WPI History

Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Archives and Special Collections Department collects, houses, and preserves artifacts and historical records that chronicle the University's history since its establishment in 1865, as well as other manuscripts, rare books, art, and other collections.

Interested in learning about WPI's founders, distinguished alumni, and other aspects of the Institute's history? Our Archives and Special Collections Department recommends that you start here, and if you'd like more information or access to additional resources, contact Margaret Anderson, WPI Archivist, +1-508-831-6112 or archives@wpi.edu.

WPI's Founding Fathers: Boynton, Washburn, and Salisbury

Read the story of how a dream shared by three men, to help educate young mechanics, culminated in the founding of WPI.

Two Towers Tradition

Learn about the story behind WPI's "Two Towers:" Boynton and Washburn.

Story of the WPI Plan

The WPI Plan, a bold experiment in higher education, is detailed in the full text of "A Planning Program for Worcester Polytechnic Institute: The Future of Two Towers."

Distinguished WPI Alumni

Read short biographies and see pictures of some of WPI's most distinguished alumni, including Robert Goddard, Howard Freeman, Elwood Haynes, and R. Sanford Riley. This is an ongoing project of the University Archivist, so more biographies will be added in the future.

A Passion Fulfilled for All to Enjoy

Learn about the history of the Higgins House, which is the Tudor-style mansion located behind Goddard Hall on WPI's campus.

Building on Tradition: The Rededication of Higgins Laboratories

Built in 1942, Higgins Laboratories underwent a dramatic restoration, redesign, and expansion in 1995. Learn how this is helping usher in a new era in mechanical engineering.

An Electric Century: Celebrating 100 Years of Electrical Engineering at WPI

 WPI's Electrical Engineering Departmentwas formally established in 1896, and quickly became one of the most distinguished departments in the nation.

People of the Century

The 100th anniversary issue of the WPI Journal profiled 100 alumni, honoring them for their notable contributions to a variety of fields during the Institute's history.

George C. Gordon Library: Celebrating 40 Years

Dedicated in 1967, Gordon Library celebrated 40 years of service excellence to WPI in 2007. Learn more about the library's history.

Profiles in Innovation

Twelve inventions that changed the world and the WPI graduates behind them are honored on the WPI Corporate Partners Wall in the Campus Center.

Robert Goddard's WPI Years

Learn more about Robert Goddard, creator of the first liquid-fueled rocket, and his connection to WPI. Some of Goddard’s earliest experiments with rockets were carried out in WPI's Salisbury Laboratories.

 
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