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2004-2005

Dennis Berkey to Be Inaugurated as Worcester Polytechnic Institute President on May 20

Senator Kennedy to Deliver Keynote Speech and Receive WPI Presidential Medal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/May 2, 2005
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

Dennis D. Berkey will be inaugurated as 15th president of WPI on May 20.

WORCESTER, Mass. - May 2, 2005 - Dennis D. Berkey, Ph.D., will be formally installed as the 15th president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Friday, May 20, at 2:30 p.m. during a campus-wide celebration on the WPI Quadrangle. The historic ceremony, steeped in tradition, will feature an inaugural address by the president, and a keynote speech scheduled to be delivered by U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whom the university will honor with the WPI Presidential Medal.

The inauguration of Dennis Berkey as WPI president will include some of the traditions established with the university's first such ceremony, 137 years ago: a colorful academic procession, speeches, and the presentation to the president of the symbols of his authority, including the university's original charter. Attending the celebration will be alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, delegates of other colleges, universities and learned societies, government officials, and representatives from business, not-for-profit and civic communities.

The ceremony will begin with the processional, led by ceremonial marshal and WPI provost Carol Simpson, and the invocation. Senator Kennedy will deliver his keynote speech, which will be followed by the highlight of the program, the formal investiture of the president. The investiture will be led by F. William Marshall, chairman of WPI's Board of Trustees, who will be assisted by Robert E. Kinicki, secretary of the WPI faculty and associate professor of computer science, and Kent J. Rissmiller, chairman of the WPI Committee on Governance and associate professor of social science and policy studies.

As his first formal act following his installation, Berkey will present the WPI Presidential Medal to Senator Kennedy in recognition of his more than four decades of distinguished public service and his devotion to the cause of education. The medal was established by the university to recognize individuals who represent the ideal of the "technological humanist," a notion that has been at the heart of WPI's approach to education since its founding in 1865.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy will deliver the keynote address and receive the WPI Presidential Medal on May 20.

"Senator Kennedy has consistently raised his voice in support of university research and education, and has fought to keep Massachusetts a leader in the biosciences and technology fields," notes Berkey. "As a champion for science and technology education, he has no peer."

During his subsequent inauguration address, Berkey will reflect on the past and look forward to the future. He will recall WPI's history and the experiences of previous presidents. In looking at the role of higher education in the coming years, he will stress the importance of leadership and learning, and how WPI is well positioned to impart these crucial skills on its talented student body. The inauguration program will then conclude with a benediction and recessional.

Berkey assumed the office of WPI president on July 1, 2004. He is a recognized leader and innovator whose distinguished academic career includes 30 years of service as a faculty member, an academic department head, a dean, and a provost of a major university.

He received a B.A. in mathematics from Miami University in 1971, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1974. He taught at Miami University for one year before joining Boston University as an assistant professor of mathematics in 1974. He chaired the Department of Mathematics from 1978 to 1983, when he joined the central administration. From 1987 to 2002, he was dean of Arts and Sciences, where his primary concerns were promoting excellence in teaching, recruiting outstanding faculty and reforming the liberal arts curriculum.

He served twice as university provost at BU, from 1987 to 1991 and 1996 to 2004, overseeing 14 schools and colleges, the Boston University Academy, the University Library System, the Divisions of Extended Education and International Programs, a variety of research centers and institutes, and the offices of Sponsored Programs and Environmental Health and Safety.

Berkey's published research is in applied mathematics, the theory of differential equations and optimal control. He is a member of the American Mathematics Society, the Mathematical Association of America and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He has served as a trustee of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Muskingum College and the Huntington Theatre. He is the author of two textbooks, both in their third editions: Calculus and Applied Calculus for Management, Social, and Life Sciences. He was honored in 1978 with Boston University's Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

More details about the inauguration of Dennis Berkey, including information on the ceremony, the traditions and president Berkey, can be found on the Inauguration Web site.