PI alumni have achieved success - and occasional fame - in a number of creative endeavors. The field of journalism was an especially popular occupation for graduates during WPI's first half century. Among them, Arthur L. Stone, Class of 1884, stands out, for he may be the only WPI graduate to have founded a journalism school. He went west after graduation to work as a chemist for the Union Pacific, but left railroading to teach science in Anaconda, Mont. He went on to become a reporter for the Anaconda Standard, and was later managing editor of the Daily Missoulian in Missoula. It was then that Montana State University asked him to start its journalism school. Stone served the school as dean for many years.
New England sports fans near the turn of the century enjoyed the pose of two WPI alumni. Harry L. Dadmun, Class of 1891, achieved fame as a runner when he won the national championship in the half-mile event while still a student. After graduation, he became a sports writer for the Worcester Telegram. He left the paper to work for the Worcester Sewer Department and to be secretary for a Rochester, N.Y., baseball team. He eventually returned to the Telegram to resume his writing career. Walter E. Hapgood, Class of 1895, was a sports writer for the Worcester Spy before he joined the Boston Herald, where he was named sports editor after just three years. He later wrote for the Boston Transcript before taking a post as secretary and business manager of the Boston Braves in 1914, just after the team won the World Series. He was part owner of the Rochester, N.Y., Baseball Club and general manager of the Montreal Exhibition Co. before founding and editing the Horsemen's News.
While he began his career as a mechanical engineer, Leon P. Alford, Class of 1896, found his true calling as an editor. He also became one of the country's foremost authorities on industrial engineering and management. In 1921 he founded Management Engineering, and also edited Industrial Management and Manufacturing Industries. He ultimately became vice president of the Ronald Press, which published these and other periodicals. He was also the author of Management's Handbook and Laws of Management Applied to Manufacturing. His achievements won him the Melville Medal and the Henry Laurence Gantt Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
John F. Keyes Jr. '18 was music critic for Worcester's The Evening Gazette for 30 years, a job he landed after working for several manufacturing companies in the Worcester area. He likely covered the early career of Arthur W. Backgren '32, a talented member of the WPI Glee Club who sang with the Worcester Music Festival Chorus while pursuing a career in construction. In time, he decided to leave engineering and move to New York to study voice. In 1944 he won a spot in the chorus of the New York City Opera Co.; a year later he joined the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, where he sang for 20 years. He also did choral work with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.
A William Rogers cartoon from the New York Herald.
William A. Rogers, Class of 1874, left WPI long before graduation to pursue his interest in drawing. He moved to New York City, and over the years his drawings and editorial cartoons appeared in Harper's, Puck, Life and the New York Herald. Among Rogers' most famous works was a Herald cartoon about the Tammany Hall scandal that showed a pyramid of policemen of increasing rank handing bags up. The caption read, "How high up does it go?" "Tammany bought up every copy of the issue from the newsstands," Rogers said.
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