, and their standard of living hasn't changed much 
since they were students. "I own a pick-up truck, a mountain bike and 
a snow board," says LaFortune. "That's all they can come get from 
me." WBC's market research was simple and direct. An intern from 
Fitchburg State College compiled a database of all establishments 
with liquor licenses, both container sales and pouring. The partners 
then called each one to ask what microbrews were being sold, and 
were able to narrow down the database to a 
list of likely prospects. LaFortune visited with 
samples, simply asking the owner to take 
home a bottle and try the ale. 

In September 1994 he dropped a bomb- 
shell at CDM, where he was still a full-time 
employee, by resigning and revealing that he 
had been president of his own company for 
more than a year, albeit without drawing 
salary. Buckler and Quinn followed suit. 
Although their original plan was to keep 
their engineering jobs and brew after hours 
in 10-barrel runs, they made a last-minute 
decision to go for broke. Buckler found a 
way to reconfigure the brewing apparatus to 
double its capacity. This allowed them to 
market the ale to liquor stores in half-gallon 
glass jugs called "growlers," as well as to 
bars by the half-keg. Suddenly, they were all 

Chemical engineering Professor Robert 
Thompson, a dedicated home brewer, visit- 
ed WBC in October 1994, during the final 
days before start-up. "There were pipes all 
over the floor, and lumber being cut. No 
tank was connected to any other tank. But 
they swore they were going to start brewing 
in a week — and they did!" 

"It was a living MQP," says LaFortune of 
the 18-hour days that preceded the start of 
production. "We worked around the clock for a month and even ate 
off a Coleman stove at the brewery. It was the wisest thing we ever 
did." The trio got out the first batch of Wachusett Country Ale just a 
week before Christmas, and it has been a sell-out ever since. 

Wachusett Country Ale is best described as a "blonde" ale, says 
LaFortune — pale in color, with medium body and a creamy texture. 
The flavor is well-balanced, with its bitterness offset by sweetness. 
The intent was to create a brew that would appeal to anyone who 
likes beer. "It's not bitter, not overly hoppy, and it pleases a wide 
variety of palates — including ours! 

"Dark color sets people off," he continues, observing that a lot of 
beer drinkers are convinced that they don't like dark beers. "They 
say they want beer that is pale, very carbonated — what the industry 
makes you think beer is." Unlike mass-produced beers, WBC's ales 
are unfiltered, giving them a fresh, distinct flavor. 

The second product off the line is Wachusett IPA, an India pale 
ale (a bitter, aromatic style of beer that LaFortune describes as 
"highly hopped"). "This beer is designed for drinkers looking for 
something a little more aggressive," he says. The name for the new 

Top, Wachusett Brewing Co. employ- 
ee James Krauss prepares the fer- 
menter to receive the wort. Bottom, 
head brewer Quinn checks the pH of 
the mash in the mash "tun" (see 
"Brewing by the Numbers," opposite) 

brew, which recently went on sale, reflects the growing name recog- 
nition WBC's products are earning. The WBC team plans to stick 
with ales (their personal favorites) for the next few years. The ale 
family has many varieties, from porter and stout to wheat blends. 
They hope to offer specialty seasonal brews as well, and might 
branch out to lagers, if they can acquire the appropriate tanks. 

As small business owners, the three partners have naturally 
assumed the roles best suited to their undergraduate backgrounds, 
although there is considerable crossover. LaFortune, the civil engi- 
neer, manages the business, but also sells, promotes and delivers 
the ale. He makes a point of being on hand when bar owners tap 
their kegs and draw the first draft. 

Buckler, a mechanical engineer, purchases and designs the brew- 
ing apparatus. His resourceful innovations have saved the company 

tens of thousands of dollars over the cost of 
new equipment. Buckler works closely with 
several contractors who handle technical 
operations such as welding and electrical, 
plumbing and refrigeration work. 

Quinn, the biologist, serves as head 
brewer, designing all WBC products and 
ordering the raw materials. He is the only 
one allowed in the sanitary fermentation 
room, and he operates an on-site laboratory 
with extensive quality-control procedures. 
WBC's brewing process is time-consuming 
and labor intensive (see table, next page), 
involving many transfers from tank to tank, 
with the tanks being sanitized at each step. 
LaFortune says it's worth the effort to create 
a beer with a good, clear flavor. "As long as 
Pete's mind is involved with yeast, he's all 
fired up," he remarks. Quinn is also respon- 
sible for the biweekly federal and state 
reports and tax payments. 

To keep up with customer demand, WBC 
purchased the contents of a defunct New 
Hampshire winery and used the equipment 
to boost their original 20-barrel-a-week 
capacity to 75 barrels — almost quadrupling 
their output less than four months after the 
brewery opened. Wachusett Country Ale is 
the second best selling beer at Wachusett 
Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Mass. 
(WBC's largest customer), and it has been popular at O'Connors 
Restaurant & Bar in Worcester and at the Boynton near the WPI 
campus. The resealable growlers, despite their unconventional 
appearance, disappear quickly from store shelves. 

Neil Coleman, assistant manager of Austin Liquor Co. in 
Worcester, says the ale is popular with home brewers and beer 
drinkers who might not have initially considered a microbrew. 
"Because it's local, people try it on a whim. The package itself is 
attractive enough for people to at least buy one and try it." He says 
repeat sales have been tremendous, and he hasn't had a single cus- 
tomer come back disappointed. The growlers are also available at 
many other area stores. WBC plans to proffer its ales in 12-ounce 
bottles at some point in the future, but the automated bottling 
equipment is costly. 

LaFortune speaks of a "microbrew revolution" sweeping the coun- 
try, though he shrugs off the word "trend." "People's tastes are chang- 
ing and they are starting to demand quality and flavor." The taste for 
premium beer brewed locally in small amounts (by definition, a 
microbrewery produces less than 15,000 barrels a year) will not 


Spring 1995 

— ™* 

The Single-Infusion Mash Brewing Befho^Msed for Wachusett Country Ale 

Ingredient 1 — Water 

Water from a groundwater well is heated 

overnight to the proper temperature 

in the brew kettle. 

Ingredient 2 — Malted Barley 

Cracked malted barley (four types of malts are 
used) is mixed with the hot water in the mash "tun." 
creating the mash. The mash is held at a constant tem- 
perature for 90 minutes. Hotter water is then sparged, 
or forced, through the mash bed. The resulting liquid 
"wort" is collected in the brew kettle. 

Ingredient 3 — Hops 

The wort is brought to a boil and two types of hops are added 

at different intervals during the 90-minute boil (early hop 
adding for bitterness, late for aroma). After the boil, the wort is 

whirlpooled in the kettle, which brings the 

proteins and solids to the center of tank. The 
wort is chilled with a plate-frame heat exchanger, 
lowering its temperature from 200° to 63° F. It is then 
transferred to the fermenter. 

Ingredient 4 — Yeast 

Yeast is pitched into the fermenter and fermentation begins. 
The ale remains in the fermenter for one week and then is 
transferred to a conditioning tank for another week. The yeast 
is collected from the fermenter for use with the next batch. The 
ale is transferred to a second tank for an additional week of con- 
ditioning. The last transfer is to a bright tank for a week of mat- 
uration. It is here that carbon dioxide levels are adjusted to the 
proper level. Kegs and growlers are packed from the bright 
tank; the ale is delivered fresh within hours of packing to 
accounts in Central Massachusetts. 

Above, Kevin Buckler, center, and 
Ned LaFortune III, right, prepare a 
conditioning tank, while James 
Krauss looks on. Right, Ned's father, 
Edward LaFortune Jr., fills half-gallon 
"growlers" from the bright tank, the 
final step in the brewing process. 

decline, despite the higher price, LaFortune 
insists. "Once you've become accustomed to 
tasting beer for quality and flavor, you cannot 
go back to something that does not have fla- 
vor, texture, color," he says. 

"At $1 more per six-pack over mass-pro- 
duced premiums," he continues, "you're get- 
ting more alcohol, more flavor, more enjoy- 
ment." LaFortune refuses to stereotype con- 
sumers of small-label beers, since he sees 
devotees from different income brackets and 
all walks of life. He adds that microbrews are 
designed to be enjoyed and are actually in tune with the current mes- 
sage of alcohol awareness, because quality beer encourages people 
to "drink less, drink better." 

The Northwest is a boiling pot of microbrewing, says LaFortune, 
and New England is just beginning to see some action. He predicts 
that in five years the region will be inundated with microbreweries. 
In the Worcester area, another microbrewery is in the planning 
stages, along with several "brew pubs"— establishments (often with 
restaurants) that make small quantities of beer to be served on the 
premises. WBC welcomes the competition. "It just fuels us," says 
LaFortune, predicting that brew pub patrons will go to the liquor 
stores looking for equally high-quality products. "We look forward 
to having the brew pubs come to Worcester, because it creates a 
taste for handcrafting and an awareness of the microbrew revolu- 
tion. That's what Worcester County needs." 

LaFortune returned to the classroom last 
January, at the invitation of WPI's 
Entrepreneurs Collaborative, to address stu- 
dents in a course titled Introduction to 
Entrepreneurship. He was billed as the 
youngest speaker in the series, and his com- 
pany was undoubtedly the newest venture, 
the first kegs and bottles having rolled out 
barely a month before. 

