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Coming Home by Michael IV. Dorsey 

AJ Sacco says the 16 days he spent in space last year were the most 

exciting of his life. The experience also helped him see the world and his 

life in a whole new way. The only hard part was returning to Earth. 

Page 6 

The Case of the Purloined Goat's Head by Joan Killough-Miller 

Last fall, WTI hrought hack the traditional Goat's Head rivalry. Anew 

goat was cast and plans were made for a big kickoff at Homecoming. 
But a few light-fingered seniors decided to get things going a little early. 

Page 8 

Digital Drama by Amy Flack "96 

Computers are invading the world of theater, as everything from 

script writing to set design is entering the digital age. A new program 

at WTI is preparing students for careers in the brave new world of 

theater technology. 
Page 10 

Hey, Joe! by Ray Beit '93 

For 50 years, Joe Gale's been a mentor to students, an ambassador for 

WTI athletics, and a friend to everyone he meets. And in the words of 

one student, he's got more memories than you can shake a stick at. 

Page 12 


Letters Use Plan as Model for Medical Education; "Travels" Disappointing; Facts W r rong on Tatum and Olmstead. Page 2 

Innovations A Decade at the Frontier, by Carol Garofoli. Page 3 
Final Word The Normandin Sisters Thrive in a "Man's World," by Ruth Trask. Page 32 

On the cover: Al Sacco enjoys an out-of-this-world view 

from the space shuttle Columbia's flight deck. A member of the 

crew of STS-73, Sacco was deeply moved by the sight of Earth 

from space. Even photographs as spectacular as our back 

cover shot of the Kalihari desert in Namibia, Africa, a photo 

taken from STS-73, can't capture the beauty of our planet, he 

says. Opposite: A view of Joe Gale doing what he does best: 

teaching young people to weld. Photo by Jonathan Kannair. 

Staff of the If "PI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gel bwasser, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90, 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 'SO • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly tor the WTI Alumni Associaoon by the Office of 

University Relations. Second-class postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, \'t. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented m this magazine do not neeessanh reflect the opinions of the editors or official WPI policies. II e 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, • World Wide H 
btip:/farww.wpi.edtt/AboutUs/News/Journal/ * Postmaster: Ifundelh erable, please send Form 3579 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1996. Worcester Pofytecbnii Institute. 


Use Plan as Model for 
Medical Education 


I thought the essay by President Parrish in 
the Fall 1995 Journal ("A Work in Progress: 
WPI and the Future of Technological Edu- 
cation") was excellent. I believe the WPI 
Plan can be a model not only for engineer- 
ing education, but across many disciplines — 
particularly medicine. 

Medicine, like engineering, is changing. 
Medical students need more than just facts 
— they need to learn to think. The content 
is intensive and the field is changing too fast 
to keep up. 

Education programs in medicine and 
engineering share many similarities. The 
hardest problem is to get students to make 
the transition from being simple fact regur- 
gitaters to being independent, logical 
thinkers. When they enter practice, both 
groups need to quickly gather facts and 
come up with the best low-cost solution. 

Physicians are not just researchers who 
approach problems from a theoretical basis. 
The best physician makes a "hunch" based 
on the presentation, does a quick clinical 
test likely to verify the hunch, and makes a 
recommendation based on the outcome. A 
battery of tests is not needed nor used. 

Traditional medical school now requires 
four years of college work followed by four 
years of medical school (two years of basic 
science and two years of clinical rotations). 
This only prepares one for residencies of 
three to eight years; then there are fellow- 
ships after that! In a time of decreased 
resources, this timeline is too long. 

The WPI Plan shows that it is possible 
to efficiently get students to perform inde- 
pendently in a short period of time. It is 
now time to get this paradigm out to other 






It was disappointing that you thought Alex 
Thorp '92 had something of value to com- 
municate to Journal readers ("Travels With 
Alex," Summer 1995). 

I would have given my right arm, upon 
graduation, to have been able to go off on a 
bicycle trip. Instead, I had to work. The lux- 


ury of Thorp's time off, in my case, would 
come only after I had served greedy "big 
business" and the military for over 45 years, 
practicing what WPI had so well trained me 
to do. 

I also had no trouble figuring out that 
"commercialism" gives people work so they 
can eat — the more of it the better. Thorp's 
fuzzy blatherings about the "too complicat- 
ed and too commercial world" show that he 
has failed to learn how our American pro- 
ductive miracle operates, and how its cre- 
ative, generous workers, together with big 
business, manage to liberate, feed and 
defend about half the people on Earth. 

Thomas P. Foley '46 
New Bern, N.C. 

Facts Wrong on 
Tatum and Olmstead 


I am writing because I believe the Journal 
has become lax in its confirmation of facts. 
In particular, I'd like to point to the refer- 
ence to Goose Tatum in an article about 
the Kobe Earthquake ("Blowing Away 
Goose Tatum," Spring 1995). The article 
described Tatum as the Trotters' expert ball 
handler, and not as the prototype for future 
Harlem Globetrotters like Meadowlark 
Lemon. In fact, the fancy ball handler who 
was responsible, along with Tatum, for the 

We'd Like to Hear From You 

The WPI Journal welcomes letters to 
the editor. If you have something you'd 
like to tell us about anything you read 
in these pages — or if you'd like to share 
your thoughts about WPI with fellow 
Journal readers — please drop us a line. 

There are now three ways to get 
your missive into our hands: 

• Via U.S. Mail: The address is The 
Editor, WPI Journal, 100 Institute 
Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280. 

• Via Electronic Mail: If you have 
an Internet connection, you can zap 
your letter to the editor in seconds. 
The address is 

• Via the World Wide Web: A new 
form on the Journal's Web service 
makes it easy to compose letters and 
send them right to the editor. The 
URL is 
News/Journal. From the Journal menu, 
select "Send a Letter to the Editor." 

Frederick Law Olmstead, father of 
landscape architecture in America, 
was not a son of Worcester. 

rise in popularity of the Globetrotters was 
Marques Haynes. 

I remained silent about this because the 
article was a personal recollection and was 
subject to the author's memory. 

A more important error occurred in 
an article on architect Wallace Harrison 
("One of a Kind," Summer 1995). The 
article gave the mistaken impression that 
Frederick Law Olmstead was a son of 
Worcester. In reality, Olmstead was not 
even a Massachusetts child. To set the 
record straight, here is a quote from Vol. 1 
of The Papers of Frederick Law Olmstead, 
edited by Charles McLaughlin: 

"Frederick Law Olmstead, die first child 
of John Olmstead and Charlotte Hull, was 
born on April 26, 1822. Fortunately, his 
father, a well-established dry-goods mer- 
chant in Hartford, Conn., was able to sup- 
port his growing family.. ..Frederick Olm- 
stead had already tried several schools in 
Hartford by the time he was seven...." 

Harvard has also claimed Olmstead as 
its own, but the record shows that his formal 
education was cut short at the age of 1 5 "by 
a case of poison sumac that spread to his 
eyes and threatened blindness," McLaughlin 
wrote. Olmstead studied civil engineering at 
Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., but 
instead of pursuing that discipline, became 
a scientific farmer near Waterbury, Conn. 
I've always considered Olmstead an environ- 
mental leader, but the landscape architects 
have taken control of his legacy. 

I hope this background sets the record 
straight for your readers. 

domenic forcella 70 
Newtngton, Conn. 

Winter 1996 


Much research would agree with 
common sense — students inter- 
ested in careers in mathematics, 
science and engineering need to have their 
imaginations fired by seeing science and 
technology in action before they choose to 
pursue those subjects in college. The 
research also shows that the best kind of 
stimulation for pre-college students is an 
extended opportunity to work, hands-on, in 
a real research laboratory. 

Recognizing this, William Grogan '46, 
then dean of undergraduate studies at WPI, 
and Peter Christopher, professor of mathe- 
matical sciences, submitted a proposal to the 
George I. Alden Trust in the early 1980s 
requesting funds to start a summer program 
for exceptional high school students. They 
were responding, as were many others in 
higher education at the time, to the need to 
get more high school students to pursue the 
demanding curricula of science and mathe- 

"We must return to basics," they wrote 
in the proposal, "but the 'basics' of the 21st 
century are not only reading, writing and 
arithmetic. They include communication 
and higher problem-solving skills, and sci- 
entific and technological literacy — the 
thinking tools that allow us to understand 
the technological world around us." 

The program Grogan and Christopher 
envisioned would encourage young people 

In 1983, WPI launched a 

summer enrichment prognwi for 

soon-to-be high school seniors. 

Since then, more than 1,300 

students have come to campus 

to explore science, mathematics 

and technology at the leading 

edge and to get a taste of college 

life. Of those students, many have 

gone on to graduate from WPI, 

making WPI Frontiers a 

successful admissions program, 

as well. Here's a look back at the 

program 's first 13 years. 

from central Massachusetts to pursue their 
burgeoning interest in science and math in 
a stimulating and supportive learning envi- 
ronment. They decided that the program 
would focus on physics, chemistry and 
mathematics, with the hope that students 

Above, students in Frontiers' civil and 
environmental engineering discipline 
set out to test their concrete canoe. 

who were turned on by their experience on 
campus would go on to major in those disci- 
plines at WPI, helping increase enrollment 
in these comparatively small departments. 

The Alden Trust funded the proposal, 
and Frontiers in Science and Mathematics 
(now called simply WPI Frontiers due to 
its expanded focus) made its debut in the 
summer of 1983. The initial offering was a 
great success, attracting 36 students (includ- 
ing 14 women) who paid $350 apiece for 
the 12 -day residential experience. With 
Provost Diran Apelian's support, the pro- 
gram's offerings were expanded to include 
mechanical engineering, design, theater 
technology and computer music. In 1995, 
106 students from 14 states, Puerto Rico 
and Belgium participated. 

Frontiers has evolved from a program 
designed chiefly to increase interest in 
undersubscribed academic departments to 
an effective general recruiting tool for the 
Institute. Of the 106 students who partici- 
pated in the program in 1994, for example, 
25 enrolled at WPI in the fall of 1995. 
(Students who matriculate at WTI have 
the cost of attending Frontiers deducted 
from their first year's tuition.) Early results 
indicate that about 50 percent of the stu- 
dents who attended Frontiers last summer 
have applied to WTI. 

The program is designed to give rising 
high school seniors the opportunity to 


study subjects not typically offered in the 
secondary school classroom. Since 1983, 
the range of subjects has expanded signifi- 
cantly, as the program's focus areas have 
grown from three to 10, including three 
fields of engineering: civil and environ- 
mental, electrical and computer, and 
mechanical. The emphasis has remained 
on hands-on learning, not passive lectures. 
The WPI faculty members who serve as 
teachers and mentors in each of the 10 dis- 
ciplines endeavor 
to offer students 
a challenging 
and rewarding 
research and 
learning experi- 

In the summer 
of 1995, for exam- 
ple, students 
choosing the biol- 
ogy option cloned 
genes and sampled 
wildlife in a coastal 
wetland. Students 
in the civil and 
engineering con- 
centration got 
hands-on experi- 
ence with testing 

procedures by building small bridges and 
evaluating them with sophisticated comput- 
er analysis and design techniques. They also 
built a concrete canoe and launched it on 
Salisbury Pond. 

In chemistry, students probed the molec- 
ular basis of matter using such state-of-the- 
art lab tools as spectrophotometers and gas 
chromatographs. Students in the computer 
science section sat at powerful workstations 
and collaborated on a software engineering 
project using C++, an object-oriented 
programming language. In electrical and 
computer engineering, students designed 
control systems and microprocessors. In 
mechanical engineering, they designed and 
built working model electric cars that were 
entered in a competition and did some alu- 
minum casting. 

Though the students spend the majority 
of their time working in a technically-ori- 
ented field, the Frontiers staff believes that 
future scientists and engineers should also 
be exposed to the humanities so they can 
appreciate the important role nontechnical 
disciplines play in the working and personal 
lives of technological professionals. Accord- 
ingly, students spend part of their time on 

campus in workshops playing music, writ- 
ing, developing their public speaking skills, 
and learning about drama and theater. 

Recognizing that science and technolo- 
gy are becoming increasingly important in 
many areas of the humanities and arts, the 
Frontiers staff recently added two new acad- 
emic areas to the program: theater technolo- 
gy (see related story, page 10) and computer 
music. The faculty felt that expanding the 
focus of the program in this way might also 

broaden its appeal by attracting stu- 
dents who might not have realized 
such opportunities exist at our tech- 
nological university. 

In theater technology, students 
learn to use computers to design sets, 
stage lighting and sound. To put 
what they learn into practice, they 
work with students from the drama/ 
theater workshops to produce a play. 
Students who choose computer 
music work with the sophisticated 
equipment and electronic composi- 
tion software in WPI's Computer 
Music Laboratory. Over the course 
of the program, they write and per- 
form an original composition. They 
also work with students from the 
music workshop to rehearse and put on a 
concert featuring several music groups. 

One of the broader goals of Frontiers is 
to offer students a taste of college life — in 
particular, life at an outstanding technologi- 
cal university. Students live in residence 
halls and dine in the student dining hall. 
They have full access to the library and the 
university computer facilities. They attend 
lectures, work in labs and do homework. 

They also receive insights into the academic 
and social sides of the college experience by 
talking to the graduate and undergraduate 
students who serve as teaching assistants and 
resident advisors in the residence halls. 

Not surprisingly, Frontiers is an acade- 
mically rigorous, intense program. But just 
like real college life, it's not all work and no 
play. There is time for relaxation, sports and 
social activities, especially on Sunday, the 
only day students don't spend in the class- 

WPI Frontiers now encompasses 10 
disciplines. Last summer, students 
in theater technology designed stage 
lighting, left, and students in mech- 
anical engineering built electric cars, 
below. Other disciplines represented 
last summer were biology and bio- 
technology, right, where students 
spent time in the lab cloning genes, 
and electrical and computer engi- 
neering, where activities included 
designing control systems and 
microprocessors, far right. 

room and lab or on field trips. In the eve- 
ning and during free periods, they enjoy 
recreational sports, movies, dances, tour- 
naments and live performances. There are 
programs on diversity and campus safety. 
Students may also take classes in word pro- 
cessing and accessing the Internet — they 
even learn to make their own home pages 
on the World Wide Web — among other 
computer-related topics. 

WINTER 1996 

In the years since Frontiers was found- 
ed, competition among summer pre-college 
programs has intensified. In 1983, WPI was 
one of the few colleges that offered such a 
program. Now there are hundreds of similar 

initiatives. The growth in the summer 
enrichment business has required WPI to 
dramatically increase its marketing efforts 
for Frontiers. Where once we could simply 
advertise the program in publications aimed 
at high school students, now we send 
direct mail pieces to potential stu- 
dents and mail announcements to 
guidance counselors and drama/ 
theater, math, music and science 
teachers around the country. 

And, of course, we must put 
Frontiers on the frontiers of commu- 
nication. Last year we started listing 
e-mail and World Wide Web ad- 
dresses for Frontiers in our brochure 
( and http://wwiv. 
Frontiers). The response has been 
overwhelming. The program now 
receives more inquiries over the 
Internet than by telephone or mail. 
We've endeavored to provide Inter- 
net visitors with information that 

One of the broader 
goals of Frontiers is to 
offer students a taste 
of college life — in 
particular, life at an 
outstanding techno- 
logical university. 

can't be captured in a simple brochure, inclu- 
ding photos of the buildings in which they 
will be studying and residing and information 
about the teaching faculty. Students can even 
send the faculty messages by e-mail. As a new 
feature this year, we've made it possible for 
students to apply for Frontiers on-line. 

Each year, as the Frontiers program 
draws to a close, we ask the participants 
what the program meant to them. The com- 
ments we receive are heartening and heart- 
warming. For many, the program expands 
their understanding of science and technol- 
ogy and cements their conviction to pursue 
those fields in college. For others, it opens 
their eyes to the challenges and rewards of 
college life. And for virtually all, it builds 
friendships and memories that endure. 

If you have a son or daughter who is a 
rising high school senior, or know of young 
people who might enjoy Frontiers, I hope 
you will tell them about our program. We 
are currently accepting applications for the 
1 996 program, which will run from July 6 

to July 18, and 
we'd love to hear 
from them. 

Garofoli, director of 
academic operations 
at WPI, coordinated 
the Frontiers pro- 
gram from 1986 to 
1995. The 1996 
edition of Frontiers 
is being coordinated 
by Blanche Pringle, 
director of minority 
affairs, and Lance 
Schachterk, assis- 
tant provost for 
special programs. 

Working at the Frontier 

The following faculty and staff members have been 


Padmanabhan K. Aravind, Physics 

Frederick W. Bianchi, Humanities and Arts (Music) 

Peter R. Christopher, Mathematical Sciences 

Robert E. Connors, Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Tahar El-Korchi, Civil and Environmental 

Richard G. Falco, Humanities and Arts (Music) 

David Finkle, Computer Science 

Daniel G. Gibson, Biology and Biotechnology 

Frederick L. Hart, Civil and Environmental 

involved with Frontiers over the years as instructors and administrators: 

Edmund M. Hayes, Humanities and Arts (Speech) 

Thomas H. Keil, Physics 

Fred J. Looft III, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Karen A. Lemone, Computer Science 

Barbara L. McCarthy, Humanities and Arts 

Denise W. Nicoletti, Electrical and Computer 

Dean M. O'Donnell, Humanities and Arts (Theater 

Philip E. Robakiewicz, Biology and Biotechnology 

Susan Vick, Humanities and Arts (Drama/Theater) 

Douglas B. Walcerz. Mechanical Engineering 

Matthew 0. Ward, Computer Science 

Douglas G. Weeks, Humanities and Arts (Music) 


Bernard H. Brown, vice president for student affairs 

Philip N, Clay, director of residential services 

Gail A. Hayes, budget coordinator and 
administrative secretary, Provost's Office 

Christopher S. Jachimowicz, assistant dean 
of students 

Kristine M. Neindorf, assistant director of 
residential services 








' *"*C 1 ' . '**>; * 

Without thinking, as we paused at one of the three-dimensional exhibits, 
I asked Dad the question I always asked: 

"What's it like, out in space?" 

Mother shot me a frightened glance. It was too late. 

Dad stood there for a hill half minute trying to find an answer, 
then he shrugged. 

"It's the best thing in a lifetime of best things." 
— From The Rocket Man, by Ray Bradbury 

As he stepped out of the silver NASA van onto the rain- 
slicked apron by Launch Pad 39B, Al Sacco Jr. looked out 
on a spectacular site. Rising 240 feet atop the huge octag- 
onal pad, space shuttle Columbia seemed to have come alive. 

Its giant orange fuel tank burgeoning with supercold liquid hydrogen and 
oxygen, the shuttle hissed and spit and exhaled cold jets of billowing vapor. 
Metal creaked and groaned. Valves opened and shut with resounding clanks 
and bangs. Machinery on the spindly gantries buzzed and hummed. And in 
the middle of it all, the gleaming 
white skin of the orbiter blazed 
in the brilliant light from xenon 
spotlights, seeming to inhale and 
exhale as the shadows of the vapor 
clouds played across it. 

It wasOct. 20, 1995— just 
before 7 a.m. at the Kennedy Space 

Center in Florida. Sacco and the six other members of the crew of STS-73 
were about to board Columbia for the seventh attempt to launch into orbit 
the second United States Microgravity Laboratory. As one of two payload 
specialists on the mission, Sacco would spend 16 days inside the lab con- 
ducting science in the microgravity environment of space. But right now, 
his mind was on the beautiful view before him and on the incredibly dan- 
gerous thing he was about to do. 

Strapped tightly into a seat in the orbiter's middeck, Sacco would be 
propelled at speeds nearing six miles a second, riding on rocket engines 
capable of cranking out nearly seven and a half million pounds of thrust, 
into a world without air and where a collision with a bit of space junk could 
result in instant obliteration. But he was also about to realize the dream of 
a lifetime: to go where only 326 other human beings have gone before and 
to see the Earth, the universe — and his own life — from the vantage point of 
150 nautical miles up. It was an experience that would change him forever. 

Al Sacco's voyage into space began more than three decades ago in Bel- 
mont, Mass. The son of a former professional boxer and successful restau- 
rant owner, Sacco grew up in a tight-knit Italian-American family that 
believed in hard work. Sacco did work hard — in school, on the athletic field 
at Belmont High School, and in Mario's, his father's restaurant — all the 
while eagerly following the Space Race and dreaming of one day becoming 
an astronaut himself. 

He studied chemical engineering at Northeastern University and went 
on to earn a Ph.D. in the same discipline at MIT. With a NASA grant, he 
designed a regenerative life-support system to convert metabolic carbon 
dioxide from the air inside spacecraft to water. In 1976 he submitted his 
application to the astronaut corps, but was turned down. Assuming his dream 
of spaceflight was at an end, he joined the faculty at WPI, where he is now, 
18 years later, head of the Chemical Engineering Department. 

In 1983, a conversation with a fellow faculty member started Sacco 
down a new path that would ultimately take him to that rainy October 

(Continued on page 14) 

By Michael W. Dorsey 

Last fall, Al Sacco realized 
his lifelong dream to fly in 
space. He says being in 
orbit felt so natural he 
became convinced that it is 
his destiny-and mankind's- 
to live among the stars. 
That conviction made 
returning to Earth all the 

WPI Journal 

The Case of the Pur 

By Joan Killough-Miller 

THE NEWS was broken at halftime of the Homecoming game 
last fall: "The Class of '96 has the goat!" A few brazen seniors 
bearing a hand-painted banner raced across Alumni Field in the 
middle ot the singing of the alma mater. Their unexpected announce- 
ment reignited the century-old Goat's Head competition, which had 
been dormant for decades. 

Spectators who turned in time caught a glimpse of the bronze tro- 
phy, which was briefly held aloft. But just as quickly as it appeared, the 
goat was tossed over two fences to a waiting senior, who spirited it 
across Institute Road and back into seclusion. 

The Goat's Head is finally back, after years of work by more indi- 
viduals and campus groups than can be named here. Lisa Hastings, for- 
mer director of young alumni programs, says the movement evolved 
from the rebirth of the Student Alumni Society in the early 1990s. 

"Reviving traditions was the issue around which SAS was rebuilt," 
says Hastings, who is now director of development at Harvard Univer- 
sity's Arnold Arboretum. Students produced a new version of the Tech 
Bible, a handbook for freshmen first published in 1897, and established 
Traditions Day in 1991 to educate the WPI community about its her- 
itage. Class rivalry events, including the Pennant Rush and the alma 
mater singing contest, have also been reinstated. 

The most celebrated rivalry in WPI lore is the competition to 
acquire and hold the Goat's Head for one's class. The contest original- 
ly involved the preserved head of an actual goat, but when the stuffed 
trophy grew too fragile, it was replaced by a bronze statue in 1926 (see 
the story on page 24 for more on the history of the Goat's Head and 
the story of Gompei Kuwada,* the original goat keeper). After the 
1950s, the Goat's Head tradition waned and the bronze goat was rele- 
gated to a shelf in the WPI archives, to be brought out occasionally for 
display at alumni functions. 

With the revival of enthusiasm for WPI's traditions in the 1990s, 
interest naturally turned to the Goat's Head. By then the 1926 goat 
was deemed too valuable to again serve as a trophy in a student com- 
petition. So a group of students approached the Executive Commit- 
tee of the WPI Alumni Association in 1993 requesting funding for 
a new statue. The request was approved, casting arrangements were 
made (see box, page 23), and the Goat's Head Committee was 
formed to draft a new set of rules for the class competition. 

In the fall of 1995, the bronze replica was finally ready. Then 
a new question arose: how, exactly, should the Goat be put back 
into play? The SAS debated the issue and decided to hand the new 
Goat's Head over to the Class of 1997, on the grounds that the class 
had won more rivalry events than any other class during its sopho- 
more year. The presentation would be made at a ceremony during 
Homecoming in September 1995. 

Not all students were satisfied with that decision. A group of dis- 
gruntled seniors gathered after the meeting, aggrieved that their efforts 

(Continued on page 23) 

"According to WPI archivist Lora Brueck, WPI's records are inconsistent as to the correct 
spelling of Mr. Kuwada's first name. Records from his student days show it consistently 
as Gumpei. In later years, he signed letters to the Alumni Office, Gompei Kuwada, yet a 
business card from the same period lists it as Gumpei. From about 1920 on, all WPI docu- 
ments spelled it Gompei. In this issue we have chosen to use this more familiar moniker. 


Winter 1996 


oined Goat's Head 

For more than a century the Goat's Head has been WPI's Maltese 
Falcon— an object of unbridled desire and elaborate schemes. 
The class that grabs it lays claim, not only to bragging 
rights over every other class, but to a rich 
WPI tradition. 


WPI Journal 


1 1 11 

In the increasingly high-tech world of the theater, professionals 
who are well versed in the dramatic arts and modern technology 
are in great demand. To meet this need, an innovative new 
program at WPI is preparing students for careers in the 
emerging field of theater technology. 


By Amy L. Plack '96 

echnology has always been an 
integral part of the theater. 
Through the centuries, machines, 
gadgets and ingenious contri- 
vances of all sorts have been employed to 
engineer the illusions that are so impor- 
tant to live drama and to create stage- 
bound worlds for actors to inhabit. 

During the last few decades, the 
world of theater technology has been 
growing increasingly sophisticated as 
producers like Andrew Lloyd Webber 
have engineered extravaganzas in which 
elaborate mechanical sets, spectacular 
lighting and sound, and eye-popping 
special effects often upstage the big- 
name stars. In this new era of the per- 
forming arts, professionals who under- 
stand both theater and modern technol- 
ogy are in great demand, according to 
Susan Vick, professor of drama/theater at 
WPI and director of the Institute's new 
Theater and Technology program. 

"The world of the theater is chang- 
ing," says Vick, who is serving this year as a mem- 
ber of the Drama League, the nation's oldest 
theater organization. "People who are well versed 
in leading-edge technology are becoming critical 
to the success of modern theater productions. For 
example, when shows like Phantom of the Opera 

tour, there is often only one backstage person who 
goes along, and that's the computer guy." 

In fact, computers are everywhere in the the- 
ater today. Scenery is often designed and modeled 
using computer-aided design software. Computers 
control the lighting boards and sound systems, 
enabling designers to create complicated effects 
never dreamed possible. Costume designers try 
out possibilities on the computer screen before 
they sew a stitch. And scripts are likely to be writ- 
ten, edited and customized for use by actors, 
directors and technicians with the help of comput- 
erized word processing packages. In short, mod- 
ern computer technology is becoming as impor- 
tant to the theater as it is to virtually every other 
business and industry. 

Theater technology differs from the more 
traditional field of technical theater, Vick says. 
"Technical theater deals with the way certain tech- 
nical things are done in the theater — for example, 
how one builds flats," she says. "Theater technol- 
ogy is a more contemporary term that encompasses 
technology of all sorts that supports the theater 
performance. There is an emphasis on emerging 
technologies, like computer-aided design, that 
work to create, build and enhance theater and to 
expand the bounds of what constitutes theater." 

Currently, the best way to prepare for a career 
in theater technology is to complete an under- 
graduate degree program in a field of engineering, 


Winter 1996 


and then go on to do graduate work in theater. 
"A technically oriented theater professional must 
not only be expert in the nuts and bolts of the 
technology itself, but understand drama and be 
familiar with the literature of the stage. That's a 
combination you simply can't get through most 
undergraduate engineering programs." 

But thanks to a new curriculum within the 
Department of Humanities and Arts, it is a com- 
bination you can get now at WPI. The new pro- 
gram, unique among undergraduate offerings in 
the U.S., according to Vick, enables students to 
blend their engineering knowledge with their love 
for the performing arts by earning a bachelor of 
science degree in the humanities and arts with a 
tocus in theater technology 7 , or by completing a 
double major program, with one major in a field 
of technology, such as computer science, electrical 
and computer engineering, or mechanical engi- 
neering, and the second major in the humanities 
and arts. 

Vick says students may also pursue an individ- 
ually designed major in Theater and Technology, 
an option that appeared for the first time in this 
year's undergraduate catalog. This program draws 
heavily on an Interactive Qualifying Project, "The 
Design of WTFs Theater Technology Program," 
completed by Melissa LaGreca '97, and takes 
advantage of the wide range of existing courses at 
WTI in engineering, design, mathematics, sci- 

WPI Journal 


ence, and the humanities and arts. 

In addition to their technical and theater 
course work, students in the Theater Technology 
program frequently have opportunities to learn 
about theater technology from working profes- 
sionals. Last fall, for example, Robert Webb, 
technical director of the Huntington Theatre 
Company in Boston, conducted a seven-week 
seminar that introduced students to basic ele- 
ments of designing for the theater. In the lab, 
Webb, a specialist in drafting and design, rigging, 
working with foams and plastics, and other types 
of theater technology, covered everything from 
counterweight fly systems to stage construction to 
lighting design to materials used in scenic design. 

Last fall also saw visits from professional 
scenic designer Brigitte Altenhouse, who conduct- 
ed a workshop for students, and the Clyde Unity 
Theatre troupe of Glasgow, Scotland, which 
mounted a performance of John Binnie's.-/ Little 
Older at WTI in October and then conducted a 
workshop in theater and theater technology for 
WTI students. The company, considered Scot- 
land's most exciting new theater group, has 
offered workshops on three continents. 

Hands-on workshops with theater profession- 
als give students the opportunity to get a taste of 
how design is done in the real world of professional 
theater, Vick says. Another way to get that first- 

(Continued on page 26) 



Opposite page, top, 
Stephen Richardson 
'97, audio technician 
for last fall's production 
of Henry V, works the 
audio boards. Bottom, 
fly operator Jedidiah 
Miller '97, left, and set 
designer Noah Weis- 
leder '96 confer back- 
stage during a techni- 
cal rehearsal. 



In 1946 Joe Gale continued a family 

tradition and ca?ne to work fir WPI. 

Haifa century later, he's still here. 

For 50 years — in the classroom, in the 

shop, in the press box, and in countless 

locales in between — hes touched 

thousands of lives and built a 

treasure trove of memories. 

By Ray Bert '93 

oe ( rale stepped <>() a boat in early February 1946, setting down 
onto American soil again for good after a four-year hitch in the 
Army during World War II. Returning home to his native 
Worcester, Joe was informed of the following conversation that 
had taken place between his father, John Gale, and A.J. Knight, then 
the superintendent of buildings and grounds at WPI and the future 
namesake of one of its athletic fields: 

Knight: When'sjoe getting out of the service? 

Gale: Feb. 6th. 

Knight: When he gets home, tell him to take a few days off and 

then get his butt in here to work. 

On Feb. 25, 1946, 19 days after his discharge from the Army, Joe Gale 
began work as an employee of Worcester Polytechnic 
Institute. Fifty years later, that relationship 
and so much more are 
still going strong. 

To call Joe Gale a fixture at WPI, 
while accurate, doesn't do the man justice. He's 
a living, breathing part of the fabric of the institution — 
a human timeline of WPI's recent history. In his 50 years on campus 
(longer than most of the Institute's living alumni have been around) 
Joe has witnessed more growth and change, known more people, and 
touched more lives than perhaps anyone else in the Institute's history. 

But to get a true sense of who Joe Gale is, don't look for pivotal, 
life-shaping events. Joe's life is more accurately represented by the piles 
upon piles of small events, conversations and memories that live on in 
his mind and in the minds of those who have known him. Put together, 
they form a remarkably consistent picture of a man who, through ges- 
tures large and small, and through the overwhelming force of his warm 
and hard-working nature, has won over generations of WPI students, 
faculty and staff. 

Editor's NOTE: /;/ a typical profile, this is where the author would 
begin referring to the subject by his last name. But "Gale" doesn't seem right 
here. Wlnle "Mr. Gale " is appropriate, given the respect and esteem in which 
John J. B. "Joe" Gale is held, it is thoroughly at odds with his friendly, infor- 
mal persona. Therefore, we have decided to simply use "Joe." 

Joe was accepted into the Army on Dec. 10, 1941, just three days 
after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He and one-fifth of his div- 
ision were selected for the Armored Board Test Operations unit at 
Fort Knox, where Joe eventually became a shop foreman. Scheduled 
to travel to Europe in 1945 to instruct soldiers in the use of the first 
mechanized flame throwers, Joe received new orders as the war in 
Europe ended. 

"The flamethrowers were mounted on tanks with 500 gallons of 
napalm for each," Joe recalls. With just a hint of a boyish fascination 
for things powerful and destructive, he adds, "They sent me to ESSO 
Labs to learn to operate them — you could get about 200 yards out of 
them! They were never used, though." 

(Continued on page 28) 

WPI Journal 


[Before a launch 

attempt] "yon f d get 

up in the morning 

and start trying to 

make peace with 

yourself, knowing 

that in a few hours 

you might not be 
around anymore. " 

Coming Home 

(Continued from page 7) 

morning in Florida. The late Len Sand, a chem- 
ical engineering professor and renowned expert 
on zeolites, convinced Sacco to think about the 
microgravity of space as a possible breeding 
ground for large and highly valuable versions of 
these aluminum and silicon crystals, which are 
used as sieves and catalysts in many industries — 
especially petroleum refining. 

From that conversation came 
a student-built experiment that 
flew into space as part of a pack- 
age of WPI experiments in 1990. 
That experiment led, in turn, to 
a major space-based zeolite re- 
search program, supported by 
NASA and Battelle Advanced 
Materials Center, that flew an 
experiment on the first United 
States Microgravity Laboratory in 
1992. As that experiment was in 
development, Sacco learned that 
NASA needed two payload spe- 
cialists for the mission — scientists 
who would train to be astronauts 
and then carry out a host of scien- 
tific experiments in orbit. 

Sacco was one of four scien- 
tists ultimately chosen to compete 
for the two flight slots. He spent 
more than a year in training only 
to learn that he would be a stand- 
by. Devastated, he carried out the duties of an 
alternate payload specialist during the USML-1 
mission, which included working long shifts at the 
Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama as the 
primary communication link with the astronauts 
orbiting overhead. After the shuttle landed, he 
returned to Worcester, an exhausted and emo- 
tionally drained almost-astronaut. 

"We live in a success-oriented society," he 
says. "The fact that you train to be an astronaut 
and do everything the other crew members do 
means nothing if you don't fly. I could see that in 
people's faces when Fd give talks. They'd ask me 
what it was like in space, and Fd tell them I hadn't 
been there. You could see their faces sink. It made 
me feel crummy." 

A few years later, NASA began gearing up for 
a second USML mission, and once again the call 
went out for payload specialists. Sacco's name was 
submitted and, out of the thousands of candidates, 
he was chosen to be part of a pool of fewer than 
1 5 contenders. As before, he was grilled by a panel 
of science experts, who narrowed the field to six. 
Then Sacco underwent a battery ol physical tests, 
made a presentation to a NASA review panel 
about why he thought he should be chosen, and 
submitted to an FBI background check before 

returning to Worcester to await the verdict, hop- 
ing his expertise and his experience with the first 
USML mission would make a difference. 

They call them flashbulb memories — moments 
so powerful they become permanently seared 
into our brain tissue. For some, they include 
the day John F. Kennedy was shot, or the morn- 
ing Challenger blew up. For Al Sacco, the flash- 
bulb exploded the day he got "The Call." 

He was sitting in the family room of his home 
in Holden, Mass., with his wife, Terri, watching a 
rerun of an old Star Trek episode. As the Enterprise 
and its crew boldly slipped among the stars, the 
phone rang. It was Kathy Thornton, the astronaut 
best known as a member of the crew of space walk- 
ers who helped repair the nearsighted Hubble tele- 
scope. "I didn't know Kathy," Sacco says, "but Fd 
read that she'd been chosen to be payload com- 
mander for the USML-2 mission. So I knew this 
was going to be very good or very bad news." 

Getting right to the point, Thornton said sim- 
ply, "Al, welcome to the USML-2 crew. You've 
been selected to fly." Sacco was elated. The official 
announcement of his selection came two weeks lat- 
er, and then in the spring of 1994, he began the 
lengthy process of training. For 18 months, he 
learned everything he could about the 20 experi- 
ments slated to fly on USML-2. And he learned, 
once again, how to be an astronaut — how to pre- 
pare for the rigors of launch and reentry, how to 
eat, sleep and go to the bathroom in microgravity, 
what to do in the case of innumerable problems 
and malfunctions that might occur on the orbiter, 
and how to survive (or at least attempt to survive) 
die truly serious malfunctions that can threaten the 
survival of the shuttle and its crew. 

Sacco says the training was easier this time 
around because he had been through it before and 
because there would be a ride into space at the 
end of it all. But the thrill of being a payload spe- 
cialist, and not an alternate, also brought with it a 
tremendous weight of responsibility. "The hardest 
part of the mission was worrying about whether I 
was going to screw up somebody's experiment," 
he says. "Some experimenters had worked 10 
years to get on the shuttle. They were going to 
have two or three days of my time. If I messed up, 
God knows when they'd get to fly again." 

Despite the pressure, Sacco says he thorough- 
ly enjoyed the launch preparations, in large part 
because of the chemistry of the USML-2 crew. 
There was Thornton, a veteran of three space 
flights who holds master's and doctoral degrees 
in physics; mission specialist Catherine "Cady" 
Coleman, making her first shuttle flight, who 
holds a doctorate in polymer science and engi- 
neering; Navy Lieutenant Commander Michael 
Lopez-Alegria, on his first flight, who holds a 
master's in aeronautical engineering; Navy Com- 
mander Kent Rominger, the orbiter pilot, also 


Winter 1996 

making his first flight, who has a master's in aero- 
nautical engineering; Navy Commander Ken 
Bowersox, orbiter commander and veteran of 
three flights, who has a master's in mechanical 
engineering; and Sacco's fellow payload specialist 
Fred Leslie, a NASA research scientist with a 
Ph.D. in meteorology. 

"We just had one of those mixes," Sacco says. 
"We were a group of people who really gelled." 

The space shuttle Columbia has a number of 
distinctions. It was the first operational shut- 
tle in NASA's fleet, kicking the shuttle pro- 
gram off with its first flight in 1981. In the 17 
trips into space it had made prior to USML-2 
(constituting 2,500 orbits and 64 million miles), it 
had developed a reputation as a reliable vehicle in 
orbit. But it also can be tough to get off the pad. 
In fact, it holds the record for the most consecu- 
tive launch cancellations. During the USML-2 
mission, it would come within a hair's breadth of 
breaking that record. 

Due to mechanical problems, computer 
glitches and bad weather (including a visit by 
hurricane Opal), the launch of STS-73 would 
ultimately be delayed six times, enough to tie 
Columbia's record. For the crew, the delavs took 
a mental toll. "You'd get up in the morning and 
start trying to make peace with yourself, knowing 
that in a few hours you might not be around any- 
more," Sacco says. "You'd get psyched up to do 
something just to have them say, 'We're cancel- 
ing — see you next week.' I would feel devastating 
disappointment, tempered by a feeling of relief 
that, 'Geez, I've got a little more time." 

By NASA protocol, astronauts must go into 
quarantine seven to 10 days before a flight to min- 
imize the risk of catching something that might be 
a problem in orbit. By the time Columbia finally 
flew, the quarantine for the STS-73 crew had 
stretched to 34 days. "I only got to see my wife in 
certain areas, most of the time," Sacco says. "1 
never got to see my sons, my daughters or my 
granddaughter. They did let us go home for 12- 

hour periods as the delays continued. But 1 think 
the experience was more trying for people on the 
outside than it was for me. I had the benefit of 
being part of an outstanding crew. They were my 
family, too. We would commiserate together, 
laugh together, cry together." 

They also played together. Sacco says he and 
the other Columbia astronauts passed the time 
between launch attempts shooting skeet, riding 
all-terrain vehicles through the Florida swamps, 
and doing acrobatic maneuvers in T-38 jets out 
over the deep blue waters of the Atlantic. "I got in 
between 10 and 15 hours in high-performance air- 
craft over the course of that month — that's a lot," 
he says. "I had a ball." 

The seventh launch attempt was set for 
Thursday, Oct. 20. As Sacco and the other crew 
members arose at 3:30 a.m., the prospect for a 
launch seemed dim. The weather was rainy and 
the forecast offered little hope for clear skies. 
Sacco showered and pulled on a pair of slacks and 
a dark blue shirt with the USML-2 patch over the 
pocket — the uniform the crew had agreed to wear 
that morning. He opened the door to his room 
just before 4 a.m. and stepped into the hall as 
Kathv Thornton was leaving her room. "Well, 
Al," she said. "I think we're going today." 

Preparations for the launch of a U.S. manned 
spacecraft have always been a mix of public 
and private rituals. The first public event 
that morning was the astronauts' breakfast. The 
crew sat around a large table and chatted with 
reporters as breakfast was brought out. Once 
upon a time, astronauts ate steak and eggs on 
launch morning, but that tradition was largely left 
behind before the dawn of the shuttle program. 
On diis morning, no one ate steak and eggs. In 
fact, no one ate much of anything. Most of the 
crew was following what came to be called the 
"Thornton Protocol." 

Sacco says astronauts can spend up to six hours 
strapped into the shuttle before a launch. Antici- 

(Continued on page 1 7) 

"I had the benefit 
of being part of an 
outstanding crew. 
They were my 
family, too. We 
would commiserate 
together, laugh 
together, ay 
together. " 


WPI Journal 



The Z Team 

While Al Sacco 
was entering the 
annals of space 
lore 150 miles above the 
Earth in Columbia, WPFs 
Zeolite Crystal Growth 
(ZCG) research team was 
making its own kind ot space 
history on the ground at the 
Kennedy Space Center. 

The team included Nur- 
can Bac, visiting professor of 
chemical engineering and 
leader of the ZCG launch 
preparation team; Giacomo 
"Jack" Ferrarojr., principal 
lab machinist for the Chem- 
istry and Chemical Engineer- 
ing departments and hardware specialist for 
the ZCG experiment; postdoctoral fellow 
Juliusz Warzywoda, synthesis expert; gradu- 
ate student Ipek Guray; and chemical engi- 
neering majors Michelle Marceau '97 and 
Terri Sacco '97 (Al's daughter). Al Sacco 
was principal investigator for the experi- 
ment, and Lisa McCauley at Battelle was in 
charge of integrating the space hardware. 
Battelle technician Robert Whitmore and 
postdoctoral fellow Eric Coker, working for 
the European Space Agency (ESA) in Delft, 
Netherlands, assisted with the hardware. 

The launch team members were respon- 
sible for preparing the solutions and auto- 
claves that would be used in the ZCG exper- 
iment on USML-2. It was also the team's 
job to monitor the progress of the space 
experiment and to run a duplicate control 
experiment back in the lab at WPI. Accord- 
ing to Bac and Ferraro, they also saw as part 
of their mission offering moral support to 
Sacco and the rest of the STS-73 crew. This 
pursuit would take them where no ordinary 
Space Center visitors had ever been before, 
according to Ferraro. 

"Before a mission, the astronauts fly into 
Kennedy in T-38s," he says. "Normally, 
only members of the media are allowed to 
be there when they land. But Lisa McCauley 
is a friend of the head of public relations at 
Kennedy, and she was able to get permission 
for us to be there when the STS-73 crew 
flew in, as long as we stayed in one spot and 
didn't talk to anybody. Well, of course, we 
brought along some big signs saying, 'The 
ZCG Team Welcomes STS-73 Crew,' and 
we waved and jumped up and down and 
yelled as the crew arrived. The media 
noticed and started taking pictures of us." 

Oct. 5. It would be the first of 
three times they would have 
to prepare new solutions for 
the flight. For two longer 
delays, as many as half of the 
autoclaves had to be emptied, 
chemically cleaned (a three- 
day process) and filled with 
fresh solutions. By the time 
Columbia finally flew on Oct. 
20, the team was running 
dangerously low on supplies. 
"If the flight had been delayed 
again, we'd have had nothing 
left," Ferraro says. 

After the Oct. 20 launch, 
Bac and Warzywoda flew to 
Huntsville, Ala., to man the 
NASA must have been pleased with the ZCG experiment console at NASA's Space- 
results, Bac says. "We've heard that they are lab Operations Center. The rest of the 

With the ZCG furnace, from left, Ferraro, Sacco, Marceau, 
Warzywoda, Guray, Bac and Coker. 

thinking of changing their policy and invit- 
ing people other than the media to attend 
the crew arrival events now." 

The team's desire to reach out to the 
Columbia astronauts got Ferraro in trouble 
one morning, however. Knowing that the 
astronauts would be walking out of the 
Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building 
to begin their trip to the launch pad, the 
team members decided that Ferraro should 
drive their rental truck, adorned with a large 
sign reading, "STS-73: Take Us With You," 
to the back of the building where the shuttle 
crew could see it. As he neared the building, 
Ferraro was surrounded by police cruisers 
from NASA's security forces. He stopped 
the truck, and got out with his hands in the 

research team returned to Worcester to set 
up the lab to run the duplicate experiment. 
On Nov. 5, Columbia returned to Earth. 
Bac met with Sacco a few hours after the 
landing and retrieved the autoclaves to bring 
back to WPI for analysis. He and Ferraro 
say the preliminary examination of the 
crystals grown in orbit show that the experi- 
ment was a tremendous success. On its two 
previous trips into space (including its debut 
flight on the first USML mission in 1992), 
WPI's experiment had produced some of 
the largest zeolites grown. This mission 
topped those results, producing crystals 
between 280 and 300 microns wide (com- 
mercially grown crystals are typically about 
2 microns, while the largest crystals the 

air. "They brought out a bomb-sniffing dog ZCG team had previously grown in space 

and went all through the truck," he says. 

The ZCG team arrived in Florida in late 
September to set up a laboratory in the 
O&C Building, where they would prepare 
a variety of zeolite solutions to go into the 
44 metal and 16 clear acrylic autoclaves that 
would fly in USML-2. The metal autoclaves 
would be heated for nearly 13 days in a fur- 
nace on the middeck, while the clear units 
would be used to test the mixing protocol 
for the zeolite solutions. On Sept. 26, after 
a nearly 12 -hour work day, the team handed 
the autoclaves over to NASA to be stowed in 
the shuttle. But the launch was scrubbed the 
following morning, and that evening the 
autoclaves were returned. 

The team refilled several autoclaves 

were about 140 microns). Crystals of this 
size could open the door to new technol- 
ogies and applications — and could mean 
significant savings for industries that use 

Will the ZCG experiment fly again? Bac 
says WPI hopes to secure a slot on another 
shuttle mission, or, barring that, a place on 
the International Space Station. The next 
flight may well be made in collaboration 
with ESA. The ZCG team began a collabo- 
ration with ESA on USML-2 by including 
two zeolite solutions prepared by ESA 
researchers in the ZCG furnace. "Every 
time we fly the experiment, we get a better 
idea of which solutions work best and the 
best way to prepare them," Bac says. "We've 
already had very good results; I think we can 

containing solutions they thought might 

go bad during the delay and gave them back do even better on future flights." 

to NASA in time for the next attempt on 

— MD 


Winter 1996 

Coming Home 

(Continued from page 1 5) 

paring that they may need to urinate during that 
time, they wear diapers under their space suits. 
But Sacco says the shuttle seats place an astronaut's 
head about six inches lower than his body, which 
can make urinating difficult. "Kathy learned from 
experience that if you eat or drink anything on 
launch morning, your bladder fills up and you get 
the worst case of having to go to the bathroom 
you've ever had," he says. "This happened to me 
during the launch dress rehearsal. I found it impos- 
sible to go lying on my back with my head down. 
It was the worst six hours I ever spent." 

The Thornton Protocol calls for avoiding 
drinking for 12 hours prior to launch. Sacco says 
it works. So on the morning of Oct. 20, he ate 
onlv a handful of dry Cheerios and drank nothing. 

From the breakfast room, the astronauts went 
to the suiting-up area to change out of their casual 
clothes and into the bright orange pressure suits 
they would wear for launch and re-entry. Before 
suiting up, they pulled on their LCGs, or liquid 
cooling garments (essentially long underwear with 
plastic tubing stitched into it — water flows 
through the tubes to keep the crew comfortable 
inside the insulated suits). Like warriors being 
dressed for battle, the crew went before the pho- 
tographers once again as technicians helped them 
into their pressure suits. 

The Operations and Checkout Building, 
which houses the crew facilities, is just a few miles 
from Launch Pad 39B. To get there, the crew and 
the suit technicians ride in streamlined silver vans. 
The image of the astronauts striding confidently 
out of the building to board those vans has 
become one of the signatures of the U.S. space 
program. But before the STS-73 crew could make 
that walk, they had to make a decision. Lopez- 
Alegria had arranged for a friend to make special 
baseball caps for the crew. The attractive caps 
featured "STS-73" printed in gold against the 
stars and stripes of the U.S. flag. 

The crew agreed to wear the caps on their 
ride to the pad. Lopez-Alegria and Sacco suggest- 
ed that everyone put them on with the bills facing 
backward, in the style preferred by young people 
today. Bowersox objected, fearing the gesture 
could be seen as frivolous and undignified. The 
crew lobbied him as they descended in the eleva- 
tor to the vans, but he remained unconvinced. Fin- 
ally, they took a vote, and at 6:25 a.m., the seven 
emerged into the glare of TV spotlights and 
strobe flashes, smiling broadly, waving, and sport- 
ing a look that would go a long way toward meet- 
ing a personal goal of Sacco: erasing the image of 
scientists and engineers as staid, up-tight geeks. 
"That's my son's favorite picture from the whole 
mission," Sacco says. 

The ride to the pad took 15 minutes. Police 
cars escorted the caravan and a helicopter flew 

WPI Journal 

along overhead as the vehi- 
cles made their way through 
the lush greenery of the 
Florida swamps. Fmerging 
from the vans, the crew 
walked to the elevator that 
would carr\ them to the 
White Room, the small 
enclosure surrounding the 
shuttle's hatch. The NASA 
television feed would show 
them striding down the 65- 
foot-Iong orbital access arm 
and into the White Room 
several minutes later, but 
along the way, there was a 
brief stop to make. 

"There is a bathroom on 
the 195-foot level," Sacco 
says. "We all decided to use 
it, which required taking off 
our suits. The suit techs 
were not happy. That was 
the only record we set on 
this mission. All seven of us 

used the bathroom, got back in our suits and made 
it to the WTiite Room with no delay in the time- 
line. We were really good at getting in and out of 
those suits, having done it so many times before." 

Bowersox, as commander, was first to crawl 
into Columbia; Sacco was next. He pulled on his 
Snoopy cap (the white and black cap with a built- 
in communications headset that astronauts wear 
under their flight helmets) and crawled through 
the hatch into the middeck, a 2,600-cubic-foot 
space that serves as the crew's living room, dining 
room, bedroom and bathroom. He settled into his 
seat against the sleeping compartments on the far 
wall. Technicians helped him buckle and tighten 
the lap belt and two shoulder harnesses. 

It took more than two hours to get the rest of 
the crew strapped in: Rominger, Lopez-Alegria 
and Coleman on the flight deck, and Leslie and 
Thornton side-by-side in the middeck. The hatch 
was closed just after 8 a.m. and the suit techs 
made their way back down to the vans. With a 
tremendous bang, the cabin was pressurized and 
Columbia was ready for liftoff. 

Inside the shuttle, tensions and spirits were 
both high. The crew bantered over the intercom 
and good-natured barbs flew back and forth. 
Sacco was kidded about a bet he'd made that he 
wouldn't eat NASA spaghetti sauce in orbit. Hav- 
ing grown up in an Italian family, he knew good 
tomato sauce when he tasted it, and the NASA 
stuff wasn't it. He didn't know that the crew had 
brought aboard a freeze-dried version of his wife's 
sauce for him to enjoy. 

For nearly two hours, songs were sung, jokes 
were told and bladders were discussed as the men 
and women of Mission Control watched the 

(Continued Dii next page) 


The STS-73 crew voted 
to wear their caps with 
the bills backwards as 
they emerged from the 
O&C Building to begin 
their trip to the launch 
pad. The jaunty look 
was a big hit with young 
people, Sacco says. 

"It sounds strange, 

but I felt more 

normal floating in 

microgravity than I 

do walking on the 

ground. It was like 

I had come back to 

something that was 

natural for me? 

Coming Home 

{Continued from previous page) 

weather. At some point, Sacco fell asleep. He 
awoke at the T-20 minute mark, as the count 
entered a planned hold, then dozed again. The 
count stopped again at the T-5 mark for a final 
check of the weather. The dreary skies had parted 
and sun now shone down on Pad 39B. Through 
their headsets, the crew heard the verdict from the 
launch director. "Looks like you folks are going 
flying today." 

Leslie, who was seated between Sacco and 
Thornton, punched the still sleeping Sacco in the 
side. "Al, we just went by the five-minute mark." 
Sacco experienced what he describes as a mild 
anxiety attack. "For about 30 seconds, I had a 
vision of my life. I saw my kids being born. I saw 
my brothers and sisters as we grew up. I had a 
vision of everyone I really care about. I thought, 
'What am I doing here?' Then it all went away 
and I felt at peace with myself; at peace with 
everybody around me. I accepted that what was 
going to happen was going to happen. It was like 
being in the hands of God." 

With 90 seconds to go, the crew pulled down 
their visors and turned on the flow of oxygen 
in their suits. Sacco, Leslie and Thornton ex- 
changed glances and held hands across Leslie's 
chest. As the count reached the 6.6-second mark, 
the onboard computer started the three main 
engines. Sacco heard a muffled roar and felt 
low-frequency vibrations through his seat as the 
engines revved to 90 percent of full thrust, rock- 
ing the shuttle forward. With a twang, the shut- 
tle came to a stop and began to rock back again. 
Just then, the clock reached zero and the two 
solid-fueled boosters erupted with a boom that 
resonated through the cabin. The shuttle leaped 
from the pad. 

Emerging a few seconds later from a massive 
cloud of smoke and vapor, Columbia rolled grace- 
fully and headed for space. "When the solids lit, 
the whole thing started to shudder a lot more," 
Sacco says. "I felt a compression in my chest as we 
gradually went 'uphill' to about 2.4 Gs. The vibra- 
tions felt as though we were driving over railroad 
tracks. All the while, we could hear Ken and Kent 
calling out altitudes and speeds." 

The crew waited in near silence for the sepa- 
ration of the solids. No doubt, thoughts about the 
Challenger explosion — caused by a breach in a seal 
in one of the boosters — played across their minds. 
"There are a number of phases of flight that are 
just as dangerous as those first two minutes," Sac- 
co says, "but that is the only period for which we 
have no contingencies. For other phases there are 
contingency plans, which I have to admit, in all 
honesty, are not likely to help very much, but at 
least you can do something — you can keep your 
mind active until you obliterate." 

The boosters blasted away with a sound like 
cap guns firing, and suddenly the ride grew 
smooth and strangely quiet. The main engines 
continued to burn, but the shuttle, now traveling 
several thousand miles an hour, was outpacing 
sound. "All you can hear is your own breathing 
and the voices over the intercom," Sacco says. 

With the solids safely away, the crew became 
more animated and talkative. As the shuttle 
climbed to 50 miles — traditionally considered 
the point where the atmosphere ends and space 
begins — Bowersox called out, "You're all astro- 
nauts, now." A cheer erupted from the entire crew. 

The shuttle, having throttled down, began to 
accelerate again, climbing up to 3.2 Gs. Sacco 
concentrated on his breathing, but, he says, the 
hours he'd spent hitting 6 and 7 Gs in the T-38s 
made 3.2 seem easy. And then, eight and a half 
minutes after they had ignited, the main engines 
cut out as the shuttle reached orbit. "We went 
flying forward in our seats," Sacco says. "It was 
the most violent portion of the whole ride. I 
thought I was going to go right through the bulk- 
head in front of me. No one had told me about 
that sensation." 

Now drifting through space, the shuttle eject- 
ed its external fuel tank and began automatically 
switching on electrical systems, fans and lights, 
filling the middeck with noise. Still trussed tightly 
to his seat, Sacco had no sensation of weightless- 
ness. He and Leslie had been instructed to stay 
put for at least a half hour to get their space legs 
and to be sure they weren't going to become sick. 
[Sacco says none of the crew experienced any nau- 
sea.] Thornton undid her straps and began to help 
"safe" the orbiter. Despite the sight of her floating 
by him, Sacco remained unconvinced that he had 
arrived in space. "Are we in orbit?" he asked 
Thornton. "Damn right, we're in orbit!" she 
replied with a smile. Finally, Sacco pulled a pen 
out of his pocket, held it in front of him and let 
go. It didn't fall. "Damn right!" he thought. 

Releasing the buckles on his harnesses, Sacco 
rose from his seat and into what he calls "the 
three-dimensional world of microgravity," a 
world where Isaac Newton's second law of motion 
(a body in motion will remain in motion until 
compelled by external forces — or a space shuttle 
wall — to change that state) governs every move 
an astronaut makes. He says he felt right at home. 
"It sounds strange, but I felt more normal floating 
in microgravity than I do walking on the ground. 
It was like I had come back to something that was 
natural for me. The thought did cross my mind 
several times during the mission that this is where 
mankind belongs." 

Sacco busied himself with housekeeping 
chores — helping other crew members out of their 
pressure suits, stowing the suits and the seats, 
checking circuits breakers, and so on. Two hours 


Winter 1996 

passed by in an instant, and then he heard his 
name over the internal intercom. Bowersox was 
calling down from the flight deck, "Tell Sacco to 
get up here immediately!" Fearing he had made a 
blunder, he drifted up through a passageway and 
into the flight deck. Before him, shining through 
the shuttle's forward windows, was the most awe- 
inspiring sight he had ever seen. 

"There was the Earth — sitting right in front 
of me," he says. "It was a gigantic ball, predomi- 
nantly rohin's-egg 
blue — bluer than any 
blue you have ever 
seen — with clouds and 
land masses. Around 
the edges was a thin 
limb — the atmos- 
phere — that went from 
the deep blue of the 
ocean to a white haze 
to a beautiful sky blue 
to indigo to the black 
of space. And that 
black was the blackest 

velvet you can imagine. As you looked away from 
the Karth, you could see millions of stars — galax- 
ies of stars." 

For the moment, though, Sacco could not 
take his eyes off that deep blue planet, for right in 
the middle, turning slowly under the shuttle, was 
Massachusetts. "It looked just like a map, it was so 
clear and sharp," he says. "I could see Logan Air- 
port — I could even see the runways. It's amazing 
how clear everything is from space." 

Sacco says seeing the Earth from orbit is "a 
humbling experience — a spiritual experience. I 
had the feeling as I looked out into the cosmos 
that we are smaller than the smallest grain of sand 
on the largest beach I've ever been on. I felt that 
if everyone could spend an hour and a half up 
there — one orbit of the Earth — that there'd be 
a lot fewer problems. There certainly would be 
no environmental problems, because everyone 
would realize how delicate the Earth is." 

During one of his rest periods, Sacco went up 
to the flight deck alone and shut off all the lights — 
even the eerie green glow of the computer CRTs. 
In total darkness, he waited while the shuttle 
moved into the Earth's shadow. "I let my eyes 
adjust to the darkness," he says, "and I could see 
hundreds of thousands of stars. In some places, 
the stars were so thick they looked like a shim- 
mering veil." 

Sacco says that experience has changed him. 
"I don't know whether it's for good or bad," he 
says. "But now a faculty member or a student will 
come in to see me about something, and the prob- 
lem, while it's important to them, will seem quite 
tiny to me. It's hard for me to give it the attention 
I should. It's not that I'm not interested, it's just 
that I've had an awakening they haven't." 

USML-2's payload crew consisted oi two 
teams. Sacco and Thornton made up the 
Red Team; Leslie and Coleman were the 
Blue Team. The teams worked alternate 12-hour 
shi Its, so science could be carried out around 
the clock. After the orbiter was checked out, the 
Blue Team headed off to sleep while Sacco and 
Thornton opened up the spacelab, a 23-foot-long 
cylinder that sits in the shuttle's cargo bay and is 
connected to the middeck by a long, 
narrow airlock. The Red Team began 
setting up experiments designed to 
grow commercially important protein 

From orbit, the Earth 
is a gigantic ball of 
brilliant colors — an 
awe-inspiring sight, 
Sacco says. His first 
view of the planet was 
a glimpse of his home 
state of Massachusetts. 

crystals, study the physics of water drops, and 
investigate surface-tension-driven convection 
(experiments that may help develop manufactur- 
ing techniques for the International Space Sta- 
tion). There were tests of bioprocessing apparatus, 
work on processing techniques for semiconductor 
manufacturing, and studies of microgravity com- 
bustion, among other experiments. In all, the 
work of hundreds of scientists from university, 
government and industry research labs was packed 
into the lab and in racks on the middeck. 

Among the apparatus on USML-2 was the 
Zeolite Crystal Growth Experiment, created by 
Sacco and a team of faculty and student research- 
ers at WPI (see story, page 16). One of Sacco's 
first assignments was to prepare the autoclaves for 
his own experiment and place them into a furnace 
on the middeck. The work went smoothly, which 
he says gave him confidence to tackle the many 
hours of science work that lay ahead. In all, Sacco 
says the Red and Blue teams carried out one of 
the most successful science missions in NASA's 

(Continued mi next page) 

"I felt that if every- 
one could spend an 
hour and a half up 
there — one orbit of 
the Eanh — that 
there y d be a lot fewer 
problems. There 
certainly would be 
no environmental 
problems^ because 
evetyone would 
realize how delicate 
the Earth is. " 

WPI Journal 


Coming Home 

(Continued from previous page) 

"This one outshined even USML-1, which 
was a highly successful mission," Sacco says. "I got 
a great compliment from Gene Trinh at the Jet 
Propulsion Lab, a payload specialist on USML-1 
who is a co-investigator on the Drop Physics 
Module. He said, 'You guys did much better than 
I did, and I'm supposed to be the expert.' I've had 

"A lot of 
people trusted my 
judgement about 
things that are 
not my areas of 
expertise, and that 
made me feel really 
good. A great deal 
of credit has to go to 
the scientists and 
trainers who pre- 
pared us so well. " 

a lot of people tell me similar things. They said we 
were so well-trained that after a while they didn't 
worry about us; they didn't try to interact with us. 
They just let us do our thing. A lot of people 
trusted my judgement about things that are not 
my areas of expertise, and that made me feel really 
good. A great deal of credit has to go to the scien- 
tists and trainers who prepared us so well." 

In his 12 hours a day outside of the lab, Sacco 
slept, rode an exercise bike, communicated with 
his family by an e-mail-like system, and prepared 
for the day's science work by reading messages 
sent up by the experimenters on the ground. He 
also spent an hour or more just looking out the 
windows. The crew used some of their free time 
to tape not one, but two bits of business for 
national prime-time television. 

For one network spot, they threw out the first 
pitch of the World Series. A baseball had been 
brought aboard, and Bowersox effortlessly sent 
the ball sailing toward the camera while the crew 
waved (a moment that took 35 takes, Sacco says). 
The television audience then saw a ball appear to 
fall from the sky and into Atlanta-Fulton County 

The other spot was taped for the ABC situation 
comedy Home Improvement. A big fan of the space 
program — and of Thornton's high-flying handi- 
work on the Hubble repair mission — star Tim 
Allen invited the crew to film a brief segment in 
orbit and then, after the flight, to come to the stu- 
dio to tape another bit. The in-orbit segment 
showed Thornton attempting to use a screwdriver 
brought along for Sacco's experiment, but spinning 
around and around from the torque. Footage 

showing Sacco in a plaid shirt he 
had smuggled aboard (the look 
sported by the character Al on 
Home Improvement) never made it 
on the show, though it did appear 
in a segment of the syndicated 
program Entertainment Tonight. 

Several members of the crew 
also used their personal time to 
do a bit of teaching. Long before 
the launch, Thornton, Coleman 
and Sacco — lamenting the 
declining interest among young 
people in science and technolo- 
gy — decided that they had a rare 
opportunity to do something 
about it, and to pay tribute to the 
legacy of Christa McAuliff, the 
New Hampshire elementary 
school teacher who died in the 
Challenger accident. They drew 
up a plan to do several live tele- 
casts to schools around the 
nation, conducting science 
experiments in space while the 
students did the same experi- 
ments on the ground. It took months of work by 
Thornton to convince NASA to go along, albeit 
with a smaller number of broadcasts than the 
astronauts had hoped for. 

In the end, four sessions were planned, with 
schools in Worcester, Kentucky, Montana and 
New Mexico. During the Worcester broadcast, 
students at South High School did an experiment 
on adhesion and cohesion of liquids while Sacco 
talked about the behavior of liquids in space. 
He demonstrated 
how surface ten- 
sion holds liquids 
together by squirt- 
ing orange juice 
from a tube. The 
juice immediately 
gathered into a 
perfect sphere, 
which Sacco gob- 
bled down to the 
delight of the 22 
students in the 
South High televi- 
sion studio. The 


Winter 1996 

four broadcasts were 
seen by thousands of 
students in 12,000 class- 
rooms around the coun- 
try over the Channel 
One network. 

"The broadcasts 
were quite successful," 
Sacco says. "It took 
some astronauts who 
are committed to edu- 
cation and the work of 
many, many people on 
the ground — people 
who were willing to 
organize this all for 
nothing, because there 
is no money for this. 
Fred and Linda Looft 
and Bob Labonte from 
WPI did an outstand- 
ing job of coordinating everything. The idea 
we all had was to get young kids excited and to 
show them that scientists and engineers are not 
geeks. If we reached just a few of them, then we 

Sacco said he enjoyed daily life in space and 
adapted well to microgravity. After a bit of insom- 
nia (which he learned was caused by over-the- 
counter medication he took for sinus congestion), 
he slept well. He says that although he rarely felt 
hungry, he ate everything in sight (and still lost 12 
pounds during the mission). Eating in space is not 
easy at first, Sacco says. With no gravity to hold 
food on your spoon or in your mouth, it takes prac 
tice and concentration to avoid making a mess. 

face. I remember having Kent tap me on the 
shoulder and point to his forehead, where one of 
my meatballs was splattered. You also had to allow 
a lot of time to clean up floating food after you'd 
finished eating." 

Brushing his teeth in space was something 
Sacco never got used to. Without gravity to over- 
ride it, surface tension causes toothpaste to foam 
up dramatically. "No one had told me what to do 
with that foam," he says. "You can't very easily 
spit it into a bag — it will just bounce off and hit 
you in the face. So we spit it into napkins, but the 
stuff would float around and climb up your face. 
Then you'd rinse your mouth with water and 
you'd have to spit that into napkins, too. And all 
the while, you'd try to brace 
yourself against something 
so you didn't float all over 
the place." 


"It took some time to get used to chewing so 
the food stayed all together in your mouth," he 
says. "You had to be careful to suck straws clean 
before you removed them from your lips to keep 
from sending drops of juice flying into someone's 

he last day of the mission 
was a bittersweet one for 
Sacco. As he helped pack 
equipment away, break out 
the seats and space suits for 
the return to Earth, and pre- 
pare large bags of cold fluid 
(the "liquid load" each astro- 
naut must consume before 
reentry), he felt anxious to 
return to his family. But at 
the same time he was over- 
whelmed by depression at the 
thought of possibly never 
being in space again. When 
his turn came, he floated for a few final minutes in 
the flight deck soaking up the view that so few 
Earthlings will ever see, before returning to the 
middeck to suit up and strap in. 

(Continued on next page) 

Much of Sacco's time 
in orbit was spent in 
the spacelab doing 
research. Opposite, he 
and Kathy Thornton 
adjust a camera on one 
experiment. Above, he 
prepares autoclaves for 
his own zeolite experi- 
ment (left) and protein 
crystals in the glove 
box. Below, in his spare 
time, he taught stu- 
dents about cohesion, 
and discovered the 
challenges of eating in 

WPI Journal 


"I really miss being 

part of the space 

program — / miss the 

adventure. I don y t 

like to think about 

the fact that I may 

never go into space 


Coming Home 

(Continued from previous page) 

Speeding over the Pacific Ocean, Columbia 
turned to point its orbital maneuvering engines 
toward North America; a series of blasts from the 
engines slowed the shuttle, which began dropping 
out of orbit. In the middeck, Sacco felt the push of 
the engines and then waited for the gradual onset 
of gravity. As the spacecraft encountered the 
atmosphere at 17,300 miles an hour, its heat- 
shielding tiles began to glow bright orange. 
Through the small window in the middeck hatch, 
the view went from black to yellow to orange as 
the shuttle turned into a meteor. Sacco says it 
looked as if someone had placed sheets of colored 
paper over the window. 

Periodically, Sacco released a pen over his lap 
and watched it fall faster each time as gravity re- 
turned. As the shuttle neared the Florida coast, he 
picked up his 6-ounce tape recorder and found 
that it seemed to weigh 50 pounds. Clearly, his 
body had acclimated to a world without the con- 
stant tug of the Earth. Near the end of the 
descent, the shuttle was buffeted a bit before 
dropping gently onto its main gear on the landing 
strip at Kennedy. The nose gear hit the ground 
with a solid bang. Sacco was an Earth dweller, 
once again. 

After the landing, came a period of adjustment 
— both physical and psychological. Feeling 
i heavy and awkward, Sacco walked from the 
shuttle and into a waiting van. Having volun- 
teered for a NASA medical experiment, he, along 
with Thornton and Leslie, agreed to lie down for 
several hours rather than walk around the shuttle 
with the rest of the crew. When he finally stood 
up again, he felt worse than he had when the shut- 

tle landed. He later learned that lying down right 
after landing prolongs the aftereffects of weight- 
lessness. The dizziness and weakness went away 
in a few days, but even several months later, Sacco 
says his muscle capacity is only about three quar- 
ters of what it had been before the flight. 

The mental adjustment has taken even longer. 
In fact, he may never really be the same person he 
was before "strapping himself to a hydrogen 
bomb," as he refers to flying in the shuttle. 
Returning to life as a faculty member and depart- 
ment head has been especially difficult. "I never 
thought it would affect me like this," he says. "I'm 
a different person. I feel a bit like a fish out of 
water here, and I never thought I would, because 
I've been here 18 years. 

"I'm sure this feeling will change in time, but 
right now I really miss being part of the space pro- 
gram — I miss the adventure. I don't like to think 
about the fact that I may never go into space again. 
I'm feeling a tremendous letdown. My family feels 
it, too. They miss the friends we made in Houston. 
They will still be our friends, but it won't be the 
same. That was my home for 18 months. These 
were people I was prepared to die with, and we 
became very close. But when you are a payload 
specialist... when the flight's over, its over. My 
office is gone, my desk is gone, my phone number 
is gone — it's like I was never there." 

Except for the bottle. The bottle on the man- 
tel. On the shore not far from the launch towers 
of the Kennedy Space Center is a small beach 
house. Since the early days of the space program, 
astronauts have gone there before their flights 
to share some laughs and drink a bottle of wine. 
Tradition calls for everyone to sign the bottle 
and put it on the mantel in the living room. Now 
there is a bottle there with the signature of Al 
Sacco. He is a part of space history. 

Will there ever be another bottle on that 
mantel for Sacco? "I doubt very much that I will 
fly again," he says. "Every year you get a little old- 
er, and you get a little shakier physically — I'm 
already on the bubble in a few areas. Plus, this 
took a toll on me and my family. My daughter has 
told me she hopes I never do it again. My oldest 
son didn't think I was coming back. My wife is the 
tough cookie of the family, but there were times 
when I saw a loneliness in her eyes — a fear I'd 
never seen before." 

Still, he's not ready to completely rule out 
another flight. He says NASA has suggested that he 
apply for an upcoming mission. While he may pass 
on that flight, if another comes along and the invi- 
tation is extended, who knows? "It was the greatest 
experience of my life," he says. "I've never enjoyed 
anything professionally as much as that. I love to 
teach, but this outshone that by a country mile. If 
something were really to work out..." He pauses, 
his eyes focused on a point far away — maybe 1 50 
miles away. "I'd go in a heartbeat." El 


Winter 1996 

The Case of the Purloined 
Goaf's Head 

(Continued from page 8) 

to restore the goat were going unrewarded. In the 
spirit ofGompei Kuwada and his friends, they 
contrived to steal hoth goats. "We wanted to he 
the last class to possess the old goat before it went 
to the archives forever," says Skull president and 
SAS member Brian Klauber '96. "We figured we 
could get our hands on the new one eventually." 

The seniors quickly came up with a plan- 
actually, several plans. All ot them revolved 
around I Listings' successor, Christopher Boffoli, 
who was scheduled to pick up the goats — new and 
old — from the foundry on Friday, Sept. 1 5, 1995. 
When Klauher and Justin L. Holwell '96 asked to 
go along for the ride, Boffoli agreed. 

Plan A, according to Klauber and Holwell, 
called for two carloads of reinforcements to tail 
Boffoli's car and swipe the goats at the foundry. If 
that failed, Plan B was to feign the need for a rest 
stop on the return trip, giving the henchmen 
another opening. The actual thieves were to 
remain anonymous, so Boffoli wouldn't connect 
the deed with the senior class. "We didn't want to 
betray Chris," says Klauber. "He really helped us 
out, so it was important not to let him know that 
we were behind this. I didn't want it to get ugly." 

Both plans quickly went out the window, as 
the chase cars were separated from Boffoli's vehi- 
cle before they had even reached the Worcester 
city limits. Boffoli pulled onto 1-290, leaving the 
trailing cars heading south on Main Street. Boffoli 
explained that the goats were not at the East 
Bridgewater, Mass., foundry of Jeff Burek 76, 
as the seniors had thought, but at a foundry in 
Rhode Island, where Burek had arranged for the 
casting to be done. 

Their hopes dashed, the seniors returned to 
campus in Boffoli's car, eyeing their bronze trav- 
eling companions and fishing for clues as to their 
weekend accommodations. That was simple. Bof- 
foli told diem right off that he had been instructed 
not to risk storing the goats at the WPI Alumni 
Office in Higgins House, but to take them home. 

Although Boffoli's address is not listed in the 
phone book, the seniors came up with a scheme 
for getting it. Posing as a radio disk jockey, Jesse 
Parent '96 called Boffoli Sunday night and fabri- 
cated a contest that Boffoli was sure to win. Bof- 
foli's prize was a pair of tickets to a concert, which 
the station would be happy to mail to him, Parent 
said. I le verified Boffoli's address twice before 
hanging up. 

A group of seniors staked out Boffoli's home 
at dawn, until they were chased away by suspi- 
cious neighbors. They knew that once Boffoli 
returned the goats to the Alumni Office, it would 
be too late. An ambush at Higgins House was 
their last hope. 

(Continued on page 25) 


Casting Call 

The Birto of a CrOAT h ;^ ,k 

ugliest animal 

I've ever seen," jokes Jeff Burek 76, the man 
responsible for casting a reproduction of WPI's 
original bronze Goat's I lead. "My kids are prob- 
ably having nightmares after looking at it." 

Burek, owner and president of D.W. ( dark 
Inc., a metal casting company in Fast Bridge- 
water, Mass., was asked by the Alumni Office to 
make a new goat for his alma mater. He judged 
the artistry required by die job too delicate for 

his foundry, which produces machine parts for 
industrial and military use. He arranged to have 
the work done by Paul King Foundry in John- 
ston, R.I., at his own expense, as an in-kind gift 
to the Institute. WPI paid only for the materials. 

The duplicate goat was made using the lost- 
wax process, an investment casting method 
capable of reproducing fine detail. First, an 
impression was taken of the original goat and 
used to create a plaster mold. The mold was 
then injected with hot wax. 

After cooling, the hardened wax "positive" 
was dipped into a series of heat-resistant ceram- 
ic coatings to form a durable shell, with holes 
for draining and filling. Next, the mold was 
placed in an autoclave to melt the wax. The 
remaining ceramic shell was then filled with 
molten bronze, which took up the space once 
occupied by the "lost wax." 

The painstaking finish work of cleaning, 
perfecting surface detail, and applying a patina 
took many months of intensive hand labor. The 
replica is said to be virtually indistinguishable 
from the original, with all of the class inscrip- 
tions (even the original 1926 foundry stamp) 
reproduced in exact detail. The new goat may 
lack the luster that bronze acquires from being 
handled over time, but with so many students 
vying to get dieir hands on the beast, it won't be 
long before it starts to glow. 

—I KM 

Jeff Burek '76 in his 
East Bridgewater, 
Mass., casting 
company. He was 
responsible for 
cloning the Goat's 
Head, which he calls 
"the ugliest animal 
I've ever seen." 

WPI Journal 


EDITOR'S NOTE: Anyone familiar with WPI 
traditions knows that the Goafs Head trophy is 
but a memento of the Institute's first mascot, a 
live black goat kept by Japanese student Gompei 
Kinvada. But why a goat? Why Gompei? And 
why that huge head? Here's the whole stoty. 

The tale of the Goat's Head dates 
back more than a century to the 
spring of 1891. At that time, the 
enthusiastic members of the Class of 1893, 
then sophomores, decided they wanted a 
mascot. One day a group of classmates took 
a half-day road trip to Dungarvan Hill, east 
of Worcester's Union Station. Here they 
secured — kidnapped, it might be said — a live 
black goat they felt would represent their 
"defensive and buttinsky" temperament. 

The goat was taken to a farmhouse on 
Park Avenue. A Japanese student, Gompei 
Kuwada, who the class considered to be 
quite a humorous character, was chosen to 
care for the unmanageable 
animal. Gompei's selection 
resulted from his ability to 
handle and placate the beast 
and because his were the 
only initials that fit the title, 
"Goat Keeper." The goat, 
led by Kuwada, soon became 
a popular attendant at class 

As the end of the aca- 
demic year drew near, the 
class met to discuss the 
expense of boarding the 
goat for the summer. Kuwa- 
da suggested that anyone 
would be honored to keep 
his friend the goat. However, no suitable 
situation emerged, so the goat was chloro- 
formed and decapitated. The head was 
stuffed and mounted on a board, and for the 
following two years, this served as mascot 
for the Class of 1893. 

The first recorded Goat's Head theft 
occurred in the spring of 1892, when 
Kuwada and a few of his classmates 
returned from break to find the head miss- 
ing from their John Street rooming house. 
The men of '93, now juniors, had to show 
their mascot in just a few days, or be made a 
laughingstock by '94. With little time to 
act, a few members of the class traveled by 
night to procure another black goat and 
have him similarly foreshortened. 

The fate of the original head was not 
discovered until 1913, at the Class of 1 893's 


Why a Goat? 

20th Reunion dinner in the Electrical Lab- 
oratory (now Atwater Kent Labs). The lab's 
big crane began to move down the room 
until it stopped over their table and lowered 
the original Goat's Head. The trophy now 
bore an inscription from the Class of 1 894, 
which had taken it to Nova Scotia and kept 
it hidden for 20 years. 

Many years after the original head was 
returned to the Class of '93, the Class of 
1928, as sophomores, decided that life at the 
Institute would be more spirited if some 
source of rivalry between odd 
and even classes was imple- 
mented. They had in 
mind a contest much 
like that at Amherst 
College, in which the 
Sabrina statue was 
constantly stolen back 
and forth between the 
classes. The Class of 

The Class of 1893 and "Goat Keeper" 
Gompei Kuwada (inset) with the origi- 
nal stuffed Goat's Head. 

1928 asked the Class of 1893 to contribute 
the mounted goat's head for this purpose. 

Not surprisingly, the original was 
thought too fragile. However, for the occa- 
sion of its 35th Reunion, the Class of 1893 
made a bronze casting to represent the 
Goat's Head. Its body was only about a 
foot long, but its head was life size and 
sculpted in the likeness of the original goat. 
The miniature, which was said to weigh 
"twenty and a Kuwada" pounds, was pre- 
sented to the Class of 1928 at its sopho- 
more banquet, along with a list of rules. 
The rules required the possessing class to 
display the goat at least once a year at some 
school gathering. 

Some of the more creative showings 
have become legendary. In 1929 freshmen 
dangled the goat from an airplane that cir- 
cled the track during a meet against Tufts. 
The next fall, the Class of 1932 tried to 
pass off a doctored photograph to convince 
others that they had the goat. The goat has 
been thrown off Earle Bridge into a moving 
convertible, hung from the ceiling of Alum- 
ni Gym, and even "shown" on videotape by 
the Class of 1997. 

This form of rivalry, in which the goat 
was stolen and hidden by the freshmen and 
sophomores, was soon replaced with an 
interclass competition that included 
. the Rope Pull, Tech Carnival and the 
Paddle Rush, as well as several 
sporting events. The Goat's Head 
was awarded to the class with the 
most points at the end of the year. 
Under this system, the Goat's 
Head spent most of its time locked in 
a trophy case in the gym. 
But in 1939, it was stolen 
and temporarily stashed in 
a cemetery. A group of boys 
stumbled on the statue and 
tried to sell it to a junk- 
man, who luckily recog- 
nized its value and refused 
to make the purchase. 
Fortunately, the Goat was 
later spotted by an alumus 
of the Class of 1 9 1 5 , who 
saw that the mascot was 
returned to WPI. 

The Goat's Head 
chase was revived in the 
1950s and has fallen in and 
out of favor several times since then. It was 
recognized that the competition engendered 
school spirit and class bonding, but the 
increasingly violent chases were considered a 
danger to the students and the now-valuable 
goat. Student interest in possessing the tro- 
phy has never died out entirely, however. No 
matter where the Goat's Head was hidden 
during its periods of retirement, enterprising 
students have always found a way to steal it. 

This article is a condensation of a presentation 
compiled for Traditions Day in 1 993 by former 
members of the Student Alumni Society, including 
Matthew Friend '93, Sam Tetlow '93 and Brian 
Prunier '93. Source materials included "History of 
the '93 Goat, " the definitive account ly Arthur C. 
Comins of the Class of 1893, zvhich was published 
in the WPI Journal in July 1 928. 


Winter 1996 

The Case of the Purloined 
Goat's Head 

(Continued from page 23) 

Monday morning, Boffoli got up, retrieved 
die goats from his garage, and left for work. ( )n 
the way in, with the statues sitting side by side on 
the floor of the back seat, he went over in his 
mind how he would carry them in and hand them 
over for a photo session with the Alumni Associa- 
tion and the WPI News Service. He pulled into 
the Higgins House circle shortly before 9 a.m. 
and parked behind the building. 

Phil Gunning '96 appeared from nowhere and 
grabbed at the handle of the car's rear door. It was 
locked. The would-be thief shrugged and walked 
off. "I though nothing of it," says Boffoli, who is 
accustomed to the antics of fraternity members 
who often cut through the grounds of Higgins 
House. "It didn't go through my thick skull that 
something was really wrong." 

He unlocked his car, hoisted a heavy bronze 
statue under each arm, and headed for the Hig- 
gins House door. He didn't get far before he was 
ambushed by Jason Averill '96 and Holwell. The 
seniors made off with the goats without a hitch. 
"I had heard stories about how people schemed to 
get the goat, but I had no idea the students would 
pull something like this," Boffoli says. "It made no 
sense to struggle or give chase; I was afraid that 
the goats would be dented or damaged." 

Reluctantly, he marched upstairs to inform 
Sharon Davis, director of alumni programs, of the 
theft. "It was my duty to bring the goats back safe- 
ly, and I failed," he says. "I felt betrayed. It was 
humiliating to have disappointed Sharon by drop- 
ping the ball." 

After some tense phone calls, an emergency 
meeting was convened. The seniors' position was 
that they were carrying out a time-honored tradi- 
tion, one not subject to administrative control. 
The administration voiced concerns about the his- 
torical value of the goats and VVPI's liability in an 
unregulated chase. There was also some contro- 
versy over which set of rules was in effect at the 
time of the robbery — the original, decades-old 
code or the new rules being developed by the 
Goat's Head Committee. 

After much discussion, a new set of rules was 
quickly drawn up and officially adopted by the 
Executive Committee of the Alumni Association 
at Homecoming. It forbids transporting the goat 
by motor vehicle, confines chases to campus, and 
requires that classes report the goat's whereabouts 
to the Goat's Head Committee each time it is 

By the evening of the day of the heist, the 
seniors returned the old goat to the Alumni 
Office, but not before having their class year 
engraved in a conspicuous manner on the animal's 
rump. They kept the new goat to display at a time 
and place of their choosing. 

£\v~ ~ 

,r* •»""* 



Thus, the kick-off of the revived Goat's I lead 
rivalry took place at I [omecoming, as planned, 

but not in the ceremonious manner that the 
Alumni ( )ffice and the Student Alumni Society 
had intended. The seniors enjoyed their moment 
of glory, but some parties on campus were at odds 
with the tactics used to attain it. 

"A number of students were dis 
mayed by their exclusion 
from the events 
surrounding the 
Coat's I lead," 
Boffoli says. "I 
liken it to grabbing 
the football from the 
ref and running 
down the field for a 
touchdown before 
anyone was ready." 

Once the old goat 
was returned and the 
rules controversy settled, 
the seniors began flaunt- 
ing their prize and tortur 
ing the younger classes 
with bogus clues that sent 
them pointlessly digging through a mound of 
fresh dirt by Skull Tomb and rising at the crack of 
dawn to search local landmarks. "The Class of '96 
really did do a good job of exciting the student 
body and engaging the underclassmen about pos- 
sessing the goat," Boffoli says. 

"I wanted the students to have a good time 
and learn something about WPI history," says 
Klauber. "We told them that if they truly knew 
the Goat's Head history, the trophy's location 
would become so apparent, it would just unfold 
right before their eyes. 

"That was completely false, but the good 
thing was, they were sitting down and reading the 
literature — learning WPI historv." Reference 
works, such as the late Mildred Tymeson Petrie's 
Two Towers and Seventy Years of the Worcester Poly- 
technic Institute by Herbert F. Taylor '12 are much 
in demand these days. 

Widi the Goat's Head back in circulation, the 
campus is alive with signs of the chase, from col- 
ored-chalk graffiti on the sidewalk, to rumors of 
a live goat in the dining commons, to letters and 
editorials in Newspeak, the student newspaper, to 
e-mail bulletins on the status of the mascot. The 
goat has also been a philanthropist, raising money 
for charity when Alpha Tau Omega fraternity auc- 
tioned off a chance to touch the bronze animal. 

After their triumphant showing at the Home- 
coming football game, the seniors put their trophy 
up for grabs in a treasure hunt held after the rope 
pull on Homecoming Day. The juniors won. But 
when Klauber went to award them their prize, it 
wasn't in its hiding place. Some enterprising fresh- 
men had stumbled upon it and, in the true tradition 
of the chase, stolen it from the thieves. Fl 

A^ 0V3C ,.^- 


"/ had heard stories 
about how people 
schemed to get the 
goat, but I had no 
idea the students 
would pull some- 
thing like this. " 
-Christopher Boffoli 

WPI Journal 


Digital Drama 

(Continued from page 11) 

hand knowledge is by creating technology for an 
actual production. WPI's active theater program 
affords students many opportunities during the 
year to do just that. Masque, WPI's dramatic arts 
club, mounts two major productions each year. 
The New Voices festival, now in its 14th year, is a 
weeklong celebration of new plays written, staged 
and performed by members of the WPI commu- 
nity. And the MW 

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One of four students who 

designed the technical 

components for a major 

production of Henry V 

last fall for their MOP, 

Daniel Afonso created 

an elaborate lighting 

design, above, and used 

computer modeling to 

help engineer effects 

like those shown on the 

opposite page. 

Repertory Company, 
founded by students 
in 1988, puts on fre- 
quent productions in 
various performing 
spaces around the 

Students who 
participate in Masque 
productions and New 
Voices can get credit 
for their work by reg- 
istering for an inde- 
pendent study. Last 
fall, the WPI faculty 
approved several new 
theater courses within the Humanities and Arts 
Department that enable students to earn credit for 
their work as actors, dramaturges, directors or the- 
ater technology designers. 

The first opportunity for students to enroll 
in these new courses came last November with a 
major production, directed by Vick, of Shake- 
speare's Henry V. The production was also the 
focus of an IQP, "Theater Technology Options 
Explored and Expanded for the 1995 Production 
of William Shakespeare's The Life of King Henry 
the Fifth" conducted by seniors Daniel Afonso, 
Christopher Mangiarelli, Daniel Martins and 
Noah Weisleder. The project was co-advised by 
Vick and Dean O'Donnell '86, visiting instructor 
of drama at WPI. 

The students designed the versatile set for the 
play, created the designs for the lighting and 
sound, and developed a schedule that would 
enable the complicated production to proceed in 
an orderly manner toward opening night. They 
also edited the lengthy historical play to keep the 
running time for the performance to a reasonable 
length — from what may well have been a three- 
hour show to a two-hour production. The process 
required deleting 1,200 lines of text. The cuts got 
to the heart of the story and left the play unhin- 
dered by repetition and unnecessary characters, 
Vick says. As they edited, the students developed 
an overriding theme for the play, which helped 
them make decisions about which scenes to short- 
en or eliminate and which characters to leave on 
the cutting room floor. 

"Before we could start the editing process," 
the students wrote in their final report, "we had 
to ask ourselves, 'What is this play about?' We 
decided it is definitely a play about conflict. It is 
also a play about the growth of Henry's character, 
but more than that, it is a showcase of Henry's 
attributes. In the end we decided the most impor- 
tant thing about the play — what it is really trying 
to say — is, 'Henry is cool.'" 

After working as a team to trim the script, the 
students split up to tackle the technical aspects of 
the production. Afonso, an electrical engineering 
major, worked out the lighting design. He made 
extensive use of side lighting and back lighting, 
as well as deep colors, to create "an atmosphere 
of darkness and fear" during important scenes. 
Among the lighting effects he developed for the 
production was a display of moving clouds and stars 
that the audience viewed before the play began and 
during intermission. The effect was accomplished 
through the use of a rotating mirror placed above a 
light projecting the image of a cloud. 

Afonso developed and tested concepts and 
designs with a computer modeling program that 
enabled him to see how various lighting effects 
and the placement of lighting instruments would 
work with the set and with the progression of the 
play. The software even enabled the designer to 
animate scenes as an aid in determining how to 
change the lighting during scenes and in using 
lighting to help make transitions between scenes. 

The scenic design was completed by Weisled- 
er, a biotechnology major. The design involved 
extensive use of Alden Memorial's counterweight 
fly system, used to bring set pieces in from above 
and on the sides of the stage. The final design 
incorporated four rotating wall components called 
Mielziners. The walls could be opened to enable 
actors to enter and exit the stage and then closed 
to form seamless surfaces. Vick says Weisleder's 
design was the most complex set ever used in a 
WPI theater production. 

Using computer-aided design software, Weis- 
leder was able to render various solutions to the 
many locations Shakespeare created for Henty V 
and to see how set changes and movements might 
work within the confines of Alden Memorial. The 
software was also an aid in designing a new type 
of set element — the Multi-Purpose Performance 
Staging or MUPS — which Weisleder developed 
for the production. An open box measuring three 
feet on a side by one foot high, with muslin 
attached to the insides, the MUPS could serve as 
a raised platform, as a base for a tent, and as a hid- 
ing place for a soldier during the battle scenes. 

Mangiarelli, another electrical engineering 
major, designed the audio system for the show, as 
well as a script for the sound effects needed to com- 
plete the transformation of Alden Memorial into 
the world of King Henry. He used acoustical barri- 
ers to contain the sound, microphones strategically 


Winter 1996 

placed to improve the acoustics of the hall, and dig- 
ital sound effects stored on a computer. With the 
aid of computer modeling, he designed an elabo- 
rate system of speakers that surrounded the audi- 
ence — including speakers placed above the stage. 

The system, combined with a computer- 
controlled sound board, let the designer create 
realistic sound effects and use them to generate 
complex soundscapes to enhance the drama of 
the production. The production also made use of 
ambient audio effects that created realistic sounds 
for specific locations in the plav. For example, as 
a scene opened in a church, the audience experi- 
enced the resonance and reverberations typical of 
a large stone church. This audio technique was 
suggested in the IQP and further developed by 
students in the Theater Technology course. 

Electrical engineering major Martins brought 
everything together by constructing the timeline 
for the many activities required to mount this 
complex show. He created schedules for every- 
thing from set construction to lighting, to the 
set-up of the seating area, to publicity. Martins 
also drew up a preliminary budget for the show. 
As production manager, he also helped find 
students to serve as crew chiefs for the various 
technical areas, as house manager and as publicity 

While each had his own focus area, the four 
students interacted frequently to be sure that all of 
the technical aspects of the show worked together 
smoothly, and that everything came together on 
schedule. "The best part," Mangiarelli says, "was 
having everything organized before rehearsals 
even started." 

The production of Henry V offered a preview 
of how the Theater and Technology program will 
likely develop in the years ahead, Vick says. Simi- 
lar theater projects will offer opportunities not 
only for IQPs, but for Major Qualifying Projects 
for humanities and arts majors and double majors. 
Vick hopes the success of the program will make 
it possible to hire theater professionals to serve as 
teachers, project advisors and directors, roles she 
now fills with the help of O'Donnell. 

The high-tech rendition of Hemy Falso pro- 
vided a glimpse of how the computer is trans- 
forming the world of traditional theater perfor- 
mances. In future work, Vick says, students may 
take that one step further and find ways to take 
the designs they create with the computer and 
project them directly into the performing space. 
"Dean O'Donnell has already started working on 
ideas for using virtual reality, not only to create 
theater performances within a computer — some- 
thing that others are also experimenting with — 
but to develop a new tool for creating virtual sets 
within a real performing space. That's pretty 
exciting." Vick hopes they might someday be able 
to create a dedicated laboratory for student pro- 
ject work in virtual reality theater. 

Another hope she has for the theater technolo- 
gy program is that it will help broaden the popular 
perception of what constitutes the humanities and 
arts. "The humanities traditionally has been seen 
as a field quite distinct from the technical fields of 
engineering and science. But today, that distinction 
is blurring. Technically oriented people need to 
know something about the humanities and arts, and 
people in nontechnical professions — particularly 
theater — need to understand and know how to 
use modern technology. Perhaps programs like 
ours can serve as a bridge between these two 
worlds." Fl 

The WPI Theater and Technology program is on the 
World Wide Web at 
Depts/IFD/TT/. For more information about the 
program, contact Lisa Johnson, theater technology 
administrator, at 508-831-5946 or e-?nail 

Plack is a technical, scientific and professional commu- 
nication major with an interest in biology. She is also 
secretaiy of the Student Government Association, asso- 
ciate editor o/Newspeak, the student newspaper, and 
a member of the senior class board of directors. 

"Dean O'Donnell 
has already started 
working on ideas for 
using virtual reality, 
not only to create 
theater performances 
within a computer. . . 
but to develop a new 
tool for creating 
virtual sets within 
a real performing 
space. " 
— Susan Vick 

WPI Journal 


Most graduates have 
a static mental snap- 
shot of the WPI they 
knew during their 
brief stay on campus. 
By comparison, Joes 
view is a time-lapse 
film in which build- 
ings suddenly pop 
up where before 
there were houses 
or empty spaces. 

Hey, Joe! 

(Continued from page 13) 

Joe was sent to Manila on a Liberty freighter 
as part of Casualty Group 6862 A. "That designa- 
tion was just a code," he recalls, "in case a radio 
transmission was intercepted by the enemy." Bad 
luck struck — literally — when the freighter was hit 
broadside by another American ship. Ever the 
optimist, Joe says that once it was clear everyone 
was okay, "It was the thrill of a lifetime. We end- 
ed up in Guam for 67 days while the ship was 
repaired, so I was there when the atomic bomb 
came in on the Indianapolis." 

Joe's unit arrived in Okinawa on the day sur- 
render papers with the Japanese were signed. "We 
were some of the first troops on the ground," he 
says. "I still get letters from the other members of 
the Casualty Group." 

The war over on both fronts, his military 
service at its end, and with A.J. Knight's "edict" 
thrown down, Joe did what so many other Gales 
have done: he went to work at WPI. His grand- 
father, father and two uncles all worked for the 
school in various capacities, and for extended 
periods of time. Joe's son Jack, following a slightly 
different path, graduated from WPI in 1970. As 
a WPI employee, Joe has outlasted all the other 

\/W o/^ t&t <&m*6**^ \MP\ cA^^t: 

"Since I came here, on the east side of campus 
they've built Kaven, Gordon Library, Founders, 
and Fuller Labs — the new computer building. On 
the west side they added Olin, Goddard and Har- 
rington. Plus, all of the dormitories on the south 
side of campus, Morgan, Daniels, Stoddard, Ells- 

It's striking to consider just how different WPI 
looked 50 years ago. As Joe ticks off buildings that 
have been constructed during his tenure, one 
gains a tremendous sense of perspective. Most 
graduates have a static mental snapshot of the 
WPI they knew during their brief stay on campus. 
By comparison, Joe's view is a time-lapse film in 
which buildings suddenly pop up where before 
there were houses or empty spaces. 

But it's not just the physical plant that has 
changed over the last half century. In fact, there 
are so many markers of Joe's longevity that the list 
begins to read like those the news media cranked 
out when Cal Ripken broke the major league 
record for the most consecutive games played. 
"I've worked for every athletic director WPI has 
had, starting with Percy Carpenter," Joe says. 
He's also seen nine presidents come and go. ("I've 
met the new guy, Ed Parrish," he says. "I got him 
coffee and a sandwich.") 

Over the last 50 years, WPI's faculty and staff 
has grown from around 100 to 680. Undergradu- 

ate enrollment has increased nearly tenfold, from 
around 300 to 2,600. WPI's endowment has 
jumped from about $8 million to $142 million. 
And on and on. 

The school that Joe went to work for in 1946 
was vasdy different in many ways from the one we 
know today — right down to the way most people 
referred to it. In Joe's time, the now familiar and 
virtually automatic initials "WPI" were not typ- 
ically used. Instead, it was "Worcester Tech" for 
short, "Tech" for even shorter. Joe himself still 
uses the latter in conversation; yet another reminder 
of the bridge he provides between then and now. 

vox, e*» w^M*4*t \jC<\ ww. cLomja: 

"I needed civilian clothes when I got back. So 1 
went down to Ware & Pratt's — where the Burger 
King on Main Street is now — to get some white 
shirts. I ended up with a suit — two suits, in fact — 
and a camel hair sport coat. " 

Properly spiffed up, Joe reported to A.J. Knight. 
For his first year at WPI, Joe was the athletic field 
groundskeeper. He was then transferred to the 
Mechanical Engineering Department, where, in 
WPI's newly established weld shop, the late Pro- 
fessor Carl G.Johnson taught him how to weld. 

"I was just as green as grass," Joe says. But 
Johnson brought him along, and soon asked Joe to 
return the favor by teaching students to weld. 
"Carl said, Til teach this course, but sometimes 
I'll have to be out of town,'" Joe recalls. "He gave 
the first lecture and the second day he said to me, 
'If you're going to work with me, you're going to 
have to do it.' So he just gave me the instructions 
and I prepared the lecture and did it. I liked it and 
it was interesting, and I inherited the job later 
on." From that time on, Joe has instructed stu- 
dents in general machine shop operations, casting 
and welding. 

With much respect and a touch of sadness, he 
adds, "Carl died in 1966. He was one of the great- 
est guys I ever worked for. He was a great, great 

Of* M/SceM-AA^CM/4., i^OA/ti WH4 ^C/ll 

"My favorite memory of Joe occurred at a football 
game. We were playing UMass and we had won 
by a point. After the game I was so tired and sore 
from some banged-up ribs that I couldn't make it 
back up the hill. Joe came down with a wheel- 
barrow and rolled me up the hill. " 
— Richard Feirari 'SI 

Joe's involvement with WPI and its students only 
begins in the Washburn Shops. A fervently loyal 
supporter of WPI athletics, Joe is a constant pres- 
ence at basketball and football games, wrestling 
meets and other athletic contests. "I've been the 
manager of the press box since it opened," Joe 


Winter 1996 

says. "I traveled with the football team for 15 
wars. I work the basketball games — especially the 
tournaments. Someone once said I was like an 
ambassador lor the sports teams." 

The Department of Physical Education and 
Athletics has a lot more to say on the subject of 
Joe: "We truly enjoy Joe and appreciate him for 
the job he does," says director Raymond Gilbert. 
"He really has served as an ambassador for athlet- 
ics at WPI. We frequently get compliments — all 
unsolicited — from visiting teams about Joe and 
the way he treats everybody. He's quite profes- 
sional and personable. We need more people like 

To thank him for all that he has done for so 
many of WPI's athletic teams — and for so many 
people — the department chose Joe to receive the 
Frank C. Harrington Award in 1990. The honor, 
named for a student athlete from WPI's Class of 
1898 who is also one of the namesakes for Har- 
rington Auditorium, is presented to individuals 
who have made significant contributions to inter- 
collegiate athletic programs at WPI. 

vW 04\ t&t l*hjpO/itM*CL ol io& VwU4'. 

Q: What is your official position now, Joe? 
A: "[pauses, laughs.] Ah, now you've got me stuck. 
[Leafs through some papers on his desk, comes up 
with the right one.] Principle Lab Technician. " 

Joe is more concerned with what he does than 
with what his job happens to be called. This is 
one of the secrets of his charm. People find him 
endearing because he likes what he does so much, 
and because he is enamored of them right back. It 
is said that all you really have when you look back 
on your life are the experiences and relationships 
you've had and your memories of them. If that's 
true, then Joe has more than most. 

He is a consummate storyteller, with his easy- 
going manner and his gravelly, New England- 
accented voice that dissolves easily and often into 
a chuckle at a fond memory. His mind seems to 
work like a huge, meticulously cross-referenced 
catalog, and he effortlessly jumps from section to 
section, finding connections where there seemed 
to be none at all. 

When the town of Clinton, Mass., is men- 
tioned — quite incidentally — in a conversation with 
Joe, an association clicks in and the wheels start 
turning. "You know, last Saturday Clinton hap- 
pened to play in the [high school] Super Bowl 
here. I had a kid walk up to me — had sunglasses 
on — and he said, 'Hey, Joe.' I said 'Hi.' He said, 
'You don't remember me, do you?' I said, 'Yes I 
do, you're Kerrigan. Where's your father?' 

"See, Pauly Kerrigan graduated in '57. He 
once ran 92 yards down the football field. That's 
when they played both ways — offense and 
defense, you know; we didn't have many players 
those days. And his boy worked with me. See, we 

renovated this building [Washburn] in 1983, and 
we had to move all of the classes down to Worces- 
ter Industrial Technical Institute. And he worked 
work-study for me for a whole year. Nice kid. 
He's working with his father now; they have a 
place down in iVIarlboro, distributing electrical 
components and things to various companies and 
so forth...." 

Some people can hold your attention through 
the brute force of their personality; it often matters 
less what they're saying than how they're saying it. 
Joe pulls you in more subdy, but just as strongly, 
because what he's saying to you resonates with the 
pure simplicity of one man's thoughts and memo- 
ries. In talking to him, you get the impression that 
if you could spend enough time with him, you 
would learn every detail of his life — albeit in an 
almost hopelessly intertwined sort of way. 

vW 04* iU^Ac^U' teA*y: 

"Well, I think they're a little younger. When I 
first came here the GTs were here under the GI 
Bill of Rights, so they were older when they start- 
ed. And, of course, we had girls here starting in 
1968. But overall... I think they're pretty much the 
same. The only thing is you meet a lot of kids now 
that have had some money — money was tighter in 
those days. But I get along with them all. They all 
respect me — you treat 'em well, they like you, and 
you like them. " 

Over the years, Joe's relationship with WPI stu- 
dents has necessarily changed. Progressing from a 
peer to a father figure to, now, a grandfather fig- 
ure, Joe has become more and more an "elder" to 
those he instructs. But while the gap in their ages 

(Continued on next page) 

He is a consummate 
storyteller, with his 
easygoing manner 
and his gravelly, 
New England- 
accented voice that 
dissolves easily and 
often into a chuckle 
at a fond memory. 

For some 30 years, 
Gale has been giving 
students like Robert 
Tuccillo '98 hands-on 
experience with mater- 
ials by having them 
actually manufacture 
a small metal spool. 

WPI Journal 


Joe has watched a 

huge percentage of 

WPFs students come 

and go over the 

years. Chances are 

you W remember the 

kindly, helpful man 

(who could be gruff 

if you were doing 

something stupid) in 

the machine shop 

who seemed to know 


In 1992, when he 
received WPI's William R. 
Grogan Award, Joe posed 
with his family for this 
portrait. Counterclock- 
wise, Joe, his wife Phyllis, 
daughter Joanne DiPinto, 
son Jack Gale, grandson 
Joey Gale, daughter-in-law 
Mary Carr Gale, and twin 
grandsons Dan and 
Mike Gale. 

Hey, Joe! 

(Continued from previous page) 

has widened, his connection to his students seems 
to have changed not at all. 

"We all remember him as an ardent sports 
fan — one of our biggest supporters," says Ferrari. 
"He was really loved by many of the students who 
knew him." Says Paul Crivelli '92, "Joe seems a 
little rough on the surface, but he's friendly and 
talkative once you know him — and with more his- 
tory than you can shake a stick at." 

In 1971, WPI's students made clear their 
strong bond with Joe by selecting him the first 
staff member ever inducted into Skull, WPI's 
senior honorary society and one of its most exclu- 
sive organizations. "I wasn't expecting it," Joe 
remembers. "I was working a high school basket- 
ball game and I was tapped outside the side door 
of Harrington Auditorium. Charlie McNulty, the 
basketball coach, and Professor Bob Pritchard, the 
athletic director, told me to go ahead and they'd 
take care of things. That was really great. Each 
year we have a banquet for any of the old mem- 
bers who can make it and the new candidates to 
meet each other. It's quite interesting to see 
where everyone has gone and so forth." 

In 1992, the Institute also paid tribute to Joe 
by presenting him with the William R. Grogan 
Award. Named for WPI's dean emeritus of under- 
graduate studies, who incidentally completed his 
undergraduate education at WPI less than a year 
before Joe reported to work, the award honors 

extraordinary service to the Institute and its stu- 
dents. When Grogan learned that Joe would 
receive the award, this is what he wrote to him: 
"I want to tell you how proud I am that you will 
receive the award named for me. I cannot think of 
anyone more appropriate to receive it, or anyone 
who I would rather see receive it. Joe, you have 
been a great contributor to WPI and its students 
over the years." 

vW e*. &**wm-«*v t^c^Xc^cc: 

'We've been making that spool [in ME1800J for 
about SO years. There's usually a waiting list to 
get in the class. So?ne of them will take it in their 
senior year, not necessarily for credit but just to 
have the experience, to see how things are made. 
Because you can read all the books, see all the pic- 
tures, but you've got to get your hands into it. " 

The main thing Joe imparts to the fledgling engi- 
neers who pass briefly under his wing is an appre- 
ciation for the actual work done to materials and 
parts by some of the processes they learn about. 
He shows you where and how the theoretical 
knowledge gained in the classroom merges with 
the practical, tangible aspects of manufacturing — 
for the first time, in the case of many students. 

In ME 1800, Materials Selection and Manu- 
facturing Processes — or just "Grunge" in student 
lingo — students are exposed to a variety of hands- 
on processes. "We start off with casting," Joe 
explains. "We have them put the Styrofoam parts 


Winter 1996 

together, but we pour the metal, for safety rea- 
sons. When the castings are ready, they cut off the 
excess gating system and then each student has 
one. They've actually seen the thing made. 

