The Class of 1879 Prize is awarded by the Humanities & Arts department yearly for excellent work in the culminating project for the Humanities & Arts Requirement. These projects must demonstrate exceptional creativity and skill in conceiving, developing, and expressing a theme within any discipline in the humanities and arts.
History of the Prize
WPI has recognized exemplary work in the humanities and arts since 1872, when the department of English and Modern Languages established an award for the best paper in composition classes. At its reunion in 1900, the Class of 1879 endowed this prize for a paper "on a topic of general interest." The endowment was continued by Spencer Miller 1879, who wanted “to encourage graduates of the Institute to develop the art of clear and lucid English in the discussion of engineering subjects.” The Class of 1879 Prize was then awarded annually to the best term paper in the departments of English, History, and Languages until the adoption of the WPI Plan in 1970. In 1983, the department of Humanities & Arts began to award the Class of 1879 Prize to the best Humanities Requirement Projects.
The Class of 1879 Prize has evolved alongside WPI. Today’s prize-winning projects rarely concern engineering subjects, and some aren’t even traditional essays. But we still honor the spirit of Mr. Miller’s prize, to encourage and reward the highest achievements of human expression.
Details for each year's competition are announced in November/December, with a deadline for submission in January. For information on the competition and how to submit your project for consideration, please contact the HUA office at ext. 5246 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Prizes awarded for projects completed the previous year.
Browse Class of 1879 Prize for Outstanding Projects in the Humanities awardees
|1995||John D. Kedziora||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Failure of Command," advisor: James E. Watters
|1995||Nancy L. Round||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Origins of Violent Behavior: A Look at Behavior Genetics, Modern Biology, Serotonin, and the Ethics Involving Criminals," advisor: Thomas A. Shannon
|1995||Patricia L. Panlillo||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Toni Morrison's Women: Strengths and Variations," advisor: Laura J. Menides
|1994||Karl F. Dicker||Winner||Undergraduate||
"A Comprehensive History of Black Baseball," advisor: Deborah Gray
|1994||Scott J. Higgins||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Who Am I? The Problem of Identity," advisor: Bettina Bergo
|1994||Shaun P. Heaney||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Construction of New Union Station: A Product of Worcester's Grade Crossing Problem," advisor: James P. Watters
|1993||Ahmed S. Al-Baiti||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Decorative Art of Door Carving on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands," advisor: David Samson
|1993||Christopher G. McKeever||Winner||Undergraduate||
"From an Alphabet to Strange and Interesting Designs: an Analysis" of Musical Notation," advisor: Douglas G. Weeks
|1993||Henry R. McTague||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Do Animals Have Rights?," advisor: Bettina Bergo
|1992||Chad L. Council||Winner||Undergraduate||
"From Love Comes the Pieces of a Broken Heart - A Play," advisor: Susan Vick
|1992||Kevin M. Parker||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Society of Friends - Antislavery Pioneers," advisor: Steven C. Bullock
"The Monster in the Closet of Our Souls: The Gothic and Wuthering Heights," advisor: Joel Brattin
|1991||Eric R. Bell||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Reagan Administration Foreign Policy Toward Dictatorships: A Comparative Study"
|1991||Matthew R. Bontell||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Flood: A Suite for Brass Quartet"
|1991||Stephen T. Kapushoc||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Knowledge and Vision of Loren Eiseley"
"The Individual in Israeli and Palestinian Literature"
|1990||Bernard L. Dion||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Risk of Slavery: Warning Through Structure in 'Benito Cereno'"
|1990||John A. MacNeill||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Tellurian Suite for Synthesizers, Clarinet and Flute"
|1990||Joseph M. Sabatini||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Machine Gun as a Reflection of America Industry"
|1989||Jeffrey L. Quirke||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Tragedy and the Gothic," advisor: Kent P. Ljungquist
|1989||Paul F. Wojiak||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Obstinacy and Naïveté: The Organized Labor Movement in Worcester, Massachusetts, During the 1930's," advisor: Robert L. Kolesar
|1989||Sharon A. Savage||Winner||Undergraduate||
"How the Organic and Mechanistic Conceptions of Life Apply to the Body and to Medicine," advisor: Iris Young
|1988||Christopher J. Buntil||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Give and Take: Anencephalic Babies as Organ Donors," advisor: Thomas A. Shannon
|1988||Jeanette M. Cheetham||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Mask: a Window to Understand the Eskimos," advisor: Ruth Smith
|1988||Marc J. Champagne||Winner||Undergraduate||
"American Gas Mask Research During World War I," advisor: W.A. Bland Addison
|1987||Edward C. Hein||Winner||Undergraduate||
"A Psychological Assessment of Lee Iacocca," advisor: Patrick P. Dunn
|1987||Richard D. June||Winner||Undergraduate||
"William Carlos Williams' Paterson: the Voice of a Nation," advisor: Laura J. Menides
|1987||Shawn D. Harrison||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Niépce, Daguerre and Talbot: the Motives Behind the Men," advisor: E. Malcolm Parkinson
"Healing and Growing: American Civil War Fiction," advisor: John Zeugner
"I Don't Have to Cry for the Rest of My Life," advisor: Susan Vick
"African Percussion," advisors: David McKay and Richard Falco
"Konrad Adenauer Erster Kanzler der Bundesrepublik," and "Ahnlichkeiten zwichen der Franzozischen Revolution und der Deutschen Revolution von 1848"
|1985||Jeanne M. Benjamin||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Pet-Facilitated Therapy for the Elderly"
"The Light Burning in the Heart: A Comparative Analysis of the Concepts of the Soul in Hinduism, Plato, and Aristotle"
|1984||Barbara Jean Gray||Winner||Undergraduate||
"The Development of American Blackfaced Minstrelsy"
"Facing Nuclear Threat"
|1984||Walter F. Precourt, III||Winner||Undergraduate||
"Henry V: Shakespeare's Ideal King"
|1983||Julie Anne Beberman||Winner||Undergraduate|
|1983||Martin Joseph Pierce||Winner||Undergraduate|