Standing behind the lecturer's desk, 
which was decorated with green cardboard 
"table tents" and gleaming growlers full of 
Wachusett Country Ale, LaFortune literally 
donned each of the three hats he wears as a 
company president— sales rep, distributor 
and assistant brewer. He earnestly shared 
the trials and tribulations of launching a 
business, from dealing with regulatory agen- 
cies and the high cost of insurance, to 
watching the print on the first batch of growlers rub off in his hands. 
LaFortune's advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps: 
"Pick your area, define it, and be the brewery of that area." Although 
they would consider expanding into the Boston area (and have 
already been approached by establishments that want to carry their 
products), WBC's owners have no immediate intention of leaving 
Worcester or expanding beyond Massachusetts. "Our goal is to be 
the predominant brewery of Worcester County," says LaFortune. 
"We want to have our ales in every establishment that wants to 
carry them— whatever size that takes us to." 

Ned, Kevin and Pete say students and alumni are welcome to visit the 
brewery and sample their ales. Tours are run at 175 State Road East 
(Route 2A), Westminster, Mass., on Saturdays at 1 and 3 p.m. Call 508- 
874-9965 for information. 

WPI Journal 



Did Indiana Jones Go to WPI? 

When filmmaker George Lucas first 
dangled the idea of an adventure 
film with a swashbuckling archae- 
ologist hero before director 
Steven Spielberg, it's not likely 
that either one spoke of Edward Thompson. 
Yet the notion that Thompson, who first 
made waves in archaeological circles back 
in 1879 while still a WPI student, is part of 
the fictional character of Indiana Jones is as 
tantalizing and elusive as. ..well, as the Lost 
Ark of the Covenant that Indy risks his life to 
uncover in Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

The Discovery Channel has no trouble 
seeing Thompson as Indiana Jones — or at 
least as one of several "real life Indiana 
Joneses" who will be portrayed in a four- 
part documentary scheduled to air this sum- 
mer. Seekers of the Lost Treasure, filmed by 
Atlantic Productions of London, tells the sto- 
ries of "four daring adventurers who braved 
the challenges of the unknown to bring 
home priceless artifacts from far off lands" 
(see box for broadcast details). Episode 2, 
"Thompson and the Well of Sacrifice," is 
bound to have its share of venomous 
snakes, superstitious natives, poisoned 
arrows, and other occupational hazards of 
working in remote jungles. 

Had Lucas or Spielberg heard of 
Thompson? Lucas biographers trace the ori- 
gins of the archaeologist-adventurer charac- 
ter to anthropology courses the filmmaker 
took at Modesto Junior College, but no spe- 
cific individuals are named. Deborah Fine, 
director of research at Skywalker Ranch, 
insists that there is no "real" Indiana Jones 
and denies that any anthropologist or other 
scientist was the model for the character. 
She says she has heard from many, many 
people who believe they knew who the inspi- 
ration was, or who have claimed the honor 
for themselves. 

Edward H. Thompson of Falmouth, 
Mass., and his sister, Virginia Kirkendall of 
Upton, Mass., are the last survivors of the 
archeologist's 17 grandchildren. Their aunt 
Alice traveled to Mexico in 1885 as a 2- 
month-old infant; their father, Edward, was 
born there, followed by two more sons and 
another daughter, all raised by Henrietta 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

Edward Thompson 

Thompson in the remote Yucatan jungle. 
Mexico was the family's home for 40 years, 
although Kirkendall says her father was sent 
back to Cambridge at age 16, speaking only 
Spanish, to get a proper education. The 
senior Edward Thompson, sometimes called 
"Don Eduardo," returned to New England at 
age 65, a leading authority on Mayan relics 
and civilization. 

Edward Herbert Thompson was born in 
Worcester in 1860 or 1857, depending on 
whether one believes him or the family 

Seekers off the 
Lost Treasure 

At press time, the four-part documen- 
tary, narrated by Jeremy Irons, was 
scheduled to air on the Discovery 
Channel in late July. Episode 2, 
"Thompson and the Well of Sacrifice," 
was set to premiere on Sunday, 
July 30, between 10 and 11 p.m., and 
to be rebroadcast Aug. 6 between 1 and 
2 a.m. Readers are encouraged to check 
their local listings, as last-minute 
changes are possible. 

Bible. His earliest memories were of search- 
ing for arrowheads in the brooks of Athol, 
Mass., where he spent summers, and by the 
banks of Lake Quinsigamond. Thompson 
entered WPI in 1875, failed at the end of his 
first year, and returned in 1876 with little 
better success. He studied Japanese, with 
the intention of going to Japan to investigate 
the Ainus, "that mysterious white race of the 
Flowery Kingdom," but was sidetracked by 
his fascination with the lost continent of 

In 1879 he published an essay called 
"Atlantis Not a Myth," in which he claimed 
that descendants of the race that once 
inhabited the sunken kingdom migrated 
through the Americas and formed the 
Mayan civilization. Although he later dis- 
credited his theory, the article brought the 
WPI student to the attention of the American 
Antiquarian Society in Worcester and its 
vice president, Stephen Salisbury II. 
Salisbury, who was also president of the WPI 
Board of Trustees, invited Thompson to 
dine with him and U.S. Senator George 
Frisbee Hoar, who was also on WPI's found- 
ing board. Salisbury had been asked by the 
Antiquarian Society to find someone to 
search for remnants of the Mayan civiliza- 
tion in the Yucatan Peninsula. He thought 
Thompson was the right man. 

Thompson was thrilled at the prospect. 
After the meeting, Hoar arranged for 
Thompson to be posted to the Yucatan as 
American Consul to Mexico. From his base 
at Merida, Thompson explored Mayan ruins 
and immersed himself in the culture of the 
natives, "descendants of the ancient 
builders and calendar makers." He learned 
their language, ate their food, and participat- 
ed in their sacred rites. Thompson later pur- 
chased and restored an abandoned planta- 
tion, which included the ruined city of 
Chichen Itza, ancient capital of the Mayan 
civilization and site of the Sacred Well of 

Thompson bade farewell to the Yucatan 
in 1925, in the face of mounting troubles. His 
plantation had been burned by Mexican rev- 
olutionaries and rebuilt at his own expense, 
minus priceless artifacts and irreplaceable 


Spring 1995 

research materials. The 
Mexican government 
then attached his prop- 
erty under a lawsuit that 
claimed he had illegally 
removed valuable arti- 
facts from their country 
of origin. Thompson re- 
tired to West Falmouth, 
where spent his last 
decade lecturing and 
writing his memoirs. 

Having published the 
scientific details of his 
findings in academic 
journals, Thompson reserved the highlights 
of his action-packed career for People of the 
Serpent, his autobiography. Lurking behind 
the vivid descriptions of Mayan rites and 
ruins is a playful storyteller with a love for 
drama. His tales of derring-do rival the 
adventures of Indiana Jones, who has been 
called "an archaeologist hero with the grit of 
Bogart, the dash of Gable and the fearless- 
ness of Superman." 

Thompson's descent into a cistern in the 
ruined city of Labna, for example, bears a 
strong resemblance to one of the most mem- 
orable scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. 
Moviegoers who recall Indiana 
Jones trapped in the Well of 
Souls with thousands of slith- 
ering snakes will delight at 
the image of Thompson, wear- 
ing a high-crowned, narrow- 
brim hat, a hunting knife 
clenched between his teeth, 
being lowered by rope into a 
cavernous chamber. The 
explorer lands softly on a pile 
of debris that turns out to be 
a very large rattlesnake. 

"The situation grew rapid- 
ly acute," he writes, "for his 
eyes were turning bottle green, 
his jaws dripped saliva, and a strong odor 
like musk filled the unventilated space of his 
chamber, and gave me a feeling of nausea. It 
was clearly time for me to make a move." 

There are no rocks handy for defense, 
and Thompson fears that a bullet from his 
revolver might start a cascade. "A still better 
reason for not using my revolver was that I 
did not have it with me," he tells us, adding 
that in the jungle he was rarely parted from 
his gun. Backed up against the wall, our hero 
feels a buckling in the mortar of the well, 
which, he takes time to note, has been 
caused by centuries of settling soil and the 
growth of tree roots. Thompson is able to 

He left the Yucatan lame 
in one leg from a brush 
with a poisoned arrow, 
bald from jungle fever, 

and partially deaf 
from his descent into 
the Well of Sacrifice. 


Top, the temple of Kukil Can (the 
feathered serpent), the heart of the 
city of Chichen Itza. Bottom, the Date 
Stone, an aid in working out the 
chronology of the Mayan civilization. 

work loose a chunk of mortar with which to 
crush the rattler's head. Other chapters of 
his book are packed with sharks, pythons 
and jaguars, as well as runaway horsecarts 
and death-traps set by desperadoes. 

When Thompson writes, "I have squan- 
dered my substance in riotous explo- 
rations," he means it literally. He left the 
Yucatan lame in one leg from a brush with a 
poisoned arrow, bald from several bouts of 

jungle fever, and partial- 
ly deaf from descending 
into the Well of Sacrifice 
in a 19th century diving 
suit. (Hearing of his plan 
to dive into the well, his 
colleagues said, "No per- 
son can go down into the 
unknown depths of that 
great water pit and 
expect to come out alive. 
If you want to commit 
suicide, why not seek a 
less shocking way of 
doing it?") 

Thompson downplayed the monetary 
value of the fragments of jade, gold and 
bone he brought to the surface, insisting 
that he quested only after knowledge. "The 
historian delves into the past as the engi- 
neer digs into the ground, and for the same 
reason, to make the future secure." The 
Mexican government disagreed. Only after 
his death in 1935 was Thompson's name 
finally cleared. The Mexican Supreme Court 
ruled in 1944 that the archaeologist had 
not violated any laws that were in existence 
at the time he removed the goods. In 1976 
Harvard University agreed to return to 
Mexico Thompson's contri- 
butions to the Peabody 
Museum's collection of pre- 
Columbian jade. 

