Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

foreseen earlier in the year, when the state of Massachusetts called a Constitutional Convention to prepare several important amendments. For several years there had been apprehension not only about the amount of state aid that was being disbursed, but about movements that were already started to demand similar aid for sectarian schools. There was also a growing insistence that public funds be used exclusively to provide public education. The amendment that was submitted to the electorate specified that no grant should be made for aiding any college not publicly owned and exclusively controlled. Friends of colleges that had previously been aided succeeded in inserting a clause to the effect that legal obligations already entered into would be carried out. This clause protected the Institute until the termination of its ten-year grant in 1922. Even so, to all but a few courageous members of the college the damage appeared to be irreparable.

Student activities shared the disrupting influence of the war, not only because the college was in no mood for play, but because so many of the campus leaders had withdrawn for war service. Athletic schedules were curtailed, and minor sports were abandoned. Worcester was overwhelmed by most of its football opponents in 1917, winning only from Rensselaer. That winter basketball was introduced as a major sport, but Worcester had only moderate success in its seven-game season.

The last dramatic production was the Tech Show of 1917, "Too Many Redheads," written by John F. Kyes, Jr., and Oscar H. Forsdale, and staged with much success just prior to the declaration of war. The 1918 Commencement was a subdued as well as an early event. Class Day and other class parties were omitted, and the smallest class, sixty-three, in more than a decade was graduated.

The journal became mired in financial difficulties in 1917, due chiefly to the failure of alumni to pay subscriptions that they had pledged to the Field Fund. One issue a year was given up, in order to reduce printing costs, and in 1918 the


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