Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

and during this period assisted in establishing the first technical schools in the Orient. He then returned to Ohio State University for another three-year term as professor of Physics.

The next call was to the United States Signal Corps, to be professor of Electrical Science. In 1886, after two years at Washington, he accepted the invitation of Rose Polytechnic Institute to become its president, succeeding Dr. Charles 0. Thompson. He held this position until 1889, when President Harrison appointed him chief of the Coast & Geodetic Survey. His achievements in that capacity were noteworthy. He was appointed a member of the Bering Sea and Alaska Boundary commissions, elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and made a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

His administration of the Survey was not unencumbered by politics, however. For some time prior to his resignation in 1894, reports from Washington mentioned interference with the working of the Survey, particularly in the matter of replacing experts by political favorites. During a debate in the House two years later, Mr. Joseph Cannon vigorously attacked the Cleveland administration for "freezing out" Dr. Mendenhall.

Under such conditions the prospects of again enjoying the comparative calm of a college presidency must have been pleasing to Dr. Mendenhall. He had been under consideratlon by the Institute trustees for some time before Dr. Fuller's resignation was in their hands. In the spring of 1894 he had visited Worcester, and had made such a favorable impression that the trustees immediately offered him the position. He accepted promptly, asking only that the announcement be deferred until President Cleveland had accepted his resignation.

Like his predecessors, Dr. Mendenhall spent several months in Europe before taking up his duties at Worcester. He visited various technical schools in England and France, studying their methods of instruction. On his return, early


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

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