"Half the class then goes to the machine shop 
to do their turning, milling, drilling, tapping and 
so forth, and the other halt starts on welding. 
Then they switch. We only have so many contact 
hours with them to get it all done, but a lot of 
them end up getting interested in materials and 
switch to that later on." 

It is in this class, which is extremely popular, 
that Joe has watched a huge percentage of WPFs 
students come and go over the years. Chances are, 
even if you couldn't remember his name, you'd 
remember the kindly, helpful man (who could be 
gruff if you were doing something stupid) in the 
machine shop who seemed to know everything, 
and who could launch into a fascinating story at 
a moment's notice. 

Joe enjoys the class so much because he 
believes you have to teach people to do, not just to 
know. And it heartens him when he hears that it 
has helped someone. "We had a student here may- 
be five or six years ago who went to work for GE in 
Pittsfield," Joe says, relating the story she told to 
him. "They were doing some kind of silver solder- 
ing, and she said, i can do that — I've done that.' So 
one day one of them told her to go ahead and try 
it — anil she did it. They were standing there with 
their mouths open. She became a supervisor in six 
or seven months — they just singled her out." 

Ybu might think that, having been at WPI 
for 50 years, and as comfortable as he is 
here, and as much as he loves the place, 
that Joe would never retire. You'd be wrong. 
"No, I'll retire before too long," he says. "We'll 
see how it goes." 

Joe and his wile, Phyllis, will celebrate their 
49th wedding anniversary in June. Joe says they'd 
like to do a little traveling. "We'll probably go 
down to Florida, though not to stay," he says. Joe 
says he has some good reasons to remain in the 
Worcester area. His son, Jack, has been the golf 
pro for the Tatnuck Country Club in Worcester 
for many years; he is also one of only a small 
number of Master Professional Golf Pros in the 
country, an honor bestowed on him four years ago 
by the Professional Golfers Association. Jack and 
his wife, Mary, have three sons. Joe and Phyllis' 
daughter, Joanne DiPinto, and her husband, 
Alfred, live right next door; Joanne owns and 
operates the J. P. Cutter Hair Salon on Park 
Avenue in Worcester. 

Joe is also as much a part of the greater 
Worcester community as is he is the greater WPI 
community. He was the commander of the 
Worcester Auxiliary Police Force from 1949 until 
his retirement in 1986. With the rank of captain, 
he was in charge of a force of 75 officers. He says 
he helped keep the peace at more parades than he 


can remember, but his most vivid memories are of 
the many hours he worked in the aftermath of the 
devastating tornado of June 9, 1953, which tore a 
deadly swath through central Massachusetts. Joe is 
also past commander of VFW Post 6907 in West 
Boylston, Mass. 

And when he retires, what about die rest of his 
many interests at WPI? "I'll still be involved; work 
it around other things," he says. "A lot of people 
work here and they go and you don't ever see them 
again. But, hey, I've been around here since 1927 
or '28. One of my uncles was the first watchman 
they had; I used to come up and make a round 
from 6 p.m. until 8:30, and my father would pick 
me up and bring me home. I've watched diis place 
grow. I'd have a hard time divorcing it." 

Asked how he would feel should WPI choose 
to name something in his honor, Joe has this to 
say: "Oh sure, whatever they wanted to do. The 
thing is, you'd like to see something done before 
you pass away. For example, A.J. was still here 
when they named the field after him. Yes, that 
would be great." 

Envisioning the Joe Gale Machine Shop, 
or whatever it might be, you can see a picture of 
Joe working with a student — getting his hands 
into it — alongside a plaque. Whatever else it says 
about Joe and his many years of loyal service, 
the plaque should pay Joe what he must consider 
the highest compliment of all — that he is, truly, 
a great, great gentleman. Fl 

Beit received bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineer- 
ing and the humanities at WPI before joining How?net 
Refurbishment Inc., where he is now a turbine blade 
engineer. His profile of Professor Jack Boyd, which ran 
in the Winter 1994 WPI Journal, was completed as 
pa it of his Major Qualifying Project in the humanities. 

Early in his WPI career, 
Joe learned to weld 
from Professor Carl 
Johnson. Since then he 
has passed that knowl- 
edge along to hundreds 
of students, including 
Astrid Gunawan '99. 

WPI Journal 



Normandin Sisters 
Thrive in a "Man's World" 

By Ruth Trask 

When Jill Normandin '88, Jody 
Normandin '90 and Hollybeth 
Normandin '95 decided to 
enrolled at WPI, they knew it would not 
be easy, as women, to succeed in the male- 
dominated field of engineering. But they 
knew something else: nothing under the sun 
could keep them from trying. 

"We all have strong, athletic back- 
grounds, so we were used to competition," 
says Jody, who was named to the All-New 
England Women's Basketball Team in 
1989. "Also, our mother was behind us all 
the way." Adds Hollybeth, "Although 
divorced and physically challenged, she was 
always there for us. She was our strength." 

The Normandin sisters say their mother 
was astonished, at first, at their choice of 
professions. Still, their decisions did not 
come completely out of the blue. Their 
father and most of their uncles are in engi- 
neering-related fields. But they gave no 
indication that they might follow in those 
footsteps until they were in their teens. 

As a child, Jill invented her own lan- 
guage, which she shared with her sisters and 
friends. She also rode her horse in regional 
competitions. "I thought she might become 
a linguist or a veterinarian," Sandy Norman- 
din says. 

"But there was one clue that she might 
do well in engineering," she adds. "As a 
teenager Jill worked as a cashier at a super- 
market, and she could compute the running 
totals faster in her head than she could with 
the cash register." 

According to Hollybeth, Jill also showed 
mechanical ingenuity by coping with little 
disasters at the family farm in Westminster, 
Mass. "Once, she thawed out the water 
pump. Another time, she diverted rainwater 
streaming down a nearby hill so it wouldn't 
erode wide trenches in our barn floor. She 
could also fix cars." 

"It was Hollybeth who really astounded 
me," her mother recalls. "I never thought 
engineering would be of any interest to her. 
As a young girl, she loved literature and 
would stay up all night reading." 

Though they had backgrounds and 
interests that might well have led them in 
other directions, all three sisters enrolled at 
WPI, with Jill leading the parade in 1984. 

"/ love my job, but I 
would probably never 

have gotten into 

engineering if it hadnh 

been for the support of 

my parents. My high 

school guidance counselor 

made it quite clear that 

engineering was no place 

for a woman" 

— Jody Normandin 

"After graduating from high school, I 
visited several colleges," she says. "WPI 
really turned me around, as far as being a 
veterinarian was concerned. As an engineer, 
I decided, not only would I have a rewarding 
career, I could afford to own and maintain 
my own horse." 

Jill Normandin graduated with a B.S. in 
electrical engineering and then completed 
her M.B.A. at Northeastern University. 
During the past few years, she worked as a 

senior sales engineer for Lambda Electron- 
ics, a large international company. She was 
recendy promoted to marketing manager at 
the firm's Long Island, N.Y., headquarters. 

"Lambda Electronics manufactures 
DC-DC and AC-DC converters and power 
supplies," she says. "The company is heavily 
male-dominated in the areas of design, sys- 
tems and sales." 

Jill says her electrical engineering classes 
at WPI prepared her well to work in that 
environment. "I was one of three females in 
a class with more than 100 males. I'm in a 
similar minority when I attend my compa- 
ny's national conferences." 

Sometimes it can be an advantage to be 
a woman in a man's world. All three sisters 
say women are sometimes sought out for 
engineering jobs, although once they are 
hired, all engineers — male and female — 
must prove that they have the necessary 
skills to succeed. In sales, Jill says, "it's not 
necessarily terrible" to stand out. 

"But I still have to contend with credi- 
bility problems. I have to speak more tech- 
nically, better and faster than my male 
counterparts when I meet customers. The 
credibility problem is even more acute in 
the international scene. Sometimes women 
engineers are not taken seriously overseas." 

Jill is considering expanding her techni- 
cal horizons by pursuing a Ph.D. in histori- 
cal architecture. "It's a far cry from my 
introductory EE courses," she says "but it 
would add to a solid engineering education." 
She is encouraging her sisters to also pursue 
graduate degrees. 

Jody Normandin, who followed Jill to 
WPI in 1986, received her B.S. in biomed- 
ical engineering with high distinction. She 
works for GE Electrical Distribution and 
Control Products in Plainville, Conn., 
where she is a team leader responsible for 
seeing several product lines from design 


WINTER 1996 

From left, Sandy Normandin and daughters Jill, Hollybeth and Jody at Commencement in 1995. 

through delivery. "I head a team of nine 
male engineers," she says. "We focus mostly 
on items like motor starters and pilot 

Jody says her job has required her to 
become an expert in international standards, 
since virtually every foreign company has its 
own standards for quality. She makes fre- 
quent trips to Europe, especially Italy, to 
meet with customers. "The Italians were 
astonished when they first saw me," she says. 
"It seems there are no young female engi- 
neers in Italy. 

"I love my job," she says, "but I would 
probably never have gotten into engineering 
if it hadn't been for the support of my par- 
ents. My high school guidance counselor 
made it quite clear that engineering was no 
place for a woman. Now I go around speak- 
ing to young women, telling them they can 
be whatever they want to be, even in a so- 
called man's world." 

Jody says she has an excellent working 
relationship with the all-male group she 
supervises. She gets along so well with the 
men around her because she refuses to be 
intimidated. "Playing sports has helped me 

overcome all sorts of fears," she says. 
"Today I play more basketball than I did 
when I was at WPI. I'm trying to get a semi- 
professional league for women started. I 
even play on coed teams." 

Inspired by her sisters' successes, Holly- 
beth Normandin enrolled at the Institute in 
1991. "My friends who went to liberal arts 
colleges rarely found jobs when the econo- 
my started to go downhill," she says. "But 
Jill and Jody did." 

But the real reason she settled on WPI 
was her mother's inability to find corrective 
shoes suitable for her feet, which have been 
impaired by spina bifida. "It was apparent 
that she could have been helped by new 
materials and new shoe designs that were in 
use in other countries, but that had not yet 
gained medical recognition in this country. 
Her problems finding the right shoes led me 
into biomedical engineering." 

As a mechanical engineering major, 
Hollybeth pursued a biomedical engineering 
specialization, completing several indepen- 
dent study projects and her Major Qualify- 
ing Project in that area. She also took 
advantage of WPI's Global Perspective 

Program, traveling to Venice in her sopho- 
more year as part of a project team that 
helped the Italian government deal with 
flooding problems in the city's canal system. 
Interested in the theater, she wrote a play 
for her Humanities Sufficiency project. 

She is now a manufacturing engineer 
at HemaSure Inc., in xVIarlboro, Mass., a 
start-up company that makes blood-filtering 
devices. The company's first product filters 
leukocytes from blood. 

Although she is the only woman in a 
five-person department, she says that has 
been a problem only when dealing with peo- 
ple outside the company, who sometimes 
don't take women engineers seriously. 
"This is a challenge to me professionally 
and personally," she says. "The only criti- 
cism I respect is criticism of my actual per- 

Now that all three Normandin sisters 
have established successful engineering 
careers on their own, they're thinking of 
collaborating on a joint venture. "We hope 
to pool our family resources and start our 
own business," Jill says. "It would be inter- 
esting to see all this energv harnessed!" 

l l l l l , l !l l l l"l m ll l IM ,l IT ,l,I ll il ll , ll l,illl HI 

* 133815 TI3a3H13n 6 

socio *# iaos ly-yuo ***#**#*9t?oaEood 


HLumni orcHiv uui 


The road to success just got shorter. 
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 
is coming to Waltham. 

exit 27B 



I'm interested. Please 
send me information about 
WPI's Waltham Campus. 

J Graduate Certificate Programs 

□ UNIX/C and C++ Programming Programs 

J Professional Development Seminars 

WPI is known for academic excellence in 
technical education, a practical application 
to the challenges of the marketplace, and a 
faculty of renowned academicians and industry 
experts who are full-time practitioners in their 
fields. Now we're adding a convenient 
Waltham location for professionals seeking 
career advancement or personal enrichment. 

If you have a Bachelor's degree and are 
looking to advance your technical or manage- 
ment skills, our Waltham campus will offer 
evening Graduate Certificate Programs 
in Computer Science and Management 
in the following areas: 

■ Computer & Communications Networks 

■ Software Engineering & Interface Design 

■ Technology Marketing 

■ Management of Technology 

Credits may be applied towards a WPI graduate 
degree. Formal admission to a Certificate 
Program is not required to take a course. 

Or, you can enroll in WPI's accelerated 
UNIX System/C and C++ 
Programming Certificate Program: 

■ Full-time days or part-time evenings 

■ Hands-on, leading edge training 

■ Successful outplacement record 

WPI's Waltham campus will also offer 
Professional Development Seminars 

in World-Class Manufacturing, Quality 
Project Man- 
agement and 

Classes at 

our Waltham 

campus begin this September. Start preparing 

for your success now by mailing in the coupon 

or attending our next Information Session 

on Wednesday, August 7 in Waltham. 


Wednesday, August 7, 
6pm, at our Waltham 
Campus, 60 Hickory Drive. 






PHONE - DAY: ( ) 


A Institute 

™- Waltham Campus 



Worcesfer Polytechnic Institute Waltham Campus, 100 Institute Re/., 
Worcester, MA 01609 Fax: (617) 466-8499, E-mail: 

V< >l.l Ml XCK, NO. 2, SPRING 1996 



An Electric Century by William R. Grogan '46 

Overcoming tierce faculty opposition, a physics professor held tight to his 
dream and propelled WPI into the Electric Age a century ago. Here is the 
remarkable story of the founding of WPI's electrical engineering program. 

Page 6 

Alumni Speak Out by \ lichael IV. Dorsey 
Did you know that 96 percent of graduates would recommend WPI ^' 
to prospective students? That's just one of the findings of a recent wide- 
ranging survey of WPI graduates. Here's what else our alumni had to say. 

Page 13 

A Mechanical Marvel by Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 and Michael W. Dorsey 

Over the past 128 years, the Mechanical Engineering Department 

has had several homes on campus. But none can match the beauty 

and functionality of the recently renovated and expanded 

Higgins Laboratories. 

Page 19 

The Wizard of Asheville by Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 

For generations of WPI students, John van Alstyne's inspiring teaching 

and compassionate counsel represented a special sort of magic. Now a 

children's book author and illustrator have turned Van A into a real wizard. 

Page 28 


Advance Word Happy Birthday, Mr. Salisbury, by Michael IV. Dorsey. Page 2 

Explorations Students Expand the Frontiers of Medicine, by Bonnie Gelbwasser. Page 4 

Letters It's Time To Give WPI a New Name; Proud of Sacco's Achievement; Stealing the Goat 
Was a "Serious Act"; It Was Alpha Phi Omega. Page 3 1 

Final Word Big Character Has Big Plans, by Joan Killough-Miller. Page 32 

On the cover: The interior of Atwater Kent Laboratories as it looked not long after its completion in 1907. 

The huge building was constructed for the Electrical Engineering Department, then just 10 years old. 

This year WPI celebrates the department's centennial. Story on page 6. Back cover: The new addition to 

Higgins Laboratories. WPI recently rededicated a completely restored Higgins Labs, home to mechanical 

engineering for more than half a century. Story on page 19. Photo by Robert Benson. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael \V. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90,James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firlajr. '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 V\TI Alumni Association by the Office of 

I niversity Relations. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, \"t. Printed in the U.S.A. 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official 11 77 policies. We welcome letters to the editor. . Iddress correspondence to the Editor, 
WPI Journal, WPI, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280 • Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax: (508) 831-5604 • Electronii Mail, • World Wide H r s/News/Journal/ • Postmaster: Ifundeliverable, please send Form J 579 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire i mi tents © 1 996, Worcestei- Polytechnu Institute. 


Happy Birthday, Mr. Salisbury 

By Michael Dorsey 

Anyone familiar with the founding 
and early history of WPI knows the 
name Stephen Salisbury. Salisbury 
was one of the primary forces that enabled 
the sketchy plan of tinware maker John 
Boynton for a new technical institute and the 
dream of prosperous wire manufacturer Ich- 
abod Washburn of a training academy for 
mechanics to be blended into one of the 
nation's earliest and most innovative techno- 
logical universities. Salisbury provided the 
land for the campus, supported the young 
institution generously, and presided over its 
board of directors until his death in 1884. 

The Stephen Salisbury who figured so 
prominently in the birth of WPI was the 
second Worcester resident to bear that 
name. To a significant degree, he owed the 
fortune he shared with the young Institute 
and his position as the most prominent 
member of the Worcester community to the 
success and hard work of his father. Because 
Stephen Salisbury I played no role in WPI's 
history (he died more than three decades 
before its founding), his story is not as well 
known to members of the WPI community 
as those of the son and grandson who con- 
tinued his name. This fall, Worcester will 
celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth 
of the first Stephen Salisbury; we thought 
this might be a good time to learn more 
about this patriarch. 

Stephen Salisbury was born in Boston 
on Sept. 25,1 746. He was the youngest of 
the 1 1 children of Nicholas and Martha Sal- 
isbury (six of whom survived to adulthood). 
Nicholas, son of a Boston mariner, made a 
living as a barber before his wife's inheri- 
tance enabled him to set himself up as a 
storekeeper. Martha's uncle, John Elbridge, 
who was comptroller of His Majesty's Cus- 
toms House in Bristol, England, bequeathed 
his sister and her heirs £8,000 — a veritable 
fortune at the time — which became the seed 
of the Salisbury family's wealth. 

Nicholas Salisbury died when Stephen 
was just 2 years old. Martha, who by all 
accounts was a strong-minded and cantan- 
kerous woman, continued to operate the 
store and support their children. Stephen's 
older brother Samuel took his portion of the 

Elbridge fortune (along with his inheritance 
from his father) and opened his own store in 
Boston. When Stephen turned 21, Samuel 
took him on as a partner, creating the firm 
of S&S Salisbury. 

At that time, Boston was growing dra- 
matically and many traders were setting up 
shops to serve the teeming city. Samuel 
could see that opportunities for growth for 
his business were limited unless he branched 
out beyond the city. Looking for a suitable 
location for a second store, he settled on 
Worcester. Though still a small agricultural 
community, it was the seat of a young but 
growing county and was well served by 
roads to Boston, Providence and Hartford. 

In 1767 he set Stephen up as a trader in 
Worcester. Holly V. Izard, research curator 
for the Salisbury Mansion, a property of the 
Worcester Historical Museum, has studied 
the extensive collection of Salisbury family 
correspondence owned by the American 
Antiquarian Society. She says the letters 
from Stephen to his brother in those early 
days "reveal the younger man's reluctance to 
make the fledgling town his home. 

"Stephen felt as though he'd gotten the 
short end of the stick," Izard says. "Worces- 
ter was quite rural — nothing like the busy, 
sophisticated city he'd grown up in. In his 
letters, he described Worcester as 'such a 
solitary place.' Though he desperately want- 
ed to be back in Boston, he wrote to his 

brother, 'I will accept this as my lot.' And of 
course, he didn't have much choice. He was 
dependent on his bother for his livelihood." 
The Salisbury store was among the ear- 
liest in Worcester. It was certainly the first 
with a direct link to the wharves of Boston. 
Because the Salisbury brothers were their 
own middlemen, they could sell hardware, 
dry goods and produce at lower prices than 
their competitors. From the start, their store 

was a great success. 

Stephen proved an able merchant, 
though he lamented the long hours and the 
habits of his customers, who, unlike Boston 
shoppers, seemed to have no concept of nor- 
mal business hours. "They come just when it 
soot them at Break of Day Sometimes at 
Ten & Eleven o'clock at Night & some- 
times Later....," he wrote to Samuel. 

By 1771 the Worcester store was suc- 
cessful enough that the Salisbury brothers 
decided to invest some of their profits in 
land. Stephen had his eye on a large farm 
that Joseph Waldo had recently inherited 
from his father, Cornelius. But for unknown 
reasons (Izard says Stephen's hot temper 
may have been a factor), Waldo sold it 
instead to Boston's John Hancock. Stephen 
fired off an impassioned letter to his broth- 
er, who quietly negotiated behind the scenes 
and convinced Hancock to sell the land to 
him and Stephen. 

In subsequent years, the brothers added 
to their land holdings, ultimately acquiring 
several hundred acres that stretched from 
what is now Lincoln Square in Worcester 
north to the border with the town of Hold- 
en. It was some of this land that Stephen II 
gave to WPI. The brothers also invested 
their money in bank stock, shipping stock, 
mortgages and personal loans. By one 
account, Stephen Salisbury I was the wealth- 
iest man in Worcester County at the time of 
his death. 

In 1772 Salisbury contracted with a 
builder in Hardwick, Mass., to construct a 
house on the farm. Designed to resemble 
Samuel's house, "it was, in plan, old fash- 
ioned inside, but it had a beautiful Georgian 
facade," Izard says. More than half of the 
structure was given over to the Salisbury 

SPRING 1996 I ' 

store, and Stephen shared the 
rest with his shopkeepers, hired 
girls and farm laborers. 

As revolution began to 
foment, Boston became a dan- 
gerous place to live. In 1772 
the Boston Assembly threat- 
ened succession from England. 
The following year, citizens 
protested an excessive duty by 
throwing boxes of tea into 
Boston Harbor. England ■■flDH 

responded in 1774 by closing 
the harbor, and the occupying 
British soldiers began looting ■ •* 
and burning buildings in the city deserted 
by those who chose to flee. 

In 1775 Samuel decided to close the 
Boston store and move his wife and chil- 
dren, as well as his mother and his unmar- 
ried sister Sally, out of town. The arrival of 
family and friends from Boston surely lifted 
Stephen's spirits, even as they crowded his 
house, Izard says. "During all of his time in 
Worcester, Stephen was never really of 
Worcester," she notes. "He remained a 
Bostonian. His social circle was confined to 
Boston evacuees." 

After the war, Samuel returned to 
Boston with his wife and children, leaving 
Martha and Sally to live with Stephen in 
Worcester. Izard says Martha Salisbury had 
had a difficult relationship with Samuel's 
wife, and may have chosen to remain with 
Stephen because he was single. It was not 
the town that drew her, she notes. "Martha 
disliked Worcester. She even tried to go 
back to Boston during the war, but Samuel 
persuaded her to stay." 

Martha presided over the Salisbury 
Mansion until her death in 1792. A few 
years later, Stephen, while in Boston to help 
Samuel manage the business during the bus\ 
fall season, met Elizabeth Tuckerman, a 
member of a well-to-do mercantile family 
and 22 years his junior. They were married 
in 1797. Elizabeth found Worcester a lonely 
place and returned to Boston often to visit 
family and to acquire new furnishings and 
decorations for the house. Stephen also lav- 
ished attention on the mansion and grounds 

Right, Elizabeth Tuckerman Salisbury- 
Above, Worcester as it looked at the time 
of Stephen Salisbury I's death in 1829. 

Stephen and Elizabeth had three chil- 
dren: Stephen II (b. 1798), Elizabeth (b. 
1800) and Edward (b. 1803). Elizabeth died 
at the age of three and Edward at six, leav- 
ing only Stephen. After Stephen completed 
grammar school, he attended Leicester 
Academy for two years and then received 
private instruction from a local minister 
before entering Harvard in 1813. 

In 1807 Samuel wrote to Stephen 
proposing that they dissolve the trading 
business, and in 1812, when America again 
went to war with England (and when Eng- 
land, again, cut off the flow of goods into 
Boston Harbor), the brothers no longer 
engaged in trade. Stephen, instead, devoted 
his energies to farming. With his hired 
hands, he continued to tend to his cattle, 
swine, apple and pear orchards, and field 
crops until his death in 1829. 

Stephen II inherited his father's fortune 
and invested it in Worcester, a city that was 
poised to explode into a major industrial 
center. He turned over the operation of the 
farm to a foreman, as his interests lay more 
with the mills, machine shops and factories 
that were beginning to rise from the former 
Worcester farmland and forests. In 1833 he 
married Rebekah Dean; the couple had one 
son, Stephen III, who never married. The 
Salisbury lineage ended in Worcester with 
Stephen Ill's death in 1905. 

But the Salisbury legacy continues to 
this day in the city. For while the first 
Stephen Salisbury never truly felt at home 
here, his descendants put down deep roots 
and made enduring contributions to the 
economic and cultural development of the 
growing urban center. The son and grand- 
son provided venture capital for many 
nascent businesses, helping turn the city into 
a hotbed for manufacturing and innovation. 
Both led the board of trustees of WPI, 
which contributed still further to the city's 
growth. Institute Park, adjacent to the WPI 
campus, was a gift to the city from Stephen 
II, and Stephen III made possible the 
Worcester Art Museum and provided sub- 
stantial support to the Worcester Society of 
Antiquity (now the Worcester Historical 
Museum) and the American Antiquarian 
Society. In short, Worcester owes an eternal 
debt of gratitude to the Salisbury's, most 
especially, perhaps, to that young man 
who — so reluctantly — established this gen- 
erous and enlightened family here more 
than two hundred years ago. 

/P I Journal 


Students Expand 
the Frontiers of Medicine 


"Flashes of Light" 
Help Breed a New 

Stem cells are Morey Kraus' passion and 
profession. Kraus, a doctoral candidate in 
bioprocess engineering at WPI, has 
spent much of the last two years working 
with a class of stem cells known as tHSCs 
(Totipotent Hematapoietic Stem Cells). 
The body uses these unspecialized cells, 
which can be found in the blood and 
bone marrow and in the peripheral 
blood in the umbilical cord, to produce 
a variety of blood cells. 

When cancer patients undergo 
chemotherapy or radiation, healthy 
stem cells are often destroyed along 
with the malignant cells targeted by 
the therapy. Without adequate stem 
cells, the body may be unable to manu- 
facture enough disease-fighting blood 
cells to ward off infection. To help the 
body restore this capacity, doctors can 
harvest some of the patient's own 
healthy stem cells and freeze them 
before treatment begins. After therapy ends, 
the cells are reinfused into the patient. 

But because stem cells make up only a 
tiny fraction of human blood (fewer than 
one cell per 10,000 cells in normal blood) 
and are difficult to grow outside of the body, 
this procedure can be difficult and expen- 
sive. At least that was the case before Kraus 
came along. As part of his studies, he invent- 
ed a way to selectively breed tHSCs quickly 
and efficiently in the laboratory by culturing 
them in a bioreactor he designed. 

Kraus came to WPI in 1988 to continue 
his education after earning an undergradu- 
ate degree in philosophy and running his 
own construction business in Pennsylvania. 
For his doctoral qualifying exam, he pro- 
posed a reactor that would mimic how stem 
cells grow in bone marrow. "It took me 
about six months and a couple of flashes of 
light to come up with the concept," he says. 

Kraus' advisor, Judith Miller, associate 
professor of biology and biotechnology, 

immediately recognized the project's poten- 
tial. "I encouraged Morey to put his ideas 
into a proposal," she says. "Doctoral com- 
mittees review a lot of concepts that are 
interesting in theory. Morey's was the first 
in a long time that seemed to have recogniz- 
able commercial potential and was also the 
first qualifying proposal ever, in my experi- 
ence, to eclipse the originally planned doc- 
toral research." 

nil vmwMHUN' 


Friberg and Morey Kraus work on their stem 
cell breeder at the offices of t. Breeders. 

Kraus put the project aside for a semes- 
ter, then presented it to Mason "Skip" Irving 
III, vice president of commercial develop- 
ment for the Massachusetts Biotechnology 
Research Institute. MBRI, an independent, 
not-for-profit organization, and its affiliated 
venture capital firm, Commonwealth Bio- 
Ventures Inc., have provided capital, labora- 
tory space, equipment, supplies and manage- 
ment guidance to 20 companies since the 
two were established in 1984. As a result of 
Kraus' proposal, MBRI funded feasibility 
testing of the bioreactor and supported fur- 
ther research on Kraus' idea. 

"We were impressed not only with 
Morey's invention, which we believe will 
have a great deal of commercial value, but 
with his business acuity and tenacity," says 

In September 1994, Kraus opened his 
own business, t. Breeders Inc., in a large 
office at MBRI headquarters in Worcester. 
He serves as president and treasurer. Jill A. 

Friberg, t. Breeders' vice president of opera- 
tions, is also completing a Ph.D. at WPI. 
Kraus and Friberg have applied for a 
patent for the bioreactor, which can grow a 
variety of cell types, including precursors of 
T-cells and red blood cells. Because only a 
small sample of a patient's blood is needed 
to breed large quantities of stem cells with 
the reactor, it represents a significant ad- 
vance over the traditional method of collect- 
ing the cells, in which the patient 
must sit for prolonged periods while a 
centrifuge-like device extracts the cells 
from their circulating blood. 

t.Breeders' product "significantly 
reduces patient discomfort and de- 
creases the risk of further compromis- 
ing their immune defenses, which are 
at risk because we've removed some of 
their stem cells," Kraus says. The sys- 
tem is also cost-effective. "We believe 
that the breeder can ultimately be 
mass-produced for one-tenth the cost 
of a separator system," he adds. 

But perhaps the most important 
impact of the new procedure will be 
on cancer treatment itself, he says. 
"Our less expensive, more reliable and safer 
source of cells for replacing or supplement- 
ing blood-forming and immune system cells 
will significantly increase the number of 
patients that receive cellular therapy and 
most certainly lead to more aggressive and 
effective treatments for cancer." 


New Forceps Makes 
Suturing Easier 

Wo former WPI students, a University 
of Massachusetts Medical Center 
physician who graduated from the 
Institute, and a WPI professor recently 
patented a new forceps they invented to make 
suturing simpler and more cost-effective. 

"Delicate surgical manipulation requires 
stability — often involving the use of two 
instruments," savs Dr. Raymond M. Dunn, 


Sprinc; 19% 

associate professor of plastic surgery at 
UMass, who designed the Tissue-Spreading 
Forceps along with Marc Gomes Casseres 
'92, Richard Doppler '92 and mechanical 
engineering Professor Allen 1 1. Hoffman. 
"By allowing the surgeon to stahilize the 
wound with the forceps with one hand and 
suture with the other, the forceps make pos- 
sible more precise manipulation of tissue 
and needle placement." 

The patented forceps (pictured below) 
has two gripping members (which resemble 
pairs of tweezers) that are pivoted at the end 
and secured to each other by a spring. 
When the surgeon applies pressure to the 
spring, it causes the grippers to close and 
hold tissue at two locations. Additional 
pressure makes the forceps spread apart in 
relation to each other, thereby spreading the 
tissue. "More sophisticated and delicate sur- 
gical procedures are routinely being devel- 
oped," says Dunn. "Many of these require 
the redesign of traditional instrumentation 
and the development of new ones." 

Dunn, who received his bachelor's 
degree in chemistry from WPI in 1978 and 
now directs the medical center's Plastic 
Surgery Research Laboratories, saw a need 
for an improved forceps and identified pro- 
totypes that could be used to make those 
improvements. Gomes Casseres and 

Doppler were WPI seniors in 1991 when 
they began working with Dunn to develop 
the new device as part of their Major Quali- 
fying Project. Hoffman, the students' advi- 
sor, helped them focus on their task and 
refine the product. WPI and UMMC fund- 
ed the cost of securing the patent, which was 
assigned to both institutions. 

"The factors that were considered in the 
design of the forceps were ease of manipula- 
tion, complexity of the closing and spread- 
ing mechanism, and cost to manufacture," 
says Gomes Casseres. "The Tissue-Spread- 
ing Forceps will enable the surgeon to con- 
centrate on the complicated techniques 

involved in surgery, rather than on the 
mechanics of the instrument." 

After earning their bachelor's degrees in 
mechanical engineering with biomedical 
interest, Doppler and Gomes Casseres went 
on to earn master's degrees in mechanical 
engineering at WPI. Doppler is now vice 
president of operations at Reed & Prince 
Manufacturing Corp. in Worcester. Gomes 
( lasseres is a mechanical engineer at Lock- 
heed Sanders Inc. in Nashua, N.H. 

— BG 

Model Predicts 
Boston Marathon's 
Medical Needs 

The 100th running of the Boston 
Marathon on April 15 was an exciting 
and memorable spectacle. But with 
nearly 40,000 runners participating — four 
times the number who typically compete 
and the largest field for any maradion in his- 
tory — the race represented a huge challenge 
for its planners and organizers. Thanks to a 
computer simulation developed by WPI 
juniors Kevin Ciszewski, Timothy Caldwell 
and Joseph Danubio, those harried men and 
women were able to confidently plan for the 
medical needs of the runners. 

"The students' work provided the cor- 
nerstone for the medical care plan for the 
100th Boston Marathon," says Dr. Marvin 
Adner, medical director for the race. Adner, 
chief of hematology at Metro West Medical 
Center in Framingham, Mass., was responsi- 
ble for planning all of the medical support 
for the race. Last spring, he approached 
WPI's Management Department with a 
request for a computer simulation study to 
help prepare for the centennial. 

"The finish line for the marathon is like 
a funnel and is not conducive to easy dis- 
bursement of the finishers," says Francis 
Noonan, associate professor of manage- 
ment, who served as the students' faculty 
advisor. "This marathon historically incurs 
higher casualty rates than other marathons — 
either because of the nature of the course or 
the fact that many runners elevate the status 
of Boston to a higher level than other races 
and are thus more likely to push themselves 
beyond their physical capabilities." 

For their computer model, the students 
input data based on assumptions about the 
total number of runners across a discrete 
range of finish times; staffing levels for the 
various categories of the race (including the 
number of available medical support person- 

Sylvia Mehl of Minnesota, one of the 
1,400 casualties of the 100th running 
of the Boston Marathon, rests in a med- 
ical tent at the finish line. 

nel); weather conditions; and casualty rates 
for each type of injury. 

"The resulting model predicted that up 
to l ,000 cots had to be available in the three 
medical tents and that the medical team 
needed to stock about 850 intravenous 
lines," says Noonan. "We also provided 
information to Dr. Adner on the number of 
medical support volunteers he needed to call 
upon to assist finishers who required med- 
ical attention." 

Ciszewski and Caldwell, chemical engi- 
neering majors, and Danubio, a civil engi- 
neering major, were present on race day to 
see how well their model predicted the actu- 
al medical needs. They found that some of 
their assumptions were a bit conservative; 
for example, only 2,000 "bandit" runners 
(runners not officially registered) joined the 
race (they had predicted 5,000) and it took 
28 minutes for all the runners to clear the 
starting line (they'd estimated 40 to 45). In 
addition, the cool weather held down the 
number of heat-related medical problems. 
As a result, there were 1,400 casualties at the 
finish line, vs. the 2,100 the model had pre- 
dicted, and the population in the medical 
tents never got beyond 350, while the model 
suggested it might hit 500. 

"Being overprepared is better than being 
underprepared," Noonan says, "and the 
medical staff was most grateful for the early 
planning work from these students." 

— BG 


An Electric 

More than 100 years ago, a young, detei r ?nined professor of 
physics rose to do battle with the giants of mechanical engineering 
at WPI. When the dust settled, a new department was born and 
WPI would never be the same again. Here is the story of the 
binh of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. 

By William R. Grog an '46 

f the year WPI construct- 
iLJLtL jL«OJ\j (§ ed its electrical engineer- 
ing building, Harvard historian Henry Adams pub- 
lished his autobiography. Adams was interested in 
everything. He loved to attend the major interna- 
tional expositions where the great technical 
advances of the day were displayed to an awestruck 
public. Of all the wonders he saw at diese dazzling 
showcases, nothing captured his imagination like 
the dynamo. 

In The Education of Henry Adams, he wrote of 
the forces that drive civilization. Every force has 
its symbol, he noted. Just as the force that drove 
the age of the great European cathedrals was 
symbolized by the cross, the symbol of the more 
secular 20th century would be the dynamo. He 
saw the 40-foot-tall dynamos at the great Chicago 
Exposition of 1893 as a moral force and was daz- 
zled by the sense of power that radiated from 
these scarcely humming wheels — wheels that 
seemed to make the old-fashioned, deliberate rev- 
olutions of the Earth itself pale in comparison. 
This silent, infinite force would transform the 
world, he wrote. How right he was. 

As Adams wandered among those dynamos in 
Chicago, the Electric Age was about to dawn at 
WPI. And just as Adams might have predicted, 
the arrival of the upstart discipline of electrical 
engineering would shake things up there, as it did 
everywhere else. In the century since, WPI's 
Electrical Engineering Department (today the 
Electrical and Computer Engineering Depart- 
ment) has participated in a wild torrent of discov- 
ery, development and application that has steadily 
accelerated in its rate of diversification and social 
impact. Arid through it all, it has educated gener- 
ations of brilliant young men and women. This is 
the story of how it all began. 

Spring 1996 


As early as 1750, Ben Franklin, having sur- 
vived flying kites into thunderstorms, put 
his empirical understanding of electricity 
into practice hy inventing the lightning rod. But 
nearly a century would pass before electrophysi- 
cists appeared on the scene to begin to establish a 
scientific basis for electrical phenomena. 
They were rewarded by having their 
names — 0ersted, Ampere, Faraday, 
Ohm, Lagrange and Laplace — forever 
attached to the units of measure electrical 
engineers know so well. 

Next came the age of the inventors, men 
like Carl Friedrich Gauss, Ernst Weber, Samuel 
Morse, Sir Charles Wheatstone, E.W. Siemens, 
.Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. A 
new technological explosion was about to occur, an 
era in which the discoveries of the electrophysicists 
and the industrial needs identified by the inventors 
would be formally linked through the yet undevel- 
oped discipline of electrical engineering. 

Chartered on May 10, 1865, the Worcester 
County Free Institute of Industrial Science 
opened its doors on Nov. 1 1, 1868, to 32 stu- 
dents. While programs in civil engineering and 
chemistry were offered, the Institute was essen- 
tially a mechanical engineering school, with heavy 
emphasis on shop work. In 1871, as the Institute 
graduated its first class, there quietly arrived on 
campus a 27-year-old A.B. graduate of Amherst 
College who was to create WPI's electrical engi- 
neering program. Alonzo Smith Kimball always 
had an intense interest in electrical phenomena. 
As a physics professor, he developed laboratories 
and courses in electricity- 
After continuous effort, Professor Kimball 
was allowed to introduce the first graduate course 
in electrical engineering at WPI in 1889. His next 
proposal, to offer an undergraduate course, was 
met with fierce faculty opposition. The oppo- 
nents were led by mechanical engineering giants 
Professors Milton Higgins and George I. Alden. 
Higgins, superintendent of the Washburn Shops, 
and Alden, first head of the Mechanical Engi- 
neering Department, were ardent supporters of 
the shop model of engineering education that 
WTI had pioneered and both had national repu- 
tations. Kimball wididrew his proposal, but inter- 
est in die field continued to grow. The force that 
Henry Adams predicted would dominate the 
coming century could not be denied. 

(Continued on page 9) 

WPI Journal 

Opposite, Alonzo Smith Kimball, founder of 
the electrical engineering program at WPI. 
Above, experimental work in high-voltage 
electrical transmission was a focus of 
research in the early days of the depart- 
ment. In the background, the campus as it 
looked in 1896, when the department was 
established. Boynton Hall, far left, and Sal- 
isbury Laboratories, far right, housed the 
electrical engineering program before it 
gained its own building in 1907. 


The Big E 

By 1905, just a decade after its founding, the 
Electrical Engineering Department had 
become a victim of its own success. Enroll- 
ment in the EE program had grown like wildfire 
and its meager facilities in Salisbury Laboratories 
were bursting at the seams. In an urgent note to 
President Edmund Engler, Department Head 
Harold Smith warned that the department was in 
danger of "complete strangulation." 

Not long after that, the trustees authorized the 
expenditure of $200,000 for the Electrical Engi- 
neering Building, which was completed in 1907, 
occupying a prominent spot at the corner of West 
and Salisbury streets on what had been part of the 
Salisbury family farm. Built in the shape of an E, 
the new structure was a showcase for the most 
advanced electrical technology. There were dyna- 
mos and motors and electrical apparatus of all sorts 
for students to use, all controlled from a 40-foot- 
long, 7-foot-high switch panel. 

A large open bay served as a general purpose 
lab and contained the largest pieces of equipment. 
A 10-ton traveling crane moved over the lab on 
huge I-beams to lift the huge generators and 
motors. Two wings housed offices, classrooms, a 
lecture hall, the department library, and a large lab 
for high-voltage work. In all, the building enclosed 
900,000 cubic feet. 

This space proved adequate for the depart- 
ment's needs for 50 years, though the changing 
nature ot electrical engineering — including the 
electronics revolution created by the invention of 
the transistor — ultimately led to a decision to reno- 
vate the building in 1958. About 7,000 square feet 
of new space was created by flooring over the large 
bay, and research labs were established for growing 
fields like electronics, computers, microwaves and 
high-frequency circuits. The building also gained a 
new entrance facing the campus. 

The building was ready for its next expansion 
and refurbishment in the early 1980s. An 8,000- 
square-foot addition was built with a modern facade 
facing Salisbury Labs. The space was needed not 
only for the expanding Electrical Engineering 
Department, but for a relatively new neighbor, the 
Computer Science Department, which shared the 
building until it gained a home of its own in Fuller 
Laboratories in 1990. 

For its first 42 years, this structure was known 
simply as the Electrical Engineering Building. In 
1949, upon the death of Atwater Kent '00, the 
Institute decided to formally name it for the radio 
pioneer. As part ot the renovations in the 1980s, the 
large lecture hall was named for longtime faculty 
member Hobart Newell. 

Spring 1996 

An Electric Century 

(Continued from page 7) 

Meanwhile, some alumni and trustees were 
becoming concerned that the Institute was requir- 
ing too much shop work and for too long. MIT 
(which graduated its first electrical engineering 
major in 1889) and Cornell had already begun to 
de-emphasize shop work and develop the scientific 
component of their academic programs. They had 
also lengthened their three-and-a-half-year pro- 
gram to four years. Despite a show of force from 
Alden and I liggins, the WPI trustees voted to 
extend WPI's program to four years. 

Kimball saw his chance. He devised a program 
that came to be known as the "Kimball Plan." It 
consisted of two and a half years of mechanical 
engineering, a half year of "breadth" subjects, and 
a year of electrical engineering. Once again, 
Alden's protests that the college was becoming 
"too scientific" were overruled by the trustees, who 
quickly approved the plan. The electrical engineer- 
ing program started when the first tour-year term 
began in September 1893. It w r as directed by Kim- 
ball, who by then was head of the Department of 
Physics. Meanwhile, Kimball's health, never very 
good, was getting steadily worse. 

A corner of the Boynton Hall basement 
became WPI's first electrical engineering labora- 
tory. A dynamo was set up there, driven by shaft- 

ing that passed through a tunnel from the Wash- 
burn Shops. Stephen Salisbury II, having become 
fascinated with electricity, was a strong supporter 
of the program, donating dynamos, motors and 
all sorts of measuring equipment to the college. 
He was also instrumental in the building of the 
magnetics laboratory (now Skull Tomb), which 
contained no iron in its construction. Later ren- 
dered useless for its primary purpose by the vibra- 
tions from the Boynton Street trollev line, the 
tin\ building became an electrical engineering 
laboratory. When Salisbury died in 1884, his son, 

WPI Journal 

Stephen Salisbury III, honored his memory with a 
$100,000 gift, which the Institute used to con- 
struct Salisbury Laboratories, completed in 1889. 
The LE Department was granted limited space in 
the new building, which enabled it to abandon 
the Boynton basement room. 

The program in electrical engineering proved 
extremely popular and grew rapidly. Space 
became a critical problem, and the program need- 
ed full-time management. In 
1896, electrical engineering 
was established as a full 
department; I larold B. 
Smith, a human dynamo 
then just 27 years old, was 
named its head. That same 
year, Professors Higgins and 
Alden left WPI to pursue 
their immensely profitable 
commercial interests, amass- 
ing fortunes in the process. 
Alon/.o Kimball, possibly one 
of the greatest unsung heroes 
of WTI, died a year later, at 
the age of 53. 

Harold Smith was 
dynamic and deter- 
mined. A graduate 
of Cornell and already recog- 
nized for his brilliant work in 
the field of transformers and 
insulators, he served as director of the new school 
of electrical engineering at Purdue for two years 
before he came to WPI. Smith seemed to be 
everywhere — teaching, recruiting students, actively 
consulting on transformers with Westinghouse, 
and diligently courting Edmund Engler, WTI's 
fourth president, and the Board of Trustees, 
impressing on them the fact that his visionary 
plans were limited by a terrible lack of space. 
Thus, when Stephen Salisbury Ill's legacy arrived 
in 1905, the trustees had no problem deciding 
what to do with it. Smith wanted the new electrical 
building to be the largest and finest in America— 
and it was (see story, opposite page). Larger than 
any college engineering building ever built, it was 
big enough to accommodate WTI's 1907 Com- 
mencement. The building's equipment included 
the renowned WPI Electric Test Car, the Insti- 
tute's regional trademark for 20 years (see story, 
next page). 

In 1910, Smith's wife drowned in a swimming 
accident. He remarried the following year, took a 
two-year leave of absence, and embarked on a 
cruise around the world. Upon his return, he pur- 
sued the development of the department with 
even more energy, and his reputation (and that of 
WPI) in high-voltage power transmission soared. 
A 100-kV line was constructed along Boynton 
Street. This was later replaced by a 500-kV line 

(Continued on page 1 1) 

Harold Smith, above, 
was named head of the 
Electrical Engineering 
Department upon its 
founding in 1896. The 
department's original 
faculty also included 
Joseph Phelon, in apron 
at left, who began his 
WPI career in 1887 as a 
professor of physics. 


Testing the Rails 

In 1905 the Electrical Engineering Department 
hired a young assistant professor named Alhert 
Richey. His specialty was electric railway engi- 
neering, and he came to the Institute fresh from a 
post as chief engineer of a traction railway company 
in Indiana. Electrically powered trains were one of 
the most exciting and fastest growing applications 
of the still young field of power engineering. In the 
decades ahead, inner- and intercity rail lines would 
crisscross die landscape like a steel spider's web. 

Richey brought this emerging field to WPI by 
establishing a program in electric railway engi- 
neering. Two years later, generous space was pro- 
vided in the west end of the new Electrical Engi- 
neering Building for an electric car testing plant. 
The plant included a 56-foot-long pit with a set of 
rails mounted on tall I-beams for inspecting rail- 
way cars. Alongside the inspection track were four 
pairs of wheels mounted on adjustable pedestals. 
The wheels were attached to flywheels, which sim- 
ulated the starting inertia, and electric generators, 
used to place variable loads on the 
wheels of a car to simulate 
various track condi- 

One car that made frequent appearances on the 
test stand was No. 1907, the Institute's own electric 
test car. Its exterior was painted green and adorned 
with a WPI seal and the name of the Institute in 
gold leaf. The inside was finished in oak and packed 
with instruments made by WPI students, as well as 
electric fans, ice coolers, lamps, desks, easy chairs 
and other amenities needed on long trips. 

On those frequent sojurns, the car, one of only 
a few like it in the country, tested the continuity of 
the tracks used by the many electric street rail com- 
panies in New England. The companies paid for 
this service, which was typically performed during 
the summer months. The test crew usually consist- 
ed of a faculty member and two or three student 
assistants. Electrical engineering majors could 
choose this work as an option during the senior 
year, and many did. 

The rise of the automobile and "autobus" 
brought about the gradual demise of electric street 
railways. The test car, no longer in demand and 
having been damaged by fire, was dismantled and 
sold in 1927. The tracks leading into the building 
were torn up. Today, the only reminder of this great 
era in the history of the Electrical Engineering 
Department are the large arched windows on 
the west side of Atwater Kent Labs that 
occupy the space where big double 
doors once opened to receive 
■k,. oP No. 1907. 


Spring 1996 

4id J*<i* JiJh h 

An Electric Century 

(Continued from page 9) 

supplied by a transformer designed and built at 
WTI. The work involved cutting-edge research 
on insulators and transformer insulating oils. The 
citizens of Worcester came to Boynton Street at 
night to gasp in wonder at the sparks and corona 
the line produced. 

Smith insisted, based upon his industrial 
experience, that every EE major devote half of his 
senior year to the study of business methods, and 
he required a course in engi- 
neering economy (the course 
would continue to be offered 
in the department until the 
1960s). During World War I 
he worked on submarine 
development in New London, 
Conn. Meanwhile, WTI's EE 
graduates were populating 
every corner of electrical 
engineering, and the EE 
industry responded. Westing- 
house donated an elaborate 

high-voltage lab to WPI and paid for its complete 
installation, while General Electric donated an 
array of rotating machines. 

At least half of the EE program remained in 
mechanical engineering, since it was generally 
thought at the time (by Smith and by leaders at 
most engineering colleges) that one could not mas- 
ter the concepts of electrical design until one had 
become quite familiar with the principles of the 
established mechanical design process. That 
assumption would not change until World War II. 

In 1927, EE Professor Clarence Pierce 
became the first faculty member at WPI to be 
granted a one-year sabbatical leave; he received a 
stipend of $1,000. The WPI test car was sold that 
year, victim of the decline of the electric trollev 
lines. As a sign of the changing times, a commu- 
nications lab, with Professor Hobart Newell (who 
brought WPI into the age of electronics) in 
charge, was established through a grant from 
AT&T, and the Radio Corporation of America 
gave the department a complete radio station. 

Newell was a radio pioneer who helped devel- 
op the nation's first commercial radio station and 
the first FM transmitter. Two WPI alumni would 
make major contributions to the emerging radio 
industry: Atwater Kent '00, who designed and 
manufactured a popular line of radio receivers 
(and who gave his name to WPI's EE building), 
and Harold Davis '18, who was the first board 
chairman of NBC. 

The department was at a zenith of education- 
al achievement and was nationally recognized for 
its excellence. Smith was elected president of the 
American Institute of Electrical Engineers (fore- 
runner of IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers), and for two years he trav- 

eled the country extensively, 
speaking to a wide variety of 
engineering and business 
groups. Growing weary, he 
retired on July 1, 1931, after 
serving as department head 
for 35 years. Theodore H. 
Morgan from Stanford Uni- 
versity took over. Smith died 
on Feb. 9, 1932, marking 
the end of a golden age for 
the Institute. 


The era of electronics slowly (perhaps too 
slowly) supplanted the era of the dynamo. In turn, 
it was supplanted by the era of computers and 
computer communications. Today, in fact, the 
symbol that best defines the state of electrical 
engineering is the computer screen. One might 
ask what awesome new force will appear in the 
21st century to take the place of this ubiquitous 
flickering presence. Wdl it lift humanity to greater 
heights of grace and understanding, or will it drive 
us all to the wall of frustration and isolation? The 
only certainty is that it will not take another 100 
years before we discover the answer. 

Grogan is professor ewer it us of electrical engineering 
and dean of undergraduate studies emeritus at WPI. 

Clockwise from top left, 
the "electricals" pose 
before one of the large 
electrical control pan- 
els in the EE Building; 
Hobart Newell '18, 
standing, a pioneer in 
radio who would go on 
to create WPI's educa- 
tional and research pro- 
gram in electronics; 
Harold Smith at the 
podium in the lecture 
hall that would later be 
named for Newell. 

WPI Journal 



Father of 




In its first 100 years, WPIs Electrical and 
Computer Engineering Department has pro- 
duced thousands of graduates, many of whom 
have gone on to do extraordinary things. There 
was Atwater Kent '00, who made one of the most 
popular receivers in the early days of radio; Yi Chi 
Mei '14, who became president of one of China's 
best known and most distinguished universities; 
Hobart Newell '18, a pioneer in radio who became 
a legendary professor of electrical engineering at 
WPI; John Lott Brown '46, who made a name for 
himself as a researcher in psychology and a univer- 
sity president; William Grogan '46, also a distin- 
guished professor at WPI and one of the founders 
of the WPI Plan; Paul Allaire '60, who is chairman 
and CEO of Xerox Corp.; Robert Mcintosh '62, 
a pioneer in microwave remote sensing; Donald 
Foley '66, an entrepreneur and business leader 
who was once deputy director of the Defense 
Advanced Research Projects Agency; and Ronald 
Zarrella '71, who went from the presidency of 
Bausch and Lomb to a vice presidency at General 
Motors (where he is in charge of the corporation's 
North American Sales, Service and Marketing 

But perhaps the department's most stellar 
graduate was Harold S. Black '21, whose negative 
feedback theory is widely recognized as one of the 
most important and fundamental concepts in elec- 
trical engineering. The theory enables distortion in 
a communication signal to be corrected by feeding 
part of the signal back to the amplifier and com- 
paring it to the original signal. The theory was first 
applied to long-distance telephone service, but has 
since found applications in fields as diverse as con- 
trol engineering and psychology. Indeed, the term 
"feedback" has become entrenched in the popular 

The story of how Harold Black discovered 
negative feedback theory is legendary. In 1927 he 
was taking the Hudson River Ferry to his office at 
Bell Laboratories in New York City when he sud- 
denly thought of a solution to the problem of dis- 
tortion in amplified signals (a fundamental obstacle 
to economical long-distance telephone service). 
Having nothing else to write on, he sketched his 
idea on a copy of The New York Times and then 
signed and dated it. The patent he won for the 
negative feedback amplifier was one of 63 U.S. and 
278 foreign patents he earned in a long and distin- 
guished career at Bell Labs. 

For his contributions to electronics and com- 
munications, Black earned numerous awards and 
honors. They included the IEEE's Lamme Medal, 
WPI's Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Out- 
standing Professional Achievement, and induction 
into the Inventors Hall of Fame. 


Spring 1996 

Alumni Speak Out 

By Michael W. Dorsi y 

Each spring, the WPI community gathers 
for a ritual filled with tradition and 
marked by dignity and emotion. In a cer- 
emony that has transpired 128 times since 
WPI opened its doors, the members of 
the graduating class, adorned in black robes and 
mortarboard caps, stride one by one across a gaily 
decorated stage to receive their diplomas and 
march off into the ranks of alumni. 

Commencement is both an end and a begin- 
ning. Just as it brings down the curtain on a stu- 
dent's campus days, distilling into memories the 
many hours spent studying, learning and building 
friendships with classmates, it opens the door on 
a new type of relationship with the Institute. For 

some, it is an 
active affiliation, 
fdled with home- 
coming week- 
ends, class 
reunions and 
annual sup- 
port of the 
WTI Alumni 
Fund. For 
others, the 
connection is 
more passive, 
sustained largely by the continual stream of news 
about WPI and fellow graduates delivered by the 
Institutes publications. 

But whether graduates stay in touch with their 
alma mater or keep their distance, they represent 
the Institute's single most important constituency. 
Alumni provide WPI with about 85 percent of all 
the dollars it raises from individuals. Graduates 
play an important role in recruiting new students, 
either actively as Alumni Admissions volunteers or 
indirectly as ambassadors for WPI in their com- 
munities. Alumni help students launch their 
careers by providing opportunities for internships 
and co-op experiences, by participating in career 
fairs and job shadowing programs, and by hiring 
fellow graduates. More and more, alumni are mak- 
ing a difference in WPI's educational efforts by 
advising or sponsoring student projects and help- 
ing out with the creation and management of over- 
sees project centers. Many alumni volunteer time 
to the Institute as trustees or members of many 
Alumni Association and campus committees. And 
all graduates, by talking about the university to 
friends, fellow employees and young people, help 
build and expand WPI's reputation. 

( riven the many ways alumni contribute to 
the Institute's success, one might guess that WPI 

WPI Journal 

would know a great deal about what this impor- 
tant group thinks about a wide range of issues. In 
reality, of course, tapping into the thoughts and 
opinions of more than 22,000 men and women 
who live and work all around the world is no easy 
task. Last summer, for the first time ever, the 
WPI Alumni Association decided to do just that. 
To take the pulse of this widespread group, the 
association, in concert with the University Rela- 
tions Office and the Provost's Office, contracted 
with the Gallup Organization to conduct a com- 
prehensive survey of the alumni body. 

"There have been a few surveys — both formal 
and informal — over the years that have questioned 
different groups of alumni about specific topics," 
notes Sharon Davis, director of alumni affairs. 
"But until now, there has never been a comprehen- 
sive study of our entire alumni body that asked not 
only what they think about their relationship with 
the Alumni Association, but how they view their 
WPI educations and the management and future 
directions of the Institute. This survey really broke 
new ground and provided some quite interesting 
and useful results." 

The survey was overseen by a subcommittee 
of the Alumni Association Executive Committee. 
Chaired by Patricia G. Flaherty '75, the subcom- 
mittee also included Joel P. Greene '69, Joseph J. 
Maggi '67, Robert E. Maynard '63, Samuel Men- 
cow '38, Patrick T Moran '65 and Katherine M. 
Vignaly '84. The questionnaire was designed by 
Gallup with considerable input from the commit- 
tee and from WPI's Alumni, Provost's, Student 
Life and University Relations offices. 

In August 1995, Gallup's trained telephone 
interviewers began calling a random sample of 
841 WPI graduates, who were divided nearl\ 
equally into four groups according to their 
undergraduate class year: 1985 to the 
present; 1975 to 1984; 1965 to 1974; 
and 1964 and earlier. The inter- 
views, designed to last about 18 
minutes, covered a broad range 
of topics, ranging from grad 
uates' perceptions of 
WPI's quality to their 
memories of their 
educational and social 
experience at WPI to their opinions 
about WPI's fundraising strategies to their 
satisfaction with the Journal and the WPI 
Wire, the Institute's primary communica- 
tions links with its graduates. 

In the pages that follow, we present a 
summary of some of the major findings. 

What's on the minds of WPI's 
22,000 graduates? What do 
they think about the education 
they received, the state of 
affairs at their alma mater 
today, the programs and 
services of their Alumni 
Association, and the 
Institute's fund-raising 
practices? To find out, WPI 
conducted a major survey of 
alumni last summer. Here are 
the results. 




Rate these schools in 
terms of overall quality. 






















Carnegie Mellon 








Georgia Tech 







UMass- Amherst 

How WPI Ranks 

Recognizing that WPI graduates represent an 
important adjunct to the Institute's efforts to 
expand and enhance its reputation and name 
recognition, the survey sought to find out how 
alumni rate their alma mater and how they think 
the public at large perceives of the university. 
Overall, respondents compared their alma mater 
quite favorably to some of the top universities in 
the nation, and said they believe that the public at 

large holds a positive 
opinion of WPI, as well 
(those who have heard 
of the Institute, that is). 

Respondents were 
asked to rate WPI and 
eight other universities 
(including some of the 
Institute's most impor- 
tant competitors for stu- 
dents) on a five-point 
scale. The results are 
presented in Table 1; 
they show that alumni 
placed WPI ahead of 
some of the nation's top 
technological universi- 
ties. In fact, only MIT 
and California Institute of Technology earned 
higher mean ratings than WPI. By very slight 
margins, alumni who graduated in 1965 or earlier 
rated WPI higher than more recent grads, and 
male graduates, overall, ranked WPI slightly 
higher than female graduates. Regular donors to 
WPI (those who have given within the last five 
years) assigned the Institute higher marks than 
those who have not supported WPI regularly. 

Alumni were also asked which university they 
believe to be WPI's closest competitor. Overall, 
84 percent named Rensselaer Polytechnic Insti- 
tute or MIT, with Rensselaer accounting for 
about two thirds of the replies. Cal Tech and 
Carnegie Mellon were each mentioned by about 
2 percent of respondents. According to the WPI 
Admissions Office, Rensselaer is, indeed, WPI's 
most important competitor. About 33 percent of 
students who apply to WPI also apply to Rensse- 
laer. Other major competitors are, in descending 
order, Boston University, Northeastern Universi- 
ty, Tufts University and the University of Massa- 
chusetts. Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and MIT all 
rank just below these schools. 

Asked to place themselves in the shoes of the 
general public, 62 percent of respondents said 
they think the average person has a favorable 
impression of WPI; 14 percent said they believe 
the Institute is viewed extremely favorably, while 
16 percent said WPI is "OK" in the public eye. 
Some 6 percent of respondents said they believe 
the public, as a whole, does not know WPI at all. 
Two questions asked graduates to name what 
they consider to be WPI's strongest and weakest 

programs. Confusion over the meaning of the 
word "program" in the question may have con- 
tributed to the wide range of responses received, 
though the answers do provide a clue as to what 
alumni tend to think of first when 
they ponder acad- 
emics at WPI. 

For example, 
while the Insti- 
tute has made the 
WPI Plan, its 
innovative, pro- 
ject-based under- 
graduate program, 
the focus of much 
of its marketing 
efforts — particu- 
larly in its com- 
munications to 


Alumni place WPI 
ahead of some of the 
nation's top technological universities. 
62 percent of respondents said the 
public has a good impression of WPI. 
#4 percent of alumni said R.PI and MIT 
are WPI's closest competitors. 
More than a third of grads could not 
name WPI's weakest program. 

prospective stu- 
dents — only 9 per- 
cent of respondents said the Plan is WPI's 
strongest program. However, 1 5 percent placed 
projects — the centerpiece of the Plan — at the top 
of the list. When combined, these two responses 
were mentioned by 24 percent of respondents, 
placing the Plan No. 2 on the list. (When the 3 
percent of alumni who named the undergraduate 
program are added in, the Plan rises to the top.) 

Of the top six programs mentioned, five are 
academic disciplines. They are electrical engi- 
neering (26 percent), mechanical engineering (23 
percent), computer science (12 percent), engi- 
neering in general (1 1 percent), and chemical 
engineering (9 percent). Biology and Biotechnol- 
ogy was mentioned by 6 percent of respondents, 
environmental engineering by 4 percent, and fire 
protection engineering by 2 percent. 

More than a third of respondents said they 
could not name WPI's weakest program; another 
8 percent said WPI has no weak programs. The 
percentage of alumni who did not name a specific 
program increased steadily with the length of 
time since graduation. Where 17 percent of 
alums in the classes of 1985 to the present 
answered "don't know," 29 percent of members of 
the classes of 1975 to 1984, 39 percent of those in 
the classes of 1965 to 1974, and 52 percent of 
grads in the Class of 1964 and earlier gave that 
answer. The only program cited as weak by a sub- 
stantial number of alumni was the humanities (26 
percent, overall), with 37 percent of recent gradu- 
ates singling out this discipline. 

Experiences, Positive and 

Another set of questions asked participants to 
reflect, in general terms, on the experience they had 
as students at WPI. Table 2 lists the answers given 
most frequendy to the question, "What was the best 
single experience you had at WPI?" The answer 


Spring 1996 


given more often than any other \\ as 
"graduating." For alumni who graduated 
since die start of the WPI Plan, project 
work was die top choice, given hy 20 per 
cent of alumni in the classes of 1975 to 1984 
and a third of those who graduated more 
recendy. Earlier Plan graduates gave equal 
weight to graduating and to passing the 
Competency Exam, the do-or-die gradua- 
tion requirement diat was phased out 
about a decade ago in favor of departmen- 
tal distribution requirements. Interestingly, 
the social side of campus life — friendships 
with classmates and faculty members, 
meeting one's future spouse, extracurricu- 
lar activities, and sports — was mentioned 
by few alumni. 

In fact, asked to list two positive experiences 
they remember from their student days, alumni, 
by a wide margin, pointed to academic experi- 
ences (project work, academic excellence, helpful 
professors, academic environment, and hard work 
and discipline) more often than social experiences 
(fraternity and sorority life, social events, friend- 
ships, and extracurricular activities), as Table 2 
shows. Overall, fewer than half of respondents 
recall negative experiences related to WPI (this 
percentage dropped dramatically with time since 
graduation, ranging from 52 percent for the most 
recent graduates to 29 percent for those who 
graduated in 1964 or earlier). 

Of the alumni who had a negative memory, 
most attributed it to an individual professor. "Bad 
social scene" was the top answer for graduates 
from the classes of 1975 to 1984, and "hard 
work/high pressure" was mentioned by 13 per- 
cent of graduates from the classes of 1965 to 
1974. Other factors listed by more than 5 percent 
of respondents were financial problems (men- 
tioned more frequently by recent grads), "frater- 
nity/sorority" and poor grades. Prejudice was 
cited by 12 percent of women who reported nega- 
tive memories, but only 2 percent of men. Men 
"were more likely than women to 
cite a bad social scene, while . * 
women were far more like- \ r 

ly than men to point to v -* 

the lopsided ratio of • 

male to female students. 

The Alumni 

One of the most important roles 
of the Alumni Association is to 
keep graduates engaged with dieir 
alma mater by offering a range of 
programs and services tuned to 
graduates' interests, needs and 
schedules. Informal feedback 
from alumni who partake of those 

Asked to name 

their most positive experience 

at WPI, most said "graduating." 

Younger alumni cited project work as 

their most positive experience. 

Alumni rated their academic 

experience higher than their social 


Fewer than half of respondents had 

negative associations with WPI. 

What was the best single 
experience you had at WPI? 


project work 

fraternity /sorority 

passing competency exam 

academic class 

friends made 

friendship with faculty member 


don't know 

Categories of experiences 
that hold the most positive 
memories of WPI 


Social / recreational 

• Fewer than half of 
alumni have used Alumni Asso- 
ciation programs and services. 
Of those who have, about a third have 
been to Reunion or Homecoming. 
More than three-quarters said 
alumni programs are effective. 
Those who don't partake cite dis- 
tance from WPI and busy lives as 

WPI Journal 

services and programs, 
and the raw numbers — 
how many people partici- 
pate and how many 
don't — offer some guid- 
ance to the alumni staff 
about which programs are 
useful and enjoyable. 
Through die survey, the 
association sought to 
probe deeper. 

The survey revealed 
that fewer than half of graduates have ever used 
an alumni association program or service. Not 
surprisingly, graduates who live in the Northeast 
were the most likely to have taken advantage of 
what the association offers, while grads in the 
western and south central U.S. were the least 
likely (international alumni were not polled). The 
participation level increased somewhat with time 
since graduation, and active donors and graduates 
who received both their bachelor's and advanced 
degrees from WPI were much more likely to have 
used the association's services than nondonors and 
those who earned advanced degrees elsewhere. 

Of those who said they had joined in associa- 
tion activities, about a third said they'd attended 
either Reunion or Homecoming. Homecoming 
was most popular with younger 
alumni (more than half of gradu- 
ates of 1985 to the present have 
attended this event; only 16 
percent of those in the classes of 

1964 and earlier have), while the 
popularity of Reunion (an event 
for classes celebrating major 
reunions, beginning with the 
10th) appears to grow with the 
passage of the years (about 40 per- 
cent of grads from the classes of 

1965 to 1984 have attended a 
reunion; 54 percent of members 
of the classes of 1964 and earlier 
have come back to campus for this 
spring event). 




































































Of those who had attended Alumni Associa- 
tion events, more than three quarters found them 
to be at least somewhat effective (somewhat effec- 
tive, 49 percent; very effective, 21 percent). 
Those who did not rate the programs "very effec- 
tive" were asked why they weren't more effective, 
and all respondents were asked how alumni 
events could be improved. The most prevalent 
answers centered on low attendance at the events, 
inadequate advertising or advance notice for 
events, and a need for better content or content 
more in tune with the interest of alumni. 

To get a better feel for why alumni do _ 

not attend events, or attend more often, the 
survey asked participants who had not been * 
to an event for at least five years (or who could 

Agreement with statements 
about WPI in general 

1 would recommend WPI to prospective students. 

WPI's current emphasis on project-based education 
is the right approach for success in today's world. 

WPI provides a positive community in which to learn. 

The faculty provides a postive learning environment 
for the students. 

The faculty really cares about the students. 

The WPI faculty is the highest quality. 

If I were to give money to WPI, I have confidence 
that the money would be used wisely. 

WPI is well-managed, with a clear set of goals. 

WPI provides a positive social community in which to live. 

WPI should provide merit-based scholarship aid to 
outstanding students regardless of financial need. 

WPI's focus on international and global issues is the 
best approach for success in today's world. 

Agreement with statements 

about WPI when alumni were students 

The faculty at WPI taught me well. 

My WPI education prepared me well to contribute 
quickly to projects and problem-solving tasks at work. 

My WPI education prepared me well for my career. 

My WPI education gave me skills that have proven valuable 
in my career, such as teamwork, leadership and the ability 
to communicate professionally. 

My WPI experience contributed to my interpersonal, 
social and leadership skills. 

I feel better prepared for the challenges of my career 
than colleagues who graduated from other universities. 

WPI's career development office offers adequate 
support to students who are looking for a job. 

I received adequate training in writing and verbal skills 
to prepare me for professional life since graduation. 

As a result of my WPI education, I am concerned about 
social issues and the social consequences of my work. 

* computed using numeric values of responses: 5 = strongly agree. 
4 = agree, 3 = neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = stronglydisagree 

not remember attending an event) what kept them 
away. More than 40 percent said the events were 
simply too far away. Another 26 percent said they 
were too busy with work, family and other respon- 
sibilities. Thirteen percent said they had no inter- 
est in the events or didn't feel they needed to 
attend, while 8 percent said they didn't know what 
was going on or didn't feel connected to WPI. 
Interestingly, the percentage of alumni giving each 
of these responses varied little among the four age 
groups, although women were more likely than 

men to say they are 
too busy to 
attend events. 
Not surprisingly, 
the farther away 

n . . graduates live 

96 percent of ? TT7 

r from Worces- 
alumns would recommend the more 

WPI to prospective students. hke { y ^ were 

• More than 90 percent had high to sav ^ ai events 

praise for the WPI faculty. are too far away. 

Perceptions of WPI 

To gauge alumni opinions on a wide range of topics 
relating to WPI today, participants were read a list 
of statements and asked whether they agreed or dis- 
agreed. Some of the results are displayed in Table 3. 
Most encouraging, 96 percent of alumni surveyed 
said they would recommend WPI to prospective 
students. At least 90 percent of respondents said 
they agreed that WPI's project-based educational 
program is the right approach for students today, 
that WPI is a positive community in which to learn, 
and that the faculty helps students learn. 

A few questions were asked only of graduates 
of the WPI Plan era. For example, 71 percent of 
this group felt women students are comfortable at 
WPI (women were not admitted as students until 
1968) and 16 percent said they believe faculty 
members' research takes too much time away 
from teaching (WPI has had a significant research 
program only in the last few decades). 

Another group of statements focused on the 
student experience at WPI (see Table 3). Again, 
alumni gave high marks to their WPI education. 
More than 90 percent of alumni said the WPI fac- 
ulty had taught them well and helped them learn. 
Participants also said, by margins of at least 80 per- 
cent, that their education prepared them well for 
their careers and prepared them to work quickly, 
to solve problems at work and to work well in 
teams. Eighty percent said their education con- 
tributed to their interpersonal, social and leader- 
ship skills. Only 54 percent of alumni said they 
agreed that their education had made them more 
concerned about social issues, although students 
who graduated under the Plan (with its emphasis 
on the interaction between science, technology and 
society) were more likely to feel WPI had made 
them socially aware. 

Spring 1996 

Keeping Informed 

[f the survey results are a good indication, WPI 
alumni do not feel as well informed about WPI as 
they'd like (see graphic below). About a third 
described themselves as not very familiar or not 
familiar at all with what is happening at the Insti- 
tute today. Only 9 percent described themselves 
as very familiar with the current state of their 
alma mater. Most respondents said the bulk of the 
news they receive about WPI arrives in their mail- 
boxes in the form of publications, mailings from 
the Alumni Association, and class and department 
newsletters (only 3 percent overall learn about 
WPI through their local newspapers). 

Because of the importance of 
these printed communication I / 

vehicles, the survey devoted sev- %. > 
eral questions to perceptions 
about the WPI Journal and its 
sister publication, the HTI Wire 
In the interest of time, half of those 
surveyed were asked to comment on 
the Journal and half on the Wire. 
Readership patterns for both publica- 
tions were virtually 


Financial Matters 

Contributions from alumni help WIM meet its 
expenses, offer new programs, provide students 
with financial aid, and expand, renovate and 
maintain its physical plant. Currently, about 30 
percent of graduates make contributions in am 
given year, while 46 percent have supported their 
alma mater during the past five years. To under- 
stand why more alumni are not regular donors, 
and to get insights into what makes WIM gradu- 
ates want to give — or not want to give — the sur- 
vey included several questions about fund raising. 
More than 80 percent of respondents report- 
ed that they usually support organizations and 
causes with financial contributions, and just over 
70 percent said they recall 

Why do you contribute to WPI? 

v I appreciate my education 



More than 50 
percent of alumni support 
organizations and causes. 
About 70 percent recalled supporting 
WPI within the past five years. 
Financial reasons and gifts to other 
causes were cited most often as 
reasons for not giving to WPI. 
The majority cf alumni said WPI's 
fund-raising efforts are effective. 

to help others 



WPI is a worthwhile cause / school 


to help out / help programs 

received financial aid 

to give back what I received 

obligation / responsibility 


WPI is doing a good job 

WPI is deserving 

about a 
third of alumni said 
they read them thoroughly and 
about two thirds page through 
them. Only 2 percent of 
respondents said they never 
read WPI's alumni publications. 

Readers of both publica- 
tions said they enjoy getting 
news about other alumni, par- 
ticularly their classmates, and 
keeping up to date on current events and activi- 
ties at WPI. At least 10 percent of Journal readers 
said they also like the topics the magazine covers, 
the variety of articles and the coverage of the fac- 
ulty. About 70 percent of readers had no sugges- 
tions for how either publication could be im- 
proved. Those who did offer suggestions asked 
for more information on alumni, current events 
and students, and more variety in the articles. 
Five percent of Wire readers would like to see the 
tabloid published more frequently. 


About a third of 

alumni are not very familiar 

with WPI today. 

Most alumni get their WPI news from 

printed communications. 

Most alumni read the Journal and WPI 

Wire thoroughly or page through them. 

About 70 percent of readers had no 

suggestions for improving these 


supporting WPI during the 
last five years. The percent- 
age who give in general and 
give to WPI rose steadily with 
time since graduation. Table 4 
summarizes the reasons offered 
by the survey group for giving 
to the Institute. 

People who reported mak- 
ing no contributions to WPI in 
the last five years were asked if 
there was a specific reason they 
had not donated. Of these, 1 2 
percent refused to answer or 
said there was no specific rea- 
son. More than half of these nondonors cited 
financial reasons or gifts to other organizations. 
Sixteen percent cited discontent with WPI — a 
poor undergraduate experience, a feeling that 
WPI is not deserving or as deserving as other 
groups, and a lack of agreement with WPI. A 
poor undergraduate experience was cited by 10 to 
12 percent of grads in die classes of 1975 to 1984 
and 1964 and earlier. 

The majority of respondents said WPI's fund- 
raising efforts and materials are at least somewhat 













WPI Journal 











































effective (somewhat effective, 5 1 percent; very 
effective, 28 percent). The 12 percent who did not 
find those efforts and materials to be very effective 
were asked why. About a quarter could point to no 
specific reason. Ten percent said solicitations occur 
too often. Other reasons cited included the need 
for more creativity, a need to define better how 
WPI will use funds alumni donate, and the need to 
communicate in a more effective, more personal 
and "less pushy" manner. When 
asked what type of communi- \ f 

cation would be most likely to 
make them want to give, «~ 

more than a third said a con- 
tact from a classmate. Fund-rais- 
ing publications, a call from a stu- 
dent and a letter from the Alumni 
Association were other popular 

improving, or broadening the Institute's educational 
programs. More than 20 percent focused on finan- 
cial issues (keeping costs down and offering students 
adequate aid), while nearly 20 percent diought the 
biggest challenge is maintaining adequate and up- 
to-date facilities. About 10 percent said WPFs effort 
to expand its reputation and create a national image 
for itself were at the top of the list. 

About a third of alumni had no advice to offer 
or simply asked WPI to keep doing the 
good job they say it is doing. 
Twenty percent suggested 
WPI keep its focus on students 
and maintaining the quality of 
its programs. Maintaining the 
Alumni said WPI's quality of the WPI Plan 
was a special concern for 
younger alumni. 


Dear WPI... 

Before the phone interviews drew to a close, inter- 
viewers asked alumni, first, what that believed to 
be the greatest challenges WPI faces today, and, 
second, whether they had any advice for those who 
manage WPI's day-to-day affairs. The top answers 
to both questions are printed in Table 5. More than 
35 percent of the responses to the first question fo- 
cused on the challenge of maintaining the quality of, 

If you could say one thing to the 
leadership at WPI, what would it be? 

greatest challenge is main- 
taining the quality of a WPI education. 
About a third of alumni advised WPI to 
just keep up the good work. 

keep it up / continue as you are 

challenge students/provide quality education 

doing good job / great job 

maintain quality of programs 

concentrate on reputation 

focus on students 

keep / improve projects 

What are WPI's greatest challenges and needs? 

improve education / prepare students 

maintain quality of programs 

keep technology up to date 

keep costs down 

recruit top students 

financial stability / adequate budget 

keep curriculum up to date 

create national / international image 

improve reputation 

keep good faculty 

compete with other schools 


What's Next? 

All too often, major studies 
like the survey of WPI alumni are completed, read 
and placed on a shelf to gather dust. "That won't 
happen with this study," Davis says. "There are 
some provocative findings that will be of use to 
many people and departments at WPI. We've 
already shared the survey results with everyone who 
may find them of value, including the Admissions 
Office and the Provost's Office. In particular, the 
level of satisfaction alumni feel with their education 
and with the educational focus of the Institute 
should be important input to our marketing to 
prospective students and out efforts to improve our 
educational programs. The results on fund raising 
have already proved valuable to the members of the 
Alumni Fund Board, which recendy approved a new 
five-year plan for the Fund." 

Davis says the Alumni Association will use the 
survey as the foundation of a major effort to draft a 
new five-year master plan for alumni activities and 
programs. The plan is expected to be approved 
during the next academic year. To expand upon the 
findings concerning attitudes about alumni pro- 
grams and services, the association recently com- 
pleted a follow-up survey designed by a committee 
that included, in addition to the members of the 
original survey subcommittee, Christian Baehrecke 
'56, Kimberly Bowers '90, Kevin Doyle '89, 
Stephen Jackson '89, Douglas Nashold '95, Edwin 
Shivell '54 and Joseph Vignaly '82. Davis says the 
results are still being tallied. 

"Like all of WPI's programs and departments, 
the Alumni Office has a limited budget with which 
to provide a wide range of services," Davis says. 
"It makes sense for us to use those funds to provide 
services that our graduates truly enjoy and want, 
and that are in tune with the kinds of lives they lead 
today. Widi the help of the follow-up survey we 
should be able to reshape our offerings to keep 
alumni involved in and informed about their uni- 

Spring 1996 


A Mechanical Marvel 


A major renovation completed last fall transfonned Higgins Laboratories, 

WPFs home for mechanical engineering for more than half a century, into 

a dramatically new and highly flexible center for education and research. 

By Roger N. Perry Jr. and Michael Dorsey 

WPI Journal 



As they have done for 
more than 50 years, 
students and faculty 

members swung open 
the doors of Higgins 
Laboratories last fall 

and set about the business of 
teaching, learning and explor- 
ing in mechanical engineering. 

But the building they entered was 
dramatically different from the one 
the Institute dedicated in 1942, hav- 
ing undergone a dramatic restoration 
and redesign, and having been 
expanded through the construction 
of a 17,000-square-foot addition. In 
the new Higgins Labs, one can find 
reflections of the past, present and 
future of one of WPI's original aca- 
demic departments. WPI was one of 
the first institutions in the U.S. to 
offer a program in mechanical engi- 
neering, and its early graduates went 
on to found the corporations and 
create the inventions that helped 
drive the American Industrial Rev- 
olution. Since those early days, 
the department has made its mark 
through its innovative approach 
to education, its groundbreaking 
research, and the accomplishments 
of its thousands of graduates. And 
now, with a modern, attractive and 
functional building, the department 
stands ready to face the challenges 
of education and research in mechan- 
ical engineering today and well into 
the 2 1 st century. 


Spring 1996 


When the Worcester County Free Insti- 
tute of Industrial Science opened for 
business in November 1868, only a 
handful of disciplines were offered. Of these, the 
board of trustees noted, "the first in importance is 
mechanical engineering." Post-Civil War America 
was dominated by the machine and by dreams of 
an ever more mechanized and productive world. 
The new discipline of mechanical engineering 
was the key to turning that vision into a reality. 

The third private college of science and tech- 
nology in the country, WPI was also among the 
first to offer a course in mechanical engineering. 
Its mechanical engineering students and instruc- 
tors became pioneers in a new model of engineer- 
ing education. WPI was the first technological 
school to emphasize the importance of laboratory 
methods and the first to establish the workshop as 
an essential part of training in engineering. 

The Washburn Shops contained a model 
manufacturing facility, by 1868 standards. It was 
there that students, working with journeymen 
factory hands, turned out products for sale on the 
open market. Profits from the shop helped to 
support the new school, which initially charged 
no tuition. At the same time, students became 
familiar with manufacturing processes and the 
expectations of the workers they would find in 
industry following graduation. 

WPFs theory and practice philosophy became 
a model for many of the well known engineering 
schools developed in the latter part of the 19di 
century, including Georgia Institute of Technolo- 
gy and Rose-Hulman University. Although 
changing times have relegated commercial shops 
to the pages of history, the hands-on philosophy 
pioneered in the Washburn Shops is still the hall- 
mark of a WPI education. 

From the beginning, mechanical engineering 
was the most popular discipline at WPI, and its 
growing enrollments made space in Washburn 
tight. By 1 894, a new a facility was under con- 
struction to relieve the overcrowding. The four- 
story brick building on West Street was known 
simply as "the ME building" for half a century, 
until it was named for Charles G. Stratton of the 
Class of 1875. Rated among the finest mechanical 
engineering buildings in the East, Stratton was 
soon joined by a new power plant, an adjacent 
working foundry, and a hydraulics laboratory five 
miles away in Holden. The Alden Hydraulics 
Laboratory would become world renowned for its 
pioneering work in fluid flow; it was spun off as 
an independent research consulting laboratory 
about a decade ago. 

Guiding the fledgling department through its 
formative years were George Ira Alden, the first 
department head, and Milton Prince Higgins, 
superintendent of the Washburn Shops. These 
close friends were highly regarded in the engi- 
neering community. In the 1880s they took a 

leave of absence to help establish Georgia Tech, 
and both declined offers to remain on the faculty 
there. Both men left WPI in 1896 to devote full 
rime to the Norton Emery Wheel Co., which 
they and others purchased in 1885. 

Ralph Farle, who became WPI president in 
1925, had a vision of developing the west half of 
the campus. In 1926, Sanford Riley I [all, the Insti- 
tute's first residence hall, joined Alumni Gvmnasi- 
um and Alumni Field on that nearly empty parcel 
of land. The Great Depression delayed the next 


element of Earle s plan (Alden Memorial) until 
1940. With the gradual growth of the student body 
and continued interest in mechanical engineering, 
a need for a new mechanical engineering building 
arose. Earle lived to see plans for Higgins Labora- 
tories approved, but died before construction could 

Higgins Labs was nearly complete when 
America was suddenly plunged into World War 
II. Fortunately, most critical materials, furnish- 
ings and equipment had already been delivered, 
enabling the building to open on schedule for the 
spring semester in 1942. No elaborate ceremonies 
marked the wartime dedication. 

The department flourished in its new home. 
With its spacious, well-lighted drawing rooms, 
ample laboratory space and a roomy lecture hall, 
Higgins Laboratories served the department well 
in the post-war "GI Bill" and "Baby Boom" years. 
But by the time the Baby Boomers were ready to 
send their own children to college, the Mechani- 
cal Engineering Department had once again 
found itself short of room and in need of modern 

(Continued on page 23) 

Above, Higgins Labor- 
atories rises inside an 
envelope of scaffolding 
in 1941. Opposite, 
workers assemble the 
new 1 7,000-square-foot 
addition in 1994. 

WPI Journal 


Above right, Milton 

Prince Higgins; from 

top, his wife, Kather- 

ine, sons Aldus and 
John, and daughters 
Katherine and Olive. 


The Name Continues 

In 1941 WPI chose to name its new 
mechanical engineering building 
Higgins Laboratories. It was a well 
deserved tribute to a man whose 
vision was instrumental in shaping the 
educational philosophy of this highly 
regarded institution. 

Milton Prince Higgins supervised 
the construction of the Washburn 
Shops and served as its first superinten 
dent. Under his direction, the shops 
became a model manufacturing facility 
where students combined their theoretical studies 
with practical, on-the-job training. 

Proof of the value of this approach was quick in 
coming, as early graduates moved into key industri- 
al positions. By the turn of the century, Worcester 
was a major manufacturing center that relied heavi- 
ly on the engineering skills of WPI alumni. 

With George Alden, Higgins and others pur- 
chased the rights to a fledgling grinding wheel 
business and in 1885 Norton Emery Wheel Co. 
opened for business. Alden and Higgins continued 
in their WPI posts for another decade, supervising 
their company on a part-time basis. By then, Nor- 
ton Co., which Higgins served as president until 
his death in 1912, was well on the way to becom- 
ing Worcester's largest employer. 

The Higgins home long stood on the corner 
of West and Salisbury streets, now the site of 
Goddard Hall. Here, Milton and Katherine Hig- 
gins raised four children. Sons Aldus and John 
graduated from WPI in 1893 and 1896, respec- 
tively. Daughter Katherine married R. Sanford 
Riley '96; daughter Olive Higgins Prouty became 

a noted author whose works include the 
best selling novel Stella Dallas. 

The four children jointly gave 
one of the largest gift units in Hig- 
gins Laboratories, but this was only a 
part of the family's generosity to 
WPI. Katherine Higgins Riley was 
the largest contributor to the con- 
struction of Sanford Riley Hall in 
926, which was named in memory of 
er late husband. John W Higgins estab- 
ished a scholarship in 1936 and endowed a 
special professorship in mechanical engineering. 
Aldus C. Higgins is best remembered for his gift 
of the Higgins House to his alma mater, though 
his gift to the college of a parcel of land adjacent 
to Alumni Field indirectly cleared the way for 
Higgins Labs to be built on its current site. Olive 
Higgins Prouty is commemorated on campus 
through the Olive Higgins Prouty Library Fund. 
The fund, originated by a bequest from Mrs. 
Prouty and augmented by generous gifts from her 
son, Richard Prouty, supports WPI's collection in 
the humanities. 

Although not an alumnus, Aldus Higgins' son, 
Milton P. Higgins II, served WPI as a trustee for 
3 1 years, six of them as chairman during the 
implementation of the WPI Plan in the early 
1970s. In 1986 WPI established the Milton P. 
Higgins II Distinguished Professorship in Manu- 
facturing in recognition of his many contributions 
to the welfare of the Institute. The lecture hall in 
the Washburn Shops, where his grandfather made 
his mark, is also named in his honor. 

— Roger Perry 


Spring 1996 

A Mechanical Marvel 

(Continued from page 2 1 ) 

The need <>t the Mechanical Engineering 
Department can be stated very simply. It 
has the largest enrollment and greatest 
space requirements of all departments. Yet, for 
years its major activities have been crowded into 
an inadequate and ill-arranged laboratory." That 
was how Wallace Montague '12, chairman of the 
ways and means committee charged with earning 
out President Earle's expansion plans, described 
the rationale for a new mechanical engineering 
building in 1040. It is also an apt summary of the 
problems the department faced five decades later. 

Adequate for a mechanical engineering pro- 
gram of the 1940s, 1 liggins Laboratories was 
unable to fill the needs of the much larger and 
technically advanced program of the 1990s. 
Undergraduate enrollment in mechanical engi- 
neering had quadrupled over that period, and the 
faculty had grown threefold. The department's 
graduate program had increased by leaps and 
bounds, a reflection of a major increase in spon- 
sored research (the department's $3.5 million in 
external funding places it among the top 20 
departments in the nation). This growth left 1 lig- 
gins severely overcrowded. In fact, a 1989 studj 
ranked WPFs ME Department last among 14 
similar institutions in space per faculty member, a 
common basis for comparison. 

The need for more space hampered the 
growth of many vital research areas, including 
applied and stochastic mechanics, biomechanics, 
biomaterials and rehabilitation, computational 
mechanics, materials science, structural control 
and earthquake engineering, thermo-fluid and 
thermal processes, and vibrations and controls. 
With the creation a quarter century ago of the 
WPI Plan (the Institute's innovative, project- 
based undergraduate curriculum), student pro- 
jects — more than 60 percent of which are now 
sponsored by corporations — became a vital ele- 
ment in the department's educational efforts. 
I low ever, there was no dedicated space in Hig- 
gins for student project work, and students found 
themselves laboring in closets, in garages, and on 
a loading dock. The department's plans to imple- 
ment a completely new undergraduate mechanical 
engineering curriculum, one designed to prepare 
students for the demands and opportunities of 
the profession well into the 21st century, were 
stymied by a lack of modern classrooms and 
teaching labs. 

Higgins was also showing its age. Its exterior 
needed refurbishment and the interior was 
becoming threadbare, making a poor impression 
on prospective students and faculty members. 
The building's electrical service and heating, ven- 
tilation and cooling system had also become inad- 
equate for the growing demands of a modern 

research program, and some of the building's 
structures and systems (including the lack of an 
elevator) were not up to current building codes. 
To remedy these problems, a major renova- 
tion and expansion was planned, to start in the 
spring of 1994. The project would include the 
top-to-bottom refurbishment and reorganization 
of the interior spaces of the 85,000-square-foot 
building, the construction of nearlv 20.000 square 
feet of new space in an addition and through the 
use of part of the attic, and the complete upgrad- 
ing of the building's utilities. The result would be 
an entirely new 1 liggins Laboratories. 

A project as large and as complex as the $8.5 
million renovation of I liggins Laboratories must 
be planned to the last detail before the first shovel 
of earth is turned. Planning for the 1 [iggins 
restoration and expansion was carried out by a 
large group of interested parties, including the 
faculty of the VIE Department, the Mechanical 
Engineering Advisory Committee, the WPI Plant 
Services Office, the Physical Facilities Committee 
of the Board of Trustees, and the architects and 
engineers of Cutler Associates, 
the Worcester firm that would com- 
plete the design, engineering and 

Over the course of more than 
a year, the current and future plans 
and dreams of the department and 
its faculty (with their concomitant 
space requirements), the physical 
constraints of the building and 
building site, and the financial 
resources available to complete the 
project were carefully weighed, as 
plans for the project were drafted 
and redrafted. 

In the spring of 1994, construc- 
tion equipment arrived to begin 
excavating for the new addition, 
which would be carefully fitted into 
the west side of the H-shaped build- 
ing. In this space would rise a four- 
story, 1 7,000-square-foot structure 
designed to symbolically bridge the past and 
future of mechanical engineering at WPI by com- 
bining the stately brick facade of the original 
building with dramatic three-story windows and a 
modern, glass enclosed entrywav. 

The addition would give Higgins a new 
entrance on the Quadrangle and provide consider- 
able interior space for laboratories. Its subbase- 
ment would house all of the mechanical, electrical 
and plumbing support systems for the renovated 
building, freeing up space that had once contained 
transformers and other electrical and mechanical 
equipment. Additional space was gained by using a 
portion of the original building's attic for graduate 
student offices and laboratories. 

(Continued on page 24) 

The renovation of 
Higgins Laboratories 
involved the complete 
rebuilding of most 
of the interior of the 
54-year-old building. 

WPI Journal 


A Mechanical Marvel 

(Continued from page 23) 

The completion of the addition was the critical 
first step in the renovation of Higgins Laborato- 
ries, for unlike a typical refurbishment project, 
this one would proceed while the building 
remained in full operation. The next step was to 
move some of the occupants of Higgins into the 
addition and to renovate the space thus emptied. 
As space in Higgins was refurbished, other occu- 
pants were moved in to fill it, opening up still 
more space for renovation. The work continued 
in this manner, culminating with the refurbish- 
ment of several common spaces, including the 
first-floor lecture hall and the Heald Discovery 
Classroom on the second floor. 

The renovation was completed on schedule in 
the fall of 1995. The product was a building that 
retained the character of the original structure 
(albeit with new energy-conserving windows, 
upgraded utilities, new heating and cooling sys- 
tem, and a service elevator), while meeting the 
needs of the Mechanical Engineering Department 
today and well into the 21st century. Accomplish- 
ing the latter task required extensive reorganiza- 
tion of existing facilities and the creation of new 

This reorganization included the clustering 
of all faculty offices by area of interest into three 
suites on the first and second floors, and the re- 
location of the main department offices to the 
southwest corner of the building. In addition, 
several research areas received expanded facilities. 
The Center for Holographic Studies and Laser 
Technology, for example, now conducts research 
and education in areas ranging from fundamental 
studies of laser light interaction with materials to 
sophisticated applications in micromechanics and 
mechatronics in 10 new state-of-the-art, climate- 
controlled laboratories. Its activities are interna- 
tionally recognized in this field. 

A suite of bioengineering laboratories, for 
work in biomechanics, biomaterials and rehabili- 
tation engineering, was created on the first floor, 
supporting faculty and graduate student research 
and student projects in these fields. The Richard 
A. Lufkin Fluid Dynamics and Thermal Processes 
Laboratories, on the basement level and third 
floor, include facilities (such as a water tunnel and 
a wind tunnel) for work in thermo-fluids, hydro- 
dynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and 
microgravity studies. A remodeled and expanded 
lab on the lower level will support work in vibra- 
tions and controls. 

Some of the most exciting spaces in the new 
Higgins Laboratories were created specifically for 
education. They include the remodeled lecture 
hall on the first floor, rebuilt as a multimedia 
classroom complete with video projection facili- 

(Continued on page 26) 

Clockwise from above, the attrac- 
tive and functional offices of the 
Mechanical Engineering Depart- 
ment; the new addition includes a 
modern entryway and an elevator; 
the large project laboratory in the 
lower level of Higgins has ample 
room for building larger MQPs (like 
the race car and hovercraft under 
construction here) and direct 
access to the machine shop; a 
wind tunnel lab, part of the new 
Lufkin Fluid Dynamics and Thermal 
Processes Laboratory; the Higgins 
Design Studio, an element of the 
innovative new W. M. Keck Design 


Sprint; 1996 





I . 


,f ■ 1 

WPI Journal 


A Mechanical Marvel 

(Continued from page 24) 

ties. The Heald Discovery Classroom on the sec- 
ond level is a showcase of modern educational 
technology. A computer network makes it possi- 
ble for students to take part in interactive class 
lessons. A large video screen is equipped with 
telecommunications and video link capabilities. 
When it is not being used for classes, the room is 
available to students who wish to explore self- 
paced computer learning modules. 


A New Home for 

Fire Protection, 



H^fea^fl -'. $ 

The cone calorimeter in the 
Fire Science Laboratory. 

Mechanical engineering graduates of 
the 19th century, including Henry 
Phillips, Class of 1893, and George 
Rockwood, Class of 1888, made major contri- 
butions to the field of fire safety, never know- 
ing that many years later WPI would offer 
degrees in fire protection engineering. The 
Institute began offering the world s first mas- 
ter of science degree in the discipline in 1979; 
it offered the first Ph.D. in fire protection 
engineering beginning in 1991. 

Today, WPI is the world leader in fire pro- 
tection engineering education. Higgins Labo- 
ratories has been home to the program since 
its inception. The recent renovation project 
not only gave the program a modern new 
home, but created a new state-of-the-art Fire 
Science Laboratory. 

Adjacent to the Discovery Classroom is the 
W.M. Keck Design Center, the heart of a new 
approach to teaching engineering (an approach 
WPI is exploring as the lead institution in a five- 
university consortium funded by an $8.7 million 
grant from the federal Technology Reinvestment 
Program). The center's components are the Com- 
puter Laboratory, where students use personal 
computers and computer-aided design software to 
learn the techniques of modern design; the Com- 
puter Simulation Laboratory, a general purpose 
microcomputer lab for work in modern dynamic 
and geometric simulation techniques; and the 
Higgins Design Studio, where students can use 
high-end workstations and video link facilities to 
design and remotely manufacture prototype prod- 
ucts — discussing their work in real time with 
remote sponsors and watching their designs pro- 
duced on remote rapid prototyping facilities. In 
the Design Center, students apply what they learn 
in the classroom by making real products, just as 
students did generations ago in the Washburn 

Two new rooms answer the department's need 
for dedicated space for student project work. On 
the third floor is a laboratory for work on smaller 

projects that do not require extensive space or 
specialized support facilities. Occupying more 
than 2,000 square feet on the lower level of the 
building is a general-purpose lab for work on 
larger Major Qualifying Projects. Room is avail- 
able for assembling, testing and storing large 
machines and devices. The lab has ready access to 
the department's machine shop, with its team of 
technicians and instructors. 

Nearly 130 years ago, WPI's first Mechan- 
ical Engineering Department head and 
the first superintendent of the Washburn 
Shops pioneered a novel approach to engineering 
education, one that balanced the formulas and 
theories students learned in the classroom with 
the grit and elbow grease of real manufacturing. 
The model George Alden and Milton Higgins 
established has served WPI well ever since, and 
continues today in the innovative WPI Plan. 

Now WPI's Mechanical Engineering Depart- 
ment stands at the brink of a new century. Like 
all engineering educators, the mechanical engi- 
neering faculty must look ahead to the challenges 
and opportunities the new millennium will bring. 
According to Mohammad Noori, who has been 
head of the Mechanical Engineering Department 
since 1991, they include 

• the challenge of building partnerships 
with business and industry, and the 
opportunities those partnerships represent 
to sharpen the department's curriculum 
and further build its research efforts. 

• the challenge of integrating undergradu- 
ate and graduate education, and the 
opportunity to expose undergraduates to 
state-of-the-art research and to enrich the 
graduate education experience. 

• the challenge to build a multidisciplinary 
mechanical engineering curriculum and 
the opportunity to prepare students for 
the new careers and fields that will 
emerge in the years ahead. 

With the renovation and improvement of Higgins 
Laboratories, the Mechanical Engineering 
Department now has the modern, well-equipped 
and flexible facility it needs to pursue these goals 
and to build on the foundation of excellence it 
has established over the past 130 years. With a 
larger and improved facility, it can expand its pro- 
gram of research. With a host of state-of-the-art 
educational facilities, it has the tools to create an 
innovative curriculum that will prepare its grad- 
uates to be the leaders of the 2 1st century and 
serve as a model for colleges and universities 
across the country. But most of all, the Mechan- 
ical Engineering Department can launch a new 
era in its history in a building befitting its proud 
heritage and its exciting future. 


Spring 1996 


A Campus To Be Proud Of 

Higgins Laboratories is many things to 
many people. But at its core it is a physical 
structure — a collection of bricks, steel beams, roof 
tiles, pipes, cables, doors and windows — diat pro- 
vides shelter from the elements, encloses functional 
spaces for learning and research, and delivers the 
sen ices — light, power, water — that its occupants 
need to go about their business. It is one element in 
a complex physical plant that now comprises more 
than 3 1 major buildings and 38 houses (some 1.3 
million gross square feet of interior space, in all) on 
an 80-acre campus. 

Maintaining those buildings — and the miles of 
sidewalks, roads, parking lots and green spaces 
that connect and surround them — falls to the 
nearly 80 employees of WPI's Plant Services 
Department. Those many tradespeople, custodi- 
ans, groundskeepers and other specialists report to 
John E. Miller, director of physical plant, who has 
since 1982 overseen the gargantuan task of keep- 
ing up — and continually improving — the physical 
environment that supports the Institute's primary 
missions of creating new knowledge and educating 
future generations. 

The Higgins Laboratories project is just the 
latest in a series of major construction and renova- 
tion projects that have come to fruition under 
Miller's direction. Shortly after his arrival on the 
VVTI campus, the Institute began a top-to-bottom 
restoration of the Washburn Shops, one of its first 
two buildings. The project involved the nearly 
complete gutting of the structure's shopworn inte- 
rior and the construction within its brick facade of 
a modern facility for work in manufacturing, 
materials and management. 

The following year, WPI built a 230-student 
residence hall between Boynton and Dean streets. 
Founders Hall received the Boston Society of 
Architects Export Award and a design citation 
from American School and University magazine. 
Around the same time, WPI's outdoor athletic 
facilities underwent a complete reconstruction — 
including the installation of a synthetic-surfaced 
playing field and track; and Higgins House, the 
Tudor-style mansion donated to WPI by Aldus 
Higgins, was remodeled into a campus conference 
center and a home for the Alumni Office. 

More recently, Miller supervised the construc- 
tion of the $10 million Fuller Laboratories, home 
of the Computer Science Department, the College 
Computer Center and the Instructional Media 
Center, and the transformation of Alden Memorial 
into a modern and beautiful home for the per- 
forming arts at VVTI. The $2.7 million Alden 

project was honored with the prestigious Silver 
Hammer Award from the Worcester Area Cham- 
ber of Commerce. This summer, Miller will over- 
see the renovation of Sanford Riley I lall, the Insti 
tute's first residence hall, the conversion of part of 
West Street into a pedestrian mall, and the refur- 
bishment of several biology and biotechnology 
research laboratories in Salisbury Labs. 

These major projects are only the tip of the 
iceberg for Plant Services. Over the last decade or 
so, dozens of laboratories, 
classrooms and offices have 
been created or renovated, 
houses have been refurbished 
and turned into offices for 
several campus departments 
(including Plant Services 
itself), and thousands of 
hours have been spent just 
maintaining the existing 
physical plant in an attractive 
and functional state. 

"Throughout his tenure 
at WPI, John Miller has 
worked to address mainte- 
nance issues before they 
become crises," says Stephen 
J. Hebert '66, vice president 
for administration and trea- 
surer. "WPI probably has the 
same deferred maintenance 
backlog as any similar college 
or university. But John has 
stayed on top of it by being 
innovative in his management 
of the physical plant and cre- 
ative with his budget during 
these tight fiscal times." 

"We tend to take WPI's physical plant for 
granted," Miller says, "but it plays an enormously 
important role in the success of the Institute. 
Attractive, well-designed and well-maintained 
buildings and grounds make WPI appealing to 
prospective students, make possible our work of 
teaching, learning and research, and create a posi- 
tive and comfortable atmosphere for our entire 

Adds Hebert, "John Miller and his people 
have given WPI a competitive advantage. They 
believe that quality, whether it be with daily main- 
tenance or with new construction, is the top prior- 
ity. They provide a campus and a work and learn- 
ing environment we all can be proud of." 

— Michael Dorsey 

John Miller, left, 
confers with Jamie 
Fontaine, foreman for 
Monaco Renovations. 
The company is com- 
pleting the restoration 
of the exterior of 
Sanford Riley Hall 
(in background). 

WPI Journal 



Wizard of 

By Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 

EDITOR'S NOTE: John van Alstyne is a familiar 
figure to several generations of alumni. He came to 
WPI as a professor of mathematics in 1961, intending 
to stay just one year; he departed 28 years later, having 
also served 10 years as director of academic advising. 
Few faculty members in WPFs history have been so 
devoted to their students, and few have been so beloved 
by them. When he stood to say an early good-bye at 
Commencement in 1987, the standing ovation he 
received shook the rafters in Harrington Auditorium. 
Roger Peny recently visited van A in North Carolina 
and filed this report on his busy retirement. 


Many were the WPI freshmen strug- 
gling with their first college-level 
mathematics courses who concluded 
that Professor John van Alstyne must have been a 
wizard as he stood at the blackboard whipping 
through a calculus problem. Now retired and liv- 
ing in Asheville, N.C., van Alstyne has become a 
real, celebrated wizard of sorts. 

"One of the first things I did after retiring in 
1989 and moving to Asheville was sign up for sev- 
eral courses at the College for Seniors," he says. 
"This is a program for retired people held at a 
branch of the University of North Carolina. I've 
been involved there ever since — as a student, as 
a teacher and, for several years, as registrar. 

"It was in one of these classes that I met Bill 
Brittain, who, I learned, was a writer of more than 
90 published mystery stories. He formerly lived in 
New York state, as did I. We hit it off quite well. 
One day he said, 'I've got an idea for a children's 
story. Would you have any objection if I dedicated 
it to you?' I was very pleased and told him to go 
ahead. He didn't tell me I was going to be in it!" 

Van Alstyne heard nothing more about the 
book for a year. "Then I went to the annual board 
meeting of the College for Seniors, of which Bill's 
wife, Ginny, was a member. The meeting had just 
about ended when the head of the program said, 
'Ginny wants to make a presentation.' 

"She said her husband had been writing some 
books, working with an illustrator named James 
Warhola, who, I learned later, is the nephew of 
Andy Warhol. She said he had done two special 
paintings for Bill, and that Bill wanted them to go 
to me in appreciation for everything I'd done for 
the college. Then she held up two beautifully 
done pictures, in full color, each about 10 by 15 
inches. They were portraits — of me!" 

Several months later, Bill Brittain presented 
van Alstyne with a copy of the first book, The 
Wizards and the Monster (HarperCollins Chil- 
dren's Books). The main character, a substitute 
fifth-grade teacher named Mr. Merlin, bears an 
uncanny resemblance to van Alstyne. "Bill told 
me that Warhola had created the artwork strictly 
from Bill's description of me," van Alstyne says. 
"I told him I thought the illustrations were won- 
derful and looked just like me. He passed my 
comments along to the worried artist, who earlier 
had asked, 'He's not going to sue me, is he?'" 

A second book featuring Mr. Merlin, The 
Mystery of the Several Sevens, came out a few 
months later. Since then, van Alstyne says, he's 
autographed many copies of both volumes for chil- 
dren of former students. "My own grandson was 
born at just about that time," he says. "I thought, 
'what a nice gift the portraits and the books will be 
for him to enjoy when he grows older.'" 

Brittain's books take Mr. Merlin, Becky and 
Simon, two of his brighter students, back to the 

Spring 1996 

legendary times of King Arthur. There, Mr. 
Merlin, a. La. Merlin the Wizard, guides them 
through a series of adventures that, not unexpect- 
edly, involve mathematics. 

"I gave copies ot the hooks to the librarian at 
the Country Day School, where I teach," van 
Alstyne says. "About two weeks later, as I walked 
across the campus, I passed a group of ele- 
mentary students who were not in my class. 
They were smiling and pointing at me, 
so I knew they'd seen the books. Then I 
started teaching at a city middle school, 
and the kids there would also smile and 
point. So now I'm famous. They don't 
know who I am, but they know I'm the 
one in the book. And since they think I 
am, I guess that makes me a wizard." 

John van Alstyne retired as dean of 
academic advising and professor of 
mathematical sciences in 1989 and 
moved to Asheville. "Although I thor- 
oughly enjoyed my years at WPI, one of 
the reasons I moved to Asheville was that 
it was far enough away from Worcester 
so when I picked up the newspaper, I 
wasn't going to read about WPI," 
he says. "If I were closer, 
I would read about it and ^ymJ^* 

miss not being a part of it. SsJ*/\ 

"I had visited Ashe- rr? 

ville twice before and I 
liked the area. And my 
daughter was then working for the U.S. 
Forestry service here. I love the moun- 
tains and the moderate climate in western 
North Carolina, too." 

After he'd been in the state for a few 
weeks, his daughter took him to the university 
to find out about the College for Seniors. He 
signed up for four courses that semester, in- 
cluding one on ceramics and one on real and 
mythical figures in British history. "I also took 
a course on the difficulties between the people 
of the Muslim faith and the Western world 
taught by a man from Turkey," says van Alstyne. 

