Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

of consulting fees that he had been receiving at Worcester, and was to be granted leave of absence for ten months in order that he might revisit Europe for a study of technical education.

Despite the attractiveness of this offer, Dr. Thompson was reluctant to make the change. His health was not good; he was fond of Worcester, where he had a host of friends; and he knew from experience the soul-trying problems incident to the beginnings of a school of this type. In his perplexity he went to Stephen Salisbury for advice. Mr. Salisbury's only comment, when he learned of the offer, is reported to have been the disconcerting question, "How soon are you going?" It was probably enough to clinch the decision. He wrote his letter of resignation on April 12, having previously accepted the election of the Rose trustees.

In this letter of resignation, Dr. Thompson gave a brief account of his stewardship during the fourteen years of his administration, and made numerous suggestions respecting the future of the school. This letter was acted upon by the trustees at the annual meeting in June, at which time they passed lengthy resolutions upon his resignation. Similar expressions of regret were made by the faculty and by the alumni.

A week before Dr. Thompson and his family sailed for Europe he was honored at a dinner, which was attended by about fifty of Worcester's leading citizens and friends from other parts of the state. At that time he was showered with complimentary speeches and by letters from absent associates. Newspapers of the day published generous editorials about him. The Daily Spy characterized his departure as the close of the first period in the Institute's history. "He has guided it safely through its formative and experimental period," the editor wrote.

He has given it a high rank among the educational institutions of the country, an example and a model which has had and will have imitators, more or less successful. He has put a lasting impress upon it, both in its character and in its reputation. It will always be throughout its history,


[WPI] [Library] [Contents] [Back] [Forward]

Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999