Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

C. Miller, not only submitted a motion for immediate action, but a pledge of $1,000 from the class, on condition that thirty other classes would be equally generous. The Class of 1901, at the same meeting, agreed to raise $2,500 for an undesignated use, later added it to the Field fund. The general alumni meeting directed the executive committee to secure funds "to grade Alumni Field and to build a gymnasium thereon at once.

Within a month the executive committee, headed by Charles Baker, '93, had developed definite plans and had sent its first message to alumni. The goal set was $200,000, half of it for the gymnasium, $25,000 for grading the field - the tract under consideration was still the old Bliss field on West Street, purchased by the alumni in 1909 - and $75,000 for gymnasium equipment and endowment. Dr. Conant asked for the privilege of soliciting the amount needed for the gymnasium, confident that a group of more affluent alumni would respond with individual gifts of $1,000 or more. The raising of the other $100,000 was assigned to Arthur D. Butterfield. The first goal was to be the raising, not later than June, 1912, of enough to grade the field, and by May, 1915, fiftieth anniversary of the Institute, the balance for the gymnasium and its equipment.

Professor Butterfield went into action almost immediately, and by the end of the summer had secured pledges amounting to over $50,000 from nearly 500 alumni. In the fall he was released from teaching duties, and again took to the road, travelling as far as Colorado and Florida, and receiving a cordial welcome from most of those whom he visited. By June, 1912, he had secured pledges amounting to more than $112,000, and had helped Dr. Conant bring his total to $53,000. He took over the balance of the reserved list in the summer of 1912, and by June, 1913, could report that the $200,000 goal had been achieved.

There was delay in proceeding with construction of the project due to a change of plan relative to the location of the


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