When the director of the college found out 
he'd done scheduling at WPI, she asked if he 
would like to help with that function there as well 
That spring, she announced that she was leaving 
and asked van Alstyne if he would take over the 
running of the college. "I told her I really didn't 
think I should do that because I hadn't been there 
long enough, but I would be glad to help out 
until someone else was appointed," he says. 
"So I was acting head for three months. 
Since then I have been the registrar." 

In 1989, van Alstyne's daughter, who 
was then teaching at a private day school, 
told her father she knew a few students who 
had finished even' math course the school offered. 

(Continued on page 30) 

WPI Journal 


"The year after I 
worked with them, 
they took the SATs as 
high school freshmen 
and all scored over 
1200. They were 
disappointed because 
they had to be sopho- 
mores before they 
could compete for the 
National Merit 
Scholarships. " 


The Wizard of Asheville 

(Continual from page 29) 

"She wondered if I could teach them a step up," he 
says. "So I started in with only two students and 
taught them what would have been Calculus III 
and Diffy Qs (differential equations) at WPI. They 
later took the university exam. One of them, at the 
age of 17, earned the highest grade of all the stu- 
dents who took that exam." 

Van Alstyne then began teaching younger stu- 
dents, working through a pro- 
gram called MATHCOUNTS, a 
national initiative sponsored by 
several engineering societies. He 
coached a team of students who 
went on to win the Western 
North Carolina MATHCOUNTS cham- 
pionship. "I started by teaching them 
beginning algebra and went right 
through to matrix theory, linear alge- 
bra, and topics like that. The year after I 
worked with them, they took the SATs 
as high school freshmen and all scored 
over 1200. They were disappointed 
because they had to be sophomores 
before they could compete for the 
National Merit Scholarships." 
In time, he starting tutoring 
students, mostly disadvantaged 
youngsters, in the public high 
schools, as well as students from the university. "I 
ended up with about 30 students a year in 10 to 12 
different courses, from beginning algebra on up. 
At Asheville High, I was given a room during the 
regular school day so I could teach rather than just 
tutor students. The university students would meet 
with me after hours in the office that comes with 
the job of registrar for the College for Seniors." 

When he's not been engaged in teaching 
mathematics, van Alstyne has devised a few cours- 
es for the college. They include "'Tis a Puzzle- 
ment," a look at various number systems that 
"helps the seniors who might never have had 
much math get some idea where math has come 
from. I also taught a course on oral history 
because I had gained some experience with this 
while serving as an advisor at WPI's London and 
Washington, D.C., project centers." 

Though he endeavored to get away from 
Worcester and the university he served for 28 
years, van Alstyne says he does miss the campus 
community. "I really enjoy college people and 
would miss not having an academic affiliation," 
he says. "If there was not a university here in 
Asheville for me to become a part of, I'd have 
found it very difficult. But here I've gotten to 
know a lot of the undergraduates. Since my name 
is unfamiliar to them, I tell them to just call me 
"van A." That's what I've been called by students 
for many years. Even the new chancellor calls me 
van A. 

Van Alstyne enjoys taking long walks near his 
home in Asheville and taking in the lush scenery. 
"I do miss the changing fall colors. There are very 
few maples down here, so what we get are shades 
of browns, tans and yellows, but none of those 
marvelous scarlets or golds I remember from New 
England. The first year I was here, I went up onto 
the Blue Ridge Parkway thinking, 'Oh, good. I can 
go for miles amidst the beautiful fall colors.' I went 
for miles, but I never saw any of the colors I knew 
from up north." 

While the fall colors may disappoint, van 
Alstyne says the region abounds in wildlife — he's 
even spied a bear near his house — which he 
enjoys seeing on hikes and mountain climbs with 
his daughter and young grandson. "He has 
reached the stage where he loves words," van 
Alstyne says. "He likes words that rhyme, so I 
have to figure out stories with words that use the 
same sound in different ways. I tell him about the 
fox that locks his sox with the clocks in a box, for 
example. He thinks that's just great." 

Van A has also become involved with the local 
music scene. "Here in Asheville, we have a pretty 
good symphony orchestra. I've been going to that 
since I came here. Then we have an Asheville 
Community Concert Series; I got put on the 
board of that for a while. I'm a member of a local 
chamber music group, and they wanted me to 
serve on their board, but I suggested that they 
give someone else a chance. 

"Then I go over to Warren Wilson College, 
which it not very far away. They have a summer 
music festival much like the Marlborough Festival 
in Vermont. I help them when I can. I've also 
been asked to join a couple of clubs, but for that 
I guess they'll have to wait until I 'retire'." 

Perry is senior writer for WPVs development news- 
letter, Quest. 

For John van Alstyne 
. and gladly teach." 


The cwaR-T*iS4<ia mz/ird 



The dedication to van Alstyne in The Wiz- 
ards and the Monster and beneath it van A's 
own whimsical dedication to a friend. 


Spring 1996 


It's Time to Give WPI 
a New Name 


This was the last straw! It's really time to 
retire (bury, excise, consign to history) the 
name Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 

Recently I had the occasion to call WPI. 
Not having the number on hand, I called 
directory assistance and was given the num- 
ber 799-1945. Although it didn't sound 
familiar, I dialed it. The answering voice 
said something in garbled diction that 
included the words "Worcester" and "Insti- 
tute" and something like "Tech." I asked, 
"Is this Worcester Polytechnic Institute?" 
The voice replied that it was Worcester 
Technical Institute. I asked if this confusion 
happened often, and the answer was, "All 
the time." 

For those who don't know (and I suspect 
few people outside Worcester do), Worces- 
ter Technical Institute is a trade school 
located only a few blocks from WPI. To add 
to the confusion, they have just as much a 
right to the name "Worcester Tech" as 
WPI does. 

Another incident that stuck in my craw 
happened a few years back. As I drove past 
Worcester Industrial Technical Institute (as 
Worcester Technical Institute was known at 
the time) with a friend, he asked if this is 
where I went to school. I assured him it was 
not, but again, one can see how confusion 

Add to this the fact that, at times, 
Worcester becomes Worchester or Woost- 
er, Polytechnic becomes Polytechnical or 
Technical, with only Institute remaining 
unscathed. All this confusion can easily be 
rectified by the logical process of a name 
change. The only question, then, is what 

Name changes for colleges are not 
unusual. For instance, Trinity University 
became Duke University, Case Institute of 
Technology became Case Western Reserve 
University, Carnegie Institute of Technolo- 
gy became Carnegie Mellon University, 
Alabama Polytechnic Institute became 
Auburn University, and so on. 

Given that the Alden family and the 
George I. Alden Trust have been major 
benefactors to WPI over the years, how 
simple and clear and beautiful and uncon- 
fusing it would be to rename the school 
Alden University. The only confusion then 
might be with John and Priscilla of 
Mayflower Pilgrim fame. 


If Worcester County Free Institute of 
Industrial Science can become Worcester 
Polytechnic Institute, then Worchester 
Polytechnical Institute (oops!) can become 
Alden University. 

erling lagerholm +4 
Carmel, Calif. 

Proud of Sacco's 


Congratulations to Professor Sacco ("Com- 
ing Home," Winter 1996) and the entire 
WPI community. As I sit on a plane travel- 
ing my 25,OOOth air mile for 1996, I realize 
how much we take air travel for granted, 
and how little we appreciate the accomplish- 
ments of our space program. Professor Sac- 
co became the 326th person to venture into 
space — such a small number considering the 
human population, yet quite an achievement 
for the human race. I have often thought of 
being one of the lucky few to venture into 
space, and through Professor Sacco, we — 
especially the WPI community — are able to 
experience a little of what he must have felt. 

Professor Sacco laments that he may 
never get to experience space travel again. 
I have a similar feeling about my WPI expe- 
rience — never being able to return to its 
wonderful student life again. However, with 
each success the members of our community 
achieve, the closer I feel to those memories, 
and the prouder (and more boastful) I be- 
come of our fine institution. 


Joe Gale Made a 
Lasting Impression 


I especially liked the article about Joe Gale 
in the Winter 1996 issue ("Hey, Joe!"). I 
graduated in 1958 in mechanical engineer- 
ing, and I remember Joe teaching me how to 
weld. Some people make a lasting impres- 
sion, regardless of their position. 

I hope there is a way to recognize Joe — 
perhaps by naming the shop for him, as the 
article suggested. If I remember him almost 
40 years later, than I am sure many others 
do, as well. In my opinion, his impact is as 
important to the school as that of a wealthy 
donor — if not more so. 

howard b. pritz '58 
Columbus, Ohio 

Stealing the Goat 
Was a Serious Act 


I enjoyed the Winter WPI Journal, save one 
article. The author of the article on the 
Goat's Head rivalry ("The Case of the Pur- 
loined Goat's Head") heralded members ol 
the Class of 1996 for "reviving the tradition," 
but I am not so sure they deserve that praise. 

While the author was careful to detail 
the exact steps the students took to obtain 
the goats, no mention was made of the fact 
that these students committed some pretty 
serious acts in doing so. 

I'm dismayed that a handful of students 
can commit such acts on the WPI campus 
and be heralded as reviving a tradition, espe- 
cially in the name of an entire class. As a 
member of the Class of 1996, I'd like to 
point out that these students had no right to 
claim their actions were on my behalf, or 
that of any other members of the class. To 
my knowledge, these individuals made no 
attempt to involve any other members of the 
class in their scheme. 

While I'm glad to see the spirit of com- 
petition alive and well on the WPI campus, 
I think certain members of the senior class 
could have gotten the new rivalry off on the 
right foot by waiting for the competition to 
officially begin and stealing the goat by the 
rules of the game. 


It Was Alpha Phi 


I would like to offer a clarification to the 
article "The Case of the Purloined Goat's 
Head" (Winter 1996). The article noted 
that the new goat was used to help raise 
money when Alpha Tau Omega fraternity 
auctioned off a chance to touch the bronze 

Actually, it was Alpha Phi Omega, a 
philanthropic organization, which held the 
"Slave Auction" at which the Goat was to be 
auctioned. Also, it was the Class of 1997 that 
put the Goat up for auction, not APO itself. 

Unfortunately, everyone had left by the 
time the Goat went up for auction; it didn't 
help raise any money for charity. But it was 
fun anyway! 

Dave Koelle '97 
north br\neord, conn. 




Big Character Has Big Plans 


Guns, wedding gowns and cold beer 
might seem an unlikely combina- 
tion, but they coalesce in the title 
of the debut CD by Big Character, a 
Boston-area rock band that lists six WPI 
alumni among its personnel. Lead vocalists 
Brian Chu and Noel Christopher, both 1992 
graduates, play keyboards and guitar, 
respectively. Their management team, 
Snarling Frog, is a collaboration of four 
WPI grads: Steve Coscarella '92, Mike 
Cronin '91, George Kalavantis 
The title of the CD 
comes from a sign the band's 
drummer spotted in front of a General store 
in Maine. "It summed up the past year for 

us," explains Chu. "One band member 
got married, and Noel was held at 
gunpoint during an armed rob- 
bery." And the beer? "It's just 
typical cold beer." The band's 
name was inspired by a book Chu 
read about student protesters in 
Tianamen Square. Some of the stu- 
dents wrote their 
words of protest 
on posters using 
small characters. 
Others, who wanted their messages to stand 
out, wrote them in big characters. For its 
logo, the band chose the Chinese character 
that forms part of the word for revolution or 

Engineers by day, they rock out at night 
in Boston clubs like The Attic, Phoenix and 
Mama Kin, the Lansdowne Street club 
owned by members of Aerosmith. Their all- 
original songs can be heard on radio stations 
WFNX and WBCN, as well as stations at 
Emerson College, Boston College and 
Brandeis University. Worcester-area fans 
got a chance to hear them live in April when 
they played Sir Morgan's Cove on Green 

The band also hosts an annual cruise 
around Boston Harbor. Last year's cruise 
attracted 300 fans; when they sail again on 
July 13, Noel's parents, Jody and Assistant 
Professor of Mathematics Peter Christopher, 
are bound to be on board. "It's every father's 

dream, isn't it?" remarks Christopher of his 
son's career in rock and roll. "Actually, I hnd 
the music quite listenable, although I have to 
pay attention to make out the words." A 
devoted fan, he attends many gigs. "I have 
the opportunity to go places I wouldn't ordi- 
narily go." Brian's brother, George Chu '95 
(who, like Brian, was an All-American 
wrestler at WPI), is also a big fan. 

Mama Kin's monthly magazine 
described Big Character as "Grassroots 
sound with strong emotional lyrics, as well 
as a heavy edge...." The five-member band, 
which also includes a lead guitarist, a bassist 
and a drummer, describes its music as pro- 
gressive pop alternative rock, "or anything 
you might decide to call it." Their influ- 
ences include Nirvana, Blue Hole, Midnight 
Oil and other alternative bands that evolved 
from the punk music style of the 1980s. Chu 
and Christopher harmonize on lead vocals 
and write lyrics, which are mostly personal 
and introspective. 

"This was a natural for me; I've been 
doing music all my life," says Chu, a busi- 
ness analyst for Harvard Community Health 
Plan. A quiet, determined individual, he is 
the founder and the driving force behind 
Big Character. At WPI, Chu played key- 
boards at campus parties, rousing his Phi 
Kappa Theta brothers to sing along on Billy 
Joel's "Piano Man" and other favorites. 
Christopher, his neighbor in the fraternity 
house, would occasionally join in on guitar. 
The more gregarious of the two, Christo- 
pher was a classical string player who found 
he couldn't abide life without music. An 
award-winning viola player at Shrewsbury 
(Mass.) High School, he was president of 
the orchestra and an All-State, All-District 
musician who sometimes picked up a cello 
or bass to fill in for absent band members. 

"When I got to college I thought it was 
time to put that away," he says. "I figured I 
should either get serious and get into an 
orchestra, or get out." After his freshman 
year, Christopher says he was going crazy 
without an instrument, so he "borrowed" 
Chu's guitar and started teaching himself to 
play. "I figured, if it's a string instrument, 
how hard can it be? Actually, it was easier 


SPRING 1996 

"If only one-tenth of one percent of the world likes your music and you're playing it really well, then you're a success. " — Brian Chu '92 

than I thought. I didn't give Brian's guitar 
hack for a year. He probably never missed it." 

Christopher eventually bought his own 
guitar and started taking lessons. After grad- 
uation, he was hired by a local manufactur- 
ing company, hut soon lost his job as part of 
a major layoff. He currently manages the 
Boston Billiards nightclub in Worcester 
while he seeks to pick up his engineering 
career again. Chu continued to compose, 
sing and play — solo and 
with cover bands — after 
receiving his diploma. 
He made enough mon- 
ey to equip a modest 
home recording studio 
and cut a five-song 
demo tape. Listening to 
the tape in the spring of 
1993, Christopher was 
struck by his friend's 
growing maturity as a 
performer and song- 
writer. In particular, he 
was touched by Chu's 
composition "Think of 
Me," a song the band 
performs often these 
days. "I saw Brian mov- 
ing in a direction where 
I could fit in," he says. 
When Christopher found out that Chu was 
advertising for musicians in the Boston 
Phoenix, he forced his way into the newlv 
forming band. 

"I harassed him so bad," says Christo- 
pher. "I bothered that guy for weeks. I 
wouldn't take no for an answer. I played for 
him. I sang for him. I tried to convince him 
that I could do it, and that he needed me." 
Chu finally agreed to accept Christopher on 
a trial basis. 

"Two or three months later, we had 
jelled completely as a band," Christopher 
says. "It was clear that it was the right deci- 
sion for both of us. We were on the same 
page." Their four fellow alums, who had 
backed Chu in his solo endeavors, incorpo- 
rated as Snarling Frog and threw themselves 
into promoting the band. With a demo cas- 
sette and a lot of legwork, they waged a per- 

sistent campaign for club dates and radio 

"We put it together like a project plan," 
says George Kalavantis, "and split up the 
duties." Mike Cronin audits expenses, 
income and revenues from promotional hats 
and T-shirts. Steve Coscarella works on 
booking gigs, along with Ed Minasian, who 
also writes the band's newsletter, Big News. 
Coscarella handles the hand's e-mail 

From left, Noel Christopher, Brian Chu, 
John Amaral, Seamus Tierny, Dan 
Goodwin, aka Big Character. 

account ( and home- 
page on the World Wide Web 
(http://www 1 .usa 1 .com/~bigchara/). Kala- 
vantis and Coscarella manage the database 
of more than 600 fans, which is used for 
mailings and marketing analysis. 

Is your average rock band this methodi- 
cal, this technologically evolved? "Most 
Boston bands last six months — a year if 
they're lucky," says Christopher. "Many 
can't even get together $500 to make a 
demo tape to take around to clubs." 
Although Web pages are not uncommon for 
bands, Christopher claims that WPI gradu- 
ates have a technological edge. "We were 
logged on when others didn't even know the 
Web existed." 

"Having a management team is a luxu- 
ry," Christopher continues. "Most bands 
have to call around, book their own gigs. 
Snarling Frog does the business end; we just 
have to make suggestions about where to 
play, how to grow." 

The band's progress is carefully moni- 
tored and discussed at biweekly meetings. 
Although it is clearly a team effort, Christo- 
pher credits Big Character's success to 

Chu's vision, know- 
how and perseverance. 
"He's a machine," he 
says. "The other night 
he came in with a 30- 
page printout on what 
the band has accom- 
plished so far, with 
charts, graphs and a 
cost analysis of where 
we've played, what the 
pay was, and where we 
should be playing the 
most to maximize prof- 
its. I guarantee you, no 
other band in Boston 
g has somebodv doing 
1 this. That's certainly 
\ our WPI education at 
! work!" 

Chu, the realist, 
says the band's journey has been intense, but 
fun. His advice to aspiring rock stars is to 
persevere, and don't get offended at the 
inevitable criticism. "There's lots of differ- 
ent tastes out there," he says. "If only one- 
tenth of one percent of the world likes your 
music and you're playing it really well, then 
you're a success. You need a strong belief in 
yourself and your music." 

Big Character is at work on a second 
CD and would like to expand beyond the 
Boston area, possibly playing colleges on the 
East Coast. Christopher savs he would give 
up his job and go on the road "in a heart- 
beat." Chu's dream is a record deal with a 
major label, and a chance to work full time 
in music for at least a few years. "This is his 
thing," says Christopher of Chu. "No mat- 
ter where his career and his life take him, he 
will always be doing music." 




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Vol. I Ml XCIX, NO. 3, OCTOBER IWfi 



A Miracle at Worcester By Michael W. Dorsey 

The adoption of the WPI Plan a quarter century ago changed a traditional 

college into a model of innovation. At its inception, the Plan was 

the product of the imagination and tenacity of nine remarkable men. 

This is their story. 
Page 4 

A Gateway to Adulthood By Michael II'. Dorsey 

In the Plan's early days, one of the greatest challenges administrators faced 

was explaining this innovative program. Twenty-five years later, it still 

defies simple description. We've taken a shot at it, anyw n . 

Page 16 

Ten Lives Changed 

By Ray Ben '93, Alan Earles, Bonnie (ielbwasser,Joan Killough-Miller, 

Roger N. Peny'Jr. '45 and Ruth Trask 

It's been said that the proof is in the pudding. For the WPI Plan, the 

"pudding" is the stories of the lives and careers of the more than 12,000 

men and women who have experienced it. Here are 10 of those stories. 

Page 19 


Advance Word Remembering YATI's Heroic Age, By Michael W. Dorsey. Page 2 

Letters Thanks for the Van A Update; President Chose the Right Name. Page 3 

Final Word 2020 Foresight, By Rath Trask. Page 30 

On the cover: As a member of the faculty Planning Committee, William Grogan helped 

shape the WPI Plan; as the first dean of undergraduate studies, he oversaw its 

implementation and development for more than 20 years. Story on page 4. Photo by 

Patrick O'Connor. Opposite: Grogan talks with Sarah Wilcox '97 and Christopher 

Lengner '98, members of a student team that recently completed a project in Germany 

(advised by Grogan) that studied the drug approval process in that country. Photo by 

Patrick O'Connor. Back cover: The two towers of Boynton Hall and Washburn Shops have, 

since WPI's founding, symbolized the merger of theory and application that forms the core 

of the university's educational philosophy — a philosophy embodied today in the WPI Plan. 

Staff of the WPIJoumaL Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller ami Ruth Trask • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Robert C. Labonte '54, vice chairman. Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90, James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firla Jr. '60, 

Joel P. Greene '69, William R. Grogan '46, 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. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, Mass.. and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Yt. Printed in the I .S. V 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not net essarily re/leer the opinions of the editors or offit ial 1 I PI policies. 1 1 e welcome letters to the editor. . Iddress correspondence to the Editor, 

WPI Journal. WPI, 100 Institute Road, U 'orcester, MA 01609-22X0 • Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax: (508) 831-5604 • Electronic Mid. • World Wide H I b • Postmaster: Ifundeliverable, please tend Form 1S79 to th, addn a above. Do nor return publication. Entire contents © 1996. It orcester Polytechnic Institute. 


Remembering WPI's Heroic Age 

"Writers are always selling somebody out? 

The cover story in this special issue 
of the WPI Journal is one I have 
been thinking about writing for 
some time. I'm grateful to the organizers of 
this year's celebration of the WPI Plan's 
25th anniversary for giving me the impetus 
to finally tackle it. 

The story of how the Plan came to be is 
intriguing for anyone who was not on cam- 
pus (and even many who were) in the late 
1960s, a time of incredible change at WPI. 
How was it that a small, traditional engi- 
neering college was able to turn itself 
around and become, virtually overnight, one 
of the most innovative and successful insti- 
tutions of technological higher education in 
the country? What combination of circum- 
stances and human capital made this seem- 
ingly impossible feat possible? 

The drive to answer those questions for 
myself was behind my interest in writing 
this story. The answers proved well worth 
the time and energy the article entailed, as 
did the opportunity to spend some time 
talking to the remarkable men who drafted 
the Plan — the seven surviving members of 
the now famous Planning Committee origi- 
nally appointed in 1968 by the late Harry P. 
Storke, WPI's 10th president. 

The title of the article, "A Miracle at 
Worcester," makes reference to Catherine 
Drinker Bowen's 1966 book, Miracle at 
Philadelphia, which recounts the events of 
the Constitutional Convention of 1787. 
While it may seem a bit audacious to com- 
pare the Plan's creation to one of the most 
critical events in U.S. history, the analogy is 
apt. Like the writing of the Constitution, 
the drafting of the Plan — certainly the most 
important and pivotal episode in WPI's 
recent history — was accomplished in a cli- 
mate of turmoil and change by a small group 
of dedicated, passionate, creative individu- 
als — each with his own beliefs and biases. 
That group, the faculty Planning Commit- 
tee, was determined to craft a sound, work- 
able framework for the future, one that 
evolved from a set of clearly defined, well- 
reasoned principles and one that was 
designed to stand the test of time and the 

-Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, 1969 

inevitable resistance that greets any new 
idea. Indeed, looking back from a distance 
of a quarter century, the birth of the Plan 
seems nothing short of miraculous. 

This spring, I was pleased to see that I 
am not the only writer who has found a par- 
allel between the accomplishments of the 

dozens of individuals who worked to draft the 
Plan and turn it into a living, breathing pro- 
gram. As the day wound down, John Zeug- 
ner, professor of history, rose to make some 
concluding remarks. 

" 'Another of our friends of '76 is gone, 
my dear Sir.... We too must go, and that ere 
long,'" Zeugner began, quoting Thomas Jef- 
ferson's letter to John Adams. " 'I believe we 
are under half a dozen at present; I mean the 
signers of the Declaration. Yourself, Gerry, 
Carroll and myself are all I know to be living. 
I am the only one South of the Potomac....'" 

Zeugner told of the correspondence 
between Jefferson and Adams that began in 
1813, "three years after Jefferson left the 
presidency, having won it from Adams in 
1 800. So, two men who had made a revolu- 
tion and a new republic, whose political cam- 
paigns against one another, for sheer vicious- 

Shapers of two Heroic ages: top, the 
signers of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence; bottom, from left, Planning Com- 
mittee members Bill Grogan, Charles 
Heventhal, Steve Weininger, Jack Boyd 
and Roy Seaberg. 

Planning Committee and the achievements 
of America's founding fathers. On April 23, 
WPI celebrated the birth and implementa- 
tion of the Plan with Commemoration Day, 
an event that brought together many of the 

ness of personal attacks, make the campaigns 
of this century seem genteel by comparison, 
began again a secret letter correspondence 
that blossomed over the next 1 3 years into a 
remarkable ex-presidential colloquy. 

"The exchange of letters lingered over 
characteristics of Indians, Christ's spirituali- 
ty, British politics, proper ethics, old parti- 
san accusations, grandchildren's vanity, and 
the certain knowledge that by explaining 
themselves to each other they were partici- 


pating in some astounding coda to the 
Founding Generation. The letters are 
darted with Greek and Latin sentences 
and French exhortations. Their erudition 
stuns. Their thoughtfulness amazes. And 
throughout, there is a jocular considera- 
tion of imminent death, which occurred 
magically for both men on July 4, 1826, 
the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 
Declaration of Independence. 

"In his last letter to Adams, in late 
March 1826, Jefferson wrote that his 
grandson Thomas Randolph would like 
to pay Adams a visit. 'I must ask for him 
permission to pay to you his personal 
respects. Like other young people, he 
wishes to be able, in the winter nights of 
old age, to recount to those around what 
he has heard and learnt of the Heroic age 
preceding his birth, and which of the Arg- 
onauts particularly he was in time to have 
seen. It was the lot of our early years to 
witness nothing but the dull monotony 
of colonial subservience, and of our riper 
ones to breast the labors and perils of 
working out of it. Theirs are the Halcyon 
calms succeeding the storm which our 
Argosy had so stoutly weathered. Gratify 
his ambition then by receiving his best 
bow, and my solicitude for your health by 
enabling him to bring me a favorable 
account of it. Mine is but indifferent, but 
not so my friendship and respect for you.' 

"Twenty-five years out from the 
founding of the WPI Plan, it does seem, 
in the poor parallels the mind constructs, 
that the Planning Committee, the Imple- 
mentation Committee, and the undoubt- 
ed captain of the Plan Argosy, Bill Gro- 
gan, constitute, in fact, a kind of Heroic 
age," Zeugner concluded. "They did 
indeed triumph over a dull colonial edu- 
cational subservience, did indeed breast 
the labors and perils of working out of its 
monotony and stasis. They did provide 
this institution more than a few Halcyon 
days (indeed, they saved and grew it). 
And though the Institute's health at the 
moment may be indifferent, to use Jeffer- 
son's terms, not so its deep friendship 

and respect for them." 

While the cover story focuses on the 
individuals who were most intimately 
associated with the Plan's creation — Pres- 
ident Storke, President George Hazzard, 
Dean Cookie Price and the members of 
the Planning Committee — many, many 
other people played roles, both small 
and large, in the story of the birth of 
the Plan. They include the many faculty 
members who shared the Planning Com- 
mittee's passion about education and its 
conviction that WPI could, and should, be 
a better and more innovative institution. 
They offered their ideas, their opinions, 
their time and their unwavering support 
as the process of shaping the Plan moved 
forward. Many went on to become offi- 
cers and foot soldiers in the more than 
decade-long campaign known as Imple- 
mentation, the monumental job of turn- 
ing the educational program approved 
by the faculty in 1970 into a workable 
system. You will read more about that 
process in the second half of the cover 
story, to be published in early 1997. 

In addition, many faculty members, 
students, administrators, trustees and 
alumni helped shape the Plan by taking 
part in two Planning Days in 1968 and 
1969 and by serving on a multitude of 
subcommittees that helped the Planning 
Committee flesh out the details of the 
Plan. Their efforts on behalf of the uni- 
versity were invaluable, and they had the 
satisfaction of contributing to one of the 
most important community efforts in 
WPI's history. 

The bottom line of all this is that no 
matter how careful a job of research a 
writer might do, or how diligent one 
might be about giving credit where it is 
deserved, there will always be those 
unwittingly and unintentionally left out 
of the story. To those many individuals, I 
apologize. I invite them to tell their sto- 
ries and relate their memories of the 
Plan's birth on the Letters pages of 
future issues of the Journal. 



Thanks for the 
Van A Update 


I thank you for updating alumni on one of the 
most beloved men: John van Alstyne ("The 
Wizard of Asheville," Spring 1996). Dean van 
Alstyne is one of the reasons I stayed and suc- 
ceeded at WPI. He is a man of such wisdom 
and kindness. From my first day of classes at 
WPI through the dreaded Competency Exam, 
Van A inspired me to succeed. He gave me 
confidence and faith in my abilities. It warms 
my heart to know that he is still giving his 
magic to students young and old. 

Ki.MBi ri.v Berg kitchens '83 
RALEIGI I, x.c. 

President Chose the 
Right Name 


I am responding to the letter in the Spring 
1996 WPI Journal by Erling Lagerholm, 
which argued the need for a new name for 
the school. While I find it hard to accept the 
need for a new name, times do change and 
we must go forward. In doing so we must 
never lose sight of the fact that the names 
WPI, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and, 
informally, Worcester Tech have been well- 
known and highly respected in the commu- 
nity and the business world. 

Though progress is unavoidable, a drastic- 
change such as that suggested by Mr. Lager- 
holm would be unwise and also a great loss to 
those of us w r ho love WPI. Fortunately, Pres- 
ident Parrish and his cabinet chose the right 
name, WPI. I support their decision 100 per- 
cent, and hope we can still informally be 
known as "Worcester Tech." I am sure it will 
continue to garner die same respect it has 
always inspired in the past. Remember, our 
alma mater begins, "Dear Worcester Tech, 
our Worcester Tech." May it always be so. 

George iulis '54 
Cranston, r.i. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Earlier this summer, WPI 
President Edward Parrish and his cabinet, a 
group of senior administrators, decided that the 

university should emphasize its initials, WPI, 
instead of its full legal name in its publications, 
on its stationery and business cards, and in other 
forms of communication directed to the world 
beyond the campus. For a report on this decision, 
the reader is directed to the Summer 1996 issue 
of the WPI Wire. 

WPI Journal 

t was 1966, a time of turmoil and social upheaval. In the South, the struggle for racial 
equality raged. Across the Pacific in Soudieast Asia, a bloody war dragged on, while 
back home demonstrators staged ever larger protest rallies, boycotts and moratori- 
ums. Around the nation, a new generation was awakening to the realities of poverty, 
sexual inequality and environmental degradation. It was an age of transition, experimentation 
and excitement — a time when anything might be possible. 

For Professor William Grogan '46, all of that seemed a million miles away. WPI, where 
he had earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering (the former under 
the U.S. Navy's wartime V-12 officer training program) and to which he had devoted the last 
two decades of his life, was stuck in neutral. While change swirled all around it, the Institute 
on Boynton Hill seemed firmly anchored to the past. Grogan had had enough. It was time to 
get out — to jump ship while the ship was still afloat. "I was a month away from leaving WPI 
and taking a post with the Navy Department in Washington," he says. "From my perspective, 
WPI was dead in the water. There was simply no reason to stick around." 

Fortunately for Grogan and for WPI, his dissatisfaction was shared by a fellow military 
officer, retired Army Lieut. General Harry P. Storke. A 1926 West Point graduate, a veteran 
of World War II and the Korean Wir, and the recently retired commander of NATO's land 
forces in southern Europe, Storke had become WPI's 10th president in 1962. He quickly 
sensed the stagnation that had taken hold of the Institute and decided — for WPI's own good, 
and perhaps for its very survival — he had to try to shake it out of its decades-long slumber. 

It would take nearly 10 years to bring that goal to fruition. In that time, "Worcester 
Tech" would be turned inside out, becoming an educational institution unlike any other in the 
country. The roles of students and faculty members would completely change, as a traditional, 
rigid engineering school became a model ot flexibility and innovation, one that still serves as a 
beacon to other educators. 

The Story of the WPI Plan, Part 1. By Michael W. Dorsey 

More than 25 years ago, something quite remarkable 
happened on boynton hlll. with a single vote of the 
faculty, wpi became a completely different kind of 
institution. The creation of the WPI Plan was the 
single most important event in wpi's recent history. 
This is the story of how, in the words of the Plan's 
founders, a good college became an excellent one. 

Before it was over, Harry Storke would retire and WPI would inaugurate its 1 1th 
president. Many longtime faculty members would depart — disgruntled or disheartened 
over what their beloved school had become. But Bill Grogan would remain. Tapped by 
Storke to begin the process of loosening up the curriculum, he would find a new reason to 
believe in his alma mater. He would go on to help create the spark that ignited a powder keg 
of change. And having turned WPI upside down, he would spend the better part of his acade- 
mic career harnessing and channeling the force of that blast into a workable and effective 
educational program — a program that would become known as the WPI Plan. 

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate" 

— From Cool Hand Luke, 1967 

s one looks back from the perspective of the 1990s, it is hard to imagine how different 
a place WPI was in the 1960s. For students, the college bore an uncomfortably close 
resemblance to the high schools they thought they had left behind. WPI seemed 
reluctant to believe that students could make decisions for themselves, so it gave them 
few to make. In a typical four-year curriculum, most undergraduates had only two electives. 
Class attendance was mandatory. Saturday mornings were spent in classes, or in drills for 
ROTC, which was required of all students. Women guests (there were not yet female stu- 
dents at WPI) were prohibited from residence hall rooms without supervision. 

For the faculty, WPI was a warm and supportive community, a small college where every- 
one knew everyone else and everyone's problems. It was a place where the faculty harbored 
intense feelings of loyalty and concern for the school where many had earned their academic 
degrees. And though there was no tenure system, there was an unspoken guarantee of job 

■-■■ siilijuijiui 

In the few short years that marked 

of the '70s, WPI urWerwent an ava- 

"he creation of the \ 

of the Plan were sown by 
ent Harry Storke (above); 

le program that grew 
as nurtured for two 
* Bill Grogan 

i J Dili ihiJU 




Comments he made 
at a faculty meet- 
ing in 1968 led 
President Storke 
to create the 
faculty Planning 
Committee and 
appoint him chair. 

But WPI was also a place where the power 
over virtually everything — including the curricu- 
lum — resided in the hands of a very few senior 
administrators and department heads. There was 
no faculty governance system. The agenda for the 
(quite rare) faculty meetings was drawn up by the 
Executive Committee of the faculty — the heads of 
the academic departments — and con- 
sisted largely of announcements of 
decisions that had already been made 
behind closed doors. 

It was within this structure that 
President Storke set out to create 
change. In late 1963, he outlined a 
10-year plan for WPI that encom- 
passed major campus improvements 
(including a new field house and a 
modern library) that he and the 
trustees believed were needed to move 
the college forward. The plan became 
the basis for the Centennial Fund, a 
$15 million capital campaign that cul- 
minated in 1965, WPI's centennial 
year. "The next two years or three 
years will help shape Tech's destiny for 
many years," he said in a Nov. 2, 1963, 
address to alumni. "They will provide 
each of us an opportunity to partici- 
pate in a program that will give to our 
heirs the kind of institution we inher- 
ited from our predecessors and to the generations 
of future students the kind of education needed for 
tomorrow's world." 

He called on the department heads to help 
define that new kind of education, but they seemed 
resistant. That December, Storke and Dean 
Lawrence "Cookie" Price asked the department 
heads to join them for a retreat at a hotel in nearby 
Sturbridge to help draft a long-range educational 
plan to accompany the facilities plan Storke had 

already developed. By one report, Storke became 
so frustrated by the department heads' lack of ideas 
that, early one morning, he summoned them from 
their rooms and dismissed them without breakfast. 

"There are going to be times when we 
can't wait for somebody. Now, you're 
either on the bus or off the bus." 

— Ken Kesey, 1 968 (quoted by Tom Wolfe in The 
Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) 

0espite the reluctance of department heads 
to alter what they believed to be a per- 
fectly workable academic program, Storke 
knew change was inevitable. He could not 
help but be aware that students were unhappy. 
Increasingly, they were voicing their displeasure 
in the pages of Tech News. Required courses, Sat- 
urday classes, mandatory ROTC, the lack of pari- 
etal hours in the dorms — all came under fire as 
students began to demand more freedom and 
more responsibility. 

And among the faculty were a growing cadre 
of younger instructors (many with degrees from 
other institutions) who were eager to break out 
of the mold. In their own classes, they began to 
experiment. They included William Shipman, a 
professor of chemical engineering who came to 
WPI in 1958. Widely recognized for his award- 
winning, corporate-sponsored work on combus- 
tion and jet propulsion, he was among a small 
group of faculty then with an active research pro- 
gram. "WPI had many bright and eager students 
who were looking for something new and exciting 
to do," Shipman says. "I suggested what those 
'somethings' might be, and they did the rest." 
Shipman threw away the standard "cook- 
book" approach to teaching lab courses. Instead, 
he gave students open-ended problems to solve. 
"Rather than giving them an experiment on distil- 



lation, for example, I asked them to find a way to 
extract iodine from kelp," lie says. "If distillation 
was required, they would learn about distillation. 
1 low they accomplished the assignment was up to 
them. The enthusiasm in those labs was exciting." 

In mechanical engineering. Jack Boyd, who 
arrived in 1966, was acutely aware of the failing 
of his own undergraduate education at Ohio 
State, which had filled him full of facts and equa- 
tions but left him feeling uncertain about how to 
use them. He structured his courses at WPI 
around projects that helped students look beyond 
the equations to develop "functional literacy." 

Over in electrical engineering, Grogan, who 
kept in touch with the corporate world by con- 
sulting for Genera] Electric, Bell Labs and the 
Navy's Missile Systems Division, had been incor- 
porating project work in his course in engineering 
economics. To add an element of realism to the 
course, he had students take on the role of profes- 
sional consultants, completing small projects 
sponsored by corporations. 

Grogan was one of a group of young faculty 
in electrical engineering who, starting in the late 
1950s, met regularly — often on Friday afternoons 
in nearby Bigelow's Tavern — to talk about educa- 
tion and their (at least for WPI) radical notions 
about teaching and learning. In time, this group, 
which eventually included Owen Kennedy '44, 
Romeo Moruzzi, Harit Majmudar, Wilhelm 
Eggimann, Donald Eteson '48 and George Stan- 
nard '43, welcomed fellow travelers from other 
departments, including Boyd, Charles Heventhal, 
a professor of English who arrived in 1963, and 
Stephen Weininger, a chemistry professor who 
came on board in 1965. 

Grogan also chaired a study committee in the 
Electrical Engineering Department that in the 
spring of 1966 presented a revised and somewhat 
liberated electrical engineering curriculum to the 
faculty Executive Committee. The report, which 
was approved, generated some discussion at a fac- 
ulty meeting, something that had never happened 

Despite this step forward, Grogan saw little 
prospect for campuswide change. But later that 
year Storke decided to appoint a faculty-based 
Curriculum Study Committee to accomplish what 
the department heads refused to do. Catching 
Grogan on the verge of resigning, Storke asked 
him to chair it. 

"You're either part of the solution or part 
of the problem. " 

— Elbridge Cleaver, 1968 

Btorke asked each department head to sub- 
mit a list of three department faculty, 
from which he would choose one member 
to be on the new committee. From the 
lists he received, Storke selected Leighton Well- 

man, a 36-year veteran of the Mechanical Engi- 
neering Department, Imre Zwiebel, a recent addi- 
tion to the Chemical Engineering Department, 
Jerald Weiss, professor of physics, William Ilobey, 
a young professor of chemistry, Alan King, soccer 
coach and professor of physical education, James 
Hensel, a professor of English, Donald Johnson, a 
professor of history and modern languages who 
had been at WPI for 20 years, Robert Fitzgerald 
'53, a new professor of civil engineering, Nicholas 
Onorato, professor of economics, and John van 
Alstyne, who'd been teaching mathe- 
matics at WPI since 1961. 

As chair, Grogan made regular 
reports to the department heads on 
the committee's ideas. "It was like 
running into a room hill of feathers," 
he says. "They never got upset about 
our ideas, but they gave us no 
encouragement, either." The follow- 
ing February, the committee present- 
ed its initial recommendations to the 
Executive Committee, which reluc- 
tantly brought them to the faculty. 

The committee wanted to 
revamp the freshman and sophomore 
curriculum by offering (unheard of) 
elective courses in the freshman year, 
making mathematics a degree pro- 
gram and introducing an optional 
minor program in English, history, 
and humanities and technology. They 
also recommended the establishment 
of a new Computer Science Depart- 
ment. The proposals were ultimately 
approved, but not before a hard- 
fought battle over whether to make 
freshman graphics optional. 

"Six hours of drawing in India ink 
was required of every single student, 
no matter what his major," Grogan 
says. "The Mechanical Engineering 
Department, which employed a large 
cadre of drawing instructors and 
which clung to the belief that drawing 
was a basic requirement of engineer- 
ing education, bitterly opposed eliminating this 
requirement. In the end, the recommendation 
passed by a margin of only four votes. After that 
vote, the olive was out of the neck of the bottle. If 
we could make that seemingly minor change in 
programming (but one with enormous philosophi- 
cal implications), anything seemed possible. The 
stage was set for even greater change." 

For one faculty member, the vote marked the 
end of a career. Leighton Wellman, a member of 
the "old guard" and the director of the drawing 
program, resigned from the committee. Not long 
after, in a move that echoed the departure of 
George Alden and Milton Higgins from WPI 80 
years earlier over the creation of the "too scien- 


WPI Journal 


Having helped 
launch the 



system, he was 

elected to 

the Planning 

Committee in 

one of the 

faculty' s 

first major 


WPI's first two women 


Jayne Rossetti, left, 

and Lesley Small. 

tific" electrical engineering program (see "An 
Electric Century," WPI Journal, Spring 1996), 
he resigned from the Institute. 

"The order is /Rapidly fadin^ /And the 
first one now /Will later be last /For the 
times they are a-changin \ " 

— Bob Dylan, 1 963 

s the end of the decade neared, change 
was in the air at WPI. In October 1967, 
the trustees approved parietal hours in 
the residence halls for upperclassmen. In 
short order, mandator}' R.OTC and Saturday 
classes were studied, debated and elimi- 
nated, as students became increasingly 
vocal about their unhappiness and as the 
war in Vietnam made mandator}' military 
service an especially sore point. At their 
meeting in February 1968, the trustees 
decided to admit women undergraduates 
for the first time in WPI's history. And in 
April 1968, the faculty elected its first 
committee to study the issue of tenure. 
This committee of Young Turks — Heven- 
thal, Moruzzi, Shipman, Weininger and, 
as chairman, mechanical engineering Pro- 
fessor Charles Feldman — developed a 
tenure and promotion system that the fac- 
ulty and trustees approved that spring. 

But as a new decade loomed, the undergradu- 
ate program was still in great need of improve- 
ment. WPI was finding it increasingly difficult to 
make a convincing argument that its quality was 
high enough to justify the difference between its 
tuition and the much lower prices charged by 
state universities, a fact that became clear to Bill 
Shipman one day that spring. 

At the last faculty meeting of 1967-68, Storke 
asked for comments on WPI's long-range plan- 
ning efforts. Shipman, van Alstyne, Zwiebel and 
William Roadstrum, professor of electrical engi- 
neering, rose to speak. Shipman's comments were 
particularly striking. "I was teaching a Sunday 
school class at the time," he says. "The mother of 
one of my students asked me if I could talk to 
him about which colleges he might consider. I 
thought to myself, 'Here I am at Worcester Tech, 
and I can't think of a reason why I would want to 
go here. What does this school have to offer that 
I couldn't get somewhere else for less money?" 

That June, Storke announced that he would 
retire the following spring. Perhaps hoping to 
finally realize his goal of reforming the curricu- 
lum before he departed, he began searching for 
the best way to get the job done, even if it meant 
going around the recalcitrant department heads. 

That fall, Shipman wrote a memo to the 
Executive Committee suggesting, once again, that 
WPI needed to change to justify the tuition it 
charged students. Sometime after that, Storke sat 
down to lunch with Shipman in the Morgan Hall 
cafeteria and asked him if he had any thoughts on 
just what WPI could do. Shipman reminded the 
president about an article he'd written for the 
Spring 1966 issue of the WPI Journal, in which 
he'd offered a critical appraisal of the undergrad- 
uate program and some options for its future. 

"It seems that the ultimate solution. ..will be 
found in a change from the set undergraduate cur- 
ricula of former times to a program designed to 
teach the student to learn rather than to equip him 
to fill a specific job that may not exist five years 
after his graduation," the article said, in part. 

Not long after that lunchtime discussion, 

Storke telephoned Shipman's office. "I'm here," 
Storke said when Shipman answered, "and I want 
to be there. Are you going to be there?" He 
walked over and told Shipman he had decided to 
appoint a faculty planning committee and he 
wanted Shipman to serve on it. He said he want- 
ed Roadstrum to serve, as well, but that Shipman 
was free to choose the rest of the members. 

October 1996 


"I chose people I knew and people I thought 
were already thinking about education," Shipman 
says. In the end, invitations went out to van 
Alstyne, then acting head of the .Mathematics 
I )epartment, Heventhal, Boyd and Weininger, 
which gave the committee representation from 
the humanities, the sciences, mathematics and 
three major engineering disciplines. Roy Seaberg 
'56, who had become assistant secretary of the 
\\ PI Alumni Association in 1%2, would later 
join the group as executive secretary. 

In his formal charge to the committee, Storke 
asked it to prepare "a comprehensive proposal of 
feasible educational directions the Institute should 
take." He asked for the committees first report by 
March 1, 1969. Learning of the committee, Tech 
News editor Joel Greene '69 called it "one more 
step in the quiet revolution now taking place with- 
in the traditional faculty-administration structure." 
Over the course of the following two years, the 
revolution was destined to get much louder. 

"We must dare to think ^unthinkable'' 
thoughts. We must learn to explore all 
the options and possibilities that confront 
its in a complex and changing world. 
We must learn to welcome and not to 
fear the voices of dissent. We must dare 
to think about ''unthinkable things, ' 
because when things become unthink- 
able, thinking stops and action becomes 
mindless. " 
—James W. Fulbright, 1964 

Dhe President's Planning Committee sat 
down to its first meeting that November 
in a conference room in Goddard Hall; 
its home base would later be changed to 
a Stratton Hall conference room, where a coffee 
pot would be kept perking for much of the next 
two years as the committee members — all but 
Shipman working without release time — put in 
long hours completing the committee's demand- 
ing work in addition to their own normal teach- 
ing and administrative loads. As its first item of 
business, the committee elected Shipman chair- 
man. The vote was five to one, with only Ship- 
man (who says he didn't see the need for a chair- 
man) voting against himself. It would be the only 
vote the committee would ever take, as it com- 
pleted the rest of its business by consensus. They 
then turned to matters of procedure — just how 
would they approach the rather open-ended 
assignment Storke had handed them? 

A breakthrough occurred when it was sug- 
gested that the committee be completely open to 
any and all ideas, no matter how seemingly im- 
practical or off-the-wall. If a committee member 
had something he thought should be considered, 
it would be discussed and evaluated from all sides. 

This would become a guiding principle. The) 
also decided early on that their first step should 
be to consider every seemingly practical future 
direction for WPI and to treat each one positive- 
ly, i procedure that would help the Institute focus 
in on the direction it ultimately wanted to take. 
In short order it became apparent that the com- 
mittee was thinking about a more fundamental 
evaluation of \\ Pi's mission than Storke had had 
in mind. 

Soon after the first meeting, the committee 
met with the president to talk about its desire to 
go beyond his charge. Weininger remembers that 
Shipman explained the committee's concern to 
Storke and asked for his thoughts. "\1\ memorj 
may be colored by romantic recollections," he 
sa\s, "but I recall that he took no more than a 
minute to think about it ami to say, 'Just go ahead 
and take this wherever it leads you.' It was exhil- 
arating — and a little scary. In a sense, he'd placed 
the future of the college in 
our hands. It tor nothing 
more than that decision, 
Storke deserves a place of 
honor in the history of 

"We often think of the 
military officer as wanting to 
be in control," Heventhal 
says. "But the best military 
officers know that they have 
to have different options in 
trout ot them and that things 
are going to change. I think 
Storke sensed that that was 
what WPI needed." 

The process of exploring 
those options encouraged 
each member of the commit- 
tee to present and defend his 
ow n views on the ideal 
approach to education. Van 
Alstyne hoped for a program 
with tar more flexibility than 
the traditional system. 
Heventhal wanted to make the humanities a tar 
more vital — and integrated — part of the under- 
graduate experience. Boyd, interested in a system 
that encouraged students to learn on their own, 
wanted to broaden the use of projects in the acad 
emic program, a concept that had been champi- 
oned a year earlier by Charles Feldman in an arti 
cle he wrote for the Journal entitled "Wither 
Worcester Tech?" 

"One of the things that attracted me to 
WPI was that it had a long history of hands-on 
stuff," Boyd says. "But that had largely disap- 
peared by the 1960s. Just after I arrived, some 
students broke into the machine shop — to use 
the machines! The Mechanical Engineering 
Department responded by changing the locks." 

he championed 
the elevation of 
the humanities 
in wpi 's cur- 
riculum, and 
later helped 
create the 

WPI Journal 


Shipman's interest was in inverting the tradi- 
tional American model of higher education. "We 
were doing things backwards," he says. "We'd 
have a lecture for 100 students. Then we'd have a 
recitation where students would do problems 
based on what they were supposed to have 
learned in the lecture. Finally, they would do a 
lab experiment to see that what they learned in 
the lecture and recitation was pretty close to 
being right. But that's not how people learn. We 
learn by making observations, correlating facts, 
and arriving at generalizations. That's how stu- 
dents have to operate when they go to work, but 
that's not what we were teaching them to do." 

Shipman suggested a better model might be 
the traditional tutorial system used at Cambridge 
and Oxford universities in England. Weininger, 
who had taught at the Uni- 
versity of Durham in north- 
ern England, had also come 
to admire the British system. 
The hallmark of the system 
is a one-on-one relationship 
between the student and a 
faculty tutor — essentially a 
guide who helps the student 
in his or her educational 
journey. In their first few 
years, students are free to 
explore ideas and academic 
disciplines in an intellectu- 
allv charged atmosphere 
without the pressure of 
grades. The emphasis, Ship- 
man says, is producing stu- 
/ dents who are "educated," 

meaning able to cope with 
^^ change, able to learn on 

M ^L their own, able to recognize 

A Rl their capabilities and limita- 

J& fcjh tions, able to be sensitive to 

Wf* the needs of other people, 
y/r and able to be motivated 

S by a purpose greater than 


He served on 
the Planning 
Committee for a 
year while also 
working to com- 
plete a textbook 
and earn tenure. 

The Cambridge/Oxford 
model was one of 12 options for WPI the com- 
mittee outlined in its first report, "The Future of 
Two Towers," in March 1969. "There were some 
options we didn't particularly like," van Alstyne 
says, "yet we felt it necessary to present each one 
in the most favorable way possible." 
The other options were 

• to become a high-quality graduate school in 
engineering and science. 

• to educate engineers and scientists to become 
leaders in society. 

• to become a research-oriented graduate center 
in engineering and science. 

• to become a middle college, a place for gradu- 
ates of the growing two-year college system to 

continue their education. 

• to become a high-level trade school and prepare 
students to become technologists. 

• to specialize in educating the underprivileged. 

• to become a university geared to the needs and 
quirks of nascent inventors and entrepreneurs. 

• to become a general university, an option best 
achieved through a union with Clark University. 

• to become part of the state university svstem. 

• to maintain the status quo. 

• a combination of any of the above. 

Each of these options would be carefullv pre- 
sented in the first report or its follow-up, "The 
Future of Two Towers, Part II," which appeared 
that June. Initial descriptions of the options, 
along with an analysis of the current state of the 
Institute, were written bv individual committee 
members. As chair, Shipman handed out the writ- 
ing assignments. 

"Bill is one of the great gentlemen I've 
known," Weininger says, "but he is also something 
of a taskmaster. He'd hand out these assignments 
and ask us to have them done by the next meet- 
ing — which sometimes was the next day. We were 
all carrying our full teaching loads and keeping up 
with many other responsibilities. I'd just signed a 
contract to write a textbook and my first child had 
been born the previous year. My wife, Jennifer, was 
working full time, as well, so keeping up with the 
committee work — in reality, a second full-time 
job — was difficult. Some nights the only way I 
could get my assignments done was to dictate 
them to Jennifer while I sat in the bathtub." 

Pride of authorship was not a quality most 
committee members clung to for long. As the 
drafts came in, the committee reviewed them, van 
Alstyne says. "Reviewed is not the word to use. 
We found ourselves haggling over each word, not 
out of animosity, but out of a desire to say it just 
right. The result was a series of proposals written 
by the committee as a whole. I can go through 
the reports and find parts of sentences we each 
wrote. As a consequence, the reports were consis- 
tent and no one could find a section that would 
be recognized as the pet idea of any one of us." 

Before the first report was released, Shipman 
decided to give Storke a preview. "We typed the 
report on mimeograph masters," Shipman says, 
"and I took it to Storke to read. I was advised to 
do it that way so he wouldn't change anything, 
and he didn't. He was a little upset because there 
were some things in there he didn't like. He told 
me what thev were and why he didn't like them. 
Finally, he looked at me and said, 'Print it!' As a 
matter of fact, he told me, 'Job well done,' after 
the report came out." 

Some time later, Shipman was in front of 
Gordon Library when Storke drove up beside 
him and asked him to get in. "I told you, 'Well 
done,'" Shipman recalls him saying. "I should 
have said, 'Damn well done!'" Adds Shipman, 


October 1996 


"The next time the committee heard from him 
was after the final plan was submitted. I Ie wrote 
us a letter in which he said it was as fine a plan as 
he could have imagined. Storke's hope all along 
had been to make WPI worthy of being in the 
private sector. That's why we have a private sec- 
tor — to innovate." 

"You can V always get what you want / 
But if you tiy sometimes / You just 
might find / You get what you need. " 

—Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1969 

0fter the publication of the first report, an 
all-campus Planning Day was held to get 
input from the entire community on the 
12 options. Several trustees, most of. the 
faculty and many students came and met in small 
groups to voice their opinions and, in some cases, 
vent their frustrations and express their elation 
that a tidal wave of change seemed to have been 
set in motion. To assure that everyone could 
attend, Storke declared that all classes would be 
canceled for the day, something no one could 
recall ever having happened at WPI. 

The committee continued to get input from 
the community through an ambitious series of 
meetings with faculty, administrators and students. 
In the process, committee members had dinner in 
even' campus housing unit, including the fraternity 
houses. Their objective, Shipman says, was to be 
sure that anyone with a point to make or an idea to 
contribute would have a chance to voice it, and 
that in the end, no matter what form the commit- 
tee's final recommendation might take, everyone 
would feel as if he had had a part in shaping it. 

For Heventhal, this exhaustive procedure 
might be the greatest legacy of the Planning 
Committee. "When you read our reports, you 
will see that what we were really talking about 
was a process," he says. "This was just as impor- 
tant as creating an ideal vision for WPI. The 
process of planning was something WPI needed 
in a time of crisis. The communitv needed a way 
of looking at itself and at the possibilities for what 
it might become, and it needed to know that it 
had the power to bring about change." 

As the spring ended, the committee complet- 
ed its second report. Then it did something quite 
remarkable — it disbanded. From the beginning, 
many committee members had been uncomfort- 
able with the idea of a presidentially appointed 
committee creating a plan that would depend on 
faculty support for its success. In addition, the 
motivation for reform had come largely from the 
faculty, and the committee worried that as presi- 
dential appointees, their allegiances might seem 
suspect. Now, as the time came to move from a 
process to a final plan, these concerns grew espe- 
cially acute, and the committee demanded to be 
reconstituted as a faculty-elected bodv. 

I learing the news, "Storke was horrified," van 
Alstyne says. "Armies are not run in a democratic 
manner." But he notes that the faculty was also 
becoming concerned over the dramatic — perhaps 
radical — course the committee seemed to be 
charting. As a result, tew ran tor election to the 
committee's six slots. Weininger, the demands of 
completing his textbook and of preparing his 
tenure file weighing heavily on his mind, chose 
not to serve again. \\ Tien the votes were tallied, 
Shipman, van Alstyne, Heventhal and Boyd were 
re-elected, but Roadstrum was not. 
In a bit of poetic justice, the last two 
slots would be filled by two electrical 
engineering professors: Grogan, who 
had chaired the curriculum commit- 
tee that had ignited the drive toward 
change, and Moruzzi, a member of 
the tenure committee that had 
unleashed the faculty governance 
system. Seaberg would remain exec- 
utive secretary until that September, 
when his appointment as assistant 
director of admissions required that 
he step down. 

"Thafs one small step for a 
man, one giant leap for 
mankind. " 

— Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969 

Bhat summer, while Protes- 
tants and Catholics fought in 
Belfast, children starved in 
Biafra, voung men died in 
the jungles of Vietnam, the 
"Chicago Eight" were tried in 
Judge Hoffman's courtroom, 
and Richard Nixon settled into the 
Oval Office, the faculty-elected Plan- 
ning Committee sat down around the conference 
table in Stratton Hall and honed their ideas and 
proposals into "The Future of Two Towers, Part 
III: A Model," which contained the essence of 
what would later come to be called the WPI Plan. 
But lurking within its pages was what one com- 
mittee member would later call "a poison pill." 

In the report, the committee outlined an 
approach that united elements of several of the 
1 2 options, with a heavy emphasis on the Oxford- 
Cambridge model. It devised a program in which 
the requirements for graduation were based on a 
student's ability to learn, and not on his or her 
ability to accumulate facts through courses. It 
included a liberal dose of project and independent 
study work to "provide realistic and intimate 
learning situations for both student and faculty." 

Students would receive their degrees if they 
successfullv completed advanced-level work on 
two projects (the committee stronglv urged that 
at least one project be completed off campus), a 

His goal was to 
create a far more 
flexible program. 
Later, as dean of 
academic advis- 
ing, he would 
help hundreds 
of students make 
the most of it. 

WPI Journal 



I I 

by President 
Storke, he 
was the only 
member of the 
original Plan- 
ning Committee 
not elected by 
the faculty to 
its second 

two-year residency requirement, a comprehensive 
examination in a particular area of study, and two 
sufficiency exams in disciplines other than the 
area of the comprehensive exam. The model also 
stressed the importance of a culturally vital and 
intellectually stimulating community to the suc- 
cess of such a program. The committee summa- 
rized the philosophy of the model in the follow- 
ing goal statement, a version of which was adopt- 
ed hy vote of the faculty in December 1969: 

"The WPI graduate of the future must have 
an understanding of a sector of science and tech- 
nology and a mature understanding of himself 
and the needs of the people around him. While 

an undergraduate, he 
must demonstrate that 
he can learn and trans- 
late his learning into 
worthwhile action. He 
must learn to teach 
himself those things 
that are needed to make 
his actions socially sig- 
nificant. A WPI educa- 
tion should develop a 
strong degree of self- 
confidence, an eager- 
ness to contribute to 
the community beyond 
oneself, and an intellec- 
tual restlessness, a spur 
to continual learning." 
jg^ As the summer 

f wore on, Shipman felt 

comfortable that the 
committee had accom- 
plished its objective and 
should commit it to 
paper. The other com- 
mittee members, how- 
ever, thought they 
needed more time to sort out a slew of picky 
details that had to be resolved before the Plan 
could be declared functional. They arranged for a 
brief stay that July at the Fitzwilliam Inn just over 
the border in New Hampshire to complete their 
work. "I've often thought we should put a plaque 
up at that inn," Grogan says. "That's where we 
really hammered out the Plan." 

On July 19, as Apollo 11 astronauts Neil 
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin prepared to make their 
historic descent to the moon's surface, Dean Price 
and George Hazzard, who had just taken office as 
WPI's 1 1th president, arrived to hear about the 
emerging plan. 

(By many reports, it was the work of the Plan- 
ning Committee that turned the tide with Haz- 
zard. A St. Lawrence University graduate with a 
Ph.D. in experimental physics and physical chem- 
istry from Cornell, with experience in academia 
and industiy, Hazzard had been involved in a 

national movement to reform physics teaching. 
Initially, he had been unimpressed with WPI. But 
after a meeting with the Planning Committee, he 
realized that the Institute had an opportunity to 
transform itself from an unexceptional college into 
a uniquely different one. 

"That meeting took place in the Gordon 
Library Seminar Room," van Alstyne says. "Ironi- 
cally, it was the same room where the Executive 
Committee had met to submit their long-range 
plans and where they had sat in shock when 
Storke told them he'd appointed the Planning 

After dinner, everyone retired to the living 
room of the inn for the presentation. The presi- 
dent and academic dean seemed enthusiastic; in 
fact, both men would become strong advocates 
for the Plan and critical forces to assure its 
passage and success. "Before he became dean, 
Cookie Price had taught for many years in the 
Mechanical Engineering Department. He was a 
member of the old guard," Weininger says. "But 
he was an open-minded person who was willing 
to entertain the idea of change — even radical 
change. And because he enjoyed pretty much uni- 
versal respect in the Institute, and because he was 
an insider with unassailable credentials, he was 
able to head off what could have been a lot of fac- 
tional splitting and some pretty nasty infighting 
over the Plan. His moral authority kept the place 
together." Echoes Boyd, "It took an enormous act 
of faith for him to put the weight of his reputa- 
tion behind this. I really respected him for that." 

Keeping things together was much on the 
minds of committee members that fall when "Two 
Towers III" was released. The more the committee 
had thought about their model, which differed 
fundamentally from WPI's existing program, the 
more they realized that it could not be carried out 
successfully by the same organizational structure 
that had maintained that program far beyond its 
useful life. In the report, they outlined a new struc- 
ture that placed the day-to-day operation of the 
academic program in the hands of a dean of pro- 
gram operations (much like the position of dean of 
undergraduate studies that was later established) 
and a dean of academic resources (much like the 
current position of provost), both of whom would 
report to the academic vice president. 

But the truly explosive proposal — the one that 
shocked the faculty as they returned that Septem- 
ber from the summer hiatus — was to abolish the 
academic departments and replace them with three 
academic divisions made up of functionally related 
study groups. The idea was to blast away the rigid, 
stifling departmental structure and promote faculty 
interaction across disciplines. To illustrate the con- 
cept, the committee included a detailed, iold-out 
organizational chart. "That almost killed the whole 
process," Grogan says. "It was an idea that was just 
too far ahead of its time." 


October 1996 



HJMWal>ll»lllMIJUlllll ll«nMHilB t<ll l mnUHWM Uim WMHIUHMW 

"7b dream the impossible dream, to 

reach the unreachable star. " 

Joe Darion, from Man of La Mancha, 1969 

ollowing closely on the heels of the third 

report was a second all-campus Planning 

HDay. The committee also called for the 
establishment of nine subcommittees, 
made up of 74 faculty members and 90 students, to 
explore various aspects of the proposed model. 
With considerable input from the community; the 
committee spent the better part of a year hammer- 
ing out "The Future of Two Towers, Part TV: A 
Plan." The suggested reorganization of the college 
wis dropped, but the model academic program was 
Hi shed out into a dramatically different, but highly 
functional plan — one that encapsulated the philoso- 
phy of education the committee had been refining. 

The degree requirements were formalized 
into a Major Qualifying Project (MQP) — a sig- 
nificant design or research experience in the stu- 
dent's major field; a second project, later dubbed 
the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), which 
encouraged students to understand how technolo- 
gy affects society — for better or worse; the Com- 
prehensive Exam (later renamed the Competency 
Exam to identify more clearly its real intent); and 
the Sufficiency. 

The Sufficiency was the culmination of the 
committees deep-seated desire to transform the 


role of the humanities in a WPI education. "When 
I arrived, the humanities program was quite limit- 
ed and the department was really a service depart- 
ment," Heventhal says. "Occasionally we'd have a 
student who would have done well at any liberal 
arts college, who enjoyed the humanities courses 
so much that he was ready to transfer to another 
college. I felt as though these cases were really fail- 
ures tor WTI, because there was a potential to 
define a humanities and arts program that would 
accompany these technical people in their careers, 
and not merely stamp out English majors." 

The Sufficiency greatly elevated the role of the 
humanities in die undergraduate curriculum (in 
tact, the humanities component of the Plan was to 
be given the same academic "weight" as the MQP 
and IQP combined). No longer could students of 
engineering and science regard the humanities 
courses as meaningless credits to be acquired. 
Consistent with the idea of giving students respon- 
sibility for their own learning, students chose a 
theme, explored it through five related humanities 
and arts courses, and then syn- 
thesized what they learned in 
a final project that could take 
the form of anything from a 
research paper to a play to a 
musical performance. 

The committee also pro- 
posed a new academic calendar 
made up of four seven-week 
terms. The terms were designed 
to be conducive to project work, 
but were also meant to be short 
enough to force the faculty to 
break out of their traditional 
approach to teaching. There 
would be an "intersession" dur- 
ing the winter break, an oppor- 
tunity for community members 
to teach brief courses on any 
topic that interested them or in which they had 
some expertise. (The first year, 440 mini-courses 
were offered. For the six years of its existence, 
Intersession would be one of the liveliest and most 
exciting elements of the young Plan.) Finally, there 
was a grading system with just three grades — 
Acceptable, Acceptable with Distinction, and No 
Record (there was no failing grade, as the commit- 
tee believed failure should be seen as an opportuni- 
ty to learn and grow, and not a stigma permanently 
attached to one's transcript). The grading system 
represented a compromise between those, like 

as executive 
secretary to the 
Planning Committee 
he recorded-and 
contributed to- 
many impassioned 
discussions about 
education and 
wpi's future. 

The advocacy of Dean 
"Cookie" Price, left, and 
newly inaugurated pres- 
ident George Hazzard 
proved crucial to the 
Plan's passage and 

WPI Journal 


Boyd, who preferred that there be no grades at all, 
and those, like Grogan, who feared the lack of a 
more traditional system would be problematic for 
students going on to graduate school. 

"Two Towers IV," the last in the series, was 
published in April 1970. Unlike the previous 

three volumes, which had been 
bound with maroon covers, this 
one was wrapped in green. "We 
called it the 'Go Volume,'" 
Heventhal says. The publication 
kicked off an extraordinary 
series of 13 faculty meetings — 
one every week — to discuss and 
amend the final report, section 
by section. The meetings were 
boisterous, volatile and con- 


Debate over the 

proposed WPI Plan 

took place in formal 

meetings, including 

13 faculty meetings, 

and in informal settings 

like the Goat's Head 

Pub, above. 

tentious. Strong feelings were voiced as the future 
of the Institute — and the very foundation of edu- 
cation — were debated in eloquent and passionate 
fashion. Remarkably, the discussion managed to 
stay focused on the issues, and rarely strayed into 
nastiness or personal attacks. "Voices were raised 
and tempers flared, but mutual respect was never 
breached," Boyd says. "Lifelong friendships were 
forged in that heat." 

In between meetings, the discussion contin- 
ued all over campus, especially at the daily 10 a.m. 
coffee hour in Salisbury Laboratories, a longtime 
ritual that provided a means of campus communi- 
cation unrivaled by even today's wired campus, 
and at the Goat's Head Pub in the basement of 
Sanford Riley Hall, a popular place for faculty 
members, administrators and students to gather 
and socialize on Friday evenings. Two critical 
changes were made in the Plan: the inclusion of 
a physical education requirement and the stipu- 
lation that students achieve 12 units of credit 
before taking the Competency Exam (an amend- 
ment offered by Chemical Engineering Professor 

Wilmer Kranich to give the Plan a better sense of 

"It was difficult for the committee to listen to 
some of the criticism and there were times when 
we felt a bit discouraged," van Alstyne says. "But 
there were positive moments, too. I remember 
one meeting not long before the final vote when 
a senior member of the faculty, Professor Dick 
Cobb of the Math Department, rose to speak. I 
could see the smiles on the faces of the tradition- 
alists, but those smiles quickly faded. Cobb, in his 
own well-reasoned way, supported the Plan as the 
best way for WPI to improve its standing and 
educational opportunities." 

At another critical point, when a faculty 7 
member asked pointedly, "Who would hire a 
graduate of a program like this?" Howard Free- 
man '40, a WPI graduate, a recently elected 
member of the WPI Board of Trustees, and the 
founder and chairman of Jamesbury Corporation, 
a successful Worcester manufacturer of valves, 
ended the discussion by responding in a calm, 
quiet voice, "I would." 

On May 29, 1970, the time came for a vote. 
The committee had asked that there be one all- 
or-nothing, up-or-down decision, to avoid the 
piecemeal recasting of their vision. While their 
reading of the faculty told them that the odds 
were in their favor, the tension was still high as 
the faculty filled out their written ballots. When 
the counting was done, Professor James Hensel, 
the secretary of the faculty, announced the tally: 
92 in favor, 46 opposed and 3 abstaining. After 
the vote, the victors retired to Putnam and 
Thurston's restaurant for a real blow-out, a 
celebration party few will ever forget. 

Some of those who voted against the Plan 
left WPI in the weeks and months that followed, 
unable or unwilling to go along with this funda- 
mental shift in the Institute's course. Some stayed 
and resisted the changes — some for decades. Some 
stayed and did their best to adapt — a number of 
them became some of the Plan's greatest boosters, 
and others became some of its most adept practi- 
tioners. In the end, nobody was left unchanged by 
the educational earthquake called the WPI Plan. 

But when the shaking stopped, WPI was still 
there, strengthened from the experience, and in 
many ways a better institution than it had ever 
been. The earthquake completed the crumbling 
of the Institute's top-down organization, leaving 
in its place a faculty in awe of its newfound 
power. "At the end of that period, we really had 
a faculty," Boyd says. "They trusted each other 
and they were terribly interested in faculty gover- 
nance, which was new to them. They saw the 
power of it and the need for it. I don't suppose 
you can maintain that forever, but it was nice to 
be in on it when it happened." 

"The outpouring of energy and creativity on 
the part of the entire faculty during the early 


October 1996 

immiMiiain in mil inn 

years of the Plan's implementation was incredi- 
ble," Grogan says. "The dedication of the faculty 
to the Flan was just remarkable." 



n the 25 years since the WPI Plan made 
its dramatic entrance, many have won- 

lered how a small band of faculty mem- 
>ers, working against the clock and with 
no resources other than their own ideas and ded- 
ication, were able to make it happen. In part, it 
was WPI — its heritage of innovation; its loyal, 
dedicated faculty, passionately concerned about 
education; its small, cohesive and supportive com- 
munity; and its financial situation, which while 
not dire was certainly troubling — that made the 
Plan possible. It may well be true, as Seaberg 
believes, that it could not have happened at 
another institution, and, in fact, could not happen 
at WPI today. 

But much of the credit must go to the Planning 
Committee itself, an extraordinarily well-matched 
and forward-looking group of individuals. "We 
were a group of strong personalities, all a bit eccen- 
tric in our own ways," Boyd says, "but there w r ere 
no hidden agendas, no competition for power — 
in a short time, we gained complete trust in one 
another, and I never knew why. We felt we had a 
mission, and in the process of fulfilling it we 
became more than the sum of our parts. It was the 
kind of committee activity you dream of, but which 
I never knew before and have never known since." 

"We all cared very much about teaching, about 
our students and about education in general," van 
Alstyne says. "We were college faculty first, and 
department faculty second, and we had friends in 
all the departments. WTiat's more, everything we 
proposed we felt was something that could and 
should be done, and having all of us, with our dif- 
ferent backgrounds and interests, find agreement 
gave us impetus to continue to the end." 

After the Plan was approved, the members of 
the committee moved on to other challenges. Roy 
Seaberg went on to become director of special 
admissions, helping expand WPI's reputation 
around the world. He retired this year and was 
honored at Reunion for his service and devotion 
to WPI. 

Boyd, Heventhal, Moruzzi, Roadstrum, van 
Alstyne and Weininger returned to their lives as 
teachers and scholars, earning distinction as both. 
Romeo Moruzzi served as secretary of the faculty 
from 1983 until 1985, when he retired. He died 
in L993. Bill Roadstrum, who retired in 1980, 
died in 1994. 

John van Alstyne became dean of academic 
advising in 1971 and spent more than a decade 
and a half making a profound difference in the 
lives of hundreds of WPI students. He retired in 
1987 and lives in North Carolina. 

Charles I leventhal became head of the Eng- 
lish Department and spent several years building 
a humanities program and organization equal to 
the ideal ot the Sufficiency — one that could pro- 
vide students the exposure to the humanities and 
arts, and the writing skills, that the Plan demand- 
ed. 1 [e retired in 1990 and lives in Vermont. 

Jack Boyd, who retired in 1994, divides his 
time between Worcester and Maine. He became 
one of the Plan's most passionate advocates and 
watchdogs, at once applying its principles to his 
work as a teacher and project advisor and criticiz- 
ing the changes that gradually seemed to steer the 
Plan away from those principles. 

Steve Weininger continues today as professor 
ot chemistry. In recent years he has become 
actively involved as an advisor in WPI's Global 
Perspective Program, through which students can 
complete their WPI Plan projects at sites around 
the world. 

Bill Shipman became dean of graduate stud- 
ies. ( )ne of his first tasks was to head a committee 
that set out to revitalize the graduate program- 
to create, in essence, a WPI Plan for graduate 
students. In the end, though, the Institute, per- 
haps still reeling from the dramatic change it had 
just undergone, was unprepared to implement its 
suggestions. By the time the committee's report 
was released, Shipman had already decided to 
resign to join the Cabot Corporation, where he 
continued his groundbreaking work in combus- 
tion. He now lives in Maine, not far from the 
cottage where Boyd spends his summers. 

Even before the Plan vote was taken, President 
Hazzard asked Bill Grogan to become the first 
dean of undergraduate studies. In the process, he 
became WPI's first dean who had never been a 
department head. The man who David Reisman, 
the eminent Harvard professor of social science 
who served on the NSF visiting committee that 
evaluated the Plan, called "the Harry Truman of 
higher education," spent the better part of two 
decades managing the gargantuan task of imple- 
menting and developing the Plan, and protecting 
it from internal and external forces that constantly 
threatened it. Grogan retired in 1990. Since then, 
as dean emeritus, he has remained actively in- 
volved in many WPI projects (most recently, he 
led the committee that orchestrated the Plan's 25th 
anniversary celebration). 

Some years back, while in Vermont to begin 
a trip out West, Shipman stopped for an over- 
night visit with Heventhal. "Well," Shipman said 
as he shook the hand of his old colleague and 
fellow revolutionary, "a couple of years ago, we 
turned the place upside down." "Yes," Heventhal 
replied. "And some of it stuck!" 

Editor's Note: /// Pan 2 of this article, to be 
published in March 1997, we will look at what has 

become of the Plan during the past 2> years. 

WPI Journal 


A Gateway 
to Adulthood 

The WPI Plan is something of a paradox. 
Its basic elements can be described fairly 
well in a few hundred words, but the 
concepts and philosophy behind those 
elements are complex and continually 
evolving, making a complete 
understanding of this unique 
educational program difficult 
Here is a primer that may 
shed a little light on one of 
the nation V most innovative 
approaches to technological 

By Michael W. Dorsey 

On a rainy November morning in 1 868, a 
group of Worcester citizens and educa- 
tional leaders from around the region 
trudged through muddy streets and climbed a 
steep, nearly treeless hill. Rising before them, side 
by side, were the gleaming facades of two brand 
new buildings. One was sheathed in rough-hewn 
granite, the other neatly encased in rows of bright 
red bricks. 

Above each building rose a tower. From the 
tower of Boynton Hall, the granite building, four 
clock faces stared down. For decades, the Boynton 
clock would call students to lectures and labs in 
this, WPI's first classroom building. The tower of 
the Washburn Shops, the brick structure, sported 
an unusual weathervane. At its peak was a muscular 
arm, its hand firmly grasping a large blacksmith's 
hammer. The bronze arm symbolized the hard, 
manual labor students would expend within the 
Shops as they put into practice the theory of sci- 
ence, engineering and manufacturing. 

While the rain drummed against the large win- 
dows of the chapel on the third floor of Boynton 
Iall, the invited guests listened to a long proces- 
sion of speakers who welcomed the new Worcester 
County Free Institute of Industrial Science to the 
world of academia and proclaimed its mission. 
That mission, as the two towers silently testified, 
was to create a unique educational program that 
neatly balanced theory and practice, to educate 
young professionals who not only knew facts, 
formulas and equations, but who had the skill 
and self-confidence to use them to tackle 
real problems. 






mm s M 



Just over a century later, WPI once again broke 
with the ranks or technological educators and fashioned 
a nuw program unlike any that had come before. Like 
its predecessor, the WPI Plan gave students the oppor- 
tunity to hone their personal and professional skills 
through practical application. But there is more to the 
Plan than the marriage of learning and practice. The 
Plan is built upon a well-reasoned philosophical foun- 
dation — a distinct set of beliefs about the role of faculty 
members and smdents in the process of learning. 

The Plan was created at a college quite different 
from the larger, more diverse technological university 
that WPI has become in the last quarter century. WPI 
in the mid- to late 1960s was a more rigid and conven- 
tional institution, a school where the emphasis was on 
passing a largely pre-determined sequence of courses, 
and in the process, it was believed, gaining the knowl- 
edge one needed to be a competent technological 
professional. This is the model still followed by the 
majority of technological institutions in this country. 

The members of the faculty Planning Committee 
that created the Plan believed that this model, while it 
had provided a solid education to many generations of 
WPI students, was not the best way to prepare young 
people for the challenges of their careers and lives. 
They believed that higher education, at its core, should 
be a gateway to adulthood, a period during which men 
and women can gain the emotional, social and intellec- 
tual maturity they need to succeed in life. Attaining 
maturity requires taking on responsibility and making 
decisions — even failing, from rime to rime. 

In facr, the Plan places a great deal of the responsi- 
bility for their education on the shoulders of students. 
In stark contrast to the largely prescribed curricula 
of the 1960s, the Plan gives students the freedom to 
structure their own academic programs, with consider- 
able guidance from their advisors. 

There are no required courses, and undergraduate 
courses have no prerequisites — only recommended 
background courses. Students must fulfill a set of dis- 
tribution requirements in their major field. These art- 
designed to assure that students do, indeed, acquire 
an "excellent grasp of fundamental concepts in 

their principal area of Study," as the university's Goal 
Statement asserts. About a decade ago, distribution 
requirements replaced the "live or die" Competency 
Exam as the method of verifying that students had 
learned what they needed to know to enter their 
chosen profession. 

The Planning Committee also believed that in its 
ideal form, education is a process of learning how to 
learn, and that a WPI education should insrill in stu- 
dents "an intellectual restlessness that spurs him or her 
to continued learning." They recognized that tradi- 
tional technological programs — including WPI's — 
placed too much emphasis on memorizing facts and 
equations and passing tests, and too little on learning 
how to acquire and synthesize knowledge and apply it 
to real problems. They decided to develop a new spin 
on the century-old Two 'lowers model. 

Under the Plan, students take courses and inde- 
pendent studies and engage in self-directed learning to 
acquire needed skills and knowledge. But this learning 
is not an end in and of itself. It is also preparation for 
rhe Plan's primary degree requirements — the "prac- 
tice" side of the Plan. Students apply the knowledge 
ami competence diey gain though their academic work 
by completing three major projects, each having been 
designed to address a set of skills, qualities and abilities 
the Planning Committee believed technological pro- 
fessionals should acquire during their WTI careers. 

To begin with, the committee believed, WPI 
graduates should be aware of the world of knowledge 
beyond rheir own areas of study. If they are preparing 
for careers in science and technology, they should 
appreciate how the study of history, philosophy, art 
or music enriches one's professional and personal lives. 
Likewise, students pursuing degrees in rhe liberal arts 
should appreciate how scientists and engineers approach 
rheir work and be familiar with rhe technology— 

especially computer and telecom- 
munications technology — that is 
so important to virtually 
every career roday. 

To help students 
develop this aware- 
ness, WTI created 

The Planning 
believed that in 
its ideal form, 
education is 
a process of 
learning how 
to learn. 



The IQP has 

been widely 

recognized as the 

most creative 

and effective 

innovation in 


education in the 

last quarter 



the Sufficiency. The name of 
this project derives from the 
idea that students need a depth 
of exposure to either a humanistic or 
technical field sufficient to produce more 
than a cursory appreciation. The project 
requires students to take five thematically related 
courses and then to complete an original work of 
scholarship that somehow derives from the con- 
tent of those courses. The works students have 
completed include research papers, lengthy essays 
written in another language, original plays, short 
stories, novels, musical compositions and musical 

The framers of the Plan also believed that 
technological professionals should understand that 
they do not work in a vacuum; that their work 
affects society, and that society, in turn, affects the 
kinds of work they do — or need to do. More and 
more, engineers and scientists must deal with 
social and political issues as part of their careers 
and lives, and must develop partnerships with pro- 
fessionals in nontechnical fields to successfully 
carry out their assignments. 

This belief led to the creation of the Interac- 
tive Qualifying Project (IQP). Put simply, the IQP 
requires students to complete original research and 
scholarship on a topic that lies on the boundaries 
of science, technology and society. 

Read the abstracts of a hundred of these pro- 
jects, and you might be hard pressed to find a 
common theme among them. To fulfill the IQP 
requirement, students have studied the problems 
of garbage collection in a large slum in Bangkok, 
looked at the potential for using biogas as an ener- 
gy source in Botswana, made numerous studies of 
the American patent system for the U.S. Patent 
Office, developed innovative curricular materials 
and courses for pre-college classrooms, researched 
and built exhibits for major New England muse- 
ums, studied health care management issues at 
hospitals in San Francisco, and developed technol- 
ogy to help disabled persons in London lead more 
productive and rewarding lives. 

The IQP has been widely recognized as the 
most creative and effective innovation in techno- 
logical education in the last quarter century. While 
other elements of the Plan have been duplicated to 
some extent at other colleges and universities, 
nothing quite like the IQP yet exists beyond the 
boundaries of the WPI campus. 

In addition to completing the Sufficiency and 
IQP, WPI students must tackle the Major Quali- 
fying Project (MQP). The MQP was created in 
response to a number of convictions about what a 
professional should be capable of. First and fore- 
most, he or she should be able to size up a prob- 
lem, develop a solution to it, and then implement 
that solution competendy and professionally. 
That's why MQPs, by and large, are professional- 
level design or research projects that give students 

hands-on exposure to the kinds of work assign- 
ments they will really do after graduation. 

Professionals today also need to be able to 
work in teams and to communicate well in writing 
and orally. Most MQPs are completed by student 
teams, giving team members a true appreciation 
for the challenges and rewards of cooperating with 
other professionals to get important work done 
under a deadline. MQPs must be thoroughly docu- 
mented in a written report. In addition, virtually 
all MQP teams make an oral presentation to their 
advisors and sponsors. 

In recent years, WPI has added an exciting 
new dimension to the Plan by building a growing 
infrastructure for student project work away from 
campus. In the process, the university has taken 
the lead in globalizing technological higher educa- 
tion. In fact, WPI students currently account for 
more than 15 percent of all U.S. engineering stu- 
dents studying abroad. WPI's Global Perspective 
Program has grown from the conviction that to be 
successful in business, engineering and science in 
our increasingly interdependent world, engineers 
and scientists must understand other cultures and 
be able to work with — and compete against — 
people from all nations and backgrounds. 

WPI's comprehensive program is aimed at giv- 
ing all undergraduates a global perspective. To this 
end, the university maintains an extensive network 
of project centers and programs around the world. 
Working in teams under the supervision of faculty 
advisors, students spend seven weeks at an interna- 
tional project center conducting professional-level 
projects proposed by off-campus sponsors. Stu- 
dents can complete any of the three required WPI 
projects — the Sufficiency, the IQP and the MQP — 
overseas or off campus within the U.S. Through 
academic exchange programs with technical uni- 
versities in several nations, students can spend as 
long as a year taking courses and continuing their 
study of such languages as French, German, Russ- 
ian and Spanish. 

"While some of the early features of the Plan 
reflected the times in which they were developed, 
the basic educational processes are timeless," says 
William R. Grogan '46, dean of undergraduate 
studies emeritus. "Placing responsibility for learn- 
ing in the hands of the students — including 
responsibility for making their own course deci- 
sions and selecting their own qualifying projects — 
and requiring accountability for acheiving profes- 
sional outcomes through project activities combine 
to produce an outstanding educational experience. 

"We enter the next 25 years with a vast array 
of new teaching technologies, a rapidly broadening 
spectrum of student interests, and an explosion of 
new career challenges. As we do so the WTI Plan 
will evolve and grow, but remain the best format 
yet developed in technological-based education to 
acheive that elusive but essential goal of learning 
how to learn." 


October 1996 




Ten Lives Ck 

The best way to understand what makes the WPI 
Plan unique and uniquely effective is to talk to the 
men and women whose lives it has touched. 

by ray bert '93, alan earles, bonnie gelbwasser, 

joan killough-miller, roger n. perry jr. '45 and ruth trask 

Illustrations by Fabio Deponte, White Pickets Studio 

Since the WPI Plan was first implemented in the early 1970s, hundreds of 
thousands of words have been written about the workings and benefits of this 
groundbreaking undergraduate program. The lion's share ot those words have 
focused on the Plan's outcome-oriented approach. In other words, while most pro- S 
grams of technological higher education ask, "What should students learn?" the 
Plan asks instead, "What should technological professionals be? What skills, abili- 
ties and qualities should they take with them as they begin their careers and lives?" 

The answers to those questions are many. Encapsulated within the Plan is the 
notion that students should be able to work in and lead teams; to size up problems 
and solve them in a logical and efficient manner; to gather the knowledge they need 
to do their jobs and to communicate what they have learned and what they have 
accomplished in a clear and professional manner. By the time they receive their 
diplomas, WPI students should have come to understand the profound relationship 
between the work they do and the society in which thev live. Thev should appreci- 
ate the positive and negative consequences of science and technology and come to 
understand that those effects are often intertwined in complex ways. And, they 
should see that there are diverse and exciting worlds of scholarship beyond their 
own field of study and appreciate how those worlds can enrich their lives. 

During the Plan's first quarter century, more than 12,000 young men and 
women have earned their bachelor of science degrees at WPI, studying under this 
student-centered, project-driven, outcome-oriented program. Their stories provide 
a compelling and often poignant confirmation of all those many words. Here are 10 
of those tales. To avoid repetition, we have not provided definitions of the compo- 
nents of the WPI Plan within each story. For definitions of the Sufficiency, Inter- 
active Qualifying Project (IQP) and Major Qualifying Project (MQP), please refer 
to "A Gateway to Adulthood," starting on page 16. 



Barbara Bain 
Gatticn '74 


Barbara Gatison tackles questions in 
much the same way she tackles prob- 
lems — directly, intelligently and with 
enough energy to knock you backwards if 
you happen to be standing too close, or 
worse, getting in the way. "You can't ever 
get a simple answer to a question from me," 
she's the first to admit. In fact, she makes 
mincemeat of them, as she has been doing 
to all manner of problems and obstacles 
throughout her career. 

Gatison is currently president of SNET 
America in North Haven, Conn., 
the interstate long-distance sub- 
sidiary of Southern New Eng- 
land Telecommunications. 
She's also president 

introducing myself, setting up meetings that 
same day. I wasn't going to wait around for 
more direction." Dragging her notes home 
that evening, she typed up a report and cre- 
ated the badge background by photograph- 
ing a colorful handmade blanket (so it 
couldn't be duplicated). Gatison completed 
the six-month project in one day and imme- 
diately went back -,*^ '--*."V 
tor more. j*y- - <\ 
from that 
point on I 
proceeded to 
drive them 
crazy," she 

of SNET Wireline 
a product develop- 
ment house. She's 
reached this lofty 
perch after 22 
studded years 
with the compa- 
ny, where she 
began as a sys- 
tems analyst in 
1974 after receiv- 
ing her bachelor of 
science degree in biology. 

"After graduation, I had an offer to do 
research, but the money wasn't much and I 
had a lot of debts," she recalls. "So I took 
the job with SNET, telling myself that I'd 
give it two years and then get back to bio- 
logical research. Well, after two years I was 
promoted, so I gave it another two years, 
and then I was promoted again...." 

What she discovered was diat, as much as 
biology fascinated her, her main passion was 
not specific to a field but to the pursuit of 
solutions — to taking on challenges and suc- 
ceeding. She established herself as a master 
problem solver on her first day with SNET. 
Her supervisor assigned her the task of devel- 
oping a new badge security system, a project 
he said was expected to take six months. 

"I had no notion of how things were 
supposed to be done in business," she 
laughs, "so I just started calling people, 

This "get 
at it" style, which 
she attributes in large measure to her educa- 
tion at WPI, combined with a preternatural 
energy level, pushed Gatison relentlessly up 
die corporate ladder at SNET. "I have a very 
high need for learning," she says, and then 
adds with a laugh, "If I can't constantly be on 
the growth side of the learning curve, I am 
one evil pain in the ass." 

To a large degree, Gatison's career has 
reflected the Plan philosophies of indepen- 
dence and the ability to think and solve 
problems in original ways. She nurtures 
those qualities in her subordinates, insisting 
that they not become pigeonholed, reward- 
ing their willingness to learn, and giving 
them the power and encouragement to find 
solutions in their own ways. She also 
preaches to her staft about the need for a 

healthy balance between work and home 
life, and strives for that balance in her own 
life. Her "downtime" is split between her 
husband, Lenward, and eight-year-old son, 
Lenward II, and her many volunteer efforts. 
Over the years, the latter have included 
serving on the boards of the New Haven 
(Conn.) YWCA and Saint Raphael's Health- 
Care System. She was co-chair of the Citi- 
zen's Task Force Fighting Drug Abuse in 
New Haven and is a member of WPI's 
board of trustees, an honor that, she says, 
both surprised and delighted her. 

She has been honored by the National 
Association of Negro Business and Profes- 
sional Women's Clubs, and earlier this year 
was named Minority Businessperson of the 
Year by Business New Haven. In 1992 she 
received the Milestone Award for 
Business from the South Central 
Connecticut Chapter of 
the National Coalition 
*| of 100 Black Women 
^ Inc., and the following 
!* year received the Busi- 
ness Leadership Award 
from the Chi Omicron 
Chapter of Omega Psi 
Phi Fraternity Inc. In 
1984 she became the 
initial recipient of WPI's 

/Ichabod Washburn 
Young Alumni Award for 
Professional Achievement. 
In the early 1970s, 
/ she was a member of only 
the third class of WPI stu- 
dents to include women. "At the 
time, there was both a gender and 
a race dynamic for me," she recalls. 
"It was the time of the Black Panthers and 
such, and I had my fun being a radical, but I 
always remembered that my main focus was 
getting an education." 

Her rebellious nature almost kept her 
from choosing the Plan over the traditional 
WPI curriculum, but she says she has never 
regretted the decision. Certain parts of her 
Plan experience stand out in her memory. 
"My MOP required a fair amount of elec- 
tron microscopy, and my project team had 
to learn on the fly," she says. "We got a lot 
ot positive reinforcement as we learned 
these new skills, mostly due to the one-on- 
one interaction with the faculty that WPI 
provides. The MQP research work sets up 
a structure that is nonstructured. It teaches 
you that the boundaries of what's required 
to do a task are not predetermined. That's 
an important lesson." 


October 1996 



Glen Yee 74 

By Bonnie Gelbwasser 

The impact of the WP1 Plan has 
extended far beyond the classroom 
for Hong Kong businessman (den 
Yee. As one of the first students to enroll 
under the Plan, which was optional during 
its first few years, Yee learned discipline and 
important lessons about dealing with uncer- 
tainty and taking risks — tools he used to 
move into uncharted territory in his life and 

Yee was born in China and emi- 
grated with his family to Cleveland, 
Ohio, where he attended high 
school. "I was stronger in math 
and the sciences because I had not 
entirely grown up in the United 
States and my English was not up 
to speed," he says. "I was interest- 
ed in a small engineering school 
and was accepted by Rensse 
laer and Rose-I lulman. But 
I was struck by WPI. It 
was smaller than Rensse- 
laer and I was always 
interested in New Eng- 
land. I thought it might 
be an exciting place to 
spend a few years." 

Yee says he was 
attracted to the flexi- 
bility of the Plan, which 
seemed a welcome con- 
trast to the rigidity of 
WPI's traditional program. 
"I knew that if I chose the 
Plan I would not have to take 
every required ME course. I 
wasn't even sure I liked mechanical 

For his IQP, Yee, with two other 
students, worked with the research and 
development staff of American Optical to 
determine how best to tit lenses into eye- 
glass frames. "Our objective was to design a 
measuring method that could be digitized 
for computer input," he says. "We did 
devise a fairly scientific way of measuring 
how the many three-dimensional curves in 
the lenses fit into frames." 

His MQP focused on fiberglass-rein- 
forced materials. "There were few publica- 
tions and less than a handful of books on the 
topic," he recalls. "WPI had a machine shop 
ami we got help to do some of the molds. 
We tried to quantitatively analyze the physi- 

cal performance of different materials and 
orientations of the fiber-reinforcing material 
and their possible applications. The bound- 
aries of these projects were often not clear. 
They served as lessons in dealing with un- 
certainty. We also learned to work with oth- 
er people and to push each other to achicv e 
the desired results. The Plan gives you the 
chance to develop people skills early on." 

Vees now have two sons. Nicholas, 17, and 
Curtis, 15, who attend boarding schools in 

"In 1 long Kohl;. I was responsible for 
financial evaluations of various joint ventures 
and acquisitions in the region," he says. "I!\ 
1W4, Continental Can successfully estab- 
lished several operations and I was appointed 
commercial director for Continental Can 
After he completed his bachelor's degree Hong Kong Ltd. In 1986 I was promoted to 

in mechanical engineering, Yee joined GE's 
Technical Marketing Program and com- 
pleted four assignments in tour locations. 
Toward the end of this period, he became 
interested in the business and commercial 

where he completed his 

deputy managing director, responsible for 
business development in China; three years 
later I was named managing director." 

In 1992 Yee left Continental Can to form 
his own start-up company, Pacific ( )an Co. 
side of engineering. He left GE to "The average American consumes 400 cans 
attend Columbia University, of beverages per year," he says. "In Hong 

Kong, that number is I 30. I saw an opportu- 
nity to develop the beverage can market in 
China, where rapid growth was certain to 
raise the current annual con- 
sumption rate of four 
cans per person. We 
j specialize in aluminum 
soda cans. There are 
tour major beverage 
companies in China: 
Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, 
Jianlibao, a famous 
Chinese orange soda, 
- and the internation- 
ally known Tsingtao 
Beer. Several other 
local companies are all 
trying to develop a posi- 
tion in China. 

"In 1993, Conta- 

in 1976 he married the former Amy 
Lee, a Hong Kong student he met during 
his senior year while she was attending Sim- 
mons College in Boston. In 1977 he joined 
Continental Can Co. in Stamford, Conn., as 
a corporate finance analyst in international 
finance at the company's headquarters. He 
remained in the U.S. for approximately two 
years until the company opened an Asian 

| i nental Can Europe 

jgggfo; Inc. invested in Pacif- 

ic Can and became 
our strategic partner. As 
CEO of my own company, I 
have the opportunity to devel- 
*> op new markets and grow with the 
Chinese beverage market. This 
more entrepreneurial position is a natural 
extension of my professional career. Today, 
Pacific Can operates five joint-venture 
plants and is one of the four multinational^ 
linked major can manufacturers in China." 
Yee says the skills he gained through the 
Plan have helped him build his successful 
career in Hong Kong. "The Plan required 
that I 'think outside of the box' quite often," 
he says. "Because of that, I feel I'm better 
equipped to deal with flexibilitv, uncertainty 

Pacific Office in Hong Kong. 

"I was fortunate enough to be promoted and nebulousness. My project experience 

to regional finance manager," he says. "I was made me comfortable with uncertainty and 

happy to return to Hong Kong, where I had gave me courage to take up challenges. That 

relatives and where Amy's family was." The has helped me a great deal since graduation." 

WTT Journal 



Jen Andersen '75 

by Roger n. perry Jr. '45 

When I entered WPI in 1971, 
I already knew I wanted to 
become a lawyer," says Jon 
Anderson of Montpelier, Vt. Now a partner 
in one of the 10 largest law firms in the 
state, Anderson was in the first class of 
freshmen to study under the WPI Plan. 

Anderson says it was the Plan and his 
interest in studying engineering that drew 
him to WPI. "I interviewed several lawyers 
who said that every engineer they'd ever 
known who'd gone on to law school was a 
darned good lawyer. My parents also liked 
the idea of my having an engineering back- 
ground, and my brother graduated in the 
Class of 1968. My dad, a guidance coun- 
selor, had heard about some interesting cur- 
riculum changes WPI was making. We 
came for a visit and I liked what I saw. 

"I don't think I would have gone to — or 
stayed at — WPI but for the Plan. It was the 
way I wanted to learn. As time has gone by, 
I realize that I learn differently from other 
people. I learn by immersing myself in 
something, not really understanding it very 
well at first. Then I put it all together. The 
Plan seemed tailor-made for me." 

Anderson majored in 
chemical engineering and 
used his projects to develop his 
knowledge of the law. "I did my IQP on 
the Watergate hearings, watching just 
about every hour of the proceedings 
on television," he says. "It was 
great for a future lawyer to 
see government trying to 
regulate a technical 
issue, in this case the 
wiretapping law, and 
then hearing people talk 
about why they thought 
their personal ethics entitled 
them to step outside the law." 

He explored the relationship 
between U.S. and Russian foreign 
policy for his Sufficiency. "I'll always 
remember my advisor, Professor 
John Zeugner, saying, 'With your 
grades, people will understand 
that you know what you are 
doing as far as science goes. We 
need to do something that 
tells people you understand 
history and the humanities." 

As a result of that discussion, Anderson 

published a paper, "Royall Tyler's Reaction 
to Slavery in the South," in Vermont History. 
He informed even 7 law school to which he'd 
applied about the publication. He says he 
likes to think the article played a role in his 
acceptance to Yale Law School, his first 
choice. While a law student, he published 
a note in the Columbia Journal of Environ- 
mental Law on the 1976 ruling by Depart- 
ment of Transportation Secretary William 
Coleman to allow the Concorde to land in 
the United States despite concerns about 
potential harmful effects on the ozone layer. 
He says he used his engineering background 
to evaluate the scientific data that had sup- 
ported that decision. "Without my WPI 
education, I would have had no way of 
understanding all this," he says. 

After law school, Anderson was accepted 
as a law clerk by a highly respected federal 
judge in Wilmington, Del. "During my two 
years as his clerk," he says, "the judge decid- 
ed several particularly noteworthy cases 
involving chemical compounds, including 
the patent for crystallized polypropylene. 
Needless to say, this challenged my WPI 

After that experience, he 
joined a Vermont law firm 
that wanted him to do public 
utility work. This later 
led to a position 

with the Vermont Public Service Depart- 
ment, where he represented rate payers in 
public hearings. "In 1985, Mike Burak, a 
former colleague at the PSB, invited me to 
join him," he says. "Initially, we were affili- 
ated with a firm in Boston, but in 1990 we 
separated from them and recapitalized, 
forming Burak and Anderson. We now have 
nine lawyers. That may not seem large by 
big city standards, but in Vermont that's a 
large firm." Anderson specializes in environ- 
mental law. 

"Starting a firm and building a practice 
from scratch is not something you learn in 
law school," he says. "I had to read a lot 
about the business of law, especially market- 
ing, and approach it just as I did projects 
back at WPI." 

Anderson has played a role in the politi- 
cal life of Vermont. He served as interim 
legal counsel to Governor Madeleine Kunin 
and for eight years was an elected alderman 
in Montpelier. He also served, by guber- 
natorial appointment, as the chairmen of 
Vermont's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Haz- 
ardous Waste. Today he is chairman of the 
Vermont Bar Association's Environmental 
Law Committee, chairman of Mont- 
pelier's Travel Information Council, 
and a member of the board of the 
Central Vermont Chamber of 

Anderson's wife, Betsy, was 
deputy tax commissioner under 
Governor Kunin. When it 
became clear that a new governor 
would bring in his own staff, he 
and Betsy decided to create a 
business she could run from 
home. "We started Betsy's 
Bed & Breakfast in a house 
we bought in Montpelier," 
he says. "We 
opened with 
three rooms and 
we now have 
eight, with space 
to go up to 1 or 12. 

"When we first saw 
the building, it needed 
extensive renovation. I 
really like historic preser- 
vation, and if I'd been any- 
thing but a lawyer, I probably 
would have been an architect. 
I did the general contracting and 
I put in some sweat equity, too. 
Not only did I learn about 
home building in WPI's first 
Intersession, when I took 



Professor Ray Hagglund's short course, but 
opening the B&B was really another project. 
( )nce again, WPI's project-hased education 
taught me how to learn." 



for Procter & Gamble as young graduates. 
"John then spent 10 years 
at Exxon in project man- 
agement, and his career 


The WPI Plan gave me 
the confidence to 
stand up for what I 
believe and to not be afraid to 
take risks," says Virginia Gior- 
dano FitzPatrick, president of 
CALC/Canterbury Corp., a 
personal computer 
training company 
headquartered in 
Morristown, N.J. 
"This extended to 

my disagreeing with £".""--.-■: „ ■ „_ ■,- : 

my peers and 
defending my position whenever I believed 
my ideas were the way to go. Somehow, this 
tactic worked, especially when I made sug- 
gestions that had merit." 

Evidently most of FitzPatrick's sugges- 
tions had merit. She is now holding the 
reins of a company that serves more than 
3,Q00 clients from six locations in New York 
City and northern New Jersey, making it 
the largest PC trainer in the Manhattan 
metro area. 

How did she become a "guru" of PC 
training? FitzPatrick attributes much of her 
success to what she learned through the 
WPI Plan. She was first drawn to the Plan 
because of its technical nature and its 
emphasis on projects. Working on projects 
forced her to develop the organizational and 
analytical skills that became the building 
blocks of her career. 

For FitzPatrick, the road to the presi- 
dent's chair has been an around-the-world 
odyssey. She is married to John FitzPatrick 
'75, a civil engineer who owns and operates 
his own business, General Business Services, 
in Morris Plains. They both worked briefly 

back again," she says. "Our daughter Cara, 
16, was born in the U.S.: our son, Joey, 15, 
was born in England; and we adopted our 
daughter Linda, 10, while we were in 

Virginia and John enrolled at WPI just 
after the Plan had been introduced. In those 
inaugural years, students were allowed to 
choose whether or not they wanted to study 
under the university's still experimental 
undergraduate program. John chose WPI's 
conventional, pre-Plan curriculum. "He's a 
traditionalist and I'm more the free-wheel- 
ing type," she says. "We were fortunate that 
WPI offered each of us a curriculum so well 
tailored to our needs." 

In the midst of her world travels, Fitz- 
Patrick spent nine years as a systems repre- 
sentative for Control Data Corp. She com- 
pleted research and development work in 
computer-aided design that was used by the 
company worldwide. Back in New Jersey, 
she joined Computer Applications Learning 
Center (now CALC/Canterbury) in 1987 as 
one of the company's first part-time instruc- 
tors; in less than a decade she would rise to 

the presidency of the company. Along the 
way, she has held nearly every position at 

As an instructor and later as 
lirector of training, she developed 
instructional methods that have 
been adopted as industry stan- 
dards. "One of my goals was to 
standardize training materials," she 
says. "Regardless of the software or 
the class, I wanted all training man- 
uals to have the same style, lay- 
out and structure. Today, all 
CALC's training manuals 
adhere to my original 
courseware specifications." 

In 1994, CALC was 
purchased by Canterbury 
Corporate Services, which 
develops a wide range of 
business-oriented training 
programs; FitzPatrick was 
named president of the 
CALC/Canterbury division. 
Since then she has concen- 
trated on enhancing the com- 
pany's service to its clients, which 
include AT&T, Sandoz and 
Prudential. For example, CALC has 
opened PC training centers in the bus- 
iest business sections of Manhattan so staff 
members can have easy access to courses. 
FitzPatrick says her goals for CALC 
include opening additional training centers 
and expanding into distance learning and 
other leading-edge training techniques. 
"Within five years, I'd like to see CALC ful- 
ly involved in alternative learning methods 
and offering additional services and training 
in all areas of business learning." 

FitzPatrick says she calls on her WPI 
education often as she manages the compa- 
ny. "Sometimes it's rough getting points 
across to my colleagues and employees who 
do not have engineering backgrounds and 
project experience," she says. "They don't 
see things that someone with technical 
knowledge sees. To help them think things 
through, I often give members of my staff 
projects to carry out, not unlike the projects 
I did at WPI."' 

FitzPatrick says her WPI education pre- 
pared her well for the business world. She 
says she also benefited from the university's 
lopsided male-female ratio. Being in a 
decided minority "wasn't necessarily a bad 
thing," she says. "When I started my career, 
I often found myself in a similar minority'. I 
received little respect or appreciation as a 
career woman, especially outside of the New 




York-New Jersey area. Male colleagues 
usually didn't take me seriously until they 
learned I held a degree from WPI. WPI has 
a good reputation in the business world. 
That reputation has helped me throughout 
my career." 

FitzPatrick says her husband's non-Plan 
education has helped him advance to head 
his own company. "We've been through two 
10-year plans," she says. "For the first 10 
years, John's career was primary and I fol- 
lowed him. For the second 10 years, John 
was the flexible one and I developed my 
career at CALC. We just celebrated our 
20th wedding anniversary — the next 10 
years we plan to share!" 

Steven TV. 
Harvey '75 

By Alan Earles 

Once I'd been at WPI 
for a short time I real- 
ized I didn't want to be 
a narrowly focused technolo- 
gist," says Steven W. Harvey. 
Fortunately, the flexibility of the 
Plan and its emphasis on individual 
choice — the reasons Harvey chose 
WPI — let him chart his own course. 

While doing paid and volunteer work 
with inner city youth as a teenager, Harvey 
became interested in city planning. Working 
within the urban planning program in 
WPI's Civil Engineering Department, he- 
developed his own major in humanities and 
technology. For his Interactive Qualifying 
Project, he completed an internship at the 
Central Transportation Planning Staff, an 
arm of Greater Boston's Metropolitan Area 
Planning Council. 

"That experience focused my interest on 
the process by which cities operate," he says. 
It also showed him another element of the 
reality of reshaping a city: "Underneath it 
all there was often a complicated financial 
issue," he says. "That was brand new to me." 

After graduation, Harvey took "an 
immediate left turn, landing a job at 
Rounder Records in Cambridge, Mass. At 
the recording industry start-up, he found 
ways to apply his WPI education. As a small, 
closely held company, Rounder was up 
against stiff competition. At the time, its dis- 
tribution arm was helping to support the 

fledgling recording operations, but its geo- 
graphic reach was limited. "It was purely 
domestic when I started," he says. "As distri- 
bution manager, I built international distrib- 
ution, picked up some record labels, and 
increased sales." 

