Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

polo team was organized, won from Brown and lost to Harvard. Later in the year Tech was sponsor of a big indoor track meet at the skating rink, which aroused much local enthusiasm. It was repeated in 1896 with considerably less success.

Baseball took a spurt for two years, then went into a decline. The football team of 1895 had to disband because so many of its star players were ineligible to play. It was revived the following year, and the seasons of 1898 and 1899 were particularly gratifying. In the spring of 1896, Tech entered a team in the Penn Relays, which won third place. A similar invitation in 1898 was declined because of the expense involved.

Interest in track contests led eventually to the construction of a cinder track on the Boynton Street side of the campus. It was first proposed in 1895, built in 1900. For fifteen years thereafter this was the only athletic field. Another activity that was started in the fall of 1896 was a cane rush between members of the two lower classes. It was won by the class of 1900 for two successive years, and continued for some time to be an event of the season.

The seven graduating classes to whom Dr. Mendenhall said farewell added less than 300 to the alumni ranks. Graduation speakers, for the most part, were men of science. Included among them were Dr. G. Stanley Hall, president of Clark University, Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, superintendent of the Coast & Geodetic Survey, later to be president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Prof. Nathaniel S. Shaler of Lawrence Scientific School. At the 1900 Commencement a tremendous ovation was given to Senator George Frisbie Hoar, only living member of the original Board of Trustees. In response, he spoke of the period thirty-five years earlier, when he and Dr. Seth Sweetser had submitted to the Legislature a petition for the Institute's charter. In conclusion, he said with deep feeling, "The single most pleasant recollection of my life is the recollection of that transaction."


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