The Thompson grandchil- 
dren say their grandfather 
was one of the few archaeolo- 
gists of his time who worked 
for scientific advancement, 
and not for profit. They have 
no treasures in the attic or 
cellar from the Mayan Empire, 
only trinkets — and memories 
of a talkative but modest man. 
The living Edward Thompson 
says he learned more about 
his grandfather from the research and film- 
ing of the Discovery documentary than he 
had ever known. "I couldn't figure out why 
they were bothering to portray a relatively 
obscure archaeologist," he says. "No one in 
the family perceived him as being famous. 
He was just Grandfather." 

As for Edward Herbert Thompson, he 
was clearly content with own reputation and 
deeds. "...I am altogether satisfied," he wrote 
in People of the Serpent. "The reward of a 
labor of love lies in the performing of it, and 
I can look back upon a career as full of inci- 
dent and adventure as any man has the right 
to expect." 





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\<>i i mi \c\ in. No. 3, summer L995 



Stepping Into the Spotlight by Michael W. Dorsey 

As WPI's 14th president, Kdward Parrish wants to remove the bushel 

from WPI's light, letting the world know what he himself has 

discovered about WPI's profoundly effective educational program. 

Page 4 

Hail and Farewell by Michael II'. Dorsey 

Nine months is hardly enough time to effect change on a college 

campus, but as interim president, John Lott Brown '46 did just that, 

leaving a legacy of good will and excitement about WPFs future. 

Page 6 

One of a Kind by Donald /•'. Berth '57 

Architect Wallace Harrison learned about structural engineering from 

WPI's "Pa" French. He went on to design some of the most important 

and visually striking buildings of the 20th century. 

Page 8 

Great Expectations by Joel J. Brattin 

Robert Fellman never intended to become a serious collector of material 

related to Charles Dickens. But through serendipity and diligence, he 

built a first-rate collection. Now he's given his life's work to WPI. 

Page 10 

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of by Ruth Tmsk 

If you've seen Crimson Tide, you've enjoyed the digital special effects 

work of Peter Travers '93. Here's how this mechanical engineering 

major joined the ranks of Hollywood's "techno-wizards." 

Page 24 


Advance Word WPI Alumni Find a (Cyber)Space All Their Own, by Michael Dorsey. Page 2 

Letters Small Does Not Mean Mediocre; "University Plan" May Harm WPI's Reputation; Good Schools Thrive 

Without Name Changes. Page 3 

Explorations Projects Aim to Save the World, by Bonnie Gelirwasser. Page 30 

Final Word Travels with Alex, by Alex Thorp ^92. Page 32 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser,Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Tni*.k • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90, Sberri L. Curria '93, James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firla Jr. '60, Joel P. Greene '69, 

William R. Grogan '46, Robert C. Labonte '54, Roger N. Perry Jr. '45, Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association 

by the Office of University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Yt. Printed in the U.S. V 

Diverse views presented in this magazine Jo not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official (I PI policies. We welcome letters to the editor. Address correspondence to the Editor. 

WPI Journal, 117'/. lOOInstitute Road, Worcester. MA 01609-2280 • Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax: (508) 831-5604 • Electronic Mail (Internet), • World Wide Web:, Iboutl J s/News/Journal/ * Postmaster: Ifundelroerable, please send Form 1579 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1 995, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 


Alumni Find a (Cyber)Space 

All Their Own 

When last we visited 
the brave new 
world of cyber- 
space ("Another Spin on the 
Information Highway," Win- 
ter 1995), the WPI Alumni 
Association was engaged in a 
search for the best way to link 
its members to the Institute 
and the association through 
the Internet. Under the lead- 
ership of Harlan Williams '50, 
an ad-hoc committee of the 
association had begun looking 
for cost-effective ways to get 
alumni connected to the Net, 
and through it, to WPI. 

The committee conducted 
a survey of younger alumni 
that showed that about nearly 
three quarters have computers with modems 
in their homes or offices and are interested 
in using them to stay in touch with their 
alma mater. The group also looked at how a 
number of other colleges and universities 
have opened Internet doorways to their 
graduates and talked to potential Internet 

Along the way it became clear that the 
on-line communications landscape is chang- 
ing rapidly. Companies and on-line services 
that provide access to the Internet are pro- 
liferating, and the cost of getting connected 
is becoming more affordable all the time. 
Given these changes, and the tact that so 
many alumni already use the Internet, it no 
longer seemed necessary to wony about 
finding alumni a suitable on-ramp for the 
information highway. Instead, the commit- 
tee decided to look at what alumni might 
like to find once they get connected. 

Last year, the Institute launched a ser- 
vice on the World Wide Web that offers 
easy access to a variety of information about 
the university ( The 
Alumni Office and the Alumni Association 
are represented there with pages of informa- 
tion that describe the association's programs 
and events. While alumni who've visited 
WPI's Web pages have been enthusiastic 

Netscape - [WPI Alumnet Service] 

File Edit View 60 Bookmarks Options Directory 


Location: hllp'/Mpi 


Open Everywhere 

I ricnds, News and 1 nn 

about being able to roam our virtual campus 
and check in on what's happening on the 
Hill, they've also expressed an interest in 
services that WPI does not currently offer 
on its Web site, notes Williams. 

"Alumni want access to the kinds of 
information WPI maintains in its alumni 
database, so they can look up their classmates 
and friends," he says. "They want to be able 
to talk to fellow graduates on-line and send 
them e-mail. They also want to be able to 
buy products from the college bookstore. But 
WPI can't put confidential information about 
its graduates on a network freely accessible 
to millions, and it doesn't have the computer 
or human resources to offer a special on-line 
service just for its alumni." 

The committee found a solution to these 
and other problems in a service offered by 
Alumnet Services, a communications and 
networking company in Austin, Texas. 
Alumnet Services enables colleges and uni- 
versities to create secure sites on the World 
Wide Web for use solely by their graduates. 
Alumni pay a modest annual fee and receive 
a password that allows them to access the 
service. Among the creators of Alumnet was 
Mihran Aroian, who earned a bachelor's 
degree in life sciences at WPI in 1980. 

"Alumnet is about communications," 

Aroian says. "It makes it easy 
for alumni to communicate 
with each other, and for the 
college to keep in touch with 
its graduates. Graduates who 
sign up will be able to talk to 
one another via e-mail and in 
public and private chat rooms; 
leave messages on electronic 
bulletin boards about topics 
that interest them; and search 
an on-line alumni directory. 
They will also find a secure 
way to shop for WPI products 
or sign up for events and trav- 
el programs on-line. As a WPI 
graduate myself, I feel these 
are the kinds of services that 
other graduates will find 
useful and fun." 
WPI's Alumnet service is scheduled to 
debut by the end of the year, according to 
Sharon Davis, director of alumni programs. 
"For just $45 a year," she says, "alumni will 
get all of the services Alumnet provides. 
These include an on-line 'auditorium' 
where alumni can talk to special guests from 
WPI and our alumni body, the opportunity 
to create an on-line 'profile' for other users" 
to read, job listings from WPI's Career 
Development Center, and a hot link to the 
WPI Web home page." 

To get more information about WPI 
Alumnet call the WPI Alumni Office at 
(508) 831-5600 or send an e-mail message to Readers can also send 
a message to, 
or use their Web browsers to fill out an 
on-line subscrption form. The address is 

A FINAL NOTE: You may have noticed 
something different about the WPI Journal. 
From a bolder, more attention-getting 
cover, to a new contents page, to a new for- 
mat for our department pages, we've given 
the magazine a new look. To celebrate, 
we've included some extra color in this 
issue. We'd love to hear what you think. 

— Mici iael Dorset 

Summer 1995 


Small Does Not 
Mean Mediocre 


In a letter in the Spring 1995 WPI Journal, 
Bruce and Allison Nunn implied that, 
because of its size, WPI could offer no more 
than a "mediocre education" as a university. 
Let me tell you about my undergraduate 
alma mater. 

I was one of about 1,800 undergraduates 
then; it's a little larger now — about the size of 
WPI, in feet, both the College of Engineer- 
ing and the College of Arts and Sciences 
were then, and are today, among the best 
in the world. The professors who taught 
my biology and chemistry courses were all 
world-class research scientists. Several 
had authored the textbooks that I 
and thousands of other stu- 
dents across the coun- 
try used, and a few were 
members of the National 
Academy of Sciences. 
Many of the faculty in the 
various liberal arts depart- 
ments were also internation- 
ally renowned scholars. 

Size is no impediment to an 
institution that has the will, the 
wisdom and the leadership to be a 
first-class university. During the 10 
years that I served as head of WPFs 
Department of Biology and Biotech- 
nology, I often told prospective students 
and their parents that my goal for the 
department was to provide an undergradu- 
ate education as good as mine at The Johns 
Hopkins University. 

Bagshaw is professor of biology iind 
biotechnology at 1 1 PL 

"University Plan" 
May Harm WPFs 


When I read "Repositioning the Institute" 
in the Fall 1994 issue of the WPI Journal I 
was tempted to write a letter to the editor. 
I did not do so, for, I thought, "Who am I 
to tell WPI how to run the Institute." Upon 
reading the letter to the editor by Bruce 
and Allison Nunn in the Spring 1995 issue 
("Will the New WPI Be a Downsized Uni- 
versity?"), I changed my mind. I would now 
like to make a few comments. 

I received a B.S. degree in civil engi- 
neering from WPI in the spring of 1942. 
I spent my freshman year, not at WPI, hut 
at Tufts University, as I had the idea of 
becoming a doctor. Motivated by the fact 
that my mother was dying of cancer, medi- 
cine seemed an appropriate avenue of study. 
About the second week into my first semes- 
ter, I realized that for me, that decision was 
a mistake. Mv Inst love was engineering, 
and a transfer to the school of engineering 
was arranged with little problem. 

