Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

The first awards of the "W" for athletic achievements were made in 1902. As the various sports became more popular among the students, the opposition of the faculty dwindled, but at no time during this period was there much encouragement from the administration, nor recognition of athletics as a factor in education. The financing of the limited program of sports was always a difficult problem, and at various times much pressure was needed to collect athletic dues.

Commencement weeks were rather drab in the early years of Dr. Engler's administration. There was a baccalaureate service, a formal reception at the President's home, a meeting of the engineering societies, and the graduation exercises. Class day had been given up, but the senior class usually had a picnic or a class banquet. Graduation exercises were held in the chapel of Boynton Hall until 1907, when the new laboratory of Electrical Engineering was used for this purpose. In 1908 and in succeeding years, the trustees rented Tuckerman Hall to accommodate the increasing number of graduates and their friends. Among the most noteworthy Commencement speakers were: Dr. Ira Remsen, president of Johns Hopkins University, in 1904, Mayor James Logan in 1908, and Dr. Ira N. Hollis of Harvard University in 1910.

In 1907, a new feature, Tech Day, was introduced during Commencement week. Various field sports, a varsity ball game, and an hilarious baseball contest between seniors and faculty were the events on the program. Similar exhibitions were staged in succeeding years. Graduating classes continued the tradition of planting a class tree, and some classes left permanent monuments in the form of boulders inscribed with their numerals. The class of 1910 was more original; their gift was an attractive stone sundial, erected on the lawn in front of Boynton Hall. The 1911 class gift was more substantial, if not so enduring. They contributed a fund to provide a four-year scholarship for a student from some school in the Middle West, preferably from Illinois. This scholarship went unclaimed until 1913, when it was awarded to an Ohio boy.


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

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