But the positive experiences he'd had 
with the Plan kept tugging at him, so in 
1979 he moved back to the 
public sector, taking 
a job as a program 
manager with 

Massachusetts Medicaid Pro- 
gram. "If I was going to make a 
career in government," he says, "I knew I 
would need training, but first I wanted to 
find out if it was really right for me." In 
short order, he was implementing one of the 
first managed-care programs in the nation 
for low-income families and setting up two 
demonstration projects based in neighbor- 
hood health centers. 

"I saw — even more clearly — how crucial 
the financial side is in any public project," 
he says. It also became clear how few indi- 
viduals in the public sector were equipped to 
understand and manage complex financial 
issues. Harvey decided to become one of 
them, enrolling in an M.B.A. program at 
the Wharton School of the University of 

While there, he had the opportunity 
to consult for Philadelphia's director of 
finance. "I helped put together bond issues 
and bond deals — my first exposure to the 
municipal bond market," he says. The expe- 

rience was an eye-opener — here was a chal- 
lenging area, poorly understood by many in 
government, yet crucial to both day-to-day 
operations and long-term programs. 

In 1983, Harvey joined Standard & 
Poor's Corp. as a municipal ratings officer. 
Three years later he moved over to the 
investment side of municipal finance when 
he joined Fidelity Investments, a mutual 
funds giant with extensive involvement 
in municipal instruments. For six years, 
he honed his skills, leading the research 
effort on all the tax-exempt health care 
bonds in Fidelity's funds. He also 
structured $95 million in directly 
placed health care securities and 
restructured a $12 million hospital 
bond holding and a $3 1 million 
hotel financing. 

In 1993, he graduated to 
portfolio manager at Fidelity. 
Today he manages five muni- 
cipal bond portfolios totaling 
$1.9 billion, including the 
$1.1 billion xMassachusetts 
Tax-Free Bond Fund. Like 
other fund managers, he is 
captain of his own ship on a 
sea that can often turn rough. 
W Keeping his eye on the pulse of 
' global financial markets and on 

the grassroots political forces that 
can upend funding programs, he 
must devise investment strategies 
and supervise active trading tactics 
within his portfolio. He notes with pride 
that his funds have bested 80 percent of his 
competitors' during his tenure. 

His funds hold bonds that finance some 
of the country's largest construction pro- 
jects, including the cleanup of Boston har- 
bor and that city's "Big Dig." Harvey says, 
"Having an understanding of the engineer- 
ing complexity of these mammoth projects 
helps me identify the best investment ideas." 

But the real edge he gained from his 
WPI education comes from "having a tech- 
nical background combined with a humanis- 
tic perspective." As a portfolio manager, 
Harvey must design and present marketing 
campaigns for brokers and retail clients. He 
is also called upon often to address a wide 
variety of groups involved in the bond mar- 
ket. "The attention I received at WPI from 
the humanities faculty sharpened my writing 
and communication skills tremendously. It 
has served me well throughout my career." 
The thinking skills he gained as a WPI 
student also inform Harvey's day-to-day 
activities. He says the Plan gave him a tool- 


October 1996 

»— "~«-*-~ 


kit for tackling virtually every challenge lie 
lias faced in the working world. "I have the 
ability to quickly break down every problem 
I face into its component parts," he says. 

And as if that were not enough to make 
him think often of his alma mater, his cur- 
rent job provides him with a daily reminder 
of the Plan. "When I look out my office 
window, I can see the building where I did 
most of my IQP work." 

Erie Hak '80 

by Ray Bert '93 

Jf you asked him, Eric 
I lahn would probably 
tell you he's a "pro- 
peller-head," that he's 
been one ever since he 
was a kid goofing 
around with his first 
computer, and that 
in one way or 
another, he'll 
always be one. 
1 le'd say it 
for two reasons. 
First, he is fully 
aware of his status 
in today's society 
as a 'computer 
geek', one of those 
people who make 
their living roving the 
world of code and net- 
works as if they own the 
place (which they pretty much 
do). Second, he'd say it because he is 
the most self-effacing former CEO you're 
likely to meet. The guy who once described 
himself as "on the nerdy end of nerd," is 
now, at age 36, senior vice president of 
enterprise technologies at Netscape Com- 
munications Corp., one of the hottest, 
brightest stars in the computer industry. 

The WPI Plan was designed for people 
like Hahn — people who grab the system and 
wring out every last drop of potential, expe- 
rience and insight it offers. "The Plan and I 
were very- compatible," Hahn says. "The fact 
that it was less structured, with a project 
focus, worked well for me." 

Much of what he learned through the 
Plan has been borne out by his experience 
or has influenced his own approach to the 
workplace. "I've never gone to the office 
Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon 


with 200 people and been lectured to," he 
s.ns. "The Plan's student/advisor model is a 
much closer representation of the work- 
place, and the project focus is much more 
like the reality of business." 

When 1 lahn graduated from WPI in 
PASO, he took a job with Bolt, Beranek and 
Newman (BBN), a computer services com- 
pany based in Cambridge, Alass. There he 
helped develop ARPANET, the nationwide 

computer network 
that evolved 
into the Inter- 
net. After tw ( > 
years he was 
recruited to 
help get the 

off the ground. He be- 
came vice president and general manager of 
the server products division before depart- 
ing in 1990 for cc:Mail, where he was vice 
president of engineering and, later, general 


Hahrfs crowning achievement was the 
founding of Collabra Software Inc. in 1993. 
With Hahn as president and CEO, Collabra 
quickly became a major plaver in the bur- 
geoning "groupware" market. Collabra 
ShareTM, introduced in March 1994, 
captured numerous awards, ranging from 
Groupware '94 Best of Show to PC Maga- 
zine's Editor's Choice to PC Week's Analyst's 
Choice. The product led to Collabra's selec- 
tion that year as one of "25 Cool Compa- 
nies" by Fortune magazine. Hahn, himself, 
was honored last fall by WPI, which pre- 

sented him with its Ichabod Washburn 
Young Uumni Award for Professional 
Achievement. Collabra Software Inc. was 
acquired by Netscape in 1995. 

I lahn made the most of his time at WPI. 
Finding the WPI computer system difficult 
to use, he wrote Hoti- id Survive the PDP-10, 
which "was required reading for freshmen 
until a new computer system was installed," 
he says. He co-authored one Major Qualify- 
ing Project in his first year and did a second, 
solo MOP for his degree requirement later 
on. He accomplished all of that in just two 
and a half years on campus. 

" \t WPI, you're much more successful if 
you can manage yourself— if you have a cer- 
tain amount of self-directedness," he says. 
"That translates particularly well to the soft- 
ware industry, where you have to be able to 
lay out and organize your thinking without a 
lot of guidance and direct supervision." 

Hahn has made leaps and bounds in his 
career, grabbing for new challenges whenever 
he felt a need to grow or change. And vet 
with all of his success, he remains a propeller- 
head whose eyes light up with the seemingly 
limitless possibilities of the technology. "I 
just love computers," he says. "They're the 
world's best blank sheet of paper." 

Through hard work and his love of the 
field, Hahn has attained good measures of 
wealth and fame, yet he doesn't have to 
feign the ambivalence he projects about that 
aspect of his life. "I feel like I've done all the 
'formal' career things that I want to do," he 
says. "Now I'm at a place in my life and my 
career where I want to optimize for the 
things that bring me real joy: working with 
technology and really bright people and 
spending more time with my family." (Flahn 
and his wife, Elaine, have two sons: Evan, 
four, and Jeremy, born this summer.) 

What does Hahn think about the envi- 
ronment that today's graduates entering the 
computer industry face? "I really feel for the 
kids in school now," he says, "because the 
market is changing so quickly that no school 
can really keep up. So the important thing 
for students is to become well-rounded 
thinkers, which is obviously one of the core 
tenets of the Plan. 

"What I appreciate most about my expe- 
rience at WPI was that I got the chance to 
be an individual. My education was, to a 
large degree, designed by me, and I was 
responsible for it. I never felt like just some 
student ID number marching through a 
process to get to a finish line. There were 
bumps along the way and things that I did 
that were weird compared to most people's 




experience, but that's part of what made my Today she lives out that message, 

education my own, and I value that a lot. sometimes giving lectures for the National 

The Plan took a chance to let people be dif- Science Foundation on her experiences as a 

ferent and that's special — you don't get that physically challenged person in the scientific 


Mendez 86 


J'm a triple threat," says 
Liz Mendez of her minority 
status as a Hispanic, a 
person with a physical 
disability, and a woman 
in the upper echelons of 
scientific research. 
Mendez is a postdoctoral 
fellow in the Department 
of Embryology at the 
Carnegie Institution of 
Washington, located on the 
campus of Johns Hopkins 
University in Baltimore. Her 
current interest is RNA splic- 
ing and processing. Although 
she can joke about her situation, 
she takes her work seriously and 
lets nothing interfere with her ability to 
do it without impediment. 

At Rockefeller University, where she 
earned a Ph.D. in cell biology in 1994, she 
made history as the first disabled student to 
graduate, and the first to be granted 
funds for a technician to aid her with 
her scientific work. She shrugs off the 
distinction and explains that, ordinari- 
ly, a laboratory can be tailored for her 
use by lowering tables and modifying equip- 
ment so she can reach it from her wheel- 
chair. In this case, some equipment could 
not be adapted, so an assistant was needed. 
"They understood the need for this," she 
says. "They were extremely accommodating 
and supportive." 

Born with spina bifida — a neural tube 
birth delect — Mendez was an early advocate 
for handicapped rights. In San Juan, where 
she attended high school, she belonged to the 
Spina Bifida Association of Puerto Rico, and 
was once the island's Miss Wheelchair. "It 
gave me an opportunity to put forth to the 
general population that not all handicapped 
people are older or lethargic; many are active 
and able to contribute, if given the chance." 

community. "Because of my background, I 
have become a vocal 
advocate for mak- 
ing institutions 
of higher learn- 
ing a bit more 
sensitive to the 
needs ol the 

physically impaired. 
There aren't many women who proceed 
down this path, and Hispanics are also 
severely underrepresented." 

Mendez also sought to widen the path for 
ethnic minorities in the sciences by imple- 
menting a summer program at Rockefeller 
University that brought promising minority 
high school students into the lab as interns. 
Mendez is proud of her role in the program. 
Although she had a natural facility for science 
and knew early on that she wanted to study 
biology, she says she had no one to emulate. 

She was one of the first handicapped 
students to attend WPI, at a time when 
there were few Hispanics and women were 
still relative newcomers. Rather than making 

an issue of her differences or using them as 
an excuse, Mendez made her uniqueness an 
integral part of her academic program. For 
her Sufficiency project, she translated a 
classmate's original play from English into 
Spanish. For her IQP, she studied handi- 
capped accessibility at four local colleges. 
"Some buildings at WPI were totally inac- 
cessible at that time," she recalls. "Others 
were merely difficult." 

She shared her findings with college 
administrators. When she felt her concerns 
were not being taken seriously, she took the 
"Interactive" part of her IQP liter- 
ally, having able-bodied admini- 
strators take to wheelchairs to 
navigate their own campuses. 
Mendez did her MQP in 
molecular biology, conducting 
jj \ research on the transport of 
<\ small nuclear ribonucleic pro- 
tein complexes (snRNPs) 
across the nuclear mem- 
branes of cells. The process 
ensures that introns (nontrans- 
latable portions of RNA) are 
"spliced" from the coded 
sequence. If this does not 
occur, certain proteins pro- 
duced by the cell are defective 
or absent. Although a link 
to a specific disease has 
not yet been established, 
Mendez says it is still a hot topic among cell 
biologists and remains a pet interest of hers. 

The WPI Plan provided an ideal educa- 
tion for a self-directed person like Mendez. 
"I liked the freedom to plan my own cur- 
riculum instead of having a set of courses 
imposed on me." She says that freedom pre- 
pared her well for graduate study at Rocke- 
feller, where students are expected to work 

In addition to preparing her academ- 
ically, Mendez says WPI provided good 
preparation for facing life as a triple minor- 
ity. "I was fortunate to find many helpful, 
supportive people, including members of the 
administration and professors who were very 
giving of their talent, time and knowledge. I 
found no hesitation when I asked for a ramp 
or other accommodation. 

"But because I was treated in such a 
nondiscriminatory way while I was at WPI, 
it made me a bit naive. When I moved on, I 
didn't expect to encounter problems. Still, 
my experience at WPI gave me the confi- 
dence to say, 'This isn't right,' when the 
issue of my disability or my being Hispanic 
was raised as a concern. I found I could 

October 1996 


stand up on my own and say, 'Wait a min- 
ute, if this wasn't an issue for these folks, 
why should it be an issue for you?'" 

Ccttcn '90 


Fresh out of high school, Stacey Cotton 
dreamed of becoming an astronaut 
and designing the spaceships of the 
future. A strong student who enjoyed mathe- 
matics and science, she was steered toward 
engineering, although she knew little of the 
field. She chose WPI for its top-notch repu- 
tation and its small size. 

The young woman from Nor- 
ton, Mass., daughter of a nurse and 
a plumber, didn't know much about 
how one set out to become an astro- 
naut. At WPI she found people who 
could point her in the right direction. She 
joined the Air Force ROTC and selected 
aeronautical engineering as her major; 
she excelled in aerospace science courses, 
maintaining an A average in her major. 
Her academic performance and outstanding 
leadership qualities won her membership in 
three honor societies, numerous awards, and 
a ranking as one of the top five Air Force 
ROTC cadets in the country. 

After four years at WPI, Cotton was 
well on the way to fulfilling her dreams. She 
graduated with the gold bars of a second 
lieutenant on her sleeve, and tuition for 
graduate school in her pocket from an 
impressive number of military and athletic- 
scholarships. She earned a master's degree 
in aeronautical and astronautical engineer- 
ing at Stanford University, working with a 
team that published research looking toward 
a joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. mission to Mars. 
During a summer internship at the 
USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air 
Force Base, Cotton got "totally hooked" on 
flying. She applied for pilot training, then 
worked for two years at Rome Laboratory in 
upstate New York. She made captain in 
1994 and earned her pilot's wings in 1995. 
To her delight, she was assigned to fly the 
F-15C, a single-seat fighter considered 
superior to anything in the sky. Stacey Cot- 


Last year a medical problem grounded 
the young pilot and sidetracked her hopes 
of going into orbit. But Cotton's career has 
taken a new direction. As a public affairs 
officer, she reaches out to America's youth 
and inspires them to careers in aeronautics 
and the military. She is most in her element 
when organizing educational programs and 
career days for middle school and high 
school students. 

The WPI Plan offered opportunities 
to this aspiring astronaut that would not 
appear in the catalog of any other college, /-j 
She did her MQP at NASA Lewis 

Cations before the president and board of 
directors. "It builds your confidence and lets 
you know you're going to be ready when 
you get out of college. I think that's really 

"The IQP was the first time I worked 
with a small group on such a big project on 
a day-to-day basis. It 
taught me how to deal 
with people, even 
when difficulties 
come up. I don't 
*-, know if students 
< cs\ realize it s 

going to be like 
that when they 
get out in the 
real world. 

Center in 
Cleveland, Ohio. 
The project, called 
"Microwave Powered 
Lunar Rover: Feasibility 
Study," investigated the possibili- 
ty of using satellites to relay power to a 
remote module to explore the surface of 
the moon. 

Her IQP gave her the opportunity to go 
abroad for the first time in her life. Working 
at the London headquarters of Ferranti 
International, an electronics and computer 
firm, her team explored the feasibility of 
establishing local work sites where employ- 
ees could work by computer and avoid dri- 
ving in London's horrendous rush-hour 
traffic. Cotton says the project was a terrific 
confidence builder. 

"When you're 20 years old, going over- 
seas, working in a major corporation right 
beside the president, executing his project... 

can't get 
away from 
it — you're always 
working with people, 
no matter what job you're in. I use those 
skills everyday as an officer." 

The WPI curriculum puts a lot of 
responsibility on its students, but Cotton 
says those challenges helped her develop 
self-reliance. "WPI treats you like an adult. 
The responsibility for the project rests on 
the student, not the professor. My profes- 
sors were always there for guidance and 
help. But the professor doesn't just sit you 
down and tell you what to do. You have to 
come up with your own ideas, and work out 
your own game plan." 

Perhaps the best learning experiences 
come about when things don't go as expect- 
ed. When progress on a project runs into a 

that was cool." The project called for an 

ton was flying high, on her way to becoming array of interpersonal skills — from the poise brick wall, says Cotton, it's up to the student 

the third woman in the country to go into to conduct door-to-door and telephone sur- to find a way around it. "I think the WPI 

F-15C training. veys, to the self-assurance to make presen- Plan has a unique way of teaching you how 




to problem-solve and think in a logical way. 
You learn how to stop for a second, analyze 
the problem, come up with Plan B, and go 
for it." 

So when a medical problem threw a 
roadblock in Cotton's career path, she was 
able to chart a new course. Although she is 
aware that the Air Force is strict about the 
physical condition of its pilots, she hopes to 
fly again. But if that is not possible, she 
wants to stay in public affairs. Accepting that 
reality was one of the hardest things she's 
had to deal with. 

"Dreams die hard," she says. 
"But there are other dreams. It's 

-■ V 

)ust a matter or latching on _ 4 s "_«ss5ij 1. 

Indeed, the wheelbarrow-based collection 
system rarely manages to cover the entire 
area more than a few times a year. As a con- 
sequence, trash and refuse often block canals 
and drainage systems, contaminating water 
sources and providing a home for rats, cock- 
roaches and other vermin. 

Anderson and Davis put their analytical 
skills to work seeking ways to improve exist- 
ing trash collection patterns, and started a 
community education program to raise 

awareness of the 
dangers of 


to a new one. 

J J J 


Jascn S. 
Andersen '95 

By Alan Earles 

Hailing from Harry 
Truman's hometown of 
Independence, Mo., Jason 
Anderson began mastering grown-up 
technology at an early age. It wasn't 
long after he learned to read that he 
taught himself to write programs in 
BASIC on the Timex/Sinclair 1000, one 
of the earliest personal computers. He sold 
his first program, a space strategy game, 
when he was 12, and later wrote software 
for his school district to help students learn 
mathematics. "Some of it is still in use," 
he says. 

Anderson, the valedictorian for his high 
school class, says the chance to roll up his 
sleeves and tackle real-world engineering 
challenges were part of what attracted him 
to WPI. But it was the opportunity to pur- 
sue an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) 
beyond WPI's campus that truly sold him 
on the WPI Plan. In fact, his IQP would 
take him a long way from the world he 
knew — half a world away, to the slums of 
Klong Toey, a section of Bangkok. Along 
with Sandra Davis '95, he spent seven weeks 
seeking solutions to the trash and pollution 
problems that degrade the quality of life for 
Bangkok's most impoverished residents. 

Because trash collection in Klong Toey 
is so infrequent and trash collectors them- 
selves so poorly paid, wastes tend to accu- 
mulate quickly and remain for long periods. 


garbage and trash 

disposal. Finally, the two offered suggestions 

for low-cost steps to improve sanitation, such 

as acquiring more trash barrels and fencing 

off disposal areas. 

"Spending time in the slums was truly 
an eye-opening experience," he says. "Trav- 
eling to Bangkok to complete a project gave 
me a new perspective on the world. It let me 
spread my wings and forced me to adapt to 
and embrace another culture." 

Today, Anderson puts the skills he 
learned in Bangkok to use in the fast-paced 
world of software development. Employed 
since graduation at Vivid Technologies Inc. 
in Woburn, Mass., a pioneer in advanced 
airport security systems, he has been part of 
the staff responsible for improvements to 
existing products and for the high-level 
design of new products. 

Vivid's main product is an X-ray system 
with a high-performance, parallel-processing 
computer capable of analyzing 1,500 items of 
luggage an hour. Anderson says the comput- 
er's processing power and the software he 
helps develop give the system the power to 
accurately identify a wide range of bombs, 
explosives and other types of contraband. 
Formed in the aftermath of the 1988 
bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over 
Lockerbie, Scotland, Vivid has developed 
a customer base that spans much of the 
globe. In his first year with the firm, Ander- 
son's duties have often 
j! l) ^ f *li ^\\ taken him overseas on 
I short-deadline projects 
"jj^jfT fpl involving image- 
ml lUU Processing problems. 
^r^^g^s After his experiences in 

Klong Toey, he says, adjusting 
ife in Rome or Brussels 
seems easy. 

In just over a year 
with Vivid Technologies, 
Anderson has already 
| served as the key designer 

for a product launched 
I this summer and has 
signed his first patent 
application. But this suc- 
cess isn't due simply to 
technical savvy. He says he 
also draws on the diverse 
experiences he had under 
the Plan. 
For his Sufficiency project, 
for example, he wrote a play — 
a romantic comedy about life in the 
Midwest that made clear that not all 
Midwesterners live on farms. "I was trying 
to demonstrate that vou shouldn't assume 
anything about people; that you should try 7 
to be tolerant of differing opinions and cul- 
tures," he says. The experience helped him 
see that the humanities is an important pillar 
of the engineering profession and taught 
him to communicate his ideas effectively. 

In his time away from the office, he has 
developed his own company, Andersoft 
Distributed Enterprises, that serves as a 
consulting group for a variety ol software 
design and development projects, including 
screen savers, World Wide Web page lay- 
outs, network utilities, and product pricing 
and forecasting applications. The company's 
flagship product, PriceADE, set for release 
this fall, provides small businesses with the 
tools necessary to accurately set prices for 
their products and services based upon pro- 
duction expenses and desired profit margins. 




»»""— ■—■"WW 

But Anderson says even the launch of 
his own software firm is merely a step in a 
bigger process — one that began back in 
Independence with that T/S 1000 computer. 
"My long-term thinking," he says, "is that 
I'll probably return to school in another year 
or so to work on an M.B.A. or perhaps a 
doctorate in computer science." For now, 
though, Anderson is keeping busy with a 
career going very much according to Plan. 

DeUadc '96 


self in his courses, in work, and in extracur- 
ricular activities. Depending 
on the term or the time of 
day, he 
could be 

By Bonnie Gelbwasser 

Antonio Jose Delgado 
Parra came full circle 
when he returned to 
Venezuela this summer to begin his career 
as a development engineer with Shell Oil 
Co. in Maracaibo. The second oldest of four 
children of a cab driver and a secretary, 
Tony Delgado grew up in Maracay, a city of 
about 2.5 million people located about 50 
miles southwest of Caracas. 

Education has always been important to 
his family. "Neither of my parents got past 
high school," he says, "but they knew how 
hard life is out there when you don't have an 
advanced education, and they made sure it 
did not happen to us. They wanted their 
children to enjoy the comfort and security 
of a well-paying, professional job." 

In his senior year of high school, Tony 
was among 3,500 students selected by Fun- 
dayacucho, a Venezuelan institution funded 
by -the government, to compete for scholar- 
ships to colleges and universities throughout 
the world. The program requires recipients 
to work in Venezuela for two years after 
they graduate from college. Delgado was 
one of only 250 to receive the scholarship. 

In September 1991, he left home to 
spend a year learning English at the Col- 
orado School ot Mines. The people at 
Fundayacucho and EASPAU (the Latin 
American Scholars Program at American 
Universities), which administers the scholar- 
ships, suggested WPI because of its project 
program. "I wanted an interactive program," 
he says. "One that would give me a lot of 
experience in the workplace as well as the 

Energetic, enthusiastic and curious 
about everything, he quicklv immersed him- 

Office, in 
Gordon Library, 
or in the Provost's 
Office, tutoring Spanish 
for the Humanities and 
Arts Department, working 
as a resident advisor for the 
Strive and Frontiers pro- 
grams, or serving as a member 
or an officer in the Hispanic Students Asso- 
ciation and the Society of Hispanic Profes- 
sional Engineers (he was HPE president 
during his senior year). During his four 
years on campus, he also managed to take 
part in two award-winning projects in two 
countries at opposite ends of the globe and 
to add two new languages to his repertoire. 

"After I started working in the Projects 
Office," he says, "I saw all these people 
going out of the country to do projects and 
I thought, 'This is something I would like 
to do." Through the Global Perspective 
Program, he was able to do his Interactive 
Qualifying Project (IQP) in Innichen, on 
the border between Italy and Austria, and 
his Major Qualifying Project (MQP) at the 
University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. 

In the summer of 1994, six students in 
two teams traveled to San Candido, on the 
Italian side of Innichen, to examine the fea- 

sibility of establishing a WPI project center 
and to stud) the impact of tourism. Hie 
teammates surveyed tanners, tourists and 
town officials to find out how they felt 
about the area's growing tourist industry 
and its potential impact on 26 mountain 
farms that line the slope above the town. 
Delgado, who had taken courses in 
German and Italian at WPI, gave his part 
of the presentation to town officials in 
Italian. The project was a finalist in 
the 1994 President's [QP Awards 
( Competition. 

One year later, he trav- 
eled to Puerto Rico to do 
one of the first MQPs 
completed at the Univer- 
sii\ dt Puerto Kiii >. 
Mayaguez. As part of a 
tour-person team, he 
'■'■> undertook a bench-scale 
study of the bioremedi- 
ation ot petroleum- 

sand. The pro- 
' ject focused 
on bioaugmen- 
tation and bio- 
stimulation as a 
wav of enhancing the 
\ removal of total 
a petroleum hydrocar- 
bons. The project, 
sponsored by BFI, won 
first prize in the Student Technical Papers 
Competition of the Northeast Region 
of the American Society of Engineering 
Education this past spring. 

As he begins his career back home, Del- 
gado says he is excited to be returning to his 
family and friends and is ready for the chal- 
lenges of being one of the first employees 
hired by a company anxious to make its 
mark on Venezuela's economy. "Venezuela 
is one of the world's largest oil producers 
and exporters," he says. "The country's oil 
industry was nationalized in 1975, but in 
recent years the government has begun 
offering concessions to encourage compa- 
nies to establish businesses there." 

Shell responded and is recruiting main 
new people to work in Venezuela on the 
company's new zero-spill platform in Mara- 
caibo Lake. "More than anything else," he 
says, "WPI taught me how to solve problems 
and get results. I learned how to be a profes- 
sional, to not only anah ze a problem from an 
engineering perspective, but see the social 
implications and the environmental impact of 
technology. I am ready to start my new job." 





2 02 Foresight 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Last year, the 
WPI community received a challenge 
from the committee planning a 
campus celebration of the 25th 
anniversary of the WPI Plan: in a 
scholarly essay, describe the state of 
the university 25 years into the 
future. Several individuals peered 
into their crystal balls and wrote 
brief abstracts about what they saw. 
The committee invited five of these 
authors to expand their visions into 
full-length papers, which were 
presented to the community in a 
panel discussion on April 23, 1996. 
The papers can be found on IVPTs 
Website, Select 
"Information "from the ho?ne page, 
then click on "Events, " then "Major 
Events & Celebrations, " and finally, 
the Plan's silver anniversary page. 
The following article provides an 
overview of the invited papers. 

Some 25 years ago, realizing 
that the time for change 
had come, some forward- 
looking sculptors chiseled the last 
vestiges of Victorian educational 
trappings from the WPI curricu- 
lum and molded it into the WPI Plan (see 
story, page 4). The Plan turned the curricu- 
lum upside down, and in the process, greatly 
enhanced the reputation and stature of the 

Before they could create the Plan, the 
faculty' Planning Committee had to take 
careful stock of where WPI and the world 
stood in the late 1960s and peer into the 
future to determine what kind of institution 
WPI should hecome to best meet the needs 
of students and society in the decades to 
come. Before crystallizing their ideas into 
the Plan, they drafted 12 quite different 
visions of WPI's future. 

As the university celebrated the 25 th 
anniversary of the Plan, it seemed an apt 
time to peer ahead, once again, to see what 
the next 25 years might bring. In five 
remarkable papers, the winners of an open 

What will WPI be like 25 years hence? 
Will it provide a higher quality of campus 
life for its students? Will it use modern 
technology to 
build "virtual 
worlds" to 
help students 

learn? Will it make sensitivity to the 
environment an integral part of its 
curriculum? Will it be a downsized, 
but better and ^^^^^ 
Will it steer | 
aspiring engi- 
neers toward a professional master's 
degree? Here are five very different 
visions of WPI's future. 

and Paris Fletcher Distinguished 
Professor of the Humanities and 
Arts; and John F. Zeugner, profes- 
sor of history and director of 
WPI's Asian project programs. 


competition held in conjunction with the 
campus observance of the Plan's silver 
anniversary offered quite diverse forecasts 
for the coming quarter century. Like the 
framers of the Plan, they have evaluated 
WPI's current strengths and weaknesses, 
and formulated plans to help the university 
continue to flourish in an increasingly tur- 
bulent world. 

The authors are Diran Apelian, Howmet 
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, direc- 
tor of the Metal Processing Institute, and for- 
mer provost and vice president for academic 
affairs; James K. Doyle, assistant professor of 
social science and policy studies; Colleen J. 
Fox '97, an electrical engineering major; 
Roger S. Gottlieb, professor of philosophy 


n her paper, Colleen Fox says 
the university needs to shore 
up its learning environment so 
students today and 25 years from 
today can make the most of their 
WPI education. "The college 
community has always played an 
important role in a student's abil- 
ity to learn," she says. "As a stu- 
dent and residential hall assistant, 
I have seen how a comfortable, 
learning-based environment can 
foster productive students who 
are satisfied with their lives aca- 
demically and personally. I have 
also seen how the wrong environ- 
ment, including overcrowded 
dorms and thoughtless neighbors, 
can lead to dissatisfaction." 

Since community living is 
most highly focused in residence 
halls, the architecture of these 
buildings is of paramount impor- 
tance, she notes. "A well-designed 
dormitory can add much to a stu- 
dent's academic and social growth," notes 
Fox, who says she believes that refurbished 
residence halls can attract more students, a 
larger percentage of whom will elect to live 
on campus. The result will be a tighter-knit, 
more family-like community. 

But WPI needs more than a face-lift, 
she says. "It needs the campus center 
promised long ago in the WPI Plan and 
which is only now being funded. When 
prospective students tour our campus after 
visiting other colleges, they immediately 
notice the absence of a social center. The 
lack of a center does not improve our image 
or help draw new students." 

Although students, faculty members and 
guests will eventually socialize in a beautiful 
new campus center, Fox suggests that a 
more immediate way for WPI to build a 
sense of community would be to bring back 



■°~" m «"-" 

MM M M Ili nW— H 

"When prospective students 
tour our campus. . . they 
immediately notice the 

absence of a social center. 
The lack of a center does not 

improve our image or help 
draw new students. " 

Colleen Fox 

the Goat's Head Pub. "Years ago," she says, 
"the Pub was a popular place for faculty and 
students to unwind together while discover- 
ing the pleasures and excitement of good 

Fox says WPI should not underestimate 
the educational value of the kinds of interac- 
tions faculty members and students could 
enjoy at a campus center or a pub. If noth- 
ing else, she says, students and their mentors 
would get to know and understand each oth- 
er better. "It would be hard for prospective 
students to overlook that kind of unity." 

James Doyle, in his paper, notes that 
WTI may be on the verge of losing its 
uniqueness in die technical education 
community, as other universities move to 
adopt changes not unlike those WTI pio- 
neered 25 years ago. Even the Interactive 
Qualifying Project, perhaps the most inno- 
vative element of the WTI Plan, is being 
looked at as a model of what other techno- 

logical universities should strive to accom- 
plish in the new millennium. 

As its competitors move to implement 
project-based curricula, Doyle says WTI 
must blaze a new trail to assure the continu- 
ation of its leadership role in higher educa- 
tion. That new trail, he says, might take the 
university to some "virtual worlds," a term 
Doyle uses to describe computer-simulated 
learning environments. To succeed in the 
2 1st century, he says, WTI must provide 
students not only with the best technologi- 
cal education possible, but with the best in 
educational technology. 

The idea of learning through virtual 
worlds borrows from the theory and tech- 
nology of computerized simulations that are 
used today to train people to run such com- 
plex machines as nuclear power plants and 
jumbo jets. Simulators, he notes, enable 
operators to experience and learn from situ- 
ations that may be too dangerous or costly 
to reproduce in real lite. 

Doyle says there are manifold advan- 
tages to learning through simulations. They 
include the ability to present students with 
controllable, easily completed experiments 
that can be reversed, if necessary, making it 
easier for students to learn from their mis- 
takes. Virtual experiments can also be inter- 
rupted, eliminating the time pressure that 
can degrade real-life decision making. And 
virtual worlds can collect years of simulated 
experience that can be easily retrieved. 

"System dynamics software provides a 
universal language for representing systems 
in domains ranging from science to technol- 
ogy to social problems to economics to envi- 
ronmental science, malting it particularlv 
well-suited for WTI's interdisciplinary and 
interactive studies," he says. 

Doyle says virtual worlds have the power 
to significantly improve undergraduate edu- 
cation, which is still dominated by the passive 
classroom lecture. He says a better method 
of teaching lies in the combination of virtual 
world simulations with two emerging edu- 
cational practices: cooperative learning and 
learner-directed learning. In cooperative 
learning, students work together in small 
groups to solve problems. In learner-directed 

James Doyle 

"System dynamics software 
provides a universal language 

for representing systems in 

domains ranging from sci- 
ence to technology to social 

problems to economics to 
environmental science, mak- 
ing it particularly well-suited 

for WPI's interdisciplinary 
and interactive studies. " 

learning, students share responsibility with 
the instructor for the pace and direction of 
the educational process. The use of computer 
simulations enhances both processes, he says. 

If WTI does not take current and future 
environmental challenges seriously, it 
should not claim the right to represent 
itself as a legitimate site tor the training and 
evaluation of young professionals, Roger 
Gottlieb writes in his paper. "How can \\ l'I 
be worthy of flourishing if it does not recog- 
nize its moral responsibility to our civiliza- 
tion and our species and also integrate its 
programs into the industrial and govern- 

(Continued next page) 




2020 FORESIGHT (Continued) 

mental structures which are the ultimate 
sources of its support?" he asks. 

Gottlieb says the world is in environ- 
mental peril. Among the crises it faces are 
the destruction of its rain forests, the shrink- 
ing of the ozone layer, the threat of global 
warming brought on by use of fossil fuels, 
the polluting of air, land and water by toxic 
wastes, and the decimating of animal species 
due to the elimination of their natural habi- 
tats. Also looming are the "dismal prospect" 
of engineered life forms and the "potentially 
catastrophic" creation of insufficiently tested 
organisms through genetic engineering. 

Many of these environmental problems 
have come about, Gottlieb claims, because 
people tried to make the world "better." For 
example, he says, engineered miracle seeds, 
chemical fertilizers and pesticides were 
introduced in Third World countries to 
vastly increase agricultural output. The 
result has been poisoned soil, destabilization 
of water usage, and the loss of crops. In 
short, when the engineers tried to fix things, 
they chose to dismiss the traditional prac- 
tices of local peoples and turned instead to 
"expert scientific advice." 

In the light of this scientific and moral 
dilemma, WPI must make some fundamen- 
tal changes in its curriculum, Gottlieb notes. 
First, it should publicly acknowledge the 
severity of the environmental crisis. Second, 
it should provide its students a context in 
which they will be less likely to unemotion- 
ally skip over news stories about environ- 
mental problems, believing that such prob- 
lems have easy, technological answers. 
Gottlieb says he tries to accomplish both 
objectives in his course titled "Philosophy 
and the Environment." Sometimes the 
results can be quite profound. Noted one of 
his students, "I'm not sure I can go on with 
what I'm supposed to do in this life. If I start 
to cry, I might never stop." 

If a WPI education is to measure up to 
the challenges of a world threatened by 
environmental destruction, students must be 
taught to think of engineering problems in 
their full complexity, Gottlieb says. Aware- 
ness of the moral consequences of techno- 
logical developments — as well as of their 
inevitable ties to forms of political and eco- 

"How can WPI be worthy 
of flourishing if it does not 
recognize its moral respon- 
sibility to our civilization and 

our species and also inte- 
grate its programs into the 
industrial and governmental 

structures which are the 

ultimate sources of its 


Roger Gottlieb 


nomic organizations — must be considered 
essential for a professionally competent 
engineer, scientist or manager. "The 
abstract education that forgets the social 
conditions in which environmental prob- 
lems arise is simply not adequate for the 
tasks before us," he concludes. 

In industry, "downsizing" has become a 
frightening word for employees. "But if 
it's done right," John Zeugner says, "it 
can bring long-term benefits not only to 
industry, but to colleges seeking to redefine 
themselves in an ever-changing world." 

Zeugner says WPI will very likely cease 
to exist in a society in which income distrib- 
ution is increasingly skewed, with more and 
more wealth being controlled by fewer and 
fewer people, and where job security — espe- 

cially at the entry engineering level — has 
become a thing of the past. 

Acknowledging, however, that the cele- 
bration of the WPI Plan's 25th anniversary 
would not support a paper detailing the 
demise of the institution, Zeugner instead 
speculates that to survive WPI will have to 
steer away from its traditional role of edu- 
cating students at the bachelor's level for 
entry-level jobs and redefine its mission to 
encompass a more exclusive set of functions. 
These might include an educational pro- 
gram tailored to graduate study in five par- 
ticular fields — new materials engineering; 
social analysis of safety; cognitive science 
and artificial intelligence; technology, 
management and entrepreneurship; and 
bio/chemical/medical engineering — all 
within the dominant focus of ever increasing 
ecological concerns. 

Before this grand design can be imple- 
mented, however, he says WPI will auto- 
matically undergo declining enrollments, in 
part due to the shrinking pool of students 
who come from families that can afford an 
education at a private university. After a 
year or two of this natural downsizing, 
WPI should step in and voluntarily and 
aggressively "downrightsize" the student 
body, Zeugner says. "By that time, down- 
sizing by choice will seem proper, brilliant 
and necessary, and it will be happening 

Ultimately, "downrightsizing" should 
enhance the quality of incoming students 
and permit more generous forms of financial 
aid, he says. He envisions that WPI will 
make available to all students an expense- 
free fourth year through a revolving loan 
program that can be repaid after graduation 
at a low interest rate or waived entirely 
should a student qualify for entry into WPI's 
master's programs. These programs would 
be available to them after their third year at 
WPI because by then the university will 
have added required fifth and sixth terms 
each year. "Enrolling students would, there- 
fore, have a powerful incentive to go on for 
their master's degree after personal expen- 
ditures for only three years of prior educa- 
tion," he says. 

Despite the drop in enrollments and the 
initial worry by the faculty about decreased 
opportunities for tenure, Zeugner says he 
believes the college, given its recast graduate 
programs, would be able to survive the 
changes intact. "The ansjst downrightsizing 




— MMM<M ». < w»»,n.-^^->n.» U o^^.>„ 

I.M.— »«. M |«,1..u m »U«l 

will cause among faculty members will be 
alleviated somewhat by the possibility of 
Satellite Center 'pasturing' of faculty unwill- 
ing to take retirement," Zeugner says. 

With appropriate downsizing, by the 
year 2020 WPI will have shrunk to a man- 
ageable undergraduate population of about 
1,400, he predicts. All students will be going 
to school nearly hill time, studying under the 
guidance of world-class scholars hired by the 
college, and looking forward to graduating 
with their master's degrees within four years. 

In the next century, following thought- 
ful downsizing and upgrading of the cur- 
riculum, WPI will savor a reputation and 
stability and prominence well beyond any- 
thing it has ever known, Zeugner believes. 
"The time to start downrightsizing is not 
tomorrow, not next year, but today." 

John Zeugner 

"By that time, downsizing 

by choice will seem proper, 

brilliant and necessary. . . . 

The angst downrightsizing 

will cause among faculty 

members will be alleviated 

somewhat by the possibility 

of Satellite Center 'pasturing' 

of faculty unwilling to take 

retirement. " 

One way for WPI to compete and to 
expand its leadership role in engineer- 
ing education in the future is to offer a 
professional master's degree program," 
notes Diran Apelian. "As we examine the 
professions, including engineering, law and 
medicine, we find that with the exception of 
engineering, all have a professional terminal 
degree." For most undergraduates interested 
in careers in engineering, the professional 
master's would supplant the bachelor of sci- 
ence as that terminal degree, Apelian says. 
Since World War II, the U.S. has been 
transformed from a defense-oriented to a 
commercial/industrial economy, a transition 
viewed with concern by the members of one 
of WPI's industrial consortia, the Aluminum 
Casting Research Laboratory, Apelian says. 
The consensus of the aluminum casting 
industry, he notes, is that to keep in tune with 
a changing world, WPI's curriculum should 
include exposure to organizational behavior, 
finance and management, and global issues, 
and should provide students opportunities to 
engage in industrial internships. 

"It is expected that our graduates will 
assume leadership posts in industry, so it is 
imperative that they have a knowledge of 
the workings of organizations and the world 
of commerce," Apelian says. "I am not sug- 
gesting that our engineering graduate stu- 
dents should also be M.B.A.s. However, 
rather than viewing these two disciplines as 
separate cultures, we should look at them as 
points along a continuum." 

To bridge the gap that often exists 
between higher education and industry, 
Apelian proposes that WPI institute a five- 
year professional master's intended as a ter- 
minal degree, not necessarily as the first step 
toward a research-oriented Ph.D. Besides 
taking the basic courses in their discipline, 
students in this master's program would be 
required to take courses with a focus in pro- 
cessing or design, skills eagerly sought by 
industry. To gain depth as engineers, stu- 
dents would also be encouraged to take 
courses in departments beyond their home 

A major requirement of the professional 
master's degree would be a design project 
encompassing a full academic year. While 
tackling this complex, real-world project, 
students would take part in industrial clin- 
ics — programs where high-level practition- 
ers would pass on their knowledge to stu- 
dents and their faculty advisors. 

"Our graduates will 
assume leadership posts 
in industry so it is imper- 
ative that they have a 
knowledge of the workings 
of organizations and the 
world of commerce. " 

Diran Apelian 

Though he champions the professional 
master's as the terminal degree for engi- 
neers, Apelian says WPI should continue to 
offer its four-year accredited bachelor's 
degree programs in engineering for students 
who may want to pursue a Ph.D. or who 
plan to use their engineering degree as a 
stepping stone to other professions, for 
example law and medicine. He says the 
bachelor's curriculum should be revamped 
to allow time for exposure to subjects like 
management, manufacturing, and technolo- 
gy and society. "Such a B.S. degree has the 
possibility of developing into the liberal arts 
degree of the 21st century," Apelian says. 

Apelian predicts that as the professional 
master's becomes more widely adopted, 
and as acceptance grows for the notion 
that entry to the professional practice of 
engineering begins with the receipt of a 
master's degree, engineering will enjoy 
increased prestige in the eyes of the public. 
And anything that enhances the engineer- 
ing profession bodes well for the future of 
WPI, he says. 










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A Symphony of Ideas, Page 2 

The inauguration of Edward A. Parrish as WPI's 14th president 

on Sept. 20, 1996, was an opportunity to celebrate the richness 

of WPI's history and the promise of its future. It was also a day to 

share ideas and express opinions that go directly to the heart of WPI's 

mission as a modern technological university. In this issue of the 

WPI Journal, we present a sampling of those ideas and opinions: 

"Embarking on an Age of Exploration," 

a message by Connecticut College President Claire L. Gaudiani; 

"Making a Difference," 

the inaugural address of Edward A. Parrish; 

"Getting on With the Job of Change," 

a report on the inaugural symposium. 

Eventful Year Prelude to Exciting Era of Opportunity, Page 11 

As one busy academic year ended and another began, WPI found 
itself on the cusp of a new era in its history. Poised to garner, at last, 
the national reputation it deserves, WPI launched an ambitious effort 

to create, by the end of this academic year, a vision for its future. 


Financial Summary and Highlights, By Stephen J. Hebert '66, Page 17 
University Relations Highlights, A Strong Team Moves Forward, By John L. Hey/, Page 18 

The WPI Honor Roll of Donors, Page 19 

Front Cover: Newly installed WPI President Edward A. Parrish delivers his inaugural address to an 

audience of some 1 ,800. Story on page 2. Photo by Patrick O'Connor. Opposite: NASA astronaut 

Michael Lopez-Alegria chats with some young fans during a visit to WPI by the crew of the space 

shuttle Columbia. Story on page 11. Photo by William Mercer. Back Cover: Bagpiper Eric Clinton '99, 

a double major (physics and biology) who led guests on a candlelit walk across the Higgins House 

lawn to the Inaugural Dinner. Story on Page 2. Photo by Jonathan Kannair. (Clinton, who plays 
French horn in the WPI Concert Band, has been performing on the pipes for less than three years. 
As a swimming coach at the Special Olympics, he became interested in the instrument when he 

saw it played at the opening of a swimming meet at the Special Olympics in New Hampshire. 
"I thought they were cool," he says, "and I'm part Scottish, so I decided to learn to play them.") 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael \V. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth I risk • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Robert C. Labonte '54, vice chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90,James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firla Jr. '60, 

Joel P. Greene '69, William R. Grogan '46, Roger N. Perry Jr. '45, I larlan B. Williams '50 • The WTI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by 

the Office of University Relations. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the U.S. \ 

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, 

WTI Journal, WPI, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, ML I 01609-2280 • Phone: (SOS) 831-5609, Fax: ( 508) 8 U-5820 • Electronic Mail. • II 'arid H Ide Web: • Postmaster. Ifumleltverable, please send Form 3579 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1996, II 'waster Polytechnic Institute. 

ike massive wkite tent over the 
Quadrangle provided a dramatic 
lunckeon venue lor tke 1,8°° guests 
wko attended tke inauguration of 
WPI Resident Edward /V larrisk. 
^vVitk its graceful curves, tke tent served 
also as a symbol ot tke sweep ot ideas 
presented on tkat day. 

A C 

Encapsulated witkin tkose ideas was 
a vision ot W 1 I s tuture under tk 
leaderskip ol its 14tk president, 
tuture tkat may, at last, bring 
tke university well-deserved 
recognition as a world 
leader in tecknological 


and ended with a quiet walk on a warm, moonlit evening along a path lined with 
L candles. Before it was over, WPI would formally install its 14th president and 
symbolically launch a critical new era in its history. It all transpired under the clearest, 
bluest skies New England can muster. 

The inauguration of Edward A. Parrish on Sept. 20, 1996, was a grand party enjoyed 
by some 1,800 guests, including delegates from more than 100 colleges, universities, and 
learned associations and societies. The highlight of the day was the formal installation 
ceremony, held in Harrington Auditorium and accompanied by the music of three WPI 
student groups — the Concert Band, the Men's Glee Club and the Alden Voices (women's 
chorale). It was followed by a luncheon for all under a massive white tent that nearly 
covered the Quadrangle, and an afternoon symposium in Alden Memorial titled "The 
New Liberal Education for the Age of Technology." 

The festivities stretched into the evening as guests gathered in Higgins House for 
the gala inaugural reception. Moving from room to room in the former home of 
Worcester industrialist Aldus Higgins, they took in brief musical selections performed 
by the Medwin String Ensemble, the Men's Glee Club, the Alden Voices and the Jazz 
Ensemble. Alpha Psi Omega, the dramatic arts honor society, offered a glimpse of the 
university's active and diverse theater programs. 

With the sun setting over the Higgins House lawn, the fading gloaming revealed a 
half moon, and beside it, the bright disk of Saturn. The plaintive wail of bagpipes rose 
into the evening air. The piper, Eric Clinton '99, led Ed and Shirley Parrish and the 
other guests to an elegant dinner in Harrington, while WPI students lighted the way 
with candles. The dinner concluded with a spirited performance by the student a cappella 
group Simple Harmonic Motion. 

Music played an appropriate role in the day's events, as the inauguration of Presi- 
dent Parrish proved to be a symphony of ideas. Those ideas form the focus for this issue 
of the WPI Journal, which is also WPI's 1995-96 annual report. They provide a glimpse 
into the bold new future shaping up for technological education and the pivotal role 
WPI will play in shaping that future. In the pages that follow, we present the semi- 
f nal ideas of the day in the form of President Parrish's inaugural address, the 
remarks of Claire Gaudiani, president of Connecticut College, and a report 
e lively two-hour symposium. 

Bold ideas are, perhaps, the most enduring legacy of the inaug- 
uration of President Parrish. Along with pleasant memories, they 
are what die guests took with them as they left Harrington that 
ning. Stepping out into the night, many stood for a 
ment to admire the moonlight shimmering on 
- peaks of the big white tent. Rising sharply into a 
— ry sky, those peaks seemed to be 
jointing out a new destination 
)r die university, somewhere 
here" in a new fron- 
r of accomplishment 
•md recognition. 


tm barking on an /\ge or Exploration 


By Claire L. gaudiani, President of Connecticut College 

It is a great honor for me to bring you greetings 
from the men and women of the Connecticut 
College community and from colleges and uni- 
versities around the country that hold this institu- 
tion in such high regard. 

This beautiful day and this beautiful hall are a 
fit setting in which to celebrate the inauguration 
of President Parrish and the extraordinary career 
he brings to WP1. With his experience as a widely 
published engineer and scientist, and a highly 
appreciated teacher and administrator, he brings a 
unique set of skills and a unique kind of wisdom to 
WP1 at this moment in its history and at this time 
in human history. For we are entering an age of 
exploration. And the best education for the lead- 
ers of this new age will be one that connects the 
practice of science and technology with the deeper 
understanding of human beings and culture. 

Many writers point to the invention of the 
Gutenberg Press as the reference point for our 
age. Gutenberg's invention opened a new set of 
possibilities — possibilities for communication, yes, 
but much more profoundly, possibilities for access 
to learning, for sustaining, building and transmit- 
ting to future generations the wisdom of human 
minds working across all fields of endeavor. It was 
a great moment in human history, the invention 
of the Gutenberg Press, yet that technology — and 
that moment — as great as they were, are not the 
reference points for our age. 

In our age, telecommunications and informa- 
tion systems have opened a time much more com- 
plicated, much more exciting, and sometimes, 
much more frightening than the age of Guten- 
berg — more, in fact, like the age of exploration. In 

"Surfing the net, 

we are, in fact, pa it 

of a new metaphor. 

We are part of a new 

age in which men and 

women of all countries 

and all races and 

abilities, in their 

majestic diversity, will 

engage together in 

establishing a new 

framework for 

human life. " 

this new age of exploration, librarians have 
become navigators, not simply catalogers. Faculty 
members are no longer simply lecturers as they 
were after Gutenberg (the word lecturer comes 
from a lectern; a French phrase that means "to be 
the one who reads the book to others"); now they 
are fellow explorers with their students. 

Now we move, not one foot in front of the 
other, step by step, one moment at a time on the 
linear path, but through geographical space, and 
forward and backward in time, using a net with mul- 
tiple options and modes, with parallel processes 
and programs and progressions. Limited techni- 
cally only by the speed of light, people around the 
world without running water, without access to 
what we would consider everyday technology, 
have access to satellite dishes and generators and 
receive the modern world right out of the sky. 

In Morocco, in underground dwellings, people 
watch television and see the same soccer games and 
the same Dallas reruns that people watch in Paris, 
London and New York. Corporate scientists from 
the far corners of the Earth can work together in 
global teams by meeting in regular video confer- 
ences, reducing to nothingness the thousands of 
miles that separate them. Time and distance have 
converged through technology 7 . When I consider 
the printing press in this context, it seems to me 
that Gutenberg was just an upgrade — one might 
even say the equivalent of more monks, writing 
faster, storing more sacred texts — "MonkPerfect 
10.1." If that's true, perhaps we can't look at the 
simple "field of telecommunications" as our 
metaphor. Perhaps the metaphor is exploration — 
navigating the geography of cyberspace. 

Surfing the net, we are, in fact, part of a new 
metaphor. We are part of a new age in which men 
and women of all countries and all races and abili- 
ties, in their majestic diversity, will engage together 
in establishing a new framework for human life. 
We need to know where we are so we can under- 
stand what we need to put in the craft with us as we 
make our progress. Education will now need to 
engage students and faculty with the world. It will 
need to engage students with multiple cultures — 
not just ethnic and national cultures, but discipli- 
nary and problem-solving cultures. We all will 
need to speak multiple languages — multiple human 
languages, but also multiple machine and techno- 
logical languages. Those of us over 40 will be the 
last generation to speak digital with an accent. 

The directions already so well-developed in 
WPl's project-based education are exactly right for 
the age of exploration; this institution must be con- 
gratulated for the foresight that made its education 
right for this time. Explorers in science, technology 
and engineering have brought human beings to this 

December 1996 

"/ believe educators must focus more intensively on how we can connect the human 
spirit to the achievements of the age of exploration. H 'e need to he sensitive to what 

is important to all human beings. " 

age, and WPI's kind of education will he critical to 
preparing the explorers of the future. 

But as a humanist, and a French literature 
scholar, I believe that this institution, my own 
institution, and other institutions across the coun- 
try must continue to work on a way to link the 
critical, analytical skills even more powerfully with 
the humane skills. These skills must be developed 
together, because in this age we will need to have 
humane skills (for instance, negotiation and con- 
flict resolution skills) at just as high a level as our 
technical skills. For it will be those who can bring 
about technical advances and sustain the peace 
who will bring us peace with prosperity, instead of 
peace with despair and with the widening gap 
between the haves and the have-nots. 

We will also need to develop authentic com- 
munication skills — public speaking skills and lis- 
tening skills. In an age when technology gives us 
the opportunity to communicate across wide 
bands of the human race, those with the best ideas 
may not prevail unless they are also the ones who 
can communicate their ideas most competently 
and effectively. 

Team-building skills will also be important in 
this new age. These are skills you have wisely 
worked on here at YVPI because you understand 
that while human beings will always be touched 
by the gifts of the quintessential individual per- 
former, the complexity of our age will increasingly 
demand teamwork and the capacity of individuals 
within teams to play a variety of roles to enable 
the team to do its best work and to be more than 
the sum of its parts. 

In addition to these humane skills, I believe 
educators must focus more intensively on how we 
can connect the human spirit to the achievements 
of the age of exploration. We need to be sensitive 
to what is important to all human beings, whether 
they are here in New England or in Africa, Asia or 
Latin America; whether they are older or 
younger; whether they are well or sick. We must 
be willing to look for common ground and a set of 
transcending values that connect the human spirit 
across the world. 

This will not be easy, but we in America are 
especially well-suited to this study. We were 
blessed to be born in this great land, and we are 
united by a set of documents that lay out an under- 
standing of the human spirit and the obligations 
and opportunities we offer each other. We are 
bound together by the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 
Ideas from Greek and Roman civilization, from 
European humanism, and from the great Judeo- 
Christian and Islamic faiths, brought the wisdom of 
the human spirit to the framers of the Constitution. 

We must assure that this wisdom 
goes with us in the craft we will con- 
struct to travel through the age of ex- 
ploration. We must not only say that 
we believe diat all men are created 
equal and that they are endowed by 
their creator with certain inalienable 
rights, among them life, liberty and 
the pursuit of happiness. We must 
make that set of beliefs real for others, 
not just those with whom we share a 
great deal, but for our brothers and 
sisters around the world. We must 
dedicate ourselves to that transcend- 
ing set of goals with the same power 
with which we pursue the space pro- 
gram and the human genome project. 

For our enemies today are not 
evil empires; they are the potential 
for racial and ethnic and national 
conflicts that will break societies 
apart. Many scholars believe this 
potential for destruction is more powerful than 
any force we have ever met. We must bring 
together the powers that have motivated the work 
done here at WPI, the powers of the corporate, 
trade and business sectors, and the powers of the 
military and government, to work toward ways to 
bring about peace and cooperation as we move 
toward everyone's prosperity. 

We have arrived at an important moment. 
The education you have accomplished here has 
been part of the strongest work of the age of mod- 
ernism. Systematizing, efficiency-optimizing tech- 
nologies have moved us to this extraordinary 
moment. They have built one wing of the craft. 
Through the ages, human beings have been build- 
ing the other wing, one based in relationships 
moved by the human spirit and by the need for 
tolerance, compassion and trust. This wing cannot 
always be accounted for by rational analysis, but 
the craft will need both wings. 

After a while, we will notice that we are not 
only in a craft with two wings, both working well, 
but that the craft has become a bird and that both 
wings are moving with equal strength. Those wings 
will carry the human race into the 2 1st century, not 
into the despair of ethnic rivalries and small 
destructive wars, of disease, and of the widening 
gap between the rich and the poor, but into the 
generosity and ingenuity of the human spirit, born 
in the kind of education WTI offers. This kind of 
education will bring us to the place that human 
beings have only imagined for thousands of years 
and that was thought to be an ideal that we were 
not intended to achieve on this Earth. It is a place 
where the age of exploration can truly begin. 


A scholar of 1 1th century 
French literature, Claire L. 
Gaudiani has been president 
since 1988 of Connecticut 
College in New London, 
Conn., from which she grad- 
uated in 1966. During her 
presidency the college has 
nearly tripled its endowment, 
built or renovated four major 
buildings, and created four 
major interdisciplinary aca- 
demic centers. Gaudianis 
institution is creating an 
innovative approach to edu- 
cating young men and women 
in the liberal arts tradition, 
much as WPI transformed 
technological education 25 
years ago with the WPI Plan. 
Connecticut College's under- 
graduate program emphasizes 
the critical role technology 
plays in all professions and the 
growing importance of a glob- 
al perspective in today's world. 

WPI Journal 






By Edward a. Parrish 

"Because of the foresight 
of the faculty a quarter 
century ago, the IVPI 
Plan already is the 
manifestation of the 
recommendations being 
heard on the national 
scene. This suggests to 
me that WPI can be 
recognized as a world 
leader among compre- 
hensive, technological 
institutions in providing 
the new liberal 

I stand before you to accept the office of presi- 
dent. I pledge to uphold the standards estab- 
lished by my predecessors and to do my utmost 
to maintain the high quality of this great institu- 
tion. My confidence in accepting this charge is 
fortified by the presence of a strong and dedicated 
faculty, a committed staff, and loyal students and 
alumni, who together provide the administration 
an able partner with which to meet the demands 
and to seize the opportunities of the future. 
Today's ceremony honors WPI and its 
founders, as well as the entire WPI community — 
past and present. The founding principles estab- 
lished by John Boynton and Ichabod W r ashburn 
still serve this institution well today. Since WPI is 
the third oldest private university of engineering 
and science in the United States, these principles 
have been in place for a very long time. 

It is appropriate here to reflect on the forma- 
tive years of WTI. Through the generosity of 
Boynton, Washburn and the citizens of Worcester, 
WPI was chartered officially on May 10, 1865. Our 
first two buildings, Boynton Hall and the Wash- 
burn Shops, greeted incoming students about three 
years later. They went to classes in Boynton Hall 
and put theory into practice in the Washburn Shops. 
The towers of these two buildings came to symbol- 
ize the balance of theory and practice that has been 
at the heart of WPFs educational philosophy ever 
since, and so was born the Two Towers Tradition. 
This philosophy became the basis for many of the 
well-known engineering schools established in the 
latter part of the 19th century, including Georgia 
Institute of Technology and Rose-Hulman Univer- 
sity. Thus, even in its youth, WPI was already mak- 

ing a difference far beyond its own campus. 

On the occasion of his inauguration on Oct. 
22, 1925, President Ralph Earle spoke of WPI's 
close relationship with local manufacturing indus- 
tries. "All these industries have kept pace with the 
work of the world, they are in the forefront of mech- 
anical advance," he said. "With all are connected 
graduates of this college, for in both high and low 
degree they are identified with Worcester's place in 
our industrial world, while 80 percent of our grad- 
uates are doing men's work in other cities of our 
nation." It is clear from his remarks that WPI's 
graduates were also making a difference. 

Twenty-five years ago, the faculty of WPI 
extended the Two Towers tradition in a bold new 
approach to undergraduate technological educa- 
tion that continues today. Called the WTI Plan, 
this program combines traditional course work 
and laboratory instruction with three mandatory 
projects that challenge student teams to cope with 
open-ended issues. For the benefit of our guests, 
let me briefly explain. 

The first project is called the Sufficiency. Sci- 
ence and engineering students must complete a 
project on a theme emerging from an elective 
series of courses in the humanities or arts; like- 
wise, humanists must do a project in science or 
engineering. Second, all students must complete 
the Interactive Qualifying Project, whose domain 
is the intersection of science, technology and cul- 
ture; the project emphasizes the impact of tech- 
nology on society. Finally, they must complete the 
Major Qualifying Project, which involves prob- 
lems typical of those found in their professional 
disciplines and which often addresses economical, 
ethical and safety issues. These qualifying projects 
are far from trivial; each requires a substantial part 
of an academic year. Frequently, projects are 
sponsored by outside agencies to whom students 
must present their oral and written reports. 

About 20 years ago, the faculty began devel- 
oping off-campus project centers around the 
world that now range from London to San Fran- 
cisco to Venice to South America to Thailand. 
WPI students have many opportunities to work in 
teams for a seven-week term at one of these resi- 
dential project centers. Often their projects con- 
tribute to solving complex problems of a local 
community. Further, under faculty guidance, 
graduate students here on campus are engaged in 
leading-edge research with outcomes that con- 
tribute to the solution of vexing problems and to 
the nation's wealth of knowledge. Here, then, we 
see WPI students making a difference. 

Today, we hear clarion calls for massive 
changes in higher education. Industry has been 
especially vocal, asserting that there is too much 



science in technological curricula. The belief is 
that graduates are well-grounded in theory, but 
are unprepared for practice. Furthermore, there 
are calls for a broad technological education, what 
I refer to as the new liberal education, to enable 
graduates to adapt to new technologies and 
unforeseen branches in career paths. The rapidly 
changing global marketplace is resulting in grow- 
ing competition among nations and now adds a 
new dimension to educational requirements. This 
afternoon's symposium will provide another forum 
for raising these and other issues. [See page 8 for 
a report on the symposium.] 

As a result of these growing concerns, several 
national studies have led to specific recommenda- 
tions. Among those repeated most often are the 
following: incorporate hands-on experiences into 
programs rather than rely just on the classroom; 
develop teamwork as well as individual capabili- 
ties; improve students' communication skills; pro- 
vide the broad education necessary for students to 
understand the impact of technology in a global 
societal context; and instill a recognition of the 
need for and an ability to engage in lifelong learn- 
ing. As one of a relatively small number of tech- 
nological universities in the country, I believe 
WPI has a special responsibility in helping to 
meet these challenges. 

It is in these challenges that I envision great 
opportunities for WPI over the next decade. Be- 
cause of the foresight of the faculty a quarter cen- 
tury ago, the WPI Plan already is the manifesta- 
tion of the recommendations being heard on die 
national scene. This suggests to me that WPI can 
be recognized as a world leader among compre- 
hensive, technological institutions in providing 
the new liberal education. For example, regional 
and specialized accreditation bodies are bringing 
their standards into conformance with these rec- 
ommended changes, in effect reflecting key attrib- 
utes of the WPI Plan. This fall WPI will partici- 
pate in one of two experimental evaluations being 
conducted by the agency that accredits engineer- 
ing programs. These visits will be the bases for 
case studies to be used for training purposes with- 
in the agency and by other institutions that will 
undergo evaluations in the future. 

\s another example, the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology has proposed a new 
Education Category under the Malcolm Baldrige 
National Quality Award. The draft education cri- 
teria parallel those of the existing Baldrige Award 
and are based upon core values that are at the very 
heart of WPI: learning-centered education and 
leadership. Here again, the principal concern is 
with outcomes, and so the WPI Plan would 
appear a natural fit. This is strong confirmation 

that the educational philosophy bound up in the 
Two Towers Tradition is likely to be widely rec- 
ognized and adopted. 

\1\ point in mentioning these examples is to 
say that this institution has been quietly (too qui- 
etly, in fact) out in front for many years. Thus, I 
believe that WPI is positioned to lead the cultural 
change that will be required of faculties across the 
country to implement what for them will be a new 
approach to education. 

A cultural change is indeed required, as many 
faculty members are not accustomed to spending 
quality time with undergraduate students — espe- 
cially' directing student teams engaged in mean- 
ingful project work. About six years ago the 
National Science Foundation established several 
coalitions to address educational reform. Thus far, 
over $100 million has been expended in support 
of some 60 institutions. A progress report last 
month indicated considerable difficulty in assess- 
ing outcomes of these new programs, 
along with organizational problems. 

The most telling difficulty, how- 
ever, was embodied in statements 
like, "We have learned that faculty 
members are key to establishing edu- 
cational reform, but that they often 
prefer not to participate in the 
process. While deans may see the 
need for change, the faculty, as a 
whole, often does not." Another 
states, "Our biggest problems have 
been dealing with the educational 
community's overall resistance to 
change and with the structures of the 
universities that inhibit innovation." 

WPI solved many of these prob- 
lems years ago and by leading the 
cultural change will again be making 
a difference. We can begin to do so, 
for example, through additional fac- 
ulty presentations on pedagogical 
research at national meetings, 
through a planned major education 
conference at WPI in response to 
this afternoon's symposium, and by 
offering workshops to faculty from 
other institutions. 

We cannot afford to be complacent, however. 
As Will Rogers said, "Even if you're on the right 
track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." We 
must continue to reduce costs as well as identify 
new resources to meet our future needs. Our 
efforts to expand the base of applicants for WPI's 
programs must be redoubled, with due attention 
to various diversity issues. The WPI Plan should 
be continuously improved, refined and extended 

"We cannot afford to be 
complacent, however. 
As Will Rogers said, 
'Even if you're on the 
right track, you 11 get 
run over if you just sit 
there.' " 


"I want to say to my 

faculty colleagues that, 

as individuals, you are 

our leaven for making 

a difference.. . . It is 

nearly impossible to 

measure your impact 

as it radiates through 

your students like 

ripples in a pond. " 

to incorporate the freshman year and even the 
master's level within our graduate program. Our 
international programs should be strengthened, 
with even greater opportunities for students to 
develop cultural awareness and foreign language 
skills as part of their project work. 

The graduate program also needs strategic 
examination and support to bring it more into the 
campus mainstream. We must continue to integrate 
our scholarly research and teaching efforts and to 
develop further concepts like ethics and academic 
honesty within all our educational programs. 
Beyond academics, we need to address additional 
quality-of-life issues on campus. For example, we 
badly need a campus center, a facility I believe was 
first proposed in 1925. Other strategic needs are 
being identified and will be prioritized in the coming 
year with the help of the entire WPI community. 

In closing, I want to say to my faculty col- 
leagues that, as individuals, you are our leaven for 
making a difference. You contribute as teachers, as 
advisors, as scholars, as role models, and as friends 
of your students. It is nearly impossible to measure 
your impact as it radiates through your students 
like ripples in a pond. Let me illustrate this point. 

In my senior year, one of my teachers at the 
University of Virginia, Prof. Eugene McVey, asked 
me to join his research team and pursue graduate 
work. I had already accepted a job with the New- 
port News Shipyard and had never even considered 
graduate school. I gained release from the job com- 
mitment and went on to complete my master's and 
doctorate. This led to a faculty appointment; 1 
years later, I was asked to chair the Department of 
Electrical Engineering. That, in turn, led to my 
becoming dean of the School of Engineering at 
Vanderbilt University. Finally, here I am today in 
the midst of this ceremony rather than at some dry- 
dock in Virginia. Clearly, Gene McVey changed 
my life. I have tried to repay him by mentoring my 
own students. Some of them are now faculty mem- 
bers who help their students, and so these ripples 
continue to propagate. Each member of this faculty 
is an important part of a similar dynamic. 

I hope that as president I, too, can make a dif- 
ference. However, realizing that I am the 14th 
president to serve WPI is sobering. It brings 
home the fact that each president has but a short 
time to hold the baton before passing it on to a 
successor. The obligation to take a long view that 
extends well beyond one's own tenure is thus very 
compelling. I intend to meet this obligation to the 
best of my ability. I look forward to working with 
the trustees, the provost and other officers, the 
faculty, the students, the staff, and the alumni in 
turning our challenges into opportunities and, 
together, making a difference. 

Oetting \Jn 







a special inaugural symposium, 
ei3nt leaders rrom academia, 
industry and the accreditation 
community looked to the future 
or technological education in the 
United Jtates. 

The world of work has changed dramatically. 
Today's technological professionals enter a 
workplace transformed by mergers, down- 
sizing, the globalization of business and industry, 
the incredible pace of technological change, and 
the growing importance of small, entrepreneurial 
companies. To succeed in this new world, they 
need more than a strong technical education. They 
need a set of skills and abilities that most science 
and engineering programs don't currently provide, 
or provide well. For that reason, technological 
higher education in the country must change — and 
change quickly. 

That was the conclusion of a symposium held 
in conjunction with the inauguration of WPI 
President Edward Parrish. "The New Liberal 
Education for the Age of Technology" brought 
together eight leaders from academia, industry 
and the accreditation community to discuss the 
state of technological higher education and to 
make recommendations for its future. In addition 
to Parrish, the panelists were Eleanor Baum, dean 
of the School of Engineering at Cooper Union; 
Douglas Bowman, director of electronics and 
information technology at Lockheed Martin Cor- 
poration; Frederick E. Hutchinson, president of 
the University of Maine; David A. Kettler, execu- 
tive director of science and technology at Bell- 
South Corporation; Mark M. Little, vice presi- 
dent for power generation engineering at GE 
Power Systems; and George D. Peterson, execu- 
tive director of the Accreditation Board for Engi- 
neering and Technology. The moderator was 



Joseph Hinchey, chair of the board of trustees of 
Union College. 

In brief remarks that opened the two-hour 
panel discussion, Bowman explained why many 
corporations today have an abiding interest in the 
state of technological education. "More than mar- 
ket share — more than almost anything else — the 
future of our business depends on the quality of 
the scientists and engineers we hire." 

Bowman said those new hires must be pre- 
pared to work in an environment that differs 
greatly from the workplace of just 10 years ago. 
"We used to have small design teams and lone 
engineers," he said. "But the lone engineer has 
gone the way of the Lone Ranger. Today we work 
in multidisciplinary teams that need not be co- 
located geographically, or even limited by political 
boundaries. Work on projects can continue 24 
hours a day as the sun moves around the Earth. 
And professionals must be able to adapt to the 
staggering pace of technological change. For 
example, the division that employs the largest 
number of people at Lockheed Martin — software 
engineering — didn't even exist 15 years ago." 

While industry will always look to hire engi- 
neers and scientists who have received solid techni- 
cal educations, today they also seek graduates who 
know how to apply that knowledge to real prob- 
lems, Little noted. "We are looking for students 
who have the breadth to go beyond the intellectual 
application ot technology to the real-world applica- 
tion." Just as important, Bowman added, students 
need to understand the context in which they will 

create those applications. "Today, many engineer- 
ing decisions are made independent of the engi- 
neering and technology that might go into a specif- 
ic product. There are often social, political and 
economic factors to consider, as well." 

"We require the students we hire to demon- 
strate their communicative abilities — written and 
oral," noted Kettler. "We want to see if they can 
sell an idea. They will be immersed in project 
activity with people from different backgrounds 
and different disciplines, and technological profes- 
sionals have to be able to articulate their views so 
those who have no insight into the technology will 
feel part of the team. Lifelong learning is also 
important. The half-life of an undergraduate elec- 
trical engineering degree is now on the order of 
five years — if that long. Because the technology is 
changing so fast, students must gain the learning, 
decision and analytical skills they will need to 
move forward." 

There is no doubt that technological educa- 
tion must change to prepare graduates who pos- 
sess these qualities. The question, Baum observed, 
is how to accomplish that change. "How do you 
do all that within a traditional engineering pro- 
gram? The way you don't do it is to just keep 
adding courses. You have to rethink the way you 
teach, and the way you integrate knowledge from 
various disciplines, and not be so terribly involved 
in being a conveyor of information. You have to 
help your students develop the versatility they 
need to change as their careers change, as tech- 
nology changes, and as society changes. So the 

"You have to rethink the way 
you teach, and the way you 
integrate knowledge from 
various disciplines, and 
not be so terribly involved 
in being a conveyor of 
information. " 
— Eleanor Baum 

"The half-life of an 
undergraduate electiical 
engineering degree is now 
on the order of five years — 
if that long. Because the 
technology is changing so 
fast, students must gain 
the learning, decision and 
analytical skills they need to 
more forward." 
— David Kettler 


"You can V do all this in 

four years if you want to 

retain a strong technical 

core. If we are going to 

embellish the curriculum 

with these other necessary 

skills, we need more time — 

possibly five years. " 

— George Peterson 

"For most of our histories 

we've operated in a growth 

mode. But things are 

different now and it looks 

like that will be so for a long 

time. We are having to set 

priorities as we 've never 

had to before. " 

— Frederick Hutchinson 

main thing we have to do is teach students how to 
learn on their own." 

Peterson said the same approach should be 
taken to broadening the liberal component of 
technological education programs. "Don't simply 
add a course in the humanities or a course called 
'The Impact of Technology' and conclude that 
you've satisfied that objective," he said. 

He added that for a revised technological cur- 
riculum to be effective, it must have a clear set of 
objectives and that these must be clearly commu- 
nicated to students. "When the expected out- 
comes are clear to students, the courses they take 
will make more sense. And since you will be 
focused on producing a product you've advertised 
to your students, you can get away from the idea 
of adding courses and instead integrate the liberal 
arts and technology throughout the curriculum." 

Parrish said colleges and universities also need 
to rethink the way they deliver a technological 
education. To deal with the rising cost of teaching 
engineering and science, they will need to 
improve the efficiency of their educational pro- 
grams without eroding their quality. "We have to 
get our rising costs under control or we will be 
out of business," he said. "We can't continue to 
have the escalating costs that have pressed us over 
the past few years." 

"For most of our histories we've operated in a 
growth mode," Hutchinson said. "But things are 
different now and it looks like that will be so for a 
long time. We are having to set priorities as we've 
never had to before. As we do so, we have to be 
clear about those priorities." 

Parrish described an ongoing experiment at 
WPI, funded by the Davis Educational Founda- 
tion, that trains students to help teach other stu- 
dents. These peer learning assistants help increase 
the effectiveness of faculty members "without 
simply adding more students to the classroom. 
We also have the promise of educational technol- 
ogy, which we've been hearing about for decades," 
he said. Now, however, with the World Wide 

Web, multimedia and so on, the technology- has 
reached a point where we have some powerful 
ways to engage students and lower the cost of 
education, without negatively impacting quality." 

Noting that "the days are gone when universi- 
ties could be all things to all people," Baum said 
educational institutions today can further increase 
their efficiency and hold down costs by entering 
into partnerships with other colleges and universi- 
ties to share programs and resources. "We can col- 
laborate with neighboring institutions," she said. 
"And with the Internet, our neighborhood can be 
the whole world. These partnerships may not bring 
down the costs of our programs dramatically, but 
they can help us provide a quality education for 
students while we hold the line on costs." 

Even with increased efficiency and the sharing 
of resources, technological universities may find it 
difficult to provide students a sound technological 
education and equip them with the attributes they 
need to succeed in today's workplace in the span 
of a traditional four-year undergraduate program, 
Peterson noted. "You can't do all this in four 
years if you want to retain a strong technical 
core," he said. "If we are going to embellish the 
curriculum with these other necessary skills, we 
need more time — possibly five years. Will indus- 
try pay for that additional time, perhaps in higher 
entry salaries?" 

"That depends," Kettler said, "on what is 
added in that fifth year. Colleges and universities 
are delivering a product — their graduates. If 
industry' can find a product it wants and can work 
in partnership with academia to deliver this prod- 
uct, they will pay for it." 

As the symposium concluded, the panelists 
agreed that there is considerable reason for opti- 
mism. They pointed particularly to the growing 
national consensus within industry, academia, and 
a wide range of organizations with an interest in 
maintaining the nation's technical and economic 
competitiveness on the need for reform in techno- 
logical education, and to the vision that is emerg- 
ing for how technological education should 
evolve. It is a vision that points to a solution not 
unlike WPI's own project-based, outcome-oriented 
program, the WPI Plan. 

"We are at a stage where people recognize 
that engineering education needs to change, 
where accrediting agencies are encouraging that 
kind of change, and where partnerships are being 
formed to bring that change about," Baum said. 
"Getting on with the job is now the challenge. I 
think you are fortunate at WPI because your pres- 
ident is the person who has the vision to really 
meet the challenge." 






Eventful Year Prelude to 
Exciting Era of Opportunity 

That's a phrase heard 
often on campus these 
days. Attributed to WPI Presi- 
dent Edward A. Parrish, it is an 
apt way of summing up what 
may well be one of the most 
important periods in WTT's 
history, a brief window of time 
during which an extraordinary con- 
fluence of events and activities will 
provide the university an opportunity 
to seize the national spotlight and gain 
widespread recognition for its pioneering 
efforts in technological education. 

The momentum began building dur- 
ing a frenzied month last spring, when 
five major events brought hundreds 
of visitors to campus. It has con- 
tinued into the current year as 
WPI serves as one of only two 
institutions across the nation pilot- 
testing a set of new outcome-oriented 
criteria for engineering accreditation. And it 
will be enhanced by an ambitious strategic 
planning process recently set in motion that 
will enable the university to chart a new 
'direction for the decades ahead and set the 
stage for a new capital campaign. 

"We have a number of planets lined 
up right now," Parrish says. "We're turning 
out the right kind of graduate for today's 
world. We're way ahead in project-based 
education and in providing global opportu- 
nities. In fact, several major national studies 
have made recommendations for change 
in technological education that are already 
manifested in the educational program we 
pioneered 25 years ago. Through an ongo- 
ing strategic planning process, we have the 
opportunity to focus on the objectives that 
will enable us to take advantage of the sig- 
nificant opportunities we have before us 
and to raise the funds we need to achieve 
those objectives. Things just don't line up 
like this even' year!" 

Here is a review of the highlights 
of the 1995-96 academic year and 
a look ahead at what's on tap for 
the current academic year. 

The Year Past 

A Month To Remember 

They called it "April Madness." 
In the short span of a month, 
WPI rededicated a building, 
observed the centennial of an acad- 
emic department, welcomed the crew 
of a space mission, and (in two separate 
events) celebrated the silver anniversary 
of its pioneering undergraduate program. 
It was a month to glory in WPI's storied 
past and to gaze into its future. 
The Roman god Janus was the guardian of Nowhere was that more true 

gates and doors. His two faces look simultaneously to than at the two events organized to 
the past and the future. Like Janus, our report this year focus attention on the 25th anni- 
looks backward and forward to capture an impor- versary of the WPI Plan. The 

tant period of transition at the university. first, Project Presentation Day 

(April 1 8), gave the WPI community 

The WPI Plan's 25th anniversary was 
observed on Project Presentation Day, 
top, and Commemoration Day, which 
included a panel discussion of WPI's 
next 25 years, bottom. 

and the companies and organizations that 
sponsor WPI's student projects a chance to 
see the remarkable things students accom- 
plish in their three required Plan projects. 
The more than 250 student presentations 
(mostly of Major Qualifying Projects) 
offered a never-before-seen panoramic view 
of what students can do if given the freedom 
and the opportunity to spread their intellec- 
tual wings. 

The second Plan event, Commemor- 
ation Day (April 23), was an opportunity 
to look back and peer ahead. A luncheon 
brought together the men and women who 
drafted the Plan, implemented it and evalu- 
ated its progress to recall some of the most 
eventful and important days in WPI's histo- 
ry. In a panel discussion that afternoon, the 
authors of five invited papers presented their 
visions of the next 25 years at WPI; David 
Warsh, syndicated economics columnist for 
the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune, was the 
keynote speaker. The day concluded with 

WPI Journal 



the annual faculty convoca- 
tion and a gala reception for 
the WPI community- (For 
more on the Plan's 25th 
anniversary and a report on 
the invited papers, see the 
October 1996 WPI Journal.) 

The centennial of the 
Electrical and Computer 
Engineering Department 
was observed on April 19. 
The department welcomed 
its alumni and other guests to 
an open house, a panel dis- 
cussion and a reception and 
dinner. The panel, made up 
of ECE faculty members and 
alumni, engaged in a spirited 
debate about where the next 
100 years may take the field 
of electrical engineering. At 
the dinner, guests enjoyed a 
talk by William R. Grogan 
'46EE, dean emeritus of 
undergraduate studies, who 
described the early years of 
the department. (For more 
on the early history of electri- 
cal engineering at WPI, see 
"An Electric Century" in the 
Spring 1996 Journal.) 

On April 29, the focus 
was the rededication of 
Higgins Laboratories. 
Completed in 1942 as the 
second home on campus for 
mechanical engineering (the first was Strat- 
ton Hall), the building was completely 
refurbished and expanded beginning in 
1994. Ready for the start of the 1995 fall 
semester, the all-new Higgins Labs includes 
a 17,000-square-foot addition that houses 
classrooms and labs, as well as an elevator 
and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing 
systems for the entire building. Among the 
new facilities created in the $8.5 million 
renovation is the Design Studio, a suite 
of labs and a multimedia classroom that is 
the centerpiece of a new way of teaching 
engineering design. (For more on the ren- 
ovations, see "A Mechanical Marvel" in the 
Spring 1996 Journal.) 

April 10 would have been a remarkable 
day in Worcester if for nothing more than 
the storm that left behind 14 inches of snow. 
But the real excitement at WPI that day was 
caused by the arrival of eight true heroes. 
All but one member of the crew of STS-73, 
the 16-day scientific mission that flew on the 
space shuttle Columbia in October 1995, 
came to campus for a day of activities. 

Among them was Albert Sacco Jr., head of 
the WPI Chemical Engineering Depart- 
ment and WPI's first faculty astronaut. The 
day included "Countdown to Tomorrow," 
a celebration of the Columbia mission and a 
tribute to the astronauts who made it one 
of the most successful science missions in 
NASA's history. (For more on Al Sacco's 
ride into space, see "Coming Home" in the 
Winter 1996 Journal. ) 

Another Silver Anniversary 

Just over a quarter century ago, while the 
university was in the midst of creating the 
WPI Plan, the Computer Science Depart- 
ment was making its debut. In 1969, long 
before the age of the personal computer, 
WPI launched a graduate program in com- 
puter science; the undergraduate program 
began a year later. Since then, the depart- 
ment has built a reputation for excellence in 
education and research. In 1986 it became 
one of the first departments in the nation 
to be accredited by the Computer Science 
Accreditation Board. In September 1995, 

Top, a student-built hover- 
craft dominates this view 
of the large project lab in 
Higgins Laboratories as 
guests tour the renovated 
building. Bottom, from 
left, Columbia astronauts 
Ken Bowersox, Al Sacco, 
Kathryn Thornton, 
Michael Lopez-Alegria, 
Catherine Coleman, Fred 
Leslie, Glynn Holt and 
David Matthiesen during 
their visit to WPI. 

the department hosted a 
25th anniversary celebration 
in Fuller Laboratories, its 
home since 1990, for many 
of its 2,000 alumni. 

New Provost Looks 
To Build on Solid 

John F. Carney II, formerly 
professor of civil engineering 
and associate dean for 
research and graduate affairs 
at Vanderbilt University, was 
named WPI's new provost 
and vice president for aca- 
demic affairs this spring. 
Carney succeeded Diran 
Apelian, Howmet Professor 
of Mechanical Engineering, 
who became head of the 
newly formed Metal Pro- 
cessing Institute, a WPI 
research group comprising industrial con- 
sortia in the areas of aluminum casting, 
powder metallurgy and semisolid metals 
processing. William W. Durgin was 
appointed associate provost for academic 
affairs, giving him primary responsibility for 
WPI's academic and research programs. A 
member of the faculty since 1971, Durgin 
was most recendy dean of graduate studies 
and research. 

Carney sees his role as WPI's chief aca- 
demic officer as that of building on a solid 
foundation, one that includes an excellent 
faculty, outstanding academic and research 
facilities, a unique project-based undergrad- 
uate program, and a global perspective pro- 
gram widely regarded as the leader in global 
technological higher education. "WPI is a 
wonderful technological university that 
doesn't get the national and international 
recognition it deserves," he says. 

Carney's goals for the undergraduate 
program include trying to expand the bene- 
fits of project-based education into the first 
year, a time when most students spend a 


December 1996 


great deal of their time taking conventional 
math, science and engineering courses. He 
says he would also like to see WP1 continue 
to evolve into a broad-based technological 
university with programs — such as the exist- 
ing pre-health and pre-law programs — that 
will appeal to students who may not be 
interested in becoming engineers, but who 
want to be technically literate when they 
graduate. Such programs may also help 
WPI increase its enrollment of women. 

Carney says he would like to expand the 
full-time graduate program above its current 
enrollment of about 400 students, with most 
of the increase in the master's 
program. "Industry is interested 
in hiring students with master's 
degrees," he says. As an active 
scholar widr more than 140 pub- 
lications in the field of structural 
mechanics, including the design 
of impact attenuation devices for 

and two as head of the Department of Civil 
Engineering at Auburn University in Ala- 
bama, Carney says he sees himself as a faculty' 
member first and an administrator second. 
"This is the first year that I will not be teach- 
ing in the classroom," he says. "I know what 
faculty members go through. I know what it 
takes to be a good teacher, to do research, 
to write proposals, to serve on committees. 
I think it is important for us to build a system 
of trust where the faculty and the adminis- 
tration can work together. I think we can 
make a lot of progress, and I look forward 
to the challenge." 

From the Ground Up 

WPI was not just a busy place this year, it 
was a noisy one, too, at times. Several major 
construction projects transformed a WPI 
residence hall, a street and several laborato- 
ries. The largest project was the renovation 
of Sanford Riley I [all, the university's first 
on-campus residence facility. Completed 
over the summer, the $3.3 million project 
restored the building to its original glory 
and added a host of modern amenities, 
including new furniture in every room, new 
energy efficient windows, and an elevator. It 
was also the first step in a five-year plan to 
renovate the majority of the 
university's residence halls. The 
Ellsworth-Fuller complex is 
slated to be overhauled next 

The physical and psycholog- 
ical gap between the east and 
west sides of the WPI campus 

transportation safety applications, 
he says he would like to see a 
comparable growth in externa 
support for research and scholar- 
ship. "We have a unique project- 
based undergraduate program 
with a truly global perspective," 
he says. "However, a balanced 
graduate program can make an 
undergraduate program better. 
People with vibrant research pro- ** 
grams are also, by and large, wonderful 
teachers because they are staying current in 
their field. And the university is a much 
richer place for undergraduates if they have 
the opportunity to work with graduate stu- 
dents on cutting-edge research." 

Having served in academia for more 
than 30 years, including 1 5 as a faculty 
member at the University of Connecticut 

The campus was bustling with con- 
struction work during the year as 
crews renovated Sanford Riley Hall 
(left), turned part of West Street into a 
pedestrian plaza and repaved the rest 
of the street (center), and built new 
research laboratories in Salisbury 
Labs, including a new greenhouse that 
provides a dramatic addition to the 
WPI skyline (right). 

i«w«is and Engmeeis 
UN '■ 
to Pan 

&*n W Qaoe 

was closed this summer with the 
conversion of a large section of 
West Street into a tree-lined 
pedestrian mall. The center- 
piece of the mall is Reunion 
Plaza; its fountain and stone 
benches are intended to create 
a quiet, contemplative space in 
the center of the now united 
campus. Also adding measurably 
to the quality of campus life 
was the renovation of the Grille, a popular 
campus dining spot in the W r edge between 
Daniels and Morgan halls, and the transfor- 
mation of the campus bookstore under a new 
owner. Tatnuck Bookseller operates the 
largest independent bookstore in Massachu- 
setts (on Chandler Street in Worcester) and 
has provided the WPI community with an 
online link to its retail outlet. 

WPI Journal 



WPI's academic and 
research facilities also 
received a major boost 
during the year. A new 
biochemistry laboratory 
constructed in Goddard 
Hall will serve the re- 
search, student project 
and teaching needs of this 
growing academic disci- 
pline within the Depart- 
ment of Chemistry and 
Biochemistry. Work con- 
tinued throughout the 
year on six major labora- 
tories and supporting 
spaces in Salisbury Labo- 
ratories to be used for 
research and project work in biology and 
biotechnology. The $2 million project, 
funded jointly by WPI and the National 
Science Foundation, will result in state-of- 
the-art laboratories for work in such areas 
as molecular genetics, invertebrate zoology 
and bioremediation. A new pyramidal green- 
house atop the building will support work in 
plant physiology and biotechnology. 

A New Satellite Launched 

The letters WWW are readily recognized as 
the initials of the World Wide Web. At 
WPI, they've also come to stand for the uni- 
versity's campuses — Worcester, Westboro 
and Waltham. With the opening this fall of 
its second satellite, WPI now offers graduate 
courses and continuing education programs 
at three sites in Massachusetts. 

The Waltham campus occupies space in 
an office building just off Route 128 near a 
large concentration of high-technology 
companies. A wide range of graduate and 
continuing education programs are being 
offered at the site, including graduate cours- 
es and certificate programs in management 
and computer science, specializing in com- 
puter and communications networks, soft- 
ware engineering and interface design, tech- 
nology marketing and the management of 
technology. (All can be applied to a WPI 
graduate degree.) Also offered are profes- 
sional development seminars and certificate 
programs in UNIX/C and C++ program- 
ming and client-server technology. 

The Westboro campus, which opened 
in 1988, serves a high concentration of 
technical and management professionals in 
the Route 495 and Central Massachusetts 
areas. "Our experience in Westboro," says 
President Parrish, "confirmed our belief in 
the demand for WPI's programs in [the 
Waltham] region." 

Left, Que Nguyen '97 and assistant pro- 
fessor Jose Arguello in the new bio- 
chemistry laboratory. Right, the mem- 
bers of the 1996 Strive class; short for 
Strive for College and Careers in Math- 
ematics, Engineering and Science, this 
is a summer program for students from 
underrepresented minorities. 


WlK jk 1 | 

Top, from left, Director of Continuing 
Education Arlene Lowenstein, Director 
of Graduate Admissions Lisa Jernberg 
and WPI President Edward Parrish 
helped open WPI's third campus, in 
Waltham, Mass. Bottom, from left, 
Manuel Gomez, director of the Univer- 
sity of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Parrish, 
and Stuart Ramos, UPRM chancellor, 
penned an agreement forging an 
alliance between the two institutions. 

More Highlights of the Year Past 

WPI and the University of Puerto Rico, 
Mayaguez (UPRM), home to the largest 
engineering school in Latin America, 
signed a memorandum of understanding 
to create a new center for student project 
work and academic collaboration. The cen- 
ter will be funded by the two universities, 
Xerox Corp. and the National Science 
Foundation. The agreement marked the 
culmination ot two years of work by 
Mohammad Noori, head of WPI's Mech- 
anical Engineering Department, Hamid 
Davoodi '88, associate professor of mechan- 
ical engineering at UPRM, and Mohammad 
Saffar '89 (Ph.D.), assistant professor of 
civil engineering at UPRM. It will be an 
avenue for student and faculty exchanges 
and joint research projects and graduate 
programs. Puerto Rico is also home to a 
WPI student project center. 

Agreements were signed for joint 
programs with two law schools: Suffolk 
University Law School in Boston and 
Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, 
N.H. This endeavor gives students interest- 
ed in using their engineering or science edu- 
cation as a stepping stone to careers in law 
(particularly the law of intellectual property) 
the opportunity to seek early admission to 
either law school. 

WPI was accepted for membership in 
the National Consortium for Graduate 
Degrees for Minorities, furthering its goal 
of providing graduate training in engineer- 
ing and science to a larger number of stu- 
dents of color. The consortium provides 
WPI with greater recognition within the 
communities of color, helps make its gradu- 
ate programs financially accessible to more 
underrepresented minorities, and opens the 
door to networking with other institutions 
across the United States. 


December 1996 


■ . ^^^^^l^,. 


Norman R. Augustine, 

president and CEO of Lock- 
heed Martin Corp., was the 
speaker at WFTs 128th 
Commencement. Augustine 
was awarded an honorary 
doctorate, as was Duane D. 
Pearsall, inventor of the first 
low-cost hattery-powered 
smoke detector; Howard 
G. Freeman '40, inventor 
and founder of Jamesbury 
Corporation (now Neles- 
Jamesbury); and Albert Sacco 
Jr., head ofWPI's Chemical 
Engineering Department and 
the university's first faculty 

The Admissions 
Office had a banner 
year, with the 
enrollment of the 
fifth largest class in 
WPI history. The 
Class of 2000 has 
689 students, includ- 
ing 152 women and 
41 students of color, 
new records in both 
of these categories. 

Planning for the 
proposed campus 
center continued 
during the year. 
Having developed a 
program for a com- 
bined campus center 
and recreational facility last 
year, the Campus Center 
Committee worked with Stannmar Inc., a 
design-build firm specializing in athletic 
facilities, to conduct a studv that deter- 
mined that it is feasible to locate the facility 
in an expanded and fullv renovated Alumni 

WPI was one of eight members of the 
Colleges of Worcester Consortium to share 
a $44,880 grant from the Department of 
Education Fund for the Improvement of 
Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) to be 
used to develop comprehensive programs 
for the prevention of drug use and alco- 
hol abuse and the violence associated 
with them. 

The offices of Multicultural Affairs and 
Minority Student Affairs were combined 
into the Office of Minority Affairs and 
Outreach Programs, which will focus on 
the recruitment and retention of minoritv 
students and coordinating diversity initia- 
tives, among other responsibilities. 





at WPI sf|28t 


The Year Ahead 

Accreditation Going 
According to Plan 

This fall, a team of visitors from the Accredita- 
tion Board for Engineering and Technology, 
which accredits engineering programs at the 
nation's colleges and universities, was on cam- 
pus to evaluate WPFs programs in civil, 
chemical, electrical, industrial, manufacturing 
and mechanical engineering. It is a visit ABET 
has made periodically for many decades. 

This year's visit was a little different, 
however. After a quarter century that has 
seen ABET and WPI struggle to measure 
the university's project-based undergraduate 
program against the board's traditional 
accreditation criteria, ABET adopted a 
sweeping new set of standards that, much 
like the WTI Plan, emphasize outcomes 
(what students learn and what skills and 
qualities they gain) instead of process (what 
courses and labs thev take). 

Called Engineering Cri- 
teria 2000, the new standards 
were developed b\ Mil Is 
Engineering Accreditation 
Commission (then chaired by 
WPI President Edward Par- 
rish) with extensive input from 
various engineering societies 
and from the businesses and 
industries that employ tech- 
nological professionals. I he 
centerpiece of the new criteria, 
Criterion 3 (see box, next 
page), is a succinct list of the 
qualities graduates should take 
away from their undergraduate 
education. With a few changes 
of wording, this set of criteria 
could easily be a description of 
the goals of the WTI Plan, 
notes President Parrish. "The 
new ABET criteria, along with 
a number of national studies of 
the future of engineering edu- 
cation, have indirectly con- 
firmed that the WPI Plan is 
what this country needs in the 
way of an educational system." 

The new criteria under- 
went a one-year comment peri- 
od that led to approval by the 
full ABET board in November. 
The criteria will apply to all 
engineering programs in the 
nation in the y^ear 2001, follow- 
ing a five-year implementation. 

A critical step in imple- 
menting the new criteria is a 
two-year pilot test program, 
a process in which WTI is playing a critical 
and hitdiK \ isible role. In the first year of 
the test, engineering programs at one private 
and one state-supported institution (WTI 
and the University of Arkansas) are being 
evaluated under the new standards. The 
University of Arkansas was chosen because 
it has just begun to develop an outcome- 
oriented approach to technological educa- 
tion. WTI was selected because, with more 
than 25 years of experience with the Plan, 
it has a better feel for outcome-oriented 
education than perhaps any institution in the 
nation and has much to teach ABET and its 
member institutions, notes William W. Dur- 
gin, associate provost for academic affairs. 

"W T e volunteered to be accredited under 
the new criteria and we recognize that we 
have an important role to play in this 
process," Durgin says. "ABET has had no 
experience conducting this outcome-based 
accreditation. They are looking to WTI for 

WTI Journal 



help in developing the accreditation proce- 
dure. The results of this experience will 
become a case study that will be used to 
train ABET evaluators. This study will also 
be distributed to every engineering depart- 
ment in the nation to provide guidance for 
other schools as they come up for accredita- 
tion under the new rules. It should also 
serve as an excellent vehicle for creating 


From Criterion 3. 
Program Outcomes and Assessment 

Engineering programs must demonstrate 
that their graduates have 

• an ability to apply knowledge of mathe- 
matics, science and engineering 

• an ability to design and conduct 
experiments, as well as to analyze 
and interpret data 

• an ability to design a system, compo- 
nent or process to meet desired needs 

• an ability to function on multi- 
disciplinary teams 

• an ability to identify, formulate and 
solve engineering problems 

• an understanding of professional and 
ethical responsibility 

• an ability to communicate effectively 

• the broad education necessary to 
understand the impact of engineering 
solutions in a global/societal context 

• a recognition of the need for and an 
ability to engage in life-long learning 

• a knowledge of contemporary issues 

• an ability to use the techniques, skills 
and modern engineering tools neces- 
sary for engineering practice 

national recognition for what WPI has 
accomplished over the last 25 years." 

The ABET accreditation team working 
with WPI this year is drawn from the Engi- 
neering Accreditation Commission itself, 
whose members normally serve as visiting 
team chairs. "The idea is to train the team 
leaders so they, in turn, can train the more 
that 3,000 men and women who serve on 
ABET visiting teams each year," Durgin says. 

This year's accreditation process is also 
a learning experience for WPI, he says. 
"While we've had a great deal of experience 
delivering an outcome-oriented educational 
program, we are still gaining experience in 
measuring those outcomes. This year, to 
help ABET understand what students 
accomplish under the Plan, we've selected 

at least six students in each department and 
asked them to compile a detailed portfolio 
illustrating the work they've done in their 
classes, labs and projects during their studies 
at WPI. The contents of their portfolios, 
standing alone, should demonstrate the 
expected outomes. We'll also be able to pre- 
sent the results of the peer reviews we now 
do for all three of the required Plan projects. 
"To prepare for future accreditation vis- 
its, we are now asking all students to com- 
pile portfolios of their work at WPI, which 
will also benefit their career development. 
We hope to follow these students for the 
early part of their careers to measure the 
impact the Plan has on their professional 
and personal lives. We plan to create a for- 
mal system for determining what employers 
think of our graduates. All of these measures 
will help us evaluate the success of our 
undergraduate program and to continually 
improve it." 

Fast Track to a Strategic Plan 

"Of those to whom much is given, much is 
required," John F. Kennedy once said. 
According to President Parrish, the national 
educational community has given WPI an 
invaluable gift — the growing conviction that 
something very much like the WPI Plan is the 
right approach for the future of technological 
higher education. That conviction provides 
the university with a precious opportunity to 
step into the national spodight and gain well- 
deserved recognition as an educational pace- 
setter. But there is some important work to be 
done first, Parrish says. 

"WPI has a big opportunity right now. 
A number of national studies of what needs 
to be done in technological higher educa- 
tion — by the likes of the National Research 
Council, the American Society for Engi- 
neering Education and the National Science 
Foundation — have pointed in directions that 
WPI took some 25 years ago. That's good 
news for us, but we can't simply sit on our 
record. We have to keep evaluating and 
improving what we're doing. That requires 
strategic planning." 

This year WPI began work on a new 
strategic plan. WPI's current plan was com- 
pleted in 1990, and Parrish says much has 
changed since its six major goals were for- 
mulated. Perhaps most important, WPI 
continues to face financial constraints, 
caused principally by a combination of the 
high cost of operating a technological edu- 
cation program and the escalating cost of 
providing financial aid to students. These 
costs combine to continually shrink the pool 
of operating revenue WPI derives from 

tuition. "We need to stop doing things as we 
have for the last 25 years or so," Parrish 
says, "and come up with some new ways of 
doing business." 

The process of drafting a new strategic 
plan began over the summer as Parrish and 
his cabinet (a group of senior administra- 
tors), soon joined by the secretary of the fac- 
ulty and the chair of the faculty Committee 
on Governance, developed a process for cre- 
ating the plan and drafted a vision statement 
for the university. At a retreat this fall, the 
Board of Trustees also discussed the state of 
the institution and possible directions for its 
future. And in October, 60 members of the 
faculty and administration met in a weekend 
retreat to discuss ways of bolstering two key 
elements of the undergraduate program, the 
Interactive Qualifying Project and the Glob- 
al Perspective Program, widely considered 
the elements that give WPI a distinct edge 
in undergraduate technological education. 

"We've had people coming at these issues 
from many different directions and with dif- 
ferent ideas," Parrish says. "What's become 
clear to me from all of these discussions is 
that everyone — the faculty, the administra- 
tion, the students and the trustees — seems to 
have a shared vision of WPI. There is a con- 
sensus about our strengths, our traditions, 
and our opportunities for the future. That's 
really important, because it gives us a head 
start — we don't have to start from scratch. 
I've proposed an ambitious timeline for cre- 
ating a new strategic plan. But as I've 
watched this common vision emerge, I've 
thought to myself, 'By God, we can do this!'" 

The responsibility for guiding the crea- 
tion of the plan has been turned over to the 
Strategic Planning Steering Committee, 
made up of the provost, two academic de- 
partment heads, six other faculty members, 
three other members of the administration, 
one undergraduate student and one graduate 
student. Stephen J. Weininger, professor of 
chemistry and biochemistry, is the chair. 
Parrish savs the committee will involve 
many members of the WPI community on 
study committees that will investigate a wide 
variety of issues as the planning process 
moves toward completion in March 1997. 

"Before the end of the academic year, 
we need to settle on our goals and objectives 
for the next decade," Parrish says. "These 
will become the basis for the goals of the 
new capital campaign (see page 18). We 
can't take too long to complete this process. 
If we wait two years to complete our strate- 
gic plan, this window of opportunity — this 
planetary alignment — may pass us by. The 
time to act is now." 


1)1 ( I MBI R 1996 


.« M 7« M i» n m« nnU ^,^«« M «,L«^ 


By Stephen J. Hebert '66 

Vice President for Administration, Treasurer and Secretary of the Corporation 

There are two major elements ofWPI's financial operation. 
One is the day-to-day activity of the university; WPI fin- 
ished the year with a surplus of approximately $14,000. The 
other major component is what is commonly referred to as WPI's 
endowment. During the fiscal year the market value of assets man- 
aged under the umbrella of the endowment grew hy $25 million, to 
$177 million. 

Considerahle appreciation must he extended to the faculty and 
staff for their management of the university during the year. A solid 
budget was developed, reflecting a thorough attempt at including 
all expected revenue and expense, and the faculty and staff managed 
those resources well, conserved when and where possible, and 
brought the budget in on balance. In an organization as diverse as 
WPI, this does not happen unless everyone is focused on achieving 
financial success. 

The university's endowment is managed by the Board of 
Trustees with specific responsibility delegated to the Investment 
Committee, chaired by F. William Marshall Jr. The trustees engage 
a variety ol money managers to manage the assets. WPI's total 
return ol 18.5 percent in FY96 placed us well ahead of the national 
average for college and university endowments (17.2 percent). The 
Investment Committee's objective for allocating the endowment's 
assets was that 70 percent would be invested in equities; at year end, 
about 71.5 percent of the assets was invested in domestic and inter- 
national equities. 

During the year we executed an interest rate swap that will pro- 
duce significant interest savings on our debt of approximately $40 
million over the next 2.5 years. The swap was made possible by the 
favorable interest rate scenario that emerged during the year. 

One measure of the strength of an institution is its calculated 
endowment per undergraduate. At approximately $63,000, WPI 
compares favorably in this regard and is likely to be in the top 100 
of the 3,600 U.S. colleges and universities at year's end. 

Each year the university approves a spending rule that applies a 
percentage of the assets of the endowment to the operating budget. 
For many years, the spending rule has been 5.5 percent, about aver- 
age for colleges and universities throughout the country. The 
amount available is based upon a moving average of the total mar- 
ket value of the endowment at the conclusion of tbe previous two 
fiscal years. While it would be good to reduce this rate as we go 
forward, the operating budget is partly dependent on this income, 
making such a move difficult. Still, the endowment is the flywheel 
that keeps the university moving forward; the growth in the value 
of the endowment is positive for the future of WPI. 

For the last fiscal year approximately 30 percent of tuition 
income was returned in the form of financial aid, which was bud- 
geted at $12.5 million. This continues to be a source of concern 
and little comfort is taken from the fact that most of our peer insti- 
tutions are experiencing the same pressures as they recruit students 
who have a higher need for financial aid than do students at typical 
liberal arts-oriented colleges and universities. While WPI is for- 
tunate to be able to balance the budget despite financial pressures, 
considerable effort must be exerted to find ways to alleviate these 
pressures so that investments may be made in new programs and 

Years ended June 30, 1996 wd 1995 

1. General Operating 
Funds (Thousands of Dollars ) 

Tuition, fees and other 
educational revenues 

Student financial aid 

Cifts and bequests received 

Revenues from sponsored 
research programs 

Total staff benefit expenses, 
before allocation 

2. Endowment and Similar 

Funds (Thousands of Dollars) 















- 1 9.6 







Beginning market values 


Investment results 

$154,734* $127,600 +21.3% 

Income (interest and dividends) 
Realized and unrealized gains 





Total investment results 


Used in support of college 




Net reinvested in endowment 


Additions to endowments, 

mostly from gifts 




Ending Market Value 

$177,406 $152,407 

'Computed using new financial accounting standards adopted by WPlm FY96 

Summary of 
Total Return Data 

'96 '95 




WPI Total Return 
WPI Policy Index 
S&P 500 

LB G/C Bond Index 
CPI Index 

18.5% 16.9% 4.0% 11.9% 12.4% 

16.6 18.5 3.2 13.5 13.5 

26.1 26.1 1.4 13.6 13.5 

4.7 12.8 -1.5 13.2 14.2 

2.8 3.1 2.5 3.0 2.8 

Copies of the complete audited financial reports for WTI for Fiscal 
Year 1996 can be obtained by writing to: 


Office of Business Affairs 
100 Institute Road 
Worcester, MA 01609-2280 

WPI Journal 



A Strong Team Moves Forward: 

The Year in University Relations 

I could not begin this report without 
extending a special thanks to Ron Baird, 
who filled in as acting vice president for 
university relations for a good part of the 
past academic year. While continuing to 
also perform his duties as director of corpo- 
rate relations, Ron moved the entire office 
forward on all fronts. It was with a great 
deal of regret, but also with the recognition 
that no one was more deserving, that we in 
University Relations said farewell to Ron 
this past May as he moved to Washing- 
ton, D.C., to become director of the Sea 
Grant Program at the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration. 

Many of the efforts of the Office 
of University Relations during the 
past 12 months have been directed at 
strengthening the office's infrastructure. 
Moving the Alumni Office under the 
umbrella of University Relations has 
permitted us to better allocate resources 
and to increase our services to alumni 
and other constituencies. As part of this 
move, we created a new team of Annual 
Fund personnel that, for the first time, 
enables us to bring together into one cohe- 
sive unit the Alumni Fund, the Parents Fund 
and two new funds: the Friends Fund and 
the Business and Industry Fund. 

In response to a request from the Alum- 
ni Association and the Alumni Fund Board, 
and recognizing the importance of the work 
of both of these groups, the university 
underscored its commitment to these areas 
by adding personnel. This has permitted 
the Alumni Affairs Office to reinvigorate its 
activities for students through the Student 
Alumni Society and to develop such new 
programs as the Alumni Gateway on WPI's 
World Wide Web site. The Gateway offers 
an online alumni directory, access to job 
listings, and class home pages. Likewise, 
the Alumni Fund has strengthened its com- 
mitment to young alumni through a more 
active "GOLD" (graduates of the last 

By John L. Heyl 

Vice President for University Relations 

decade) program and has actively begun to 
re-establish the Class Agents Program. 

