Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

Two well known professors, Howard P. Fairfield and Morton Masius, were raised to full professorship grade in 1919. Samuel J. Plimpton was advanced to assistant professor and granted a year's leave for study abroad. Richard C. Joslin was made assistant professor and, in 1921, professor of Modern Languages. In mid-summer of the latter year, while teaching at the University of West Virginia, he died after a very brief illness. His loss was a severe one, for not only had he been an excellent teacher but his influence in extra-curricula affairs had been very valuable.

A new professor of Chemistry, John B. Zinn, was added to the staff in 1919. He was a graduate of Gettysburg and Johns Hopkins, and had previously been an assistant professor at Amherst. Dr. Zinn became a popular lecturer almost immediately. Among new instructors that year were Harold J. Gay, Harvard, '19, and Charles S. Porter, Amherst, '19, in Mathematics; Harold W. Dows, '18, and Arthur K. Ingraham, '16, in Mechanical Engineering, the latter having served previously, 1916 to 1918. Miss Gertrude R. Rugg, graduate of Wellesley and for two years a secretary in the administrative office, was appointed Registrar. Dr. Benjamin H. Alton was appointed medical adviser, serving for only one year.

Professors and instructors were none too happy about their compensation during this period when the mounting cost of living was reducing their already scant margins. Teachers were also somewhat disturbed by the uncertain future, due to modifications in the terms of the Carnegie Foundation retirement allowances. Faulty estimates of how large a fund was needed to provide for Mr. Carnegie's original plan, and a widening of the field that it was to cover, caused the Board in 1917 to discontinue the allowance promised at the end of twenty-five years of teaching. It also restricted the allowance after age 65 to teachers whose service began prior to November, 1915. To provide for the younger men, however, an insurance and annuity association was formed, into which allotments by the teacher and the college might be paid for


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