May 2011

Commencement Weekend 2011

WPI welcomed graduates, their families and friends, trustees, and faculty to the 143rd Commencement Ceremony on May 14, where over 900 students received their bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. In his remarks, President Dennis Berkey spoke of the learning community at WPI as one of “high academic and ethical standards comprising individuals of a wide variety of views engaged in vigorous work, debate, and contemplation on ways to balance such interconnected goals as economic development, environmental responsibility, and social justice.”

Commencement speaker and CEO of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson congratulated the graduates. “Math, science, and engineering will be critical to addressing the challenges of economic development, energy delivery, health care, and environmental stewardship," he said, "and these will be the most important drivers of job growth and international competitiveness in the years to come.” Tillerson captured a round of applause with his sage advice: “Don’t become captive to your technology. Pick a time each day to turn off your computer or phone and enjoy the world around you.”

The festivities also included an address by Christopher Noble ’11 and the presentation of the Class of 2011 Gift. WPI will enroll its largest and most proficient class in history this fall, a testament to the value of a math, science, and engineering education. To see video highlights of commencement, click here.

Office of Financial Aid

For returning upperclass students:

Financial aid award letters for students returning for the 2011–12 academic year will be mailed around July 1, 2011. Although the deadline of April 15 has passed, the Office of Financial Aid will still accept the 2011-12 FAFSA and WPI Financial Aid Upperclass Application.

For incoming first year and transfer students:

Incoming first year and transfer students who have been awarded Stafford, Perkins, and/or Institute loans in their financial aid award package are required to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and entrance counseling during the summer. Stafford Loans will be processed though the Federal Department of Education at Students will receive reminders during the summer from the Department of Education if they do not complete these processes. The Federal Perkins and WPI Institute loans are serviced by ECSI, which will contact the students via email to complete the processes for these loans.

Accounts Payable

Students will receive their fall bill by email the first week of July. The bills are due August 1. Students may create “authorized users" who then may view eBill statements and make payments online. Instructions and additional information can be found at www.­wpi.­edu/­+bill. Please note that for the fall semester there is a health insurance charge on your student’s bill. If your student has comparable coverage, you may elect to waive this insurance by following the instructions on your student’s bill. The deadline to waive the health insurance is August 1.

Academic Advising

Summer Bridge 2011

Summer Bridge is an opportunity for all students, and in particular for those who have completed the 2010–11 academic year on Academic Warning or Probation, to improve their academic standing, and, in some cases, restore their eligibility for financial aid.

Participation in the program is recommended for students on Academic Warning or Probation who want to improve their academic standing or for students who have struggled academically this year. Successful completion of this program will strengthen financial aid petition applications (if applicable) but will not improve academic standing. Students who do not meet the “Bridge” eligibility requirements but who want to simply improve their study skills may enroll.

Students who have been suspended may submit a petition to request to attend the Summer Bridge program. Successful completion of this program may strengthen the petition requesting to return for the fall semester on Academic Probation. Students in this category should contact the Advising Office to make an appointment with one of the Advising staff prior to submitting the petition to attend the Summer Bridge program.

While the Summer Bridge program is open to all students, students who finish the academic year on Academic Warning or Probation must have passed at least two units of academic work (six courses excluding Physical Education and ROTC courses) during the previous four terms to be eligible to improve their academic standing through the Bridge program. If students are financial aid applicants in this category, the classes they pass during the Summer Bridge Program will be added to the number of courses completed during terms A’10 – D’11 when reviewing their eligibility for financial assistance for the 2011–12 academic year.

Bridge students must enroll in E-Term for two courses of their own choosing plus the five-week Learning and Study Skills course offered through Academic Advising. This course takes a holistic view of learning and includes topics such as stress and time management, reading and writing skills, and group dynamic work. Tuition is $450 and runs Monday through Thursday, May 31 through June 29. Students may register for this course as well as their two E-Term courses on Bannerweb.

If students have received an NR in a “foundation course” (Calculus: MA1021-1024, Differential Equations: MA2051, Statistics: MA2611, Linear Algebra: MA2071, Physics: PH1110-11120, Chemistry: CH1010-1020) they may retake that course here at WPI in E-Term for 50% of the regular tuition.

If you have questions about this program or other summer options for course work, contact Rebekah Schulze in Academic Advising at or +1-508-831-5381.

Gordon Library

The WPI Library staff extends its congratulations to the Class of 2011 on their achievements over their years at WPI. Gordon Library is committed to keeping electronic versions of interactive and major qualifying project reports, discoverable within the library catalog. Alumni may continue to use the library; see for details.

Development And Alumni Relations

WPI Parents Fund

With the generous support of parents, alumni, and friends, WPI is able to continue providing an outstanding educational experience for all students. Through the WPI Parents Fund, you may choose your highest priorities at the university – current-use financial aid, student life, faculty teaching, and research – and make their gift where they feel it will have the greatest impact. Your gift goes to work immediately, helping to benefit our WPI students today.

Please consider joining the other 550 parents who have already made the commitment to WPI this year. You can simplify your giving by using WPI’s secure server at


The WPI athletics department recently honored its student-athletes and teams during its annual awards banquet in Harrington Auditorium. Nearly 500 attendees celebrated the success of the Engineers’ 20 athletic programs. Twelve major awards were presented, highlighting some of the best student-athletes at WPI. These students excel both in their respective sports and in the classroom. The big winners of the evening were seniors Kristin Garza, who took home the Varsity Club Award, and Jeffrey Robinson, who won the Melvin G. Massucco Award. The banquet also marked the second year of the Ray Cherenzia ’73 Award, presented to each team’s unsung hero.

To top the evening off, it was revealed that WPI had secured the Worcester Cup for an unprecedented third straight year. Presented by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, the Cup is awarded to the Worcester-area school with the highest overall winning percentage during the academic year. The 2010–11 Cup marked the sixth victory for the Engineers in the last eight years. Full Banquet Release:

Parents of prospective varsity student-athletes:

Please see the Sports Medicine portion of the athletics website for important information regarding Pre-Participation Medical Clearance. There are important forms with deadlines that need to be met before your child may begin practice. For more information, contact head athletic trainer Mike DeSavage at or +1-508-831-5733.

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