Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

It was a reasonable appeal, well portrayed, but it did not reach the mark. Four men, three of them trustees, subscribed a little more than half the endowment sought for instruction purposes. Nothing was subscribed for shop endowment, nothing for buildings. Stephen Salisbury contributed $25,000 to the instruction fund, Philip L. Moen $8,000, Lucius J. Knowles $10,000, and Horatio N. Slater $2,500. The following year Mr. Moen increased his gift to $25,000, which the trustees set aside as the Moen Fund.

Up to 1886 there were few other significant contributions. Mr. Salisbury gave $500 annually until his death. Mr. Whitcomb paid the cost of fitting up a laboratory in the basement of Boynton Hall. Sundry small gifts were received from these two, from Jared Whitman, Benjamin Walker, and Philip Moen. The only outstanding addition was a legacy of $5,000 from Lucius J. Knowles.

As the financial problem became more acute the thoughts of the trustees again turned to benevolent Massachusetts, and early in 1886, it was decided that the time was ripe to petition the Legislature for another subsidy. Judge Aldrich assumed the task of delivering the argument before the committee on education in favor of a grant of $50,000. In his speech on March 2 he recounted the history of the founding and traced the progress of the Institute. He then submitted a clear-cut picture of the financial status at that date, and proved that the income from the state grant of 1869 had not been adequate to pay the cost of educating the twenty students a year for whom free tuition must be given, as provided by terms of the grant. He also made comparisons with grants accorded to the Agricultural College and to M. I. T., concluding his plea with an expansion of Senator Hoar's argument that provision for technical education was for Massachusetts "a necessity for self-preservation." Many other friends of the Institute rallied to support the bill in the House, and within two months it became a law. The $50,000 was paid to the treasurer


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