The efforts of the Alumni Fund this past 
year yielded record results. According to 
Anne M. McPartland Dodd 75, chair of the 
Alumni Fund Board, the fund "crushed" its 
1995-96 goal of $2.25 million, raising 
$2,630,230, plus $3 14,489 in matching gifts 
(the total exceeded the record of $2.25 mil- 
lion set in 1994). Incidentally, the Fund 

The efforts of the Alumni Fund 

this past year yielded record 

results. According to 

Anne M. McPartland Dodd '75", 

chair of the Alumni Fund 

Board, the fund ^crushed" 

its 1995-96 goal. 

Board has set an ambitious target of $3.2 
million for the current fund year; the board 
also hopes to see the participation rate for 
the fund rise from 25 percent in 1995-96 to 
30 percent in 1996-97. 

The extraordinary gifts of two anniver- 
sary classes were important contributors to 
the fund's success. At Reunion in 1996, 
President Edward Parrish, on behalf of the 
university, accepted two gifts, each in excess 
of $1 million. The Class of 1946 raised an 
amazing $1,430,000, a total that represented 
the participation of 58 percent of the class. 
The unrestricted portion will go toward the 
planned campus center. The class of 1956 
raised $753,304; an anonymous class mem- 
ber pledged to match the total, bringing the 
final tally to $1,546,162. Nearly half of the 
unrestricted portion will go toward the 
West Street pedestrian plaza; the balance 
will fund a new multimedia computer labo- 
ratory. (Anniversary class gifts are raised 

over a three-year period, so only a portion 
of the gifts was actually counted in this 
year's fund total. Both class gifts included 
interest and corporate matching gifts.) 

The President's Advisory Council also 
had a banner year. The 270 members of the 
PAC — a group of alumni, parents and 
friends who make yearly gifts of $1,500 — 
contributed over $2 million, or some 78 per- 
cent of the Alumni Fund total. Both of these 
figures represent new records. During 
the current year, WPI is observing the 
25th anniversary of the founding of this 
most generous group. 

A major new initiative of our office 
is to increase the university's visibility 
and recognition. We have developed a 
marketing strategy through which we 
will focus our energies on a limited 
number of specific target markets. In 
a parallel effort, we will work to place 
WPI before audiences when and where 
our message will not be drowned out 
by the marketing programs of other 
competing institutions. We are fortunate to 
have received both guidance and financial 
support from a number of trustees; with that 
support, we have hired PepperCom, a public 
relations firm, to work with us in this under- 
taking, which we hope will help WPI 
achieve a level of recognition equal to its 
superb quality. 

Preparations are also under way for a 
new capital campaign. While still in the ear- 
ly planning stages, it is already clear that this 
fund drive will be a volunteer effort of sig- 
nificant proportions. Seeking funds for goals 
that are linked directly to needs developed 
through a communitywide strategic plan- 
ning effort (see page 16), the campaign will 
reach out to all alumni and friends of WPI. 
Trustees and other especially close friends 
will begin to solicit each other in the spring. 
Simultaneously, we will begin to organize 
class committees for an official major cam- 
paign launch, planned for the spring of 1998. 



,iMMMm " M ' M ' 

«.^ a ^. u^^m^^^^^^Mw^.-^^. 

December 1996 

Make the 

As hard as we work, the staff of the 
Office of University Relations can- 
, not do the entire joh of advancing 
the mission of WPI, raising resources 
to assure its continued growth and 
development, and serving the needs of 
our alumni. We depend on the energy, 
skills, knowledge and enthusiasm of a 
remarkable team of volunteers, includ- 
ing the men and women who serve on 
the Board of Trustees, the Executive 
Committee of the Alumni Association, 
the Alumni Council, the many Alumni 
Association working committees, and 
the Alumni Fund Board. Listed below 
are just a few of the leaders of the uni- 
versity's many volunteer boards and 

Anne M. McPartland Dodd 75 
Chair, Alumni Fund Board 

Patricia A. Graham Flaherty 75 
Chair, Alumni Survey Committee 

Peter H. Horstmann '55 
Vice Chair, WTI Board of Trustees 

August C. Kellerman '46 
Chair, Class of 1946 50th Anniversary Gift 

Allen H. Levesque '59 
President, WPI Alumni Association 

Robert B. Maynard Jr. '63 
Chair, WTI Alumni Association Master 
Plan Committee 

Peter D. McDermott 73 

Alumni Liaison, WTI Venture Forum 

Samuel W. Alencow '37 
Chair, Alumni Publications Committee 

Patrick T. Moran '65 
Chair, Class Boards of Directors 

John M. Nelson 
Chair, WTI Board of Trustees 

Henry W. Nowick '57 
Chair, President's Advisory Council 

Roger N. Perry Jr. '45 
President, Tech Old Timers 

Harry W. Tennev Jr. '56 
Chair, Class of 1956 40th Anniversary Gift 

Harlan B. Williams '50 
Chair, Alumni Online Service 

Ronald L. Zarrella 71 
Vice Chair, WTI Board of Trustees 

19 9 5 


WPI gratefully acknowledges the support of the thousands of individuals, foundations and 
corporations whose contributions of $9,953,504 in cash and gifts-in-kind through the 
Alumni Fund, the Parents Fund, minicampaigns and general development efforts during 
the 1995-96 fiscal year (July 1, 1995, to June 30, 1996) are already at work making WPI a 
stronger and more outstanding institution. Space does not permit the listing of all their 
names. An additional $1,976,746 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 above 

Fstate of Phyllis E. Aldrin '15 


Estate of Anna Flarrington 

Commonwealth of 

Robert A. Foisie '56 
The Foxboro Company 
Estate of Laura E. Hansen 76 
Hewlett-Packard Company 
Howmet Turbine 

Components Corp. 
MCAE Inc. 

Alfred A. Molinari Jr. '63 
Peter B. Myers '46 
Duane D. Pearsall 
Estate of William R. Steur 
George I. Alden Trust 
United Technologies Corp. 
Gordon E. Walters '54 

$25,000 to $99,999 

Analog Devices Inc. 
Mrs. David C.Bailey '25 
Robert H.Beckett '57 
Ernest Bernstein '56 
Martin G. Bromberg '5 1 
Robert G. Chaplick '45 
China Technical 

Consultants Inc. 
Cognex Corporation 
Corning Inc. 

Wilfred L. DeRocherJr. '47 
Dining and Kitchen 

Administration Inc. 
Exxon Education Foundation 
Ruth H. & Warren A. 

Ellsworth Foundation 
Fairlawn Foundation 
Hoche-Scofield Foundation 
Mildred H. McEvoy 

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 
General Electric Foundation 
Raymond R. Hagglund '56 
Daniel J. Harrington Jr. '50 
Milton P. Higgins 
Mr. & Mrs. William Henry 

Hough ^'88 
IBM Corporation 

Rolf Jensen & Associates 
Charles C.Johnston '57 
August C. Kellermann '46 
William M.Lester '28 
Medical Advances Inc. 
Motorola Inc. 
Norton Company 
Raymond J. Perreault '38 
Procter & Gamble Company 
Richard Proutv 
Raytheon Company 
James A. Robertson '26 
Estate of Percy Clayton 

Smith '07 ' 
L. S. Starrett Company 
John H. Sylvester '30 
Richard A. Lufkin Trust 
WPI Alumni Association 
Xerox Corporation 

$10,000 to $24,999 


Mrs. .Arthur H. Burr '29 
CIGNA Corporation 
EdwardS. Coe Jr. '31 
Daniel I. Coifman '67 
Henry J. Ezen '49 
Robert H. Farwell '46 
Raymond J. Forkey '40 
Coleman Foundation Inc. 
George F. & Sybil H. Fuller 

The Macamor Foundation 
Michael M. Galbraith '58 
Irving B. Gerber '44 
The Gillette Company 
GTE Corporation 
Michael S. Gutman '58 
Hartford Steam Boiler 

Inspection and 

Insurance Co. 
Harold F. Henrickson '36 
Richard K. Home '48 
David W. Hoskinson '57 
Ingersoll-Rand Company 
Arthur R. Koerber '40 
Gordon B. Lankton 
Raymond C. Lewis '30 
Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. 
Myles McDonoueJi 

James G. McKernan '48 
Neles-Jamesbury Corporation 
David P. Norton '62 
I loward O. Painter Jr. '58 
Peerless Pump Company- 
Polaroid Corporation 
Estate of David M. Raab '61 
William W. Rawstron '57 
John T. Rushton '39* 
Daniel H. Sheingold '48 
Raymond B. Shlora '40 
Mrs. Stanley J. Slater '29 
Estate of Francis R. Snow '26 
The Torrington Company 
Charles A. Tyson '57 
John G. Underhill '44 
University of Massachusetts 
Irwin T. Vanderhoof '48 
Thomas M. Zajac '46 
Ronald L. Zarrella 71 

$5,000 to $9,999 

George W. Allen '48 
Diran Apelian 
Paul R. Beswick '57 
Robert J. Boyea '58 
Murray A. Cappers Jr. '57 
Mrs. B. Austin Coatesjr. '35 
Dr. & Mrs. Noel L. 

Cohen p'90 
Data Translation Inc. 
James S. Demetry '58 
Mrs. Dwight Dwinell '34 
Estate of D. Victor 

Edwards '46 
Paul E. Evans '48 
Neil A. Fitzgerald '38 
F. H. Daniels Foundation Inc. 
Dale G. Freygang 74 
Albert S. Goldberg '48 
Michael G. Gordon '56 
Alfred E. Green '45 
Walter J. Grimala '46 

p parent(s)ofWPI 

gp parent(s) of WPI 
graduate students/ 

* deceased 

WTI Journal 


I 1995-96WPI 



Eric A. Hahn '80 

T. Roger Danielson '58 

James S. Adams '49 

Lee P. Hacked: '61 

Milton E. Ross '40 

Steven C. Halstedt '68 

C. Marshall Dann '35 

Allendale Mutual Insurance 

David H. Hall '68 

Frederick D. Rucker '81 

John P. Harding '47 
Kenneth E. 

Hermance Sr. '57 

1 lelen C. Davidson 


James R. Hall 76 

Philip B. Ryan '65 

Michael A. DiPierro '68 

Robert C. Appenzeller '46 

Leslie B. Harding '41 

George E. Saltus '53 

Gerald T. Dyer '56 
Leland P. Ekstrom '42 

Mihran A. Aroian '80 
Herbert Asher '44 

Warren G. Harding '42 
Francis S. Harvey '37 

Robert W. Schramm '46 
Donald J. Schulz'61 

John E. Hossack '46 

Warner S. Fletcher 

Philip G. Atwood '37 

Stephen J. Hebert '66 

David M. Schwaber '65 

Hughes Aircraft Company 

John F. Gabranski '75 

Gerald R. Backlund '55 

Thomas S. Heefner '61 

Allan P. Sherman '61 

Larry Israel '61 

Milton W. Garland '20 

Bruce M.Bailey '51 

Jay P. Hochstaine '62 

William F. Shields '64 

William A. Johnson '56 

William F. Gess Jr. '58 

Banta Corporation 

Hoechst Celanese Corp. 

Richard L. Sieron '55 

Roger A. Jolicoeur '58 
Paul N Kokulis '45 

Robert W. Goodfader '60 

Leon H. Bassett '51 

William D.Holcomb '38 

S. Merrill Skeist '40 

Bennett E. Gordon Jr. '65 

Paul W. Bayliss '60 

Peter H. Horsttnann '55 

H. Kerner Smith 

1 .1(11 IX* XV.UM41JO T J 

Estate of Richard 
Lamothe '61 

Donald J. Grenier '55 
Allan C. Hamilton Jr. '56 

C. Edward Bean '44 
Bechtel Group Inc. 

Holbrook L. Horton '29 
Wilfrid J. Houde'59 

Dr. Stedman W. Smith '36 
Smith & Nephew 

Francis L. Harrington '35 

L. Thomas Benoit Jr. '66 

Industrial Risk Insurers 

Richards Inc. 

Alan G. Larsson '56 

Robert W. Henderson '48 

Harvey A. Berger '58 

Intellution Inc. 


Richard C. Lawton '46 

William H. Hopf'58 

Donald F. Berth '57 

George E.Johnson Jr. '48 

Frans E. Strandberg '39 

C.John Lindegrenjr. '39 

Clayton E. Hunt Jr. '34 

Rene R. Bertrand '57 

Chandler W.Jones '26 

John W. Sutcliffe '38 

Lockheed Martin 

Rolf H.Jensen 

Louis A. Blanchard '57 

Charles F.Jones '48 

Robert M. Taft '38 

Carlton G. Luttsjr. '46 
McDonnell Douglas 

T-> 1 

Margaret N. Kalenian 

John Lott Brown '46 

Robert C. Keenan 70 

Claude-Alain Tardy 

Paul S. Kennedy '67 

Brown & Williamson 

John F. Kelley III '65 

W. Gordon Thatcher '40 

Hans H. Koehl '56 
Gershon Kulin '48 

Tobacco Corp. 
Daniel A. Bundza '57 

Douglas O. Kendrick '60 
William A. Kerr '60 

David T. Van Covern '53 
Helen G. Vassallo '82 


Mrs. Raymond J. 

Harold D.Burt '33 

Douglas W. Klauber '67 

Romeo J. Ventres '48 

Lawrence A. Minkoff '69 

Laferriere '47 

John K Busada '39 

Victor E. Kohman '43 

Davis S. Watson '46 

Mobil Foundation Inc. 

Eino O. Leppanen '32 

Richard S. Carrara '63 

Joseph A. Lagana '67 

Richard T. Whitcomb '43 

Morgan Construction Co. 

Allen H. Levesque '59 

Wilder R. Carson '39 

Walter E. Lankau Jr. '64 

David H. White 75 

Mrs. Romeo Moruzzi 

Andrew F. Manzi '56 

Brian D. Chace '69 

John H. Lauterbach '66 

Leonard H. White '41 

Walter O. Muller '46 

Marsh & McLennan 

CIBA-GEIGY Corporation 

John B. Lawson '63 

Philip A. Wild '50 

John M. Nash '56 
John M. Nelson 

Companies Inc. 

Edwin B. Coghlin Jr. '56 

Thomas E. Lempges '46 

Plummer Wiley '35 

Peter J. Martin '62 
Joseph C. Molder 

Charles H. Cole '30 
Thomas A. Corcoran 

Charles L. Loveridgejr. '48 
Arthur J. LoVetere '60 

Richard B. Wilson '39 
WMX Technologies Inc. 

Henry W. Nowick 56 

George R. Morin '46 

Herbert W. Coulter III '70 

Joseph J. Maggi '67 

Donald N. Zwiep 


National Fire Protection 

George A. Cowan '41 

Louis J. Marsella '56 

$1,000 to $1,499 

Alex C. Papianou '57 


Gordon F. Crowther '37 

Zareh Martin '40 

Arthur L. Pike '48 

New England Power 

Henry S. C. 

Robert E. Maynard Jr. '63 

Estate of Milton H. 

Pittway Corporation 

Service Co. 

Cummingsjr. '50 

Peter D. McDermott 73 

Aldrich '28 

Richard F. Propst '46 
William C. Rogler Jr. '57 
Sean D. S. Sebastian '83 

New York Stock Exchange 

William D. Cunningham '77 

Thomas G. McGee '64 

Alza Corporation 

William J. O'Neil '58 

Earl M. Curtis '36 

James E. McGinnis '41 

Andersen Consulting 

Edmund S. Oshetsky '46 

C. Chapin Cuder Sr. '37 

John M. McHugh '56 

Aphios Corporation 

Eric Ostergaard '56 

Cytec Industries Inc. 

Samuel W. Mencow '37 

Erving Arundale '37 

J. Morrison Smith '37 

Julius A. Palley '46 

Thomas R. d'Errico '41 

BehrendsMesserJr. '43 

Jonathan R. Barnett 74 

Mrs. Ernest J. Souza '56 

Edward A. Parrish 

Walter G. Dahlstrom '36 

Charles R. Michel '37 

Mrs. Robert M. Bendett '42 

George P. Strom '56 

Pfizer Inc. 

Richard A. Davis '53 

Bruce D. Minsky 77 

Carl W. Bergman Jr. '46 

Donald Taylor '49 

F. David Ploss III '70 

Robert M. Delahunt '56 

Robert B. Mirick '39 

Gerald J. Bibeault '42 

A.J. Gifford Charitable 

PNC Bank 

Albert M. Demont'31 

Monsanto Fund 

The Boeing Co. 


Henry B.Pratt '32 

Robert L. Diamond '56 

Francis C. Moore '33 

Craig F. Bradley '69 

Estate of George A. 
Walker '22^ 

Walter A. Reibling'54 

Walter G. Dick '49 

David L. Nickerson '54 

Joseph D. Bronzino '59 

Raymond J. Remillard '49 
Stephen E. Rubin '74 

Anne M. McPartland 
Dodd '75 

Judith Nitsch 75 
Robert W. O'Brien '38 

Harrison K Brown '39 
Jeffrey E. Burek 76 

Frank E. Weeks '46 

Sara Lee Corporation 

William J. Dowd '64 

Robert J. O'Malley '39 

John P. Burgarella '50 

WPI Worcester County 

Lawrence F. Scinto '5 1 

William W. Durgin 

Mark F. O'Neil '80 

Kevin J. Burke '60 


Kenneth W. Shiatte '53 

Larry Dworkin '58 

VernerR. Olson '35 

Allan E. Carlson '57 

Wyman-Gordon Co. 

Harry W. Simpson '58 

John E. Edfors '55 

Francis J. Oneglia '42 

Richard M. Chapman '58 

Robert A. Yates '57 

The Stanley Works 

Cornelius J. Enrightjr. '60 

George B. Ordway '66 

Chevron Corporation 

Jon C. Strauss 

Gerald Finkle '57 

John A. Pelli 70 

Edward H. Coburnjr. '48 

$2,500 to $4,999 

Alvin E. Tanner '57 

Niel I. Fishman '48 

Edward H. Peterson '43 

Robert F. I. Conte '57 

Air Products & 

Texaco Inc. 

Martin R. Flinkjr. '45 

Ralph W. Piper Jr. '42 

Estate of Zelma E. Crane '25 

Chemicals Inc. 

J. Headen Thompson '36 

Ford Motor Company Fund 

Sherman K Poultney '58 

Crompton & Knowles Corp. 

Paul A. Allaire '60 

Francis G. Toce '60 

Foundry Educational 

John W. Powers '6 1 

D.J. Mungovan 

Allmerica Financial 

JohnM. Tracy '52 


Paul I. Pressel '44 

Trucking Inc. 

Richard A. Barlow '57 

John T.Wilson '65 

Anson C. Fyler '45 

William Price '37 

David B. Denniston '58 

James L. Bartlett Jr. '39 

Carl G. Zenger 

Edward L. Gallini '57 

Windle B. Priem '59 

William P. Densmore '45 

Albert D. Battista '56 

**»» j ^b *>*. ^x. ■ *K *» » *■■». r^. 

C. Stewart Gentsch '58 

Public Service Electric 

Joseph B. Dzialo 76 

Bell Adantic Corporation 

$1 ,500 to $2,499 

Mrs. Joseph Glasser '35 

& Gas Co. 

Ericsson Inc. 

Henry J. Bove '47 

George T. Abdow '53 

James W. Green '56 

Joaquim S.S. Ribeiro '58 

Peter R. Fenner '64 

James L. Carr Jr. 74 

Walter L.Abel '39 

Joel P. Greene '69 

Kenneth W. Roberts '68 

James C. Ferguson '41 

Frederick J. Costello '59 

Michael L. Abrams '77 

Richard M. Gross '69 

John E. Rogerson '42 

Richard J. Ferguson '57 


December 1996 

"""-"•- •*-"■ 

.■^.- ,,.,^IV.,-.AI > . l .^.|.,l M ,*>^.,»,«»»«,».l.. m t J .».1>. 


Robert (i. Ferguson '48 
Fluor Corporation 

Atwater Kent Inundation 
I [oward B. France '46 
Kurt H. France '57 
( i. Eric Friberg '57 
John P. Gagliardo '46 
I ■'. ( Hark Gesswein '64 
Paul B. Grautski '84 
Robert A. Gregorio '7 ( > 
Estate of Samuel |. 

Joseph M. Halloranjr. '40 
William F. I lanson '32 
Donald B. Hayward '58 
Hercules Incorporated 
Joachim Herz '54 
Neil M. Hodes 70 
Hyde Manufacturing Co. 
Intel Corp. 
M Howard Jacobson 
Timothy C.Johnson '71 
Arthur T. Katsaros '69 
Stuart C. Kazin '6 1 
Paul J. Keating II '64 
Richard D. Kirk '54 
Lothar W.Kleiner 70 
Mrs. Wilmer Kranich 
Carl W. Lewin '39 
George A. Makela '35 
James H. Maloney Jr. '46 
Mr. & Mrs. F. William 

Marshall Jr. p'90 
Christopher F. Martin '53 
Robert W. Matchett '56 
James S. Mathews '55 
Robert E. Mcintosh Jr. '62 
Merck & Co. Inc. 
Paul E.Nelson '32 
Northeast Nuclear 

Energy Co. 
Northeast Utilities 

Service Co. 
John F. O'Brien 
Ronald B. Paris '46 
Howard B. Pritz '58 
Richard A. Prokop '37 
John W. Putis Jr. '80 
Manuel Renasco '46 
Mr. & Mrs. John B. 
Robinson p'78 
Rockwell International 
Robert F. Shannon '50 
Peter W. Sinz 

Herbert H. Slaughter Jr. '46 
Edward H. Smith '46 
Paul W.Snyder '53 
Spag's Supply 
Harvey W. Spence /j'74 
George V. Spires III '64 
Sports Alive 
Edward T. Swierz '47 
Edward J. Sydor '50 
David E. Szkutak 79 
Joan M. Bolduc Szkutak 79 
Donald A. Tart 72 
United Illuminating Co. 

Edward J. Waranowicz '46 
Warner-Lambert Company 
Westvaco Corporation 

Estate of Hester D. 

Harold E. White '39 

$250 to $999 

Abbott Laboratories 

Donald II. Adams '52 
Joseph I). Adams Jr. '76 

\ctna Lite & Casualty Co. 

\n \ Water rechnologies Corp. 

Paul R. Alasso '54 

Amory A. Aldrich Jr. '61 
James A. Allien '59 
Mansour Alipour-Fard '88 
Allegro Microsystems Inc. 
( )wen F. Allen '54 
Robert A. Allen '59 
Allied-Signal Foundation Inc. 
Mis. Jonathan B. Allured '42 
Raymond L. Alveyjr. '50 
American Express Company 
Arthur W. Anderson '57 
G.Albert Anderson '51 
Edgar C. Ansaldi '32 
David L. Anthony '48 
Apple Computer Inc. 
Bourdillon Apreala 76 
John J. Aquino Jr. '58 
Merico E. Argentari '70 
Neil VV. Armstrong '57 
John E. Arnold 79 
Ashland Oil Inc. 
AT&T Global Information 
John H. Atchison Jr. '57 
Augat Inc. 

Michael C. Auger 79 
Mr. & Mrs. Brian Azevedo pW 
William E. Bachmann '50 
CarlW.Backstrom '30* 
Frank C. Baginski '45 
Everett E. Bagley '52 
Roy E. Baharian '44 
Norman E. Baker '50 
Kenneth E. Baker Sr. '52 
Edwin G. Baldwin '45 
William F. Balutis '66 
Walter J. Bank '46 
C. R. Bard Inc. 
Barnett Banks Inc. 
Carl P. Baron 77 
Nicholas J. Barone '65 
John H. Barrett Jr. '46 
Wayne R.Barry '81 
Robert W. Batchelder '49 
Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Bates p'97 
Frank L. Baumgardner '46 
Bay Networks Inc. 
Edward J. Bayon '3 1 
Paul G. Beaudet '68 
Robert A. Beaudet '57 
Paul H. Beaudrv '49 
David S. Becker '56 
G. Standish Beebe '34 
SalvatoreJ. Bellassai '42 
BellSouth Services Inc. 
Bemis Company Inc. 
Carl H. BenkerIII'91 
Keith R. Bennett 76 
Carl F. Benson '36 
Marcia J. Huber Berg 79 
Donald P. Bergstrom '6S 
Paul H. Bergstrom '38 
Eugene R. Bertozzijr. '38 
AldenJ. Bianchi 74 
Charles N. Bissell '34 

Mrs. llaroldS. Black '21 
John R. Black '53 
Black (Sc Decker Corporation 
Kenneth R. ISI.usdcll '40 
Henry S. Blauvelt '39 
Laurence E. Blomstrom '56 
Paula Mesne Bordogna '80 
Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. 

Boston Edison Co. 
Harold 1). Boutelle'20 
David P. Bova '63 
Russell P. Bradlau '49 
John W. Bialcvjr. '57 
John R. Brand '36 
Ronald S. Brand '40 
James K. Breed '45 
Fred J. Brennan '49 
FredT. BrierlyJr. '42 
Alan K. Briggs 76 
Stephen J. Brodeur '68 
Frederick G. Broshjeit '59 
John). Brosnihan '67* 

Stephen B. Biouncll '64 
William A. Brutsch '62 
James R. Buchanan '60 
Gasper Buffa 74 
Philip G. Bufiinton '49 
Ciary S. Bujaucius 77 
Richard F. Burke Jr. '38 
Donald M. Burness '39 
Thomas I. Burns 74 
.Allan!'. Burosjr. '67 
Clifford W. Burwick '56 
Scott J. Bun '88 
Robert H. Cahill '65 
Philip J. Cameron HI 79 
Henry J. Camosse '53 
Donald W. Campbell 74 
Edwin C. Campbell '43 
Campbell Soup Company 
Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Capek /?'98 
Capital Cities/ ABC Inc. 
Dana B. Carleton '32 
Carl H. Carlson '29 
Curtis R. Carlson '67 
Allen S. Camicke 75 
Caroline McNerney Carr 
Penny Bergmann Carter 76 
John P. Casey 76 
William P. Casey Jr. 76 
Paul M. Casde '66 
Benjamin R. Chadwick '3 1 
Gordon J. Chaffee '42 
Ronald H. Chand '65 
R. Ross Chapin Jr. '5 1 
Walter J. Charow '49 
Frank T. Check Jr. '68 
Paul A. Christian 73 
Church & Dwight 

Company Inc. 
George A. Clark 74 
Jennifer A. Pollard Clark 78 
James R. Clarke III '57 
David S. Clayton '65 
Clorox Company Foundation 
Samuel W. Cocks '48 
Richard A. Coffey Jr. '5 I 
Commonwealth Edison 

Commonwealth Gas Co. 
George E. Comstock '46 
Consolidated Edison of 

New York 
John J. Concordia '48 
Connecticut Mutual Life 

Insurance Co. 
William R. Cooper '67 
John A. Coppola '49 
Glenn P. Corbett '91 
John R. Corf '46 

Allan J. ( lostantin '54 
Mr. & Mrs. David R. 
John B.Covle'35 
Donald G.Craig '57 
Walter f.Crandall '40 
Bruce T. Croft 75 
Philip B. Crommelinjr. '52 
William J. Cronin Jr. 77 
Marshall W. Cross '64 
Kevin J. Crossen 7 5 
Robert ( aishman 
Peter J. Dalton'49 
Birino D'Ambrosio '58 
Bernard R. Danti '56 
Warren H. Davenport '34 
Michael A. Davis '62 
Davis Corporation of Worcester 
Elisabeth M. Day p'97 
Debra R. Weinstein Dean '83 
John L. Dehnert '59 
Gene E. Dejackoinc 74 
William A DeIphos74 

Deluxe Corporation foundation 
Christopher ( '.. Dennison '80 
John K. Derby '56 
Allen R. Deschere '38 
Dexter Corporation 
RichardJ. DiBuono '62 
Dickens Fellowship of Palo Alto 
Arthur M. Dickey '65 
Monroe M. Dickinson Jr. '52 
Mario P. DiGiovanni 75 
Michael J. Dolan 75 
Marylou D. Place Domino '81 
Michael W. Donahue '90 
John E. Donnelly '61 
DOW Chemical Company 
David A. Drab '85 
Athena Dratelis '86 
Robert W. Dreyfoos '80 
Raymond G. Dube '64 
Dun & Bradstreet Corporation 
Mr. & Mrs. John 

Dunkelberg Sr. />'92 
.Alfred L.Dunklee '61 
Linda S. Dunn '84 
Duracell Inc. 
Andrew F. Durette '69 
Robert H. Dutson 74 
Eastern Enterprises 
Robert M. Edgerly '45 
Charles J. Egan '34 
Edward W. Eidt Jr. '57 
Eli Lilly & Company 
Franklin P. Emerson '49 
Richard E. Epstein '63 
Stuart J. Erickson '80 
Wayne N. Fabricius '68 
Factory Mutual System 
William R. Fado '62 
David R. Fairbanks '52 
Michael T. Falcinelli 79 
Robert L. Favreau '52 
Oscar A. FickJr. '38 
John J. Fitzgibbonsjr. 75 
John M. FitzPatrick 75 
Virginia Giordano FitzPatrick 75 
Patricia A. Graham Flaherty 75 
Robert J. Flaherty '85 
Donald L. Fogg '39 
.Alan S. Foss '52 
George F. Foxhall '61 
Gerda Frank 
Howard G. Freeman '40 
Linda S. Fritz 74 
Richard W. Frost '62 
Richard C. Furman '69 
John J. Gabarro '61 
Michael Gaffin '55 
Cynthia L. Gagnon '82 

Bradle) I .Gale '64 
Robert 1 .Galligan'57 
( reorge I ' Jamache '68 
Richard I . ( rates '52 
John C. Gavin '69 
I heodore I . ( .a/da '46 
John 1 1. ( Jearin '53 
( reorgia Powei 
David M. (.uldings 75 
David F.Gilbert '54 
Paul R Glazier '37 

Kenneth E ( .Irason Sr. '33 
Charles \. ( .oddard '63 
Arthur I GoddardH'63 
Edward M Gonsalves '81 
John R. Goodwin '55 
( roodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 
Alexander L. Gordon '36 
Saul Gordon '50 
Denise ( '.. ( iorski 75 
Willard T.Gove '40 
\\ R.Grace&Co. 
I lioinas B. Craves 76 
I eland E. Gray Jr. '48 
John B. Greenstreet 75 
( Jeorge D. ( freenwood '34 
Robert M. Griffin '58 
Michael E.Grilli '67 
R. Reed Grimwade '50 
William R. Grogan '46 
Daniel B. Grossman 79 
Prescott E. Grout '46 
Harold B. Guerci '48 
Charles E. Gunn '56 
Berton H. Gunter '68 
Alan R. Gustafson '57 
James G. Hackendorf '60 
Earle A. N. Hallstrom '50 
Robert N. Hamilton '46 

Janet L. Hammarstrom '80 
Timothy B. Hardy '85 
Bradford J. Harper '59 
Hartford Insurance Company- 
Philip J. Hastings '42 
DanielJ. Hastings Jr. '37 
Philip K. Hathaway '38 
Richard E. Hathaway '50 
RoswellJ. Heald'62' 
Herbert S. Hebel '59 

John F. Henrickson '65 
Peter M. Herron '67 
Leonard Hershoff '43 
Eric B. Hertz 77 
Robert W. Hewey '40 

Mr. & Mrs. Walter 
Hewitson p'94 

JohnL. Heyl 

Merrill W. Higgins '42 
Richard H. Hill '83 

William II. Hills '54 

David H. Hoercher '80 

George L. Hogeman 

Franklin K. Holbrook '43 

Paul C. Holden '48 

Hollingsworth & Vose Co. 

Ralph H. Holmes '37 

Honeywell Fund 

Glendon C. Home '62 

Richard B. Hosmer '61 

Houghton Mifflin Co. 

Household International Inc. 

Raymond K. Houston '38 

John F. Howe Jr. '57 


Thomas F. Humphrey '59 

Harold W. Humphreyjr. '39 

Charles F. Hunnicutt '65 

Lewis W. Huntoon '62 

Daniel Hurley '80 

ITT Corporation 

Chester F. Jacobson '59 

WPI Journal 


19 9 5-96 W P 1 



John P. Jacobson '65 

Mr. & Mrs. James S. 

Terence P. O'Coin '83 

EdwardJ. Roszko '39 

John W Sztukajr. 70 

David A. Jacqmin 78 

Lovering Sr. p'9ft 

Mr. & Mrs. Francis E. 

Sheldon W. Rothstein '61 

Stanley Szymanski '64 

Eugene A. Jakaitis '52 

Peter H. Lukesh '66 

O'Connell />'89 

Paul A. Rougeau '63 

Thomas Szymanski 73 

JohnJ.Janas HI 79 

Richard J. Lyman '37 

Janet L. O'Leary '84 

Eugene L. Rubin '53 

Mr. & Mrs. George Talisse p'97 

Richard C.Jasper '41 

Otis E. Mace '31 

Brian J. O'RourkeJr. '86 

Walter J. Ruthenburg III '65 

Morris Tanenbaum 

George Jeas '52 

John Machonis Jr. '63 

Kenneth W. Oberg 70 

Edwin M. Ryan '41 

Thomas F. Taylor '69 

David S. Jenney '53 

W'ardD. MacKenzie'61 

Occidental Oil & Gas Corp. 

John P. Ryan Jr. '81 

Tech Old Timers 

Fritz E. Johanson '40 

Douglas B. MacLaren '54 

John F. Ogorzalek '61 

Elmer S. Sachse '46 

Edwin D. Tenney '59 

Mark L.Johnson 76 

Homer E. MacNutt Jr. '49 

Olin Corporation Charitable 

M. Michael Sadick '40 

Harry Terkanian '40 

Ronald L. Jones '69 

Frank A. MacPherson '5 1 


Scott L. Saftler 77 

Chrysanthe Demetry 

Kevin E.Joyce '56 

Roger H. Maddocks '63 

David N.Olson '57 

Patricia A. Pfeiffer Salamone 75 

Terwilliger '88 

Arthur W.Joyce Jr. '50 

Ellen E. Madigan '92 

Richard S. Olson '65 

Donald R. Sanders '49 

Texas Instruments Foundation 

Jaakjurison '54 

Daniel Maguire '66 

Robert E. Olson '55 

Donald F. Sanger '62 

Textron Inc. 

Peter Kali] '4'* 

Thomas F. Mahar Jr. '55 

Roy H.Olson '51 

Edward A. Saulnier '59 

Peter A. Thacher 74 

Stephen J. Kaneb '82 

John F. Mahoney 

Irving F. Orrell Jr. '51 

Alice A. Savler 74 

Thiokol Corporation 

Samuel B. Kaplan '39 

Mr. & Mrs. Mark A. 

OSRAM Sylvania Inc. 

Walter C. Scanlon '50 

Leo J. Thomas 

Carl H. Karlsson '60 

Mahonev 74 p'9} 

Joseph J. Osvald '65 

Warren H. Schafer '38 

Ronald E. Thompson Jr. '82 

Benjamin H. Katcoff'71 

Paul R. Malnati '66 

Pacific Telesis Group 

Herbert S. Schiller 77 

Vernon Tirey 

Daniel B. Katz '45 

Steven E. Mandell 79 

Mr. & Mrs. Charles T. 

John H. Schmidt '64 

Joseph A. Toce 70 

Frank H. Kean Jr. '33 

John F. ManningJr. '80 

Packard p'89 

Richard G. Schmitt '52 

Tomkins Corporation 

Francis E. Kearney '50 

William E.Mansfield '51 

Robert A. Painter '43 

Steven H. Schoen 76 


John H. Keenan '34 

John A. Marden '82 

John R. Palitsch 74 

Paul D. Schoonmaker '56 

David A. Tone '63 

Duncan K Keill '84 

Suzanne J. Call Margerum '81 

Cary A. Palulis '68 

Bruce E. Schoppe '60 

Gerard A. Toupin '66 

Jean Keller p'95 

George A. Marston '30 

Anan Panananda '60 

Edward Schoppe Jr. '55 

Towers Perrin Company 

David P. Kelly '82 

David R. Martin '68 

Armand L. Paquette '26 

Robert J. Schuitz '55 

TRW Inc. 

Eleanor M. Cromwick Kelly 

'81 Robert W.Martin '39 

Parker Hannifin Corp. 

Kenneth G. Schurzky '67 

Alden F. Tucker '52 

John F. Kellv '82 

Lawrence J. Martiniano 74 

Russell W. Parks '41 

David L. Schwartz 75 

Robert F. Turek '52 

Kevin J. Kelly 75 

Michele F. Mass 78 

ThomasJ. Passanisi '46 

Richard J. Schwartz 70 

Stephen J. Turek Jr. '44 

Francis E. Kennedvjr. '63 

Massachusetts Electric Company 

Harvey L. Pastan '49 

Wayne E. Schweidenback 73 

Daniel Turner '64 

Donald L. Kerr '65 

Massachusetts Financial Services 

R. Craig Pastore '69 

James L. Schwing 70 

Lee D. Turner 74 

Norman A. Kerr '42 

George W. Matarrese '57 

Arthur D. Patten '80 

Gregory A. Scott 77 

Turner Corp. 

Dr. FrancisJ. Kiernan 75 

Richard G. Mayer '40 

John D.Payne '81 

Second Chance Body Armor 

Oliver R. Underhilljr. '31* 

Osmond L. Kinney '35 

Mr. Raymond A. McDuffie p'95 

Donald J. Pearson '66 

Michael D. Shapiro '65 

US West Foundation 

Earl C. Klaubert '52 

William R.McLeod Jr. '58 

Roy A. Pearson Jr. '58 

Robert V. Sharkey '59 

Shirley Hossack Van Winkle 

Jeffrey P. Klofft '86 

Denis F. McQuillen '67 

Mr. & Mrs. Philip E. 

Jeffrey E. Shaw '68 

William VanHerwarde 75 

George W. Knauff '41 

HarryJ. Mehrer Jr. '46 


Kevin T. Shea '88 

Mr. & Mrs. Maurice Vidal p'89 

Marian C. Knight '58 

HaroldA.MeldenJr. '49 

Mrs. Julian B. Pendleton '25 

Mr. & Mrs. David B. 

Kenneth R. Wadland 72 

Mark G. Knights 77 

Brian C. Mellea 76 

Alton L. Penniman '51 

Sheldon p'99 

FrancisJ. Walsh Jr. '80 

William L. Knoblock '56 

Richard E. Mellor 74 

John H. Peters III '40 

Philip C. Sherburne '34 

Robert H. Warburton Jr. 78 

Antonie T. Knoppers 

Mr. & Mrs. Eduardo 

Donald W. Petersen Jr. '66 

Edwin Shivell '54 

Milton Y.Warner '30 

Steven G. Kochman '83 


Herbert S. Peterson '53 

Elizabeth R. Pennington 

Brian G. Wasko '82 

Victor A. Kolesh '41 

Richard T. Merrell'3 3 

William P. Peterson '56 

Sigety 75 

Burl S. Watson Ir. '49 

Peter P. Koliss '38 

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. 

Donald F. Pethybridge '38 

Elizabeth B. Siladi 

William A. Webb 

Mark A. Koretz 7 1 

Charles B. Miczek '46 

Philip Morris Inc. 

Steven J. Silva 76 

Mr. & Mrs. Spencer G 

Robert J. Kowal 73 

William L. Millettejr. '88 

Philips Electronics 

Robert A. Sinuc '66 

Weig gp 

Donald M. Krauss '52 

Millipore Corp. 

North America 

PaulS. Sledzik '61 

Robert A. Weiss '61 

James A. Kudzal 74 

Minnesota Mining & 

Halbert E. Pierce III '56 

Alan F. Smelewicz 79 

J. Richard Weiss Jr. '42 

Frederick]. Kull '46 

Manufacturing Co. 

Lawrence E. Pihl '66 

Everett P. Smith '40 

Estate of Katharine 

Albert J. Kullas'38 

Allen M. xMintz '48 

Robert E. Pill '59 

Harold F. Smith '56 

Wellington '95 

Kenneth N. Kummins 78 

Harry L. Mirick Jr. '54 

Eric O. Pisila '67 

Robert W. Smith '69 

Axel H. Wendin '26 

M. Leonard Kuniholm '38 

John L. Mooshian '29 

Richard B. Plummer '67 

Dennis E. Snay '63 

Elliot F. Whipple '67 

David A. Kuniholm Jr. '69 

Philip R. Morgan 

Polar Beverages 

Fred S. Snively '60 

Robert J. Whipple 

Edward P. Kurdziel '80 

Gerald F. Morris '65 

Gary G. Pontbriand 74 

Eric W Soderberg '35 

Howard P. Whittle '54 

Mitsuo Kuwada '83 

Morton International Inc. 

Richard R. Poole 78 

Earl C. Sparks III '66 

Howard A. Whittum '34 

David H. Laananen '64 

Mr. & Mrs. Gregory A. 

Albert P. Popoli 73 

Warren A. Spence 74 

George E. Whitwell 77 

M. Stephen Lajoie '64 

Moser p'95 

Richard D. Popp '54 


Charles F. Willett '46 

Peter A. Lajoie '60 


EdwardJ. Power Jr. '54 

Warren R. Standley '63 

Robert S. Williamson '3 1 

Leonard B. Landall '39 

Charles F. Mulrenan '51 

Foster C. Powers '37 

Roger C. Staples '48 

Donald M. Wood II '63 

Theresa B. Langevin 79 

Duncan W. Munro '5 1 

Robert E. Powers '45 

State Farm Company 

Bruce W. Woodford '61 

Robert Laplume '58 

Neal P. Murphy '85 

PPG Industries Foundation 


George W. Woodsum '46 

Alfred F. Larkinjr. '44 

William J. Museler '64 

David A. Pratt '56 

State Street Bank & Trust 

Charles E. Woodward '3 1 

Donald A. Larson 79 

William H. Nagel '53 

Mr. & Mrs. Gaetano Pucillo p'9 1 


Burton G. Wright '43 

Law Engineering 

Nalco Chemical Company 

Quabaug Rubber Company 

John E. Stauffer '60 

John D. Writer '51 

Stephen R. Lawry '80 

Anthony P. Napikoski '80 

Robert K. Quattrochi '49 

Peter G. Stebbins '66 

William E. Wvman '35 

Luther C. Leavitt '34 

Narragansett Electric Co. 

Raymond J. Quenneville '35 

Carl J. Stefanik '62 

YangXu '91 

EdwardJ. Ledden 74 

Sangeetha Neelakantiah '92 

Shelden H. Radin '58 

Peter J. Stephens '56 

Yinmin Yang 76 

Steven H. Leece '69 

Stanley P. Negus Jr. '54 

Donald P. Reed '28* 

J. Larry Stewart '46 

Joseph A. Yanikoski '87 

Peter H. Levine 

New England Business 

Norton S. Remmer '60 

Donald F. Stockwell '51 

Arthur Zavarella '30 

John A. Lewis '44 

Service Inc. 

John H. Reynolds '62 

Edward Stokel '46 

John B. Lewis '61 

New England Power Company 

LesterJ. Reynolds Jr. '50 

Francis E. Stone '40 

$125 to $249 

Lester L. Libby '35 

New York State Electric 

Laurent O. Rheault 79 

Stone & Webster Inc. 

Robert B. Abbe '38 

Lester N. Lintner '32 

& Gas Co. 

Charles M. Richardson '46 

Howard H. Street III '59 

Richard H. Ackley '46 

Charles Lipson '60 

J. Clayton Neyjr. 77 

Alan K. Riedel '48 

William F. Sullivan 

Michael J. Aghajanian '80 

Leon Lipton '48 

Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. 

Elaine M. Kokernak Ritchie '82 

Sun Microsystems Inc. 

John Albernaz 7 

Michael A. Littizzio '63 

William R. Nims '66 

Henry J. Rives '22 

Lance G Sunderlin 76 

Aluminum Company of 

Joseph W. Little '61 

Norfolk Southern Corp. 

George P. Rizzi '59 

Alan H. Suydam '67 

John VV. Loehmann 71 

Northern Telecom Inc. 

Nancy L. Roberts 77 

Roger W. Swanson '51 

Allegheny Ludlum 

Fred H. Lohrey '56 

S. Bailey Norton Jr. '43 

Thomas D. Rockwood 79 

Ronald A. Swanson '67 

Arthur H. Allen '42 

Joseph D. Lojewski '52 

William T. Nutter 73 

Richard L. Rodier '46* 

Willard M. Sweetser Jr. '63 

Lisa R. Ricker Allen '90 

Bruce G. Lovelace '68 

Torbjoern G. Nygaard 75 

Donald E. Ross '54 

Kenneth A. Swenson 78 

Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Allen p'97 

Walter O. Nygaard '38 

Louis J. Rossi '61 

David W. Swicker '46 

Frank M. Amazeen '67 


December 1996 


.im,m. !IMMn j a a C .« Mm .^^i M ^,^» m ..v»^, 

W&XStt'Wfft&RKt^^ *"•' 

E verettj. Ambrose Jr, '43 

Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Blakelyp'94 

Wayne P. ( Ihepren 74 

Lawrence F. Dennis '55 

Steven B. Fine 77 

William" 1.. \mes - 4: 

Walter V BlauJr. '35 

Paul B. Cherubim '67 

Donald J. Desaulniers '85 

Joseph B. Fitzgerald '88 

Janet \nderson '81 

GerryA-Blodgeo '69 

Robert E. Chiabrandy '53 

Charles J. DeSimoneJr. '65 

Michael A Fitzgerald 74 

Robert !•'.. \iulerson '68 

Joseph R. Blouin '45 

Edmund P. Chin '85 

Garrett 1 1. DeVlieg '65 

Mark J. FitzMaurice '81 

Chester L. Anderson Jr. '4 U 

Douglas P. Bobseine '68 

Francis A. Christiano II '91 

Anna Maria K. Diaz '83 

Kevin D. Flannery '89 

William G. Andrews Jr. '84 

Richard D. Bohigian '63 

1 !n \ ski Corp. 

S. Carlton Dickerman '40 

Pierre A. Fleurant 78 

Sonja M. Annecharico '90 

JohnT. Bok'70 

Francis A. Cichowskijr. '61 

Paul J. DiConza'88 

Frank L. Flood Jr. '52 

William L. Anthony Jr. '61 

Heidi S. Pivnick Bomengen 79 

Todd R. Cimino '84 

Anthony J. DiCiiovanni '58 

Florida Power & Light Co. 

Kenneth J. Anusavice '62 

Peter J. Bondy '67 

Mark J. Ciofh 78 

Michael DiMascio 75 

John W. Fondahl'45 

Allen F. Apel 77 

Richard D. Bourgault 78 

Henry J.Clark III '88 

James P. DiMilia 73 

Mr. & Mrs. John A. Fontaine p'98 

Daniel L. Appelbaum '88 

Robert L. Bourget '59 

Marcel H. Clavien '63 

Thomas E. Dinan Jr. 79 

Mr. & Mrs. Norman Forget p'W 

John O. Archibald Jr. '50 

F.douard S.P. Bouvier '55 

J. David Clayton '44 

Carl F. Dinge '59 

George 1 1. Forsberg '62 

( lharlotte Arsenault p'97 

Willard L. Bowen III *50 

Shawn A. Clayton '90 

Laura Zarrella Dion '83 

Clifford J. Forsterjr. '51 

G. Gilbert ^shwell '38 

Mr. & Mrs. Brian B. 

William H.Clogston '91 

Peter C. Dirksen Jr. '58 

Foster Wheeler Corp. 

Frank Aspin '42 

Bowler p'99 

Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Cloutier p'98 

Robert F. DiScipio 79 

James M. Fowler 78 

David J. Aspinwall 'so 

Cameron P. Boyd '69 

Robert N. Cochran '51 

Edward S. Dlugosz 74 

Edward W. Fox '40 

Emanuel S. Athanas '32 

Jack F. Boyd '39 

Mr. & Mrs. A. Frederick 

Joshua D. Dobbelaar '94 

Lorna J. Franco '85 

Anni 1 1. Autio '82 

Mr. &Mrs. Arthur C. 

Coleman p'96 

Donald W. Dodge '50 

Charles S. Frary III '65 

Mr. & Mrs. John K. Ayersgp 


William V. Collentro '66 

Glenn W. Dodwell 77 

Charles S. Fraryjr. '34 

BP America 

Francis J. Brady '67 

David R. Collette '67 

Mr. & Mrs. Herbert J. 

Joel N. Freedman '62 

Mr. & Mrs. Paul Backlundp'96 

Mr. & Mrs. Francis 

Commonwealth F.lectric Co. 


Walter C. Freeman '83 

Philip Backlund '57 

Bianco Sr. p'94 

John F. Conlonjr. '55 

Kevin G. Donahue '81 

Stanley Friedman '50 

James F. Bagaglio '70 

Mr. & Mrs. Justin ( !. 

John F. Conlon III '82 

PatrickJ. Donahue 78 

Henry F. Friel '3 1 

David C. Bailey Jr. 


The Connecticut Light 

Robert A. Donnan '48 

Steven J. Frymer '67 

Alfred F. Bakanowski '43 

Harold W. Brandes '43 

& Power Co. 

Dow Elanco 

Robert C. Fuller '81 

Mr. & Mrs. Walter A. 

Henry W. Brandt '60 

David A. Coombe '65 

John F\ Downes 78 

Robert D. Fulmerjr. '51 

Baker p'96 

Robert B. Brautigam '41 

Albert S. Corbin '30 

Allen G. Downs 75 

Gerard A. Gabriel 79 

Fred S. Baker in '73 

Mr. & Mrs. Harold 

Robert R. Cormier 76 

Gary R. Doyle 79 

James E. Gado 77 

Theodore A. Balaska '46 

Brennan Jr. p'97 

Rollin K. Corwin '65 

Paul J. Doyle Jr. '60 

Ronald C. Gagne '62 

Garry P. Balboni '74 

Mr. & Mrs. John P. 

Thomas Cosker '93 

Mr. & Mrs. Bruce G. 

Galileo Electro-Optics Corp. 

Robert A. Balducci '68 

Bresnahan p'98 

David J. Costa 


John F\ Gallagher '50 

Mr. & Mrs. HenryJ. 

Robert B. Bridgman '64 

William D. Coulopoulos '48 

Edward R. Drechseljr. '49 

Andrea D. Gallant '85 


Oliver G Briggsjr. 70 

John D. Coupe '53 

Dresser Industries Inc. 

Michael G. Galleram 79 

Michael P. Banic '87 

David S. Brin '84 

Michael Cowperthwaite '87 

Donald R. Drew 75 

Willard A. Gallotte '24 

Bank of Boston 

Erik A. Brodin 75 

Catherine C. Coyne '83 

Michael J. Dudas 75 

Kenneth A. Gamache 79 

Lawrence K. Barber '37 

John E. Brogan '50 

James E. Coyne Jr. '83 

Mr. & Mrs. Roger M. 

Timothy P. Ganley '86 

Betsy Howes Barrows '84 

Richard Brontoli 73 

E. Bruce Crabtree '39 


George A. Garrison '53 

Kenneth H. Barrows '64 

Mr. & Mrs. James Brophy p'97 

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Craig p'97 

Mr. & Mrs. Edward P. 

Richard R. Garstka 77 

Alfred E. Barry '57 

W. Chalmers Brothers Jr. '82 

David K. Craigue '80 

Dugan p'93 

William H. Gascoyne '81 

Patricia Craig Barstow '84 

Alvin Y. Broverman '46 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard H. 

HenryJ. Dumas Jr. '56 

Walter M. Gasekjr. '59 

Thomas R. Barstow '83 

Richard D. Brow '51 

Crawford p'98 

David E. Dunkleejr. '63 

Wayne D. Gass '59 

Philip P. Bartlett '88 

Gedney B. Brown '55 

Robert C. Crawford '60 

James R. Dunn '86 

Ms. Christine Gavin p'97 

Sally Bardettp'95 

George T. Brown '45 

Daniel C. Creamer '68 

Gregory S. Duplessie '88 

Alan Gehami 79 

Ronald F. Baruzzi '62 

MarkW. Brown '82 

Mr. & Mrs. Alan Credit p'97 

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Dupontp'97 

Tracey L. Geller '87 

Mr. & Mrs. James T. Baryzap'98 

Richard C. Brown '46 

Employees of Crompton & 

Eric K. Durling '68 

Lee G. Gentile Sr. p'97 

Glen A. Bashian '82 

Richard W. Brown '49 


Leonard L. Dutram Jr. '59 

Hazel A. Fotheringham 

Ramin Bashirzadeh '93 

Paul J. Brown Jr. 73 

Michael E. Crowley '87 

Richard P. Dykas 74 

Geraghty '85 

Rornina Bashirzadeh '93 

David L. Brumback III '50 

EarlR. Cruff'49 

Frank L. Eaton Jr. '33 

Arthur H. Gerald Jr. '51 

Reginald B. Bates Jr. 77 

John V. Bucci 76 

J. Ronald Crump '66 

John Edman '88 

Clinton A. Gerlach '42 

Mark A. Beal'82 

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel E. 

Robert A. Cunneen '81 

William J. Eggleston '85 

Carl P. Gerstle 78 

Mr. & Mrs. Roderick Beaton p'97 

Buchanan p'98 

Mr. & Mrs. John Curran p'96 

James C. Eilenberger '81 

Ivar Giaever 

Michael R. Beaudoin 78 

William R. Bullock '89 

Thomas A. Currie '88 

Alfred C. Ekberg '36 

Mr. & Mrs. Giulio Giassi p'98 

Matthew A. Beauregard '93 

Charles V. Burdickjr. '62 

Frederick A. Curtis Jr. '48 

C. Milton Ekberg '32 

Mark P. Gibelli '92 

Robert E. Beauregard '48 

Frederick J. Burg '38 

Mr. & Mrs. Paul C. Cutronip'96 

David S. Elario '91 

Michelle A. Giglio '94 

Katherine R. Fowler Becker 75 

Henry K. Burger '53 

Merritt E. Cutting '34 

Louis G. Elias '86 

Mr. & Mrs. Victor F. 

Robert H. Becker 74 

Francis X. Burke '92 

Lawrence R. D'Addario '90 

Richard M. Elliott '38 


John 1 1. Beckwith '49 

Ronald H. Burrowes '91 

Judith M. D'Agostino '80 

Charles W. Embree 75 

Thomas D. Gillisp'96 

James H. Beech Jr. 76 

Malcolm S. Burton '40 

Michael J. Dabkowski 76 

Heather L. Emerson '94 

Paul C. Gingrich '84 

Robert D. Behn'63 

Scott B. Burton '83 

Francis L. Dacri '67 

William C. Emerson 78 

Cheryl M. Glanton '87 

Brian N. Belanger '66 

George L. Bush '27 

James L. Daily '63 

Clifford G. Engstrom '62 

Albert B. Glenn '34 

Joseph A. Bellofarto '63 

Neil T. Buske '59 

Timothy John Daisy '87 

Stephen A. Erikson '69 

Christopher J. Godfrey '94 

Richard B. Belmonte 73 

Raymond J. Cadet '61 

DermotJ. Daley '82 

Jacob N. Erlich '62 

Mr. & Mrs. John H. Godfrey p'94 

Kenneth C. Benton '63 

Herbert R. Cahoon '48 

Holly M. Daley '88 

MichaelJ. Essex Jr. '52 

Mr. & Mrs. William Goeschp'96 

Susan M. Benz *80 

Nelson M. Calkins Jr. '43 

Karen M. Daly '94 

William E. Evans 78 

George W. Golding Jr. '43 

Paul V. Bergantino '85 

Mary Calnan gp 

Mr. & Mrs. John Damaso p'99 

Arthur H. Evans HI '69 

Richard L. Goldman '55 

Carl G. Bergstrom '35 

Mr. & Mrs. Jorge A. Calvop'99 

Harry F. Danberg 75 

PaulE. Evans Jr. 71 

Amaro Goncalves '85 

Robert V. Bergstrom '39 


Kevin W. Daoust '95 

Matthew J. Evers '90 

Mr. & Mrs. William 

Norman A. Bergstrom Jr. '68 

Richard J. Capistran '93 

John E. Darling '58 

Howard S. Ewing '50 


Stephen E. Bernacki 70 

Mr. & Mrs. Michael Capozzi p'98 

Ian A. Davidson '53 

Paul J. Exner'71 

Willard W. Goodwin Jr. '63 

Daniel T. Bernatowicz '52 

Hilding O. Carlson '3 1 

James W. Davis 73 

John A. Facca '67 

John W. Gordeuk 79 

Kathleen Berthelette '80 

Lauren M. Hagstrom Carlson '86 

Truman S. Dayton '46 

Robert Fair 75 

Philip J. Gow'43 

Kent E. Berwick 75 

Richard H. Carlson '50 

PhillipS. Dean '35 

George K. Fairbanks '68 

Robert H. Gowdy '63 

Melissa M. Besse '91 

William W.Carlson '81 

Paul J. DeAndrea 75 

Jeffrey A. F'arash 76 

The Graco Foundation 

Carl W. Bettcher Jr. '41 

Matthew J. Caron '88 

Chester A. Deane '27 

George A. Fargo Jr. '66 

Alan F. Graham 79 

Francis J. Bigda '49 

Gary E. Carver 74 

Robert H. DeFlescoJr. '68 

James E. Fay '61 

Robert J. Grande 76 

Scott W. Bishop '88 

Donald E. Casperson '69 

Richard W. DeLand '69 

Mr. & Mrs. Leslie C. Feigin p'98 

Jeffrey W. Gravdahl 76 

Peter G. Bladen 70 

Robert R. Cassanelli '62 

Duane A. Delfosse '80 

Robert E. Ferguson '33 

Stanley T. Graveline '89 

Bonnie I. Cook Blair '81 

Dexter E. Cate '51 

Robert R. Demers '68 

Joseph A. Ferrari Jr. '87 

Linda Gray p'99 

Phillip G. Blair '51 

Robert E. Cavallaro '65 

John S. Demko '59 

Malcolm E. Ferson '49 

Peter Gray IV '66 

Jeffrey E. Blaisdell 73 

Mr. & Mrs. Jules P. Cayerp'97 

Edward C. Dench '39 

Michael R. Fillion '90 

Carmelo S. Greco '30 

Robert W. Blake '33 

Ernst E. Chenovveth '64 

Dr. & Mrs. Buddy Denison p'99 

Morton S. Fine '37 

Ronald G. Greene '65 

WPI Journal 


1995-96 WPI 


Barbara J. Grimm '88 

Mr. & Mrs. John C. 

Raymond F. LaBine '53 

Frank D. Manter '67 

William J. Moroney '53 

John R. Grimwade 79 

Jakobsen p'97 

Frank J. Labuzp'81 

John F. Mar '83 

Christopher G. Morosas 77 

Halsey E. Griswold '51 

Daniel M. Jasininski '80 

James M. Lach '93 

Michael A. Marando '90 

Elizabeth A. Morrison '81 

Frank A. Gross Jr. '46 

Richard H. Jenkins II 79 

Joyce M. Lachance '82 

Francis H. Marchand '37 

Homer R. Morrison '35* 

Ronald J. Grzelak 70 

Stephen G. Jennette 76 

Jeffrey J. Lacko 75 

John J. Marczewski '85 

Morrison Knudsen Corporation 

Thomas M. Gudewicz 78 

Ronald E. Jodoin '68 

Ronald M. Lafreniere 74 

Richard G. Marden '3 1 

Robert H. Morse '64 

J. Edward Guild '36 

Kenneth E. Johnson '65 

Edward F. Lally '67 

Marion Merrell Dow Inc. 

Mr. & Mrs. Allan S. Mosier gp 

Diane M. Gunn 76 

Lawrence E. Johnson '68 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard A. Lamb gp 

Edward R. Markert '34 

John H. Moulton 78 

Gordon T. Gurney '41 

Robert D.Johnson '52 

Mr. & Mrs. David J. 

Mr. & Mrs. George W. 

William F.Mufatti '51 

Frank G. Gustafson '40 

Mr. & Mrs. Jay 

Lamb Sr. p'95 

Martel p'99 

Robert B. Mulholland Jr. '60 

Lynn L. Gustafson '82 

Johnson Sr. p'97 

Raymond J. Lambert 79 

Arthur E. Martell '38 

Peter W. Mullarkey 79 

Richard G. Gutowski '89 

Johnson & Higgins 

Joan M. Landry '85 

Frederick W. Marvin '46 

Peter J. Mulvihill 78 

Jacob J. Hagopian '39 


Roland A. Lariviere 74 

Edward M. Mason 70 

Douglas C. Murdoch '91 

Alan R. Hahnel 74 

Michael R.Jones '85 

Ernest A. Larose '50 

John R. Mason III 74 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard 

David C. Hall '84 

Asher L. Joslin '33 

Michael R. Latina '68 

Massachusetts Mutual Life 


Richard J. Hall 'S3 


Paul G. Laurienzo '81 

Insurance Co. 

Eugene L. Murphy '68 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert H alien gp 

Stephen W. Juhnevicz '88 

Lawrence R. Lavallee '59 

Roger G. Massey '62 

William F. Murphy Jr. '46 

Norman M. Hardy '60 

Jane E. June p'97 

Aaron W. Laznovsky '91 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard 

Russell B. Naber 74 

Harris Corporation 

Charles A. Jutras 74 

Francis). Leahy III 78 


Mr. & Mrs. Ronald H. 

Deborah L. Harrow '84 

Mark A. Jutras '85 

Richard G Ledoux '61 

Ronnie R. Materniak 75 


John N. Hartwell '46 

Edward A. Kacmarcik '5 1 

William M. Ledoux 79 

Scott E. Mathews '82 

Walter S. Nagorski 70 

Donald W. Haskins '33 

Kenneth A. Kadezabek '82 

Mrs. Harold A. LeDuc '35 

Mr. Robert Matthews p'95 

Mr. & Mrs. Stanley 

Irving M. Hass '49 

Edward W. Kaleskas '68 

Yau-Shing Lee '85 

Laura L. Mattick 78 

Narkevicius p'97 

John L. Hawley '50 

Mr. & Mrs. C. William 

Todd K Leen 77 

Keith J. Mattioli'87 

National Steel Corp. 

Howard W. Haynes '38 

Kaman II p'96 

Mark F. Lefebvre '80 

Paul D. Matukaitis '68 

Ronald F. Naventi '66 

Joseph J. Hearne '46 

Stephen E. Kaminski 73 

Mr. & Mrs. Peter Leite p'98 

Conrad F. Matuzek '61 

Richard H.Nelson '61 

Mr. & Mrs. Raymond L. 

Amar V. Kapur '65 

Roger R. Lesieur '61 

William H. Mawdsley 73 

Stephen E. Nelson '90 


Marie H. Karger 

John P. Letourneau '80 

Mr. & Mrs. William 

Susan M. Stidsen 

Joachim R. Heck '93 

James E. Karkos '90 

Gary L. Leventhal '69 

Mazzaccaro p'98 

Nerkowski '85 

Richard H. Hedlund '64 

ChesterJ. Kasper '68 

Nathan R. Levine '36 

Michael J. Mazzucco '86 

Richard J. Newhouse 75 

David K. Heebner '67 

Elisabeth Kosciuczyk 

James Li '94 

John H. McCabe '68 

Louis W. Nicholls '85 

William C. Hees '59 

Kassman '8 1 

Mr. & Mrs. Kui-Shing Li p'98 

James T.McCall'81 

Donald L. Nichols '46 

John C. Heid 76 

Redha F. Kattan '84 

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Lin p'98 

Peter E. McCormick '65 

Mr. & Mrs. Gordon 

Mr. & Mrs. Paul L. 

George H. Kayjr. '54 

Edward E. Lindberg '60 

Gerald P. McCullough 74 

Nichols p'99 

Heirtzler p'94 

Thomas C. Kee '54 

Paul R. Lindberg '66 

David McEwan '39 

PatrickJ. Nicholson 78 

Paul L. Heirtzler Jr. '94 

Thomas R. Keefe '59 

Robert S. Lloyd '39 

Roger C. McGee '63 

Mr. & Mrs. Terence 

Barrv ). Heitner 76 

MelG. Keegan'61 

David J. Lodigiani 79 

Eugene M. McGrail '88 

Nickolette p'93 

John R. Herr '80 

Roger B.Keilig '81 

Calvin F. Long '46 

McGraw-Hill Inc. 

Mr. & Mrs. Michael J. 

Neil C. Herring 72 

Mr. & Mrs. James 

Dorothy Long p'92 

David F. McGuigan 74 

Nicolaisen p'98 

Carl P. Hershneld '48 


Michelle L. LeBlanc Loring '91 

John D. McKeogh '51 

Herman A. Nied '50 

Ms. Maria Hetzel p'73 

Jeffrey T. Kelly '86 

David M. Lounsbury 77 

Richard H. McMahan Jr. '50 

Eric M. Nielsen '95 

Robert D. Hickey '68 

Daniel J. Kennefick 79 

Russell A. LovellJr.''4() 

John B. McMaster '45 

Robert W. Nikander '48 

Diane Hirsch p'96 

Michael S. Kenniston 78 

Malcolm E. Low '61 

Thomas G. McNeice 76 

NIKE Inc. 

Mr. & Mrs. Frank J. 

Robert J. Kenny '87 

Eugene F. Lowe Jr. '30 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert 

Michael J. Norton '86 

Hodum p'94 

Wilmot J. Keogh '43 

Mr. & Mrs. Brian Lowell p'97 

McTagueJr. p'94 

Richard J. Norton '63 

Allen H. Hoffman '63 

Roger J. Kern 70 

David B. Luber '65 

John L. Meader 79 

Augustus J. Nunes '81 

Kenneth A. Hogue '8 1 

Sidney Kessler '51 

Vilho A. Lucander '56 

The Medtronic Foundation 

Paul G. Nystrom '4 1 

Allen G. Holbrook '80 

Benjamin Khoudari 75 

Alvin A. Luce '4 1 

Jill E. Fabricant Meier '80 

Erin M. O'Connell '86 

Frank S. Holby '48 

Thomas M. Kiely '68 

Robert M. Luce '51 

James H. Meiklejohn Jr. '50 

Jordan C. O'Connor '80 

Mr. & Mrs. John T. 

Joseph F. Kieronski '67 

Mr. & Mrs. Michael G. 

Bernard J. Meister '62 

Thomas J. O'Connor '59 


John L. Kilguss '67 


David D. Melanson '93 

Daniel P. O'Donnell '95 

Patricia A. Holden '83 

Kelly A. King '95 

John (. Luikeyjr. 73 

Mr. & Mrs. Alfred J. Mellop'97 

Anne E. O'Keefe '83 

Thomas C. Hollocher Jr. '53 

Beth Driscoll Kinney 79 

David G. Lund '92 

Jennifer L. Mellone '86 

James A. O'Neill '93 

Robert M.Holt '66 

Gary L. Kiontke 75 

Dr. Robert Lundin 78 

Eduardo A. Mendez '67 

James F. O'Reagan '49 

Kenneth A. Homon '62 

John P. Kirby 78 

Frederick H. Lutze Jr. '59 

Orlando R. Mendez '67 

Michael W. Oakes 77 

Shane A. Hooker '94 

Steven J. Kirincich '89 

John J. Lyons 70 

Ronald L. Merrill '59 

David F. Oberhauser '90 

Malcolm D. Horton '50 

Donald E. Kirk '59 

Kenneth A. Lyons '46 

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. 

David J. Ofcarcik'81 

Brenda S. Hough 

Ivan H. Kirsch '60 

Michael A. MacAllister '81 

Paul J. Messias'90 

John W. Oldham '87 

Garabed Hovhanesian '46 

Kimberly A Berg Kitchens '83 

Mr. & Mrs. John A. 

John R. Messier 76 

Mr. & Mrs. Edmund 

James B. Howe 77 

Carlton B. Klein 78 

MacDonald p'97 

Richard T. Messinger '40 

Olson p'96 

Donald W. Howe Jr. '38 

Charles S. Knothe '66 

Donald J. MacKinnon III '80 

Marc B. Meunier 77 

Norman R. Olson '48 

Harris C. Howland Sr. 70 

Douglas A. Knowles 76 

Donald G. MacMillan '35 

Leon M. Meyer 76 

Steven W. Opolski '84 

Mark Hubelbank '68 

Nancy L. Koczera '93 

Keith A. MacNeal '84 

Robert A. Meyer '52 

John C. Orcutt '50 

Douglas E. Hudson '83 

Russell H. Koelsch '65 

Ronald E. Macon 

William B. Merke '58 

John J. Osborn '33 

Arthur J. Hughes 79 

Joseph W. Kolis 79 

Anne L. Madara 76 

Stanley L.Miller '51 

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth 

Mr. & Mrs. Stephen S. Hull p'79 

Mr. & Mrs. John Kondzela p'90 

Mr. & Mrs. Gerald 

Mr. & Mrs. Jaime G. 

Otto p'98 

Leonard G. Humphrevjr. '35 

Andrew M. Kopach 76 

Maffetone p'98 

Miranda p'99 

Bridgette M. Owen '91 

Mrs. Thomas A. Hyde '33 

David T. Kosewski '89 

Mr. & Mrs. Dennis 

Harry H. Mochon Jr. '49 

Edward W. Pacek '41 

Michael J. Iassogna '82 

Gregory W. Koss 78 


Edward J. Mofhtt '84 

John C. Pacheco '86 

ICI Americas Inc. 

Darwin W. Kovacs 73 

William C. Maine '36 

Bernard A. Mongilio '81 

Joseph P. Padayhag '91 

George Idlis '54 

Mchael J. Kozakiewicz 74 

Stephen A. Maiorano 73 

Robert H. Montgomery Jr. '43 

Arthur A. Padovano '65 

Allen J. Ikalainen '67 

Lisa A. Krauss '80 


Edward V. Montville '36 

Ms. Lorraine Page p'97 

Kevin S. Ingle 78 

Donald H. Kray 73 

David A. Maldonado'91 

Jeffrey H. Moody 75 

Janice E. Painter 74 

James F. Ingraham Sr. 74 

Mr. & Mrs. Ulf A. Kruegerp'97 

A. George Mallis '38 

Aram Mooradian '59 

Raymond T. Pajer 70 

Salvatore J. Intagliata '48 

Gary R. Krumpholz 78 

John F. MalloyJr. '54 

Jessica Moore p'96 

Lloyd S. Palter 70 

Leighton Jackson '33 

Andrew P. Kubicki '88 

Paul A. Mandeville 'SO 

Herbert S. Moores '61 

Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Papp p'98 

Stephen R.Jackson '85 

Dinesh V. Kudalkar '89 

Thomas C. Mandle 76 

Anson B. Moran '66 

Stephen A. Parent 79 

Edward H.Jacobs '42 

Roger W. Kuenzel '59 

Harry S. Mankey '50 

Mr. & Mrs. John M. Moran p'97 

Gordon M. Parker '61 

William A. Jacques '49 

David A. Kujala '52 

Lloyd G. iMann '44 

Patrick T. Moran '65 

Kenneth I. Parker '61 

Vincent M. La Sorsa '46 

Larry B. Manor '84 

Stephen J. Morgan '82 

Robert E. Parker '64 


December 1996 

■«M M .^ M B M HA U .0.- mm « JtJ ^m«. 1 ^l.«. a »l» «^.~W^^^ J u, 


Francis J. Parnin '95 

Barbara A. Reinckep'79 

Scott Shurr 77 

Peter L. Terwilliger '87 

Mr & Mrs. Richard R. 

Mr. & Mrs. Juan Miguel 

Robert D. Renn '67 

Ojars M. Silarais '65 

Mr. & Mrs. Maurice 

White p'92 

Parodi p'97 

Constantine Rhodes '57 

Silicon Graphics Inc. 


Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. While p'97 

Lawrence D. Patty 74 

Marcus A. Rhodes Jr. '40 

Carl G. Silverberg '33 

Leslie A. Thomas '91 

Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Whitman p'99 

Laima T. Pauliukonis 77 

Norman E. Rhodes Jr. '94 

Peter Simonson 79 

Donald W. Thompson '50 

Mark J. Whitney 74 

Keith B. Payea 79 

Douglas H. Rich '84 

Williams A. Simpson III '84 

Michael A. Thompson '8 1 

Benedict C. Wibisono '94 

James D. Pearl '82 

Mark S. Richards 73 

George T. Single p'93 

Richard E. Thompson '59 

James C. Wilkinson '91 

Philip K. Pearson '83 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Skarin p'97 

Ronald E. Thompson '52 

Bruce G.Willbrant '60 

John ¥. Peavey '39 

Rioux p'98 

Neil J. Skidell'87 

Walker T. Thompson '62 

I leyward S. Williams '66 

Paul G. Pender '88 

Donald B. Robertson '63 

William A. Slaglejr. '33 

Wallace B. Thompson Jr. '49 

John E. Wilson '46 

Dr. Jose A. Pereyo p'95 

Paul E. Robinson '93 

Mr. & Mrs. John W. Sloan p'89 

Thomson Financial Services 

Roger D. Wilson 70 

Edward G. Perkins 72 

Robert W. Rodier '5 1 

Mr. & Mrs. David Sluterp'96 

Michael C. Thorogood 77 

William M.Wilson '35 

William F. Perkins '80 

Mr. & Mrs. John S. 

James W. Small 70 

George T Thrasher '67 

Roger M. Winans '63 

Edward B. Pero '66 

Rodolewicz p'99 

Anthony M. Smith '91 

Ronald S. Tiberio '92 

Jeffrey S. Wnek 75 

Andrew T. Perreault '69 

Mr. & Mrs. David R. 

Carlos W. Smith '80 

Brian M. Timura 78 

Robert A. W'ojciak'87 

Richard G. Perreault '68 

Rollins p'95 

David K. Smith '62 

Mark S. Tino '80 

Stephen J. Wojciak 75 

Kenneth E. Perry '86 

Robert J. Rose '69 

David K Smith '67 

Mr. & Mrs. Antonio 

Vincent G.Wolff 79 

Russell E. Person '63 

HarveyJ. Rosenteld '59 

Mr. & Mrs. Edwin M. 

Toledo p'98 

Mr. & Mrs. Michael Wood p'98 

Judith E. Peters '92 

Mr. & Mrs. Sigurd 

Smith p'94 

Margaret E. Toomey '90 

Ronald W. Wood '65 

Kyle Petersen '90 

Rosenkaimer p'98 

Gregory F'.X. Smith 78 

NoelTottiJr. '42 

Kimball R. Woodbury '44 

C. Raymond Peterson '44 


John J. Smith 76 

P. Brady Townsend '95 

Gordon G. Woodfall 74 

Ncal D. Peterson '5 1 

Pierce E. Rowe '61 

Myron H. Smith '60 

Mr. & Mrs. Patrick L. 

City of Worcester 

Paul A. Peterson 78 

Jennifer E. Udall Roy '84 

kusscll M. Smith '47 

Townsend p'95 

James V. Works '88 

Richard M. Peterson 74 

Steven H. Roy '83 

Stephen H. Smith '66 

Jeffrey F. Trask '81 

Michael J. Wozniak '86 

Michael A. Petkewich '85 

James E. Royjr. '67 

Joseph V. Smolinski '40 

Paul G. Trudel '67 

Christopher L. Wraight '82 

Stephen W. Petroff '68 

Frederick E. Roys '82 

Thomas E. Snead '80 

Steve A. Tuch '82 

Neal T. Wright 76 

Peter R. Picard '67 

James F. Rubino 74 

John A. Snyder '49 

B. Lee Turtle '69 


David P. Picarillo '88 

Donald W. Rule '69 

Richard F. Socha 73 

Vincent D.Tyer III '90 

John H. Wyman '36 

James W. Pierce '65 

Stephen H. Rusckowski 79 

ThomasJ. Socha 74 

Paul W. Ulcickas '63 

Robert E. Yaeger '42 

Wayne L. Pierce '68 

James D. Russell 77 

Society of Fire Protection 

Richard M.Urella '81 

Yankee Gas Services ( j>. 

Stanley P. Pietrewicz '67 

William A. Russell '26 


David J. Usher '64 

Robert H. York '62 

Michael D. Piispanen '88 

Gregory P. Ruthven 77 

Walter H. Sodano '40 

Alan M. Vale '92 

Marshall S. Young '83 

Walter E. Pillartzjr. '61 

Erin T. Ryan '89 

Edward G. Sofio '86 

Erik C. Van Bork '84 

Jon A. Zapolski '92 

Edward W. Piltzecker Jr. '67 

Wayne M. Saari '82 

Stanley W.Sokoloff '59 

Milford R. VanDusen '47 

Francis P. Zarette 78 

Mark F. Pittenger 79 

Safety-Kleen Corp. 

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Solan p'99 

Varian Associates Inc. 

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Solferino p'88 

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Hong Zhu '94 

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Zimmerman gp 

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Christine E. Powers 75 

Sanna p'93 

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John D. Powers 72 

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Provident Mutual 

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Mr. & Mrs. David C. 

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Life Insurance Company 

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Stewart p'96 

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Schuller Fund 

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Mr. & Mrs. John P. Warm p'90 

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SPRING 1997 

^fte cNCusw in tfie ^/Cactiine 

Frederick Bianchi Conducts the Virtual Orchestra 


; 5 

* : 

- On Trees - 

"I really like trees. Over the years, I've planted more than 1,500 on my property in Vermont. I have many vari- 
eties, but I prefer the oak. It's a good sturdy tree. You never see one blown down or uprooted, because the oak's 
root structure is about equal in depth to the height of the tree. Its natural growth provides plenty of shade above 
and excellent water retention and maintenance of the water table below. When you plant an oak seedling, you're 
going to get a tree you can count on, and that's a great legacy for the future." 

- On Planned Giving at WPI - 

"Like planting oaks, planned giving just makes a lot of sense. I tell all my friends every chance I get that they owe 
it to themselves to look into deferred gift plans like the WPI Pooled Income Fund. I've made six gifts to the Fund 
thus far, all of them with appreciated stocks. This way I avoid paying capital gains taxes and get a substantial char- 
itable deduction. And every three months I get a nice income check that's about three times the dividends 
I received from the stock. Best of all, anybody can designate how their gift will eventually be used. In my case, 
my gifts will eventually be added to WPI's endowment to be used for campus landscaping — especially for trees. 
You might say I've planted the seeds for a lasting legacy at WPI, too!" 

If you would like to join Ted Coe and 203 others who are enjoying the many benefits of planned giving at WPI, 
please contact Liz Siladi, Director of Planned Giving, at 1-888-WPI GIFT. 




The Silicon Symphony By Ray Bert '93 

With powerful computers, a trucldoad of equipment, and hundreds of hours 

of work, Music Professor Frederick Bianchi can create an authentic digital 

orchestra. He says he'd like to use it to establish a new operatic tradition. 

Page 4 

The Class of Aught Aught By Joe Parker- '93 

The Class of 1900 and the Class of 2000 each found a school in transition. 

Both felt the challenge of WPI's rigorous academics. And both sensed the 

special obligation that comes with graduating on the cusp of a new century. 

Page 10 

The Best Laid Plans By Michael IV. Dorsey 

In the final installment of this two-part series on the history of the 

WPI Plan, we look at the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the Plan's 

implementation and evolution, and at what may lie ahead for this 

groundbreaking program. 

Page 17 

The Dawn of a New Global Era By Michael IV. Dorsey 

Inaugurating a new series on the issues and opportunities WPI faces with 

the approach of a new millenium, the Journal explores the critical need in 

today's shrinking world to help students acquire a global perspective. 

Page 33 


Letters Kudos for WPI Plan Special Issue; A Feather in Roy Seaberg's Golf Cap. Page 2 

Advance Word Enough People Who Cared, By Michael W. Dorsey. Page 3 

Final Word Revealing the Wonders of the North Atlantic, By Joan Killough -Miller. Page 40 

On the cover: Original painting by Laura Tedeschi. Story on page 4. Back cover: 

Jonathan Bird '90 cruises the waters of the North Atlantic on an underwater "scooter." 

Photo by Tom Krasuski '92; courtesy Oceanic Research Group. Story on page 40. 

Staff of the UTI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask • 

Alumni Publications Committee: Samuel Mencow '37, chairman, Robert C. Labonte '54, vice chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bowers '90, James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firlajr. '60, 

Joel P. Greene '69, William R. Grogan '46, Roger N. Perry Jr. '45, Harlan B. Williams '50 • The UTI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by 

the Office of University Relations. Periodicals 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 m this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official UTI policies. We welcome letters to the editor. Address correspondence to the Editor, 

WPI Journal, UTI, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280 • Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax: (508) 831-6004 • Electronic Mail, • World Wide Web: 

bttp:// • Postmaster: Ifundeliverable, please send Form 3519 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents ©1997. Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 


Kudos for WPI Plan 
Special Issue 


I have just read my first copy of the WPI Journal (October 1996). 
As the father of a WPI freshman, I found several of the articles to be 
quite enlightening. I especially liked "A Gateway to Adulthood," which 
explained more of the philosophy behind WPI's course structure than 
all of the recruitment and freshman orientation materials that were sent 
throughout my son's high school senior year and beyond. I strongly recom- 
mend that this article be included in future college application materials sent 
to potential new students. 



I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the October 1996 

WPI Journal. 

I graduated in 1965 before this major change was implemented. I 
thought there were discussions in the works at that time, but I never had a 
clear understanding of how it all took place and who the players were. The 
articles in this issue have added a great deal of knowledge and depth to my 
understanding of the WPI Plan. 



Congratulations on the October 1996 WPI Journal. It was a truly excellent edi- 
tion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and certainly learned a lot. Keep up the good work. 

A Feather in Seaberg's Golf Cap 


After reading in the October 1996 issue about Roy Seaberg's retirement as 
director of special admissions, I felt a bit wistful to see another good friend 
being ushered into the greener pastures of golfing. 

In addition to the praise he deserves for his role in the development of the 
WPI Plan, Roy merits a feather in his golf cap for coming up with the idea of 
establishing the Bangkok Project Center. It happened one afternoon at the 
Royal Bangkok Sport Polo Club during Roy's annual trip to Thailand. After 
the busy morning, Roy, Mike Gerson '63 and I were enjoying a discussion of 
our morning work. 

We talked about WPI's Washington and London project centers, as well as 
moves that were afoot to establish centers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. "Why 
don't we have a Bangkok Project Center," Roy suggested. Afterward, he brought 
over documents and an application that led to the creation of the center. 

That was in the mid-1980s. The first group of five students arrived at the 
Bangkok Project Center in 1990. The Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority 
of Bangkok was an early project sponsor, thanks to the support of Siva 
Charoernpong '61, who was the organization's governor. Since then, two pro- 
jects completed in Bangkok have been winners and another has been a finalist in 
the annual President's IQP Award competition. This year we welcomed a 
group of 18 students to the center. 

The success of the Bangkok Project Center has prompted WPI alumni in 
Thailand to form an active group that will bridge the long-neglected gap 
between Worcester and Thailand and also help students use their academic 
skills to enhance the real world in this country. 

The credit for getting all this started must be given to Roy Seaberg. This 
feather in his golf cap may be as big as the one that our own Tiger Woods 
wears in his. Roy will have to show it to us when he and Tiger are in Bangkok 

the next time. 





SPRING 1997 


ople Who Cared 

For these factors of uniqueness — the constant inquiry into identity, the contact with the 

workaday world, the reconciliation of the practical with the scientific, the community sense of 

belonging — there has been a price. There have been contributions of tune and funds and 

effort far beyond the accounting. Nerves have been rubbed raw with abrasive argument, 

careers have sometimes been mistakenly shattered. There has been an astonishing number of 

persons willing to be hurt in order to keep faith with self and society, and the integrity thus 

given to the Institute is its proudest claim to distinction. 

Today, the Institute stands solidly atop its rounded hill, still overlooking the City and 

reaching toward the sky. It stands there for more than any other reason because — by some 

strange and wonderful supply — there have always been enough people who cared. 

Concluding words of Two Towers by Mildred Tynieson Petrie 

In this issue of the WP1 Journal, we 
conclude our two-part series on the 
history of the WTI Plan, the univer- 
sity's project-based undergraduate 
program. In part one, "A Miracle at 
Worcester" (October 1996), we told the 
remarkable story of the Plan's birth. In the 
second installment (beginning on page 17), 
we chronicle the monumental effort 
involved in uprooting WPI's traditional 
engineering curriculum, replacing it with a 
radically different approach to technological 
education, maintaining that new program in 
the face of a host of internal and external 
threats, and now, three decades later, re- 
evaluating what has happened to the Plan 
and debating, once again, how to craft an 
undergraduate curriculum suitable for the 
challenges of the decades ahead. 

• But more than the history of an academ- 
ic experiment, the story of the implemen- 
tation and evolution of the Plan is the tale 
ot the many people who made it happen. It 
is the record of their actions, their debates, 
their triumphs, their defeats. They are the 
people who put so much of their hearts and 
souls into making the Plan work, and it is 
because of their devotion and endless energy 
that it survives today. Like the people Mil- 
dred Petrie wrote about 32 years ago in 
WPI's centennial history, they cared enough 
about the Plan to be hurt, to have their 
careers shattered or indefinitely put on hold, 
and to put their ideals, their hopes and their 
dreams ahead of their own gain. They are 
the heroes of WTI's recent history. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne had this to say 
about heroes: "The greatest obstacle to 

being heroic is the doubt whether one may 
not be going to prove one's self a fool; the 
truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the 
profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought 
to be resisted, and when to be obeyed." Over 
the past 30 years, WPI has seen many exam- 
ples of this kind of heroism and of this kind 
of wisdom. There has been no shortage of 
doubters — within and outside the commun- 
ity — during those decades, and always an 
ample supply of those ready to question 
every detail, to call for retreat at every 
chance, and to look for opportunities to 
uncover fools. It has taken courage to stand 
against this tide of doubt, and keen insight 
to know which battles were worth fighting. 

There are other heroes in this story. 
They are the ones who have been driven not 
by the desire to tear down the Plan, but to 
keep it whole and to zealously guard its 
integrity. They, too, have had many battles to 
fight. In response to changes in society and in 
college students, in reaction to pressure from 
accreditors, and as a result of the experience 
the university has gained from living with this 
unique program, the Plan has changed many 
times during its history. Some changes have 
been incidental; some have profoundly 
altered the structure and outcomes of the 
Plan. The profound changes were not made 
lightly, and they sometimes left in their wake 
bitterness and a terrible sense of loss. 

In a way, everyone who has lived and 
breathed the WTI Plan these many years 
must be seen as a hero, for the Plan demands 
so much more of faculty members and stu- 
dents than does traditional technological 
higher education. Though the program has 

lost some of the sense of openness it possessed 
in its early years, students must still take on a 
great deal of the responsibility for shaping 
their own curricula and for getting the edu- 
cation they need and desire. Faculty members 
must devote more of their time to interacting 
with students than do instructors at many 
schools and, as advisors of the Interactive 
Qualifying Project, in particular, take on the 
burden of learning about issues and tech- 
niques far beyond their own fields of exper- 
tise. Too often, there are no concrete rewards 
for the time and energy faculty members 
devote to students at WTI, but there are other 
dividends that keep them doing it. 

The sheer energy faculty devote to the 
Plan is one of the program's great strengths, 
but it is also a weakness. The most innova- 
tive of programs become mundane in time 
unless continuallv infused with new ideas. 
But truly revolutionary ideas require time 
for reflection, and the Plan has left little 
extra time for such strategic thinking. Now, 
though, as the end of the millennium and 
the 30th anniversary of the Plan's passage 
approach, WTI believes the time has come 
to make the time to critically appraise its 
undergraduate program and to decide 
whether it will meet the needs of the stu- 
dents of tomorrow as well as it serves the 
students of today. 

Already, a large group of faculty 
members, administrators and students have 
devoted hundreds of hours to developing a 
strategic plan to guide WTI well into the 2 1st 
century. They have looked at what has been 
learned, what has been gained, and what has 
been lost in the last few decades of WTI's 
history, and have extracted from these lessons 
the beginning of a vision for the decades 
ahead. But the process has just begun. Much 
work remains. No doubt, there are battles 
yet to be waged, time, funds and effort far 
beyond the accounting yet to be expended, 
and new heroes yet to be discovered. 

If history is any guide, WTI will emerge 
from this process a better institution. It will 
sit, perhaps a bit more solidly, atop Boynton 
Hill, and reach, no doubt with a bit more 
surety r and grace, toward the sky. And it will 
do so, for more than any other reason, be- 
cause there are still enough people who care. 

WTI Journal 

Professor Frederick Bianchi is at the leading edge of a controversial 

field of music he calls the Virtual Orchestra. While replacing live 

performers with computer-generated music has raised the 

ire of musicians and music reviewers, Bianchi says it 

will provide new opportunities for technically 

trained musicians and help create an exciting 

operatic art form in the United States. 


Let's listen to just a single flute... 

Seated before a Macintosh computer, Frederick Bianchi 
makes several quick keystrokes and selections with the 
mouse. From the speakers in his office comes the lively 
sound of a flute playing a familiar melody. we'll add another. ..then a clarinet 

A fuller sound now issues from the speakers as the cursor on 
the monitor dances across electronic "sheet music." a bassoon... and a French horn 

More and more voices join the texture and the sound level rises 
like the slow build of a stadium chant. 

: " : : - ■"'.■' ■'■ ■' ■ " .' : ".' ' ■ :: " '■■-'■■'■ :; ■■■ ■■ '■■■■■ 

...finally, here's the entire orchestra. 

With a flourish, he makes one last keystroke and the full, thumping, 
swelling, joyous majesty of Mozart's Overture to Figaro pours forth. 

Bianchi plays conductor. He relays a tempo to the computer by manually 
tapping it on a keyboard. At first he accelerates the music to cartoon-chase 
speed, then drops it into a staggering torpor before returning the overture to its 
normal stately pace. 

Flashing the wide smile of a man playing with a tool of his own creation, Bianchi remarks, 
half to himself, "There's just so much you can do with this." 

Mr. Mozart, welcome to the world of the Virtual Orchestra. 

SPRING 1997 

wpi journal 

Frederick Bianchi has been an associate professor 
of music at WPI since 1994. He received his doc- 
torate in music theory and composition in 1985 
from Ball State University, where he also minored 
in computer science. From 1986 to 1994 he was 
on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati's 
Conservatory of Music. He taught music compo- 
sition and orchestration classes along with courses 
in electronic music and music technology. As a 
composer, he has overseen dozens of major per- 
formances of his original works throughout the 
United States and Europe, including a world 
premiere at Carnegie Hall. 


Bianchi teaches two 
popular courses on 
electronic music com- 
position in WPI's Com- 
puter Music Laboratory. 

The Virtual 

Orchestra is a 


computer system 

with extraordinary 

musical and 

sonic control. 

Bianchi is also part of a sound design team he 
formed in 1987 with sound designer David B. 
Smith. While they continue to do sound design 
work for opera and theatrical productions through- 
out the country, their most intriguing and contro- 
versial projects include the use of their full-scale 
Virtual Orchestra. The two have been working 
together to develop and introduce this emerging 
technology for nearly 10 years, and have estab- 
lished themselves internationally as the leading 
innovators in their field. 

The Virtual Orchestra is a live-performance 
computer system with extraordinary musical and 
sonic control. Unlike computer music systems used 
in production studios for film, television, music 
recording and multimedia, Bianchi says the Virtual 
Orchestra "must perform and manipulate complex 
musical scores and interpret a continuously chang- 
ing scenario of expression in real time. It does not 
use traditional music keyboards or standard musical 
interfaces. All of the musical detail is meticulously 
programmed, but flexible enough to be trans- 
formed and recombined under the control of a 
conductor during performance. Musical tempo and 
dynamic fluctuations are examples of nuances that 
change from performance to performance and 
from moment to moment. The ability to respond 
in real time to these artistic and aesthetic nuances is 
what makes the Virtual Orchestra so versatile." 

Most of the "raw sounds" for the Virtual 
Orchestra come from digital samples recorded by 
the Prague Symphony Orchestra. These samples 
comprise thousands of individual notes and combi- 
nations of instruments. A musical score is carefully 
assembled from these samples so that each note and 
musical phrase blends properly to give the effect 
of a live musical ensemble. "There are so many 
acoustical nuances that need to be accounted for 
when scoring for a production," Bianchi says. 
"For instance, a violin sounds slightly different 
depending on which direction the bow is traveling, 
its angle, its horizontal position, its pressure, and 
so forth. 

"Our Prague recordings are essentially a collec- 
tion of 'dumb sounds.' They're transformed into 
intelligent and expressive music by laboriously 
tweaking each note, one by one. In some scores 
there are hundreds of thousands of notes. A typical 
Virtual Orchestra sound design takes two years — 
some designs have been three years in the making. 
So you can see, we're not talking about performers 
simply sitting down and playing keyboard synthe- 
sizers — this is a completely different proposition." 

As he describes how he was drawn into the 
world of virtual orchestras, Bianchi alternates 
between a rational explanation and a more roman- 
tic one. "I've always worked in both mediums — 
acoustic and electronic. My early experiments 
began in the late '60s with monophonic tape 
recorders, record players and, eventually, early ana- 
log synthesizers. For the next 20 years I was always 
at the edge of the development and fortunate to be 
in the company of some extraordinary artists and 
technicians. So one day, at an opera rehearsal, 
when a major logistical problem threatened to close 
the show, I said to myself, 'I think I have the tech- 
nology in my studio to solve this problem,' and 
I stepped forward." 

One dilemma was — and continues to be — that 
there are theatrical and operatic companies in this 
country that can no longer support the escalating 
cost of the orchestra. Overall, opera in the United 
States has fallen on hard times. With cuts in fund- 
ing from the National Endowment for the Arts, 
there have been fewer grants to arts organizations, 
which, in turn, has meant leaner operating budgets. 
Opera companies have had to pass more of their 
costs on to the audience in the form of pricey tick- 
ets, making it even harder for them to compete for 
the general public's entertainment dollars and to 
grow their audience base. 

"The whole industry is slowly crumbling 
because of the economic reality of trying to use 
a 200-year-old institution (the orchestra) on a 
modern-day scale," Bianchi says. "It won't work. 
Not only is it becoming economically impossible, 
it is irresponsible and visionless for the industry to 
assume that a generation nurtured on film, televi- 
sion, amplified music and CD-quality sound would 
relate to an art that lacks anv relevant cultural cues. 

SPRING 1997 



In other words, they're losing their audience, or, at 
hest, boring them." 

Virtual orchestras are not without problems, of 
course. For example, real orchestras are, for the 
most part, reliable and don't crash. Says Bianchi, 
"With the Virtual Orchestra, the control and relia- 
bility of the music lies in the hands or a tew people. 
Am technical or human error during performance 
would be catastrophic." 1 le points out that as a 
result, the people who implement this technology 
must he technically and musically savvy. Over the 
past 10 years he says he has witnessed a transforma- 
tion in the skill and preparation of young sound 
designers who work on his team and refers to them 
as "the new breed of technical artists." 

"Sound designers can no longer assume the 
traditional roles of simply running mixing boards 
and hanging speakers," he says. "They must under- 
stand all aspects of the system as well as the theo- 
retical and aesthetic implications of the music. 
That is so important. They need to know, for 
example, why the third act begins at a specific- 
tempo or why the composer has voiced the fifth 
of the chord for the soprano. I spend a good deal 
of time talking to my sound designers about music 
and probing their minds. This is all prerequisite 
know ledge and preparation, because it is inevitable 
that at some point during a performance, and at a 
moment's notice, each sound designer will be 
called upon to make high-level musical decisions 
that will influence the production. That's a lot of 
responsibility. These new sound designers must 
have nerves of steel, an egocentric confidence, and 
be rock solid night after night — no mistakes." 

Perhaps die most important challenge facing 
the technology is creating convincing music, says 
Bianchi, w ho notes that computer-generated 
sounds must be realistic, not only in a musical 
sense, but in a physical sense as well. "When you're 
in the balcony at the opera, it you close your eyes 
and listen to the music, you can almost feel the size 
of the hall. The music has a presence that's hard to 
define. In trying to achieve that effect, we've 
learned that the realism improves greatly as the 
sound becomes more distributed, and diat means 
more speakers — 30, 40. ..maybe 100 speakers. Each 
sound source needs its own physical space before 
it becomes acoustically integrated into the entire 

As Bianchi has found out firsthand, however, 
there are those in the opera community who feel 
that the indefinable "presence" of music is inextri- 
cably bound to the presence of a live orchestra. 
( )\ercoming this attitude is as big a challenge as 
any technological quandary relating to the system. 
In addition, the absence of live players has made 
many in the opera community suspicious or angry 
at the perceived audacity of replacing the authentic 
with the synthetic. 

In the winter of 1995-96, the Kentucky Opera 
Company was hoping to mount a production of 

Hansel and Gretel tor the Christmas season. This 
huge and complex post-Wagnerian score called tor 
100 musicians — well beyond the physical and 
financial reach of the Kentucky Opera Orchestra, 
which had already contracted to play the Nutcracker 
ballet. ( lasting about for a way to enable the show 
to go on, the Kentucky ( )pera turned to the Virtual 
( )rchestra to provide the musical score. Though 
the Virtual Orchestra had several productions to 
its credit, this would be the world's first completely 
digitized opera by an important professional opera 
company. That fact alone guaranteed that the pro- 
duction would come under intense scrutiny by the 
international opera community. For its trouble, the 
Kentucky ( )pera was picketed by incensed musi- 
cians and union members and witnessed lines of 
protesters distributing leaflets to patrons decrying 
the "diminished production." 

The opera received a critical drubbing by some 
(though not all) opera publications. One of diose 
dressings-down was published by Opera News. 
It read, in part: "jVlusic is an art of communication. 
Even if the technology improves, and it surely will, 
an essential ingredient is missing;: the vibrant inter- 

"The whole 
industry is slowly 
crumbling because 
of the economic 
reality of trying to 
use a 200-year-old 
institution (the 
orchestra) on a 
modern-day scale. 
It won Y work. " 

play among human beings, an experience that can- 
not be duplicated by a machine." At one point, the 
reviewer went as far as to accuse Bianchi of con- 
tributing to "...the dehumanization of society." 

On the other hand, many reviewers acknowl- 
edged the historical significance of the event. 
In defense of the technology, Patrick Smith, editor 
of Opera News, stated: "...there were many who crit- 
icized the invention of die automobile and shouted 
'get a horse' at the sight of a broken-down vehicle 
on the side of the road. ...however, there are no 
horses on the New Jersey Turnpike!" 

The criticism is not lost on Bianchi, whose 
divided feelings toward his own technology reflect 
the schism of his two passions. As a music technol- 
ogist, he is convinced that the Virtual Orchestra is 

(Continued on page 9) 

Bianchi conducts the 
Virtual Orchestra during 
a performance of 
Hansel and Gretel by 
the Kentucky Opera 

WPI Journal 


In Search of a Venue 

While Frederick Bianchi's ground- 
breaking work with the Virtual 
Orchestra is gaining national and 
international attention, it is not the only 
such interdisciplinary work under way at 
WPI. William Michalson and Richard 
Campbell, faculty members in the Electrical 
and Computer Engineering Department, 
are also devoting time to research and stu- 
dent project work that marries the techno- 
logical with the musical. 

Bianchi is the newcomer in this group, 
having joined the WPI faculty in 1994. 
Michalson arrived at WPI in 1990; Campbell 
has served as an adjunct professor since the 
early 1980s (see "Good Vibrations," WPI 
Journal, Spring 1995). But it was Bianchi's 

arrival that seemed to nudge the music tech- 
nology group toward its current critical mass. 

"This type of work, not just VO, but 
music and acoustics and such, is really start- 
ing to come together at WPI," Bianchi says. 
"Both Dick and Bill are doing projects in 
similar veins to what I do, and the level of 
student interest has been quite amazing." 
Michalson echoes Bianchi's assessment: 
"We're an eclectic group — quite versatile 
and capable. And we're all working in areas 
that are motivational and interesting for 
many WPI students." 

But whether the projects involve com- 
puter music with Bianchi, acoustics with 
Campbell, improvements to music electron- 
ics hardware with Michalson, or some hybrid 
of all of these, all three faculty members 
agree that key to taking this type of work 
further at WPI is the establishment of a dedi- 
cated laboratory that can accommodate the 
technology required for interdisciplinary 
projects in these fields, and serve as a nerve 
center for activity in music technology. 

Bianchi, Campbell and Michalson say 
they are already seeking out space and fund- 
ing for the lab. They have received a grant 
from Eastern Acoustic Works, a manufac- 
turer of professional sound systems, and a 
number of other companies (including Korg, 
a maker of electronic musical instruments) 
have expressed an interest in the project. 

Michalson says he has a clear view of the 
purpose of the proposed lab: "This would 
not be a practice room, nor a gradu- 
ate research center, but a lab- 
oratory for undergraduate 
project work." Bianchi 
says the lab would 
also be a way to 
enhance the positive 
qualities of WPI's 
nascent music 
technology pro- 
gram. One of 
those qualities is 
that it isn't a for- 
mal program, as 

"We're not looking to create a new major," 
he stresses, "but a focal point to bring all of 
the possibilities of music technology to 
light, as well as enhance the quality of the 
individual projects going on." 

The projects, in the form of Sufficien- 
cies, Interactive Qualifying Projects and 
Major Qualifying Projects, have thus far 
encompassed everything from sound design 
and virtual orchestration, to the develop- 
ment of techniques for measuring loud- 
speaker characteristics, to the automated 
control of sound and lights for theatrical 
productions. An MQP currently being com- 
pleted is developing a method for "tracking" 
a ballet dancer — allowing the dancer's 
movements to influence the music during 
a performance. This extremely complex 
problem would draw heavily on Bianchi's 
orchestration work and Michalson's spe- 
cialty of digital tracking and positioning. 

Project topics like these point out just 
how significantly sound technology research 
is impacting many industries today, Camp- 
bell says. "We have experienced major 
breakthroughs in research in the past few 
years. This is partly due to the work of 
researchers around the world who collabo- 
rate in assembling pieces of the puzzle. For 
example, high-speed computers and digital 
signal processing have brought us to the 
point where it is possible to hear a convinc- 
ing simulation of the acoustic environment 
of an auditorium before it is built. The 
direction in which the industry is heading is 
quite exciting and full of opportunity." 

These opportunities may help explain 
an explosion of student interest in com- 
puter music (Bianchi's two computer music 
courses are oversubscribed every time they 
are offered). This has coincided with a 
boom in home recording studios and asso- 
ciated technology. As a result, Michalson 
says, career opportunities for those who 
understand music and musical technology 
are excellent. "Equipment manufacturers 
can't make product fast enough to keep up 
with demand," he says. "With all this 
growth, there are any number of companies 
that are now looking for engineers with a 
musical background. There's a definite 
need out there." 

— RB 

A new music technology laboratory would shine the 
spotlight on the diverse work being done in this field 
by students and faculty members at WPI, Bianchi says. 

SPRING 1997 


Silicon Symphony 

(Continued from page 7) 

both necessary and effective, so he strives to 
improve constantly, to bolster the quality of the 
performances and to quiet the naysayers who insist 
it can't be done. And yet, as a composer and opera- 
goer, he can't help but sympathize with those who 
say it shouldn't be done. 

"There is quite a conflict that I must continu- 
ously resolve concerning the implications of this 
work, and I have given the philosophical problem 
more time and thought than any other aspect 
related to the Virtual Orchestra," he says. 

Bianchi is married tojanna Hymes-Bianchi, 
the resident conductor of the Charlotte Symphony 
in North Carolina. In contrast to his work, she is 
involved with live orchestras, the ballet and opera 
on a daily basis. Says Frederick Bianchi, "So the 
Virtual Orchestra should not be perceived as the 
work of some whacked-out technologist living in 
isolation from the real world. I cannot honestly, 
and with integrity, make a single move without 
considering the implications." 

Ask him point blank if he would prefer to expe- 
rience an opera performance with a live orchestra 
or one with a virtual orchestra, and Bianchi says, 
"No question. I would prefer a live orchestra. And 
yes, there are some elements of the theatrical expe- 
rience that cannot be reproduced by a Virtual 
Orchestra. But the reality of the situation suggests 
that if we intend to move forward we must be will- 
ing to accept a change. And I believe the industry is 
in the process of changing." 

The conflict and controversy will not disappear 
anytime soon. Traditional opera cannot reinvent 
itself, Bianchi says. It will continue to thrive at the 
major centers for opera — the Metropolitan Opera 
in New York, the San Francisco Opera, and opera 
houses in major cities like Chicago and Houston. 
But smaller companies will, more and more, turn 
to contemporary opera productions that will help 
them attract a new and younger audience. For 
Bianchi, this emphasis on contemporary opera pro- 
duction would present the best possible scenario, 
allowing him to change his focus from breathing a 
few last breaths into an ailing institution to helping 
establish an operatic tradition for a new generation. 

"Realizing scores like Hansel and Gretel has 
been great," he says. "It helped us introduce and 
refine the technology, but it doesn't explore the 
potential of the Virtual Orchestra. If you let the 
Virtual Orchestra function more idiomatically and 
let it do what it does best, then there is almost no 
limit to the sonic worlds that can be created." 

One such idiomatic use of the Virtual Orches- 
tra was Bianchi's production of The Wizard of Oz. 
Productions that are less "highbrow" or don't carry 
the burden of tradition are ideal settings for the 
technology, he says. They are also the most fun, as 
evidenced by the glee in Bianchi's eyes as he 

describes how the Tin Man's music was produced 
by transforming raw metallic noises into a beautiful 
musical accompaniment. 

"The Virtual Orchestra score to Oz was under 
development for over three years, and \\ hen you 
consider the amount of automation and special 
effects synchronization, the number of surround- 
sound speakers, the degree of interactive control, 
and the overwhelming technical muscle that was 
involved, it would certainly rate as one of the most 
sophisticated sound designs in musical theater to 
date. And that would include anything done on 
Broadway or at Disney." 

"I would hope," he says, "that in a few years I 
won't even be involved in replacing the orchestra, 
but that a whole new aesthetic will have evolved." 
Until then, he says it will be necessary for the tech- 
nology to serve primarily as a stand-in for live 
orchestras. So he continues to improve and refine 
the Virtual Orchestra, to make it as close to the 
experience of a live performance as possible. In 
fact, even as he acknowledges the shortcomings of 
the technology, he maintains that the lines between 

"Every four 
months there's a 
quantum leap in 
this technology. 
What we're doing 
now is miles beyond 
what we were 
doing last year. " 

authentic and synthetic music are blurring more 
and more all the time. 

"Every four months there's a quantum leap in 
this technology," he says with enthusiasm. "What 
we're doing now is miles beyond what we were 
doing last year." 

Bianchi says he foresees a certain future for the 
Virtual Orchestra. "If opera does reinvent itself, 
this technology will be right there with it. Tradi- 
tional opera will certainly continue and will survive 
as long as there is an audience to support it," he 
says. "But I would prefer to be a part of the new 
opera and to have put all my eggs in the basket that 
says opera will change. I want to take the risk of 
being on the edge of that change." 

