About the Alumni Awards

In 1961, several awards were established by WPI and the Alumni Association Citations Committee to recognize professional achievement by our alumni and service involvement with the Alumni Association and the University. These awards include:

Goat's Head Award for Lifetime Commitment to WPI

This award, created in 2010, recognizes an individual for his/her lifetime contributions to the WPI community at large and reflects the friendship, support, and overall responsiveness to needs and interests provided to students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff over the years. This special award is only presented occasionally.

John Boynton Young Alumni Award for Service to WPI

This award recognizes those young alumni who demonstrate the qualities of WPI's founder, John Boynton, through their energy, commitment, involvement, and noteworthy service to WPI and/or the WPI Alumni Association.

A tinware manufacturer from Templeton, Mass., John Boynton challenged the residents of Worcester to join him in establishing the Worcester Free Institute of Industrial Science. His dedication and commitment to his great cause led to the founding of the university in 1865, and it is these qualities that we seek in recipients of this award.

Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement

This award is named in honor of Robert Hutchings Goddard '08, pioneer in the field of rocketry. Award recipients will have demonstrated exceptional professional achievement in his or her chosen field. Qualifications sought in candidates include, but are not limited to, outstanding leadership skills, business acumen, and innovative approaches to technical challenges, pre-eminence in teaching or research, and/or entrepreneurship.

In 1926, Dr. Goddard's first liquid fuel rocket was launched in Auburn, Mass. Larger scale experiments and a skeptical local government made it necessary for Dr. Goddard, who was to become recognized as the father of the United States space program, to move to New Mexico in 1930. There, he carried on a major series of tests until 1942 at which time he was called to Washington as Chief of Navy Research on jet-propelled planes.

William R. Grogan Award for Support of the Mission of WPI

The William R. Grogan Award, initiated in 1990, will recognize outstanding contributions by an individual in support of the mission of the college and/or for the welfare of its students. A graduate of the class of 1946, William Grogan has spent his entire professional career in the service of his alma mater. He served as a faculty member in the Electrical Engineering Department for 24 years, from 1946 to 1970, before becoming Dean of Undergraduate Studies in 1970. He was among the six member planning committee that designed the WPI Plan, and has been responsible for implementing this unique educational program at WPI.

Humanitarian Leadership Award

The WPI Alumni Association has created a new award to honor alumni who have fulfilled the obligation of their education to serve humanity through creative leadership in either public service or voluntary efforts or through a unique humanitarian achievement that has benefited society.

An alumnus/a, Class Board of Directors, or member of the WPI community may make nominations. Self-nominations are encouraged.

Albert H. Schwieger Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement (by a SIM graduate)

A graduate of WPI's School of Industrial Management (SIM) is selected to receive the Schwieger Award based on demonstrated leadership and effectiveness in management. The person's effectiveness is measured by perhaps starting his or her own successful business or by his or her status in his or her company. His or Her community service is secondary and is considered next.

Herbert F. Taylor Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to WPI

This award is named in honor of Herbert Foster Taylor '12, the first full-time alumni Secretary-Treasurer. Award recipients will have demonstrated an extraordinary personal commitment and exceptional service to WPI and/or the WPI Alumni Association, and through his or her leadership efforts will have affected positive change on behalf of the university.

Herb Taylor returned to WPI in 1920 as a professor of civil engineering and served as part-time secretary of the Association from 1921 until he became the first full-time secretary in 1924. During the next two decades he energetically conceived and implemented a variety of alumni projects that included the Alumni Fund, student recruiting program, a placement bureau, and many other meaningful activities that survive today.

Ichabod Washburn Young Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Award recipients will have demonstrated solid professional advancement in his or her chosen field. Qualifications sought in candidates include, but are not limited to, demonstrated leadership skills, business acumen, innovative approaches to technical challenges, recognized leadership in teaching or research, and/or entrepreneurship.

Named in honor of Ichabod Washburn, the leading industrialist in Worcester in 1865, Washburn offered to build and equip a machine shop for students to practice in the application of the scientific theories they would be learning in the classroom. His vision led to the wedding of theory and practice, heralding an educational approach that we celebrate today in the WPI Plan.  

WPI Award for Distinguished Service

The WPI Award for Distinguished Service was created in 1976 to recognize extraordinary service to WPI by a non-alumnus. Conceived as a special award to be presented only occasionally, the first recipient was Milton P. Higgins, who received the award upon the completion of his 25th year as a member of the WPI Board of Trustees.

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