Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

The first break in the Board of Trustees during Dr. Conant's administration was caused by the resignation of its secretary, Dr. Daniel Merriman, in 1911. He had been living in Boston since his retirement from Central Church three years before, and had found it difficult to attend meetings in Worcester. During the twenty-nine years that he had been secretary-he had been a trustee for thirty-three yearshe had affixed his signature to more than a thousand diplomas. His influence on the Institute and upon individual trustees had been marked. About a year after his resignation, September 18, 1912, he passed away at the age of seventy-four. In his will was a bequest of $1,000 to the Institute.

Rev. Shepherd Knapp, who had succeeded Dr. Merriman at Central Church, also succeeded him as Institute trustee. He was a graduate of Columbia, Yale Divinity School, and New York University. At the same meeting in 1911, the Trustees elected to membership Charles Baker, '93, who had been secretary of the Alumni Association and active in Worcester affairs. He was immediately given the position of secretary, a post which he was to fill for a period beyond the end of this chronicle.

Milton P. Higgins died March 8, 1912. He had been intimately connected with the Institute for forty-three of his sixty-eight years, as shop superintendent and trustee. He was a handsome man, a man of great mechanical skill and administrative ability, a man with a dominating will that made him often a storm center. During the twelve years after he left the Institute he amassed great wealth and gained partial control of several local industries, in two of which he had established his sons, both of whom were graduates of the Institute.

Mr. Higgins lived to accomplish what was perhaps his greatest ambition, the establishment of the Worcester Trade School for Boys, which was really what Ichabod Washburn and some of his contemporaries had intended the Institute to be. Toward the building fund of this school, Mr. Higgins left $25,000. A similar amount was given to the Institute by


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