Bert is a turbine blade engineer at I lozvmet 
Refurbishment hie. 



The arrival last fall of the Class of 2000, the last 
class to receive their diplomas in the 20th century, 
provided an opportunity to think about the brave 
new world that lies ahead in the new millennium. 
But it is also a good excuse to look back at just 
how much things have changed at wpi in the past 

100 YEARS. 



When the members of the Class of '00 
entered Worcester Polytechnic Institute 
in the fall of '96 they found a school in the midst of 
a dramatic transformation. With the economy in a 
downturn, a drop in overall enrollment, and a 
deficit in the Institute's treasury, it had become 
obvious to the administration and the trustees that 
tough decisions and sweeping changes would have 
to be made. 

The president, in office less than a year, acted 
swiftly. In early '96, he implemented new programs 
— some extremely unpopular with the faculty — that 
changed the face of the school. Nearly half of the 
instructors didn't wait around to see how they 
would work out. Among those who left WPI in '96 
were two men who had made an indelible impres- 
sion upon the school. 

The year was 1896 and the president making 
the tough choices was Thomas C. Mendenhall, a 
highly respected educator who had already served 
as president of Rose Polytechnic Institute (where, 
by coincidence, he'd succeeded WPI's first presi- 
dent, Charles O. Thompson) and chief of the U.S. 
Coast and Geodetic Survey. Mendenhall stirred 

SPRING 1997 


-— "~— — - 


things up early in his term by questioning the role 
that the lucrative commercial enterprise main- 
tained in the Washburn Shops played in the Insti- 
tute's academic program. 

The Shops had become an integral element in 
the philosophy ot theory and practice that was at 
the core of WPI's academic program. Students put 
their classroom learning to work there making 
products for sale on the open market. But it was the 
business of the Shops that troubled Mendenhall: 
he worried that it was distracting the school from 
its primary mission of education. Furthermore, he 
was concerned that WPI had become, in essence, 
two distinct institutions: one, a college, and the 
other, a commercial manufacturing enterprise. 

That January, he and the Board of Trustees 
made a decision that would set off a tremendous 
furor in the ranks of the faculty. They decided to 
sell off the Washburn Shops' hydraulic elevator 
business. The decision was not made lighdy. The 
products of the Washburn Shops were well-known 
— especially the hydraulic elevators, which had 
been installed in every major city in the United 
States. And the sale of those products had earned 
the Institute nearly $1 million, not an insignificant 
amount of money at a time when WPI's budget 
was stretched thin. 

The decision led to the resignations of Milton 
Higgins, the first superintendent of the Washburn 
Shops, and George Alden, his good friend and the 
Institute's first professor of mechanical engineer- 
ing. Alden and Higgins purchased the elevator 
business and ran it for many years. They were also 
among the partners in the new Norton Emery 
Wheel Company, now Norton Company. 

The Shops would continue to make and sell 
products commercially off and on until the 1950s, 

-.-. • - 

{ m^M\ 



hut Mendenhall had won an important victc 
made an equally important statement ahoutfWPFs 
educational philosophy. In the process, he brought 
down the curfein on an era in the Institute's history 
lust as the school — and the world — stood attthe 
jrink of a new century. 


The School of 00 

In the late 1890s, WTI was not yet three decades 
old. It was, nevertheless, an institution in transi- 
tion. As an Alumni Association pamphlet from 
1895 bluntly stated, "The present must be regard- 
ed as a critical period in the history of the Insti- 
tute." The decision to sell off the elevator business 
marked the beginning of a period of upheaval. 
Despite the Institute's many successes — both 
academic and commercial — there were those who 
believed that WTI was on the verge of collapse. 
Indeed, at the same time that Andrew Carnegie 
was looking at WPI as a model for the Carnegie 
Institute of Technology, enrollment was down 22 
percent and the treasury was deep in debt. With 
so many faculty resignations, every academic 
department was in a state of disarray. 

This was the state of the Institute as the Class 
of 1900 arrived on campus in the fall of 1896. The 
school was changing in other ways, as well. A four- 
year course of study had become standard, replac- 
ing the three-and-a-half-year course under which 
students had studied since classes began in 1868. 

the END. 


The rather somber looking members of the Class of 1900. They may have been thinking about their heavy aca- 
demic workload, which the annual catalog suggested should consume "all the time of every student" (above). 


SPRING 1997 



The course load for the freshman year had heen 
made uniform and new admissions requirements 
had been created. The ranks of die administration 
had been bolstered by the addition of a full-time 
registrar and a librarian. 

One hundred years later, change is again in the 
air. Unlike the WPT of 1 897, the university of 
today is on a firm fiscal footing, though the contin- 
ually rising cost of financial aid has made balancing 
the budget a yearly struggle. While competition for 
undergraduates is, perhaps, more fierce than it has 
ever been, die university has maintained a strong 
competitive position among its peer institutions, 
due largely to the appeal of the innovative WPI 
Plan. In fact, enrollment consistently meets or 
exceeds the university's targets, WPI is blessed 
with a highly skilled faculty, and its project-based 
education is beginning to be seen as a model tor 
change in technological higher education at the 
national level. 

The Academics of 00 

In 1865, as the Board of Trustees met to plan a 
course of study for the Institute, it declared that of 
all the subjects the school should offer, "the first 
in importance is mechanical engineering." By the 
end of the 1 9th century, mechanical engineering 
still reigned supreme in the school's curriculum, 
but some serious challengers were waiting in the 
wings. For example, with the growth of cities and 
the advent of major public works projects, civil 
engineering was emerging as an important profes- 
sional field and the Institute responded by 
expanding its course offerings in that discipline. 

But it was electrical engineering that was set 
to take the school — and the country — by storm. 
Thomas Edison had developed the first incandes- 
cent light bulb more than 1 5 years earlier and the 
electrification of the modern world had begun in 
earnest. Clearly, WTI needed to prepare young 
engineers to help shape the Electric Age. Even so, 
the birth of the Electrical Engineering Department 
did not come about without resistance, primarily 
from the mechanical engineers (see "An Electric 
Century," WPI Journal, Spring 1996). 

As it did at many other schools, electrical 
engineering at WTI began as a program within the 
Physics Department. The new department was for- 
mally established in 1896, and was soon offering 1 1 
courses. The number of electrical engineering 
majors that first year equaled the number of stu- 
dents choosing mechanical engineering, a clear 
indication of the interest students were showing in 
this exciting new field of technology. 

A century later, electricity is firmly entrenched 
in every aspect of our world. Today, when students 
gaze into the future, the technology that captures 
their imaginations is the computer. Computers 
already dominate the worlds of science, technology, 
business and industry, and their potential to change 

our lives seems boundless. Computer-aided 
instruction, electronic mail, the World Wide W^eb 
and telecommunications technology are also begin 
ning to change the way education is delivered at 
colleges and universities, including WPI. 

"I think everything is going to become more 
computer-based," says Jonathan Tripp, a native of 
The Netherlands and a member of the Class of 
2000, who says he has 
already encountered com- 
puter applications in his 
classes — even those in 
organic chemistry. "The 
other majors at WTI will 
hold their own, but with 
computer engineers and 
scientists, the numbers 
are going to explode." 

In fact, interest in 
computer science and 
electrical and computer 
engineering has recently 
started to grow. Accord- 
ing to Executive Director 
of Admissions Robert 
Voss, computer science 
and electrical and com- 
puter engineering are two 
of the top three majors 
for the Class of 2000 and 
«ue die top two choices 
among applicants for the 
Class of 2001. Evenfor 

students who choose other majors, computer litera- 
cy is becoming a prerequisite for success in today's 
high-tech world. 

-^Rin Garvin, director of academic advising, 
says WTI students today seem to appreciate the 
importance of understanding computers. "To sa\ 
you don't use a computer or don't know how to 
use a computer seems unacceptable among today's 
undergraduates," she says. "As soon as they enroll, 
they want their computer account, they want to be 
able to use the system — and they want their e-mail!" 

The WTI of a century ago lived up to its 
"Polytechnic" middle name, offering majors in pri- 
marily technical disciplines. The general scientific 
major, available to students interested in becoming 
educators, was about as far from the standard tech- 
nical curriculum as WTI ventured then. Today, 
engineering remains the major of choice for the 
majority of undergraduates, but the sciences, 
management and the liberal arts — including the 
humanities and such interdisciplinary fields as tech- 
nical and professional communications and theater 
and technology — have seen their base of majors 
rise steadily over the past decade. In fact, nearly 
40 percent of students are now pursuing nonengi- 
neering majors. 

The Biology and Biotechnology Department 
has seen one of the most dramatic rises in popular- 

"I've had a lot of 
really good professors. 
They seem to be just 
as eager to teach as I 
am to learn. If you 
want to learn, then 
yon 7/ do a lot better 
than if yon 're here 
just to take a class. " 
- Donna 
Lamaestra '00 



The experience of 

being part of the 

Class of 2000 is 

"really not that 

much different than 

it is for any other 

class. The difference 

is more symbolic 

than real. " 

-Jason Sardell '00 

ity of any department at WPI. Enrollment in the 
department has increased more than fivefold since 
the early 1970s, when the program was founded as 
the Department of Life Sciences. The growth in 
demand for undergraduate courses and labs was 
one of the motivations for a recent $2 million reno- 
vation (supported by a $1 million grant from the 
National Science Foundation) of research labs and 
supporting spaces in Salisbury Laboratories, the 
department's home. 

Biology and Biotechnology has proven to be 
especially attractive to female students; in fact, 
some 3 1 percent of all women undergraduates are 
majoring in biology, biotechnology or biochem- 
istry (a major within the newly renamed Chemistry 
and Biochemistry Department). Notes Donna 
Lamaestra '00, a biotechnology major from Yuma, 
Az., "Classically, women aren't drawn to pure engi- 
neering. I know that when I was looking at col- 
leges, I'd look at all the brochures they'd send me 

and right away I'd get a 
clear idea of whether I'd 
'throw it in, or throw it 
out.' I got WPI's, and on 
the last page there was a 
blurb about the medical 
professions scholars pro- 
gram. That's the reason I 
applied to WPI." 

The Students 
of 00 

Academics are not the 
only aspect of WPI that 
has changed dramatically 
over the past century. 
When the Class of 1900 
matriculated, it consisted 
of 83 men, of whom 43 
would still be on hand for 
graduation. The majority 
of the class came from 
Worcester County, while 
11 came from otheilparts 
I jpof Massachusetts, lifrom 
| the other New England 
States, and 10 from outside New England. F'our 
members Jaf the Class of 1900 came from overseas, 
a numbe#that was then considered extraordii 

LilsJthe Class of 190B, the Class of 200JS 
rooted firmly in New England. Close to 
quarters of its 690 members hail from the six-state 
region (43 percent are from Massachusetts), but the 
resemblance between the two classes ends there. 
The class that arrived at WPI in the fall of 1996 
was drawn from every region of the United States, 
and from a broad cross section of the globe. In all, 
31 states and 23 other countries are represented. 
And, of course, WPI is no longer an all-male 
institution. WPI's first president, Charles O. 

Thompson, left the door open to enrolling women 
as soon as the school had the resources to educate 
"all competent women who apply." But in fact, 
WPI would remain a single-sex school for a full 
century, enrolling its first two women undergradu- 
ates in 1968. Since then, the number of women on 
campus has increased steadily. This year, women 
make up 2 1 percent of the undergraduate student 
body; 22 percent of the members of the Class of 
2000 are women. 

A review of the yearbook for the Class of 1900 
suggests that few if any of its members were Black, 
Hispanic or Native American. In fact, it has been 
only within the last decade or so that WPI has seen 
its enrollment of students from underrepresented 
minorities begin to grow. A variety of recruiting 
and retention programs, some supported by major 
corporations like United Technologies, General 
Electric, GTE, Lockheed-Martin and Xerox, have 
enabled the university to increase minority enroll- 
ment substantially. Today, Black, Hispanic and 
Native American students make up 5 percent of all 
undergraduates and 6 percent of the Class of 2000. 

The Campus of 00 

As the student body grew up, the campus — and the 
city it calls home — grew out. In 1896 WPI was a 
small cluster of four academic buildings on the out- 
skirts of a small city. Travel was difficult, which 
might account for the small number of students 
from faraway places. Getting around was so arduous, 
in fact, that the 1896 annual catalog of WPI warned 
against frequent travel, even for local students: 
If [the student's] home is far distant from the Insti- 
tute, whether in Worcester or in any of the adjoin- 
ing towns, it would greatly advance his interest to 
take a study room near at hand for five days in the 
week, for it is difficult to estimate the evil effect of 
the habit of daily riding to and from in the cars 
upon a student's enthusiasm. 
WPI has since expanded to cover the better 
part of four city blocks in the heart of what is now 
New E nglan d's second largest city. Travel has 
becoirjjroeasy, many students hop on planes (not 
yet indented in 1896) to travel home during school 
holidjiys or to head off to project centers at the far 
cornfc of the globe. In fadl jet travel, e-mail and 
videoconferencing have rn^de the notion of any 
placelbeing "far distant fnJb the Institute" seem 

During the 20th century, the land to the west 
of West Street becamjpfie site of several residence 
halls, two gyms and four academic buildings, and 
the WPI campus became, in a sense, two campuses. 
By the time the Class of 2000 arrived, the universi- 
ty had, at last, joined its east and west halves into an 
elegant whole. The Class of 2000, in fact, is the 
first that will never have to get used to looking both 
ways before crossing West Street. 

After decades of negotiations with the city, the 
university finally received the OK to close the 


SPRING 1997 


street to traffic in 1995. It moved quickly to replace 
the asphalt of the street with the brick and granite 
of a landscaped pedestrian mall, complete with a 
fountain. I lie project has benefits in addition to 
enhancing student saRy, Garvin says. "It makes 
students feel that they are part of a tradition ihat 
goes beyond their own four years here." M 

"It's a real improvement," Tripp says,^The 
campus has a great feeling now. \ \ ha they've 
done with West Street is rcallv mce — you feel that 
that block belongs to you. In die spring, w hen 
the grass is out and the rfe^Krre in bloom, it will 
be beautiful." 

The Economics "fjjfl _ * 

In the 100 years since the Class of 1900 enrolled, 
the cost of attending WPI has increased — more 
than a hundredfold. In 1896, full tuition — includ- 
ing lab fees — was $160. For the current academic 
year, the university is charging $17,860. Of 
course, the past century has seen a substantial 
increase in the cost of most commodities, and 
WPI's tuition remains at about the mid-point of 
the prices charged by its competitors. 

The financial expectations of today's students 
also differ markedly from those of their counter- 
parts of 100 years ago. An engineering education in 
1900 virtually guaranteed wealth. Today, a degree 
from WPI offers a good prospect of a comfortable 
standard of living. But in today's economy, when 
downsizing, acquisitions and mergers, and global 
competition have made job security and lifetime 
employment things of the past, financial stability 
seems to be the most important motivation for 
undergraduates, Garvin says. "I don't think our 
students are necessarily looking to be wealthy. 
They're hoping to be secure and comfortable." 

She adds that a small minority of students 
come to WPI motivated primarily by the promise 
of the large starting salaries people in technical 
professions can make. "When you graduate and 
you can make $40,000 or $50,000— that's heady 
stuff for a 22-year-old," she notes. "But I say to 
some students, 'You're going to work for 50 years. 
You don't even like chemistry. Why are you in 
chemical engineering?'" 

Interviews with members of the Class of 2000 
would indicate that at least some students today are 
being guided by their hearts, rather than their wal- 
lets. Jason Sardell '00, for example, a graduate of 
the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and 
Science at WPI, a state-supported high school for 
Central Massachusetts students, is completing a 
double major in physics and economics. "I was 
planning on majoring in engineering," he says. 
"Then I took some physics courses and I really 
liked them. I like math, and physics involves a lot of 
math, as does economics." Asked if he is expecting 
to make a lot of money, he replies, with a laugh, 
"In physics?" 


The Work of 00 

Though much has changed in the past 100 years, 
certain tl^^^remain the same, lor example, hard 
work is expected of students. In return, the\ 
receivflti excellent education and a degree tha 
respected in the world 
of unjustly. 

Bk while hard 
work has been a con- 
stant fjbrough the 
years, fhe Class of 
1°00 might well have 
had to put in a bit 
more effort than 
today's sUulcnLs. hot 
each of the three 
courses they typically 
take during each of 
WPI's four academic 
terms, members of the 
Class of 2 000 are 
expected to spend 
about 17 hours per 
week in class, in lab, 
or doing homework. 
Here is how the annu- 
al catalog described 
the expectations for 
undergraduates a 
century ago: 

The course of 
study is planned 
in such a way that all the time of every student is 
demanded for study, recitation, drawing, and 
practice, excepting so much that may be taken up 
in the necessary duties of life....Special care 
should be exercised in regarding to evening 
entertainment since at least five evenings a week 
ought to be devoted to the preparation of lessons 
assigned in the different departments of instruc- 
tion. Students are expected to devote at least two 
hours [per day] to the preparation of each lesson 
excepting those in drawing and manipulation. 
The workload led one student to lament in 
the 1900 Aftermath, the student yearbook, "I wish 
there were eight days in the week, so that I could 
work seven days instead of six." 

WPI's rigorous academic program teaches 
students to budget their time, Sardell says. "I've 
learned how not to procrastinate. If I have home- 
work due in two days, I'll do half tonight." Says 
Rob Seneres '00, a mechanical engineering major 
from Providence, R.I., whose area of interest is 
aerospace engineering. "I spend about three hours 
a night per hour of class. I'll just find myself doing 
homework whenever I have free time." 

WPI was built on the premise that education 
is not just about formulas, but about learning how 
to apply knowledge to real problems, as students 
will do after they graduate. WPI teaches students 
how to learn, something today's high schools 


"We represent a fresh 
start — a new chance. 
But it is probably 
wrong to think that 
we are not going to 
make the same 
mistakes as those 
who came before us. 
However, we do offer 
a new and different 
kind of hope — the 
hope that we may 
do a better job. " 
-Jonathan Tripp '00 


"I received NRs 

[No Record grades] 

in two out of three 

classes. . . it changed 

my approach toward 

things. I developed a 

more conservative 

manner, so Vm more 

conscientious about 

the decisions Vm 

making. " 

- Rob Seneres '00 

don't always seem ready to do, notes Garvin, who 
says students today learn work and study habits 
after they reach WPI. 

"Every year it seems students are less 
equipped and less prepared," she says. "Most stu- 
dents were able to get by in high school by just 
absorbing the material. The most common thing 
I hear from students who are having difficulty is 
that they never had to study in high school. 

We have very bright 
kids who weren't 
pushed and weren't 

But for those who 
are able to adjust, the 
benefits of WPI's 
approach to education 
can be significant. Says 
Tripp, "Professors force 
you to get into the 
background of a topic. 
Of course, you don't 
have to, but then you'll 
wind up not getting 
anywhere in the class. 
You have to figure out 
how to get out the rele- 
vant bits — you learn 
what's important. If you 
work at it, you're going 
to do well, and that's 
great. That's a really 
motivating factor." 
"There are many 
things you have to look up yourself," Lamaestra 
says. "You do your own research; that's some- 
thing that you need to know how to do, because 
there's not always going to be someone telling 
you the answers. I've had a lot of really good 
professors. They seem to be just as eager to teach 
as I am eager to learn. If you want to learn, then 
you'll do a lot better than i\ you're here just to 
take a class." 

The lessons learned aren't always academic 
ones, as Seneres discovered. I le struggled durin 
his first term, but he savs it was an excellent lear 
ing experience. "I received NRs [No Record 
grades] in two out of three classes," he says. "I 
probably would not have failed my elapses if I'd 
gone to another school. But anvthing«that doesn't 
kill you makes you grow — it's a builder of charac- 
ter. If I didn't fail courses in A Term, I would 
have done so in B Term, because I would not have 
developed any time-management skills. That first 
term was a big turning point for me. It changed 
my approach toward things. I developed a more 
conservative manner, so I'm more conscientious 
about the decisions I'm making." 

Learning how to learn is one of the basic 
tenets of the Plan. With its project-based 
approach, the Plan is the cornerstone of today's 

WPI. Along with the university's reputation for 
high-quality instruction, students are drawn to 
WPI because of the Plan, the project work it 
entails, and the work ethic it breeds. Lamaestra 
puts it simply: "I came here mostly for the hands- 
on experience. It was one of the few schools that 
offered a program in biotechnology, but it was the 
projects that really got my attention." 

The Enthusiasm of 00 

In general, WPI students are an enthusiastic lot, 
Garvin says. But because theirs will be the last 
class to graduate in the current millennium and 
the first to put their WPI degrees to work in the 
21st century, the Class of 2000 seems to share 
especially high spirits. "They've gelled as a class 
earlier than other classes I've seen," Garvin says. 
"In some way, I think they feel that they share a 
special obligation." 

For Seneres, that obligation is nothing short 
of leading the world into the next century. "It's 
like a changing of the guard," he explains. Sardell 
is more philosophical. "It's really not that much 
different for us than it is for any other class. The 
difference is more symbolic than real." 

But even as they try to take things in stride, 
members of the class say they are aware that the 
world will be watching them. "We represent a 
fresh start — a new chance," Tripp says. "But it is 
probably wrong to think that we are not going to 
make the same mistakes as those who came before 
us. However, we do offer a new and different kind 
of hope — the hope that we may do a better job." 
Notes Lamaestra, "To be the Class of 2000 means 
that we'll be leading everybody into the next cen- 
tury. You know that you're going to be right there 
for the next century — right there in the front." 

The expectations for the 43 men of the Class 
of 1900 were no less grand when they received 
their diplomas. The Reverend Daniel Merriman, 
stor emeritus of Central jjjpterch, concluded his 
Baccalaureate sermon to tfce class with then 
words: "You ire ffoing foph at a most extral 
nary epoch i 
the 20th cen 
gravest poss 
vast sign 


e going fo 
he world' 
You m 
issues. Y« 
omic, socia 
nee. You shall see present 
eory discredited; you shall 

story, the first 
;t help decide th 
a must bear you 
and religious c 

prophecies fail; you shall see present noisy clamor 
of tongues cease; you shall see much that boasts of 
itself as knowledge vanish away. But in it all I 
exhort you to follow with unremitting and patient 
devotion the more excellent way of unselfishness. 
For 'now abideth faith, hope and love; but the 
greatest of these is love.'" 

Parker, who received his bachelor of science degree in 
technical writing, is a technical writer for Iconics Inc. 
in Foxboro, Mass. 


SPRING 1997 

~- ■ '■"■' 

— "~~ 








frVr-' 'niVifiifiirir 

The Best Laid Plans 

In part one of this two-part article (October 
1996), we told of the birth of the wpi plan and of the 
nine remarkable men who crafted an educational 
program destined to turn the institute upside 
down. The Plan was an elegant blueprint. Turning 
that vision into a working program took years, 
and a massive community effort. along the way, 
there were errors committed, opportunities missed, 
and sacrifices made. the plan today remains a 
shining example of higher education at its best. 
But is it all it can be? And, as a new millennium 
approaches, has the time come to look carefully 
at this bold experiment, and, perhaps, to plot a 
new direction for wpi just as revolutionary? 

The Story of the Plan, Part 2, by Michael W. Dorsey 

On April 15, 1986, readers otNewspeak 


WPI * 

were confronted with an editorial that began, 
"WPI is not the college it says it is, and hasn't 
been for some time," and ended with the stern 
declaration, "...what was once an outstanding 
example that idealism can work in the real world 
is now an ironic mockery, an empty symbol of a 
school that once prided itself on being different. 
That school is now being steered unswervingly 
toward lockstep conformity." 

The frustration and anger in that editorial 
were the products of two years that saw the most 

sweeping changes 
to befall the WPI 
Plan since the 
program was 
approved by the 
faculty in 1970. 

changes began 
when the fac- 
ulty voted to 
allow individual 

•SS2S££^3g SSm ^*~~<'~ acadenucdepart- 


now than ever 

ahly or may .cMtdttt»V"* w " r .u. Facv'' 


H. Gallagher, 

J 'J 

Vice Presiaet 

ments to require their 
majors to complete a set of 

President George 
Hazzard, left, and Dean 
of Academic Affairs Ray 
Bolz helped lead and 
support the implemen- 
tation of the WPI Plan. 

^dihemoo distribution requirements. It continued 

with a new grading system that veered away 
from the simple system the Plan began with. It 
included the creation of a requirement that all 
undergraduates take two courses in the social sci- 
ences. It ended on April 10, 1986, when the facul- 
ty approved a motion declaring that the Compe- 
tency Examination, one of the Plan's original 
degree requirements, would no longer apply to 
students who entered after May 1984. 

The writer of the 
Newspeak editorial was not 
the first person to take the 
pulse of the Plan and declare 
it dead, and he would not be 
the last. In fact, there have 
been those who have, since 
the Plan's beginnings, 
claimed that it never really 
did exist, at least not in the 
ideal form envisioned by the 
faculty Planning Committee 
that created it. At the other extreme are those 
who believe that the essence of the Plan is a phi- 
losophy — a way of thinking about education— 
that could flourish even without any of the Plan's 
degree requirements. 

The truth is, of course, more complex. The 
WPI Plan has been, from the start, an educational 
program in continual flux. The elements that 
make up the program today did not spring into 

existence all at once, nor is the Competency 
Exam the only component of the original Plan 
that is no longer in place. Indeed, nearly three 
decades after its creation, the Plan remains a work 
in progress. 

The vision crafted by the Planning Commit- 
tee and amended and approved by the faculty was 
painted in broad strokes. Filling in the details and 
creating a program that could educate young men 
and women in a manner worthy of culminating in 
a degree from WPI took the combined energy, 
imagination and commitment of hundreds of peo- 
ple. One of these was President George Hazzard, 
who came to WPI just as the Plan was taking 
shape and lent his enthusiasm, his own passion 
for educational innovation, and his unsurpassed 
skill as a fund-raiser. He was largely responsible 
for major grants from the Rockefeller and 
Carnegie foundations that provided funds — with 
few strings attached — that helped fuel the imple- 
mentation process, and he helped win recognition 
for the Plan in the national media and among 
WPI's peers in higher education. 

Like Hazzard, Ray Bolz, who came to WPI in 
1973 to replace M. Lawrence "Cookie" Price as 
dean of academic affairs, was drawn to the Insti- 
tute by the opportunity to take part in a bold 
experiment in engineering education. Having 
made his mark at Case Western University, where 
he served as dean of engineering, Bolz set to work 
recruiting talented faculty members for WPI who 
had the flexibility and vision to adapt to the Plan's 
unconventional format. Before he retired in 1984, 
he had hired more than half the WPI faculty. 

Bolz worked closely with William Grogan 
'46, longtime electrical engineering faculty mem- 
ber, member of the Planning Committee, and 
newly appointed dean of undergraduate studies. 
Grogan headed a core group of faculty members 
and administrators who implemented the Plan. 
Radiating out from this central structure were 
many subcommittees that addressed various 
elements of the Plan, faculty committees that 
helped shape many key aspects of the Plan and 
shepherd them through the faculty governance 
system, and administrative offices established to 
manage the myriad details of this unique acade- 
mic program. 

Beyond these bodies were the entire faculty, 
staff and student body, for the Plan was an all- 
consuming entity. In a 1974 article in the WPI 
Journal, Hazzard said the Plan "is the faculty 
working 80 to 100 hours a week. It if the adminis- 
trators doing likewise. It is tension, skepticism, 
exhilaration, frustration, incredible detail, 
patience, and hope." 

The story of the WPI Plan is one of the more 
remarkable tales in the annals of academia. And 
so far, it is a story without an ending. 


Spring 1997 


"An opportunity and challenge seldom 
presented to any faculty or 
administration. " 

Bhe glow of the victory party at Putnam 
and Thurston's Restaurant had hardly 
died away in the spring of 1970 when the 
cold light of reality began to dawn. The 
faculty vote had committed the Institute to carry 
out a gargantuan task. To implement the Plan, 
WPI would have to throw away virtually every 
critical element of its undergraduate program— 
the academic calendar, the grading system, the 
degree requirements — and replace them with a 
largely undefined system. 

It was a breathtaking leap of faith — and an 
enormous risk. But the risk of doing nothing was 
higher. Between 1964 and 1968, WPI's entering 
freshman classes averaged fewer than 400 stu- 
dents. In 1968, WPI admitted 850 of the 1,400 
students who applied, and enrolled just 350. 
Maintaining the school's rigid academic program 
—at a time when educational reform 
was blossoming around the country and 
when the Vietnam War, the growing 
environmental movement and student 
unrest had led to a severe decline in interest in 
engineering careers — promised little hope of 
reversing the decline in WPI's student population 
and, by association, the Institute's troubling finan- 
cial outlook. 

So while the Plan was a means of creating a 
more appropriate vehicle for educating technologi- 
cal professionals, it was also a life ring to keep the 
Institute afloat in a sea of fiscal uncertainty. And 
since life rings do no good if tossed too late, the 
Plan had to be put in place swiftly. Recognizing 
that urgency, Hazzard sent the faculty a memo on 
Oct. 19, 1970, outlining an ambitious timeline for 
implementing the Plan. It called for a pioneering 
group of freshmen and upperclass students to begin 
completing their degree requirements under the 
Plan in 1971. The Plan's first major component — 
Intersession — would go on-line midway through 
the 1971-72 academic year. 

Hazzard named Grogan chairman of the 
General Implementation Committee, consisting 
of a select group of administrative officers, the 
chairmen of the faculty committees responsible 
for the curriculum and campus social life, and the 
chairman of the faculty Curriculum Committee. 
Assisting the General Implementation Committee 
would be five ad hoc committees comprising 
more than 50 faculty members and students. 
They would focus on the implementation of stu- 
dent projects and independent studies, on Inter- 
session, on the advising system, on facilities and 
equipment needed for the new curriculum, and 
on the role of audiovisual technology in the Plan. 
In a separate memo to the members of those 
committees, Hazzard wrote, "We currently face 
an opportunity and challenge seldom presented to 

any faculty or administration. I need your whole- 
hearted support and effort in implementing the 
Plan successfully." 

"It was a period of enormous tension. " 

■^■H hen the ( reneral Implementation ( iom 
Iff I mittee met for the firsl time in tin I. ill of 
I A I 1970, there were a great many questions 
■Afl mi the table and not man) answers. ( )ver 
the next 15 years, the committee would dispose of 
nearly all of them in a swift, no-nonsense manner. 
Meeting weekly, the committee marched briskly 
through succinctly worded 
agendas under Grogan's 

"Bill Grogan was the 
orchestrator," says Joseph 
Mielinski '63, now finance 
director for the Leominster, 
Mass., Public Schools, who 
was hired by WPI in 1970 
to administer the evolving 


project program. "It was 
Bill's wisdom that kept 
things in balance and that 
let us keep everything in 
perspective." Says James 
Demetry, professor and 

associate head of the Electrical and Computer 
Engineering Department, "It is impossible to over- 
state Bill Grogan's contribution to the success of 
the Plan. He went about leading the implementa- 
tion with incredible dedication and resourcefulness 
that, even today, instills loyalty." 

The most frightening question the General 
Implementation Committee faced was whether the 
Plan would work at all. Given that the school's 
future was riding on the program and given the 
large number of faculty members who were dead 
set against it, this was not an idle worry, Grogan 
says. "Some days you wondered if it would go, but 
you couldn't let anybody know that. You couldn't 
transmit even the slightest doubt, because there 
were a lot of people who wanted it to go away. 
They weren't going to leave WPI, but they really 
wanted things to go back to the way they had been. 
We had to get across the idea that WPI was never 
again going to be the way it was." 

High on the General Implementation Com- 
mittee's list of priorities in those early days were 
two changes that would prove ideal vehicles for 
sending that message: seven-week terms and 
Intersession. The switch to seven-week terms was 
a trying process — "a major jolt to the system," 
Grogan calls it. As chairman of the Curriculum 
Committee, Thomas Keil, now head of the 
Physics Department, was responsible for making 
sure the changeover went smoothly. 

"you couldn't 
transmit even 
the slightest 
doubt, because 
there were a 
lot of people 
who wanted 
[The Plan] 
to go away." 
-William Grogan 

WPI Journal 


"We had to 
rewrite every 
course descrip- 
tion, eliminate 
courses, and add 
new courses 
required by the 
Plan. It was a 
major milestone." 
-Thomas Keil 

"We made the switch to seven-week terms in 
the fall of 1972 — even before the Plan was fully 
implemented — a time when most students were 
still meeting their degree requirements under the 
old system," Keil says. "There was simply no way 
we could run seven-week terms for Plan students 
and 14-week semesters for everybody else. So in 
a short period of time, we had to rewrite every 
course description and, at the same time, elimi- 
nate courses and add new courses required by 
the Plan. It was a major milestone. I think it was 
really a stroke of genius to do this so soon. It 
made it clear that the Plan was going to have a 
major impact, one that would affect everybody" 

The Planning Com- 
mittee had called for a cal- 
endar based on terms in 
the belief that such a sys- 
tem was essential for the 
success of an academic 
program that revolved 
around projects. "There 
were really two reasons," 
Grogan says. "A lot of stu- 

7-Week erms 

dents said the semester 
system, which required 
students to take five or six concurrent courses, so 
divided their attention they felt they really could 
not get into anything. They were always putting 
out fires. 

"In addition, I had learned through my own 
courses that if you tried to run serious projects in 
competition with five or six courses — with all of 
the deadlines they heaped on students — the pro- 
jects suffered. And that says nothing of trying to 
get students off-campus to do project work." 

Grogan says students liked seven-week terms 
from the start, but the reviews from the faculty 
were mixed, at best. Some instructors found the 
process of revamping courses easier than others. 
The process seemed most trying for courses in 
the sciences and mathematics. "The math faculty 
constantly tried to convince the university to go 
back to semesters," Grogan says. "They had their 
reasons. They felt students could not effectively 
learn mathematics in seven-week bites." 

The first experience with seven-week terms 
was the most difficult, Grogan says. "At the end 
of that first term, people really freaked out. They 
couldn't believe the term was over. Romeo 
Moruzzi, who was then acting dean of the faculty, 
had a cocktail party for the faculty at Higgins 
House. It was one of the wildest times we ever 
had. The faculty were absolutely beside them- 
selves. It was a period of enormous tension." 

Seven-week terms remain one of the more 
controversial elements of the Plan. Francis Lutz, 
former dean of undergraduate studies at WPI 

who is now dean of the School of Science, Tech- 
nology and Engineering at Monmouth Universi- 
ty, says one problem is that each academic year 
brings to campus a new crop of young faculty 
who have only had experience with teaching in 
semesters, and they find adjusting to a term sys- 
tem difficult. "There is a need for continuing 
effort on the part of senior faculty and the admin- 
istration to educate these faculty members on the 
reasons for the seven-week term system." 

But opposition to the system is not limited to 
new professors. Keil says he is one of a number 
of veteran faculty members who would support a 
return to the semester system. "There are major 
disadvantages to seven-week terms," he says. 
"There are a lot of things that students find dif- 
ficult to absorb over such a short period of time. 
And the logistics of registering students four 
times a year is a nightmare — we're always starting 
or stopping courses, and there is a cost to us for 
that. It is argued that seven-week terms make it 
possible for students to complete projects off- 
campus, but I feel that our off-campus project 
program is limited by seven-week terms. I'd like 
to see students spend a semester at a project cen- 
ter. They'd have time to complete a project plus 
a lot more time to deal with cross-cultural issues, 
language issues and so on." 

Still, Keil says he recognizes that such a 
change is unlikely. "We were able to switch to 
seven-week terms because the faculty wasn't as 
busy as it is today. Now, with teaching and project 
advising, there isn't a lot of excess capacity — 
everybody is pretty much flat out. One of the 
elements of the theory of change is that the peo- 
ple who are going to make change have to have 
the time to do it, and we don't." 

"Everyone was teaching something. It 
was extraordinarily successful. " 

Of the introduction of seven-week terms was 
received by the faculty like a dose of castor 
oil, the first Lntersession was an extra large 
Whitman's Sampler. Designed as a three- 
week academic interlude between B and C terms, 
lntersession quickly exploded into a smorgasbord 
of knowledge. Anyone with expertise in a particular 
area — no matter how narrow or off-beat — could 
offer a course that might last a few days to a few 
weeks, and many, many people did just that. 

The catalog for the first lntersession in January 
1972 included listings for more than 400 courses, 
with titles that included "Fiction Into Films," "Liv- 
ing in a Commune," "Design and Testing of M.F 
Directional Antenna Arrays," "Bachelor Cooking: 
Survival to Gourmet," "Skiing for Beginners," 
"Biomedical Instrumentation With Computer 
Applications," and "The Tudor Interlude" (a per- 
formance of a 16th century comic play). Students 
traveled to the White Mountains for a course in 
winter mountaineering, others took an oceano- 


Spring 1997 



graphic research cruise in the Caribbean, some 
went to Puerto Rico to study geology. "Everyone 
was teaching something," Crogan says. "It was 
extraordinarily successful." 

Defying the predictions of those who said 
students would rather spend the winter break in 
the tropical sun than in a classroom, the courses 
drew some 4,000 registrations. More than 70 
percent of all undergraduates signed up, along 
with many faculty, staff and alumni. There were 
a number of goals for this acade- 
mic free-for-all, Grogan says. 
"The idea was to let members of 
the YVPI community try new 
things, to enable faculty members 
and students to get to know each 
other in new combinations, and to 
give students an opportunity to 
pick up useful ancillary material 
they could use in their courses and 

Raymond Hagglund, professor 
of mechanical engineering, was an 
early and eager supporter of Inter- 
session. "I offered a week of free- 
body diagrams," he says. "These 
are one of the most critical things 
in engineering — if you can't draw 
them, you can't do engineering. By 
the end of that week, students were 

With fellow mechanical engi- 
neering professor Hartley Grandin, 
Hagglund also offered a course on 
building a house. "Students actually 
built walls, did the wiring and 
plumbing, and so on. Three hun- 
dred kids signed up for that course 
the first time, even though I could 
only handle 30. Some of these kids had never 
used a hammer or sweated a joint or put in a light 
switch. Now, I happen to think these are impor- 
tant things to know. They add a practical element 
to engineering." 

Feedback from participants showed that the 
program was meeting its objectives. Students 
reported that they were learning skills and tech- 
niques that would prove valuable in their studies. 
The informal atmosphere in the courses was 
helping break down the campus's ivory towers. 
And, perhaps most important, everyone was hav- 
ing fun breaking free in a spectacular fashion 
from the rigidity that had been the norm in 
WPI's undergraduate program for many years. 

Like a dazzling flower that blooms briefly but 
then must die so the fruit can mature, Interses- 
sion eventually gave way to the growing demands 
of other Plan elements, most notably the Compe- 
tency Examination. "January was the big month 
for taking the Comp," Grogan says, "and it fell 
right on top of Intersession." 

\lter several years of declining enrollment, 
the ( icneral Implemen- 
tation Committee put an 
end to Intersession in 
1 <>S2. But for those who 
lived through it, the 
program remains one 
of the most exciting and 
unusual diversions in 
WPI's long history. 



■^* flS 

lit U/^L-l 



"Projects breed 

projects. " 

I all the prob- 
lems Grogan 
expected to 
face in bring- 
ing the Plan on-line, 
none loomed larger 
than the challenge of 
finding enough topics 
to ensure that all WPI 
undergraduates could 
eventually complete 
the Plan's three pro- 
ject-based degree 

"A number of facul- 
ty members had incor- 
porated projects in their 
courses," Grogan says, 
"and there were projects done as independent stud- 
ies and honors theses. We were running perhaps 60 
projects a year. I remember waking up at 4 a.m. 
some days in a cold sweat thinking, 'My God, in a 
year or two we'll have to have 1,200 project regis- 
trations. Where are we going to find them?' We 
were worried that it would be an exercise in frustra- 
tion for students, but an even greater worry was 
that the projects would be trivial. As it turned out, 
this was not a problem. Projects breed projects." 
Grogan says WPI alumni helped prime the 
project pump. "Not all alumni thought the Plan 
was such a good idea," he says. "Some thought 
this was a wild scheme, one that seemed to dis- 
parage their own educations. Others bought into 
the Plan with great enthusiasm. They recognized 
how this program would have enhanced their 
educations. These were the graduates we went to 
as we searched for project ideas and support. 
Before long we had an embarrassment of riches — 
file drawers full of letters from alumni wanting to 
do projects with us. Alumni may not realize it, 

Intersession was a brief 
but memorable inter- 
lude in the Plan. Held 
each January, it was an 
academic free-for-all 
that featured hundreds 
of short courses on all 
manner of topics, 
including, from bottom, 
bachelor cooking, draw- 
ing and sand castle 

WPI Journal 


but in those early days of the Plan, they played a 
critical role in making it all happen." 

Finding project topics was only one element 
of bringing the project program into existence. 
Administering a program of that magnitude was 
something no one had ever tried to do. There 
were no rules, no procedures, and no infrastruc- 
ture to manage such an effort. And there was lit- 
tle time to get everything in place. The first 
group of Plan students would need to be working 
on projects during the 1971-72 academic year, 
and each year the program would grow until it 
reached an all-out steady state in 1973-74. 



Top, a project in the 
Environmental Systems 
Study Program, which 
served as a test bed for 
Plan projects. Student 
Brian J. Savilonis '72, 
now a professor of 
mechanical engineering 
at WPI, is standing at 
right. Bottom, Francis 
Lutz, who eventually 
administered the Plan 
as dean of undergrad- 
uate studies. 

By a fortunate coincidence, WPI had received 
a $200,000, three-year grant from the Alfred P. 
Sloan Foundation in 1969 to create a program 
that would prove to be an excellent test bed 
for WPI Plan projects and for faculty project 
advising. The grant funded the Environmental 
Systems Study Program (ESSP), a new method 
for teaching future engineers and scientists to 
approach the solution of environmental problems 
in an interdisciplinary fashion. Imre Zwiebel, 
then a professor of chemical engineering at WPI 
and now a professor in the Department of Chem- 
ical, Biomedical and Materials Engineering at 
Arizona State University, applied for the grant 
through a special foundation program that funded 
innovation in technological education. 

"Everything seemed to mesh at that time," 
Zwiebel says. "The Plan was coming together and 
we felt we had a novel educational approach to 
present to Sloan. We were also combining tech- 
nology and society through the study of the envi- 
ronment, which was innovative. Sloan made just 
10 awards through this program, and we were the 
only small school to get one." 

Through the ESSP, students completed envi- 
ronmental projects sponsored by local companies 
during the summer. For example, one team of 
students solved a noise problem at a local chem- 
ical company while another looked at the prob- 
lems caused by the discharge of sewage treatment 
sludge into Boston harbor. Though the projects 
were highly technical in nature, they helped stu- 
dents understand the broader social implications 
of engineering and technology. In this way, ESSP 
became the springboard for a major effort to 
define what would become the most distinctive 
and powerful element of the Plan. 

"The need for the IQP became clear 
as day. " 

s it was drafted by the Planning Commit- 
tee and approved by the faculty, the WPI 
Plan contained a substantial loophole. 
Among the handful of degree require- 
ments included in the Plan were two qualifying 
projects: one that had to be concentrated in a 
student's major discipline (now called the Major 
Qualifying Project) and another that, it was rec- 
ommended, should be in an area that touches 
upon the relationship between science, technol- 
ogy and society. 

In the early days of the Plan, many faculty 
members and students were eager to take advantage 
of the leeway this description provided. Many on 
the faculty believed strongly that, since the practice 
of engineering and science in our modern world is 
intimately intertwined with social issues and con- 
cerns, all students should undertake a science, tech- 
nology, society project. But others believed that the 
best route to proficiency in a technical field is prac- 
tical experience, and the more the better; if one 
qualifying project in the major area was good, two 
would be twice as good. 

"The idea that the second qualifying project 
should be a technical project had a lot of support 
on campus," Lutz says. "The notion of an inter- 
active project was really something new for tech- 
nical higher education at that time — as was the 
thought of devoting so much academic credit to 
something that was so ill-defined." 

Giving definition to the science, technology 
and society project was the charge of an interdis- 
ciplinary committee appointed in 1971 by Grogan 
and chaired by Zwiebel. Its members included 
some of the faculty who had gained experience 
in project advising through the ESSP, including 
Demetry, Hagglund and Lutz, as well as Leon 
Graubard, professor of management, John 
O'Connor, professor of social science and policy 
studies, and Douglas Woods, head of the Social 
Science and Policy Studies Department and 
recently-named co-chair of the Interdisciplinary 
and Global Studies Division. 

Much like the Planning Committee, the 
Zwiebel Committee (as the group came to be 


Spring 1997 

i flii«> -.taa. 



known) went about its work with remarkable ded- 
ication and energy, fueled by each member's abid- 
ing interest in education. And like the members 
of the Planning Committee, the Zwiebel Com- 
mittee members found the experience exhilarating 
and profoundly moving. 

Says Zwiebel, "We spent a great deal of time 
together. We exchanged ideas. We worked on 
one another. We became very close friends — we 
became one. That camaraderie and support was 
the key to the planning and development of the 
IQP. I think we showed that if people are truly 
given the opportunity to develop something- 
look what they can do." 

For the better part of a year, the committee 
met almost weekly in a room in the back of Alden 
Memorial. There they debated concepts and 
ideas, drafted and redrafted sections of their 
report, and hit by bit, crafted not only a defini- 
tion of the interdisciplinary project, but a finely 
wrought and well-reasoned exploration of the 
philosophy behind the project. The committee 
was also the group that gave the project its name: 
the Interactive Qualifying Project, or IQP. 

"1 think many people at WPI recognized that 
there was something missing in the education of 
engineers and scientists," Zwiebel remembers. 
"There was a lot of emphasis on pollution then — 
we had seminars, Earth Day observances, and so 
on — so there was a consciousness about the social 
consequences of technology. But unfortunately, 
there was a feeling that we didn't know what to 
do about those consequences. Thinking of things 
this way, the need for the IQP became clear as 

The committee recommended that the IQP 
become the second qualifying project and that all 
students be required to complete it. By doing so, 
they wrote in their report, students would 
become sensitive to social problems, be able to 
question, criticize or reinforce prevailing ethics 
and values, be aware of societal-humanistic-tech- 
nological interactions, and be able to make better 
judgments and policy recommendations on issues 
that affect society. In short, they would become 
better scientists and engineers. 

Having fulfilled its charge, the committee 
could have filed its report and ended the arduous 
project it had taken on. But it recognized that a 
project as unusual as the IQP — one whose focus 
tell outside the spheres of expertise and the com- 
fort zones of most WPI faculty members, and one 
for which, in all likelihood, faculty members 
would receive little or no credit toward the 
rewards of tenure and promotion — would require 
a great deal in the way of institutional support. 
Demetry has compared the IQP to a ball sitting 
at the peak of a steep hill. "It's not a naturally sta- 
ble situation," he says. "You have to work to keep 
that ball up there or it's going to roll back down. 
It's a tenuous stability, at best." 

The committee proposed a two-pronged 
approach to supporting the project. On one 
prong, the committee recommended that prepa- 
ration courses be developed to acquaint students 
with socio-technical interrelationships and to 
teach them techniques for designing studies and 
surveys. They also strong- 
ly recommended that all 
students complete a pre- 
liminary protect —a sort of 
trial run to explore a topic 
and lay the groundwork 
lor the full-blown [QP— 
and that students be 
required to defend their 
project ideas to advisors 
in the form of proposals. 

"We wanted to he 
sure that this project did 
not become a superficial 
exercise," Zwiebel says. 
"We wanted this effort to 
lead to a publishable 
result. That was the key 
to the whole thing. We 
were looking for a way to 
he sure that the bond 
between the technological 
component and the societal component was 
meaningful. Preparation was the key to prevent- 
ing superficiality." 

Faculty development, the other prong, was 
of equal — if not greater— importance, the com- 
mittee believed. Among the group's recommen- 
dations was one for on-campus sabbaticals that 
would enable faculty members to learn about 
social problems and issues that could become fod- 
der for projects. "The on-campus sabbatical was 
to be a way to learn about disciplines outside of 
one's own area in a cost-effective way," Zwiebel 
says. "The committee felt there was something 
quite potent in that." 

Many of the committee's recommendations 
were never implemented. But other efforts were 
made to prepare the way for the IQP. One of the 
products of the Zwiebel Committee was a pro- 
posal to the Sloan Foundation that resulted in a 
large grant that supported two summer work- 
shops for faculty interested in advising IQPs. As 
the first director of the IQP program, Hagglund 
organized the first workshop in 1972. The second 
was organized the following summer by Demetry, 
who in 1975 became the first chairman of the 
Division of Interdisciplinary Affairs, which was 
set up to nurture the IQP and to oversee the 
interdisciplinary majors made possible by the 
flexibility of the Plan. 

The workshops brought WPI faculty mem- 
bers together with groups of recognized authori- 
ties on a wide range of social issues. "These were 
people who, in the 1950s and 1960s, would have 


The IQP 

"The IQP is the 
single most 
important con- 
tribution wpi 
has made to 
education-it is 
wpi's defining 
characteristic . ' 
-Francis Lutz 

WPI Journal 


Imre Zwiebel, left, led a 
committee that defined 
the Interactive Quali- 
fying Project and urged 
the university to sup- 
port it with a range of 
student and faculty 
development programs. 
Douglas Woods, a 
member of the Zwiebel 
committee, recently 
wrote a report suggest- 
ing ways WPI can rein- 
vigorate the IQP. 

seemed out of place at WPI," Demetry says. "But 
they exposed the faculty to issues that were totally 
out of the conventional engineering framework. 
They didn't make experts of us, but they made us 
aware of the problems that were out there. I think 
the workshops also made believers out of a num- 
ber of skeptics on the faculty. After they were 

over, we had a lot of people willing to take on a 
share of the burden of advising IQPs." 

With the Zwiebel Committee report and the 
Sloan-sponsored workshops, the IQP got off to a 
good start. But the General Implementation 
Committee felt the need to carefully time its pro- 
posal to make the project a formal degree 
requirement. "It was a political decision," Grogan 
says. "We waited until we were well into the Plan 
and had many people who were committed to the 
IQP. Then, a ground swell of support for abolish- 
ing the project arose in the Chemistry Depart- 
ment, and we knew the time had come to move. 
If we had waited another year, we might have lost 
the momentum." 

The year was 1977. That spring, the Com- 
mittee on Academic Policy brought the issue 
before the faculty for a vote. By that time, only a 
handful of students were completing two techni- 
cal projects. Still, a number of faculty members 
rose to strongly oppose the removal of the option 
to do a second MQP. But by a voice vote the fac- 
ulty approved the new degree requirement, which 
would first apply to students graduating in 1981 
— more than 10 years after the Plan's approval. 

"WPI Fumbled the Ball" 

Bince the creation of the IQP, the ball has 
remained on top of the hill, though at 
times it has threatened to give in to the 
relentless tug of gravity. "The IQP is the 
single most important contribution WPI has 
made to technological education — it is WPFs 
defining characteristic," Lutz says. "But precisely 
because it is so different from anything in any 
other curriculum around the country, it requires 
occasional evaluation to assure that, though it is 
different, it is still substantial." 

In fact, periodic faculty reviews have identi- 
fied and helped address a number of problems 

with the implementation of the project, most 
especially that of IQPs that are really technical 
projects (MQPs) and projects that are not worthy 
of college-level work. But other problems persist. 
Last fall, the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies 
Division sponsored a retreat for 60 faculty and 
staff members to review the pluses and minuses of 
the IQP and to make plans for its future. 
A subset of that group continued to work 
during the winter and recently produced a 
final report. 

The report, written by Douglas 
Woods, noted that the most vexing prob- 
lems facing the IQP are precisely those 
that the Zwiebel Committee hoped to 
avoid by placing so much emphasis on 
student and faculty preparation. In partic- 
ular, a 1995 review of IQP quality showed 
that while projects completed off campus 
were generally excellent, about a third of 
projects done on campus involve too little 
work or work of insufficient quality to receive 
credit as a degree requirement. In addition, some 
projects demonstrate a lack of understanding of 
the methods of conducting social science research 
and analyzing data. 

The report recommended that ways be found 
to increase understanding among students and 
faculty members about the goals of the IQP and 
that an IQP manual be prepared that will provide 
faculty members with the information they need 
to be effective advisors. It recommended that 
students be encouraged to do more preparation 
for projects, including more course work relating 
to their project topic. And it suggested that on- 
campus IQPs become more like their off-campus 
counterparts. In particular, more on-campus pro- 
jects should be sponsored by local and regional 
agencies and organizations, they said. 

WPI also recently bolstered its administration 
of the IQP by dividing the responsibilities of the 
IGSD among three co-chairs. Current IGSD 
chair Hossein Hakim, professor of electrical and 
computer engineering, will continue to direct 
WPI's Global Perspective Program and support 
IQPs completed at off-campus sites. Douglas 
Woods will direct the new Interdisciplinary Stud- 
ies Program, which will support IQPs completed 
on or near campus. Richard Vaz, associate profes- 
sor of electrical and computer engineering, will 
become director of faculty and student develop- 
ment programs and provide support to these two 
critical areas. 

But even as WPI works to increase its com- 
mitment to the IQP, the chairman of the commit- 
tee that defined it more than two decades ago 
wonders whether the effort may be too little, too 
late to garner WPI the national recognition and 
respect he feels the project could have won the 
university. "During the next few years, as WPI 
devotes its total effort to the Plan, it will become 


Spring 1997 

ll III I illlllllMlllll IDIM llillllini llHIIMl UHlllHlIf lllll 

an educational laboratory," the Zwiebel Commit- 
tee wrote in its report. "WPI's progress in imple- 
menting this innovative program will be carefully 
observed by other educators as well as by indus- 
trial and governmental employees. It is highly 
probable, therefore, that the successful features of 
the WPI Plan will exert considerable influence on 
the programs of many universities, and on the 
general course of higher education in the years to 

"WPI fumbled the ball," Zwiebel says now. 
"I felt that WPI had invented something great 
and should have devoted considerable resources 
to enable it to grow. Now, the rest of the world is 
catching up to WPI, but if it had invested its 
resources in the IQP, it could have become a 
national leader in the interface of science and 
technology. I don't think WPI believed in the 
potential value of the IQP from an administrative 
point of view. It was accepted as an educational 
tool, but not for its potential to build national and 
international prominence. It's never too late to 
get started toward that goal, but the university 
must be willing to put its resources into it and 
place its focus on it. It must be willing to make 
the commitment." 

"I don V think we should hold anything 
above inspection. " 

Bn the process of implementing the Suffi- 
ciency, the project that greatly increased 
the role of the humanities in the edu- 
cation of WPI undergraduates, WPI 
created a new department. Prior to the start of 
the Plan, the humanities had been the province 
of two departments, each with its own faculty 
and department head. In 1974, the English 
Department, then chaired by Charles Heventhal, 
a member of the Planning Committee, and the 
Department of History, Modern Languages, 
Music and Art, under the chairmanship of Donald 
Johnson, combined to become the Humanities 
Department (today known as the Humanities 
and Arts Department), with Johnson serving as 
its first head. 

"Because of the urgency of getting ready for 
the Sufficiency, the transition had to come quick- 
ly," Heventhal says. "We defined a three-year 
program to make it happen. It took a lot of hard 
work and sacrifice, but I'm proud of what we did 
in reorganization of the humanities and in the 
development of the drama/theater and music 

The move was aimed at helping create an aca- 
demic infrastructure adequate to nurture and sus- 
tain the Sufficiency project. Prior to the Plan, 
humanities courses had been offered primarily to 
enable students to fulfill the few nontechnical 
electives available in a typical four-year academic 
schedule and to fulfill the criteria of the national 
engineering accreditation agency that required 

students to take a half year of humanities and 
social science courses. The Sufficiency requires 
each student to take five thematically related 
courses and then complete a project that some- 
how grows from those courses. It was clear that 
this level of involvement in the humanities would 
require more resources than WPI could muster as 
the Plan began. 

Those resources would include more faculty 
members to teach the courses students needed 
as they explored a wide variety of topics in the 
humanities and arts. To help in this area, WPI 
secured a $30, 000 grant from the National Endow- 
ment for die Humanities to look at the needs of 
the humanities program; a second NEH grant of 
$180,000 was used to hire two new faculty mem- 
bers and to cover die cost of course development 
and library acquisitions. WPI also provided hinds 
to expand the humanities faculty in the early years 
of the Plan and the Mellon Foundation assisted in 
faculty and program development. 

Lance Schachterle, now a professor of Eng- 
lish and assistant provost for academic affairs, was 
one of those new recruits. Arriving on campus in 
the fall of 1970, he says he joined the rest of the 
humanities faculty in trying to make sense of the 
Sufficiency. "There was a fair amount of disagree- 
ment among the various humanities disciplines 
about what it meant to do a cumulative project," 
he says. "We also 
had to decide what 
it meant for courses 
to have a thematic 
connection. No one had an answer for this at the 
start. We also had a host of very practical ques- 
tions to answer. For example, to what extent 
should students borrow or build on the content 
of the courses and to what extent could they write 
something completely new that has no relation- 
ship to the courses?" 

Like the IQP, the Sufficiency has been the 
subject of periodic reviews that have identified 
and helped solve problems that have plagued it. 
These reviews have also helped the Humanities 
and Arts Department wrestle with the goals and 
expectations it has for the Sufficiency. Grogan 
and others say the time may have come for a 
more comprehensive review that will enable the 
university to look more closely at the project and 
at whether it continues to meet the goals that the 
Planning Committee set for it. 

"I'm not sure it is doing its intended job any- 
more," Grogan says. "Students now seem to take 
humanities courses that fit their schedules, rather 
than courses that fit with a theme. And I'm not 
sure the project is giving students a sufficient base 
in an area of the humanities to carry on an avoca- 
tional interest. As we look at the Plan and review 
its degree requirements, I don't think we should 
hold anything above inspection, including the 

As a new member of the 
Humanities Department, 
Lance Schachterle 
helped make sense of 
the Sufficiency. 

The Sufficiency 

"i'm not sure 
[the Suffi- 
ciency] is DOING 
its intended 
job anymore. 
Students now 
seem to take 
courses that fit 
their schedules, 
rather than 
courses that fit 
with a theme." 
-William Grogan 

WPI Journal 



"We were all there as a team. And that's 
critical. " 

hile most of the story of the WPI Plan 
revolves around pedagogy, there have also 
been some important issues ot geography. 
In the first few years, the most important 
of these was finding a physical home on campus 
for the new project programs. The minutes of 
the General Implementation Committee reflect 
considerable discussion about where to create the 
Project Center and what to house under its roof. 

The "where" question was answered by refur- 
bishing the foundry building on West Street with 
the help of a $150,000 grant from The Kresge 
Foundation. The "what" took a bit longer to sort 
out. As originally conceived, the Project Center 
was to be a sort of machine shop where students 
could build equipment for their projects. When 
it became apparent that most of this work could 
be done in existing labs and shops, the center 
became, instead, the home for the people and 
programs needed to administer the Plan, a role 
it continues to fill today 

The third floor of Wash- 
burn Shops, once a 
cluttered, dusty storage 
space, was transformed 
into an administrative 
center for the IQP by 
a team of volunteers 
led by Mechanical 
Engineering Professor 
Raymond Hagglund. 

After the IQP had been defined, it was agreed 
that this innovative, interdisciplinary project 
needed a home base of its own. "I was informed 
one day that the college was going to renovate a 
little room for me on the third floor of Wash- 
burn," Hagglund says. "The third floor was then 
an attic and it had become a real dump. I said, 
'My gracious, what a wonderful place this is going 
to be! Who will ever come up here? I don't want 
to be up here.'" 

Hagglund, borrowing on his own home 
building experience, worked out a plan to reno- 
vate the entire floor for the same $25,000 that 
had been set aside to create his office, and volun- 
teered to serve as general contractor. He secured 
Grogan's approval, and one Saturday morning 
arrived at Washburn with a wrecking crew that 

included Mielinski, Demetry, Lutz and a horde 
of students. "That weekend, we gutted the third 
floor," Hagglund says. "Then on Monday, there 
was a union grievance filed against me. We solved 
that problem by hiring union craftsmen from the 
Plant Services Department on an overtime basis, 
providing they were willing to work with stu- 
dents. It worked out great." 

Hagglund contained costs by using volunteer 
workers and by finding used or unconventional 
building materials whenever possible. When a 
downtown Worcester company decided to get rid 
of some 13 -foot-tall computer walls, he bought 
them for a tiny fraction of their value and used 
cables to lower them out of a 10th floor window 
into a WPI dump truck. Needing walls for stu- 
dent study carrels, he found some inexpensive 
toilet stall partitions that worked fine. "We built 
ourselves a home," he says. "It was a place where 
we could bring together all the faculty who were 

running the project 
program, the faculty 
who were advising pro- 
jects, and the students. 
We were all there as 
a team, and that's 
Hi According to Hag- 

^ ' glund and others, the 

mMl^^^r [QP ( filter well 

m be the place where 

another crucial piece 
R~-^ m of Plan geography got 

m # its start. In 1972, WPI 

received a $733,400 
grant from the National Science Foundation 
to help with the implementation of the Plan. 
Augmenting the $1.1 million WPI had already 
committed to the Plan implementation, the grant 
included $65,000 to establish an off-campus res- 
idential center for student project work. In the 
early days of the Plan, project center arrange- 
ments were developed that enabled students to do 
projects on-site with local corporations (Digital 
Equipment Corporation and Norton Company 
were among the first) and biomedical institutions 
(including the University of Massachusetts Med- 
ical Center and St. Vincent Hospital). Also in 
those first few years, WPI developed traditional 
foreign exchange programs with the City Univer- 
sity of London and the Federal Technical Insti- 
tute in Zurich, Switzerland. The NSF center 
would combine elements of both concepts to 
create a site where students would be in residence 
for seven weeks to complete project work. 

Initially, Grogan says, the thought was to 
establish an MQP center affiliated with a major 
corporation. "Imre Zwiebel and I traveled all over 
looking for a suitable partner," he says. "We visit- 
ed U.S. Steel in Cleveland, General Electric in 
Schenectady and Du Pont in Wilmington. We 


Spring 1997 



put a great deal of time into this, but we began to 
see the limitations of a disciplinary center, includ- 
ing the need to have all the students from one or 
a few disciplines and finding faculty members 
knowledgeable in the focus area of the projects. 
It was at one of the General Implementation 
Committee meetings that we decided the center 
should be a site for IQPs, instead." 

With this change in focus, attention turned 
briefly to New York City and its financial com- 
munity, Lutz says. "Then one day, during a meet- 
ing in the IQP center, Tom Keil suggested Wash- 
ington, D.C., as a place that was rich in a whole 
range of societal and political issues relating to 
technology, and everyone quickly latched on to 
that idea. Now, with the passage of time, 1 may 
have romanticized what happened next, but I 
remember having to leave the meeting early and, 
as a consequence, being chosen to be the center's 
first director." 

Before it welcomed its first students in 1974, 
the Washington Project Center would need a 
home and, more important, some projects and 
project sponsors. Starting with introductions 
from Massachusetts legislators and from faculty 
members and alumni who had contacts at a host 
of federal agencies and national organizations, 
Lutz, Hagglund, Demetry, Grogan, Mielinski, 
Keil and others knocked on doors all over the 
nation's capital and sold the Plan and the project 

The success of the Washington Project Cen- 
ter in the late 1970s and early 1980s set the stage 
for the creation of a global network of project 
centers and sites. Starting with the establishment 
of the London Project Center in 1987, the Global 
Perspective Program has grown to include some 
1 1 centers on four continents. 

"Everything was different, so everything 
was challenged. " 

Bhroughout the Plan's history, there has 
been constant pressure to change the pro- 
gram — from within WPI and from be- 
yond the campus. At times, those forces 
have combined to force important revisions. A 
case in point is the Plan's decidedly unconven- 
tional grading system. The system was designed, 
in part, to eliminate the cutthroat competition 
typical of engineering programs by doing away 
with such status symbols as grade-point averages, 
dean's lists and class standing. It also removed 
much of the disincentive for students to take risks 
by abolishing the stigma of a failing grade. 

While few argued that the system was not 
beneficial to students, many pointed to problems 
with its structure, which included just three 
grades: AC (acceptable), AD (acceptable with dis- 
tinction) and NR (no record made on a student's 
transcript). One of the most important problems 
with the system was the difficulty graduate 

schools had comparing 
the academic success of 
WPI students with that 
of students from schools with conventional grad- 
ing systems. This problem proved especially acute 
among medical schools, which must process huge 
volumes of applications. 

From inside WPI came a different concern. 
With only two passing grades, it was argued, the 
system encouraged students who did not believe 
they could earn an AD in a course to slack off, 
since the AC grade made no distinction between 
a good performance and a poor but passable one. 
But, Keil says, the system sometimes spurred stu- 
dents to work harder. "Some students worked 
hard in one course to get an AD and improve 
their transcript," he says, "whereas under a con- 
ventional system they might have been content 
to get all Bs." 

Early on, Grogan began advocating for a 
change to an A-B-C-NR system. "I felt the grad- 
ing system was one of the few mistakes we made," 
he says. "It was a compromise between those who 
wanted a pass/fail system, which would have made 
it impossible for students to go to graduate 
school, and those who wanted a conventional sys- 
tem. It was an experiment that was worth trying, 
but we held on to it for too long." 

In 1986, by a vote of the faculty, the A-B-C- 
NR system Grogan had long sought was approved. 
For those in the academic world beyond WPI, the 
change made WPI look a bit more comprehensible, 
but also a bit more conventional. Says Keil, "In a 
funny way, having a totally different grading system 
makes you seem eccentric and reinforces the fact 
that you are different. So changing the grading 
system made us seem less eccentric and, dierefore, 
less innovative." 

Washington, D.C 

With money from the 
National Science Foun- 
dation, WPI established 
its first residential proj- 
ect center in Washing- 
ton, D.C, in 1974. The 
center was a great suc- 
cess and paved the way 
for a network of project 
centers that now span 
the globe. 

WPI Journal 



"The pressure 
exerted by the 
bean counters 
really hurt us. 
i'm still not 
convinced we 
fought hard 
enough. Distri- 
bution REQUIRE- 
ments are not 
a good measure 
of competence. . . . 
What students get 
on their tran- 
script, course by 
course, doesn't 
say a whole lot." 
-Thomas Keil 

One of the most persistent sources of outside 
pressure on the Plan has come from the major 
national body responsible for accrediting engi- 
neering programs at colleges and universities, the 
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Tech- 
nology or ABET. WPI's first accreditation visit 
under the Plan came in 1972, just as the Plan was 
being fully implemented. 
ABET, anxious to under- 
stand and learn from WPFs 
bold experiment, sent a blue-ribbon panel made 
up of some of the organization's most experienced 
and senior evaluators. 

"It was a truly positive experience," Lutz says. 
"The team recognized that the changes we'd 
made were not only educationally successful, but 
a real model for engineering education in the 
country. We ended up with a full six-year accredi- 
tation for all our engineering programs." 

Subsequent ABET visits were less positive, 
Lutz says. "ABET didn't send blue-ribbon panels 
after that first experience. The teams that came to 
WPI tended to use a more traditional mode of 
evaluation, which meant challenging everything 
that was done differently. At WPI, of course, 
everything was different, so everything was chal- 

Since WPI had no required courses and used 
the vehicles of required projects and the Compe- 
tency Exam to determine whether students were 
learning what they needed to be competent pro- 
fessionals, the ABET visitors frequently had diffi- 
culty deciding whether WPI students were meet- 
ing the standards ABET had established for earn- 
ing accredited degrees in civil, chemical, electri- 
cal, manufacturing and mechanical engineering. 
Each visit and each accreditation report brought 
new pressure to adapt required courses in science, 
math and engineering — pressure that came with 
the threat of possible loss of accreditation. 

WPI resisted the pressure for more than a 
decade, but ultimately the prospect of losing the 
official stamp of approval that comes with accred- 
itation — and the likely impact that loss would 
have on student enrollment — proved too great a 
risk. In 1984, the faculty approved a motion that 
enabled academic departments to adopt distribu- 
tion requirements. 

"Our experience with accreditation is an 
unfortunate part of the history of the Plan," Keil 
says. "The pressure exerted by the bean counters 
really hurt us. I'm still not convinced we fought 
hard enough. Distribution requirements are not a 
good measure of competence. Students who pass 
all the right courses can still be weak links. On 
the other hand, there were students in the early 
days of the Plan who did not come close to meet- 
ing our current distribution requirements, but 
who were stunningly good students. What stu- 
dents get on their transcript, course by course, 
doesn't say a whole lot." 

With distribution requirements and the Com- 
petency Exam, WPI had, in effect, two competing 
methods for assuring that students were getting an 
adequate education. It was only a matter of time 
before the Comp, perhaps the Plan's most troubled 
child, came under scrutiny. Plagued by problems, 
feared by students (though fiercely defended by 
alumni who survived it), and enjoying only tenuous 
support from the faculty, the Comp was eliminated 
for departments that had implemented distribution 
requirements. (At right is the amazing story of the 
Competency Examination.) 

Jack Boyd, emeritus professor of mechanical 
engineering and a Planning Committee member, 
says he believes the move to replace the Compe- 
tency Exam with distribution requirements was a 
major blow to the Plan. "The Comp was an 
extremely effective symbol," he says. "We never 

really took the time to discuss modifications that 
might have lowered the exam's anxiety level. 
When we killed the exam, it broke my heart, for I 
knew what would follow. We now have the worst 
possible combination of a traditional engineering 
program and a flexible program." 

"The footnotes are killing us. " 

Bn time, every department — even those 
not subject to ABET accreditation — 
developed distribution requirements. 
The requirements represent the most 
significant move WPI has made in the direction 
of a more traditional, rigid curriculum, since the 
passage of the Plan. Unfortunately, Grogan con- 
tends, they also opened the door for departments 
to move further along that retrograde path. 

"Distribution requirements, in the broadest 
sense, are probably necessary," he says, "but the 
footnotes are killing us. Some departments keep 
adding more and more requirements and reining 
students in further with footnotes that add addi- 
tional specificity to the requirements. In some 
cases, departments have more requirements than 
they did in the days before the Plan. I think the 

(Continued on page SI) 


Spring 1997 



MM— gfc^M ■ " ■ — 


Their Finest Hour 

By William R. Grogan '46 

For an incredible 1 3 years, life under the 
WPI Plan was dominated, not by projects 
or courses, but by the Competency Exami- 
nation, the most daring, far-sighted and, perhaps, 
presumptuous of all the Plan's original features. 

The Comp was the Sword of Damocles hang- 
ing over every student's head. At the same time, it 
was a spectacular rite of passage; the great com- 
mon experience shared by every graduate of that 

period and the anticipated experience that focused 
the programs of those yet to graduate. Those who 
passed it developed a sense of self-confidence 
unequaled in times of peace. 

The original WPI Plan offered total flexibility in 
course selection. Students and advisors could make 
up any program they wished. Qualification in a 
major field was established only by successful com- 
pletion of the MQP and the Comp. A total of 12 
units of courses or projects and an advisor's approval 
were all that were needed to take the exam. 

Early on, deep concern arose over the exam. 
The faculty of each department found they had to 
define just what sort of creature it was that they 
thought they were producing. What is a B.S. -level 
electrical engineer or chemist? Once, one could say 
it was someone who had passed a particular series of 
courses. Now we had to ask, for the first time, "Just 
what should a WPI graduate be able to do and how 
will we know if he or she can do it?" 

Some of the most soul-searching discussions in 
WPI's history took place between 1971 and 1972. 
The faculty spent hours agonizing, fighting and 
philosophizing about what their professions were 
all about. Then they had to decide how students 
could demonstrate — in one week — that they were 

competent to enter the profession they were trying 
to define. What sort of exercise can demonstrate 
that the student is able to satisfactorily organize 
data, solve complex problems, develop original 
creative designs, display a knowledge of funda- 
mentals, communicate the results, and all the 
other qualities the catalog promised would result 
from a WPI education? 

It was decided to set up a maximum of four 
one-week periods per year for the experience: three 
between terms and one after graduation. The exam 
was to consist of one or two complex problems— 
usually difficult design problems for the engineers. 
One chemical engineering Comp, for example, said, 
"Design a designated section of an ammonia plant 
to meet the following specifications...." About 120 
pages of specifications were presented. 

The written examinations were usually open- 
book and took several days. The grand finale was the 
notorious oral exam. Each student appeared alone 
before a board of three faculty members to defend 
his or her problem solutions. The student then had 
to answer any questions the faculty wished to pose. 

The formats of the exams were supposed to 
be similar for all departments, but they quickly 
diverged. We tried to keep a degree of conformity, 
since it was an all-college requirement, but from 
my standpoint and that of the Committee on 
Academic Policy (CAP), the whole exercise was 
like herding cats. 

Most departments passed out the exams on 
Monday morning, and told the students to come 
back with solutions in three days. Some departments 
allowed faculty consultations, provided the name of 
the consultant and time involved were accurately 
recorded. The suspicious Chemical Engineering 
Department would have none of that. It required 
students to be in classrooms under faculty proctor- 
ship for six 3 'A hour periods. Following this came 
the 30-minute orals. 

The Computer Science exam grew longer and 
longer over time until, finally, CAP insisted it be 
pulled back from a 10-day to a 5-day period to 
protect the sanity of the exhausted students. In 
madiematics, a student had to investigate an assigned 
open-ended theoretical problem for 50 hours. After 
a day of rest, the student then faced a grueling 90- 
minute examination at a blackboard. 

The departments developed their own rituals for 
announcing the results, but by 6:30 on Friday night, 
just about everyone had learned their fate. In diose 
days, the Goat's Head Pub (now Gompei's) was the 

The Comp 

'The Comp was 
the Sword of 
Damocles hang- 

WPI Journal 



















focus of student and faculty life every Friday after- 
noon. But never was the Goat's Head as filled with 
electricity and people as on those Fridays when 
Competency Exam results were announced. Happy 
seniors bounded down the stairs screaming, "I'm 
Competent!, I'm Competent!" Toasts flew. Others 
came in holding back tears seeking the solace of 
buddies and beer, wondering how they would ever 

pull together their shattered lives. Mean- 
A ^^t7rf^~] while, wide-eyed underclassmen 
*- / -l# / absorbed seniors' stories of out- 
rageous departmental demands, 
impossible faculty expectations, and, 
of course, the hair-raising orals. 

The faculty, feeling that the admin- 
istrative and emotional problems associ- 
ated with running an exam just before 
graduation were too great, had voted that 
no Comps would be given between the 
March exam period and graduation. It was 
a prudent rule, but it enraged parents who 
had been looking forward to graduation. 
The importance of the graduation cere- 
mony assumed leviathan proportions in the minds 
of parents unable to participate. One set of parents 
would not leave President Edmund Cranch's office. 
Some students who failed the March exam could not 
bring themselves to tell their furious parents until 
the last minute. We became increasingly concerned 
about what some failing students might do in their 
state of depression following the exam. One student 
actually disappeared for two weeks, which caused 
enormous concern until he turned up in Marine 
boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. The name of the 
examination was also a problem. One father wrote 
to me complaining that he had spent $50,000 only 
to have his son declared "incompetent." 

The percentage of students failing the Comp 
became a constant, like Pi. It was right around 30 
percent every single time the examination was given. 
About 20 percent of students received a grade of 
Distinction (equivalent to an A). Many of us became 
increasingly concerned about the cause of the fail- 
ures, their validity, and our ability to deal effectively 
with failed students. If a student failed because he 
did not know enough thermodynamics, the answer 
was simple — take the needed course work. But some 
students had top grades in all the courses they might 
be expected to take, but could not handle a compre- 
hensive problem. We organized problem-solving 
seminars for them, tried to boost their self-confi- 
dence, and let them practice with old examinations. 
It helped, but not that much. 

The feedback from the examinations had great 
potential for providing the faculty with important 
insights into our educational program. There were 
some thoughtful departmental studies to determine 
why there was such a gap between what we thought 
we were teaching and what it seemed students were 

really learning — or not learning. But we lacked the 
time to adequately explore this golden opportunity 
for educational discovery. 

One clear finding did emerge and brought about 
some changes in curricular approaches. The most 
common reason examiners gave for failures was lack 
of understanding of fundamentals. While we wor- 
ship fundamentals and introduce them at the fresh- 
man or sophomore level, we seriously neglect to 
reinforce them in later years. We become absorbed 
in presenting techniques and state-of-the-art ideas 
with little if any reference to the fundamental princi- 
ples behind them. Reviewing fundamentals absorbs 
time, and everyone is driven to "cover new materi- 
al." The Comp told us clearly that for many stu- 
dents, we were expecting one outcome, while our 
teaching was often producing quite another. 

We had in the Comp an educational MRI that 
could have provided us with an unparalleled, once- 
in-a-lifetime opportunity to look into ourselves and 
relate the outcome to our teaching process and to 
our goals. Our inability to pursue more extensive 
analysis of the relationship between Competency 
Examination outcomes and the educational process 
was, I feel, unfortunate. It was our most serious lost 
opportunity in the long implementation campaign 
that produced so many achievements. 

While the internal pressures surrounding the 
examination were growing, the external pressures 
were worse. The Accreditation Board for Engi- 
neering and Technology (ABET) simply would 
not accept the Competency Exam in lieu of course 
distribution requirements. 

It had also become clear to many of us that even 
without ABET's pressure we were going to have to 
have some sort of distribution requirements in the 
sciences, as we had done in the humanities from the 
start. Students did try to retain material they expect- 
ed to encounter on the Comp, but avoided other 
important material. We eventually adopted mini- 
mum distribution requirements reluctantly, for we 
knew they were biological in nature and would soon 
start growing — as they did. With the distribution 
requirements, the rationale for the Competency 
Examination faded. We could not sustain at WPI 
the overlay of this demanding examination when by 
meeting only the distribution requirements a student 
would have qualified for a degree in any other engi- 
neering program in the land. 

So on April 10, 1986, while some students car- 
ried a mock coffin around Kinnicutt Hall labeled 
"The Plan," the faculty voted to phase out the exam- 
ination. Some faculty were opposed, as were many 
alumni who had gone through it. Passing the Comp 
had become a matter of great pride, both personally 
and collectively, for over 7,000 alumni who shared 
the experience. These alumni are indeed a special 
group. For many of them, passing the Competency 
Exam was their finest hour at WPI. 


Spring 1997 


t « mniiKuuu » m i mm nnuu,M»«oammhUHc«iMMm 


(Con ti n tied from page 28) 

motivation to dictate what is best for students is 

rooted deep in the soul of educators." 

That motivation has sometimes emerged in the 
form of what Boyd calls a "curriculum in a drawer." 
At WPI, as at other academic institutions, he says, 
"there is always a tension between academic free- 
dom and institutional goals. But some people went 
beyond the pale in developing unpublished curricu- 
la that students were urged to take it they wanted 
to be professionals in certain fields." 

During the 1995-96 academic year, the facul- 
ty adopted a new curricular element that Grogan 

encourage students to focus all their efforts on 
areas that may evaporate after they graduate. 
They also lock up students' time to the point 
where their ability to go overseas to do projects 
or to take advantage of other broadening oppor- 
tunities the Plan provides is impeded. God 
knows, if there is anything undergraduates need, 
it's flexibility." 

Keil says the institution of concentrations and 
minors (another new curricular feature adopted 
by the faculty last year) reflects a change in the 
outlook of students. He says today's students seem 
less able to make their own educational choices 
than did the students of 20 years 
ago. Students today are also more 
focused on preparing for their 
careers. "I think getting a degree is 
more important than getting an 
education for today's students," he 
says. "The 1970s, despite all the 
ferment, was a period of optimism. 
People had a lot of faith that 
things were getting better in a 
broad sense. That's not true today. 
"The job market has changed. 
Recruiters no longer come here to 
hire people to fill generic engi- 
neering jobs. They want people to 
be able to perform in their special- 
ties from day one. Plus, our stu- 
dents must now compete for jobs 
^^^ ^^ with laid-off engineers, engineers 
4^fl from Eastern Europe and other 

,\ 1 seasoned professionals. The more 

A| credentials students have to 

demonstrate their skills the better, 
though I still think the MQP and 
the IQP are the best evidence stu- 
dents can present of their ability to 
contribute to a company." 

and others believe further erodes the flexibility 
inherent in the Plan and encourages students to 
give up much of the freedom the Plan offers them 
to design a course of study that suits their own 
needs and interests. Called the concentration, 
it enables students to specialize in a specific sub- 
discipline of engineering or science by complet- 
ing two units of work (six courses) in a focused 
academic area plus an MQP appropriate to the 
concentration. Examples include aerospace, 
biomechanics, engineering mechanics and other 
specialties within mechanical engineering. 

"Concentrations go way beyond what was 
ever intended in the Plan," Grogan says. "They 
are too specialized for undergraduate work and 


"We can do so much more. " 

think we need to step 
back and take a look at 
where we are going here," 
Grogan says. "When we 
started the Plan we had a clear idea of what we 
wanted to accomplish. The changes we've seen 
over the past 30 years have been to a large extent 
patchwork fixes made in response to specific 
problems. There is a need to ask ourselves what 
philosophical approach we wish to take. We 
should base that approach on the positive experi- 
ences we've had, particularly with the projects, 
which have been incredible." 

It is ironic, Grogan says, that the trend 
toward increasing specialization and diminishing 
flexibility is occurring just as the organization 
that triggered them takes a giant step in the 
opposite direction. Last year, the governing board 
of ABET approved a sweeping new set of accredi- 

Top, a student project 
team meets with advi- 
sor James Demetry, 
at left, in a conference 
room in the new Project 
Center in the mid- 
1970s. Bottom, stu- 
dents discuss the 
results of a mechanical 
engineering MQP with 
ME Professor and Asso- 
ciate Provost William 
Durgin during this 
spring's Project Presen- 
tation Day. The close 
collegial relationship 
students develop with 
faculty members 
remains one of the 
strengths of the Plan. 

4 i 



Chemistry Professor 
Stephen Weininger was 
asked to serve on the 
faculty Planning Com- 
mittee that drafted the 
Plan. Nearly 30 years 
later, he chaired the 
Strategic Planning 
Steering Committee 
that is helping WPI 
reassess its direction. 

The Future 

"The faculty 
was willing to 
reflect on what 
education is sup- 
posed to accom- 
plish and then to 
do something 
about it. [They] 
need to assure 
themselves and 
the rest of the 
educational com- 
munity that they 
are perfectly 
willing to do 
that again." 
-Francis Lutz 

tation criteria that will apply to all engineering 
programs in the year 2001. In a marked change 
from the former criteria, which looked primarily 
at what courses students take (known as process- 
oriented criteria or bean counting), the new 
standards attempt to mea- 
sure what students learn and 
what skills and qualities they 
gain (called outcome- 
oriented criteria). 

The new criteria seek 
to measure many of the 
qualities that the WPI Plan 
is designed to engender, 
including teamwork, prob- 
lem solving and communi- 
cation skills, an 
understanding of 
the interactions 
between the work of tech- 
nological professionals and 
society, and an inclination 
to lifelong learning. In fact, 
WPI's experience with the 
Plan was largely responsible for its selection as 
one of two universities nationwide to be evaluated 
this year under the new criteria as part of a three- 
year pilot study. 

Recognizing the need to capitalize on its 
nearly three decades of experience with the 
Plan, and hoping to retain its reputation for inno- 
vation, the university this year began a strategic 
planning process. Taking its charge from WPI 
President Edward Parrish, who served as chair- 
man of ABET's Engineering Accreditation Board 
during the formulation of the new criteria, the 
Strategic Planning Steering Committee and 1 3 
subcommittees evaluated WPI's role as an edu- 
cational institution. 

In its recently released report, the Strategic 
Planning Steering Committee concludes that the 
Plan has been largely successful and, in fact, has 
helped transform the university in many positive 
ways. Still, the report notes, some of the Plan's 
seminal concepts have never been fully imple- 
mented. "We are far from having devolved upon 
students a major portion of the responsibility for 
learning, from having implemented a program 
that responds to individual differences among 
learners, and from having thoroughly coordinated 
learning and doing throughout the curriculum." 

The committee called on WPI to "reinvigo- 
rate the spirit of the Plan" and to build upon its 
strengths, keeping in mind the changes that are 
transforming the world — and higher education 
itself. They noted that one of WPI's most impor- 
tant strengths is that "we have undertaken a 
major renewal of our community in the recent 
past. We have a model at hand that assures us that 
imaginative thinking, cooperative effort and bold 
action will produce decisive and positive change." 

As the process of planning moves forward, Lutz 
urges WPI to put every element of the Plan under 
the microscope. "These are all powerful compo- 
nents of a solid educational experience, but they 
will remain that way only if the faculty calls them 

into question," he says. 

"There will always be 
the fear that you could be 
setting the stage for going 
backward and losing what 
WPI has achieved with the 
Plan. But the flip side of 
that is if you are going to 
move forward and change 
for the better, you have to 
be willing to take that risk. 
If you are not, you are 
going to become stale as an 
institution. The central ele- 
ment of why WPI is such a 
great institution is that the 
faculty was willing to reflect 
on what education is sup- 
posed to accomplish and 
then to do something about it. The faculty need 
to assure themselves and the rest of the educa- 
tional community that they are perfectly willing 
to do that again. Otherwise, the distinction WPI 
has enjoyed will disappear." 

Echoes Boyd, "We live in an era of technology, 
and there is a tremendous need to educate technol- 
ogists who are more sensitive to the consequences 
of technology. WPI has more experience in evolv- 
ing a program that meets this goal than any institu- 
tion I know. We need to take another look at the 
Plan. For reasons that I can't take any credit for, 
it was way ahead of its time. It remains very solid 
today. I might design the structure a little differ- 
ently now, but it would still have the same goals, 
the same criteria. We've done some very impressive 
things, but we can do so much more. This is the 
right time to set out on a journey to see where we 
can go with the Plan." 

Stephen Weininger, professor of chemistry 
and a member of the original Planning Committee, 
chaired the Strategic Planning Steering Commit- 
tee. He says he believes the process of developing a 
new strategic plan for the university may, in fact, 
result in an evaluation of WPI that goes just as 
deep — and whose results may prove just as pro- 
found — as the process that produced the Plan. 

"I haven't felt the kind of excitement and antic- 
ipation I'm sensing now around campus since those 
heady days when the Plan was created," Weininger 
says. "There is a real feeling that we have the 
chance to redefine WPI's purpose and mission. We 
have the opportunity to build on what has made 
WPI a great institution now for more than 1 30 
years, and to set a new course just as bold and as 
original as the one we established in 1970. It will 
be interesting to see where that course takes us." 


Spring 1997 




The Dawn of a New 
Global Era 

Editor's Note: 

/// less than four years, atomic clocks around the world will tick off' the last few nanoseconds of the 
20th century and a new millennium will officially begin. As WPI approaches the cusp of this new 
era, it faces a host of challenges and opportunities. 

For example, the university's project-based undergraduate program, the IVJ } I Plan, continues 
to provide an outstanding education to talented young men and women interested in all manner of 
careers. But one of the hallmarks of educational innovation is continual reassessment, and 
WI^I will need to ask itself whether the Plan remains the best approach for 
preparing students for the challenges of today's world. In addition, 
the next few years may provide an opportunity for the uni- 
versity, at last, to gam the national and international 
ml recognition it merits for the unique approach to the 
technological education it pioneered. 

The university must also evaluate the 
social and learning environment it provides 
its students. Does that environment offer 
enough in the way of intellectual stim- 
ulation, a feeling of community, an 
^ appreciation for diversity? WPI must 
come to terms with how to make use 
of the dizzying array of new com- 
puter and communications technol- 
ogies to enhance the way it delivers 
an education to students. It must 
decide what kinds of academic 
programs — new and old — will best 
meet the needs of its students in the 
decades ahead. And, it must deter- 
mine how it can best reach out to the 
vcorld of pre-college education to excite 
and motivate future generations of tech- 
nological professionals. 
Last winter, WPFs Strategic Planning 
Steering Committee, aided by 1 3 task forces 
— more than 60 faculty and staff members and 
students, all told — worked to draft a new vision for 
TI and a set of goals and strategies to help the uni- 
versity realize that vision. Along the way, it addressed 
these and many other issues that will face WPI in the years 
ahead. Its report, endorsed by the Hoard of Trustees in May, will set the 
foundation for a new capital campaign. 
In this issue, we begin a series of articles that will explore some of these same issues, challenges 
and opportunities. Our first topic is global technological education. Today, WPI offers students 
the chance to complete professional-level projects at sites around the world. From these they gain 
an appreciation for other cultures, develop a new set of personal and social skills, and come back to 
campus with an enormous sense of self-confidence — qualities that will become ever more impor- 
tant in a truly global marketplace. 




With each revolution, 
the world gets smaller. 

Computer networks and communication 
satellites now link professionals at the far 
corners of the world in real time, enabling 
products to be routinely designed, built and 
marketed by multinational, cross-cultural 
teams. As the daily activities of business and 
industry are played out more and more on 
this global stage, engineers, scientists and 
managers must be prepared to work with 
people in other lands and other cultures. 
And companies of every size and shape will 
find that their success depends on their abil- 
ity to navigate the complex and highly com- 
petitive global marketplace. In this rapidly 
shrinking, technologically sophisticated and 
increasingly interconnected world, a global 
perspective is no longer an option for tech- 
nological professionals — it is an imperative. 

Surprisingly, most technological univer- 
sities today fail to give 
their students this criti- 
cal edge. The exception 
is WPI. Over the past 
25 years, the nation's 
third oldest private 
technological university 
has pioneered global 
education for technical- 
ly oriented profession- 
als. Its Global Perspec- 
tive Program enables 
undergraduates majoring in 
engineering, science, manage- 
ment and the liberal arts to exper- 
ience, firsthand, other cultures 
and other ways of doing business. 
When they travel to WPI centers 
around the globe, they go as 
working professionals to do 
urgently needed projects spon- 
sored by international corpor- 
ations and organizations. "No 
other university in the nation offers its 
students this opportunity," notes Hossein 
Hakim, chair of WPI's Interdisciplinary and 
Global Studies Division. "That's why WPI 
is widely regarded as the undisputed leader 
in global technological education." 

In his talk at WPI's Workshop on Inter- 
nationalizing Science and Engineering Edu- 
cation in 1992, Ronald L. Zarrella 71, now 
vice president and group executive, North 
American sales, service and marketing, for 
General Motors Corporation, said, "WPI is 
uniquely positioned to provide national 
leadership in global science and engineering 

education." The seeds of the university's 
Global Perspective Program were planted a 
quarter century ago with the creation of the 
WPI Plan. The Plan's unique structure and 
required projects have proven extremely 
well-suited to preparing students for the 
challenges of technological careers. They 
also provide an ideal framework for a global 
education program. 

Currently, most of the projects com- 
pleted overseas are Interactive Qualifying 
Projects. Quite often, the problems that 
off-campus project sponsors seek to solve 
require solutions that cross the boundaries 
between science, technology and the social 
sciences, making them ideal topics for mul- 
tidisciplinary IQP teams. Increasingly, stu- 
dents are also tackling the Major Qualifying 
Project — the capstone experience in a stu- 
dent's major field — at off-campus residential 
sites. WPI has a long history of offering stu- 
dents the opportunity to complete MQPs 
that are sponsored by local industry. And in 
recent years, residential MQP programs in 
Ireland, India and Puerto Rico have been 
developed in collaboration with a 
number of corporations in those loca- 
tions. Next fall, WPI will open a new 
residential MQP center at the God- 
dard Space Flight Center in Green- 
belt, Md. Goddard has a wide range 

ing projects and seven-week terms — along 
with the flexibility of the WPI curriculum, 
enable WPI to provide a wide range of 
opportunities for students to complete pro- 
ject work at remote sites. 

Recent examples of how WPI faculty 
and students have taken advantage of that 
flexibility include a number of seven-week 
humanities projects that have been com- 
pleted in London. In 1994, Edmund Hayes, 
professor of English, advised students who 
completed projects in theater. In 1995, 
Frederick Bianchi, professor of music (see 
page 4), worked with students completing 
projects in music. Last winter, students 
completed projects in theater technology 
with advisor Susan Vick, professor of 
drama/ theater. 

WPI opened its first global project cen- 
ter in Washington, D.C., in 1974, and its 
first overseas center in London in 1987. 
Currently, the university maintains a global 
network of project sites that spans four con- 
tinents. Each year, more than 200 students 
travel to these sites to complete IQPs, 
MQPs and humanities projects. The pro- 
jects are often sponsored by corporations, 
government and social service agencies, pro- 
fessional organizations, museums and other 
local, national and international groups. 

WPI's global program is the most 

extensive of any technological 
university in the country. No 
WPI believes that the best way for students to other un ; versity offers global 

understand and appreciate other cultures is to opportunities in as many nations 

as WPI. And no other university 
experience them firsthand. Completing a professional- sends more engineering students 

, , , , , . overseas. The Institute of Inter- 

level project overseas enables students to experience nationa , Education reported that 

in 1993-94, 76,000 U.S. students 
studied abroad. Of these, only 
1,100 were engineering students. 
That same year, 180 of WPI's 
engineering students — over 1 5 
percent of the U.S. total — 
worked on projects in other countries. Next 
in line, with 80 students, was the University 
of Illinois, Urbana, whose College of Engi- 
neering has about 5,500 undergraduates. 

But WPI's advantage goes beyond sheer 
numbers. Says Hakim, "The content of the 

the reality of living and working in another country 
with an intimacy and power that no course or 
textbook can provide. " 

of specialized facilities and equipment it uses 
to fulfill its mission of developing satellites 
and other equipment for scientific investiga- 
tions in space and maintaining spaceflight 
tracking and data acquisition networks. 

Both the IQP and the MQP are typical- 
ly completed by small teams of students, and international experience WPI students 

each is equivalent in credit to three courses. 
These significant projects teach students to 
set and achieve ambitious goals. Because the 
undergraduate program revolves around 
these projects, WPI divides its academic 
year into four seven-week terms (proven to 
be an ideal span of time for completing a 
project). These two basic elements — qualify- 

receive is also pedagogically very innova- 
tive." As the Chronicle of Higher Education 
reported in August 1995, the university's 
students receive "an international experience 
unlike any other." 

"WPI believes that the best way for stu- 
dents to understand and appreciate other 
cultures is to experience them firsthand," 




SPRING 1997 

I lakim says. "Completing a professional- 
level project overseas enables students to 
experience the reality of living and working 
in another country with an intimacy and 
power that no course or textbook can pro- 
vide. It also immerses a student in another 
culture more completely — and far more 
effectively — than simply taking courses at 
another university, which is the approach 
taken by most technological universities that 
send students abroad." 

To complete their work, student teams 
must learn how businesses work in another 
culture, how people communicate, how one 
finds information, how one gets around, and 
how one negotiates the challenges of: daily 
life. WPI student teams are expected to suc- 
cessfully complete their projects and present 
their results before heading home. It is a 
trial-by-fire experience that demands much 
of these young men and women, but it 
delivers much in return. 

Hakim says that WPI students who have 
completed projects through the Global Per- 
spective Program report that their interna- 
tional experience 

• makes them appreciate how an under- 
standing of other cultures will contribute 
to their success as working professionals. 

• gives them confidence that they can suc- 
cessfully live and work anywhere in the 
world that their jobs may take them. 

• profoundly changes and enriches their 
perspective on the world and its people. 

The success of the Global Perspective 
Program depends on a variety of supporting 
programs back home. For example, WPI 
offers courses of study in German and Span- 
ish, and through the Colleges of Worcester 
Consortium students have access to instruc- 
tion in many other languages. WPI also 
prepares students for their international 
project work through on-campus seminars 
and cultural programs, internationally ori- 
ented courses, and preliminary project work. 
WPI supports its many faculty members 
who serve as on-site project advisors and 
global project center directors with a faculty 
development program, and WPI maintains 
close contact with dozens of professionals 
and academics who serve as advisors and 
liaisons at project center sites. 

The participation and support of global 
project sponsors are also crucial to the 
ongoing success and growth of the Global 
Perspective Program. Many of these spon- 
sors have provided project opportunities for 
WPI students on an ongoing basis; some 
have been sponsoring projects continually 

The Growth Trend 

WPI's Global Perspective Program 
began during the 1971-72 
academic year, when one student 
traveled to Switzerland to 
complete a project. Participation 
in the program has grown 
steadily since then, as has the 
total number of WPI students 
who've traveled oft campus 
to complete projects. By 
1995-96, that total had 
climbed to nearly 2,200. 

for as long as two decades. Sponsors receive 
creative solutions to real problems from 
third- and fourth-year students with a fresh 
point of view. Perhaps most important, they 
gain the satisfaction of knowing that they 
are helping prepare a new generation of 
technological professionals who can thrive 
in the global marketplace. 

As successful as WPI's Global Perspec- 
tive Program has been, there are opportuni- 
ties to strengthen it in the decade ahead and 
assure that the university retains its leader- 
ship in this critical area of technological 
higher education. That was the conclusion 
of the Task Force on Global Opportunities, 
one of the 13 reporting to WPI's Strategic 
Planning Steering Committee. In its final 
report, issued as the Journal was preparing 

to go to press, the task force concluded that 
instilling a global awareness into WPI's 
students and faculty "is the single most 
important change necessary to achieve" 
the university's strategic vision. 

The report recommended that WPI 
strive to remove the barriers (the cost of 
studying off campus, lack of clear informa- 
tion about global programs, and scheduling 
conflicts) that keep more students from tak- 
ing advantage of global opportunities; invest 
more time and money in helping the faculty 
develop a global perspective; and work hard 
to integrate global issues and content 
throughout the university's curriculum. 

Key to these and a number of other rec- 
ommendations, the report says, will be the 
investment of significant funds. The task 
force recommended the creation of a $20 
million endowment to enable all WPI stu- 
dents to have the opportunity to complete 
their projects at residential sites around the 
world, regardless of their financial situation. 
Other suggestions included a $1 million 
endowment for faculty development, invest- 
ments of $100,000 each in two strategically 
chosen overseas project centers, and funds 
to recruit and hire faculty members with the 
background and interests to help bolster the 
Global Perspective Program. The task force 
strongly recommended that the university's 
Global Perspective Program be a major 
focus of the upcoming WPI capital cam- 
paign. "This is WPI's clearest opportunity 
to make a name for itself, and to articulate 
to the world (and to ourselves!) what our 
educational values and mission are," the 
report said. 

You can find out more about WPI's 
global academic programs at the web site 
maintained by the Interdisciplinary and 
Global Studies Division. The URL is 


EDITOR'S NOTE: With the following two 
stories we continue our coverage of WPI's Global 
Perspective Program by taking you to England to 
learn about the experiences of student teams who 
completed projects at WPVs London Project Center 
in the fall of 1995 and to meet an alumnus who 
sponsored one oj those projects. The London Project 
Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary 
this year, was the first of the university's overseas 
project centers; it is the model for the wide array of 
international project sites that have followed. So in 
a real sense, in 1997 WPI will celebrate the end of 
the first decade of its highly successful global project 
program, an initiative that is likely to be a critical 
element of the WPI of the 21st century. 




Seven Weeks in the 
Real World 


he novelty of big-city life lured 
_M_ Jennifer Roy '97 to London in 
the fall of 1995. But when the mechanical 
engineering major stopped a would-be 
pickpocket in his tracks, she knew she 
wasn't a small-town girl anymore. She 
foiled a robbery attempt when the escap- 
ing thief tried to push her turnstile the 
wrong way in an Underground train sta- 
tion. He didn't get far. 

Roy and 12 classmates got a taste of life 
in a foreign city as residents — not tourists — 
while working at WPFs London Project 
Center. They lived in central London flats, 
jostled with the straphangers on trains and 
buses, and put in long hours. They collabo- 
rated with British colleagues in a warren of 
museum back rooms, in the laboratory of a 
visually impaired man, in industrial offices 
in a low-income neighborhood, and in a 
grand Victorian building overlooking the 

In diverse settings like these, WPI stu- 
dent teams act as consultants for the organi- 
zations that sponsor their projects and are 
expected to produce professional-level work. 
The students dive into their research. With- 
in seven weeks they surface with concrete 
solutions and specific recommendations 
embodied in a final report and presentation. 

Their work also fulfills a major degree 
requirement under the project-based WPI 
Plan: most of the students who go abroad do 
so to complete their Interactive Qualifying 
Projects, though students have gone to Lon- 
don to work on Major Qualifying Projects 
and humanities and arts projects, as well. 
The IQP requires students to apply tech- 
nological skills to understand and solve a 
problem with social and ethical implications. 

During a recent term in London, WPI 
students completed an IQP for the Institu- 
tion of Electrical Engineers (IEE) that iden- 
tified ways to reduce Britain's world trade 
deficit; designed an exhibit on power semi- 
conductors for the Science Museum; ana- 
lyzed software and hardware for visually 
impaired computer users in a project spon- 
sored by the Royal National Institute for the 
Blind (RNIB); and evaluated employment 
and training for the disabled at the nonprofit 
organization OUTSET. 

The students say the transition 
to the working world was a revelation. "It's 
nothing like taking classes," says electrical 
engineering major Sahal Laher '97. "Every- 
thing is a lot more professional." Notes 
Christine Manganis '97, an electrical engi- 
neering major and member of the RNIB 
team, "It was good to be able to do a project 
that doesn't simply fulfill a degree require- 
ment. This could really help people." 

Demands of the working world differed 
from the pressures of WPI. Aerospace engi- 
neering major Aaron Newman '97 spent 
many long days on the RNIB project. "It's 
a lot more work than a comparable three 
courses at WPI," he says, but adds, "our 
IQP accomplished something." 

Between 15,000 and 30,000 British 
citizens are visually impaired and could be 
computer users given appropriate access, 
Newman says. His group worked in North 
London, in an old laboratory at the home of 
Angus McKenzie, a visually impaired retired 
radio engineer with a colorful past. During 
the Falklands War, McKenzie created decoy 
military broadcasts. And he once solved a 
murder by pinpointing a person's accent and 
location from an audiotape. He and several 
friends helped the WPI group test various 
software packages with different screen 

Despite careful planning, the real 
world often presents unforeseen challenges 
that require ingenuity and compromise to 
complete projects within seven weeks. Not 
everything went smoothly for the WPI 
students in the fall of 1995. Plans changed; 

projects evolved. Two project 
teams wanted to carry out surveys and 
found they couldn't locate or attract enough 
participants to create statistically meaning- 
ful results. They reported on qualitative 
information instead. Another group had 
difficulty persuading senior executives in a 
particular industry to speak with them to 
gather information. Government agencies 
helped fill in the gaps. And one project 
almost foundered when its sponsor went 
out of business and all the students' contacts 
left the organization. But the parent organi- 
zation took over and the new liaison proved 

The students generally took the changes 
in stride. "There are always things to over- 
come," says Laher. Evaluating employment 
training and placement for the disabled at 
OUTSET was a great experience, he says, 
and helped him make many useful contacts. 
A native of Zimbabwe, Laher had visited 
England many times and was partly edu- 
cated there. But it was during this trip that 
he developed his clearest understanding of 
British culture. What made the difference, 
he says, was "working with professionals — 
the people who are out there and know what 
makes the British economy tick." He hopes 
to return to the United Kingdom to work 
after graduation. 

While WPI's real-world projects pre- 
sented a challenging pace, Laher says he rel- 
ished "having a chance to get away from the 
WPI classroom intensity." In London, he 
found an outlet in playing soccer. He trav- 
eled across the UK as a team member of the 
Hurlingham Park Wanderers, a semiprofes- 


SPRING 1997 




sional soccer club. "I had a good season with 
them," he says modestly, having scored 10 
goals in 12 games. 

Other students spent their free time in 
more traditional pursuits, including support- 
ing the local pub and Indian restaurant (the 
only establishments open after office hours 
in their financial neighborhood). They also 
ventured further afield to Warwick Castle, 
Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Edinburgh, 
Wales and Ireland. 

"Edinburgh has this really neat mix of 
architecture," says Newman with 
enthusiasm. "But the weather 
was the worst part," adds Roy, 
who studied Britain's travel and 
tourism industry for her team's 
IEE report. 

Before Newman arrived in 
London, his only foreign travel 

"Most universities 
wouldn 't expect students 

to perform this way. 

Here, they are given a 

challenging project that 

they have to solve using a 

variety of resources. " 

had been to Canada. Although he 
wanted a change from Worces- 
ter, his foreign language skills 
were poor. London seemed ideal. 

"Well, actually," he says with 
a grin, "you do have to learn 
another language — British! They 
have the same words, but for dif- 
ferent things." When someone 
gave him directions that included a "pelican 
crossing" (a pedestrian road crossing marked 
by yellow globes), he knew he was far from 

Language lessons aside, WPI students 
come to Britain well-prepared. In the term 
before they arrive, student teams complete 
a preliminary qualifying project (PQP) to 
identify the problem they will tackle and its 
impact on the sponsoring organization. 
Through research and personal interviews, 
they gather data on the topic to see how 
similar issues have been addressed in the 
U.S. The result is a proposal that serves as 
the contract between the team of students 
and the sponsoring organization. 

As interdisciplinary projects, the IQPs 
that students complete usually stretch them 
beyond their major discipline. The London 
projects are no exception. Newman's group 
had to install a computer screen reader that 
required programming additional hardware 
— and no one on the project team was a 
computer science major. Numerous trans- 
Atlantic calls for technical support got them 
their answers. 

Before working with the Science Muse- 
um team, mechanical engineering major 

Top, from left, Deborah Thurston '97, 
Jennifer Kelly '97, Michael Scott '97, 
Sahal Laher '97 and Jeremy Olszewski 
'97 during their visit to Windsor Castle. 
Bottom, Kelly and Laher at work on 
their project that evaluated employ- 
ment and training for the disabled at 
the London nonprofit organization 

Ben Demicco '97 hadn't come across power 
semiconductors in his course work. Neither 
had his teammates, so they tracked down a 
professor in London who was an expert on 
the subject and arranged a tutorial. They 
also visited a factory that produces the 
devices, and a power station that uses them 
to convert power received from France. 

"We expect students to have the basis 
for undertaking the project and do a compe- 
tent job, not be experts," says faculty advisor 
and former London Project Center director 
R.James Duckworth, professor of electrical 
and computer engineering, who traveled 
with the students to London. "They need to 
be familiar enough with the field to explain 
it to generalists and nonengineers." 

By the time students make their final 
presentations, however, they feel like experts. 
And after weekly drill sessions, they've also 
been trained to give expert pre- 
sentations (without notes) for 
their host institutions and invited 

"Most universities wouldn't 
expect students to perform this 
way," says Duckworth. "Here, 
they are given a challenging pro- 
ject that they have to solve using 
a variety of resources." By the end 
of the project, he adds, "they've 
done professional-level work, and 
WPI has given them these skills." 
More than 400 students have par- 
ticipated in the London Project 
Center since its inception in 1987. 
Twice as many students apply to 
work on London projects than 
there are slots available. 

