Spring 1996


It's Time to Give WPI a New Name

To the Editor
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 number 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 "Institute" 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), Worcester 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 reigns. Add to this the fact that, at times, Worcester becomes Worchester or Wooster, 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?

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 Technology 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 unconfusing 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 '44
Carmel, Calif.

Proud of Sacco's Achievement

To the Editor:
Congratulations to Professor Sacco ("Coming Home," Winter 1996) and the entire WPI community. As I sit on a plane traveling my 25,000th air mile for 1996, I realize how much we take air travel for granted, and how little we appreciate the accomplishments of our space program. Professor Sacco 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 experience - 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 become of our fine institution.

David J. Rubinstein '82
Newton Highlands, Mass.

Joe Gale Made a Lasting Impression

To the Editor:
I especially liked the article about Joe Gale in the Winter 1996 issue ("Hey, Joe!"). I graduated in 1958 in mechanical engineering, and I remember Joe teaching me how to weld. Some people make a lasting impression, 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

To the Editor:
I enjoyed the Winter WPI Journal, save one article. The author of the article on the Goat's Head rivalry ("The Case of the Purloined Goat's Head") heralded members of 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, especially 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 competition 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 go at by the rules of the game.

Amy L. Plack '96
Strasburg, Pa.

It Was Alpha Phi Omega

To the Editor:
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 animal.

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 Branford, Conn.

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