Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

Here was a man with a background of successful administration and teaching, a man with a wide circle of friends in high places, a fluent speaker with a dear vision and a mastery of words. He seemed a modest man, too, for he vigorously opposed the staging of a formal inauguration. He also refused to make public his administrative plans, reserving for the ears of the trustees and faculty his ideas about the reorganization of the Institute.

With Mrs. Hollis, their son and three daughters, he moved into the President's house, remodelled after two years' vacancy, in July. In the succeeding three months he made a complete survey of finances, organization and curriculum, which gave him material for a long list of recommendations to the Trustees in October. At that time he proposed the appointment of a superintendent of buildings and grounds, the election of a dean of the faculty, reorganization of the President's office, and provisions for medical supervision of students. He also announced that he planned to investigate the outside activities of professors and the efficiency of teaching in the various departments. His only public announcement was that he would initiate reforms in the athletic policy and put athletics on a firmer basis. He also put himself on record as being strongly in favor of football. The first outbreak of hazing, however, brought down his wrath on those who had been guilty of submerging freshmen in the pond, and it was immediately apparent that hazing would no longer be tolerated .

Following out Dr. Hollis' proposals, the Trustees appointed Samuel E. Balcom. superintendent of buildings and grounds. At the meeting in April, 1914, a motion was made that Dr. Conant be appointed dean for a five-year period. After some discussion, this motion was laid on the table, never to be lifted. In lieu of an inauguration, the Trustees induced Dr. Hollis to accept a formal reception in the new Bancroft Hotel. It was held in November, 1913, one of the big social events of the year.


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