The organizations that spon- 
sor WPI projects are "getting 
very good value for their invest- 
ment of time and effort," says 
Duckworth. They provide office 
space and support services for the 
students, plus travel money if the 
project takes them out of central 
London. Student findings often 
raise controversial subjects that 
internal reports might gloss over, 
and the question-and-answer ses- 
sions at final presentations can be 
quite lively. 

"If an organization didn't think it would 
be useful, would it spend its time and money 
on WPI students?" Duckworth wonders. The 
growing number of organizations that ask to 
take on additional WPI projects demon- 
strates that they value the students' work. 
And more WPI students are eager to 
travel overseas, take on a big city, and tackle 
real-world problems. "As we get into the 
next century, it will be a necessity to have 
a global perspective," Laher says. "There's 
so much going on between companies all 
over the world. We need to understand 
what other countries do." 

—Allison CmsoLiM 




"Somebody Has To Help" 

Last winter, Henry Strage '54 
found an unexpected visitor in 
the conservatory of his home in 
the heart of London's Holland Park 
neighborhood. A wisteria vine grow- 
ing up the side of the house had found 
a space between the wooden frames of 
his window and, simply following its 
natural course, had pushed its way 

Much like this determined vine, 
Strage doesn't let conventional expec- 
tations interfere with the direction he 
wants to grow. Now retired, he could 
simply play with his seven grandchil- 
dren, work on his wooden model of 
the H.M.S. Victory, or potter about his 
darkroom. But for Strage, "retire- 
ment" is merely a euphemism for 
"next career," one that often takes him 
out of his conservatory and around the 
world as a philanthropist, manage- 
ment consultant and teacher. 

It wasn't difficult for Strage to 
adjust to early retirement in 1991 
from his position as director of the 
London office of management consul- 
tants McKinsey & Co. Inc. "It took 
about a week to adjust to my new life 
pace," he says. "My blood pressure has 
dropped 30 percent." 

Though many retired manage- 
ment consultants take on occasional 
teaching or consulting assignments, 
few devote as much of their skills, 
time and energy to causes they feel as 
strongly about as Strage does. He 
teaches and accepts consulting clients, but 
he also spends at least a third of his time 
working for organizations that help those 
often overlooked or ignored: the disabled in 
developing countries, residents of an impov- 
erished Israeli city, students seeking further 
education. "I feel very strongly that some- 
body has to help," he says, "and I'm grateful 
that I have the capacity to do so." 

WPI has benefited from Strage's help in 
a number of ways. In recent years, his sup- 
port has gone to WPI's Global Perspective 
Program. He funded several Interactive 
Qualifying Projects at the London and 
Bangkok project centers, which helped bring 
the expertise and energy of WPI undergrad- 
uates to bear on problems posed by such 
nonprofit organizations as Britain's Royal 

Henry Strage in Israel at a square honoring his 
many contributions to the nation. 

National Institute for the Blind. One student 
team recently evaluated computer software 
and hardware for blind computer users (see 
previous story). With Strage's gift, WPI 
purchased the personal computers and the 
software packages. 

"The students are interested in non- 
profit work, the institutions are profoundly 
grateful, and the impact is potentially great," 
Strage says. He hopes other alumni will 
agree to support more of these international 
projects. He says he hopes to attract other 
donors to fund projects aimed at helping the 
10 percent of the world's population that is 

Strage's interest in applying WPI student 
skills to nonprofit organizations reflects his 
own experiences with the Inter-Action Trust. 

Founded in 1969, the trust provides 
professional advice on organization, 
structure and management tactics to 
hundreds of charitable organizations 
throughout Britain. Advising charities, 
however, can be frustrating. "They're 
doubly disadvantaged," says Strage. 
"They have to beg for money, and they 
operate without a corporate structure, 
management or adequate resources. 
These charities need help as much as 
any Fonune 500 company." 

In 1986 Strage and his wife set up 
their own charity, the Alberta and 
Henry Strage Foundation, to provide 
seed money to organizations for pro- 
jects designed to generate gifts from 
others, and to involve their children 
in the notion of giving. "In the charity 
world, there's a lot of money looking 
for good ideas," he said. He hopes his 
foundation will find some. 

In addition to receiving his phil- 
anthropy, several charities benefit 
from Strage's counsel and leadership 
skills. He chairs the executive commit- 
tee of the International Disability 
Foundation (IDF) in Geneva, estab- 
lished in 1992 by former secretary 
general of the United Nations Javier 
Perez de Cuellar. With its center near 
the Swiss border in Ferney- Voltaire, 
IDF serves as a clearinghouse for 
training, communications and 
resource support for some 60 global 
disability organizations, representing 
the blind, deaf, mentally and phys- 
ically handicapped, and war victims. 

"Here is an international problem that 
the world always seems to find excuses not to 
address," Strage says. "If you're mentally 
handicapped in Bosnia or blind in Burundi, 
you're out of luck." IDF pools professional 
assistance that can help identify needs and 
manage projects with simple, locally based 
solutions. For example, Strage says, "There's 
a shortage of three million wheelchairs in 
Pakistan. While they cost $3,000 to $4,000 in 
the U.S., we set out to design a solid, usable 
wheelchair with a price under $100." 

He sees wheelchair production as the 
basis of a new, small-scale industry for 
Pakistan. Six prototypes are in the test stage 
in Gaza, Palestine. While even the lowest 
price represents a large portion of a typical 

Spring 1997 

Pakistani's income, Strage remains hopeful 
another philanthropist will step in to create 
a fund that will enable users to lease the 
chairs for a small monthly payment. 

Strage has plenty of experience combat- 
ing poverty on many fronts. For nearly 20 
years, he has run an urban renewal program 
for the city of Ashkelon in Israel. Respond- 
ing to a worldwide call (code-named Project 
Renewal) from the late prime minister Men- 
achem Begin to help tight poverty in Israel, 
Strage oversees projects linking the Jewish 
community in Great Britain and Ashkelon, 
a city today of 1 ()(),()()() people. Each year, 
hundreds of British volunteers have under- 
taken hundreds of projects that respond to 
a broad range of social and economic needs. 
As one example, British dentists make annu- 
al visits to work in a new dental clinic. The 
breadth of volunteer activities appears to 
have made a difference as Ashkelon's crime 
rate and jobless numbers decline. 

Strage also chairs the Balfour Diamond 
Jubilee Trust, a London cultural institution 
whose monthly events feature authors 
speaking on Israel or Jewish topics. Last 
year they collaborated with the British 
Council to finance a UK/Israel student 
fellowship program. Several students have 
already benefited. 

Strage's family history offers clear rea- 
sons for his abiding interest in projects 
involving Israel and his Jewish heritage. His 
parents fled revolutionary Russia for China, 
but in 1930 another revolution forced them 
to Brussels, Belgium. By 1941 Hitler's 
march across Europe made them refugees 
once again. They came to New York City 
when Strage was seven. 

He became a U.S. citizen, attended 
Bronx High School of Science, and came to 
WPI on an athletic grant. A chemical engi- 
neer who later earned an iM.B.A., he moved 
into management consulting in 1962. For 
the next 30 years, he advised chemical, phar- 
maceutical and petrochemical companies on 
how best to manage their businesses. But 
none of this work made the list of career 
highlights he wrote for the yearbook the 
Class of 1954 prepared for its 40th reunion. 
Instead, Stage named the national and 
multinational public sector institutions he's 
helped, such as the United Nations and the 
World Bank, along with the honorary 
degree he received from WPI in 1990. 

While his work has brought him great 
satisfaction, Strage says his family has always 
come first. "I can count on two hands the 
number of nights I missed dinner with my 
family," he says. His two sons and two 

daughters expected him to attend school 
functions, as well. Strage admits he brought 
a lot of work home. 

Retirement beckoned when the work 
felt stale. "After doing my statutory 30 
years, I retired because I thought nothing 
different would happen in the next five or 
six years," he says. This from a man whose 
work helped restructure the government of 
Tanzania, who undertook the first compre- 
hensive review of Britain's National Health 
Service, and who found ways for the United 
Nations World Food Program to keep 80 
million people alive. 

As he considered his decision to take 
early retirement, Strage knew there were 
many directions he could go. A client 
offered some sound advice: "Tell people 
you're retiring, and see what happens." 

After leaving McKinsey, he published 
a book, Milestones in Management, that has 
been translated into Spanish and Japanese. 
With his son Geoffrey '85, he invented The 
Selector, an interactive touch-screen com- 
puter system they sold to Sega Enterprises. 

What happened, Strage discovered with 
genuine surprise and delight, was that "peo- 
ple were really interested in what I had to 
say as an individual and not as someone with 
McKinsey branded on my forehead." 

His phone started to ring. The callers 
generally fell into three categories: those 
seeking Strage's assistance for their chari- 
ties, those hoping to have him teach man- 
agement courses, and those seeking his 
expertise for their companies. Strage now 
runs what he calls a "virtual" consulting firm 
that links a network of experts with assign- 
ments they tackle together by phone, fax 
and electronic mail, often from Strage's 
homes in England, Switzerland and France. 

"Without being clever about anticipat- 
ing the niche, I suddenly have a very inter- 
esting consulting practice of my own," he 
says. When clients hire H.M. Strage & 
Associates, they benefit from a customized 
team of expert consulting firms like McKin- 
sey & Associates. 

But McKinsey was far from a large firm 
in London when Strage arrived there in 1962 
for what he thought would be a six-month 
assignment. Back then, he had just 10 col- 
leagues; 30 years on, iMcKinsey in London 
employs 400. In his virtual consulting firm, 
Strage says, "I only work with people I 
know." And that network keeps growing. 

"Out in the world beyond McKinsey," 
he says, "there are lots of interesting people 
available — retired or otherwise." A team of 
five in Rome recently helped Strage with a 

World Food Program project. Other chal- 
lenges he's faced include evaluating the pur- 
chase of an Italian company (while he speaks 
French and Russian, he doesn't speak Italian 
and found a friend to help), and advising on 
a petrochemical deal in China. He's even 
consulted for a consulting firm, checking 
on its growth and development strategy. 
He is also active with financial institutions. 

Strage's broad experience in the corpo- 
rate world certainly qualifies him to teach 
in any business school. "One has a certain 
authority after being in the thick of it for 30 
years," he says. "I didn't need case studies; 
I had my own." In 1972 he teamed up with 
professors from Harvard and Hebrew Uni- 
versity to found the Jerusalem Institute of 
Management, where he still lectures senior 
executives. He has taught at several joint 
management institutes, including the Uni- 
versity of Rochester and Swiss University at 
Berne; Georgetown and Wharton (in Brati- 
slava, the capital of Slovakia); Harvard and 
FMEDE (a renowned international business 
school in Geneva); and the Plenchoff Insti- 
tute in Moscow. 

"I guess I am a little bit of a ham," con- 
fesses Strage. In class discussions, he says, 
"I quite like the interplay. I love to choose 
someone who's been quiet for the first half- 
hour and get them to run the rest of the 

He's also trying out a new career as a 
playwright. His subject? Israel's first presi- 
dent, Chaim Weizmann, who once lived 
in Strage's house. With a working title of 
Beneath This Roof, the play features what 
Strage refers to as the "curious juxtaposi- 
tions" of such characters as Weizmann, 
Winston Churchill and British foreign sec- 
retary Arthur Balfour, author of the 1917 
Balfour Declaration of Britain's support for 
a Jewish homeland in Palestine. "This is a 
great challenge for me," he says. "It may 
never be produced on Broadway or in the 
West End, but someone has already bought 
the rights for Israel." 

Strage seems bemused by the variety 
of his "post-retirement" work, but he takes 
it all in stride. "My father used to say you 
should plan your life in 25-year chunks — use 
the first 25 to prepare for the next 25, and 
then spend 25 years looking for peace and 
quiet." In a London conservatory graced by 
a tenacious wisteria vine, Strage has found 
some peace — until the next phone call. 

Allison Chisobn is a freelance writer living in 
Worcester. Her articles have frequently appeared 
in the Journal. 




Revealing the Wonders 
of the North Atlantic 

By Joan killough-Miller 

As spotlights and camera sweep 
across the ocean floor, bizarre 
and beautiful creatures go about 
their business, paying no heed to the divers 
who have penetrated their dark and secret 
world. Two blue wolffish nestle in a crevice, 
peering out with oafish grins that seem to 
belong in the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. 
A flat-bodied goosefish swishes by, stalls, 
and seems to disappear, camouflaged 
against the sea bed, until it breaks cover 
and swirls away. 

It's hard to believe that this is New 
England, just a few hundred miles northeast 
of Worcester. Divers Jonathan Bird '90 and 
Tom Krasuski '92 are filming off the coast 
of Eastport, Maine, reveling in the rich 
diversity of colorful life that flourishes in 
the North Atlantic. 

That's right, the North Atlantic. 
Bird says he wants you to revise your precon- 
ceptions about his favorite ocean. "Most 
people think of the North Atlantic as this 
cold, green, murky, polluted cesspool," he 
says. "They say you'd have to be insane to 
dive there, that there's nothing to see." 

To defend the fragile beauty of the 
undersea world, Bird and Krasuski founded 
Oceanic Research Group, a nonprofit organi- 
zation with this motto: "Dedicated to the 
conservation of the world's oceans and 
marine life through education." The more 
people learn about the world's oceans and 
their inhabitants, they reason, the more 
they will want to protect them. 

"If people don't know that dolphins are 
being killed in nets to catch tuna, then they 
won't care," says Bird. "If they don't know 
that hazardous wastes are being dumped into 
our oceans, they can't act to stop it." Krasuski 
sees ORG's role as forming a link between 
researchers, current events and the public, by 
communicating scientific knowledge in 
everyday terms. 

The Atlantic wolffish, part of the rich ecosystem that lies beneath the North 
Atlantic, just a few hundred miles to the northeast of Worcester. 

The wolffish and goosefish won an 
Emmy for Bird and Krasuski last year. 
The duo received the coveted honor for 
production and videography of an episode of 
Chronicle, a news magazine produced by 
Boston television station WCVB. The pro- 
gram, titled "Underwater New England," 
brought ORG's message to millions of New 
England area viewers; it was nominated for a 
second Emmy in cinematography. Another 
Chronicle episode on sharks aired last fall, and 
proposals for other television specials are in 
the works. 

Glossy color photos of North Atlantic sea 
creatures began showing up on coffee tables 
all over the country this winter when Bird's 
book Beneath the North Atlantic (Tide-Mark 
Press Ltd., 1996) made its way into book- 
stores. The large-format book features 120 
full -color photographs taken from Maine to 
North Carolina (mostly by Bird) and 75,000 
words of text, also by Bird. He says the book 

combines a dive adventure, marine biology 
and art-book photography. 

"You see so many books about the trop- 
ical oceans — the Caribbean, the South 
Pacific," Bird says. "People always think of 
the Caribbean as a beautiful blue coral reef 
area that is just wonderful, but they never 
think of the North Atlantic that way. Many 
people just don't realize the incredible diver- 
sity and the amazing amount of life there 
is here in the North Atlantic." ORG also 
produces a yearly Sharks calendar. Another 
calendar, Wliales & Dolphins, produced in 
cooperation with the Whale Conservation 
Institute, was a big seller during last year's 
Christmas gift season. 

Pretty good for two former Raytheon en- 
gineers who started out by traveling around 
to science classes to put on slide shows for 
schoolchildren. Ironically, Bird and Krasuski, 
both graduates of the Electrical and Comput- 
er Engineering Department, did not know 


SPRING 1997 

amamaasn u K MmHMU iya mm i mmsumtmn 


each other at WPI. Bird received his bache- 
lor's degree in 1990 and was interviewed and 
hired at Raytheon by Krasuski, who complet- 
ed his master's degree in 1992. "We became 
friends and diving buddies," says Krasuski. 
"He inspired me to try it, and he was with 
me on my first dive." Four recreational dives 
later, they started ORG. 

Bird took up diving to fulfill WPI's phys- 
ical education requirement. "By my senior 
year, I was bombing out of class every Friday 
and driving to Cape Ann to dive." A long- 
time photographer and former president of 
the camera club, he soon found that just div- 
ing wasn't enough. 

"When you first get certified as a diver, 
you're thrilled by the fact that you can 
breathe underwater," he says. "You're per- 
fectly happy to go to the local lake, where 
there's absolutely nothing to see, and go 
underwater and just breathe. When you get 
past that stage, you want to see something 
when you dive. Eventually, I think, you get 
to the point where you take up some kind 
of an underwater hobby, and that becomes 
the reason you go diving. For me, diving is 
a tool, to get me where I need to go to 
take photographs." 

Soon the desire to know more about the 
organisms they were photographing sent 
both men back to school. Bird started with 
some community college evening courses in 
marine biology, and wound up leaving 
Raytheon in 1993 to enroll full time in the 
ocean engineering program at the University 
of New Hampshire. 

Ocean engineering is an interface disci- 
pline with eccentric subspecialties, such as 
designing submarine hulls or devising instru- 
ments to study sea creatures. Bird focused on 
marine biology and did his thesis on the man- 
atees of Central Florida, designing an audio 
device that picks up their vocal responses to 
sound stimuli. 

Krasuski left Raytheon a year later to 
begin the master's program at UNH. "Jon's 
into zoology," he says. "I'm more of a physi- 
cal oceanographer." He specializes in two 
areas: ocean optics and ocean acoustics. 
For the first, he writes computer algorithms 
to help researchers understand ocean color 
as recorded by satellites; the latter involves 
developing instrumentation to record and 
map underwater sound pressure waves. 

While in school, the two continued to 
build ORG, which incorporated as a 
Chapter 501 (c)(3) nonprofit environmental 
organization in 1993. Bird serves as presi- 
dent, Krasuski is head of cinematography, 
and Rick Doyle, another friend from 
Raytheon, is director of public relations. 

Bird's wife, Kimberly Whitworth, handles 
legal matters. Through its Web page 
(, ORG 
publicizes new films and helps schoolchildren 
track the progress of Chessie, the famous 
East Coast manatee. Other services include 
on-location internships, undersea photogra- 

film and have time left for discussion. You 
don't have time for fluff, or die adventures of 
the dive crew. 'Ah, zee dive crrrhuw enters 
zee wah-terrr' — diat Jacques Cousteau thing. 
You can't do it. Teachers and distributors 
want to feel they are getting their money's 

Former Raytheon engineers Tom Krasuski, left, and Jonathan Bird now spend 
their days educating people about the beauty and fragility of the oceans. 

phy courses, and marketing stock photogra- 
phy and video footage to publishers and film- 
makers. Some spectacular images of undersea 
life can be sampled in glorious full color. 
As ORG grows beyond its roots, the 
credits and awards accumulate, including 

"Many people just don't realize 

the inn edible diversity and the 

amazing amount of life there is 

here in the Noith Atlantic. " 

three CINDY (CINema in inDustrY) awards 
and a "Kids First" endorsement from the 
Coalition for Quality Children's Video. 
The current challenge is breaking into the 
television entertainment market, with titles 
like Sharks: The Real Story, which will broad- 
cast this year on more than 20 PBS affiliates 
across the nation. Written for adult audi- 
ences, the film debunks the popular image of 
sharks as bloodthirsty killers by revealing the 
difficulties ORG encountered trying to stage 
a feeding frenzy for its educational film 
Sharks and How They Live. 

Bird admits that it's hard to switch gears 
between the educational and popular enter- 
tainment approaches. "A school film has to 
be straight science," he says. "Teachers have 
a 40-minute class, and they want to show a 

"The big difference between educational 
filmmaking and writing for television is that 
in the classroom, the students have a teacher 
watching them, but the person watching TV 
has a remote control. You've got to keep the 
fun in there. For instance, what happens 
when the dive team does something wrong, 
when the animals don't cooperate and do 
what you want them to do? People always 
enjoy the misadventures of the dive team. 
That's why Jacques Cousteau was so good — 
he was fun!" 

On camera, Bird and Krasuski maintain 
a sense of wonder, even after all the hours 
they've logged underwater. Krasuski clowns a 
bit as he feeds sea urchins to an anemone. 
Bird compares a seal to a puppy, then lies still 
as a curious seal approaches and sniffs at the 
legs of his wet suit. On impulse, Krasuski 
spears an urchin on his diving knife and feeds 
it to the toothy wolffish (an experiment he 
admits he will not repeat, after seeing the 
urchin being crushed to bits between the 
strong bony plates of the wolffish's mouth). 
Their enthusiasm impresses even the smiling 
Chronicle hosts. 

Can it be that a WPI gym requirement 
has spawned the next Jacques Cousteau? "I've 
long since given up on the idea of getting 
rich and famous from this," says Bird. "Now 
I'm just hoping to make a living doing what I 
love to do." 

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lilt MAN OALLtU AtJ 

How two researchers are making our roads safer 

— On Teddy Bears — 

"I've always enjoyed creating things with my hands, but I've gotten the greatest satisfaction from making teddy 
bears. Each one can be unique, with its own personality. Over the years, I've made more than 100 bears. My late 
husband, David, had a special fondness for Reunion Bear, with his WPI beanie and tie, and his Phi Gamma Delta 
pin. That bear has attended so many Reunions and other WPI events over the years, that he's become a mascot for 
David's class, the Class of 1940. He's come to symbolize the special place I have in my heart for WPI." 

— On Planned Giving at WPI — 

"I hope my teddy bears will continue to bring joy to others for many years to come. I like to think of them as 
part of my legacy. That's also the way I feel about the charitable gift annuity I established at WPI. The gift ful- 
filled a dream that David and I shared to create a scholarship fund at the university to help students from north- 
ern Worcester county who share David's interests in ham radio and mechanical engineering. At the same time, 
it's a great comfort to know that my gift will provide me guaranteed payments four times a year for the rest of 
my life. Imagine having a reliable income stream at the same time that I'm supporting the school that David 
and I loved so much. I don't think I could have crafted a better way to give to WPI." 

If yon would like to join Ollie Knniholm and 220 others who are enjoying the many benefits of planned giving at WPI, 
please contact Liz Siladi, Director of Planned Giving, at 1-888- WPI GIFT. 




Vol l \ll C, NO. 2, Si mmik 199: 



Stirring the Pot by Michael 11 '. Dorsey 

A descendent of Congregational missionaries, Carl Clark says he inherited 

a desire to change things that sometimes gets him into trouble. For more 

than 30 years, he's been fighting to change the face of automotive safety. 

Page 5 

Building a Forgiving Highway Ay Michael W. Dorsey 

With steel, plastic, imagination and technical know-how, Provost John 

Carney designs widely used devices that protect vehicles and their 

occupants from the hazards that lurk along America's roadsides. 

Page 12 

aej by Allison Chisolm 

His career at WPI has spanned the modern age of computers, from punch 

cards to the World Wide Web. Along the way he's been a quiet, though 

sometimes intimidating, mentor to hundreds of students. 

Page 16 

The Golden Age of Hacking by Joan Killough-Miller 

Back in the days before windows and icons, a close-knit band of students 

devoted their days and nights to learning the intricacies of Fortran and the 

DEC- 10. In the process, they learned a little bit about life — and themselves. 

_ Page 20 

A Shortcut Into Computer History by Bonnie Gelbwasser 

One day last winter, Paul Green was just another student struggling to 

finish a project. A few days later, he was a national media star. What made 

the difference was his discovery of a major software bug. 

Page 24 



Advance Word A Man for All Seasons, By Michael W. Dorsey. Page 2 

Letters Thoughts on the Plan, Keeping the Millenial Faith. Page 3 

WPI at the Crossroads Managing in the Age of Technology, By Amy L. Marr '96. Page 28 

Final Word Student Projects Result in Medical Advances, By Bonnie Gelbwasser and Ruth Trask. Page 32 

Front Cover: Photo by Frank Cezus/FPG International LLC. Stories on pages 5 and 1 2. 

Staff of the WPI Journal: Editor. Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie Gelbwasser, Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask ' 

Alumni Publications Committee: Robert C. Labonte '54, chairman, Kimberly A. (Lemoi) Bower-, '90, James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firlajr. '60,Joel P. Greene '69, 

William R. Grogan '46, Roger \. Perry Jr. '45, Harlan li. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly for the WPI Alumni Association by the Office 

of University Relations. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the U.S. \ 

Diverse views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions oj the editors or official WPI politics. (I , it elcome letters to the editoi . Iddress correspondence to the Editor,, WPI. 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Ml 01609 2280* Phone: (508) 831-5609, Fax: (508) 831-6004* Electronic Mail, wpi • World Wide Web: 

http://www. • Postmaster: Ifundeliverable, please vend Form ? 5 79 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © / 991 II u i i ter Polytechnic Institute. 


A Man for All Seasons 

On July 10, WPI lost one of its best 
friends. Sam Mencow '37, who 
died of cancer, was the volunteer 
every organization dreams of. 
It would be impossible to tally the hours 
he devoted to his alma mater, so numerous 
were they, and just as impossible to measure 
the impact his service had on the success of 
the university and its alumni association. 

But Sam's service to WPI was most 
remarkable because he gave it freely, with- 
out expecting anything in return. He did it 
because he loved WPI and because it was a 
fundamental part of his nature. "Sam was a 
truly selfless person," Rabbi Sigma Coran 
said at Sam's funeral. "He would say, 
'What can I do to help?' Pure and simple. 
And even when he became sick, he didn't 
want to stop helping others. He didn't feel 
that was an excuse." 

Sam Mencow didn't have room in his 
life for excuses; he was too full of energy, 
ideas and dreams. He was born in Worces- 
ter in 1917, the fourth of the seven children 
of Russian immigrants David and Ida Men- 
cow. An extremely bright child, he graduat- 
ed from high school when he was 16. He 
enrolled at WPI to study electrical engi- 
neering and graduated cum laude. Opportu- 
nities for engineers were lean in the pre- 
War years, and for a time he worked as a gas 
station manager, a salesman in an electrical 
supply store, and a machinist. 

In 1940 he became a civilian employee 
of the Air Force, serving as head procure- 
ment inspector for war material in Boston. 
He signed up for active duty in 1943 and 
flew as a navigator in heavy bombers over 
Europe. After the war, he was hired as a 
draftsman at Riley Stoker Corp. in Worces- 
ter, where he spent the rest of his career. 
He was soon made an engineer in the boiler 
division, but not long after he joined the 
sales office. From that point on he devoted 
himself to marketing, rather than designing, 
Riley products. He retired in 1982 as assis- 
tant vice president for marketing. 

When he talked about his years at Riley, 
it was clear that they were enjoyable and 
rewarding and that he pursued his work with 


"Sam was a truly selfless person. 

He would say, ''What can I do to 

help?'' Pure and simple. " 

— Rabbi Sigma Coran 

the same vigor and dedication that marked 
all of his activities. But he was not one to 
dwell too long on his own achievements, 
preferring to revel in the accomplishments of 
others. It was only after his death that many 
friends learned that he had once risked his 
life by diving down a flight of stairs to tackle 
a gunman who'd shot three Riley senior exec- 
utives — including Sam's boss. 

Sam had long been involved in the activ- 
ities of his WPI class, and after retirement 
he threw himself into alumni affairs with a 
passion. With classmate Gordon Crowther, 
he chaired the class's major Reunions. As 
class secretary and later class president, he 
sat down at his manual typewriter and wrote 
beautifully crafted and devilishly humorous 
class newsletters. He and his wife, Bea, were 
active in the Tech Old Timers. He served 
on the Alumni Council and the Alumni 
Association's Executive Committee, and 
gave many hours of service to Executive 
Committee subcommittees — including 
those that drafted an association master plan 

and conducted the first major alumni survey. 

For 16 years, he was a member of the 
Alumni Publications Committee, chairing it 
for nearly 10 years. He presided over the 
committee's two yearly meetings with style 
and good humor, but that was just the 
beginning of his service to WPI's alumni 
publications. He met regularly with the edi- 
tors and writers of the Wire and Journal, 
bringing them news tidbits, story ideas and 
truckloads of encouragement. He never 
missed an opportunity to trumpet their 
work to anyone who would listen, and he 
did everything he could to nurture and pro- 
tect the alumni association's periodicals. 

Sam modestly accepted the accolades of 
the alumni association, including the Her- 
bert F. Taylor Alumni Award for Service 
and the Tech Old Timers Distinguished 
Service Award. His favorite honor was his 
election to Skull in 1994, when he was 77. 
He gladly joined the student inductees for 
their initiation rituals in the wee hours of 
the morning and relished the chance to 
spend time with his fellow Skull "alumni." 

With the many hours he spent at WPI 
over the years, one might wonder if by 
serving his alma mater, he neglected his 
family. Nothing could be farther from the 
truth. His siblings describe Sam as their 
"pillar of strength." In his later years, he 
devoted himself to a brother, who'd lost his 
eyesight, and his wife. "Sam was a source of 
dependability to every family member, and 
would come through even at the expense of 
other things that were important to him," 
Rabbi Coran said. 

He was especially devoted to Bea, his 
wife of 57 years. They met at WPI and were 
married in 1939. When he became sick, Sam 
wanted to stay at home as long as he could, 
and Bea made that possible by caring for 
him for more than nine months and, in Rab- 
bi Coran's words, "doing more than one 
would think possible." 

Sam, himself, did more for the people 
and institutions he loved than most of us 
would think possible. With his death, he left 
a void that can never be filled. 


SUMMER 1997 




As a fourth-generation WP1 graduate 
(great-grandfather Albert K. Fay, 
Class of 1895; grandfather Luther B. 
Martin '25; father Christopher F. Martin 
'53; brother James F. Martin '88), I take 
pride in WPI's history. Unfortunately, I am 
very concerned about its future. 

In general, I thought your 
series on the WIM Plan ("Mira- 
cle at Worcester," October 
1996; "The Best Laid Flans," 
Spring 1997) was informative 
and fair. While 1 don't feel I 
participated in the Plan as it 
was originally designed, 1 was, 
through my brother's tenure, 
privy to the changes, which in 
my estimation, brought about its demise. 

As for my own experience, I did not 
feel my IQP and Sufficiency were taken 
seriously, and certainly did not capture the 
spirit that motivated their design. My 
MQP, on the other hand, played a 
pivotal role in my decision to attend 
graduate school, one of the most 
important decisions I have ever made. 

I suppose I take my opinion of the cur- 
rent Plan from Professor Emeritus Jack 
Boyd. I hold Professor Boyd in the highest 
esteem. When I was working toward m\ 
M.S. at WPI, he gave a talk on the state of 
the Plan. Any attempt I could muster to 
explain how I feel about the WPI curricula 
would pale in comparison to his words: 

"Another critical part of the environ- 
ment at WPI is that we seem to have no his- 
tory of the last 20 years," he said. "It is as 
talking to children to discuss educational 
concepts, needs and opportunities with most 
of our younger (and some of our older) fac- 
ulty. They have no insight into educational 
values and process; they want simply to 
replicate their own experience. They have 
no idea of the goals, criteria and process of 
the last 20 years. 

"The level of conversation for the most 
part is what to put into, or take out of a 
course or a curriculum, or what are the cur- 
rent needs and fads of industry. This super- 
ficiality is due in great part to the fact that 
our young faculty have no idea what the 
WPI Plan was. We trumpet the notion that 
it is in place, when in fact the metaphysical 
and pedagogical benchmarks were razed a 
decade or more ago, and we have left only 
some half-ruined structures, the MQP, IQP, 

on the Plan 


"The current [tenure] system leads 
to professors who are so concentrated 

on publishing, they are ill-prepared to 
teach. I have met few who have done 

both well. "—Richard Martin '91 

"I was pleased to hear that 
teaching is still valued more highly 
at WPI than at most any other leading 
technical university." 

—Howard B. Bernard '86 

etc., with no life in them. In many respects 
we have the worst of both worlds, neither 
the discipline of a traditional program or the 
flexibility of the original WPI Plan." 

I don't have a sound tooting on which 
to discuss the details of the Plan, and how 
to improve it. The real reason I write is to 
make two points that have troubled me since 
my years as a graduate student. It was during 
those years that I realized that the current 
tenure system, in effect, encourages poor 
teaching. The need to publish and to 
acquire research moneys forces professors 
to lower the value and priority they place 
on teaching 

To me, Professor Boyd exemplified the 
ideal professor. He was dedicated not only 
to academic pursuit, but more importantly 
and passionately, to the study of how to 
teach. I regard the tenure system as back- 
wards; rather than being free to teach (i.e., 
receive tenure) only after one has demon- 

strated the ability to adequately research and 
publish, one should be free to perform 
research only after one has demonstrated 
the ability to adequately teach. It is my con- 
tention that the current system leads to pro- 
lessors who are so concentrated on publish- 
ing, they are ill-prepared to teach. I have 
met few who have done both well. 

Finally, as mentioned in the corollarj 
to the Spring 1997 Plan article, I too am 
concerned about how well WPI teat li- 
es fundamentals. Basic engineering 
mathematics, for example, forms the 
foundation upon which all practical 
engineering skills are built. There is far 
too little emphasis given to mathematics. 
Perhaps Galileo said it best: "Philosophy 
is written in this one grand book — I mean 
the Universe — which stands continually 

open to our gaze, but it cannot 
be understood unless one first 
learns to comprehend the lan- 
guage and interpret the char- 
acters in which it is written. It 
is written in the language of 

Richard Martin '91 

worcester, mass. 

to the editor: 

I have been away from the Plan for over 
10 years now , but at one time I was 
closely involved in the struggle to pre- 
serve it. So I found Part 2 of your series 
"The Story of the WPI Plan" (Spring 1997) 
very interesting reading. 

But I had a more personal connection to 
the article than most readers, as I wrote the 
Newspeak editorial "We've Been Lied to and 
Now the Plan Is Dead," which you cited in 
your article. 

I was one of many students proud to be 
associated with top-flight teachers at WPI — 
teachers like Jack Boyd in mechanical engi- 
neering and Tom Keil in physics. Because 
the Plan, as it was then configured, support- 
ed their efforts to be good teachers (which 
many universities fail to do), I struggled to 
defend it. 

Many of the editorials I wrote for 
Newspeak during 1985, when I was editor-in- 
chief, were directed toward preserving the 
Plan and encouraging everyone to become 
involved in discussions about its future. But 
I felt as though the outcome of the battle 


had been carefully engineered long before 
the issues were made public. 

By 1986, as ex officio associate editor, I 
continued to write the occasional editorial. 
"We've Been Lied to and Now the Plan Is 
Dead" — perhaps one of my strongest state- 
ments — was from that period. As the title 
indicates, I felt the battle to save the Plan 
had been lost by then. 

But after reading your article, I find my 
interest in the academic atmosphere at WPI 
rekindled. While I continue to believe the 
Plan before the mid-1980s changes was an 
outstandingly strong educational program, 
I see indications that teaching and whole- 
brained intellectual development are still 
valued at WPI. I hope I'm correct. If I am, 
WPI may regain some of the luster it lost, in 
my view, when the Competency Exam was 
eliminated and the grading system was mod- 
ified for conformity. 

I was pleased to hear from my friend 
John Rulnick, who last year accepted a posi- 
tion as assistant professor of electrical and 
computer engineering at WPI, that teaching- 
is still valued more highly at WPI than at 
most any other leading technical university. 
I conclude that WPI has made a renewed 
commitment to a pro-teaching philosophy, a 
move I applaud with gusto. 

As Jack Boyd said in your article, "We 
live in an era of technology, and there is a 
tremendous need to educate technologists 
who are sensitive to the consequences of 


technology." And if WPI can continue to 
attract and retain technically skilled teach- 
ers, who have strong capabilities in many 
areas within and outside their specialties, 
then my alma mater may be on its way to 
becoming, once again, an institution that 
provides high-quality technological educa- 
tion with a conscience. 



The series on the WPI Plan by 
Michael Dorsey constituted the best 
articles published in the Jo umal in 
the 19 years I have been receiving this peri- 
odical. As a high school student in 1973, 
interested in engineering, the revolutionary 
nature of the Plan attracted me to WPI over 
many "traditional" programs, such as those 
at RPI and VPI. The ability to self-start and 
work on projects as part of an undergraduate 
education were integral to my future career 

Yes, the seven-week term was intense, 
especially since the exams tended to be 
bunched together. The commitment 
required to succeed and the 50 hours of 
studying each week stood me in good stead 
for the "crunch time" that so often occurs in 
the "outside world." It was also important to 
have fun and outlets such as the Goat's Head 
Pub and Spree Day were key to good morale. 

I, too, was saddened by the closure of 
the Plan in 1986. Loss of the Competency 
Exam and Intersession, and the return to a 
"normal" grading system, removed many of 
the positive concepts that attracted me to 
WPI in the first place. Yes, the Comp was 
hard, but I am glad to have gone through 
the experience. And no one can forget a 
two-week experience with Doc Wagner in 
the Maine woods in winter! Not to mention 
the fact that having to provide a proper and 
clear explanation of the WPI Plan during 
job interviews built character. 

So, kudos on an excellent series! 

Chris James 78 
New Hartford, Conn. 


The two WPI Plan special issues were 
exciting and well-organized, bring- 
ing back vivid memories of the Plan 
and the people who worked for it and with 
it. You and your staff deserve congratula- 
tions and thanks for an outstanding service. 

Kay W. Draper 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Draper taught public 
speaking at WPI from 1973 to 1985. "'During 
those years, "she says, "I was privileged to teach 
some marvelous young men and women, and it 
■would he a joy to hear from some of them. " 
CoiTespondence can be sent to her at Shindagin 
Road, Wilmot Flats, NH, 03287. 

Keeping the Millennial Faith 


I was pleased to note in the Spring 1997 
issue two references to the new century 
and millennium as beginning in 2001. 

In "The Class of Aught Aught," Joe 
Parker noted that "the last class in the 20th 
century will graduate in June 2000." 

In "A New Global Era," Michael 
Dorsey wrote that "in less than four years 
clocks will tick off the last seconds of the 
20th century and a new millennium will offi- 
cially begin." 

The WPI Journal has been consistent 
in this. In the Winter 1990 issue, it was 
stated, "In only 10 years a new millennium 
comes to pass." I check millennium refer- 
ences carefully. 

As an old calendar buff, I am dismayed 
at the media's wide acceptance of the notion 

of the year 2000 being the beginning of the 
next century and millennium. For example, 
Time magazine, in a response to a letter I 
wrote to the editor, defended the "decade of 
the '90s" concept as defining not only style 
and pop culture, but the whole calendar. An 
editorial in the Cape Cod Times derides the 
"small legion of the faithful" as "intransi- 
gents" who do not accept the zero year as 
the beginning of a decade. The author of a 
letter on this subject to the Cape Cod Times 
was dismissed as "coming out of the wood- 
work." The Times even derided Noah Web- 
ster for "confusing things" when he defined 
a decade as the years 1 to 10. 

The front page of The New York Times 
for Jan. 1, 1901, is in front of me. The top of 
the right hand column is devoted to a story 

celebrating the beginning of the 20th cen- 
tury on that day. If the Cape Cod Times is 
to believed, the 20th century is to have just 
99 years. 

This issue needs airing and publicity, 
but the media, in the service of our pop 
culture, is a most awesome force. Writers 
whom I respect, like William Safire and 
Stephen Jay Gould, are well aware of the 
calendar problem, but seem to shrug at the 
big parties to come on Dec. 3 1, 1999, say- 
ing, in effect, that it is all part of life's rich 

Thanks to the Journal for keeping the 

Russell A. lovell Jr. '40 
Sandwich, Mass. 

Summer 1997 

i hh i hiI mi ni m um i i ii - nra mniif* !— ~"*—"— 


'eideveloped a novel way ofetudying the workinge of the cell. 

'Jmpbdinvent dynamic flight simulation and trained X- 15 pilots and Mercury astronauts for their 
I helped lay the groundwork for the Consumer Product Safety Commission when the idea 
of product safety was in its infancy. But Carl Clark s most lasting legacy is his pioneering work in auto 
safety. From the first working airbag restraint system, to safer car windows, to such forward looking 
ideas as airbag bumpers, hes worked tirelessly to reduce the carnage on American roadways. 

By Michael dorsey 

arl Clark '45 doesn't hesitate to admit that he's 
<^J something of a troublemaker. For more than 
30 years, he's made trouble for industries and other 
institutions that have the 
power to make people's 
lives safer, but don't use it. 
Appalled by the millions 
of needless deaths and 
injuries that have occurred 
in those three decades, 
he's fought for safety in the face of the indifference 
and inactivity of organizations that were often too 
concerned with the quest for profits, too mired in 
bureaucratic red tape, or too bound up by political 
pressure to devote themselves to protecting lives. 



Stirring the pot 


We pushed 

ourselves right 

up to the limits. 

I was 


on the 



1 times. 


Clark's interest in safety crystallized in the 
mid-1960s when, as a researcher at the Martin 
Company in Baltimore, he developed the first 
working automotive airbag safety system and 
conducted the earliest public experiments that 
demonstrated that the new technology could save 
lives. When the automotive industry sought to 
discredit his work, he persevered in promoting the 
technology in public forums. His persistence is 
probably an important reason that airbags are 
found in virtually all cars made today. 

The automotive airbag research was just one 
element of a long and amazingly diverse career 
that has taken Clark to leading edge of such fields 
as optics, flight simulation, consumer protection, 
satellite communications and automotive safety. 
He has earned degrees in physics and zoology, 
has taught physiology, safety and accident recon- 
struction, and has conducted research on such 
wide-ranging topics as biological pigments, 
aviation medicine and the biological effects of 
high-energy radiation. Throughout his career, 
the glue that has bound his many interests and 
activities has been his abiding concern for the 
health and welfare of people. 

Clark attributes his sense of social responsi- 
bility and his willingness to persevere in the face 
of daunting odds to his family history. He says 
ancestors going back at least three generations on 
both sides of his family tree were Congregational 
missionaries stationed around the world. "So this 
sense of trying to change things is in the family — 
we're busybodies," he says. "It gets us into trouble 
frequently, but it leads us into interesting things." 

Clark's father became an electrical engineer, 
rather than a missionary, but with his inter- 
national background (he was born in Japan), he 
ended up in Asia as an engineer with General 
Electric's international division. Clark was born 
while his family was in Manila. Two years later, 
his father died and his mother moved the family 
to Vermont, where they had ancestral roots. 

In high school, Clark became interested in 
science and mathematics and enrolled at WPI 
when the school offered him a scholarship. To 
earn money for expenses, he worked as a night 
clerk in a funeral home, a job he says may have 
contributed both to his developing interest in 
biology and his empathy for people in need. 
Having started out to be a mechanical engineer, he 
switched his major to physics, with the intention of 
going on to do graduate work in biology. 

After graduation, he became a lab assistant at 
Amherst College, where he also took undergraduate 
and graduate biology courses (a subject not taught 
at WPI) and broadened his background in the 
humanities. He spent the next summer studying at 
the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and 
then enrolled at Columbia University as a graduate 
student in zoology. 

For his thesis work, he studied the physiology 

of the living cell by looking at the streams of 
molecules that enter and leave it. "I was trying to 
learn about the dynamic chemistry of the cell," he 
says, "something that I still think will be valuable 
in identifying the cause of many illnesses." 

Clark's graduate research resulted in articles in 
the international journals Science and Archives of 
Biochemistry and Biophysics. In 1951, he accepted an 
appointment as an assistant professor of zoology at 
the University of Illinois, where he taught for five 
years. "I continued my study of dynamic cell 
chemistry," he says, "while many of the faculty in 
the department were identifying the clams in the 
Illinois River. I just didn't seem to fit in there." 

As a graduate student, Clark had worked in 
the infrared spectrophotometry laboratory of 
James D. Hardy at Cornell Medical College. Now 
Hardy, who'd moved on to become director of 
research for the Aviation Medical Acceleration 
Laboratory at the Naval Air Development Center 
outside of Philadelphia, came to Clark's rescue by 
asking him to become director of the lab's 
Biophysics Division. 

The move represented a dramatic change in 
focus for Clark: from the individual cell to the 
human organism. Like Hardy, he accepted a joint 
appointment at the nearby Lmiversity of 
Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where, as a 
research assistant and later an assistant professor 
of physiology, he gained a broader perspective on 
the functioning and limitations of the body. 

Part ot Clark's job at the Aviation Medical 
Acceleration Lab involved conducting 
experiments and pilot training using a giant 
centrifuge that could spin human beings at high 
speeds, simulating the G forces pilots encountered 
in jet aircraft. W nen he arrived, the centrifuge, 
with its 50-foot arm and 4,000-horsepower motor, 
was being used primarily in what he calls the 
"merry-go-round mode," but he knew the 
machine had gimbals that permitted the gondola 
to be tilted in virtually any direction as it was spun 
around. These could, with proper control, permit 
a pilot to experience the effects of changes he 
made in the attitude of his simulated airplane. 

With colleague Richard Crosby, a mathema- 
tician, he decided to drive the centrifuge with 
some early analog computers. They installed mock 
cockpits in the gondola and wrote algorithms that 
caused the gondola to roll, yaw and pitch in direct 
response to the pilot's movement of the control 
stick. While the system worked, they quickly 
realized it could benefit from more computing 

They received permission to connect the 
centrifuge to the ENIAC II computer, which had 
been installed at the Naval Air Development 
Center. ENIAC II was a cousin of the original 
ENIAC, the world's first large electronic analog 
computer." We were there at the beginning of 
dynamic flight simulation, though it has never 

SUMMER 1997 

in inn m minimi 

been recognized in the literature," Clark says. 
"We made a real breakthrough." 

In the latter half of the 1950s, the United 
States began turning its eyes toward space and 
thinking about how men and machines would 
perforin in that alien environment. Thoughts 
were already drifting toward interplanetary travel 
and the prospect of sending manned missions to 
Mars. "A trip to Mars was expected to take six 
months," he says. "The engineers worried about 
how humans would hold up during such a long 
flight. 'We have the machines,' they'd say, 'it's the 
human beings that are the problem.'" 

(dark says the travel time to Mars during its 
closest approach to Earth could be cut to just two 
days if the spacecraft could be accelerated 
continuously at two times the force of gravity for 
half of the voyage and then decelerated at the 
same rate the second halt. But nobody knew then 
how continuous acceleration for such a long 
period might affect human physiology. To find 
out, Clark climbed into the centrifuge during the 
Thanksgiving weekend of 1957, had it spun it up 
to 2 Gs, and stayed there for 24 hours. 

Reclining in a contoured couch, he found that 
he could cook on a hot plate, sleep — even stand 
and move to a certain degree. A film made of him 
in the gondola shows the skin on his face pulled 
back as if he had developed jowls. The experience 
left him groggy and tired, but convinced that a 
fast trip to Mars was possible (in fact, it would be 
the need for new developments in engine technol- 
ogy, not human capabilities, that would stand in 
the way of such a voyage). 

During the simulated flight, he took advantage 
of the opportunity to conduct experiments on the 
Coriolus illusion, a problem that affects centrifuge 
riders. "You have to be careful about moving your 
head when the centrifuge (or a rotating space 
station) is spinning so as to avoid becoming 
nauseous," he says. "I explored that. I wanted to 
see at what point it becomes serious. I moved my 
head at various rates to controllably go up to the 
point where I was throwing up. I got some of the 
first numbers on the disorientation effects of head 
motion under centrifugation." 

I le says it was common for the scientists who 
ran the centrifuge to use themselves as test subjects. 
In fact, he notes, they would often expose 
themselves to conditions more severe than those 
the pilots and test subjects experienced. "We 
pushed ourselves right up to the limits," he says. "I 
was unconscious on the centrifuge perhaps 1 
times. That was the whole atmosphere then." 

In 1957, Clark was named program director 
for a project that contributed to the design and 
testing of the X-15 experimental aircraft. Clark 
and his team would also be responsible for using 
their expertise in dynamic flight simulation to 
conduct training exercises for the X-15 pilots and 
to demonstrate that the pilots could withstand 

flights in the craft, which was 
designed to travel at more than 
4,000 miles per hour to altitudes in 
excess of 100 miles. The simulations 
contributed to the design of a special 
head restraint developed for the X- 
15 and demonstrated the need for 
replacing the traditional center-stick 
control with side-arm controls that 
pilots could more easily manipulate 
under high (is. Most important, 
they familiarized the X-15 pilots 
with normal and emergency flight 
acceleration conditions before they 
made actual flights. 

As a result of the X-15 work, 
(dark was named "Civil Servant of the 
Year" by the Federal Business 
Association. The work also led to a 
contract to train the seven astronauts 
chosen to inaugurate America's 
manned spaceflight program by flying 
the tiny Mercury capsule into Earth 
orbit. A full-scale, working simulated 
capsule was installed inside the 
gondola and the astronauts flew 
simulations of normal and emergency 
flight procedures. Two emergency 
maneuvers were of particular concern 
to NASA. The first, a launch abort 
requiring the use of the rocket- 
powered escape tower, would expose 
an astronaut to 1 1 Gs. Even more 
severe was an emergency reentry, 
which could generate up to 25 Gs. 

"An astronaut would have 
experienced 1 1 Gs when the escape 
tower fired and again when the 
rockets shut down and the capsule 
was slowed by air resistance," Clark 
says. "People had never been 
through that experience. I did the 
initial trials myself. In small steps, 
we spun the centrifuge up to 1 1 Gs 
and then quickly turned the gondola 
1 80 degrees to get 11 Gs in the 
opposite direction. It was an 
imperfect simulation, because as the 
gondola turned, we had to rotate 
through the point where my feet 
were facing down and much of the 
blood drained from my brain. I was 
right at the edge of unconsciousness 
and experiencing tremors. The 
astronauts themselves were trained 
only up to 6 Gs." 

The 25 G emergency entry 
nearly put a halt to the Mercury 
program, Clark says, because the 
Washington physician advisors 
didn't think people could live 


Stirring the pot 

Clark (center) designed the 
first working airbag restraint 
system, originally developed for 
spacecraft. He tested it himself 
by lying between two airbags in 
this box, which was repeatedly 
dropped from increasing 

At the Aviation Medical 
Acceleration Lab, Clark ran 
what was then the largest 
human centrifuge (above). 
He developed methods to 
dynamically simulate actual 
flight accelerations and then 
trained the X-15 pilots and 
Mercury astronauts. 



Stirring the pot 


The auto 

companies did some 

work before my 


But their technical 

work was done 

in secret. 

Ours was the 

first published 

technical work, 

and they didn t 

want us 
stiiring the pot. 


through such extreme forces. "It wasn't until 
Carter Collins, lying in the special custom molded 
couch that NASA designed for the Mercury 
capsule, withstood 25 Gs on the centrifuge and 
walked out of the gondola, that they dropped their 

In 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard rode the first 
Mercury capsule into space in his historic 
suborbital flight. That same year, Clark agreed to 
become head of the Life Sciences Division of the 
Engineering Department at Martin Company, the 
Baltimore-based aerospace firm. Martin built the 
Titan ICBM, which would become the launch 
vehicle for the two-man Gemini spacecraft. It was 
also hoping to make a bid for a piece of the multi- 
billion-dollar Apollo moon landing program. 

It was at Martin Company that Clark's 
interest in airbags first developed. In his last year 
at the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory, 
Clark had conducted tests of a belt/vest restraint 
system proposed for aircraft that used low- 
pressure airbags to tighten the restraint. He was 
also aware of airmats developed for the "snatch 
landing" of aircraft, and of airbags used to soft- 
land missiles. Having seen the expense involved in 
custom-molding a special couch for each Mercury 
astronaut, at the Martin Company he proposed 
that the Apollo spacecraft use an inflated air seat 
that would self-conform to the shape of its 
occupant. In addition to providing a seat that 
could be easily deflated and stowed, an air couch, 
in combination with an airbag deployed above the 
couch, could offer astronauts exceptional 
protection in a crash landing, he noted. 

He developed a test unit inside a large box and 
became the first person to crash test an airbag 
system. He lay down inside the box between two 
airbags as the box was dropped from increasing 
heights. "We found that if you move the whole 
body as a unit in a controlled manner in a crash, the 
G levels experienced by the body are significantly 
lower than those experienced by the box," he says. 
"I later wrote a chapter in a book that explained 
that in a crash, it isn't the rapid deceleration that's 
dangerous, it's the distortion of the body as a result 
of deceleration. The trouble with seat belts, for 
example, is that they are only 2 -inches wide. They 
work fine at low speeds, but at speeds above 35 
miles per hour, they crack your ribs." 

His work resulted in a government contract 
(the first ever awarded for work on an airbag 
safety system) to experiment with spacecraft 
airbags. Although NASA did not incorporate the 
system into the Apollo spacecraft, the work led to 
research on an airbag system for airplanes. Like 
the Apollo unit, the system included an airbag and 
an air seat. 

The system was tested successfully by 
launching it on a Federal Aviation Administration 
catapult in Atlantic City, N.J., where it offered 
protection in crashes that produced velocity 

changes of more than 100 miles per hour. The 
system also performed well in several airplane and 
helicopter crash tests. In one test, the FAA 
crashed a DC-7, loaded with instruments, cameras 
and an assortment of experimental safety devices, 
into a hill at 160 miles per hour. 

As it happened, Life magazine and NASA had 
installed cameras to record the drama inside the 
cabin. The photos appeared in the June 12, 1964, 
issue of Life. "The cameras caught special 
backward facing seats falling over, dummies in 
forward facing seats breaking their heads off on 
the seatbacks, and other assorted mayhem," Clark 
says. "But the dummy in my test seat went 
forward into the airbag and then gently floated 
back into the seat. He hit the bag again as the 
plane slammed into a second hill, then floated 
back to the seat. I figured the dummy may have 
experienced 5 Gs. It was obviously a breakthrough 
in crash protection." 

Aircraft makers and airlines showed little 
interest in the airbag system. Government 
regulations did not (and still do not) require 
manufacturers to provide high-G protection to 
airline passengers, so airbags seemed a needless 
expense. "But this is something that's still 
needed," Clark says. 

Clark was already exploring another potential 
market for airbags. Recognizing that far more 
people die on the roads each year than in the air, 
he began work on an airbag safety system for 
automobiles, which became known as the Airstop 
Restraint System. The system employed reusable 
airbags mounted at various points in the car 
(including a dashboard bag for the chest and a 
separate bag for the legs), air seats, pressurized air 
canisters to inflate them (the canisters could be 
refilled at a service station air pump), and a radar 
system to detect an imminent crash and inflate the 
bags just before impact. The radar system would 
have provided just enough time to inflate the 
bags — at low pressure. 

The bags installed in cars today, Clark says, 
are triggered by the rapid deceleration of an actual 
impact. They use the ignition of sodium azinide to 
create the rapid, high-pressure inflation needed to 
till the bags fully in the few milliseconds between 
the time the collision begins and the time the occu- 
pant strikes the vehicle interior. It is this high-speed 
inflation that has been implicated in the injury and 
death of a number of adults and children. 

"They now say that airbags have killed more 
children under 12 than they've saved," Clark says. 
"That's sad. A slowly inflating airbag would gently 
push a child back and cause no injury. In the early 
1970s, Toyota, perhaps partially as a result of my 
suggestion, developed a radar crash anticipation 
system to trigger airbags, but abandoned it. I 
understand that the idea is now being considered 
by other auto makers. Still, this valuable 
technology has been lost for 25 years." 

Summer 1997 


As his airbag work progressed, (Mark got his 
first real taste of the competition that can develop 
within corporations between the desire to serve the 
public good by making safer products and the need 
to continue to make profits by maintaining the 
status quo. As a result of a merger with Marrietta, 
Martin Company acquired a line of paints sold to 
auto makers. Not long after the merger, (dark 
discovered that this group of customers was 
anxious to keep his work under wraps. 

Already, Clark had learned that he was not the 
first person to consider putting airbags in cars. 
Patent attorneys for Martin had found existing 
patents for airbag restraint systems for cars and 
airplanes, although none had ever undergone 
controlled tests. He learned later that a number of 
auto makers had conducted limited tests of airbag 
components but had decided not to pursue the 
technology. "The auto companies did some work- 
before my studies," Clark says. "But their 
technical work was done in secret. Our's was the 
first published technical work, and they didn't 
want us stirring the pot." 

But stir the pot is exactly what he did. In 
1966, Ralph Nader and Clark were invited to 
testify at a hearing before the Iowa state 
legislature, which was considering the nation's 
first law to require seat belts in automobiles. Clark 
talked about the additional protection that airbags 
could provide. A year earlier, Nader had quoted 
(dark in his landmark book, Unsafe lit Any Speed, 
which chronicled the auto industry's reluctance to 
make safer cars. 

With others at Martin, he designed a 
conceptual safety car that became the first 
prototype car to have airbags — at least on paper. 
The car also incorporated a host of advanced 
safety features, some of which have only recently 
been employed or suggested for production model 
cars. They included a collapsible steering column, 
"heads-up" displays for the driver, a unitized 
passenger compartment, an energy-absorbing 
structure around the engine compartment, a fire 
suppression system, and tail lights and signal 
flashers mounted on the car roof to make them 
more visible. 

The New York Times published the drawing of 
the safety car and an article about Clark's work on 
automotive airbags on Jan. 12, 1966. In the story, 
he foretold the danger modern, high-pressure 
airbag systems would pose to children. "The 
'explosive' system would be harmless to seated 
passengers, Dr. Clark says, but could seriously 
injure a child who happened to be standing up 
when it went off. That's why slower inflation 
would be required," the article reported. 

After the story came out, Clark got a phone call 
at his office from artist Salvador Dali. "He said he 
was intrigued with the concept of a billowy thing 
that will protect you in a crash, and asked me to 
have lunch with him," he says. "I felt I had to get 

permission from management, and the 
upshot is I didn't go. I've kicked myself 
ever since." 

In 1965, Clark and a colleague 
presented a paper on the Airstop 
Restraint systems at the annual Stapp 
Car Crash Conference. The paper 
explained that lap belts (then 
available in few cars) are inadequate 
to prevent serious injury and death 
even in collisions at speeds as low as 
20 miles per hour. It explained how 
airbags — deploying from several 
directions — and air seats could 
restrain passengers and offer 
protection even at highway speeds. 
The paper contained the first pub- 
lished description of a side airbag 

"That paper really got people 
thinking," he says. "Afterward, the 
auto companies worldwide began 
working on airbags. Ford and 
Ceneral Motors had done some 
work in the U.S., but companies like 
Volvo and Mercedes Benz hadn't 
done any work up to that point. By 
1966, they were all looking at the 
technology and wondering what to 
do with it. I took a system the auto 
companies wanted to ignore and put 
it in the spotlight." 

Just how much the auto 
companies wanted to maintain the 
airbag's low profile became clear 
when the U.S. House of 
Representatives invited Clark to 
testify* on auto safety- as part of 
hearings on the need for a federal 
agency to regulate consumer safety, 
(dark asked the legislative committee 
holding the hearing to send a formal 
letter of invitation to his superiors. 
As the date for his testimony- 
approached, he learned in an urgent 
phone call from Washington that the 
letter had been sent, but never 
responded to. 

"Martin didn't want me to talk," 
he says. "They finally decided to let 
me testify, but I spent two days with 
the chief engineer, the legal counsel 
and other executives who urged me 
to say that I didn't fully understand 
the implications of my 7 experiments. I 
did appear at the hearing, but the 
atmosphere at Martin was so clouded 
after that that I decided to leave. 

"It was frustrating to see the 
opposition of the auto companies. 
They would tell my bosses that their 


Stirring the pot 

Having developed airbags 
for spacecraft and airplanes, 
Clark realized they had greater 
potential for saving lives in 
automobiles. Here he demon- 
strates part of a comprehensive 
automotive airbag safety 
system he developed while 
at Martin Company. 

Clark's airbag systems proved 
themselves in a variety of tests. 
Here, he is the test subject as a 
rig outfitted with his airbag 
restraint system is swung at 
high speed into a wall. 



Stirring the pot 


People have had 

glass removed from 

their brains after 

accidents. And yet 

the industry 

continues to say 

that tempered glass 

breaks into tiny, 

nonsharp cubes 

that don t hurt 



research showed that airbags don't work, at the 
same time that I was doing work that showed that 
they worked very well. They also advanced the 
notion that everybody dies in catastrophic crashes 
and that there was nothing that could be done, 
except to try to educate the 'nut behind the 
wheel.' But some people do survive serious 
crashes, and they should have been asking why 
some people live. Despite my work and the 
concepts we and others demonstrated with our 
concept cars, they insisted that, while the systems 
might be effective, they were just too expensive." 

In 1966, Clark founded Safety Systems 
Company, a research consulting firm he has 
maintained ever since. The company enabled him 
to continue to explore his interest in automotive 
safety. A year later, he accepted a post as associate 
chief of the Science and Technology Division at 
the Library of Congress. In 1969, he was asked to 
head the Task Group on Industry Self-Regulation 
of the National Commission on Product Safety. 
The commission was the first step toward the 
creation of the Consumer Product Safety 
Commission in 1972. 

The task group was directed to investigate 
how effectively industry could regulate itself and 
produce safe products. "The commission looked 
at safety in the home and found that we were 
killing 30,000 people a year in preventable 
accidents — like people slipping on rugs and 
infants getting their heads stuck in the gaps in crib 
rails. Our group looked at what industry was 
doing. We concluded that they were not going to 
solve many safety problems on their own. The 
profit motive was just too strong." 

Clark spent a year as a staff consultant in 
consumer product safety at the National Bureau 
of Standards and in 1972 was asked to help 
establish and serve as the first head of WPI's Life 
Sciences Department (now the Biology and 
Biotechnology Department). "For many years, I 
had been saying to WPI that engineers have to 
understand biology," he says. "They must have an 
appreciation for the people who use and control 
the equipment they design. I set it up as a fairly 
classical department, emphasizing an appreciation 
of life and biochemistry. But I'm not a money- 
maker, and WPI felt that I should have been out 
raising funds. After two years, I was asked to step 
down, and I did." 

He returned home to Baltimore and became a 
member of the senior staff of the Monsour 
Medical Foundation. His focus was using 
computer and communications technology to 
address issues in community health. He set up a 
computer database (using punch cards) that 
helped community groups save time and money 
by finding out if other groups had already solved 
problems they were facing. He also organized 
demonstration projects using a set of experimental 
NASA satellites, conducting two early medical 

conferences by satellite. "After three years, the 
foundation reduced the amount of money it 
wanted to spend on this type of thing, so I had to 
look at other pastures," Clark says. 

Those other pastures would take him back 
into the world or automobile safety. From 1977 
until his retirement in 1990, he worked as a 
physical scientist in the Office of Crashworthiness 
Research at the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA). There, he became 
involved in an area of research that continues to 
occupy him today: how to prevent ejections 
through the side windows of cars and trucks. 
About 10,000 people die each year after being 
partly or completely ejected from their vehicles 
during crashes (most of the victims are not 
wearing seat belts). About half of those deaths 
occur when people are ejected though side 
windows, often in rollover crashes. 

Clark says the major culprit in side window 
ejections is the tempered glass that auto makers 
have chosen to use in these windows since the late 
1950s and early 1960s. Tempered glass is 
sometimes called safety glass for its tendency to 
shatter into small rounded pieces — under ideal 
conditions. It is less expensive than the laminated 
glass used in auto windshields, which is made by 
sandwiching a sheet of polyvinyl butyral between 
two sheets of glass. 

The plastic layer in laminated glass can 
prevent missiles from penetrating the passenger 
compartment of a car and can keep an occupant 
from penetrating the window in a crash. The 
lamination also holds the fragments of a broken 
window together, preventing sharp pieces of glass 
from flying around and causing lacerations. If an 
additional layer of plastic is added to the inside of 
the windows (called glass-plastic glazing), 
occupants are also protected from lacerations 
caused by contact with a broken pane. 

Tempered glass, on the other hand, generally 
shatters in a crash — often due to the strain placed 
on the window frame. And studies conducted by 
Clark and others have demonstrated that when 
tempered glass breaks under strain, it forms large, 
sharp fragments that can fly through the passenger 
compartment at high speeds. These fragments are 
responsible for serious laceration injuries in about 
200,000 people annually. "These fragments cause 
terrible injuries," he says. "People have had glass 
removed from their brains after accidents. And yet 
the industry continues to say that tempered glass 
breaks into tiny, nonsharp cubes that don't hurt 

Clark has conducted a number of laboratory 
and crash tests that demonstrate that glass-plastic 
side windows could prevent most of the laceration 
injuries that occur in crashes and also significantly 
reduce ejection deaths and injuries. When 
concerns were raised about the tendency of glass 
to pull out of a window frame when it is broken, 


Summer 1997 


he designed a T-shaped plastic strip than can be 
bonded to the edge of the window. The "T" sits 
in the window channel and prevents the glass 
from pulling out, enabling the plastic layer to 
become a strong "safety net" that keeps 
passengers inside the car. 

Despite Clark's positive test results, auto 
makers have been reluctant to make the change 
and have disputed his and others' claims about the 
risks ol tempered glass. 

Still, change ma\ be in the wind. The \l IIS A 
has continued the studies of glazing that (dark 
started and has begun to lay the groundwork for 
possible new regulations requiring glass-plastic 
side windows. \ number ot European and 
Japanese ear makers plan to offer laminated or 
glass-plastic side windows as an option. For those 
companies, the motivation for change seems not to 
be safetj , but rather the concern of car buyers that 
the ease w ith which tempered glass shatters makes 
ears too vulnerable to break-ins. 

In addition to continuing his work on car 
windows, (dark has been conducting tests of a 
new use tor airbags — airbag bumpers. He 
savs the concept is a reaction to the fact 
that about halt ot the serious injuries in 
automobile accidents are related to the 
intrusion ot parts of the car into the 
passenger compartment. He notes that 
today's smaller cars have little in the way 
of a "crush zone" to absorb the energy of 
a collision. In addition, bumpers, which 
b\ law must be strong enough to 
withstand crashes of just five miles per 
hour, provide little protection in accidents 
at higher speeds. 

The idea of temporarily extending the 
crush /one ot a car was first developed in 
the early 1960s b) James Ryan, a 
mechanical engineer at the University of 
.Minnesota. Ryan designed and built a 
hydraulic bumper that would extend about 17 
inches w hen the car traveled over 20 miles pet- 
hour. In tests, Ryan showed that a car thus 
protected could be driven into a wall at about 20 
miles per hour with no significant damage to the 
vehicle or driver. 

At 40(1 pounds, Ryan's system proved too 
heavy to be taken seriously by auto makers. 
Clark's system replaces the extendible bumper 
with lightweight airbags that would project several 
feet in front of the car just prior to a crash, 
triggered by the same kind of radar detection 
system he originally proposed using with 
passenger airbags. So far, a number of 
experiments and crash tests with pre-inflated 
airbags have been undertaken. The results, Clark 
says, indicate that an airbag bumper (in 
combination w ith occupant airbags) could protect 
occupants from serious injury in a crash into a 
wall at up to 50 miles per hour. 

"It's feasible and it will be used m ears," sa\s the 
man who crusaded tor passenger airbags long before 

the auto industry ami federal regulators were ready 
to think about them. "It just takes tune to knock 
heads enough to yet things to begin to happen." 
Airbag bumpers may show up in ears long 
before another (dark innovation, the only safety 
device for which he has "afforded" a patent 
(awarded in 1973). "It's called the retrorocket 
brake, and it really is something tor the future," 
he says. "It will probably only come about when 
cars routinely travel above 100 miles per hour. 
\uto companies say that if you put your toot on 
the brake and you start to skid, that's an 'act of 
( rod' and there's nothing they can do about it. But 
you need to provide a way to develop a force 
counter to vehicle motion, other than friction, 
because friction can take you only up to about 1 
G — typically 0.7 C on dry surfaces." 

(dark's design calls for a solid-fueled rocket 
with two exhaust ports located on either side of 
the car, facing forward. The thrust ot the rocket 
could slow a car from 55 miles per hour to S miles 


Stirring the pot 

per hour in just 23 feet of travel. The obvious 
hazards associated with driving around with a 
rocket under one's car could be ameliorated by 
using a rocket that expels water at high pressure, 
instead of hot exhaust. "Why is it that we accept a 
vehicle crashing when the driver has her foot on 
the brake and intends to stop?" he wrote in a 1983 
memo to others at the NHTSA. "We are 
providing inadequate control capability." 

Clark says he is not ready to fight any battles 
over retrorocket brakes. But the question might 
be asked, why does he continue to wage the 
campaigns in which he remains engaged? After 
years of standing up to intransigent industries and 
slow-moving bureaucracies, is he ready to take a 
rest and enjoy retirement? "No," he says without 
hesitation. "I enjoy doing something. Besides, 
there are still 45,000 deaths on U.S. highways 
each year. That's 125 a day. A lot of those deaths 
can be prevented. I just have to keep pushing."^ 

From his home 
office in Baltimore, 
Clark continues 
his work in auto 
safety. One cur- 
rent project is 
developing safer, 
glass-plastic side 
windows for cars. 
The "T" edge he 
developed (above) 
would help side 
windows become 
safety nets for 
passengers in 
rollover accidents. 




Americas highways are the eafeet in the world, 

thanks, in large measure, to devices that protect cars and their occupants in 
collisions with roadside hazards. Some of the most successful highway crash 
cushions were designed by WP1 Provost John Carney, whose work has earned 
him an international reputation in automotive safety. 

Forgiving Highway 




The slow-motion film shows a driverless 
automobile traveling along a paved track. 
The camera follows the car as it approaches the 
blunt end of a concrete median barrier. The car 
strikes the barrier head on, and like a dull knife, 
the thin concrete slab slices deep into the engine 
compartment as the car's front end explodes in a 
shower of metal and glass. I lad this been a real 
accident instead of a crash test, the car's occupants 
would be dead. 

In the next film, a pickup truck speeds toward 
another median barrier at more than 60 miles per 
hour. This time, just ahead of the start of the con- 
crete strip is a line of hollow, black plastic cylin- 
ders connected along their sides by metal cables. 
The truck strikes the first cylinder, which imme- 
diately flattens. In four tenths of a second, the 
entire 27-foot column of cylinders compresses to 
just three feet, absorbing the truck's kinetic ener- 
gy and bringing it to a stop, its grill and hood 
slightly crumpled. Instrumentation in the truck 
shows that the occupants would have survived the 
crash with no serious injuries. After the crash, the 
cushion restores itself to its original shape, ready 
for the next wayward vehicle. 

The life-saving line of plastic cylinders is the 
culmination of more than 25 years of research in 
impact mechanics and crash attenuation, work 
that has made John F. Carney III, WPI's provost 
and vice president for academic affairs, an interna- 
tionally known authority on highway safetv. 

Currently chairman of the Transportation 
Research Board's Committee on Roadside Safety 
Features, an arm of the National Academy of Sci- 
ences and Engineering, Carney has conducted 
groundbreaking research in structural mechanics 
and roadside safety with support from the Nation- 
al Science Foundation, the Federal Highway 
Administration, and the departments of trans- 
portation in six states, among other organizations. 
The results have been published in over 140 
research publications, and have been the subject 
of more than 100 presentations at national and 
international meetings and conferences. 

But his greatest accomplishments may well be 
the many lives saved by the safety devices he's 
designed, devices that have come between 
motorists and such deadly hazards as abutments, 
bridge pilings and median barriers. 

Carnev sa\s he didn't set out to devote his 


career to transportation safety. A native of Lowell, 
Mass., he received his bachelor's degree in civil 
engineering from Merrimack College and his mas- 
ter's and Ph.D. from Northwestern University, 
where he was supported by a National Defense 
Education Act Fellowship. He joined the engi- 
neering faculty at the University of Connecticut in 
1966 and for a half decade conducted research in 
vibrations, elasticity and the stability of structures. 

In the early 1970s, UConn's Civil Engineer- 
ing Department got a phone call that changed 
Carney's life. It was from the Connecticut 
Department of Transportation (DOT), which had 
just suffered the loss of two highway maintenance 
workers, killed when a car ran into them as they 
were working alongside an interstate highway. 
The department wanted to find a way to prevent 
such tragedies in the future. With his background 
in structural mechanics, Carney seemed a logical 
choice to tackle the problem. 

"As I started thinking about how to protect 
workers," Carney says, "I got interested in what 
happens to structures when loads are applied to 
them very rapidly — as when a car hits a barrier at 
highway speeds. Structural materials are sensitive 
to the rate at which loads are applied. The charac- 
teristics of steel, for example, change dramatically 
when loads are applied quickly." 

For the Connecticut DOT, Carnev* designed a 
device made of four thin-walled mild steel cylin- 
ders attached to an aluminum plate on one end 
and the back of a highway service truck on the 
other. This truck-mounted attenuator (TMA) was 
designed to travel behind highway crews perform- 
ing mobile operations, such as line painting, or act 
as a shield for crews engaged in temporary road- 
side work. The design was verified in a series of 
crash tests that proved that it could protect both 
road crews and drivers. 

By the mid-1970s, the TMAs were put into 
service on Connecticut highways. "Now, 20 years 
later, Connecticut has about 100 of these in use 
every day," Carney says. 

The success of the truck-mounted attenuator 
led Carney, with support from the Federal High- 
way Administration and the Connecticut DOT, to 
develop similar devices to protect errant motorists 
from roadside hazards. "Until about 1960," Carney 
says, "there was little national interest in highway 
safety. As far as many federal and state agencies 


Forgiving Highway 


The idea was 

to create a 

forgiving train, 

so that in the 

event of a crash, 

the energy of the 

collision would be 

distributed evenly 

the train, instead 

having it 

concentrated in 

the impacting cars. 


were concerned, it the 'nut behind die wheel' was 
stupid enough to drive off the road, any adverse 
consequences were his or her problem. But it was 
about then that Congress became alarmed at the 
rate at which we were killing ourselves on the road 
and began providing research hands to address the 
growing fatality rate." 

As interest in crash protection grew, the fed- 
eral government began promulgating regulations 
that required the effectiveness of roadside safety 
devices to be demonstrated in controlled crash 
tests. Over the years, those regulations have 
expanded dramatically and today run to several 
hundred pages. Crash cushions, for example, must 
pass eight tests using different speeds, different 
vehicles, and different types of crashes (head-on, 
at a slight angle, and tangential). The tests must 
demonstrate that vehicle occupants would not be 
exposed to unsafe conditions in a crash. 

"There are two basic requirements you have 
to meet," Carney says. "They are associated with 
the occupant impact velocity and the subsequent 
ridedown deceleration. If you are driving without 
a seat belt and hit a crash cushion, the vehicle will 
immediately begin to decelerate, but you will keep 

moving at your pre-impact speed until you hit the 
vehicle interior. If the velocity at which you hit is 
too high, there's a high probability that you'll be 
seriously injured or killed. Current regulations 
limit the occupant impact velocity to no more 
than 12 meters per second. 

"Once you've hit the interior, you decelerate 
with the vehicle. If that deceleration is too severe, 
you'll die. Your brain is swimming in a fluid to 
protect it from sudden acceleration and decelera- 
tion, and it can withstand high G forces for short 
periods of time. In fact, the regulations allow an 
average 10 millisecond deceleration of 20 Gs, 
which is very high — much higher than what astro- 
nauts experience. In addition to these require- 
ments, the regulations specify that the passenger 
compartment can not be crushed and that the 
vehicle may not roll over." 

The first stationary crash cushion Carney 
developed for the Connecticut DOT was designed 
to protect vehicles from crashing into bridge piers 
or wide concrete barriers at exit ramps. Like the 
truck-mounted attenuator, it used steel cylinders 
that collapsed laterally on impact, absorbing the 

kinetic energy of a wayward car. Steel cross mem- 
bers were attached to the insides of the cylinders 
to stiffen them when the cushion was struck near 
the back or at an oblique angle, so as to safely redi- 
rect the vehicle. The 26-foot long, 12 -foot-wide 
cushion employed 14 cylinders of various sizes 
arranged in the shape of an arrowhead. 

For his next project, Carney tackled the grow- 
ing problem of unprotected highway median bar- 
riers. "These barriers, sometimes called the con- 
crete safety shape or New Jersey Barriers, are 
popular because they don't require any mainte- 
nance," Carney says. "But you have to terminate a 
run of median barrier at some point, and the blunt 
end is a severe hazard." Carney modified his wide 
highway cushion and produced an attenuator that 
uses a single line of steel cylinders of various 

Carney's early crash cushion designs have 
been used by state transportation departments 
around the country and overseas. In addition to 
being highly effective at saving lives and reducing 
injuries, they're relatively easy and inexpensive to 
build. But they do have an important disadvan- 
tage: they can be used just once. "Once a cushion 

is hit, it's out of commission," Carney says. 
"Often, it will sit for days, weeks — even months 
before it's replaced. A crash cushion that has not 
been refurbished won't work, and that's bad news 
for the errant motorist and a severe legal exposure 
for the agency responsible for the device." 

For his next generation of crash cushions, 
Carney knew he would have to find a material that 
would provide the same level of protection as mild 
steel, but that was also capable of springing quick- 
ly back into shape. By this time, he was a professor 
of civil and environmental engineering at Vander- 
bilt University (where he would serve as associate 
dean for graduate affairs and, later, associate dean 
for research and graduate affairs). One day, during 
a meeting at the Tennessee Department of Trans- 
portation, he got a tantalizing lead. 

"The head of maintenance for the state was 
talking about problems they were having with 
corrosion in submerged metal drainage pipes," he 
says. "Instead of replacing the pipes, they were 
lining them with high-molecular-weight, high- 
density polyethylene tubing. The intriguing thing 
was that these were pre-formed cylinders made in 


Summer 1997 

ii i in iiiiimn in! 

exactly the right diameters tor crash cushions. 
Also, the material is relatively inexpensive — com- 
parable in cost to that of steel cylinders." 

Since nobody had ever considered using poly- 
ethylene pipes to dissipate energy, little was 
known about their deformation characteristics. To 
learn more, Carney obtained some small-diameter 
pipes and conducted preliminary lab tests. The 
encouraging results convinced him to apply tor a 
grant from the federal Strategic 1 lighway 
Research Program, which funded the project after 
the State of Washington agreed to pay half of the 
costs. Additional small-scale tests demonstrated 
that the polyethylene pipes had the characteristics 
Carney sought for his reusable crash cushions. 

With these results in hand, he obtained funding 
from a consortium of states to develop a working 
device. Rather than moving on immediately to an 
expensive full-scale crash-testing program, Carney 
decided to refine his design through computer sim- 
ulations using the tools of finite element analysis. 

"A typical crash test at one of the few facilities 
in the U.S. capable of conducting them can cost 
$15,000 to $20,000," he says. "Using the standard 
trial-and-error approach, you may end up run- 


ning 50 to 75 tests — at a cost that can easily 
exceed $1 million — to get a design that works, if 
you ever do, that is. 

"Now, with sophisticated computer software 
and workstations, you can eliminate most of the 
trial and error and develop a design that is likely 
to pass the required eight tests the first time out. 
We did many scale model experiments along with 
the finite element simulations. When we were 
finally ready for full-scale crash tests, we were able 
to pass all eight tests with very few failures." 

The finite element techniques Carney used to 
model crash cushions have proven useful in anoth- 
er transportation safety project. In 1980, while on 
a sabbatical leave at Cambridge University, he 
worked with a colleague who later established the 
British Advanced Railroad Research Centre with 
funding from British Rail. Knowing of Carney's 
success with roadside crash cushions, he asked 
him if would be interested in working on a British 
Rail initiative to develop safer passenger trains. 

Carney began studying the mechanics of rail 
crashes and found that the design of passenger 
coaches was a major contributor to the injuries 

and dot lis suffered in rail accidents. "Rail stock 
throughout the world tends to be built with a very 
rigid chassis," he says, "so the cars don't dissipate 
energy well. In the worst accidents, cars override 
their neighbors and break right through the skm 
ot the other cars." 

To prevent that kind of accident, Carney pro- 
posed the revolutionary idea ot building sacrificial 
crush /.ones into the ends ot rail cars. Using finite 
element analyses, he and his colleagues developed 
a variety of crush /one configurations and deter- 
mined that a zone roughly 3 feet long at either 
end ot the car can significantly reduce tatalities in 
rail accidents. "The idea was to create a forgiving 
train," Carney says, "so that in the event of a 
crash, the energy of the collision would be distrib- 
uted evenly throughout the train, instead having it 
concentrated in the impacting cars." 

British Rail recently spent 1.5 million pounds 
(about Si million) to organize and conducl .i 
full-scale crash test program that verified the 
results of the computer models. The concept has 
yet to find its way into actual rail cars, Carney 
says. Still, he is hopeful that it will be employed 
in new generations of rail coaches in Europe and 

Forgiving Highway 

the United States. 

In his most recent research, Carney, who 
joined the WPI faculty in 1996, has revisited the 
problem that first brought him into the field of 
highway safety: the truck-mounted attenuator. 
With funding from the federal government and a 
consortium of state departments of transportation, 
he has developed a reusable version of the cushion 
he created for the state of Connecticut in the 
1970s. Like his reusable crash cushions, the new 
TA1A is made from polyethylene. 

Thanks to his research and the work of many 
other researchers, entrepreneurs and transporta- 
tion agencies, Carney says the state of American 
roadsides have changed dramatically since he first 
began designing crash cushions. 

"The United States now leads the world in 
highway safety," he says. "Our highways have nev- 
er been safer. But there is still much to be done. 
Despite the strides we've made, safety is still 
largely an afterthought in highway design. That's 
a battle we've been fighting for decades. It might 
well make a good subject for faculty research and 
student projects right here at WPI." ■ 

This sequence 
from a crash test 
of Carney's new 
reusable line of 
crash cushions 
shows how the 
plastic cylinders 
compress to absorb 
the energy of an 
errant vehicle 
(first two frames), 
then restore 
themselves to 
their original 
shape, ready for 
the next crash. 



By Allis 

hen Allan E. Johannesen '68 go 
WPI in 1964, the only compute 
he'd ever seen was in the movies. 
But when he took a mandatory ROTC course — 
a one-week introduction to computers — he can 
face-to-face with an IBM 1620. It changed his life 
■ was low to the ground and had a large, 
j console with a dial on it," he recalls. 
"It had a lot of lights." It also had 20,000 digits 
(10,000 characters) of memory, with punch-card 
input and output. He still remembers the instruc- 

programs could take up to three days using punc 
cards, so Johannesen suggested the center run ar 
11 -aluati^mrogram he'd written and already 
P§em (in test mode, he was quick to ; 
Three days' work shrunk to the three minutes 
needed to identify the problem, and his boss knew 
he'd made the right decision. 

Today, Johannesen is managing senior U 
systems administrator, but for many years he 
the manager of academic time-sharing, a title he 
insists still describes his job quite well. With the 

input ana output, rie still remembers tne instruc- insists still describes his job quite well. With the 

tions to add (type in 2 1), subtract (12), multip lv g^ university's network of UNIX computers, he says, 

(13) and divide (19). ^ "we're still time-sharing." 

That first contact occurred in the basement of "WPI is nearly unique in that we don't p 

tton Hall (the computer was then the proper- restrictions on students' use of the system," s 

ty of the Mathematical Sciences Department). For Jim Jackson, director of the College Computer 

Johannesen, it proved the beginning of a lifelong 
fascination with computers, as well as a more than 
30-year career at WPI. 

The first undergraduate employee in the uni- 
versity's computer center, Johannesen was a 
mechanical engineering major (the Computer Sci- 
ence Department would not be established until a 
year after his graduation). Soon after he was hired 
in 1965, he began exploring the 1620's operating 
system disk and was amazed by the number of s 
data errors he found. He knew it would crash 
someday, and, sure enough, it did. Reloading the 

Center (CCC). "It's a shared^ietwork for all. If 
you need more space, you go see Al." 

On the flip side, if you abuse the system, 
Johannesen is its policeman, sifting through alias- 
es, breaking through encryption to find memory- 
wasting perpetrators. "We have three to four 
thousand users on our system," notes Jackson, "all 
at varying levels of competence and devilishness, 
trying to see what they can sneak by." 

And if they're caught, they have to go see Al. 
"Students line up at his doorway as if it's a confes- 

(Continued on next page) 


"Please, Sir, 

I Want Some More..." 


he experience of facing Johannesen hasn't 
changed much in 25 years, although the 
spare hut modern office he works in today 
m Fuller Laboratories is a pleasant change from 
the pale green (and later, bright orange) cinder- 
block-walled space he occupied lor nearly two 
decades in the basement of Gordon Library. 
Students who want more "quota," or disk 
space, have to make their case in person. Over the 
years, the memory allocated to students has risen 
exponentially, keeping pace with the growth in 
the capacity of the university's computer 
resources, but students still rind the need for 
more. Each day, several stand before Johannesen's 
desk, some visibly shaking, as he takes up to half 
an hour to scrutinize their files for games or 
spurious memory use. 

"You could tell by their foot 
steps that they wanted more 
disk space," says Eric Hahn 
'80, now a senior vice 

An Accidental Career 


ohannesen describes his career as a series 
of accidents, starting back in high school. 

"You could tell 
by their footsteps that 
[the students] wanted more 
disk space. It was a personal 
thing, and a pretty traumatic 
experience " 
—Eric Hahn '80 

president for Netscape 
Corp., who worked 
at the desk next to 
Johannesen's while 
he was an undergrad- 
uate. "It was a per- 
sonal thing, and a pret- 
ty traumatic experience. 

"He was universally 
feared," says Greg Scott '77, now 
president of his own software company, Scott 
Software Systems Inc., who was once a student 
employee in the computer center. "You wouldn't 
want to cross him." Or cross the street in front of 
him. Some students would even move to the 
opposite sidewalk to avoid crossing his path, Scott 

Despite Johannesen's gruff reputation, Hahn 
says, "there was a twinkle in his heart. He'd go to 
the ends of the earth for people if they really 
needed that disk space or other help." Notes 
Scott, "I recall him once spending an entire day at 
a whiteboard helping a student with his MQP." 

"He really enjoys helping people solve their 
problems through his programming," says Helen 
Sinister, head of Gordon Library, where Johan- 
nesen enabled the distribution of the electronic 
card catalog over the campus network in 1989, 
making it available through desktop terminals 
across WPI's campus. 

"Since that time," she adds, "he has continued 
to work with the library and has created a whole 
menu of electronic services of great value to the 
entire YYTI community. Most recently, he assisted 
the library in implementing a completely new 
library system." 

While at Daniel 1 land I Iigh in Madison, 
Conn., he ended up in a typing course- when he 
couldn't get into another course he wanted to 
take. It turned out to be one of his best courses in 
high school, which astonished him. But, he says, 
"it's what I rely on most days." 

I lis arrival at WPI's computer center was 
somewhat accidental, as well. After graduating in 
1968, Johannesen had a job lined up with IBM to 
work on the operating system for the company's 
360 computer. But a month before graduation, he 
got a draft notice from the U.S. Army. He spent 
the next two months in basic training and then 20 
months at Fort Bliss in El Paso, 

Texas, where they were replac- 
ing their IBM 1620 with the 
newer 360. Johannesen 
helped with the conver- 
sion, reprogramming 
and staff training. Pri- 
vate Johannesen became 
a Specialist 5, the tech- 
nical equivalent of a 
sergeant, he says, only 
he was "a commander of 
machines, not men." 
By 1970, the country was in 
recession, and the IBM job was 
gone. Johannesen's WPI roommate, 
Lain Johnson '68, had tried the IBM career 
track himself and landed back at WPI's computer 
center. He suggested they recruit AJ. Johannesen 
decided to return to WPI for a computer science 
degree, and then face the real world. "I still 
haven't done it," he says with a wry grin. He last- 
ed a year in the master's program and found he- 
enjoyed working more than studying. For him, 
"a resume was better than a degree." 

"From day one, we knew we had two gems 
with AJ and Larry," says Jackson, who was manag- 
er of operations at the time. "We kept giving Al 
more and more, and he took on more and more." 

During Johannesen's senior year, in 1967, 
WPI had established the Worcester Area 
College Computation Center (WACCC, pro- 
nounced "whack"), to provide computer services 
to a number of colleges in Worcester, including 
Clark University. Thanks to a grant from the 
National Science Foundation, the center was 
able to purchase an IBM 360/30, which had a 
whopping 64K of RAM (random access memo- 
ry), about the same amount personal computers 
would have 15 years later. 

"It was immensely expensive," says Johan- 
nesen, "and it looked like a locomotive." Ten feet 
long, six feet high and about three feet wide, it 
would fill one side of his current office. People 
from area schools would bring their punch cards 



Al Johannesen had 
only seen computers 
in the movies before 
he encountered the 
Mathematics Depart- 
ments IBM 1620, 
above, left, as a WPI 
student. When he 
returned to WPI after 
service in the Army, 
he found that the 
college had upgraded 
to the IBM 360 (in 
center of photo at 
right), which had 64K 
of RAM. He joined the 
staff of WPI s com- 
puter center and 
began a career man- 
aging WPI's academic 
computers that has 
now lasted more than 
three decades. 

to WPI to run them through the IBM. Clark later 
obtained a remote card reader and printer, which 
enabled them to communicate with the computer 
over the phone lines. 

In nine months, WACCC outgrew the 360. 
For its next machine, it chose the UNWAC 
(RCA) Spectra 70/46G, just as RCA was poised to 
become a giant in the computer industry. Two 
years later, RCA pulled out of the computer busi- 
ness, and WPI bought its first Digital Equipment 
Corp. machine, the PDP-10. Its successor, the 
DECsystem-10, "became Al's machine," says 
Jackson. "Al got to make so many modifications 
to the operating software, we were accused of 
making it the WPI-DEC-10. 

And then came the WPI-DEC-20, a comput- 
er that served up to 50 users at a time with a 
processor slower than the Intel 286, the chip that 
drove IBM-compatible computers a decade ago. 
"With limited resources, we modified every- 
thing," says Scott, who worked at WACCC when 
WPI's computer network consisted of the DEC- 
10 and three disk drives (which together had 
about 80 megabytes of space). "We were on con- 
stant patrol for disk space." 

Adds Johannesen, the machine's main 
memory topped out at 163,840 words. "And that 
was core memory, prior to the invention of 
chips. Every bit of memory was a pinhead-sized 
doughnut of magnetic material with two wires 
threaded through the hole. With 163,840 words 
of memory, each with 38 bits (36 data bits and 
two parity bits), that's 6.2 million doughnuts. 
No wonder that thing was so big and used so 
much power!" 

Life in the Romper Room 

The hub of WACCC activities was the base- 
ment of Gordon Library — "the Romper 
Room," Jackson calls it. "For almost 20 
years, it was really home for us." 

The 1970s was "a good era," Johannesen says 
with characteristic understatement. He and a 
number of student employees (and hangers-on) 
worked to modify the center's Digital computers 
to suit WPI's needs (see related story, page 20). 
The WACCC staff soon discovered they could 
make needed changes faster and more effectively 
than could Digital, itself. 

So they began to edit the software. They 
found they could do some of their work while the 
computer was running. "It was a scary time," 
recalls Johannesen. "That was the system we all 
relied on." 

"You had to prove yourself to be a good 
hacker before you could work there," Scott says. 
A good hacker, he explains, produced a solution 
to a problem that was "elegantly done, with min- 
imal load on the computer — work that others 
would want to study." Most of the work had to 
be done late on Saturday nights, when they could 
take down the system. Another slow period was 
during Intersession (the winter break between 
Terms B and C). "That was a time for major 
hacks," he says. 

Scott ostensibly worked for WACCC about 
10 hours a week, but typical of his group of 
friends, he'd be there "whenever I wasn't in class, 
in The Pub or sleeping." 

"These were bright, hardworking, intelligent 
kids," says Johannesen. "They had a good time 
working and contributing to the redesign of the 
system and the result was a more productive, 
effective system that was better, with features we 
hadn't had before." They also postponed WPI's 
next computer purchase and secured its position 
as a beta test site for Digital, a distinction WPI 
continues to enjoy today. "Any one of them 
would say they got a good return," he adds. 
"They got their hands into that computer, 
learned how it worked in ways they wouldn't 
learn in a classroom." 

Hahn agrees. "Al taught me the notion of 
real-world pragmatism," he says. "As an under- 


Summer 1997 


From its early IBM 
machines, WPI moved 
on to an RCA Spectra, 
far left, before getting 
its first Digital Equip- 
ment system (that's Jim 
Jackson, now director 
of the College Computer 
Center). A constant 
through Johannesen's 
career has been a 
stream of students 
driven to learn all they 
could about WPI's com- 
puters. For many years, 
their haunt — night and 
day — was the lower level 
of Gordon Library, left, 
where the computers 
and terminals resided. 

graduate, you learn theory, not practice. Al want- 
ed to make sure the system ran fast, was easy to 
use, and had the right documentation. He's some- 
thing of a perfectionist." 

Johannesen also shared with Hahn the per- 
sonal joy he took in developing software. "I was an 
apprentice to a master in the craft," I lahn says. 

Parsimonious Porsche Owner 

Another source of joy in Johannesen's life 
has been exotic cars. "Other than WPI's 
computers, cars have been his obsession," 
says Scott. Yet, as with his computers, he strives 
to use his vehicles in the most efficient and frugal 
manner. With some reluctance, Johannesen 
admits that two years ago, he bought a "very 
used" '87 Porsche 91 1 Carrera Cabriolet. He 
belongs to the Porsche Club of New England, 
"but only for the discounts." He says he often car- 
pools or bikes the eight miles to work from his 
home in Rochdale to save wear and tear on his 
only car. 

While owning a Porsche was always his 
dream, in the past he's had (in succession) a Volk- 
swagen beetle, a 1973 BMW 20()2tii, a 1979 red 
Chevy pick-up truck, a 1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 
and a 5 -liter Mustang. He's also got a motorcycle 
"rusting away" in his garage. Almost as an aside, 
he mentions that he once rode it to Key West and 
back, and later, halfway across Canada. As warm 
weather approaches, "I still get that twinge and I 
think, i should go to work on that bike,'" he says. 
"But then again, I do have a convertible." 

Over the years, Johannesen has done many 
projects for WPI that went far beyond his job 
description. His work on the library card catalog 
is one example. Another is the Alumni Gateway, 
a Web-based alumni information service he built 
tor the WPI Alumni Association. According to 
Sharon Davis, former director of Alumni Affairs, 
and now major gifts officer, his work on that pro- 
ject was voluntary and "incredibly responsive." 

She explained to him one da\ the problems 
WPI had had with a previous system, and Johan- 
nesen just nodded and said, "Let me think about 
this." About a week later, he told her he had 
"something up on the system; take a look." 1 le 
had created the prototype Web page that would 
let alumni post class notes, update their entries 
in the Alumni Directory, list job openings, and 
e-mail friends and colleagues through a WPI 

"Anytime I or another user suggested other 
things that might be useful on the gateway," says 
Davis, "Al would have the same general response: 
'Let me think about it,' and a few days later, 'I've 
got something up, see what you think.'" 

The Alumni Gateway officially "opened" in 
May 1996 and since then has had more than 
18,000 visits from alumni. Johannesen continues 
to add new features regularly that expand its use- 
fulness. A stack of e-mail generated by alumni 
through the gateway stands at least two feet high 
in the Alumni Office, representing more written 
alumni contacts than Davis had received in all ot 
her previous seven years on the job. 

"It's the most dynamic communications vehi- 
cle we've ever had," she says. "Al has made it as 
easy as humanly possible. He's a very sophisti- 
cated, savvy systems guy." 

And WPI is fortunate to have kept him so 
long. Why has he stayed? For the simple reason 
that he likes what he does, he says. 

"I biew I could make more in the private 
sector, but I like the job," says Johannesen. Over 
the years, a number of WPI alumni who've gone 
on to become senior managers — or founders — 
of successful companies from New York to Cali- 
fornia have tried to lure him away, but they've 
always heard the same response. 

"I'm pretty happy where I am," he says. 
"There's not a whole lot I would change." 

— Chisolm is a freelance writer living in I I orcester, 
whose articles appear frequently in the Journal. 

WPI Journal 




U .mill 

31 i in 

I! 1111 


0* >> 










" " i- 




Age of 


Bu Joon Killough-Miller 
Illustrations by Corlo Ventresco. 




.. , - -g 






In the 1970s, a small band of 
UUPI students got turned on by 
something new and revolution- 
ary and went underground. 
There, these zealots spent 
huge amounts of time, out oP 
the public eye, pursuing their 
radical interests. But these 
were not your typical revolu- 
tionaries. The "underground" 
they practically lived in was 
the windowless bottom Ploor oP 
Gordon Library, home then to 
WFICCC, the Worcester Area 
College Computational Center, 
find the novelty to which they 
were irresistibly drawn was 
the world oP mainPrame com- 
puters — including the Digital 
Equipment Corp. PDP-10, on 
which many oP these early 
hackers cut their computing 


ut don't mistake these hackers for "crackers," the modern-day 
miscreants who worm their way into computers, hoping for a 

crack in the program code that will let them commit evil deeds. 
Nothing angers a true hacker more than being contused with these 
cybercriminals. Back in the "golden age of hacking," the passion for 
programming was more innocent. 

Devotees of the PDP-10 swallowed its TOPS- 10 instruction set 
whole, and spent every tree moment (and often entire nights and 
weekends) clustered around a console. I lacker communities were 
evoking at colleges across the country and developing a distinctive jar- 
gon and culture that was transmitted over ARPANKT, the predecessor 
of the Internet. Although WPI was not connected to this early net- 
work, the campus was still a reputable stronghold of hacker culture in 
the 70s, supporting a cast of eccentric characters who had their own 
heroes (,u\{\ anti-heroes), a local dialect, and even epic literature. 

"We were a self-respecting crew — a complete community on 
our own," says Andy Tannenbaum 78, a system architect with Cable- 
Soft Corporation in Burlington, Vt., who manages the "WPI Hackers 
of the 70s" site on the World Wide Web ( 
hacker70s.html). "We had something the bigger schools didn't. 
At WPI, undergraduates had free, unlimited access to time-sharing. 
Thai was unheard of at most schools. It made us free to explore and 
experiment, regardless of our course of study." 

In fact, most of the exploration went on outside of courses in com- 
puter science, which hackers studied for background, but rarely as a 
major. "You learned as much sitting around the table in the cafeteria 
as you did in classes," Tannenbaum recalls. "It was like ancient Greek 
times, when Socrates would talk and his disciples would sit and listen, 
only Socrates was Greg Walsh." Walsh, a member of the Class of 
1976, is a founding member of Epiphany Marketing Software in 
Mountain View, Calif. He is remembered as a quiet but talented engi- 
neer who had a genius for hacking everything he touched, from tele- 
phones to car transmissions. It was an accepting, unselfish community, 
with mentors like Rich Rupp 78, now an executive with Donnelley 
Enterprise Solutions Inc., who wrote a program called "Lesson" to 
initiate younger hackers in the 
mysteries of TOPS- 10. 

Legends of the 
elders live on in the 
memories of other 
hackers, and now also on the 
World Wide Web, where 
hacker ballads, poems and sto- 
ries (often with cross-references 
and glossaries) share an interna- 
tional audience. Hacker versions 
of popular songs and Christmas 
carols written at WPI by Rich 
Holmes 77, AJ Corda 77 
and David Kinder 77 have 
traveled around the 
world. Within minutes 
of a request from the 
Journal, Holmes, 

Opposite, clockwise from top left, with memorabilia from the DEC 10. are 
Andy Tannenbaum 78, Harley Privitera '76, Al Johannesen '68 and Greg 
Walsh '76. Walsh, a hacker's hacker, was a mentor to many students 
(above). "It was like ancient Greek times, when Socrates would talk and his 
disciples would listen. Only Socrates was Greg Walsh." 




n common prank 

was to leave a bit 

of graffiti, altering 

a corporation's 

welcome screen in 

some silly way. 

The hackers looked 

on this as providing 

a free service — 

warning system 

managers to 

improve security. 

now a graduate student at the University of Mary- 
land, was able to locate and download some 
favorites from a web site in Germany, including 
"Magtapes Roasting on a Open Fire," "Away in 
QMANGR," and "The Twelve Days of Uptime." 
The trio's epic work, "The Adventures of the 
Lone Perkins," captures the spirit of the times in a 
takeoff on the old "Lone Ranger" radio drama. 
"Lone Perkins" refers to Ed Perkins '72, a former 
manager of operations at WACCC who is now a 
software engineer with Integrated Measurement 
Systems Inc. in Beaverton, Ore. Al Johannesen '68 
also appears as "Joe Hansen." Johannesen, who 
remains at WPI as Managing Senior UNIX Sys- 
tem Administrator, is considered a "spiritual 
father" by several generations of hackers who 
worked under him at WACCC (see story, page 
16). Once an intimidating authority figure who 
doled out additional disk allocation only to 
deserving students, he now holds the family 
together by hosting a weekly hacker happy hour 
called WACCC Night. 

The arch villain of the Lone Perkins saga was 
Marc Ramsey, or "The Great Ramsey." Ramsey, 
who was actually expelled from WPI as a fresh- 
man (temporarily, it turns out) tor overzealous 
hacking that crossed the border into cracking, is 
quick to point out that the Lone Perkins story is 
much embellished, and that 
certain events and characters 
have been compounded 
for dramatic effect. The 
dissent of the 1970s has 
mellowed into friendship. 
Ramsey, now vice pres- 
ident of Vite Inc. in 
Stanford, Calif., 
a startup software 
firm developing 
project manage- 
ment systems, 
proudly posts all 
eight episodes of 
"Lone Perkins" 
on his web site 

(, and joins the 
hackers for WACCC Night when business brings 
him to the East Coast. 

Although hacking, by definition, means going 
beyond the established order, a hacker ethic of 
integrity and cooperation prevailed in the 1970s, 
according to Megan Gentry '79, now a senior 
software engineer for Digital Equipment Corpo- 
ration, where she worked during her last two years 
at WPI as a DECsystem-10 operator. "Many peo- 
ple tried to subvert the protections on the system 

in order to log out over quota [students were allo- 
cated a measly 100 blocks of disk space]," she 
recalls. "Some succeeded, including myself. I like 
to think that those who typified the hacker ethic 
were the ones who reported how they did it, so 
that it could be corrected." [WPI was, at that 
time, a test site for Digital's TOPS- 10 operating- 

This didn't stop hackers from breaking into 
computers at other colleges and corporations in 
nondestructive ways. A common prank was to 
leave a bit of graffiti — for example, altering a 
corporation's welcome screen in some silly way. 
The hackers looked on this as providing a free 
service — warning system managers to improve 

"The fun thing for us wasn't so much break- 
ing in, but figuring out cool, new ways to break 
in," says Tannenbaum. "If you break in with 
stolen passwords, without understanding how 
you did it. ..that's sort of like filling in a crossword 
puzzle when you have the answers in front of 
you, or picking a lock with a key that someone 
copied for you." Tannenbaum contends that this 
lock-picking was actually good career prepara- 
tion — especially for those who now write security 

The WACCC denizens took time to play, but 
even everyday games like hide-and-seek involved 
computers. A small hacker could hide inside the 
drum cabinet of the RCA Spectra, or in the myste- 
rious "WACCC hole." Greg Scott admits that he 
rigged the game with an impromptu program that 
illuminated the PDP-10's banks of status lights 
when it was his turn to seek, and darkened the 
room as much as possible when it was his turn to 
hide. Other pastimes included trying to spell out 
derogatory messages on the status light display, 
replacing the notice.txt (daily messages) file with 
something spicier, and of course, trying to seize 
control of the system through any means possible. 
Standard punishment for getting caught was being 
"canned" — having your user account canceled. 

Because computer courses were not required, 
and computer literacy wasn't a prerequisite for 
anything in the early 1970s, those who played 
with computers did it for love, not riches. "You 
weren't going to make your million in program- 
ming in those days," Tannenbaum laughs. "We 
hackers were pretty low on the engineering totem 
pole. Of course, every last one of those engineers 
in 'respectable' fields ended up becoming a slave 
to computers, so we hackers got the last laugh!" 

Was it really the golden age? Every group 
that passes though WPI feels nostalgia for the 
good old days, but Johannesen, a veteran of three 
decades of change, says there are some factors that 
made the hacker's work in the 1970s more rigor- 
ous and more rewarding. 

"Today's computer software is distributed on 
CDs, in an unchangeable binary form. Dealing 


SUMMER 1997 


with the system is just a matter of pointing a 
mouse and clicking on a fixed list of options. II 
something goes wrong, all you can do is scratch 
your head," he says. But in the days of the PDP- 
10, Digital also distributed the source code for its 
software, which meant that programs could he- 
al te red. 

Under Johannesen, a corps of work-study 
students tinkered with the campus's central acad- 
emic and research computer — a heady rcsponsi- 
hilitv for mere students. Their modifications 
allowed YVPI to support its entire student body 
and much of its staff — up to 50 users at a time- 
on the modest capacity of a single PDP-10. "We 
ran the PDP-10 for eight years, a ridiculously 
long time by today's standards," Johannesen says. 
"By the time that computer was removed from 
WPI, mavhc as much as 50 percent of the soft- 
ware had heen customized." He adds that the 
students were working directly in assembly lan- 
guage, a challenge that is now pretty much 
extinct. These days, most programmers work in 
higher-level languages, such as C. 

As the computer age evolves, affordable 
hardware with ample memory makes life easier 
for programmers and users. But in the 1970s, the 
high cost of core memory demanded tight pro- 
gramming, in which every character counts. "Back 
then," recalls Tannenbaum, "if a computer pro- 
gram could he modified to run faster, thus making 
it cheaper to 
use, it didn't 
really matter 
how it treated 
the person." 
were expend- 
able — cheap 
labor, indefa- 
tigable John 
I lenrvs, who 
worked with 
their hands, 
so to speak. 

Eric I lahn 'SO, known as a crackerjack pro- 
grammer and entrepreneur even in his student 
days, agrees. "It was a different era," says I lahn, 
who in 1995 sold his successful software company, 
Collabra Software Inc., to Netscape Communica- 
tions Inc., where he is now senior vice president 
for enterprise technologies. "The tools were fat- 
more crude and esoteric. Modern PC software is 
neat, very neat — hut also quite antiseptic." Some 
hackers of the '70s generation are encouraged by 
the development of the Web, where they find 
innovation, after a lackluster period of uninspiring 
computing. The Web also plays an important role 
in keeping alive hacker history and culture, and in 
sustaining the friendships forged at WACCC two 
decades ago. 

"It was our software fraternity," says Tannen- 
baum, who points out that the group's loyalty has 
endured without any official organization or cam- 
pus affiliation. More than 100 people from all over 
the country flocked to Worcester for a hacker 
reunion held at the Mandarin Room of the Shera- 
ton-Lincoln Inn in 1981. These days, the locals- 
man) of whom now staff WPI's College Computer 
Center in Fuller Labs — still gather with Johan- 
nesen on WACCC Night at watering holes around 
Worcester County. Those who have migrated to 
the Silicon Valley and other parts of the world 
drop by on occasion, to tip a brew with comrades 
in memory of the golden age of hacking at WPI. 

€ven everyday 
gomes like hide- 
and-seek involved 
computers, fl small 
hacker could hide 
inside the drum 
cabinet of the 
RCfi Spectra, or 
in the mysterious 
WfKCC hole." 


WPI Journal 














O A'v V U Vli 

ExpLOHEt Bug 

L S'VO l\ V 


At 10:10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, 
1997, WPI student Paul Greene clicked 
his mouse and catapulted himself into 
Microsoft- and computer-history. "All 
I wanted to do was connect to my Web page," 
says Greene, a 28-year-old senior majoring in 
electrical engineering. "Instead, I discovered a 
bug in Microsoft's Internet Explorer software 
that could allow anyone to build a booby trap 
into a Web page." 

