Honorary Degree Citation
WILLIAM R. GROGAN '46
DOCTOR OF ENGINEERING, 1990
For countless numbers of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students, faculty members, and administrators, the name William R. Grogan is synonymous with excellence in teaching and educational leadership. But his reputation extends far beyond the university's campus. In engineering education circles he is recognized for his vision, his dedication, and his remarkable ability to cut to the heart of complex problems and find elegant, workable solutions.
Grogan began his WPI career as a student during World War II. He graduated in 1945 as part of the Navy V-12 program and joined the electrical engineering faculty in 1946. Over the course of the next 24 years he became known as an outstanding and creative teacher. Through his mastery of his subject, and his love for his students and his college, he has influenced hundreds of lives and careers. In 1969 he received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching. Had he done nothing more than this, his place in the annals of WPI would certainly have been well earned. But a far more profound role lay ahead.
In the late 1960s he was named to the faculty-elected committee that shaped the WPI Plan, a revolutionary new approach to engineering and science education. When the Plan was complete and approved by the faculty, he was named the college's first dean of undergraduate studies and was entrusted with the critical task of making the Plan work. Since then he has served as mediator and interpreter, helping WPI refine and sharpen what has been called the most significant development in engineering education in many decades. The WPI Plan has been a model for educational innovation at colleges around the country.
For his contributions to this most successful experiment and for his tireless pursuit of excellence in technological education, Grogan has been honored many times. He received the American Society for Engineering Education's Chester F. Carlson Award for innovation in engineering education and its William E. Wickenden Award for the best contribution to engineering education in 1980 for a paper he wrote on the Plan. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the 1986 recipient of IEEE's Major Educational Innovation Award. In 1988 he received the Sterling Olmstead Award from the American Society for Engineering Education's Liberal Education Division.
WPI has also recognized the accomplishments of Bill Grogan. In 1974 the college bestowed on him the Robert H. Goddard Award for Professional Achievement. Last year it chose him to receive the first Trustees' Award for Outstanding Service. And now, for his contributions to the university and his service to higher education, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is proud to confer upon William R. Grogan the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.