Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

An addition to the campus at Chaffins, purchased in 1930 out of funds from the George 1. Alden Trust, was the Fairbanks property, containing fifteen acres of land, a house and barn. The house was remodelled to serve as headquarters for Camp Stephenson, the summer Civil Engineering camp.

There was much regret in 1928 when the trolley car of the Electrical Engineering department was dismantled. Even though it had long outlived its usefulness with the decline of electric trolley systems, the pride that the college had felt for this car in earlier years was not easy to forget. It had been built in 1907, and for many years had been used for commercial tests, net income from which had reverted to the Institute.

A new course in Aeronautical Engineering was introduced in the fall of 1927, under the direction of Prof. Kenneth G. Merriam, who was appointed Elmer P. Howe professor. It was an option in the senior year of the Mechanical Engineering course, open only to a selected group. A laboratory was established on the top floor of the Washburn Shops, much of the equipment being constructed by students, although some items were contributed by the United States Navy and other organizations. In the early years, ground work and some flight instruction were given at a local airport.

Two prizes of considerable interest to students were established during this period. One was an annual award of $250 by George F. Fuller for the fraternity achieving the highest scholastic rating; the other an award of $50, endowed by the Class of 1879, to go to the student who should write the most acceptable essay on an engineering subject. An additional spur to the achievement of high scholarship, inaugurated in 1928, was the publication of honor lists, in three groups above the 75 per cent level.

What promised to provide a spirited competition between the two lower classes was the revival of the '93 Goat tradition in 1928. The class of 1893 had procured a bronze replica of a goat's head attached to an abnormally small body. At the thirty-fifth reunion of the class, Arthur C. Comins, president,


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