My freshman year was a 
breeze. Most of my 
courses were 
repeats of 

courses I had 
taken in my senior 
year at Williston Acade- 
my. Life was great. I was initi- 
ated into Delta Upsilon fraternity. 
I played on the soccer team in the fall, the 
wrestling team in the winter, and the golf 
team in the spring (on the university's own 
nine-hole course). 

Why did I transfer to WPI? It was 
because WPI had the reputation of being 
one of the finest engineering schools in the 
East. It was my money r , I thought, so why 
not go to an outstanding engineering 
school? Had I wanted a more liberal edu- 
cation, I would have stayed at Tufts. 

WPI's reputation was great enough 
that, even though I was a civil engineering 
graduate, I landed a job with the U.S. Bu- 
reau of Ships as a junior engineer; later. 

1 became an engineering officer in the U.S. 
Naval Reserve. In 1947 I started a small 
readj -mbi concrete conipam . ( her the next 
^~ years, the training I received at WPI 
stood me well. 

What I am trying to say is that, yes, WPI 
might attract a greater variety of students 
with a "university plan," hut would it rather 
become just another school offering a hodge- 
podge ol courses, or would it rather maintain 
its reputation as one ol the finest engineering 
schools in the Past and the prestige that goes 
along with receiving a degree from Worces- 
ter Polytechnic Institute? 

-robert w. searles '42 
brookj \\, Conn. 

Good Schools 
Thrive Without 
Name Changes 


Congratulations on a superb issue 
of the II PI Journal (Spring 
1995). It was extraordinarily 
illustrative of the diverse 
nature of the excellent edu- 
cation students may obtain 
at WPI. 

With the current 
effort to portray WPI 
as more than a nar- 
row engineering 
school, I wonder if 
copies of the Journal are 
)eing sent to advisors of high school 
students. Perhaps this is already being 
done, but if not, it should be sent to some of 
the prime sources of engineering students, 
such as Brooklyn Tech (my high school), 
Lane in Chicago, and all the schools that 
have produced Westinghouse Scholars. 

Obviously, it is not possible to send a 
copy to every high school in the country. 
Perhaps those of us who live outside of the 
larger population centers could pass our 
copies on to the local high school. 

It seems that one of the changes being 
considered to emphasize the diverse educa- 
tion available at WPI is a new name for the 
Institute. I would like to point out that there 
are several institutions (MIT and Cal Tech 
come to mind) that have avoided such a cos- 
metic change and are still perceived as pro- 
viding a pretty good education. Even the 
first engineering school in the country, 
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, manages to 
thrive on its original name. 
— EUGENE Y. KOSSO '46. (,L \| \| V, CALIF. 


Stepping Into the Spotli 

Edward A. Parrish has 

chaired an electrical engineering 

department at a large university and 

served as a dean at another. He holds 

positions of national prominence in the 

engineering and educational communities. 

He is widely regarded as a researcher, an 

educator and an administrator. Now, as WPI's 

1 4th president, he hopes to bring the 

Institute the national recognition it 


By Michael Dorsey 



Parrish, right, starts his first week on the job with a tour of the campus given 
by Stephen Hebert '66, vice president for administration and treasurer. 

Summer 1995 


This spring, when he learned that WPI had selected him to he its 
14th president, Edward A. Parrish was delighted, although he 
realized it meant taking on a host of challenges, not the least of 
which was learning how to say the name of his new employer. 
"I still can't pronounce Worcester," he says, "although I am working on 
it. People from around the countrj have been calling to congratulate me, 
and I hear them say Worcester all sorts of ways. I try not to listen, 
because I really do want to be able to pronounce it correctly." 

A native of Newport News, Va., who has spent all of his working 
life below the Mason-Dixon line, Parrish can he forgiven if he finds it 
difficult to get the hang of pronouncing the jumble of letters that adds 
up to WPI's home city. But he is ahead of many people outside of the 
Northeastern United States in recognizing Worcester Polytechnic 
Institute as an innovative and high-quality institution for technological 
higher education. Doing something to expand WPI's reputation- 
removing the bushel that covers WPI's light, as he has put it— will be 
one of the highest priorities of his administration. 

WPI needs to be better known for a number of reasons, Parrish 
says. Most important, a broader reputation can translate into a larger 
pool of potential students and an easier time in obtaining funds from 
government agencies, philanthropic foundations and corporations. 
But it is also true, he says, that the Institute truly deserves to be widely 
recognized for the innovative approach to technical education that it 
pioneered a quarter century ago. It is an approach, Parrish savs from 
personal experience, that is little known even among educators 

" I he National Science Foundation is funding several consortia 
of technological institutions that are seeking to re-engineer the engi- 
neering curricula," he says. "I serve on the board of directors of one of 
those coalitions. The big surprise for me, as I've learned more about 
WPI these past few months, is that these groups are hoping to design 
the WPI Plan. They're trying to do what WPI has been doing for 25 
years, and they don't realize it." 

Since WPI may already have invented the solution other educators 
are seeking for integrating engineering with the liberal arts (educating 
engineers and scientists with an appreciation for the humanities and the 
social sciences and humanists who understand technology), Parrish says 
he thinks the engineering community should spend some time getting 
to know the university and its undergraduate program better. "I'd like 
to get the National Science Foundation to hind a study of how WPI's 
graduates have done in their careers and lives, compared to the gradu- 
ates of more conventional technological programs," he says. "WTI is 
about the only university in a position to conduct such a longitudinal 
study. I think the results will not only establish the value of the Plan, 
but provide a vehicle for bringing it national attention." 

Along with an NSF study, Parrish says the best tools at his disposal 
for spreading the word about WTI may well be his own experience as 
a scholar, educator and administrator, and his own national visibility 
within the engineering and educational communities. For the past six 
years, for example, he has served on the Engineering Accreditation 
Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and 
Technology, the association that accredits engineering programs at the 
nation's colleges and universities (including WTI's programs in chem- 
ical, civil, electrical, manufacturing and mechanical engineering). He 
recently became chairman of the EAC, which gives him responsibility 
for overseeing the teams that visit campuses to evaluate engineering 
programs tor continued accreditation. For someone who hopes to 
educate the engineering education community about the value of the 
WPI Plan, the position should be a bully pulpit, he saj s. 

Within the ranks of electrical engineers, Parrish is also a well-known 
name. He has held more than six dozen posts within the Institute for 

(Continued on page 12) 


WTI Journal 








The Interim Presidency of John Lot 


I I 

Summer 1995 

i .n.miMl M 

This summer, 
John Lott Brawn '46 
retired yet again, after 
nine months as WPFs 
interim president. 
In that short time, he 
helped WPI maintain 
its forward momen- 
tum, inspired a new 
spirit of enthusiasm for 
educational innovation, 
and made a great many 
friends. Before he 
left office, President 
Brown was asked by the 
Journal to look back on 
his administration. 


By Michael Dorsey 

It was a splendid summer day in Worcester as K4 young men, all 
but eight in Navy blues, marched over the Karle Bridge and into 
Aklen Memorial. They were the members of WPFs Class of 
1946 — those who had not left early to serve the war effort — graduating 
a year early as part of the U.S. Navy's accelerated V-12 program. For 
most of those 84, the ceremony would inspire mixed emotions. 

"The war in Europe was over," says John Lott Brown '46, "but we 
did not blow that nuclear weapons would soon bring about a rather 
rapid end to the war in the Pacific. We didn't know how much longer 
we'd be in the Navy when we left WPI. So while it was a happy time, it 
was also a time of some anxiety, because we didn't know what the 
future held for us." 

Five decades later, Brown attended another WPI graduation exer- 
cise. Once again, it was a grand, sunny day, and once again, the audi- 
ence (now filling most of the Quadrangle) included many young gradu- 
ates wondering what the future would bring them. But this time, Brow n 
was not among them. As interim president of WPI, he presided over 
the ceremony from the stage, an experience he says was "a real kick." 

"It was a great experience to be there, 50 years after my own gradu- 
ation," he says. "You can't really describe the emotions you feel in a sit- 
uation like that. It was just thoroughly delightful. I had the privilege to 
shake hands with some 800 people as I handed out the diplomas. 

"Now I would have settled for half that number, in terms of the 
thrill involved, but I enjoyed every minute of it," he adds. (Having suf- 
fered a shoulder separation earlier in the year while skiing, Brown had 
been exercising his right arm for several weeks prior to the ceremony 
by squeezing a hard rubber ball. "That exercise didn't hurt a bit," 
he says, "because there are always a few students who really want to 
put the squeeze on the president's hand to see how far they can get. 
With the exercise — and getting the proper grip — I was able to hold 
my own, though.") 

The spring Commencement marked the end of the 1994-95 acade- 
mic year, a year that began with the departure of Jon C. Strauss, WPFs 
13 th president, and the subsequent search for a person with the right 
background — and the willingness — to take on the responsibility of lead- 
ing the Institute for the year or more that would be needed to conduct 
a formal, national search for a new chief executive officer. 

The Executive Committee of the WTI Board of Trustees consid- 
ered a number of candidates and narrowed the list to a few finalists. 
Prominent on that short list was the name John Lott Brown. "I was 
approached in late August and asked if I wanted to be a candidate," he 
says. "I didn't have to think about it very long. I've been involved with 
WPI for a long time, as a student, an alum ami a member of the board. 
As an educator myself, I've taken great pride in the WTI Plan, more so 
because my friend and classmate Bill Grogan '46 had such a significant 
role in making it work. I told them that, if they believed me to be the 
best person for the job, I would, without reservation, accept." 

After interviewing the finalists in Boston, the Executive Committee 
voted unanimously on Sept. 12, 1994, to offer the job to Brown. True 
to his word, he accepted immediately. "1 didn't even ask them how 
much it would pay," he says. 

