not exactly what he made it, for change and progress come to all
things, but different from what it would have been but for his work
upon it, The spirit and form it derived from him during its most
plastic period will endure longer than the masonry of its building.
President Thompson was inaugurated at Rose Polytechnic Institute on
March 7, 1883. His address on that occasion showed the depth of his
understanding of educational problems. It also indicated that the
scope and curriculum of the new school would follow closely the plans
he had developed at Worcester, except that the course would be of four
years' duration. To assist him in carrying out his plans he had chosen
a faculty of five, two of whom were graduates of W. P. I. William
L. Ames, '82, was the first professor of drawing, and Edward S. Cobb,
'79, was superintendent of the shops. The first graduating class, in
1885, consisted of three Indiana boys who had spent their first year
at Worcester, pending the opening of the Rose Institute, and had
transferred to the new school with President Thompson.
For two years Dr. Thompson gave himself unreservedly to the
organization of the new institution, and became one of the most
respected citizens of Terre Haute. In the spring of 1885 he suffered
an attack of inflammatory rheumatism, more violent than the previous
attacks that he had endured for a number of years. He died on March
17, in his forty-eighth year. His death was a tremendous loss to the
Rose Institute, to the city, and to technical education in
general. Tributes and messages of condolence came from friends and
educational associates throughout the country. He was buried at
Worcester. Thus passed one of the most inspiring leaders in the
history of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Soon after Dr. Thompson had announced his resignation in 1882, the
trustees began the search for a successor. Prof. George 1. Alden was
elected to be acting principal during the interim. The trustees'
search was not very extended, because of the insistence of one trustee
that his candidate was the ideal man for the position. This man was
the Rev. Dr. Homer