Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

opposition and was abandoned. Another knotty problem was what to do about caps and gowns at Commencement. The Class of 1910 was the first to propose such a custom but it did not meet the approval of the faculty. Opposition weakened by 1914, so that class was permitted to wear academic costume. The faculty stoutly refused to appear in such trappings, however, except during the fiftieth-anniversary celebration.

In 1915, some anxiety was felt concerning the fact that Institute enrollment was remaining stationary, although most colleges were reporting a substantial increase. There was much discussion about possible means of developing publicity. One plan proposed by Dr. Conant shortly before his death, and put into effect soon after, was to offer matriculation scholarships to the four applicants who achieved highest grades in entrance examinations.

Dr. Hollis himself contributed one of the major opportunities for Institute publicity when, in December, 1916, he was inaugurated as president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. New York alumni took full advantage of this occasion to stage a banquet in his honor, attended not only by a host of alumni but also by men distinguished in numerous fields. Among the guests were General Leonard Wood, Admiral R. S. Griffin, Engineer-in-Chief, U. S. N., Prof. M. E. Cooley, dean of the engineering school, University of Michigan, Hudson Maxim, L. H. Baekeland, Charles Whiting Baker, editor of Engineering News, and Hon. Charles G. Washburn. This major achievement spurred the New York group to seek approval of a plan to hold a midwinter meeting of the Alumni Association in New York at or about this same time each year. Early in 1917, Dr. Hollis set out on a western tour to visit district groups of the A. S. M. E., making stirring speeches at meetings in several leading cities.

No sharp line marks the transition between the Institute as a mere technical school and its status as a college of engineering. It was early in Dr. Hollis' administration, however, that student attitude, and to some extent graduate opinion,


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