The committee was impressed widi Brown's experience as a college 
president and his knowledge of and endiusiasm for WTI (see story, page 
22). "We have a very significant person here who is willing to serve us as 
long as it takes us to conduct our permanent search," M Howard Jacob- 
son, then chairman of the Board of Trustees, told the Worcester Telegram 
& Gazette. "He's a distinguished scholar, academician, teacher and 
administrator. We are thrilled that he is willing to step in at this time.... 
He will be a great credit to this institution and this community." 

(Continued on page 20) 

WPI Journal 


^^^ ept. 28 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Wallace 
Va^ K. Harrison, one of the most important architects of the 
20th century. Harrison, like Frederick Law Olmstead, the first 
great landscape architect, was born and raised in Worcester. Unlike 
( )lmstead, who created one of his great legacies, Elm Park, in 
Worcester, Harrison was never to have a commission in his home 

city. Both, however, had a major impact on 
the way we see our modern world, and both 
1^^^ «^^i left enduring legai ies, particularl) in New 
I ■ York City. 

■I ■ ^^" Olmstead's greatest work was Central 

Park. For Harrison, the choice could be 
made from among several monumental building projects, including 
Rockefeller Center, the United Nations Headquarters, the Metro- 
politan Opera House, and the Trylon and Perisphere, which 
formed the centerpiece for the 1939 World's Fair. Harrison's 
reputation as an architect rested as much on his ability to oversee 
and coordinate such big projects as it did on the visual impact of 
the architecture itself. 

Though Harrison's work is familiar to most everyone, what 
readers of the WP1 Journal may not know is that this internationally 
renowned architect received some of his seminal training in struc- 
tural engineering from Arthur W. "Pa" French, professor of civil 

The Life and Career of Wallace K. Harrison 

The Metropolitan Opera 
House. U.N. Headquarters. 

Rockefeller Center. What 

do these landmarks have 

in common? They were all 
designed by Wallace 
Harrison, who began his 

formal education at WPI. 

Here is the story of one of the 
century's greatest architects. 

Summer 1995 


engineering at WPI. Harrison took night courses taught by French, 
who himself had worked extensively on problems ot flat-slab rein- 
forced concrete buildings. Many of I Iarrison's greatest projects 
made use of this technology. 

What is, perhaps, most remarkable about I Iarrison's career was 
the purposefulncss with which he pursued it. I Iarrison's parents, 
Rachel and James I [arrison, both traced their roots to Yorkshire, 
England. Rachel was in her early 40s and James was 50 when Wal- 
lace, their only child, was born. The family lived in a three-decker 
home on Hathaway Street in Worcester, not far from the Clark 
University campus. When Wallace was 14, his mother died; not 
long after that, his father disappeared, leaving the high school 
freshman to fend for himself. 

To get by, Harrison went to work as an office boy at O.W. 
Norcross, one of the nation's leading construction companies, for 
a salary of $3 per week. He rented a room from the mother of 
Norcross' head office boy and began his long climb to the ranks 
of America's pre-eminent architects. The job at Norcross he owed 
to Louis W. Wilson, librarian at Clark University, whom he had 
met at the Episcopal Church in Worcester. In 1910 Wilson advised 
Harrison to consider two careers: architecture and chemistry, both 
of which were set to mushroom in the decades ahead. 

O.W. Norcross was founded in 1864, just a year before John 
Boynton made his gift to establish WPI. Founders James and 
Orlando Norcross, natives of Maine, built virtually all of architect 
II. II. Richardson's major works, including one of his earliest, the 
former Classical High School in Worcester, which now houses the 
administrative offices of the Worcester school system. The firm was 
also the general contractor for Worcester's City Hall, and it was 
the contractor for the New York Public Library. It was a remark- 
able and fortuitous setting for Harrison to find himself in, despite 
Orlando's attempt to throw cold water on his ambitions by advising 
him that "only fools practice architecture." 

In March 1913, at age 17, Harrison left O.W. Norcross for a 
job paying $9 a week at Frost & Chamberlain, then Worcester's 
leading architectural firm. Coincidentally, 1913 was the year that 
Stephen C. Earle, the city's greatest architect, died. Earle was the 
dominant architect during Worcester's greatest period of develop- 
ment, and he also designed most of the 19th-century buildings on 
the WPI campus (Boynton Hall was his first significant commis- 
sion). While at Frost & Chamberlain, Harrison took his night 
courses with Professor French. During working hours, he put what 
he learned at WPI to use as he designed concrete frames for large 
mill structures at Niagara Falls. 
(Continued on piige 16) 


From left, the magnificent bell 
tower Harrison designed to 
accompany his stunning First 
Presbyterian Church in Stam- 
ford, Conn, (see back cover); 
Harrison seated before a model 
of the Metropolitan Opera 
House interior; exterior of the 
opera house; the interior of 
Radio City Music Hall, part 
of the Rockefeller Center 
complex; U.N. Headquarters 
in New York. 

WPI Journal 



Thanks to a generous gift from a California educator and enthusiast, 

WPI is now home to a major collection of artifacts and scholarly material related 

to Charles Dickens. Here's a look at what scholars and students will find in 

the new Robert D. Fellman Dickens Collection. 

\>\ Joel J. Brati i\ 

hrough his brilliant novels, Charles 
Dickens defined the Victorian era 
and helped shape our understand- 
ing of this important period in 
British history. This may explain 
why, alter Shakespeare, Dickens is 
the most studied writer in English. Dickens is also 
one ot the most widely read of all authors, and for 
excellent reasons. His brilliant characterizations, 
ebullient humor, vivid and colorful style, and keen 
observation and deep understanding ot the way 
people think, feel, talk and behave resonate pow- 
erfully with readers. Novels like The Pickwick 
Papers, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit and Great 
Expectations — and characters like Scrooge, Fagin, 
I ittle Nell and Pecksniff — take their place among 
our culture's greatest literary treasures. 

WPI recently received a remarkably rich col- 
lection ot Charles Dickens materials as a gift from a 
private collector, Robert D. bellman of Palo Alto, 
( lalif. This generous donation, which -izs&s 

will ultimately be housed in a spe- 
cial room in Gordon Library to 
be know n as the Robert D. Fell- 
man Dickens Room, establishes 
WPI as the premier source for 
Dickens material in Central 
Massachusetts. The Fellman 
Collection contains valuable 
first editions, unique manu- 
scripts, original and rare illus- 
trations, and fascinating sec- 
ondary sources from the 19rh 
and 20th centuries — all of extra- 
ordinary value to scholars and 
students of Dickens. 

The collection includes 
more than 100 volumes of Dickens' 
writings, more than 35 manuscripts and auto- 
graph letters, 246 volumes in sets (including the 
National, Gadshill and Heritage Press editions of 
Dickens), 168 volumes of Dickens-related period- 
icals, about 150 volumes of letters, biographies 
and illustrations, and about 250 volumes of refer- 
ence works, criticism, and commentary on the 
novel, Dickens' England, the Victorian period, 
and related English authors. Also available to 
scholars are a variety of art objects and a valuable 
set of Dickens-related slides and videotapes. 

This outstanding collection features rare first 
editions of almost all of Dickens' major works. All 
of Dickens' novels were originally published seri- 
ally, in weekly (or more usually monthly) install- 
ments, and collections of those original "parts" are 
of great scholarly interest. The first 19th-century 
purchasers of such works as Nicholas Nickleby, 
Dombey and Sou, David Copperfield, Bleak House, 
Little Dorrit and The Mystery of Edwin Drood read 
these works not in bound volumes, but in paper- 

bound booklets, issued monthly, cub number of 
which included 32 pages ot Dickens' remarkable 
text, two engraved illustrations, and a number of 
advertisements that reveal much about the habits 
and preoccupations of Victorian England. The 
Fellman collection includes copies of all the 
above-named works in the original monthly 

Some of Dickens' novels originally appeared 
in other periodical forms. Oliver Twist was first 
published in Bentleys Miscellany, a periodical 
edited for publisher Bentley by a youthful (diaries 
Dickens. The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge 
appeared first in Master Humphrey's (Jock: ;i week- 
ly serial ot Dickens' Hard Tunes was published 
in the Dickcns-'Vonducted" Household Words; and 
A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations made 
their debut in All the Year Round, the last of the 
journals Dickens edited. With the Fellman gift, 
WPI now has runs of all of these valuable 19th- 

century periodicals complete through 1870, 
the year of Dickens' death. 

In addition to the original part publications, 
the Fellman collection boasts fine bound first edi- 
tions (usually bound from periodical issues, or 
printed from the same plates) of Pickwick Papers, 
Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity 
Shop, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey 
,/ nd Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House. . Imerican 
Notes, The Life of Our Lord, Little Dorrit and Our 
\lut mil Friend, 

But the first editions are only the beginning of 
the riches in this outstanding collection. As part of 
bellman's extraordinary gift, WPI received eight 
original autograph Dickens letters — several of sub- 
stantial length and significance. Four of these letters, 
published only recently, were written to Joseph C. 
King, a London schoolmaster, and discuss the edu- 
cation of Dickens' sons Walter and Charley. In the 
earliest of these, dated Feb. 24, 1849, Dickens tells 

(Continued on page 26) 

Left, George Cruikshank's 
famous illustration of 
"Oliver asking for more" 
from the original edition 
of Dickens' Oliver Twist. 
A bound first edition of 
the novel is among the 
hundreds of items in the 
Robert Fellman Dickens 
Collection. Opposite 
page, a portrait of 
Dickens from 1859. 

WP I Journal 


Parrish meets the press 
on May 19, 1995, just 
after his election as 
president by the WPI 
Board of Trustees. 

