Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

The Institute started to become publicity minded in 1923, having been forced to take action to maintain its enrollment in the face of competition from lower grade, low-tuition schools that had been expanding in New England. Under the direction of Professors Carpenter and Taylor a professional moving picture film of campus activities was made, and subsequently displayed before students at numerous high schools, in theatres and to alumni groups. Throughout the year 1924-25 a series of weekly broadcasts, arranged by Prof. C. J. Adams, was presented from a local station by members of the college staff .

Up to 1925, undergraduate enrollment remained below the 500 mark; it was only 470 in 1924, a reasonable cause for disquietude. The student body was of high calibre, however, and was engaged in a wide variety of activities, most of which were more successful than the varsity athletic contests.

The Interfraternity Council developed, in 1921, a new rushing program which eliminated many of the inequities of free-for-all competition. A hands-off period of five weeks in the fall was inaugurated, followed by a week of intensive rushing and pledging. Delta Tau, a local fraternity since 1906, joined with local chapters in nine other colleges to form Theta Upsilon Omega, in 1924. Merle C. Cowden, who had been active in the consolidation, was chosen to be first national president.

Another new organization on the campus in 1924 was Knights of the Road. Fathered by Robert G. De La Mater, it became popular immediately. Eligibility for election required that a student must have "bummed his way" for 250 miles in following varsity teams.

Skull, the senior honorary society founded by the class of 1912, continued to be regarded as the highest undergraduate achievement. After numerous attempts to secure suitable quarters on the campus, the society was granted the use of the old Magnetic Laboratory as a tomb in 1924. The following spring, Skull announced that a trophy had been procured for


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