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Letters to the Editor

Touched by fire

The Winter 2004 edition of Transformations is a gem for the ages! The articles have done a wonderful job touching on the great variety of careers in fire protection today. Through my current position at NFPA, I work with many of the more than 75,000 NFPA members from around the world and nearly 7,000 volunteers serving on NFPA technical committees that help write codes and standards that touch virtually every corner of today’s society. Almost all of these individuals are directly involved with safety design, loss prevention, fire mitigation, and other important duties consistent with WPI’s fire protection engineering degree program.

After a quarter century of service, WPI’s program has established itself as a cornerstone in the professional integrity of the fire protection community. WPI has become a household name among fire protection professionals, and I’m looking forward to the next quarter century of service and support from this important source of higher education.

I’m proud to be a WPI alumnus, and doubly proud to be part of the FPE program, knowing that, like WPI, I’m making a difference by helping the world become a safer and better place.

Casey C. Grant ’89 (M.S., FPE)
Assistant Chief Engineer, National Fire Protection Association
Quincy, Mass.

I read with delight the Winter 2004 issue of Transformations, particularly the feature articles concerning fire protection and WPI’s engineering efforts in fire prevention.

My father, Earl G. Page Jr. ’42, who passed away two years ago, devoted much of his professional career to fire prevention. During the time I was at WPI and shortly thereafter, my father was president and chairman of the board of Grinnell Fire Protection Company. He worked closely with officials at WPI to bolster and support the fledgling program on fire protection. As I recall, the company even funded some scholarships. My father was devoted to the cause of fire protection and particularly to WPI, having received a distinguished alumni award [in 1983]. I know he would have been delighted to read the rich and engrossing history of the program that developed over the years.

I followed a slightly different track after graduating from WPI, going on to receive my juris doctor. After practicing for many years with a statewide Florida firm and chairing the firm, I began my own litigation boutique practice of 15 lawyers in West Palm Beach and Stuart. It is always wonderful to stay in touch with WPI and read of the interesting programs available to students.

Stephen C. Page ’74 (HTE)
Stuart, Fla.

I loved the Winter 2004 issue! As a WPI grad in fire protection engineering and knowing several of the FPEs interviewed, I’m perhaps biased—but I really enjoyed it. Helping point out things that FPEs do illustrates some of the more attractive features of our profession. The satisfaction that comes with the fact that we make a difference and save lives and property isn’t bad, either.

Bernie Till ’00 (M.S., FPE)
Orangeburg, S.C.

Family gratitude

I was delighted to come upon the story about my father, Jacob J. Hagopian ’39, in the Winter 2004 issue [“Time Capsule”].

In 1958, our family moved from Los Angeles to San Jose, Calif., which was still a small town in the Santa Clara Valley. Dad had taken a job with IBM’s research laboratory, newly built in the midst of vast apricot orchards. He was their 33rd employee.

Dad was enthusiastic about the future of the computer and often talked to us of its vast potential. Over the years, he loved to tell the story of how a last-resort experiment with a spinning vinyl record and one of our mother’s nylon stockings helped him perfect the method of coating magnetic disks.

I understand WPI’s George C. Gordon Library will host an exhibit of our father’s work in 2006. Were he alive today, I know he would be pleased to have his work on display at his alma mater. On his behalf, I and my brother and sisters extend our warmest thanks to curator Rodney Obien for this honor.

Eva Hagopian Long
Eugene, Ore.

A letter from Ecuador

I’d like to follow up on my profile that appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of Transformations [“…and life”]. I have spent the past five months enjoying the Amazonian jungle, visiting a rainforest-dwelling community, meeting highly respected shamans, learning about medicinal plants, soaking in the hot springs of Papallacta, admiring the work of Otavalo artisans, and being tossed like a fish by the powerful waves of the Pacific. I’ve also been treated to full tuition, living expenses, medical insurance, language training, and airfare to Ecuador—Rotary International has been phenomenally generous in giving me an Ambassadorial Scholarship, which has covered the adventures listed above … and will cover five more months of paradise. By the time my scholarship ends, I will have lived in Ecuador from August 2004 to May 2005.

During the spring semester, I hope to collect oral histories from four impoverished Andean communities. I also plan to collaborate with professors from WPI and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to assess potential student projects involving clean drinking water and irrigation systems. Harnessing wind power may provide the energy necessary to pump water from a river running between two Andean peaks. This would drastically improve the villagers’ quality of life as well as childhood nutrition. Grants from the United States government via the Inter-American Foundation may cover funding and building materials, and I would love to hear from alumni and students with experience and/or interest in this area.

Karen Kosinski ’02 (BT)
Lumbisí, Ecuador

Editor’s note: Learn more about fellowships and scholarships and WPI’s Global Project Centers.


The “Hot Gear” pictures in the Winter 2004 issue of Transformations (“Investigations”) were taken by Jason Kramarczyk ’04 and Melissa Barter ’04, David Hartman ’04, Jonathan Martin ’04, Marc Moseley ’04, and Aaron Vanney ’04.

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