Stepping Into the Spotlight 

(Continued from page 5) 

Electrical and Electronics Engineers, many at the 
national level. In 1988 he served as president of 
the IEEE Computer Society. He was a member 
of the IEEE board of directors from 1990 to 1993 
and has been vice president of educational activi- 
ties. He served as an 
IEEE delegate to 
the U.S.S.R. in 1977 
and to the People's 
Republic of China 
in 1978. In 1980 he 
returned to China 
as the co-director of 
an IEEE Computer 
Society delegation. 
He went to China 
again in 1983 and 
1984 as general chair- 
man of the First Inter- 
national Conference on Computers and Applica- 
tions. In 1990 he returned to Russia as 
part of a three-person group invited by the Popov 
Society. Earlier this year, he was named editor in 
chief of IEEE Computer, the journal of the IEEE 
Computer Society. For his contributions to pictor- 
ial pattern recognition and to engineering educa- 
tion, he was named a fellow of the IEEE in 1986. 
Parrish's own road to a career as an engineer 
and educator began as a teenager in Newport 
News, where he delighted in poking around the 
insides of the family television set to see how it 
worked. With the encouragement of his parents, 
Molly, a director of remedial reading in the public 
schools, and Edward Sr., a real estate appraiser, 
he decided to join the service after high school. 
In 1954, after a brief stint in the Naval Reserve, 
he enlisted in the Air Force and found himself 
assigned as an air traffic control instructor in 
Biloxi, Miss. 

After an honorable discharge in 1958, he 
enrolled as a freshman electrical engineering major 
at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. 
During his junior year he left the university to take 
a job as a senior programmer and project head at 
Amerad Corp. in Charlottesville. Over the next 
three years, he headed a team that developed soft- 
ware for modeling and computer graphics. A fellow 
programmer at Amerad, Shirley Johnson, a 1961 
Vanderbilt graduate in mathematics, would 
become Parrish's wife a few years later. They have 
two sons: Troy, a systems analyst who graduated 
from the University of Virginia, and Greg, who is 
majoring in electronic art and computer animation 
at Mississippi State University. 

Parrish returned to the University of Virginia 
and completed his bachelor's degree in 1964. He 
decided to stay on at the university to earn a mas- 
ter's and a doctorate. During his first two years of 

graduate study he served as a research assistant in 
the Research Laboratory for the Engineering Sci- 
ences within the school of engineering and applied 
sciences, where he worked on computer models of 
silicon-controlled rectifiers, devices that convert 
alternating current to direct current. From 1966 
to 1968 he held a National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration Fellowship, which funded his 
research in the area of pattern recognition, a field 
dedicated to research on computer systems that 
search for patterns in data, including visual data. 

Parrish received his Sc.D. in 1968 and accepted 
an offer to join the faculty of the department of 
electrical engineering as an assistant professor. He 
continued to expand his work in pattern recogni- 
tion and image processing, publishing nearly 50 
papers in scholarly journals over the next 10 years 
and serving as principal investigator or co-investi- 
gator on some 25 research contracts and awards 
from the Department of Defense, the NSF, NASA 
and several corporations. He was also a consultant 
to several high-technology firms and the U.S. 
Army Foreign! Science and Technology Center 
and he directed three university research labs. 

In 1978, Parrish, now a full professor, was 
named chair of the department, a position he 
would hold lor the next eight years. Over that peri- 
od he hired several new faculty members, many of 
whom have taken on positions of leadership in the 
department and within the university. He devel- 
oped several new courses that are still being taught. 
He led the development and enhancement of the 
graduate research program, and he took on the 
responsibility for developing and deploying a dis- 
tributed computing environment for the entire 
university. Despite the administrative demands of 
the job, he maintained an active research program, 
publishing more than 25 additional articles (his list 
of publications now totals more than 100) and 
obtaining more than 15 new contracts and awards 
from government and corporate sponsors. 

Parrish says he felt quite content with his pro- 
fessional and personal life in Charlottesville. He 
routinely turned down inquiries from other univer- 
sities — until Vanderbilt University came calling in 
1986. He had become familiar with the university 
through his wife and through his own contacts 
with the Vanderbilt school of engineering. He was 
impressed with the quality of the faculty and with 
the university's commitment to increasing the size 
and quality of the engineering school in order to 
propel it to national prominence. 

Parrish set out immediately to achieve that 
goal. In his first two years he hired 24 new faculty 
members; in his eight years on the job he would fill 
a total of 45 faculty positions, including six new 
named faculty chairs, increasing the size of the 
school's professorate by more than 40 percent. 
Included among those new hires were five women, 
four blacks and one Hispanic. "I consider building 
the quality faculty that the Vanderbilt University 


Summer 1995 

School of Engineering now enjoys my biggest 
accomplishment as dean," lie says. 

During his term as clean, sponsored research 
in the school of engineering more than doubled, 
from $4.3 million in 1987 to more than $10 million 
in 1994. The school raised more than $18 million 
in the university's recent fund-raising campaign. 
And the engineering program led the university in 
the acquisition of computer technology tor teach- 
ing and research. 

Among his most significant accomplishments 
as dean — ones he hopes to replicate at WPI 
were the significant growth in interest in and appli- 
cations to the undergraduate and graduate pro- 
grams, and an increase in enrollment by students 
able to pay Vanderbilt's full tuition. The latter 
trend enabled the school of engineering to cap the 
exponential growth it had been experiencing in its 
financial aid expenditures. 

Between 1989 and 1994, undergraduate enroll- 
ment in the school grew by more than 200 to just 
over 1,200. Not only did the school not have to 
sacrifice selectivity to achieve that growth, it was 
forced to institute a waiting list two years ago to 
avoid enrolling excessivelv large freshman classes. 
While most engineering programs — including 
WPI's — are struggling to enhance their appeal 
to women and minorities, the Vanderbilt school 
of engineering can now boast that 25 percent of 
its students are women and 1 5 percent are from 
underepresented minorities (9 percent are black). 
The geographic diversity of the student body 
has also expanded, as the school has built up a 
national — and international — pool of applicants. 

A number of initiatives combined to produce 
those impressive numbers, Parrish says. For exam- 
ple, he says the school ramped up its national mar- 
keting efforts and got faculty members, students 
and alumni involved in helping to convert accepted 
students into matriculated freshmen. For example, 
every admitted student receives two or three phone 
calls from faculty members. A largely student- 
driven open house on campus shows off the 
school's facilities and the high level of achievement 
of its student body- And alumni clubs around the 
country hold functions for accepted students and 
their parents, which faculty 7 members attend. 

Parrish credits three summer programs devel- 
oped in the school with helping boost applica- 
tions — particularly from students able to pay full 
tuition. One program brings sophomores and 
juniors from primarily private high schools to 
campus for five weeks to participate in research, 
to learn about computers and the Internet, to 
experience college life, and to see firsthand what 
engineers actually do. Starting with fewer than 20 
students four years ago, the program now attracts 
nearly 90 students each summer, 75 to 80 percent 
of whom go on to enroll at Vanderbilt. 

A more recent summer program aimed at 
transfer students has also been highly successful, 

particularly in attracting students from overseas 
(like WPI, Vanderbilt does not offer financial aid 
to foreign students). The school has also worked 
directly with foreign embassies in Washington, 
D.C., to build its international student enrollment. 
Between the two summer programs and the contact 
with embassies, Parrish says the school of engineer- 
ing has brought in an average of about 50 full- 
tuition-paving freshmen each year out of a fresh- 
man class that typically numbers 330. To increase 
graduate enrollment — particularly in a non-thesis 
master of engineering program that brings in most- 
ly full-Uiition-paving students — the school started a 
summer program for prospective graduate students. 

All of these efforts have combined to level off 
the growth in the school's financial aid budget. 
"When I became dean, we were spending 1 1 per- 
cent of our tuition revenue on financial aid," he 
says. "Five years later 
that figure had dou- 
bled. It didn't take a 
rocket scientist to fol- 
low that trajectory — 
it was going to double 
again in three years. 
These programs have 
made all the differ- 
ence in the world. 

"At WPI, devel- 
oping a large, quality 
pool of potential 
undergraduates will 
also be a high priority for me. This will take time 
and effort by all concerned. The good news is that 
WPI has an outstanding product to market. As we 
did at Vanderbilt, I hope to involve the faculty, 
students and alumni in recruiting efforts. And I 
want to increase contact with good high schools 
across the countiy. Increasing transfer students is 
also possible, as is bringing in more international 
students who can add diversity to the student body 
and bring in tuition revenue. And all of these 
things can be done with an eye to the financial aid 

By the time the phone call came from Korn/ 
Ferry International, the search firm WPI used in its 
national effort to recruit a new president, Parrish 
was already thinking about the next direction his 
career might take. He had been a university dean 
for eight years, and he believed that anyone in such 
a demanding administrative post needs to change 
gears after 10 vears to avoid getting in a rut. 

He considered various opportunities at other 
universities and was offered the job of provost at 
one school. But Parrish felt that his experience at 
Vanderbilt had also prepared him tor the demands 
of a more senior position — college president. 

"The school of engineering is an autonomous 
unit of the universitv," he says. "As a result, the 
financial aspects of running the school, in particu- 
lar, are similar to those of running the university, 

"At WPI, 

developing a large, 
quality pool of 
potential under- 
graduates will also 
be a high priority 
for me. This will 
take time and 
effort by all 
concerned. " 

WPI Journal 


"If you try to survive 
as a university over 
the next 20 years 
purely on the basis 
of programs in sci- 
ence and engineering 
— particularly engi- 
neering — it will be 
interesting to see if 
you make it. I don y t 
think you will." 

