Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

Clarence E. Cleveland, '86, vice president of the Alumni Association, read a letter from Mr. Washburn, expressing his regrets that attendance at the Republican national convention made it impossible for him to attend this important event, his third absence since 1875. Mr. Cleveland then formally presented the keys of the building to Dr. Homer Gage, treasurer of the Corporation.

The eventual total cost of the gymnasium and its equipment was about $128,500. The cost of the field and tennis courts was about $56,000, and $24,000 was expended on organization and collection of the funds. The balance of the nearly $300,000 in pledges was applied as collected to the payment of the $60,000 field purchase note and to interest on that account. Nothing was ever available for endowment of the project, and the collection of pledges was to drag over at least two decades, a source of irritation to alumni officers and to the Board of Trustees.

At the end of his first year Dr. Hollis established a custom of submitting to the Trustees a detailed annual report, which was published in the journal. He included an analysis of student enrollment, with causes of withdrawals, and worked out the various unit costs of instruction. In his first report he spoke with fine scorn of the prevalent appraisal of the Institute as a glorified trade school, stating forcefully that "its true function is a professional school. " He also said that in his opinion, "the graduates of the Institute have underrated their own institution." Among the needs that he emphasized were a building for the Civil Engineering department, an assembly room capable of seating the entire student body, and endowment for the purpose of raising salaries. Subsequently, he proposed a system of graded pay for the instruction staff. At that time, 1916, the maximum pay of a professor was $3,500, with an additional $500 if he were head of a department.

The changes in personnel of the instruction force during the first three years of the administration were mainly promotions and the appointment of young instructors, though there


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