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2003-2004

Edward Alton Parrish to Retire from WPI Presidency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/SEPTEMBER 5, 2003
Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - September 5, 2003 - Edward Alton Parrish, Sc.D., president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has announced that he will retire at the end of this academic year, thereby allowing time for a successful presidential search. Dr. Parrish, who assumed WPI's presidency in August of 1995, oversaw one of the most productive periods of the university's history, despite difficult economic times.

"Under Ed Parrish's leadership, the university began a number of groundbreaking initiatives," said F. William Marshall, chairman of WPI's Board of Trustees. "Ed commenced and completed a strategic planning process, and has completed most of its goals and objectives. He also launched a comprehensive integrated marketing program which has brought us more regional and national attention. I am grateful to him for all he has accomplished on behalf of WPI. He is both professionally and personally dedicated to the university."

"During his tenure here, Dr. Parrish oversaw several academic expansions," said Prof. Robert Kinicki, Secretary of the WPI faculty. "Under his leadership, the campus created new or enhanced teaching and research laboratories in biology and biotechnology, biomedial engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and others, " he said. "Dr. Parrish also had the foresight to improve the campus network infrastructure, making WPI one of the earliest and best 'wired' universities."

"President Parrish was always concerned about the students' needs," said Michael Schwartz, undergraduate student body president. "I would love to see him remain a part of the WPI community as a trustee."

"We're really going to miss him when he leaves. Dr. Parrish has been a tremendous leader," said Fred Costello, president of WPI's Alumni Association. "He has done so much for WPI. He was tireless during our capital campaign, and he has shown great leadership in updating the master plan. The way he related to the alumni association, alumni, faculty and students is a unique combination of attributes. We were so fortunate to have him at a critical time in the university's history."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at WPI," said Dr. Parrish. "It is a very special place and fulfills a special need among American universities. America has enough major research universities, but not enough institutions like WPI that are dedicated to real learning at all levels, and that integrate a robust research program into its intellectual environment. I have long held the view that one should not serve in an administrative position for longer than ten years, so that new ideas about old problems will be more likely to surface. I am now entering my ninth year as president of WPI, so this will be the appropriate year for me to retire. Furthermore, the completion of our $150 million capital campaign is a perfect time for WPI to find new leadership."

According to WPI Board Chairman Marshall, Parrish will stay on as president through the end of this academic year. A search committee is being formed.

About WPI

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.