Stepping Into the Spotlight 

(Continued from previous page) 

except for a scale factor. I had to deal with enroll- 
ment and financial aid problems. The faculty and I 
developed a strategic plan for the school that I dien 
carried out via the creation of new faculty positions, 
new facilities and so on. I had responsibility for 
development and fund-raising activities, based on 
our independent needs, which were integrated with 
those of the university. I also had to deal with a 
number of personnel issues associated with manag- 
ing a faculty and staff. These are not all that differ- 
ent than the responsibilities of a president, though 
the time demands on a president are more intense." 

While the time was right to make a move, he- 
had to decide whether WPI was the right destina- 
tion. From his years of involvement with ABET 
and IEEE, Parrish had come to know VVPI's name 
and reputation for quality. As he began to look 
more closely at the college, he was struck by the 
quality of the faculty, by the admirable degree of 
collegiality that exists among the faculty and be- 
tween the faculty and students, by the Institute's 
rich sense of history and tradition, by the Global 
Perspective Program, which is setting the pace in 
global studies among technological universities 
in the U.S., by the beauty of the campus, and by 
WPFs location in the heart of New England's high 
technology belt. 

But it was the WPI Plan and the Institute's 
legacy of educational innovation that impressed 
him the most. In the Plan, Parrish says he sees the 
means for increasing WPI's reputation and build- 
ing a larger and more diverse pool of applicants. 
But Parrish also sees in the Plan an excellent 
foundation upon which WTI can build a more 
comprehensive technological university. 

"Comprehensive means different things to dif- 
ferent people," he says. "I'm sure some people reel 
defensive when you talk about making WTI more 
comprehensive, because it sounds as if you are 
going to try to slice a fixed budget pie into even 
more pieces. But on the other hand, if you try to 
survive as a university over the next 20 years purely 
on the basis of programs in science and engineer- 
ing — particularly engineering — it will be interest- 
ing to see if you make it. I don't think you will. 

"So I think WTI needs to become more com- 
prehensive without losing sight of its roots. That 
means becoming a more comprehensive technologi- 
cal university. I think the directions in which WTI 
has already begun to move, for example creating 
"interface disciplines" and building strong pro- 
grams in the life and biomedical sciences, are quite 
appropriate. With the growing interest in health 
care, the biomedical area can be a real draw." 

Beyond building on WTI's existing strengths in 
technology and science, Parrish says the Institute 
will need to find ways to attract students who are 
interested in nontechnical majors, but who wish to 

pursue them in a technical setting. He says WTI 
can become the hallmark of what he calls the "new 
liberal arts." "Technology is woven throughout the 
fabric of our society," he says. "Everybody has to 
be computer literate. Everybody has to know more 
mathematics than ever before. It doesn't matter if 
you are majoring in literature or foreign languages 
or political science, you will need to understand 

"So WTI simply can't afford to focus primarily 
on engineering — this is another aspect of becoming 
more comprehensive. WTiat we have to sell is a new 
liberal arts education, something that a truly com- 
prehensive university, perhaps, can't sell. 

"I think the culture at WPI lends itself to such 
a new liberal arts education, an education that 
would couple the humanities and social sciences 
more closely with technological issues — particu- 
larly computing and communications technolo- 
gies. That could be quite attractive to prospective 
students. If you combine that with the pre-health 
and pre-law programs that are already being 
developed at WPI, you evolve into a more com- 
prehensive institution. And it is an evolution, 
not a revolution, that I see. And I do think it is a 
matter of survival, at least survival with the kind 
of quality for which WPI is known." 

The WTI Plan, the evolution of a new liberal 
arts curriculum, and WTI's constantly expanding 
and widely recognized global projects program are 
elements of a WPI education that should be partic- 
ularly exciting to industry, Parrish says, because 
they enable the Institute to prepare the kind of 
professionals corporations seem to be clamoring 
for: young men and women who are self-motivated 
and entrepreneurial, are able to work in teams to 
solve problems, can communicate well orally and 
in writing, and are comfortable living and working 
anvwhere in the world. "There's not another pro- 
gram that is even a close second to WTI" in this 
regard, Parrish recently told the Worcester 
Telegram & Gazette. 

"As we promote the new liberal arts education 
and WTI's niche in it, I think industry will come to 
us," he says. "Most of the NSF-funded coalitions 
have industry backing, because it is widely recog- 
nized that today's graduates aren't equipped with 
the appropriate education to help companies com- 
pete in an international economy. The proposed 
NSF study of our graduates is one mechanism for 
approaching industry and getting the word out. As 
more companies learn about WTI and the educa- 
tion it provides, we can expect additional support 
for projects — both financial and in-kind — and more 
employment opportunities for our students." 

Financial support from corporations and many 
other constituencies will be very much on Parrish's 
mind during the early months of his administra- 
tion, as the university completes its plans for a new 
major fund-raising campaign. He says it is too early 
to begin talking about specific goals for the drive, 


Summer 1995 

hut he says there are a number of needs that almost 
certainly will he addressed. 

"The more ohvious priorities for the campaign 
may not he driven by purely strategic goals; they 
will be more mundane," he says. "We will want 
to raise endowment hinds for honor scholarships, 
we will want to create additional endowed faculty 
chairs so that we can maintain — and build on — the 
quality of the faculty, and we will need funds to 
improve the quality of life on campus. 

"Under quality of life, 1 include the campus 
center that has been under discussion for some 
time, as well as improvements to classrooms and 
other educational facilities. In fact, the quality of 
life, as measured by the infrastructure to support 
the educational environment, is so important for 
recruitment and retention, that I don't see how the 
campaign can help hut address it." 

As the campaign unfolds, Parrish says he will 
be looking to WPFs 20,000 alumni for help, not 
just as donors, hut as volunteers to help in all 
aspects of running this major fund-raising initia- 
tive. But that is just one of a number of ways he 
says he hopes to get graduates involved in advanc- 
ing the instimtion. 

"We've got to get WPFs secret unveiled," he 
says, "and alumni are especially well placed to do 
that. And by helping us get the word out and get- 
ting us well know r n outside of New England, they 
can help with our recruiting efforts. They can assist 
in career development, helping students who are 
coming along find summer internships and co-op 
opportunities — as well as simply helping students 
find jobs. Having a strong regional alumni club 
program can make a difference in all of these things 
— especially in helping build name recognition — 
so I think I'd like to stir up that program. 

"In my first year or so at WPI I hope to travel 
around and meet as many alumni as possible, 
because I'd really like to get a sense of this institu- 
tion and of what their education meant to them. 
That will help me figure out where the university 
has been, and to determine where it should go." 

Through the campaign and efforts to make a 
WPI education more comprehensive, Parrish says 
his goal will be to strengthen an already outstand- 
ing undergraduate program. Another way to 
accomplish that goal is to maintain and enrich the 
Institute's graduate program, through which stu- 
dents can now pursue master's and doctoral 
degrees in more than 30 disciplines. An active grad- 
uate program is necessary to sustain a lively pro- 
gram of scholarly research, and research can have 
many benefits for WPFs educational programs. 

"Research is critical for faculty renewal and 
currency," he says. "It also provides excellent 
oppornmities for students to become involved in 
exciting projects, allows the faculty to continually 
improve and update the curriculum, and supports 
graduate students who can enrich the academic 
program. In my view, teaching and scholarly work 

go hand in hand. 

"I don't think it is appropriate for WPI to set 
the kind of goals for research and research sponsor- 
ship that a research university can. The diing that 
sets WPI apart is its curriculum and the attendant 
interaction between the faculty and the students. 
That is very labor intensive and would have to be 
sacrificed to make the university a major research 
institution. I would prefer to see the faculty main- 
tain a level of research consistent with professional 
development and a quality graduate program. In 
addition, very close ties to industry would provide 
complementary support for the Plan and help mar- 
ket the university." 

As for his own life as an active researcher, Par- 
rish says he had to set that aside as the demands of 
being a university dean began to consume all of his 
time. When the IEEK approached him last year 
about becoming editor in chief of IEEE Computer, 
he was hesitant, but accepted the post because 
having his affiliation printed in every copy of the 
1 10,000-circulation journal was an excellent way to 
gain visibility tor his university. But he also realized 
that being a journal editor would force him to 
remain up to date in his field. 

"With the demands of work and with my 
responsibilities at home, I hardly had time to read 
journals," he says. "They stacked up on my desk 
and I dutifully put them on the bookcase thinking, 
'One of these days...,' but it never happened. But 
now I have to read many of the papers submitted. 
I have read more technical papers in the past six 
months than I had in the preceding six years, 
though I hate to admit that." 

Parrish says his many years of experience as a 
researcher and a teacher have shaped his approach 
to managing an academic enterprise. "My goal is to 
be accepted as a faculty member first, and as presi- 
dent second," he says. "I want to avoid a 'we-they' 
situation at all costs, because it would be complete- 
ly counterproductive. I managed to be an adminis- 
trator and a faculty member at the University of 
Virginia and at Vanderbilt, and I see no reason why 
it should be any different at WPI. I have to estab- 
lish my credibility with the faculty, and that is the 
first thing on my agenda. Once I have their trust, it 
will be fairly easy to continue with my normal con- 
sultive-participative style of management." 

Parrish says the other important item on his 
agenda as he begins his term as WPFs 14th presi- 
dent is simply to learn as much as he can about 
WPI — its programs, its people and its history. "I 
want to get a sense of the place, first and foremost. 
I have no deep, preconceived notions of what 
should be changed or improved. Someone once 
said we all have two ears and one mouth and should 
be guided by that fact. I want to get to know my 
faculty colleagues, the staff, the administration and 
students. Once I feel I understand this institution, 
it will be time to think about strategic issues and 
involving the community in addressing them." 

