By blending these visions, WPI created a new approach to higher education unlike any that had come before—one that combined theory with practice. This groundbreaking model took concrete form in the university’s first two buildings. Under the clock tower of Boynton Hall, students learned the theory of engineering and science in classrooms and labs. Next door in the Washburn Shops, with its cupola topped by an arm-and-hammer weathervane, they applied that theory in a working manufacturing plant.
The combined dreams of Boynton and Washburn were brought to life with the help of a host of enlightened and generous individuals, including Stephen Salisbury II, who donated the land for WPI’s core campus, served as head of its first board of trustees, and supported the young Institute financially, often through anonymous gifts. Ever since, like-minded men and women have invested their ideas, their labor, and their fortunes in WPI, assuring that it could continue to prepare graduates with the knowledge, the practical skills, and the passion to change the world for the better