What Greene discovered was a flaw that cre- 
ated a serious security breech in one of the most 
widely used Web browsers — software applications 
that enable computer users to harvest the vast 
bounty of information and multimedia content 
available through the World Wide Web. The bug 
could enable unethical Web designers to reach 
into your computer from across the miles and 
retrieve information, delete files and generally 
wreak havoc — all without your being aware, until 
it was too late. It was like giving potential burglars 
a key to your front door. 

Greene never expected his discovery to 
become big news. But within four days, he and his 
roommates had been profiled by countless news- 
papers and trade journals in the U.S. and Canada, 
had been interviewed on national television news 
programs, and had seen their own site on the 
World Wide Web accessed over 100,000 times 
(that number would grow more than sevenfold 
within two months). 

Things began innocently enough. "I was 
•working on my IQP," Greene says. "It was an 
evaluation of the freshman orientation program 
that WPI developed for the Class of 2000. There 
were four of us on the project team, all working 
on different parts of our report. Sharing a floppy 
disk wasn't practical, and since we'd all had expe- 
rience developing Web pages, we decided to cre- 
ate a page where we could post our files for every- 
one to see and edit." 

Greene had stored his files in a directory [or 
folder] on his computer. Rather than copying the 
whole folder onto the Web page he was sharing 
with his project team, he created a shortcut to 
the folder and posted that. "A shortcut is a con- 
venient feature in Microsoft's Windows 95," 
Greene says. "It's just a tiny file that points to a 
big one. They're simple to make, and you can 
put them anywhere on your system where you 
can access a file." 

Greene's shortcut was not to a file, but to a 
directory full of files. Ordinarily, ii you create a 
shortcut to a folder and then click on it, Windows 
95 will launch the program Windows Explorer, 
which will then open the folder and display its 
contents. But Web pages are not supposed to be 
able to run programs on your computer, at least 
not without first securing your permission. When 
he clicked on the shortcut he'd placed on the Web 
page using his browser, Microsoft's Internet 
Explorer, Greene fully expected the browser to 
warn him that the Web page was about to take 
undue liberties with his computer. But it didn't. 
"When I clicked on it, much to my surprise, Win- 
dows Explorer started, and listed all the files I'd 
put there. 

"I began experimenting. I made a shortcut to 
the Solitaire card game that comes with Windows, 
put the shortcut on my Web page, clicked on it, 
and, sure enough, the Solitaire game actually 
started. At this point, I knew I'd found something 
unusual. I'd never heard of anything like this. My 
first thought was, 'Could I possibly be the only 
one in the world to have discovered this flaw?'" 

It turns out he was. "I still can't believe it," 
he says. "Companies run their products through 
rigorous tests before they are marketed. I think 
that the reason this flaw was not caught is that 
Microsoft never checked it out at this basic level. 
What I did was something anyone could do inad- 
vertently. The difference is that I recognized it as 
a major security threat." 

What Greene had discovered was a flaw in 
Microsoft's browser, which works widi the Win- 
dows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. It 
is also the browser used by millions of subscribers 
to America Online. The bug could allow a Web 
site operator to secretly run programs, delete 
files, copy passwords and software — even transfer 
money — on someone else's computer, and damage 
software stored on a hard drive. 

To accomplish all this, the site operator would 
make use of standard programs that come pack- 
aged with Windows, including programs that can 
create, edit and delete information, files that con- 
tain information your computer needs to operate 
properly, and directories where popular programs 
like Microsoft Word store documents you create. 
By using a Windows Internet shortcut file (known 
as a "url file") rather than a standard shortcut file 
(a "Ink file"), a Web page designer wouldn't even 





Paul Greene, center, 

with roommates 

Brian Morin, left, and 

Geoffrey Elliott not 

long after news of the 

Internet Explorer bug 

hit the national media. 

have to know the exact location ot those programs 
and files, since a .url file can hunt them down. To 
make matters worse, designers can use a program- 
ming language called Java and a Web publishing 
tool known as the META refresh tag in combina- 
tion with shortcuts to execute a sequence of com- 
mands and to launch a shortcut without the user 
having to do anything. 

The bug represented a serious security risk. It 
affected only users of the Microsoft browser 
designed for Windows 95 and NT. Users of other 
versions of Windows or other browsers, such as 
Netscape Communications Corp's Navigator, were 
not affected. Still, with 45 million users of the 
affected versions of Internet Explorer, the flaw had 
the potential to cause problems on a large scale. 
The moment he realized what he'd found, 
Greene began searching security Web sites to see 
if anyone else had discovered the flaw. "By 10:30, 
when I wasn't able to find anything that even 
resembled what I had discovered, I was on pins 
and needles," he says. "I called in my roommates, 
who are both computer science majors." 

Elliott, 22, of Ver- 
non, Vt., is vice 
president and chief 
technology develop- 
er tor Harvest 
Webmasters Inc., a 
Internet service 
company. Brian 
Morin, 20, of 
Nashua, N.H., 
writes Web server 
software in his spare 
time — just for the fun of it. "They were amazed," 
Greene says. "We began brainstorming about 
what could be done with this bug. I could have 
run programs on the computer of anyone who 
visited my Web page." 

The students stayed up until 4 a.m. talking 
about the discovery. Later that day they construct- 
ed a Web page with nondestructive demonstrations 
to prove to Microsoft that Greene had indeed dis- 
covered a flaw in the browser. They put it on a 
Web site they maintain called Cybersnot Industries 
(the flaw has since come to be known as the 
"Cybersnot Bug"). 

The page they created included dramatic 
(though safe) demonstrations of the kinds of 
breeches the bug made possible. For example, 
clicking on one link would cause the calendar pro- 
gram to start running on a user's computer. 
Another link created and deleted a directory, and 
then copied a batch file (a file containing a set of 
instructions) onto the user's computer and ran it. 
Among other actions, the file opened the comput- 
er's autoexec.bat and config.sys files (which con- 
tain instructions that help the computer start up 
and run normally). 


Having proved their case, they alerted 
Microsoft with an e-mail message and waited. It 
was now Friday afternoon. "We never heard from 
Microsoft," Greene says. "Either it fell through 
the cracks or they didn't believe I'd found any- 
thing. By Sunday, we realized that this was huge 
and that we could no longer keep quiet about it. 
We decided to go public and tell everyone about 
the flaw. This way, we figured, people could be 
careful until Microsoft created a fix. Up to this 
point, only the three of us, Microsoft, and a cou- 
ple of other WPI students knew what we had." 

The students released the information to a 
couple of trade journals and individuals. Although 
they didn't know it at the time, they had just 
unleashed the first snowflakes of what would 
become an avalanche of publicity. 

On Sunday evening, Bob Trout, a reporter for 
the weekly magazine InfoWorld, e-mailed Greene, 
Morin and Elliott a series of questions. The stu- 
dents also gave Trout permission to quote them. 
"Being completely naive," says Greene, "we fig- 
ured that Trout would write the story, contact 
Microsoft and that would be the end of it. We 
thought only the trade journals would be interest- 
ed. We never thought it would be this big." 

InfoWorld put the story on its Web page and 
the Associated Press picked it up and put it out on 
the national news wire. Almost immediately, the 
bug began making headlines everywhere. The 
storm of publicity started with an on-air interview 
with a Los Angeles radio station on Sunday night. 
"We were so unprepared for all of this," Greene 
says. "The requests for interviews began coming 
in and we said, 'Sure, we'll talk.'" 

The pressure escalated as the evening wore on. 
NBC called to ask the three to go on the air live 
the following morning on MSNBC, the network's 
cable news service. The request surprised Greene 
because the network is partially owned by 
Microsoft, whose oversight they were exposing. 
"We were on Cloud 9," Greene says, "in the midst 
of a natural high. We didn't sleep at all that night." 

Greene managed to get to his 9 a.m. class on 
Monday before a limousine whisked the trio to 
Watertown, Mass. Word about the discovery 
began to get out to the campus community after 
Greene asked his professor for an extension for his 
project and the professor announced it to the class. 

The team spent more than 12 hours on 
Monday giving interviews from a studio in 
Watertown. As a result, the discovery was dis- 
cussed on CNN's Moneyline, the Boston affil- 
iates of CBS and NBC news, the Canadian 
Broadcasting Company, and CNBC. Stories 
also ran in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, 
USA Today, Mass High Tech and other major 
newspapers and magazines. WPI President 
Edward Parrish read the news in a local edition 
of USA Today while on a business trip in Egypt. 

Greene took a break from the media frenzy to 
alert his parents, William and Collette Stowell of 

SUMMER 1997 

Tiverton, R.I., that their son was about to become 
front-page news. "My parents both work, so all I 
could do was leave a message on their answering 
machine," says Greene. "I said, i li, this is Paul. 
I'm going to be famous.' My mother had no idea 
how to reach me and she always assumes the 
worst. She didn't relax until she saw me on the 
evening news." 

Back at WPI, the News Service was swamped 
with requests for interviews, the students' phones 
didn't stop ringing, and the page the students had 
created to announce the bug was absorbing thou- 
sands of "hits." And through all this frenzy, the 
students still hadn't heard from Microsoft. "We 
figured that since MSNBC was partially owned by 
Microsoft, the company would sent a representa- 
tive to talk to us, hut they didn't." 

It turns out that just as they were settling in 
before the cameras and microphones in Water- 
town, Microsoft was trying to contact them by 
phone and e-mail. The company had finally recog- 
nized the seriousness of the flaw and was busy try- 
ing to create a fix for the problem. The first version 
of a patch for Internet Explorer appeared in 
Microsoft's Web site the next day. Before it was 
released, Microsoft asked Greene, Elliott and 
Morin to try it out. More recently, Microsoft 
released newer versions of the program that have 
this and other bug fixes built in (see box, this page). 

After the commotion subsided, the trio was 
invited to visit Microsoft headquarters in Red- 
mond, Wash., to discuss the possibility of doing 
internships for the company'. Elliot and Morin 
worked for the company this summer, while 
Greene accepted a summer internship at 
Lockheed-Martin in Nashua, N.I I. 

A native of Fall River, Mass.. ( rreene took a 
few detours on the road to WPI. After graduating 
from high school, he attended the University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst, for a semester before 
joining the Navy. Five years on an aircraft carrier, 
including a tour during the Gulf War, convinced 
him to return to school, and he enrolled at Bristol 
.Community College in 1994. His chemistry pro- 
fessor, Cynthia Hahn, encouraged him to pursue 
a four-year degree, and so he applied to WPI, 
where he was accepted in 1996 as a computer 
engineering major in the Electrical and Computer 
Engineering Department. Flis interests are in 
computer hardware and software design. 

After experiencing the isolation, close quarters 
and regimentation of life on an aircraft carrier, in a 
potentially life-threatening assignment, there's not 
much that overwhelms Greene. I le says he's man- 
aged to keep the hoopla over his discovery of the 
Internet Explorer bug in perspective. And yet, he 
says he still finds himself shaking his head from 
time to time over how the news media went wild 
over his story. "During that same weekend, there 
was a flood in Kentucky and Al Gore was having 
campaign problems," he says. "And we were front 
page news!" 


of a Bug 

The Web: 

For the uninitiated, the World 
Wide Web (die Web) is a 
method of delivering text, graphics, 
sound, animation and video to indi- 
vidual computers over the 
Internet. \ Web page is an 

that can 

incorporate all of these elements, 
along with hyperlinks to other 
Web pages. To view Web 
pages you need a comput- 
er and a... 

Web Browser: 

\ browser is a software ^^P 

package that can connect your 
computer to another computer some- 
where else on the Internet, retrieve a 
Web page from that computer, and then 
display it on your screen. Currently, the 
browser market is dominated by 
Netscape Communications' Navigator 
and Microsofts' Internet Explorer. 
Microsoft also makes Windows 95, 
which includes the work-saving device 
called the... 


Essentially, a shortcut is an icon — or 
picture — that, when clicked on by your 
mouse, will launch a sequence of 
events that may, for example, start 
your word processing program. Short- 
cuts make Windows easier to use, but 
for users of Internet Explorer, they 
also opened the door to a serious... 

Security Breech: 

Ordinarily, Web browsers are designed 
to prevent Web page designers from 
medling with programs and files on your 
computer. But the shortcut feature in 
Windows 95 enabled designers to create 
files on their pages that would tell Inter- 
net Explorer to run programs on your 
machine. The programs in question 
were those that are part of Windows and 
diat tend to be in standard locations on 
all computers. These include programs 

for creat- 
ing, editing and deleting 
files, as well as data files that tell 
your computer how to operate. This 
breech left computers running Inter- 
net Explorer vulnerable to serious tam- 
pering. Using a shortcut, a designer 
might even have instructed your com- 
puter to erase all the data stored on your 
hard drive. Clearly, there was a need for 
an immediate... 

Bus Fix: 

The patch that Microsoft released short- 
ly after learning of the bug from Paul 
( rreene and his roommates does not 
preclude a designer from using shortcuts 
to affect your computer. But with the fix, 
Internet Explorer will detect such an 
attempt and give you a warning, 
enabling you to put a stop to it. 

Lean More on the Web 

Greene and his roommates created a 
W^eb page that explains how the bug in 
Internet Explorer works and provides 
a few nondestructive demonstrations 
that will run programs on your com- 
puter if you have a version of the 
browser that has not been "patched." 
If you've upgraded your copy of 
Explorer, you can run these demos 
to verify that the enhanced securitj 
features are working. The page is at: 

If you have an older version of 
Internet Explorer, you may download 
the latest version directly from Micro- 
soft at www 



EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the past few decades, the world has become far more complicated for the men and women who transact 

the world's business. Perhaps the most profound change to transform the business world is the rise of computer and 

communications technology. No aspect of business and industry — and no profession — has been untouched by the Information 

Revolution. Modern technology has accelerated the pace of business, catalyzed the growth of the global marketplace, and redefined 

the nature ofz To manage people and organizations today, one must understand technology and be adept at using it. 

' dicated to looking at the issues and opportunities the university faces with the approach of 

'.ment at TVPI is evolving to meet this challenge and at how WPFs 
national leader in education for the management of technology. 









Those familiar with the initials 
"WPI" most often associate them 
with the word "engineering." 

In fact, for more than 130 years, WPI has 
been preparing engineers and other tech- 
nological professionals to deftly balance 
theory and practice in all manner of profes- 
sions. But while many of those graduates 
went on to manage people and organizations 
as part of their jobs, they may not have felt 

fact, more than 80 percent of the students 
who enroll in our MBA program have 
engineering backgrounds." 

Undergraduates and technological pro- 
fessionals who choose WPI's management 
offerings benefit from a program with a 
unique focus. Rather than merely covering 
the fundamentals of business, as do most 
university management programs, WPI has 
designed its program to prepare students for 
the future of management, which Banks and 
Wilkinson say means managing organiza- 

"Business Week predicted that in the not too 
distant future, the typical job will require at 
least a master's degree. Behind that pronounce- 
ment was the recognition of the increasing 
technological sophistication of business. " 
— McRae Banks 

well prepared to deal with the realities of 
management when they left the university. 
That's about to change. 

Two years ago, McRae Banks came to 
WPI from Mississippi State University to 
head WPI's Department of Management, 
where he found a challenging set of tasks 
waiting for him: strengthening the depart- 
ment's undergraduate and graduate pro- 
grams, earning national accreditation for its 
programs, and developing a more effective 
presence in distance education. With the 
help of the management faculty- and Norm 
Wilkinson, director of graduate manage- 
ment programs, Banks dove right in. Under 
his leadership, the department has emerged 
with a bold strategic intent: "Within the 
next 15 years," he says, "WPI will become 
the premier provider of graduate and under- 
graduate education in the management of 

The Department of Management was 
officially founded in 1974, though WPI 
reportedly offered a management engi- 
neering concentration as early as 1942. 
The reasons for teaching technological 
professionals about management haven't 
changed much over the decades, Wilkin- 
son says. "There are skills we teach in 
management that students who do purely 
technical course work generally don't 
acquire. These are skills that emplovers 
tell us they'd like to see in their technical 
employees. In addition, engineers are quite 
likely to end up in managerial positions. In 

tions in the age of technology. The depart- 
ment recently dratted a new mission state- 
ment that defines the management of 
technology in three ways: "the conversion of 
technology into commercial products/ser- 
vices, the integration of technology into the 
work environment, and the management of 
technological organizations." 

"We want students to understand how 
to use technology to help their organiza- 
tions work better and to help people be 
more effective," Banks says. "An article in 
Business Week predicted that in the not too 
distant future, the typical job will require at 
least a master's degree. Behind that pro- 
nouncement was the recognition of the 
increasing technological sophistication of 
business. If people don't understand that, 
they're not going to work effectively. If our 
students graduate and understand the 
importance of technology, they will be far 
ahead of everyone else." 

"More than 

80 percent of the 

students who enroll 

in our MBA program 

have engineering 

backgi'ounds. " 

— Norm Wilkinson 

The Road to the Future 

The first step toward the fulfillment of 
the department's plan for the future was 
strengthening its existing programs. "When 
our graduate committee looked at restruc- 
turing our programs, we talked to students, 
alumni, employers, our board of advisors 
and our faculty to find out what skills they 
thought our graduates needed to come awaj 
with," Wilkinson says. "That's how we came 
to recognize that our programs needed to 
give students a global perspective, provide 
them with leadership training, and help 
them develop communications skills." 

These skills are the focus of several core 
courses developed for WPI's new 49-credit 
MBA program. ( Complementing the course 
work is the new three-credit Graduate Qual- 
if\ ing Project (( rQP). Similar to the qualify- 
ing projects undergraduates complete as part 
of the project-based WPI Plan, the GQP will 
help students gain experience in real-world 
problem solving. Management is the first 
department at WPI to require such a project 
of its graduate students. "The GQP is 
designed to pull together a number of busi- 
ness functions to focus die students' creative 
energies on both analyzing and solving a 
problem," Banks says. "We're now looking 
for corporations to sponsor these projects." 

In addition to putting a global and tech- 
nological spin on the MBA program, the 
department has begun offering two new 
30-credit master of science programs: Mar- 
keting and Technological Innovation, and 
Operations and Information Technology. 
Both are geared toward students who 
already have a general business degree and 
are looking for a more focused program, or 
students who simply have a more specialized 
need than the MBA program can satisfy. "If 
you're in, or are aspiring to, a position that 
requires one of these specific skills, it makes 
sense to take one of our new focused degree 
programs," Wilkinson says. 




Worcester, Waltham, 
the World 

During the past academic year, die Depart- 
ment of Management began offering graduate 
certificate programs at WPI's new Waltham 
campus. Located in an office building just out- 
side of Boston on Route 128 — in the heart of 
one of America's high-technology strong- 
holds — the campus beckons passing motorists 
with a bright red sign that reads "WPI 
Waltham Campus." "It's a beautiful facility," 
Banks says. "And it's right in the area where 
we need to be. We have high visibility in 
Waltham and the campus is surrounded by 
technology-oriented companies." 

To existing five-course, 15-credit certifi- 
cate programs in technology marketing and 
the management of technology, the depart- 
ment recently added a new program in 
information technology. "We've found that 
about half of our certificate stu- 
dents have prior graduate 
degrees," Wilkinson says. "So 
people who already have an MBA 
or an M.S. in an engineering field 
are coming back for one of these 
specializations. The certificate 
programs also lead nicely into our 
graduate degree programs. Quite 
a few potential students who 
express an interest in a certificate 
program end up applying to a 
degree program, and even more 
are looking in that direction." 

Another option for those seek- 
ing management education from 
WPI is the Advanced Distance 
Learning Network (ADLN), 
which enables students all over 
the world to take courses at WPI. 
The network distributes course 
lectures to students on videocas- 
settes. Students communicate with 
one another and with their profes- 
sors via the Internet, phone and 
fax. Courses can also be delivered 
to remote classrooms, often at 
corporate sites, using videocon- 
ferencing technology. "WPI has 
been offering distance learning 
programs since 1979," Banks says, 
"and we may well have been the 
first university to provide an entire 
MBA program at a distance." 

"The criteria, the expectations 
and the grading procedures are 
the same, whether one takes a graduate 
management program on campus or via 
ADLN," Wilkinson says. "We've found that 

our distance students perform as well as — 
if not better than — on-campus students. 
Many say they feel they have more contact 
with their instructors than on-campus stu- 
dents do. During the course, they have a 
semester-long e-mail conversation with 
a professor, rather than just three hours a 
week in a classroom." 

As more departments at WPI begin 
developing distance learning programs, 
Banks says time in the university's television 
studio will be at a premium. Recognizing 
this, the Department of Management is 
exploring other distance learning technol- 
ogies to assure that it can maintain its capac- 
ity to meet the growing demand for its 
programs. These technologies include the 
World Wide Web, which is already being 
used by many universities (including WPI) 
to deliver courses remotely, and CD-ROMs 
and digital videodisks. 

Professor Frank Noonan conducts a 
class in the television studio in WPI's 
Fuller Labs. The recorded session 
will then be distributed through the 
Advanced Distance Learning Network. 

Undergraduate Changes 

As it worked to revise its graduate programs, 
the department has also been taking time to 
reinvigorate its undergraduate offerings. 
Currently, the management and manage- 
ment engineering major programs are being 
reworked to complement a newly revamped 
management information systems (MIS) 
major. Faculty members Dieter Klein, 
Diane Strong and Wenhong Luo made the 
MIS program one of the first in the nation 
to conform to IS '97, a new set of guidelines 
for this major. "The MIS program needed 
to be strengthened," Banks says. "The out- 
come of that strengthening was an immedi- 
ate increase in enrollment. We began the 
1996-97 academic year with five MIS 
majors. The new program was passed by 
the faculty last October, and in January we 
had 41 majors." 

The 1995-96 academic year 
saw the debut of a new major: 
industrial engineering. "Few busi- 
ness schools offer a major in indus- 
trial engineering," Banks says. 
"Our students take more manage- 
ment topics than the traditional 

"We may well have been 
the first university to 
provide an entire MBA 
program at a distance. " 

industrial engineering major 
would. That's because of our belief 
that the industrial engineer needs 
to be aware of the larger context of 
business. We're also concentrating 
much more on the service side than 
on the manufacturing side. By 
doing this, we're creating a pro- 
gram that gives our graduates a 
competitive advantage." 

Like the revamped MIS pro- 
gram, the industrial engineering 
major seems to be a hit with stu- 
dents. "It's a new program," Banks 
a. savs, "and without anv advertising, 
1 we brought in five majors last 
| year. Two months into the school 
1 year, industrial engineering 
» enrollment had grown to 32 with 
| internal transfers. This year, 
despite graduations, the depart- 
ment is up to 48 IE majors. Sharon Johnson, 
director of the IE program, Frank Noonan 
and Art Cerstenfeld have done an outstand- 


Summer 1997 

- M, ™™ |M " mi 

MI8iMmiMinM «iMBm«i 

"Students can build 

programs that go in a 

number of directions. 

That's made possible by 

the flexibility of the Plan. " 

ing job in getting the IF, program 
oft the ground." 

Traditionally, most undergrad- 
uates majoring in management pro- 
grams at WPI have been internal 
transfers — students who've moved 
from other majors to management. 
Hut banks says the department's 
new and revamped undergraduate 
programs are designed to draw the 
attention of high school juniors anil 

The changes in the undergrad- 
uate program come about at a time 
when parents are beginning to 
understand the need tor their sons and 
daughters to receive management training. 
Banks recalls one parent who peppered him 
with questions during a department open 
house last year. Afterward, she said to him, 
"I want my daughter to understand the tech- 
nical side, but I also want her to understand 
the management side." "That's what we do 
at WPI," Banks says. "We merge the two, 
producing much stronger graduates than 
other universities." 

Banks says the WPI Plan adds even 
more value to the undergraduate manage- 
ment programs. "It's a tremendous advan- 
tage to be part of the \YTI Plan," he says. 
"Within management, students can build 
programs that go in a number of directions. 
That's made possible by the flexibility of the 
Plan. Students can bundle courses together 
in a unique manner to come up with a focus 
that's going to help them meet their own 
career objectives. Also, our projects tend to 


.-» * 


says. "The department is a candidate for 
accreditation by AACSB, the International 
Association for Management Education. 
That's at least a five-year process. 

"Another initiative the department is 
pursuing is an increased presence in out- 
reach and research. We have many faculty 
members who are interested in working 
with the business community on applied 
research projects. These are projects that 
the companies define with our faculty mem- 
bers, either to solve a specific problem or to 
improve their general understanding of 
some area they feel is critical to their future 
success." Among the research centers the 
department is exploring are ones focused on 
financial distress, data quality and new prod- 
uct development. 

"We're also trying to tackle what may 
be one of the more important obstacles to 
our future growth and success: a lack of 
community among our students, faculty 
address real problems faced by real organi- aml alumni. We want to make sure that our 
/ations. That experience adds tremendously undergraduate and graduate students feel 
to our students' backgrounds. I think that's as though they have a tie to the department 
why our undergraduates tend to earn higher and vice versa - B Y doin g that ; we b< f lieve we 
than average starting salaries and why, after 

five years, they earn much more than other 
majors from WPI." 

Looking ahead 

What's next for management at WPI? "In 
addition to rolling out our new undergradu- 
ate and graduate programs and enhancing 
our distance learning programs, we're taking include families in a lot of the activities we 
the first steps toward accreditation," Banks sponsor, because many of our students have 

can foster a much stronger alumni body in 
years to come." 

Although Banks says he feels the depart- 
ment is doing a good job of building a sense 
of community at the undergraduate level, he 
and Wilkinson acknowledge the difficulty of 
accomplishing that same goal with a popula- 
tion that includes a substantial number of 
part-time graduate students. "We've tried to 

Professor Michael Elmes 

families and they already spend time away 
from them to pursue our degree programs," 
Wilkinson says. "For example, when we do 
our own graduate management student ori- 
entation each fall, we include a department- 
wide barbecue. We're putting together a 
graduate management student organization, a 
member of which will sit on the department's 
graduate policy and curriculum committee." 

The department is also developing a 
graduate management alumni association. 
"We have nearly S00 graduate alums out 
there," Wilkinson says. "They constitute a 
loyal alumni group." Adds Banks, "Admit- 
tedly, we haven't really stayed in close con- 
tact with them. We hope we can build a 
relationship with our graduate alumni that 
will benefit them and the department." 

By strengthening its programs and build- 
ing a sense of community, the department 
seems to be well on its way toward achieving 
its lofty goal: to be the premier provider of 
graduate and undergraduate education in 
the management of technology. "We'll get 
there," Banks sa\ 7 s. "WPI has a tremendous 
reputation that we can leverage. We have 
outstanding faculty members in the depart- 
ment and we have outstanding students at the 
graduate and undergraduate levels. There's 
no reason we can't achieve our goal." 

— AMY L. MARR '96 

— Marr is WPI's World Wide Web Coordina- 
tor and a WPI graduate student in manage- 
ment, pursuing an M.S. in marketing and 
technological innovation. 




Student Projects Result in 
Medical Advances 

Study Yields Possible 
Breakthrough in AIDS 

An opportunistic pathogen that often 
affects patients with acquired 
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) 
is actually present in the body before the 
onset of the disease and may represent a 
common parasite of healthy humans, as well 
as several species of macaque monkeys. That 
was the conclusion of a Major Qualifying 
Project by Daniel R. Hebert '97 who plans a 
career in veterinary medicine. 

This startling discovery could have a 
major impact on the treatment of AIDS 
patients and others whose immune systems 
are compromised by illness. Hebert, who 
received his bachelor of science degree in 
biotechnology in May and will work toward 
a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree 
at Tufts University School of Veterinary 
Medicine, investigated the presence of 
microsporidia in the macaque colony at the 
New England Regional Primate Research 
Center in Southboro, Mass. The center, 
which opened in 1966, is affiliated with 
Harvard Medical School and is part of the 
Regional Primate Research Centers Pro- 
gram established by Congress in 1959. Its 
mission is to conduct basic and applied bio- 
medical research aimed at solving human 
health and societal problems. 

Microsporidia are parasites that exist as 
latent spores until they infect a host cell, 
usually within the ocular, pulmonary, mus- 
cular and intestinal systems. One species, 
Enterocytozoon bieneusi, is the major cause of 
chronic diarrhea and inflammation of the 
bile ducts and gall bladder in individuals 
with MDS and other immuno-suppressed 

Hebert worked with Keith G. Mans- 
field, D.V.M., who had previously used new 
molecular diagnostic techniques to locate 
the parasite within the macaque colony. His 
faculty advisor was Daniel G. Gibson, assis- 
tant professor of biology and biotechnology. 
Hebert, the first WPI student to complete a 

project at the primate center, was one of two 
students to receive a Provost's MQP Award 
from the Biology and Biotechnology 
Department this year. His work was also 
nominated for the university's Sigma Xi 
Research Award. 

"This really is a breakthrough in gas- 
trointestinal medicine, as well as AIDS 
research," says Gibson. "It identified a 

" (Hebert s research) identified a 

chronic parasite that may be the 

cause of many unexplained cases of 

gastritis, enteritis, chronic diarrhea, 

and other digestive problems. " 

— Professor Daniel Gibson 

chronic parasite that may be the cause of 
many unexplained cases of gastritis, enteri- 
tis, chronic diarrhea, and other digestive 
problems. Here is a pathogen that can wreak 
havoc on the intestines, but is seldom detec- 
ted because it resides elsewhere — in the 
ducts of the liver. This is as important as 
the discovery that many ulcers are caused 
by a bacterium, helicobacter pylori, rather than 
by hypersecretion of stomach acid." 

Hebert used a technique called South- 
ern blotting to detect the presence of 
microsporidia. The procedure involved 
immobilizing DNA to detect certain 
sequences. The DNA was transferred from 
a gel medium to a nylon membrane, which 
was exposed to a nucleic acid probe for E. 
bieneusi. Hebert was able to identify the 

parasite in 22 of 145 normal rhesus 
macaques and 15 of 42 macaques infected 
with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. 
Once the positive animals were identified, 
bile and tissue samples were taken to study 
the location of infection. Persistence stud- 
ies indicated that the parasite lived for 7-1 1 
months; prior to the study there had been 
no indication that microsporidians were 
chronic inhabitants of healthy animals. 

"Daniel's contribution to our research 
effort to elucidate and characterize the path- 
ogenesis of E. bieneusi in rhesus macaques 
has proven invaluable to the progress of 
the study," says Mansfield. "His work here 
will aid the understanding of E. bieneusi in 
humans and eventually add to efforts to 
prevent and treat the debilitating condition 


Summer 1997 




From left, recent graduates Nicole 
Robert, Jason Wening and Colleen Fox. 

the parasite causes in AIDS patients." 

"In the future," says Hebert, "new steps 
in AIDS treatment could include screening 
for E. bieneusi at the onset of HIV infection. 
Once an effective cure for the parasite can 
be found, it can be administered to these 
patients and prevent much of the discomfort 
and disease that AIDS patients experience 
toward the end of their illness." 

-Bonnie Gelbwasser 

Multidisciplinary Project 
Takes First Step Toward 
Fully Motorized Prosthesis 

Today, there is no such thing as a ful- 
ly motorized, user-actuated shoul- 
der prosthesis. But tomorrow there 
may well be, thanks to the ingenuity of three 
recent WPI graduates. 

For their Major Qualifying Project, 
Colleen Fox, an electrical engineering 
major from Fairbanks, Alaska, Nicole 
Robert, an engineering physics major from 
Webster, Mass., and Jason Wening, a 
mathematical sciences major from Jefferson 
City, Mo., set for themselves an especially 
challenging goal: to develop a prototype 
electronic control unit that will allow an 
amputee to simultaneously execute motions 
in more than one joint of a motorized 

Fach student brought to the project his 
or her special area of expertise. In addition, 
Wening, a double leg amputee (see "Swim- 
ming Against the Odds," Spring 1995 WPI 
Journal), provided insights that only the 
physically challenged can offer. "Our pro- 
ject began a process that we hope will 
result in the development of a shoulder 
prosthesis that will give the amputee the 
tools he or she needs to be self-sufficient," 
he says. 

During the first phase of the project, the 
students established the design parameters 
for the control unit by modeling the forces 
involved in moving a prosthetic arm. They 
learned how long it takes for the arm to 

"Our project began a process that we 

hope will give the amputee the tools 

he or she needs to be self-sufficient. " 

— -Jason Wening '97 

accelerate, the torque changes required to 
retain constant angular velocity, the pre- 
dictability of starting and stopping accuracy, 
and the possibility of overshooting. 

"During the second phase, we built the 
electronic control unit," Fox says. "We used 
a motion algorithm based on the models we 
developed in the first phase. The algorithm 
transforms input signals into output signals 
that drive the motors of the prosthesis." 

The group used three motors to model 
the motion of the prosthesis: two to control 
shoulder flexibility and one to control elbow 
flexibility. "We used a double arm-driven 
pendulum to simulate two joints and a single 
arm-driven pendulum to simulate one joint 
of the prosthesis," explains Robert. 

As an added challenge, they had to con- 
sider the fact that the motors put out a cer- 

tain torque in order to move the arm in spe- 
cific patterns. They ultimately designed a 
motion control system to include a low- 
power device that is compact in size and 
weight — one that has the ability to change 
the limb's velocity or to stop it at any time 
in any location. 

The students emphasize that their pro- 
ject is just a first step in the development of 
a motorized prosthesis. Their recommenda- 
tions for the future include developing more 
sophisticated motion algorithms and creat- 
ing lightweight motor and battery systems. 
"We hope our efforts will enable the physi- 
cally challenged to enjoy a better quality of 
lire," they say. 

The project, sponsored by Liberty 
Mutual Research Center (where Ted 
Clancy '83 is WPTs principal MQP con- 
tact), received WPTs Provost's MQP Award 
from both the Electrical and Computer 
Engineering and Physics departments. It 
was advised by Fred Looft, professor of 
electrical and computer engineering, Van 
Bluemel, professor of physics, and Paul 
Davis, professor of mathematical sciences. 


Rising above Route 128 
outside Boston, WPI's 
new Waltham campus 
has become a landmark 
for drivers on "America's 
High-Tech Highway." 
The graduate manage- 
ment programs offered 
in Waltham are just one 
way WPI's Department 
of Management is set- 
ting the stage for the 
decades ahead. Photo 
by Jonathan Kannair. 
Story on page 28. 

&wmmm*w iimn 

001035*********$ CftR-RT SORT ** R001 

GRAFTON MA 01513-1314 


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IRC. ILHn III IIL¥ILVV/1«0U 3//T WW I I *f ■ lliniiwint ■ nui ikb 


FALL 1997 

f k I 


The WPI Education of 

— 0*t ty&nultf, 'In&dUtlOHA. — 
When Diane was 10, her mother became paralyzed from multiple sclerosis. During her mother's 10-year illness, 
the community rallied around the family as a thank you for her many years of community service. This experi- 
ence helped shape the life that Diane and Les made with their daughters, Pam, left, and Kay. Together, Diane 
and Les have continued the tradition of both their families of helping others — sharing their home with 12 foster 
children, helping start a shelter for battered women, founding a jail chaplaincy and an affordable housing cor- 
poration for young families, and leading a family counseling service. 

— 0* Planned Qujincj, <U WP9 — 

"Years ago we changed our wills to leave 20 percent of our estates to several nonprofits — including WPI,' 1 Les 
Reynolds says. "In 1997, we noted that we had stocks iocked up' in our portfolio, having high capital gains and 
small dividends, whose value equaled the percentage we planned to give through our estates. We decided to 
make our gifts right then through a charitable remainder unitrust. We receive seven percent of the trust's value 
each year of our lives, and we have benefited from a charitable deduction up front. We unlocked highly appreci- 
ated assets, and gave ourselves a significant raise. Best of all, during our lifetimes, we assured the continuation of 
our family tradition of helping others." 

If you would like to join Diane and Les Reynolds and 210 others who are enjoying the many benefits of planned giving 
at WPI, please contact Liz Siladi, Director of Planned Giving, at 1-888-WPI GIFT. 



VOLl \ll <.. Ml. i, ]• \|.|. 1VV/ 



Putting the Pieces Together By Edward a. Parrish 

Accompanying essays by Allison Chisolm, Elizabeth Walker and Michael IV. Dorsey 

Photographs by Patrick O'Connor 
Page 2 

From the Information Revolution, to the global economy, to upheaval in the 

workplace, the world is changing in dramatic ways. At the same time, technological 

higher education is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. The shifting landscape 

is raising the visibility ofWPI's pioneering curriculum — a program well suited to the 

world of today and tomorrow — and creating an opportunity for the University to once 

again lead the way in defining a better way of preparing technological professionals. 

To capitalize on that opportunity, WPI last year began a communitywide 
strategic planning process that will help it build a new vision for the future and a plan 
for turning that vision into reality. In the first phase of that process, a cross section of 
the community made a critical appraisal of today's WPI and suggested ways to build a 
better University. From those proposals, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee 
formulated eight draft goals. To understand what WPI might be like in the future, 
we look here at eight current programs that exemplify those goals: 

Create a Campus in Harmony With Our Programs £ni!dirra WPI A livirm R.oor* 

Provide Global Opportunites for Potentially All Students ?\cV Up a PArrpoH fo fht Fnfuh: 

Develop Creative Pathways to Graduate Degrees pit'tTAfe+Y Ccr»ftt fc\«zu frU T>aJ| 

Integrate Education and Research WaI^iHA FIPOB or? Mai-T 

Continue To Innovate in Undergraduate Programs r3ui!diriA £hdatT fo UridttrfAridihA 

Recognize and Adapt to Continuing Change Thhl'irm orr Crumy ih VUilf rur- 

Make Creative Use of Information Technology WtfpAhic Culful't in fht Mol/it IaI> 

Improve Community Relations and Diversity &&ACYiitiA frtt NtiakkoWood 

The Year in Review: 1996-97, By Michael W. Dorsey. Page 12 

University Relations Highlights, By John L. Heyl. Page 16 

Financial Summary and Highlights, By Stephen J. Hebert '66. Inside Back Cover 

Front Cover: Photos by Patrick O'Connor, design by Michael J. Sherman. Story on page 2. 

Back Cover: Winter came early to Boynton Hill this year as frigid fall winds chilled the air and a November 

storm left behind a glistening white blanket on the hillsides and rooftops. Photo by Brian Crowley. 

Staft of the WPI Journal: Editor, Michael W. Dorsey • Art Director/Designer, Michael J. Sherman • Contributing Writers, Bonnie ( lelbwasser.Joan Killough-Miller and Ruth Trask ' 

Alumni Publications Committee: Robert CI Labonte '54, chairman, Kimberlj V (Lemoi) Bowers '90,James S. Demetry '58, William J. Firlajr. '60. Joel P. Greene '69, 

William R. Grogan '46, Roger N. Pern,' Jr. '45, Harlan B. Williams '50 • The WPI Journal (ISSN 0148-6128) is published quarterly tor the W'Pl Alumni Association by the Office 

of University Relations. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, Mass., and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Lane Press, Burlington, Vt. Printed in the L'.S.A. 

Divcnc views presented in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editon or official WPI policies. He welcome letter, to the editor. . Iddress correspondence to the Editor. 
\\ I'l Journal, WPI, KM Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280* Phone: (508) 831-5609, ! ,n (508) 831-6004* Ekctronit Mail,* World Wide Web: Journal/ • Postmaster: Ij undeliverable, please send Form 3579 to the address above. Do not return publication. Entire contents © 1997, It 'orcester Polytechnic Institute. 

Putt ma \ de 

Over the past year, the WPI comnwivhas been developing a new strategic plar 


By Edward A. Parrish 

Accompanying essays by Allison 
Chisolm, Elizabeth Walker and 
Michael W. Dorsey 

Photographs by Patrick O'Connor 


hat will WPI be like in the early 
2 1 st century? This is a question 
that's been on the minds of many 
members of the University com- 
munity over the past few years. It's not a matter of idle curiosity. 
There is a sense that the world is changing in dramatic ways, that 
the changes are creating extraordinary opportunities for WPI, and 
that the time to act on those opportunities has arrived. In short, as 
a community we have come to the consensus that the time may be ripe for 
another major stride in our journey. 

What changes have led us to this conclusion? 

• The explosion of information technology and the 
ever accelerating pace of technological change have 
transformed the nature of work. Today, all profes- 
sionals, no matter what kinds of jobs they do, must 
be familiar with technology and be prepared to use 
it effectively. WPI's flexible approach to technologi- 
cal education offers an ideal way for young men and 
women to blend studies in technology with prepara- 
tion in a broad range of technical and nontechnical 

• The Information Revolution has catalyzed the rise of 
a true global economy and made a global perspective 
a much sought after quality in today's professionals. 
WPI stands apart from other technological universi- 
ties in offering its students the opportunity to gain 
global experience by doing meaningful projects for 
sponsoring organizations at sites all over the world. 

• The end of the Cold War and the concurrent down- 
sizing and reorganization of major corporations has 
put an end to the "one job for life" paradigm that 
characterized the business world for generations. To 
prepare for this new world of work, students must 
learn how to learn and how to adapt to change — 
qualities that are fostered by WPI's student-driven, 
project-oriented style of education. 

• The skills, needs and motivations of college students 
have changed, arguing strongly for the replacement 

of traditional approaches to education with new 
forms of active, student-directed learning. With its 
nearly three decades of experience with the WPI 
Plan, the University has a head start on adapting its 
educational delivery methods to the needs of today's 
The world of technological higher education is changing 
as well, and in an equally dramatic fashion: 

• A number of national studies and task forces, echo- 
ing calls by industry, government and academic lead- 
ers, have recommended new approaches to techno- 
logical higher education that incorporate many of the 
features of WPI's curriculum. 

• The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Tech- 
nology has approved a sweeping new set of out- 
comes-oriented accreditation criteria by which all 
engineering programs in the United States will soon 
be measured. To a substantial degree, the criteria 
are consonant with the philosophy of WPI's curricu- 
lum. For this reason, the University was one of two 
schools nationwide chosen by ABET to be accredited 
under the new criteria in a 1 996 pilot program. 

• WPI's approach to technological education, having 
been honed and tested over many years, is being 
viewed as a model by the educators, industry lead- 
ers and government agencies who are working to 
revitalize engineering education in the United States. 

■wimrnmiHiiirmra tmr 

ef Toaef (lef 

md assembling a common mux of the University's future. 

The transformation of technological education 
in this country is shining a spotlight on WPI and its 
remarkable achievements as an educational pace- 
setter. Our success can serve as a beacon to other 
educators, for example, as some of them seek to 
meet the requirements of the new engineering 
accreditation criteria and to impart to their stu- 
dents the skills and qualities technological profes- 
sionals will need to thrive in the decades ahead. 

But WPI can do even more. We can blaze a 
new trail and once again define the leading edge 
of technological higher education. Like planets 
moving into a rare and transitory alignment, the 
changes in the world around us and the evolution 
of technological higher education are converging 
to create an extraordinary opportunity for the 
University to develop a new model for the prepa- 
ration of technological professionals, one attuned 
to the needs of the 2 1 st century. 

How can we best capitalize on these oppor- 
tunities? What kinds of changes must we make? 
What should we no longer do? In what new dir- 
ections should we move? What must we do to 
prepare for the voyage that lies ahead? To answer 
those questions, WPI began a communitywide 
process of strategic planning during the 1 996-97 
academic year. 

The work began in the summer of 1 996 with 
a conference of the University's senior adminis- 
trators, the secretary of the faculty and the chair 
of the faculty Committee on Governance, at 
which a process for planning was established. 
The process moved forward during a fall meeting 
of the Board of Trustees, which began the task 
of assessing the state of WPI and considering a 
vision for its future. About 60 members of the 
University community met later that fall to dis- 
cuss ways to bolster the Interactive Qualifying 
Project and the Global Perspective Program, the 
two most distinctive elements of WPI's educa- 
tional program. 

In the fall of 1 996, 1 appointed the Strategic 
Planning Steering Committee (SPSC), made up of 
members of the faculty, administration and stu- 
dent body, to guide the process of developing a 

formal strategic plan. The committee created 1 3 
task forces composed of faculty members, staff 
members, students and alumni to conduct detailed 
studies of the following specific areas of WPI's 
operations: admissions, educational technology, 
financial resources and incentives, global opportu- 
nities, graduate programs, information infrastruc- 
ture, learning environment and campus culture, 
new programs, outcomes assessment and feed- 
back, pre-college outreach, project-based educa- 
tion and cooperative learning, scholarship, and 
support services. 

Having collated and considered the detailed 
reports written by the task forces, and having 
gathered ideas and opinions from members of 
the greater WPI community at a number of open 
meetings, the SPSC released a report and made a 
presentation of the following draft set of recom- 
mended goals (the presentation was endorsed by 
the faculty and shared with the trustees in the 
spring of 1997): 

• create a campus in harmony with our 

• provide global opportunities for potentially 
all students 

• integrate education and research 

• develop creative pathways to graduate degrees 

• continue to innovate in undergraduate 

• recognize and adapt to continuing change 

• make creative use of information technology 

• improve community relationships and diversity 

The work of the SPSC laid a solid foundation 
for the recommendations that will ultimately 
emerge from the strategic planning effort. This 
fall, the committee handed the baton to the Plan- 
ning and Implementation Committee (PIC), a new 
body, again made up of faculty members, students 
and administrators. Before the end of the 1 997- 
98 fiscal year, this new committee will take the 
strategic planning process to completion and craft 
a new vision for WPI's future. That vision will 
become the foundation for a major capital cam- 
paign — to be formally launched next fall — that 
will raise the funds WPI must invest in its people, 

programs, plant and community if that vision is to 
become a reality. 

The committee will benefit from the work of 
two other new task forces that are assessing 
WPI's needs in the areas of information infrastruc- 
ture and administrative services. In addition, 
WPI's Budget Development Advisory Committee, 
along with the faculty Committee on Administra- 
tive and Financial Policy, is working with a num- 
ber of WPI departments to develop a new, more 
forward-looking approach to budgeting. All of this 
work should provide the PIC with a wealth of 
information and ideas to help WPI develop new 
ways of doing business in the future. 

Eight Pieces of 
the Puzzle 

The first phase of the strategic 

planning effort yielded eight 

draft goals — a rough cut at 

strategies for the decades 

ahead. The spirit of those goals 

can be found in eight current 

programs that provide a glimpse 

at the WPI of the 2 1st century. 

On the pages that follow, you'll 

read about those programs and 

the people who are building 

WPI's future today. 

The members of the PIC have been meeting 
weekly to build on the work of the SPSC and to 
draft not only a plan for WPI's future but a mech- 
anism for putting it into action. Too often, strate- 
gic plans — no matter how bold or how carefully 
crafted — sit on shelves and are forgotten in the 
crush of everyday responsibilities. Without an 
accompanying mechanism for implementing them 
and without the continual revisiting and revising 
of their elements, strategic plans have no value. 

While the final results of WPI's strategic 
planning effort may diverge from the spirit of the 
SPSC's goals, they represent a working consensus 
on possible ways to build the WPI of the future. 
Read on to see what that future may look like. 


Create a Campus in 
Harmony With Our 

Janet Begin Richardson 
at the site of the pro- 
posed campus center. 
She says the building 
will promote the learn- 
ing and maturing that 
goes on outside the 

In the late 1800s, silver-tray 
tea lounges, smoky gram- 
ophone rooms and white- 
linen dining distinguished the 
elegant union buildings where British 
university students gathered to 
debate, read, and play billiards. 
These private wood-paneled unions 
provided the blueprint for the more 
egalitarian campus centers that 
today serve as "living rooms" on 
U.S. college campuses. 

Since 1 87 1 , WPI has grown 
from two buildings and an initial 
graduating class of 16 male seniors 
to 3 1 major buildings and a student 
body of 3,500 men and women. But 
the campus still lacks a living room. 

That's about to change. In Octo- 
ber 1997, the WPI Board of Trustees 
approved a $1 7 million WPI campus 
center project. The 68,000-square- 
foot campus center building, to be 
sited behind Alumni Gymnasium, is 
being designed by Boston architects 
Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and 
Abbott. Fund raising for the project 
will be part of a major capital cam- 

paign to be publicly launched in the 
latter half of 1 998, and the trustees 
have called for ground to be broken 
by October 1 999. 

The idea of a WPI campus cen- 
ter has been germinating for many 
years. The dream moved closer to 
reality four years ago when then- 
WPI president Jon Strauss appointed 
a broad-based planning committee, 
chaired by Janet Begin Richardson, 
assistant vice president for student 
affairs and dean of student life, to 
determine what a campus center 
would add to WPI and to define the 
right mix of facilities, amenities and 
services needed to create such a 

The committee solicited the 
opinions of more than 40 campus 
focus groups, pored through infor- 
mation from earlier center initia- 
tives, surveyed the literature on col- 
lege centers worldwide, and visited 
campus centers throughout the 
region. Richardson says they began 
by asking, "What's missing at WPI?" 
The most common response, she 

£*!» Uk»A_V^ PI Atii^_Roo r* 

reports, was "a place in the center 
of the campus for the community to 

The focus groups also told the 
committee that WPI lacked ade- 
quate dining facilities, space for 
group study, small conference and 
meeting rooms, multipurpose 
rooms, and offices for student 
organizations. The proposed WPI 
center will have all that, along with a 
bookstore, a postal facility, expand- 
ed food and dining services, a game 
room, lounges and a campus infor- 
mation desk. 

Richardson says the new center 
should make WPI more attractive 
to prospective students. Campus 
centers, she notes, can provide an 
immediate "snapshot" of campus life 
to potential students and influence 
applicants' decisions to enroll when 
academic and scholarship consider- 
ations appear equal among the 
colleges they're considering. 

The center will also fill a void in 
the social and academic life of the 
campus, she says, providing WPI stu- 
dents, faculty and staff a place to 
gather and explore common social, 
intellectual and cultural interests in 
an informal setting. And, it will be a 
common ground where WPI's diver- 
sity of populations (students, faculty, 
staff, alumni and visitors) and its 
diversity of functions (offering acade- 
mic programs, housing and feeding 
students, offering opportunities for 
social and recreational involvement) 
will come together. 

"But even more than a gather- 
ing place, the center will be an 
important adjunct to the University's 
academic programs," Richardson 
says. "It will serve as a social 'labor- 
atory' for promoting and nurturing 
the all-important learning and matur- 
ing that happens outside the class- 
room and lab — experiences that can 
be critical to the personal and social 
growth that is so essential to the full 
realization of a WPI education." 

Even without a gramophone, 
the new WPI Campus Center 
promises to be a "living room" 
worth the wait. 

— Elizabeth Walker 


m «u n iniWWII il lllll WH IM 111 irWIIllHT 

Take off from WPI" was 
the message printed on 
balsa airplanes distributed 
at WPI's Global Opportu- 
nities Fair in September 1997. To 
get the students launched, next fall 
the University will help every eligible 
freshman get a U.S. passport. All stu- 
dents will have to do is fill out the 
application — and smile. WPI will 
pick up the cost of the application 
and photos. 

WPI contributes the largest 
share of the U.S. engineers who 
have gained international experience 
during their years of undergraduate 
education. Some 30 percent of all 
undergraduates complete a project 
at an off-campus residential site, and 
about a third of all faculty have 
served as overseas project advisors. 

Those numbers may soon be 
rising. After a global projects fair this 
fall, about half of all undergraduates 
indicated an interest in studying 

"We want to attract students 
who understand that having a global 
perspective and experiencing cultur- 
al diversity is important," says Bob 
Voss, executive director of admis- 
sions and financial aid. "WPI believes 
that; we want students who believe 
it, too." The free passport program 
merely reinforces the University's 
commitment to global education, he 
says. WPI is also purchasing pass- 
ports for all eligible students accept- 
ed to global project and exchange 
programs this year. 

Having a passport can "open the 
door to the greatest experience in a 
student's life," says Hossein Hakim, 
associate professor of electrical and 
computer engineering and director 
of the Global Studies Program. 
"What we offer is not the typical 
international experience," he says. 
"The nearly 200 WPI students who 
will travel overseas this year will act 
as consultants to organizations that 
have asked us to help them solve a 
problem. This is experiential learning 
applied to international education." 

Once on the ground in one of 
the 1 7 countries where WPI runs 
project programs, students work in 
teams on projects for nonprofit 
agencies, government organizations 

Pick U| A^AXJ^otffqili^FuML- 

or corporations. They share apart- 
ments or live in student housing, 
cooking local food to keep expenses 
down. They spend seven weeks 
defining and responding to the issues 
presented to them, finishing up with 
a presentation to their sponsors and 
a detailed project report. Most pro- 
jects satisfy the requirements for the 
Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), 
which asks students to examine the 
impact of technology on society. 

Recent projects include a market 
research study for an ecotourist site 
in a Costa Rican rain forest, a study 
of the feasibility of using solar energy 
in a Danish high school, and the 
development of a graphical database 
of outdoor art in Venice. The effects 
of this international experience is 
long-lasting. Students return with a 
changed outlook on their lives and, 
often, their potential careers. 

"Although every day is some- 
what of a struggle, and I have none 
of the comforts of home," wrote 
Luke Poppish '98 from Coimbatore, 
India, in the spring of 1 997, "the fact 

is, I wouldn't trade this journey for 
the world. I will look at things in a 
different light when I return to 

"Students who go overseas are 
seen as risk takers, more adaptive, 
able to deal with ambiguities, and as 
experienced team players," says 
Hakim. "They prove they can write 
lengthy reports and make oral pre- 
sentations to people they've never 
met." Their international experi- 
ences set them apart from other job 
candidates, he says, since they're 
more prepared to live and work in 
a global society. 

As more and more students and 
faculty return to Worcester ener- 
gized from their exposure to new 
ways of thinking and living, WPI will 
retain its undisputed leadership posi- 
tion in global technological educa- 
tion. More important, the campus 
atmosphere will become one of 
greater understanding of the variety 
of cultures and perspectives in the 
world beyond Worcester. 

—Allison Chisolm 

Provide Global 
Opportunities for 
Potentially All 

Hossein Hakim, left, and 
Bob Voss hope that giving 
incoming students free 
passports will make dear 
WPI's commitment to 
leading the way in global 
technological education. 

•Jlt^TAfEiY CcjTfct ^Azerflie TrAfL^ 

Develop Creative 
Pathways to Graduate 

David Lucht says the tools 
of modern distance learning 
are helping his department 
meet a strong demand for 
graduate education in fire 
protection engineering. 

Advanced distance edu- 
cation delivery systems 
have blurred geographical 
boundaries among college 
campuses and increased competi- 
tion in the traditional markets they 
serve. Today's high-tech systems for 
bringing learning to students rather 
than students to campus have also 
removed real and perceived barriers 
to attracting adult learners who live 
or work at a distance from a college 

This technology-driven libera- 
tion from the narrow lines on the 
map and the mile markers along the 
highway means that schools can 
expand their geographic base, 
extend their reach into untapped 
markets, and develop innovative 
ways for students to earn graduate 
degrees, certificates and other pro- 
fessional credentials. 

Among the trailblazers in this 
bold new world is WPI's Center for 
Firesafety Studies, the first academic 
program in fire protection engineer- 
ing to offer for-credit fire protection 

engineering courses to practicing 
engineers via distance learning tech- 

The increasing sophistication of 
communications and information 
technology — including e-mail, two- 
way interactive video, videotapes, 
the Internet and the World Wide 
Web — has enabled the center to 
deliver courses to students in nearly 
50 communities in the United States 
and Canada through WPI's Advanced 
Distance Learning Network (ADLN). 
David Lucht, director of the center, 
tells of a student who made a career 
move to England midway through his 
academic program in fire protection 
engineering. Through ADLN, he was 
able to continue his studies. 

The market is strong for contin- 
uing and graduate education pro- 
grams. In fact, more than 40 percent 
of the U.S. adult population has par- 
ticipated in adult education activities 
over the past few years. That comes 
as no surprise to Lucht, who has 
seen enrollment in the fire protec- 
tion program more than triple over 

the past 1 5 years. The job market is 
strong for fire protection engineers, 
he says. The center's graduates are 
sought by engineering consulting 
firms, public utilities, hospitals, 
hotels, government agencies, insur- 
ance companies and many other 

Fire protection engineering is a 
multidisciplinary field that attracts 
working professionals with academic 
backgrounds in a host of disciplines, 
including chemical, civil, electrical, 
industrial and mechanical engineer- 
ing. "We offer students several 
options, including a graduate certifi- 
cate or a master's degree program. 
The latter usually takes five or six 
years to finish on a part-time basis," 
Lucht says. "Through distance learn- 
ing technology, we are able to take 
these programs directly to the 

Lucht says distance learning 
students receive the same lectures 
and homework assignments as do 
students who attend classes on cam- 
pus. Courses delivered to on- and 
off-campus students originate in 
WPI's state-of-the-art television 
classrooms. They are either offered 
through two-way interactive video 
or whisked to students on videotape 
via express mail, depending on the 
facilities available to the student. 
Distance learners communicate 
with professors via telephone, fax 
and e-mail. 

Lucht says the distance learning 
program is of special value to prac- 
ticing fire protection engineers who 
want to keep current with the field. 
"The technology of fire protection is 
changing so quickly that practicing 
engineers need to keep pace," he 
says. "There's no better place to do 
that than WPI." 

Lucht says the growth in the 
popularity of his department's pro- 
grams is due as much to word-of- 
mouth as it is to the center's formal 
marketing efforts. "Our students talk 
to their colleagues about our pro- 
grams," he says. "In addition, more 
and more people are finding us on 
the Web. There's a strong market 
out there; we're taking it one step 
at a time." 


————— —■■'"■■"—""" 

Integrate Education 
and Research 

From left, Mars robot team 
members Keisuke Watanabe, 
John Sullivan, Ed Gaboriault, 
Paul Bunuan (aloft), Thomas 
Parent and Eben Cobb 
conduct a bit of field work. 

hen the first human 
steps onto Martian 
soil, there's likely to 
be a robotic compan- 
ion tagging along, thanks to the col- 
laborative design work of engineers 
from WPI and Hamilton Standard in 
Windsor Locks, Conn. Dubbed 
FIDOE (Fully Independent Delivery 
of Expendables), the autonomous, 
self-propelled robot will follow an 
astronaut on daily explorations, 
carrying oxygen and equipment for 
gathering soil and rock samples. 

It's not the stuff of science fic- 
tion anymore. If NASA's current 
scenarios prevail, a two-year 
manned mission to Mars will take 
place in 2009. Two years earlier, an 
unmanned spaceship will drop off 
equipment to establish a power 
plant and habitat for the astronauts. 
The astronauts will be expected to 
put in six- to eight-hour days on the 
surface, so they will need to take 
multiple life-support packs with 
them on their excursions. 

"On Mars, which has about one- 

third of Earth's gravity, people won't 
be able to carry hundreds of pounds 
of equipment, as astronauts did on 
the Moon," says team advisor John 
Sullivan Jr., associate professor of 
mechanical engineering. "They'll 
need a robot that can act like a 
pack mule, following close by and 
responding to voice commands." 

Together with Eben Cobb, visit- 
ing assistant professor of mechanical 
engineering, Sullivan supervises a 
research team that includes senior 
mechanical engineering majors Ed 
Gaboriault, Thomas Parent and 
Keisuke Watanabe, who are designing 
the power train and transmission for 
their Major Qualifying Project, and 
manufacturing engineering graduate 
student Paul Bunuan, who is design- 
ing the communication and remote 
sensing systems. The team expects to 
have a prototype ready for Hamilton 
Standard early in 1 998. 

"I view research as education," 
Sullivan says. "You're usually step- 
ping out into areas you don't know." 
That's especially true for the Mars 

-_ _V!/Altir^FIPOB oti M_akt 

robot project, he notes, which has 
required the team to integrate 
knowledge from several disciplines 
—many of which they had had little 
or no exposure to previously. 

The prototype robot, which will 
measure just 3 feet wide by 3 feet 
long, must perform a multitude of 
functions. It must be rugged enough 
to traverse the rocky Martian land- 
scape carrying heavy equipment — 
and even an injured person. It must 
be smart enough to track an astro- 
naut with a radio triangulation sys- 
tem and detect and avoid obstacles. 
It must monitor the condition of the 
astronaut and record the feeds from 
video cameras and microphones 
built into the astronauts' helmets. 
And, it must carry an oxygen storage 
system that can be easily connected 
several times a day to the space suit 
that will be designed by Hamilton 

Hamilton Standard contacted 
WPI about collaborating on the Mars 
robot project in the spring of 1 997 
after WPI's strong performance in 
the annual FIRST robot competition. 
FIRST ( is a national 
creative engineering contest featur- 
ing high school, industry and univer- 
sity partnerships. Each team has 
seven weeks to brainstorm, design, 
construct and test their robot. Sulli- 
van advised the WPI and Massachu- 
setts Academy of Mathematics and 
Science high school team. The team, 
with its robot, "Extensor," won the 
Proctor & Gamble Creativity Award 
in the Mid-Atlantic regional competi- 
tion and the Number One Seed 
Award in the national competition at 
EPCOT Center in Orlando, Fla. 

The integration of research and 
education represented by the Mars 
robot project continues when Sulli- 
van and Cobb enter the classroom. 
Sullivan uses numerous components 
of the project in his engineering 
experimentation course. Similarly, 
multiple robotic components are 
designed and modeled in Cobb's 
course Introduction to Computer- 
Aided Design "There really are no 
clear boundaries between education 
and research," Cobb says. "It's an 
integrated process all the time." 


m m an y e ' ements °f tne 

gkja WPI Plan have 
»^^ changed since 1970; 
™ others may well 
change in the future," the Strategic 
Planning Steering Committee noted 
in its April 1 997 draft report. "What 
we seek is to reinvigorate the spirit 
of the Plan, not recapture all its 
mechanisms. Values endure; their 
expression may change. It is thus 
important to recognize that several 
of the principal ambitions expressed 
in the Plan have not been realized." 

One of those ambitions, the 
committee noted, was to coordinate 
learning and doing throughout the 
curriculum. Thanks to a two-year, 
$200,000 grant from the National 
Science Foundation, that ambition is 
beginning to be realized. The award 
is funding an innovative program 
aimed at extending the benefits of 
integrative, project-based learning, 
the hallmark of the Plan, into the 
first two years of a typical under- 
graduate career. 

Students typically spend much 
of their first two years learning fun- 
damental concepts in math, science 
and engineering. According to Judith 
Miller, professor of biology and 
biotechnology and director of WPI's 
Center for Educational Develop- 
ment, they often fail to see how the 
principles of one discipline relate to 
the concepts they're learning in oth- 
er courses, or why those concepts 
will be important in later course and 
project work. "They might know 
how to solve an equation in calculus, 
but they can't see how it applies to a 
problem in chemistry or physics," 
she says. 

The first two years also offer 
students few opportunities to 
engage in the kind of project work 
that will characterize their junior and 
senior years. Project work enables 
students to put what they learn in 
the classroom to practical use by 
solving complex problems. By work- 
ing in groups on projects, they also 
learn about teamwork, managing 

complex assignments and communi- 
cating professionally — skills that will 
be vital in their careers. 

"The NSF grant will help us 
address both the lack of project 
experience and the lack of integra- 
tion in the first two years, and also 
help students acquire skills that will 
be critical to the successful comple- 
tion of their required projects and, 
later, to their professional careers," 
says Arthur Heinricher, associate 
professor of mathematics and the 
author of the NSF proposal. "The 
vehicle for accomplishing this is what 
we're calling bridge projects." 

Heinricher says the idea behind 
bridge projects is that freshmen and 
sophomores taking introductory 
classes in fundamental subjects must 
see how the concepts in those sub- 
jects relate to one another. Each 
project will build curricular and con- 
ceptual bridges between a pair of 
introductory courses — for example, 
biology and chemistry, or calculus 
and physics. The instructors in both 

fe»! JipA ^hJfltr foJUoJctrfAtfJifig 

courses will work together to devel- 
op examples, assignments and pro- 
jects that require students to use 
aspects of both disciplines. 

The bridge project program 
will take advantage of the concept of 
the peer learning assistant (PLA), an 
innovation developed by Miller and 
others with support from the Davis 
Educational Foundation. PLAs are 
students who help instructors of 
introductory courses work more 
efficiently by assisting student groups 
with projects and assigned tasks. 
"PLAs must have taken the courses 
before and have good academic 
records and good interpersonal 
skills," Miller says. "For their efforts, 
they receive a stipend, along with 
valuable experience in teamwork 
and project management. 

"The NSF award will have many 
positive outcomes for WPI," Miller 
adds. "It will bring faculty members 
from different disciplines together to 
think about education. Just as impor- 
tant, it will help WPI continue to 
build its reputation as a center for 
curricular innovation and as a model 
for engineering educators across the 

—Michael Dorsey 

* Continue To innovate in 
Undergraduate Programs 

Art Heinricher and Judith 
Miller are extending the 
benefits of project work 
throughout the curriculum 
and helping students see 
the links between concepts 
in math and science. 

Agile, flexible and able to 
adapt to a changing envi- 
ronment. Those charac- 
teristics can save a 
species from extinction. They're also 
the attributes career-minded profes- 
sionals — as well as institutions of 
higher education — must have to 
thrive in today's highly competitive, 
ever changing marketplace. 

WPI's Office of Continuing Edu- 
cation has provided market-driven 
professional education programs to 
nearly 45,000 people in the last two 
decades. The content of those pro- 
grams has evolved to keep pace with 
the new knowledge and sophisti- 
cated delivery systems wrought by 
rapid-fire technological advances. 
The competition from other educa- 
tional service providers has grown 
stronger, as well. WPI, like the 
working professionals who enroll in 
its classes, knows the importance of 
acquiring new knowledge, upgrading 
skills, and expanding its reach to 
remain a strong contender in an 
increasingly global market. 

Knowledge and skills run a daily 
race with obsolescence in today's 
high-tech work environments. To 
get ahead, stay ahead, or retool their 
skills, unprecedented numbers of 
professionals today are seeking edu- 
cational opportunities that are both 
relevant and accessible. WPI is 
reaching out to that significant mar- 
ket in the Northeast by offering its 
certificate, graduate and continuing 
education programs on campus and 
at new branch campuses in West- 
boro and Waltham, Mass. 

One of the largest concentra- 
tions of high technology profession- 
als in New England lives and works 
near Rte. 1 28, outside of Boston. 
Now, as that skilled workforce races 
along this busy stretch of road, a 
large sign on the side of a tall office 
building beacons them to the WPI 
Waltham Campus. According to 
Arlene Lowenstein, director of con- 
tinuing education at WPI, the Uni- 
versity chose the site of its second 
branch campus carefully. 

"We went where the industries 
and the greatest number of technical 
professionals are concentrated," she 

jjlhl/jrTA oj7 CJlArrge Irr VUMwun 

says. "We went into Waltham with 
high expectations." 

Those expectations have been 
exceeded since day one, largely due 
to WPI's reputation for high-caliber 
education. "It's been gratifying to see 
the response from individuals and 
the business community to our pres- 
ence in Waltham," Lowenstein says. 

The 1 5, 000-square-foot facility 
boasts the latest in computing equip- 
ment and technology. In its six class- 
rooms, including two state-of-the-art 
computer labs, WPI faculty teach 
certificate programs in client/server 
technology, UNIX/C programming 
and C++ programming, along with 
evening courses and graduate degree 
programs in management, computer 
science and several engineering disci- 
plines. During the work week, many 
professional development seminars 
and customized corporate training 
programs meet there. 

The campus's core clientele is 
the fastest growing academic popu- 
lation today — the adult learners. The 

demographics of the American col- 
lege population have changed dra- 
matically in the past decade. Nearly 
half of all students enrolled in col- 
leges nationwide attend school part 
time. Adults 25 and older account 
for half of all college-credit-seeking 
students and half of all graduate stu- 
dents. The adult population's return 
to school is tied to the rapid pace at 
which technology continues to 
change the workplace. The scale of 
those changes has sent a clear mes- 
sage to employees in every industry. 
Lifelong learning has become an 
unspoken condition of employment 
because knowledge is both a perish- 
able commodity and a resource that 
must be continually renewed. 

"Like today's working profes- 
sionals, we at WPI can't stand still," 
Lowenstein says. "We need to be at 
the forefront in the educational ser- 
vices and training we offer, if we are 
to stay competitive in a changing 


Recognize and Adapt to 
Continuing Change 

Arlene Lowenstein says 
creating a branch campus 
in Waltham has enabled WPI 
to reach out to one of the 
nation's largest concentra- 
tions of high technology 

Riq^Uijc Culfntc JrL+t^Moi/iclAt: 

Make Creative Use 
of information 

>4nge/ Rivera, left, with 
the help of Mike 0' Neil, 
used the high-tech 
tools in a new multi- 
media lab to bring Latin 
American culture alive 
for his students. 

The Nutty Professor" and 
"Grumpy Old Men," read 
the signs on the walls. 
They're not descriptions 
of instructors left by disgruntled stu- 
dents; they're movie posters that 
decorate WPI's newest multimedia 
computer lab. But the first class to 
make use of the Movie Lab took stu- 
dents far from Tinseltown. 

Students who took "Topics in 
Latin American Culture" in the fall of 
1 997 met in the Movie Lab on a reg- 
ular basis to access audio and video 
clips, review World Wide Web sites, 
and make presentations relying on 
student-created Web pages. The 
class also met in a traditional class- 
room to work on Spanish conversa- 
tional skills and to discuss course 

"The technology is an enhance- 
ment for education, not a replace- 
ment," says course instructor Angel 
Rivera, assistant professor of Span- 
ish, whose foray into the technologi- 
cal world of the Movie Lab was an 
education in itself. Beginning with 

only basic computer skills, he 
received a tutorial from Mike 
O'Neil, instructional designer in 
WPI's Instructional Media Center 
(IMC), and then spent many hours 
learning to set up a Web site for his 
course, which includes maps, 
images, video clips, lecture sum- 
maries, concept and vocabulary 
reviews, and study questions. 

In addition to serving as an aid 
in class discussions, Rivera says, the 
Web "gives students some power. 
They come to the lab on their own 
to review course material and create 
their own Web pages — in Spanish — 
for their final presentation. I was 
tired of receiving traditional papers. 
When a student submits a Web 
page, suddenly it's not a flat paper 
anymore. It branches out in many 

Students in the class worked in 
teams of three or four to create two 
Web pages: one presenting histori- 
cal, political, geographical and cultur- 
al background on a selected Latin 
American country, and a second 

exploring a topic such as economic 
and political problems in Puerto Rico 
or racial questions in the Hispanic 

The results were impressive, 
Rivera says. One presentation on 
Puerto Rico included a link to audio 
clips of Puerto Rican music. Other 
links introduced sources in both 
Spanish and English, including daily 
newspapers. Students really "soaked 
up information," Rivera says. "They 
had to write, listen, talk and respond 
in Spanish. And they fielded some 
tough questions from their peers." 

O'Neil has seen this magic work 
before. "The process of building 
interactive Web pages encourages 
you to come up with new ideas and 
perspectives, and to dig deeper into 
a subject than you might otherwise." 

Located on the ground floor of 
Fuller Labs, the Movie Lab is the 
product of the collaboration of Lee 
Fontanella, head of the Humanities 
and Arts Department, David Cygan- 
ski, professor of electrical and com- 
puter engineering, Pennie Turgeon, 
director of the IMC, and Helen 
Shuster, director of the Gordon 
Library. It was made possible by 
a $200,000 contribution from the 
Class of 1 956, part of its 40th anni- 
versary gift to WPI that also made 
possible a new library computer 
system. The Hollywood theme was 
selected to foster a more creative 
environment, O'Neil says. 

Seating 28, the lab is equipped 
with 14 powerful multimedia PCs 
loaded with a large assortment of 
graphics, word processing, 3-D ani- 
mation and Web authoring software. 
On top of each computer sits a small 
video camera that, in concert with 
special software, can enable students 
to see and talk with people around 
the world. "This is an exciting appli- 
cation for language instruction," says 

Other innovative applications 
will be added as new courses in the 
humanities, arts, and electrical and 
computer engineering are taught 
using the lab's facilities. Notes 
O'Neil, the Movie Lab's potential, 
like the imagination of Hollywood 
itself, is virtually limitless. 



^^^ ood neighbors reach 
^r out to each other, share 

§ ^^ resources, and build 
^^^^W long-term relationships 
That's how strong communities are 
created, nurtured and sustained. 
WPI, a good neighbor in Worcester 
County for nearly 1 30 years, is 
reaching out in new directions to 
populations that might not find their 
way to campus without such 
encouragement. Camp REACH is 
one such effort. 

A two-week overnight adven- 
ture in engineering, Camp REACH 
(Reinventing Engineering and Creat- 
ing new Horizons) offers its campers 
no hikes, no boating, no campfires, 
no marshmallows, no mosquitoes. 
Instead, it provides a hands-on intro- 
duction to engineering for girls in 
Worcester County who are entering 
the seventh grade. Applications 
poured in for its first session, held 
last summer on campus. 

The camp directors, Denise 
Nicoletti, associate professor of elec- 
trical and computer engineering, and 
Chrys Demetry, Norton assistant 
professor of mechanical engineering, 
selected 30 campers without regard 
to academic record. They wanted to 
reach girls who might not otherwise 
have explored engineering as a 
career option. They organized Camp 
REACH with help from WPI's Minor- 
ity Affairs and Outreach Programs 
Office, and with funding from the 
National Science Foundation. 

"For some reason, many girls in 
this age group begin to lose interest 
in math and science, and start to fall 
behind the boys," Nicoletti says. 
"We want to catch them before 
that happens. It's a detriment to the 
community when a large segment 
of the population is left out of mak- 
ing decisions about engineering 

Often, the girls whose math and 
science test scores fall in adoles- 
cence are the same ones who earlier 
showed aptitude in those disciplines. 
While the reasons behind the decline 
are still being debated, the implica- 
tions are all too clear: the number 
of women pursuing careers in math 
and some sciences has increased 
sharply since the late 1 970s, but the 

growth is not as strong for women 
going into engineering. 

To pique girls' interest in engi- 
neering as both a career and a collab- 
orative process for solving everyday 
problems, Nicoletti and Demetry 
organized the camp curriculum 
around several community-based 
engineering projects for Worcester- 
area clients. Working in three teams, 
campers redesigned the supplies and 
recycling room at a day care center, 
designed a toy and book storage area 
for a hospital pediatric ward, and put 
together an information resource 
for parents of premature infants in 
a neonatal intensive care unit. They 
also participated in on- and off- 
campus workshops that focused on 
various specialties within engineering. 
A favorite, conducted on a Cape 
Cod beach, encouraged campers 
to "examine the building dynamics 
and material properties of sand." 
They built sand castles. 

The camp experience will res- 
onate throughout the community 
and beyond, Nicoletti says. "I think 

Camp REACH will make a significant 
contribution because it involves a 
wide range of people — not only the 
campers but their parents, several 
high school students who serve as 
counselors, the teachers and the 
clients. All those groups see what 
college life is like at WPI. The camp- 
ers were so excited to be in a col- 
lege atmosphere — just to eat in the 
cafeteria and sleep in the dorms." 

The end of the two-week camp 
signified the start of the next phase 
in the relationship between the girls 
and WPI. Nicoletti and Demetry will 
bring the campers back for a reunion 
and a follow-up on their projects. 
Some could come back to campus as 
members of WPI's Class of 2007. It's 
difficult to predict the choices 1 2- 
year-olds will make within the hour, 
let alone years from now. But there 
is one certainty: 30 Worcester 
County girls had their educational 
interests broadened and career 
options expanded when WPI 
reached out to its young neighbors. 

Improve Community 
Relations and Diversity 

At Worcester's Burncoat 
Middle School are campers 
Joslyn Foley, left, and Erin 
Dalianis with, from left, 
Denise Nicoletti, Chrys 
Demetry and Assistant 
Principal Alice Bowen. 

il^jCK'?2^ttcN e i^i>o^o?iL- 

The progress made by the WPI community toward the development of a new strategil 

the only reason to look back on the academic year just concluded. WPI also became one of the firs] 

criteria. It inaugurated its 14th president. And, aided by an award-winning World Wide Web site, it recorded an 

Brings Rewards 
for WPI and Its 

Engineering accredita- 
tion figured prominently 
in the events of 1996-97, 
although two of the 
most significant devel- 
opments occurred after 
the academic year offi- 
cially closed. In the first, 
WPFs programs in 
chemical, civil, electri- 
cal, manufacturing and 
mechanical engineering 
were re-accredited and 
the program in industrial engineering 
gained initial accreditation by the Accredita- 
tion Board for Engineering and Technology 
(ABET). In the second, WPI president 

President Parrish accepts 
the Fellow of ABET Award 

colleges and universities, 
bestowed its 1997 Fellow of 
ABET Award on Parrish. 
WPI's president was one 
of three educators honored 
for giving "sustained quality 
service to the engineering 
profession, in general, and 
to engineering education, 
in particular, through the 
activities of ABET." 

Parrish was honored for 
his leadership of ABET's 
Engineering Accreditation 
Commission and the com- 
mission's Criteria Commit- 
tee. The committee paved 
the way for the creation of a new approach 
to accrediting engineering programs, one 
that departs dramatically from the method- 
ology ABET has employed for decades. 

Edward A. Parrish received one of the high- Called Engineering Criteria 2000, the new 

est honors bestowed by ABET. The com- 
mon thread in both events was a bold new 
set of engineering accreditation criteria 
developed under the leadership of Parrish 
and first applied to WPI and one other tech- 
nological university. 

In October 1997, at its annual meeting 
in Washington, D.C., ABET, the organiza- 
tion responsible for accrediting engineering 
and technology programs at the nation's 

approach shares many of the qualities of 
the WPI Plan, the University's outcomes- 
oriented curriculum. In a major address 
to the ABET annual assembly, Parrish ex- 
plained why the new criteria were needed. 

He noted that ABET's criteria had 
expanded from 1 V4 pages of simple precepts 
in 1957 to 19 V2 pages of detailed rides by 
1997. Accounting for a significant portion of 
the growth were increasingly detailed and 

prescriptive discipline-specific criteria 
requested by various engineering profes- 
sional societies and associations. The result, 
he said, was "a document that some view as 
encouraging a 'cookie-cutter' approach to 
engineering education. ...Consequently, the 
emphasis has been on examining what 
courses students passed rather than what 
they learned and could do, as well as a lack 
of encouragement for experimentation with 
new pedagogy or curricula." 

In the early 1990s, concern about 
ABET's bean-counting approach to accredi- 
tation came to a head. The organization's 
board appointed the Accreditation Process 
Review Committee, which confirmed the 
need to overhaul the criteria. In 1994, with 
support from the National Science Founda- 
tion, ABET sponsored a series of workshops 
on accreditation. The criteria workshop, 
chaired by Parrish and Ira Jacobson, chair- 
elect of ABET's Engineering Accreditation 
Commission (EAC), brought together 60 
participants from industry, government and 
academia, who recommended that ABET 
throw out its existing criteria and build a 
new set of rides from the ground up. 

Over the course of a year, the Criteria 
Committee developed new criteria, called 
Engineering Criteria 2000, that were unani- 
mously approved at the 1995 annual meet- 
ing of the EAC. In November 1995, Parrish, 


FALL 1997 



Ian (see pages 2-11) was one of the most significant events of 1 996-97, but it is not 

wo universities in the United States to be evaluated under a new set of engineering accreditation 

xceptional year in admissions. Here are the details behind these and a number of the year s other accomplishments. 

as newly elected EAC chairman, brought 
the new criteria before the hill ABET board, 
which also approved them unanimously. 

Because of the major philosophical 
change represented by the new criteria, they 
are being phased in between now and 2001. 
In the interim, five universities are being 
evaluated under the new rules in a pilot test 
program. Because of its experience with out- 
comes-oriented education, WPI was asked 
to be one of the first two schools to experi- 
ence Engineering Criteria 2000. 

A team of visitors arrived at WPI in the 
fall of 1996 to begin a thorough review of 
six of the university's engineering programs. 
The exercise proved a learning experience 
for ABET and WPI. ABET learned from 
WPI's experience with designing and imple- 
menting outcomes-oriented programs and 
WPI gained insight into the strengths and 
weaknesses of its own methods for measur- 
ing outcomes. The result, accreditation for 
all six programs, was a significant accom- 
plishment, Parrish says. "A great many 
members of the faculty and administration 
worked hard to prepare for the ABET visit 
and to compile the information ABET 
needed to evaluate our programs," he says. 
"I think the positive outcome is as much a 
tribute to their tremendous effort, as it is an 
affirmation of the quality of the education 
we offer." 

Student Authors/Web Help Snare 
Record Applicant Pool 

WPI had one of its most successful admissions 
years ever in 1996-97. More than 3,100 stu- 
dents applied for admission to the Class of 
2001, the largest applicant pool in the Univer- 
sity's history. When all was said and done, 688 
of those students matriculated in the fall of 
1997. The class, one of die largest and most 
academically accomplished that WPI has 
enrolled, included 155 women and 34 students 
of color. W 7 ith these additions, the proportion 
of women and students of color in the under- 
graduate student body rose to 22 percent and 
4.8 percent, respectively. 

The Admissions Office credits some of 
its success to the W ; orld W^ide Web. WPI 
was one of just a few universities in the 
nation to offer prospective students the 
opportunity to submit an application 
through the Web last year. WPI's Web 
form was unique in enabling students to save 
a partially complete application if they need- 
ed time to obtain information or to think. 
Nearly half of applications for the Class of 
2001 were received electronically — 800 over 
the Web and another 700 on computer disk. 

The content and design of the Universi- 
ty's W A eb site may also have played a role in 
the successful admissions year. The site was 
recognized for its completeness and utility 
by two publications. NctGuide, an online 

magazine about the Internet, named WPI's 
W^eb a Gold Site, a designation reserved for 
the top places on the Web. WPI was one ot 
1 5,000 sites so honored. WPI was one of 
300 colleges included in Your Personal Net- 
College 1997, a guidebook that rated the 
technological sophistication of schools. WPI 
earned a perfect 5 out of 5 "wired" rating 
and an A+ rating for its Web site. 

Another plus for the Admissions Office 
was its 1996-97 viewbook — the glossy 
marketing publication sent to prospective 
students. In an innovative move, the office 
asked some WPI students (above) to write 
the book. "If there's one thing college stu- 
dents are always willing to share, it's their 
opinions," notes Robert G. Voss, executive 
director of admissions and financial aid. "If 
there's one thing prospective students most 
want to hear as they move through the col- 
lege admissions process, it's the opinions of 
students already attending the school the) 
are interested in applying to." The book 
garnered high praise from students, parents 
and college marketers, Voss says. 

WPI Installs 14th President 
With Style 

On Sept. 20, 1996, in a ceremony in Har- 
rington Auditorium, Edward A. Parrish 
accepted the WPI charter and the mantle 
of leadership, formally becoming the Uni- 




versity's 14th president. In addition to the 
formal installation event, the daylong inau- 
guration included a luncheon for about 
1,800 guests under a huge white tent, a 
symposium on the future of technological 
education held in Alden Memorial, a recep- 
tion in Higgins House that showcased the 
performing arts at WPI, and a gala dinner 
back in Harrington. 

Special guests included Claire Gaudiani, 
president of Connecticut College, who deliv- 
ered an inspirational address during the 
installation ceremony, and symposium partic- 
ipants Eleanor Baum, dean of the School of 
Engineering at Cooper Union; Douglas 
Bowman, director of electronics and infor- 
mation technology at Lockheed Martin Cor- 
poration; Frederick E. Hutchinson, president 
of the University of Maine; David A. Kettler, 
executive director of science and technology 
at Bell-South Corporation; Mark M. Little, 
vice president for power generation at GE 
Power Systems; and George D. Peterson, 
executive director of ABET. 

John Nelson and Ed Parrish take a mo- 
ment to relax after the board chairman 
formally installed WPI's 14th president. 

In his address, titled "Making a Differ- 
ence," Parrish pointed to the "clarion calls" 
for change in technological higher educa- 
tion that have been sounded by industry, 
government and academia, and to the 
national studies that have made recommen- 
dations for improving the quality and effec- 
tiveness of technological education. "As one 
of a relatively small number of technological 
universities in this country," he said, "WPI 
has a special responsibility in helping to 
meet those challenges. It is in these chal- 
lenges that I envision great opportunities for 
WPI over the next decade." 

In fact, he noted, WPI, with its consider- 
able experience in project-based learning and 

outcomes-driven education, is in an excellent 
position to lead the "cultural change" that 
will sweep the nation's universities. (The 
complete text of Parrish's address and a 
report on his inauguration can be found in 
the December 1996 WPIJounml). 

New Initiatives Improve Student 

WPI added a number of new 
services and programs for its 
students during the academic 
year. The first is aimed at help- 
ing undergraduates become 
better leaders, communicators, 
team members and team 
builders — skills that are highly 
valued by business and industry 
today. Called LEAP (Leader- 
ship Education and Practice), it 
is a four-year self-assessment, 
education, training and practice 
process established to prepare 
undergraduates for their future 
roles as professionals. 

LEAP was the brainchild of 
Yvonne Harrison, director of 
the Career Development Cen- 
ter, Andrea Dorow, assistant 
director for student activities, and Thomas 
Balistrieri, director of student development 
and counseling. An advisory board made up 
of 1 8 representatives from the business and 
Worcester communities and the WPI facul- 
ty 7 , staff and student body helped plan the 
noncredit program, which was offered to 75 
students during its initial year. "LEAP is a 
cutting-edge program unlike any other in 
the country," Balistrieri says. "It gives WPI 
students leadership opportunities few other 
universities can offer." 

In another pilot program, 12 members 
of the Board of Trustees (many of whom are 
WPI graduates) have been paired with a like 
number of undergraduates, with whom they 
have been exchanging personal and profes- 
sional experiences. The Trustee/Student 
Mentor Program was the idea of trustee 
Leonard E. Redon '73, Rochester site ser- 
vices manager for Eastman Kodak Co. 

WPI expanded its commitment to its 
international students last year by creating 
the Office of International Students and 
Scholars, headed by Tom Hartvig Thom- 
sen, associate dean of student life, who has 
been WPI's international student advisor for 
many years. The office, located in the new- 
International House, just south of the main 
campus, is responsible for helping interna- 
tional undergraduate and graduate students 

make the transition from their home coun- 
tries and cultures to life at WPI. 

Also located in International House is 
WPI's new English as a Second Language 
(ESL) program. Directed by Billy 
McGowan, the program helps foreign stu- 
dents prepare for studies in science or engi- 
neering at American universities through a 

LEAP participants Jennifer Shemowat '00, left, and 
Nila Almstrom '00 with Kevin Donohue, manager of 
human resources for Lockheed Martin, which sup- 
ported the program with a gift of $5,000. 

five-week summer English program with a 
focus on technical terms and phrases. In 
addition, McGowan serves as a resource to 
WPI's international students and offers ESL 
instruction to the University's international 
students and teaching assistants. 

"I hope International House will help 
our international students and scholars cre- 
ate a sense of community," says Thomsen. 
"I envision it as a center for international 
education that will draw on the diverse 
resources of the campus." 

At International House are, from left, 
Tom Thomsen, Janice Martin, inter- 
national student office assistant, and 
Billy McGowan. 


FALL 1997 


Commencement Focuses on 
Global Opportunities 

WPI's 1 2*>t H Commencement exercises on 
May 24, 1997, were dedicated to the theme 
"( rlobal Perspectives: The Key to the New 
Millennium." The theme reflected the need 
for today's technological professionals to 
gain global experience and an appreciation 
for other cultures. It was also an opportunity 
to showcase WPI's recognized leadership in 
global technological education. WPI award- 
ed 810 degrees during the ceremony: 580 
bachelor's degrees, 218 master's degrees and 
12 Ph.D.s. 

The speaker 
was R. Nicholas 
Burns, then the 
Department of 
State's principal 
assistant secre- 
tary for public- 
affairs and cur- 
rently U.S. 
ambassador to 
Greece. Burns 
noted that the 
Information Age and the "International 
Age" are changing the world and presenting 
today's graduates with new challenges and 
opportunities. "Like it or not," he said, "our 
fate is to be a nation of global interests and 
global responsibilities." 

1 lonorarv decrees were awarded to 
Burns and three international business lead- 
ers: Martin G. Bromberg '51, retired chair- 
man of Industria e Comercio Brosol Ltda., 
in Brazil; Douglas R. Starrett, chairman 
and CEO of L.S. Starrett Co. in Athol, 
Mass., and Dennis H.S. Ting, chairman of 
Kader Holdings Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong. 

More Highlights of the Year Past 

Sixteen tenure-track faculty members 

joined WPI during the academic year. They 
include provost John F. Carney HI, who is 
also a professor of civil and environmental 
engineering, and new professors in the 
departments of Biology and Biotechnology, 
Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Bio- 
chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engi- 
neering, Computer Science, Electrical and 
Computer Engineering, Management, and 
Mechanical Engineering. 

Formally recognizing a collaboration 
that has existed for a quarter of a century, 
WPI and the University of Massachusetts 
Medical Center established a joint Ph.D. 
program in biomedical engineering. 
Graduates will receive degrees from WPI 
and UMMC's Graduate School of Biomed- 
ical Sciences. The program offers shared 
courses and options to do thesis work at 
either institution. "The marriage between 
WPI and the UMass Medical Center is an 
important step forward that neither institu- 
tion could have achieved alone," said Dr. 
Thomas B. Miller Jr., dean of the UMass 
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

WPI's Career Development Center 
moved into new quarters in the lower level 
of the Project Center. The attractive new 
home for the University's career services, 
Cooperative Education Program and Major 
Selection Program includes private inter- 
view rooms, a computer resource room, and 
a lounge for recruiters. 

Leah Vetter, the first director of the 
Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics 
and Science in Worcester, resigned in Jan- 
uary due to health concerns. James Hamos, 
director of the Office of Science Education 

and an associate professor of cell biology at 
the UMass Medical Center, y\ as named to 
succeed Vetter. Established in 1992 by the 
Massachusetts legislature and located in 
WPI's ( Jordon Library, the academy is a 
public high school that serves 1 1th and 12th 
grade students who have exceptional apti- 
tude for mathematics and science. 

WTI's second all-campus Project 
Presentation Day in April 1997 brought 
dozens of corporate executives and repre- 
sentatives of other organizations and agen- 
cies to campus to hear undergraduates talk 
about the results of Major Qualifying Pro- 
jects. The more than 250 projects presented 
were the culmination of work in 12 academ- 
ic departments. 
A highlight of 
the day was the 
annual I lull 
Memorial Lec- 
ture, delivered 
by Peter Senge, 
director of the 
Center for Orga- 
nizational Learn- 
ing at MIT's 
Sloan School of Management and author of 
The Fifth Discipline. 

A new online resource is helping WPI 
alumni stay in touch with their alma mater 
and with each other. Called the Alumni 
Gateway, the Web site ( 
alumni/gateway.html) enables alumni to 
search for information (including e-mail 
addresses) about fellow graduates, post class 
notes for The Wire, review job listings from 
WPI's Career Development Center, create 
W^eb pages, and participate in e-mail discus- 
sion groups. 

Milton P. Higgins helps WPI rededicate 
Boynton Hall after renovations in 1978. 

WPI Loses a Dear Friend 

Milton P. Higgins, grandson of the first 
superintendent of WTI's Washburn Shops, 
died in February 1997 at the age of 93. 
A member of the WPI Board of Trustees 
for 31 years (he chaired the board from 1971 
to 1978), Higgins was chairman of the WPI 
Centennial Fund (1965-68), which made 
possible the construction of Goddard Hall, 
Gordon Library and Harrington Auditori- 
um. He is commemorated on campus by 
the Milton P. Higgins Lecture Hall in the 
Washburn Shops and by Higgins Laborato- 
ries, WTI's recently renovated mechanical 
engineering building, which is named for 
the Higgins family. 

Members of the Higgins family have 
been closely tied to the affairs of WPI since 

its founding. In addition to Milton Prince 
Higgins (who along with George Ira Alden, 
WPI's first professor of mechanical engineer- 
ing, helped found Norton Company), they 
include his father, Aldus C. Higgins, Class of 
1893, a trustee for nearly three decades and 
a president of the WPI Alumni Association, 
and his uncle, John Higgins, Class of 1896. 
A 1928 graduate of Harvard, Milton P. 
1 liggins was president of Norton Company 
from 1946 to 1961 and chairman until his 
retirement in 1974. He was a benefactor 
and board member of numerous Worcester 
institutions and organizations, including the 
Worcester Art Museum and Clark Universi- 
ty. He leaves his wife, Alice (Coonley), three 
sons, two daughters, and 11 grandchildren. 

WTI Journal 



Moving Ahead on All Fronts 


The Office of University Relations 
performs a multitude of services for 
WPI, but they boil down to three 
basic responsibilities: raising resources to 
help the University fulfill its mission of edu- 
cating tomorrow's leaders; building the 
image and enhancing the reputation of the 
University; and helping alumni stay in touch 
with and connected to their alma mater. 
During the 1996-97 fiscal year, the office 
made progress on all of three fronts. 

In resource generation, WPI had a suc- 
cessful year, recording some $7 million in 
gifts of cash and gifts-in-kind and over $4.2 
million in new pledges from individuals, 
corporations, foundations, friends and oth- 
ers. Our annual giving program raised more 
than $1.45 million in funds that can be 
immediately spent to help WPI meet the 
expenses associated with providing a high- 
qualitv education to its students. More than 
$1.2 million of that total came from alumni 
(a new record), which was part of the $2.6 
million (including corporate matching gifts) 
raised last year through the Alumni Fund. 
The Alumni Fund Board, chaired by Anne 
M. McPartland Dodd '75, and the annual 
giving staff are to be commended for mak- 
ing it all happen. 

Other highlights of the annual giving 
program include the $10,000 raised by the 
Class of 1997 through the Senior Class Gift 
Program — the first such program organized 
in several years — and the significant 
progress made in setting up the Class Agent 
Program. That program is aimed at increas- 
ing participation in the Alumni Fund by 
having alumni receive solicitations from 
their classmates. 

The President's Advisory Council cele- 
brated its 25th anniversary last year. The 
organization, made up of alumni, parents 
and friends who make gifts to WPI of 
$1,500 or more, was founded by trustee 
emeritus Leonard H. White '41. Henry W. 
Nowick '56 completed a long and produc- 
tive term as PAC chairman in 1996-97. 
Bringing things full circle, David H. White 
'75, Len's son, has become the new chair- 
man. The PAC celebrated its anniversary by 
hosting a number of Presidential Forums — 
including events in Newport Beach and 

Santa Clara, Calif. — focused on WPI's 
Global Perspective Program. 

An expanded marketing program 
resulted in a significant increase in interest 
in the various deferred giving vehicles WPI 
makes available to potential donors. These 
vehicles enable individuals to realize a finan- 
cial return from their gifts during their life- 
time. Over the course of the fiscal year, 
WPI received 56 deferred gifts totaling 
more than $1.7 million. Another highlight 

"The year ahead promises to be 
an exciting one. Most important, 

the University will prepare to 

formally launch its next major 

capital campaign? 

of the year was recorded by the Anniversary 
Gift Program. At Reunion in June 1997, the 
Class of 1957 presented President Parrish 
with a check for $2.3 million, an exciting 
new record for class gifts. The Class of 1947 
raised more than $203,000. 

WPI's efforts to raise its visibility yield- 
ed a great deal of coverage in local, regional, 
national and international media (including 
The New York Times, USA Today, the Moscow 
Times, die Caribbean Business News and New 
Zealand Television). One of the biggest 
splashes was made by three students who 
identified a security hole in Microsoft 
Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser 
(see "A Shortcut Into Computer History," 
Summer 1997 Journal). Their discovery 
resulted in worldwide coverage. 

A documentary featuring WPI's state- 
of-the-art fire science laboratory, originally 
broadcast in July 1996, proved to be one of 
the most watched programs in the history 
of the Discovery Channel. Check your local 
television listings this winter for a Discovery 
Channel program featuring a student 
project that resulted in a high-tech safety 
system for the Providence & Worcester 
Railroad and a two-hour History Channel 
documentary on fire featuring our fire pro- 
tection engineering program. 

The WPI Alumni Association, in an 
effort to assure that the association and 
WPI's Alumni Affairs Office will be pre- 
pared to serve the needs of WPI graduates 
well into the next century, began work on a 
new five-year master plan. Under the lead- 
ership of Robert E. Maynard Jr. '63, the 
association's Executive Committee devel- 
oped a draft plan and appointed four task 
forces to address issues the committee 
believes are of particular importance to the 
association's future: 

* Lifelong Learning: determining ways for 
WPI to provide career services to alumni 
and to help them continue to renew their 
professional skills. 

* Communications: exploring ways to 
enhance communications to alumni 
through publications, class boards of direc- 
tors and the online Alumni Gateway. 

* Global Programming: re-examining die 
concept of regional alumni clubs and looking 
for opportunities for interaction between 
WPI and its alumni on a global scale. 

* Organizational Structure: reassessing 
the structure of the Alumni Association 
and reviewing and updating its by-laws to 
reflect the new vision and initiatives evolv- 
ing from the master planning process. 

The year ahead promises to be an excit- 
ing one. Most important, the University 
will prepare to formally launch its next 
major capital campaign, which will provide 
the resourses WPI needs to implement its 
emerging strategic vision for the future. 

During the past fiscal year, board 
vice chairman Ronald L. Zarrella '71, 
vice president and group executive for 
General Motors Corp., agreed to serve as 
chairman of the Campaign for WPI. As 
chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees, 
John M. Nelson, chairman of The TJX 
Companies Inc., began visiting members 
of the board to request their participation 
in the drive. 

Work also continued within University 
Relations on putting in place the necessary 
volunteer and administrative infrastructure 
for a major fund-raising effort. If all goes as 
planned, the campaign will begin in the fall 
of 1998. 



"J\AC^i\ , - MC 


( l i 


nancial Statements of the University for the Fiscal Year 1997 • A Supplement to the WPI Journal 



The Board of Trustees 
Worcester Polytechnic Institute: 

We have audited the accompanying statements of financial position of Worcester Polytechnic Institute ("WPI" or "the 
University") as of June 30, 1997 and 1996, and the related statements of activities and cash flows for the years then 
ended. These financial statements are the responsibility of the University's management. Our responsibility is to 
express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audits. 

We conducted our audits in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. Those standards require 
that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of 
material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in 
the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made 
by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a 
reasonable basis for our opinion. 

In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial 
position of WPI as ot June 30, 1997 and 1996, the changes in its net assets and cash flows for the years then ended 
in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. 

^^^ ? '^^W^ 

Boston, Massachusetts 
September 28, 1997 


Statements of Financial Position 

June 30, 1991 and 1996 


Cash and cash equivalents 

Accounts receivable, net 

Accrued income receivable 

Contributions receivable, net 


Deposits with trustees 

Prepaid expenses and other assets 

Notes receivable 

Intermediate and long-term investments 

Land, buildings and equipment, net 

Total assets 

Liabilities and Net Assets 

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 
Deposits and deferred revenues 
Short-term portion of long-term debt 
Annuities payable 
Funds held for others 
Refundable government loan hinds 
Long-term debt, net 
Commitments (Note 9) 

Total liabilities 

Net assets: 

Temporarily restricted 
Permanently restricted 

Total net assets 

Total liabilities and net assets 



$ 14,473,586 

$ 8,897,041 















































The accompanying notes are an integral pan of the financial statements. 


Fall 1997 


Statement of Activities 

for the year ended June 30, 1997 

Operating revenues: 
Tuition and fees 

Less: Unrestricted student aid 
Endowed scholarships 
Externally funded student aid 

Total student aid 

Net tuition and fees 

( )ther educational operations 


Contract and exchange transactions 

Investment income on endowment 

Net realized and unrealized gains on endowment, expended 

Other investment income 

Gain on sale of real estate 

Sales and services of auxiliary enterprises 


Total revenues 

Net assets released from restriction 

Total revenues and other support 

Operating expenses: 

Instruction and department research 

Sponsored research 

External relations 

Institution and academic support 

Student services 

Operation and maintenance of plant 

Auxiliary enterprises 

Total operating expenses 

Change in net assets from operating activities 
. Nonoperating: 

Realized and unrealized gains 
Loss on refinancing 

Change in net assets from nonoperating activities 

Total change in net assets 
Net assets beginning 

Net assets ending 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of the financial statement. 

Temporarily Permanently 
Unrestricted Restricted Restricted 


$ 49,183,646 

$ 49,183,646 














$ 1,905,473 





$ 21,089 


































10,479.7 IS 






































WPI Journal 


Statement of Activities 

for the year ended June 30, 1996 

Operating revenues: 
Tuition and fees 

Less: Unrestricted student aid 
Endowed scholarships 
Externally funded student aid 

Total student aid 

Net tuition and fees 

Other educational operations 


Contract and exchange transactions 

Investment income on endowment 

Net realized gains on endowment, expended 

Other investment income 

Gain on sale of real estate 

Sales and services of auxiliary enterprises 


Total revenues 

Net assets released from restriction 

Total revenues and other support 

Operating expenses: 

Instruction and department research 

Sponsored research 

External relations 

Institution and academic support 

Student services 

Operation and maintenance ot plant 

Auxiliary enterprises 

Total operating expenses 

Change in net assets from operating activities 

Realized and unrealized gains 


Net assets released from restrictions 

Change in net assets from nonoperating activities 

Total change in net assets 
Net assets beginning 

Net assets ending 

Temporarily Permanently 
Unrestricted Restricted Restricted 





$ 46,910,644 

$ 46,910,644 














$ 601,906 





$ 28,433 





























































The accompanying notes are an integral part of the financial statements. 


Fall 1997 

Statements of Cash Flows 

for the years ended June 10, 1997 and 1996 



Cash flows from operating activities: 

Change in net assets 

$ 31,428,514 


Adjustments to reconcile change in net assets to net cash provided by operating activities: 

Depreciation and amortization 



Loss on refinancing 



Provision for bad debts 


53,91 5 

Contributions other than cash 



Noncash increase in annuities payable 



Net realized and unrealized gain on investments 



Gain on sale of land 



Contributions restricted for long-term investments 



Investment income restricted for long-term investments 



Changes in operating assets and liabilities: 

(Increase) decrease in accounts receivable 



(Increase) decrease in contributions receivable 



Increase in notes receivable 



Decrease in prepaids and other assets 



Increase (decrease) in funds held for others 



Increase in accounts payable and accrued expenses 



Increase in annuities payable 



Increase (decrease) in deferred revenue 



Net cash provided by (used by) operating activities 



Cash flows from investing activities: 

Proceeds from sales and maturities of investments 



Purchases of investments 



Proceeds from sales of land 



Purchase of land, building and equipment 



Disbursement of loans to students 



Repayments of loans from students 



Net cash provided by (used by) investing activities 



Cash flows from financing activities: 

Receipts of refundable government loan funds 



Contributions restricted for long-term investments 



Investment income restricted for long-term investments 



Deposits with trustees 



Proceeds from issuance of debt, net of discount 



Repayment of indebtedness 



Debt issuance costs paid 



Net cash provided by financing activities 



Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 



Cash and cash equivalents, beginning 



Cash and cash equivalents, ending 
Supplemental cash flow information: 



Interest paid 

$ 2,536,402 


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the financial statements. 

WPI Journal 


1. Accounting 


Basis of Presentation In fiscal 1996, Worcester Polytechnic Institute ("WPI" or the "University") adopted Statement of 
Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 1 16, "Accounting for Contributions Received and Made," SFAS No. 117, 
"Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations," and SFAS No. 124, "Accounting for Certain Investments Held by 
Not-for-Profit Organizations." SFAS No. 1 16 requires that unconditional promises to give (pledges) be recorded as receiv- 
ables and revenues within the appropriate net asset category. SFAS No. 117 establishes standards for general-purpose 
external financial statements of not-for-profit organizations, including a statement of financial position, a statement of 
activities and a statement of cash flows. SFAS No. 124 establishes standards of financial accounting and reporting for certain 
investments in securities and establishes disclosure requirements for most investments held by not-for-profit organizations. 
The University adopted the requirements of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Audit 
and Accounting Guide (the Guide), "Not-for-Profit Organizations," in fiscal 1997. Adoption of the guide resulted in 
changes to the financial statement presentation of die following: 

• Display of student financial aid as a reduction of tuition and fees revenue rather than an expenditure. 

• Allocation of certain expenses (e.g., interest, depreciation and operation and maintenance) by functional category. 
These financial statements, which are presented on the accrual basis of accounting, have been prepared to focus on 

WPI as a whole and to present balances and transactions according to the existence or absence of donor-imposed 
restrictions. This has been accomplished by classification of fund balances and transactions into three classes of net 
assets — permanently restricted, temporarily restricted or unrestricted. 

WPI has defined its primary activities as operating and nonoperating. Operating activities consist primarily of activ- 
ities supporting the educational mission and purpose of WPI. Nonoperating activities consist primarily of endowment 
gifts, unspent appreciation on endowment, and contributions for capital use. 

Net assets and revenues, expenses, gains and losses were classified based on the existence or absence of donor- 
imposed restrictions. Accordingly, net assets and changes therein are classified as follows: 

Permanently Restricted Net Assets Net assets subject to donor-imposed stipulations that they be maintained perma- 
nently by the University. Generally, the donors of these assets permit the institution to use all or part of the income 
earned on related investments for general or specific purposes. 

Temporarily Restricted Net Assets Net assets whose use is restricted by state law or subject to donor-imposed stipu- 
lations that may or will be met by actions of WPI and/or the passage of time. 

Unrestricted Net Assets Net assets not subject to donor-imposed stipulations. 

Revenues are reported as increases in unrestricted net assets unless use of the related assets is limited by donor-imposed 
restrictions. Expenses are reported as decreases in unrestricted net assets. Gains and losses on investments and other assets 
or liabilities are reported as increases or decrease in unrestricted net assets unless their use is restricted by explicit donor stip- 
ulation or by law. Expirations of temporary restrictions on net assets (that is, the donor-stipulated purpose has been fulfilled 
and/or the stipulated time period has elapsed) are reported as reclassifications between the applicable classes of net assets. 

Permanently restricted net assets consist of the following at June 30, 1997 and 1996: 

Endowment funds — original principal 
Split-interest agreements and perpetual trusts 
Student loan funds 

Temporarily restricted net assets consist of the following at June 30, 1997 and 1996: 

Gifts and other unexpended revenues: Instruction, research and institutional support 

Acquisition of building and equipment 

Endowment funds — unspent income and appreciation 
Split-interest agreements and perpetual trusts 








$ 2,661,743 


$ 1,618,288 








Years ending June 30 

Total Operating Revenues (Net of Student Aid) 

1988 dollars (millions) Current dollars (millions) 
1996 1997 1996 1997 



Total Operating Expenses 





Tuition and Fees Revenues (Net of Student Aid) 





Fall 1997 



S 117,376,813 

$ 100,190,366 









At June 30, 1997 and 1996, substantially all of the University's unrestricted net assets were designated for specific 
purposes, as follows: 

Long-term inve