"My goal is to be 
accepted as a faculty 
member first, and 
as president second. 
I want to avoid a 
'we-they' situation 
at all costs, because it 
would be completely 
counterproductive. " 

WTI Journal 


One of a Kind 

{Continued from page 9) 

A Career Takes Flight 

In the early part of the century, one did not need 
a degree to become an architect. The usual course 
for those who aspired to careers in the profession 
was to apprentice with an established architect, 
and Harrison followed this route. While appren- 
ticing, the architects-in-training would study 
architecture under the tutelage of leading practi- 
tioners, who offered ateliers, or workshops, in 
their studios. The fortunate few studied at the 
Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, the pinnacle of 
architectural education. 

While working full time at Frost & Cham- 
berlain and studying at WPI, Harrison enrolled at 
the Boston Architectural Club's studio and spent 
his Saturdays studying architectural drawings at 

Above, the Corning 

Glass Center in 

Corning, N.Y.; right, 

the Nelson Rockefeller 

Empire State Plaza 

in Albany, one of 

Harrison's last works. 

the Boston Public Library. Knowing that New 
York City was home to most of the nation's top 
architectural firms, he sailed for the big city and 
applied for a position at McKim, Mead and 
White, the most successful firm in the country. 
Flired as a draftsman at the age of 2 1 , he also 
enrolled in the Beaux Arts atelier, directed by 
Harvey Wiley Corbett, who had an engineering 
degree from the University of California at Berke- 
ley and a diploma from the Ecole des Beaux Arts. 
Corbett also served as critic and lecturer at 
Columbia University's School of Architecture. 
In 1917, as the U.S. entered World War I, 
Harrison joined the Navy and was assigned to a 
submarine chaser. During shore leaves, he studied 
the architecture of the Azores and Lisbon, and the 
Roman architecture along the Dalmatian Coast of 
the Balkan Peninsula. After the armistice was 
signed on Nov. 11, 1918, Harrison visited Paris 
and the Ecole des Beaux Arts and enrolled in a 
local atelier. His earlier experiences and his stud- 
ies in the Paris atelier won him admission to the 

ecole in March 1921, but he left that school a few 
months later. 

In Paris, Harrison became friends with fellow 
architect Bobby Rodgers, a direct descendent of 
Naval hero Oliver Hazzard Perry. Rogers intro- 
duced Harrison to the artists he knew in Paris, 
which catalyzed the architect's lifelong interest in 
developing relationships with creative people. 
This exposure to the works of young artists also 
contributed to Harrison's later practice of incor- 
porating major works of art into the buildings he 
designed. Also during his two and a half years in 
Paris, Harrison came to admire the spires and 



belfries of the many cathedrals, presaging the 
talent he would later demonstrate for working on 
projects of great height and scale. 

Harrison came back to New York in the 
spring of 1921. He returned briefly to McKim, 
Mead and White before he and Rodgers went to 
work for Bertram G. Goodhue, former partner of 
Ralph Adams Cram. Specializing in the English 
Gothic style, the Cram-Goodhue firm had 
designed the West Point Chapel, St. Thomas in 
New York City, the Heinz Memorial Chapel in 
Pittsburgh, and Trinity Methodist Church in 
Springfield, Mass. Now the head of his own firm, 
Goodhue assigned Harrison to two of his major 
commissions: the National Academy of Sciences 
Building in Washington, D.C., and the Nebraska 
State Capital in Lincoln. 


Summer 1995 

After a grand tour of Rome, Florence, ( rreece 
and Egypt in 1923, I larrison returned to ( rood- 
hue's office, which was Hooded with commissions. 
It was the beginning ol one ol main building 
booms that were to leave a lasting impression on 
the face of Manhattan. When ( roodhue died the 
following year, Harrison and Kodgers formed their 
own linn and received some tree-lance work from 
their former mentor, Harvev ( lorbett. In 1 ( >26 
I larrison was hired as an associate architect for the 
New York City Board of Education, later becom- 
ing something of an authority on the architecture 
of public schools. Rodgers died shortly thereafter. 

The Rockefeller Connection 

In 1926, I larrison, then 30, married the former 
Ellen Milton, whom he had met two years earlier. 
Ellen Harrison's brother David was married to 
Abby Rockefeller, sister of David, John III, Lau- 
rance, Nelson and Winthrop. This connection 
would contribute greatly to the nature and num- 
ber of commissions Harrison and his partners 
would receive over the following half century. 

The father of these six siblings, John D. Rocke- 
feller Jr., had been responsible for the restoration 
of Colonial Williamsburg. But that was a modest 
project compared to his next venture: Rockefeller 
Center. In the spring of 1929, Corbett, Harrison 
and William H. MacMurray were brought in as 
architects for the project. (That same year, the trio 

designed Bushnell Memorial Auditorium in I [art- 
ford, Conn. Its art deeo interior would later be 
mirrored in Radio City Music I [all in Rockefeller 
Center.) I lie Rockefeller Center site was originally 
conceived as the location tor a new opera house, 
but the stock market crash of 1929 postponed those 
plans. Eater, the opera house (a Harrison design) 
would become part of a major center for the per- 
forming arts. 

because of the vast scale of the project, several 
architectural firms were engaged and the concept 
of the "group design practice" emerged. I larrison 
was the only architect to work on the project from 
its inception to the latest additions in the 1970s. 
I Ie clearly drew on his studies with Professor 
French, given the strong structural emphasis of 
this group of buildings, the first of many 
megaprojects that would be built in many large 
metropolitan centers around the world. 

The Metropolitan Square Corp., the original 
name for the group overseeing Rockefeller Cen- 
ter, faced a significant challenge beyond the huge 
task ol designing and building the complex. It was 
also necessary to find tenants who could afford to 
amortize the construction costs and carry the 
operating costs. Harrison is credited with con- 
vincing RCA to occupy the central tower and 
RKO to move into another building at the site. 
Nelson Rockefeller began work as the chief leas- 
ing agent for the center in 193 1 , a year after his 
graduation from Dartmouth. 

As Victoria New house wrote in her exception- 
al book Wallace Harrison, . Irchitect (Rizzoli Inter- 
national Publications, 1989), "[Harrison's] friend- 
ship with Nelson was to develop into a remarkable 
relationship between a powerful client and an 
outstanding architect." Eike Harrison, Nelson 
Rockefeller was a devotee of architecture and the 
fine arts — qualities he learned from his mother. 

Radio City Music Hall, a 6,200-seat theater 
(with no obstructed views), opened on Dec. 27, 
1932, and successive elements of the center fol- 
lowed over the next several years. Through Har- 
rison's architecture and skill in leading groups of 
architects, John D. Rockefeller Jr. 's fortune, and 
Nelson Rockefeller's persuasive skills, Rockefeller 
Center became one of the most successful urban 
developments of the 20th century. For many, the 
complex and Central Park — both products of the 
genius of Worcester natives — are New York 
City's signatures. 

The World Comes to New York 

Another great "signature," although a transitory 
one, was the Trylon and Perisphere, the symbol 
of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Harrison and 
his partner, J. Andre Fouilhoux, won a competi- 
tion to design a structure that exemplified the 
fair's theme, "Building the World of Tomorrow." 
The Perisphere was 180 feet in diameter, making 
it the largest globe ever built. It enclosed an exhi- 

A Selection of the Works 
of Wallace K. Harrison 

Rockefeller Center Buildings* 

New York City, 1932-1940+ 

Rockefeller Apartments 

New York City, 1936 

Trylon and Perisphere 
and three buildings 

New York World's Fair, 1939 

Three Mellon Bank Center* 

Pittsburgh, Pa., 1951 

Alcoa Building* 

Pittsburgh, Pa., 1953 

United Nations Headquarters 

New York City, 1953 


Coney Island. N.Y.. 1957 

First Presbyterian Church 

Stamford, Conn., 1958 

Corning Glass Building* 

New York City, 1959 

Rockefeller Center Expansion 

(including Time and Life, 
McGraw Hill and Exxon 
buildings), 1960-1974 

Central Intelligence Agency 

Langely, Va., 1961 

Hopkins Center 

Dartmouth College, 
Dartmouth, N.H., 1962 

LaGuardia Airport 

main terminal and control tower 

New York City, 1964 

Hall of Science 

New York World's Fair, 1965 

Metropolitan Opera House 

New York City, 1966 

Nelson Rockefeller 
Empire State Plaza 

Albany. N.Y.. 1972-1977 

Pershing Memorial 

Washington, D.C., 1983 

'With associated architects 
+Year of completion 

WTI Journal 


With Harrison are some 
of the architects asso- 
ciated with the U.N. 
Headquarters project: 
from left, Swen 
Markelius (Sweden), 
Le Corbusier (France), 
Vladimir Bodiansky 
(France), Ssu-ch'eng 
Liang (China), Harrison, 
Oscar Neimeyer (Brazil), 
Guy Soilleux (Australia), 
Nikolai Bassov 
(U.S.S.R.), Max Abram- 
ovitz, Ernest Cormier 
(Canada), Ernest Weiss- 
mann (Yugoslavia) and 
Matthew Nowicki 

bition space — larger than the interior of Radio 
City Music Hall — that contained a vast model of 
the city of the future that fairgoers viewed from 
two revolving platforms. The 610-foot-tall Trylon 
reflected Harrison's interest in tall spires. Harri- 
son and Fouilhoux also designed three buildings 
for the fair: the Consolidated Edison Pavilion, the 
Electric Utilities Exhibit and the Electrified Farm. 

Joining the Harrison-Fouilhoux partnership 
during the 1930s was the man with whom Harri- 
son was to collaborate until his last years: Max 
Abramovitz. His commissions included many of 
the buildings at the University o