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Dean Emeritus William R. Grogan ’46 received the 2012 Goat’s Head Award for Lifetime Commitment to WPI from the WPI Alumni Association on Saturday, Oct. 6, during Homecoming festivities. The Goat’s Head Award recognizes an individual for ...
Dean Emeritus William R. Grogan ’46 received the 2012 Goat’s Head Award for Lifetime Commitment to WPI from the WPI Alumni Association on Saturday, Oct. 6, during Homecoming festivities. The Goat’s Head Award recognizes an individual for his/her lifetime contributions to the WPI community at large and reflects the friendship, support, and overall responsiveness to the needs and interests provided to students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff over the years.
Grogan is considered one of the architects of the WPI Plan, a ground-breaking approach to engineering and science higher education that emphasizes a combination of theoretical study with project-based problem solving. As a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the 1960s, Grogan was a member of the faculty committees that developed the Plan. As WPI’s first dean of undergraduate studies, he was charged with implementing all aspects of the WPI Plan after it was approved. He continues to be an advocate for project-based learning. In fact, after his retirement from WPI, Grogan helped develop the Global Perspective Program into one of WPI’s signature programs.
The Global Perspective Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to complete their Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) in one of more than 35 project centers around the world. The IQP is designed to solve a problem at the intersection of science, technology, and human concern. Early in his tenure as dean, Grogan recognized globalization on the horizon and sought project partnerships in London and Switzerland to help prepare students to be successful and contributing citizens in an ever-shrinking world. Today, more than 50 percent of undergraduates complete at least one academic project off campus, gaining the valuable skills that come from working in teams to identify and solve problems across cultural differences.
Through their projects, WPI students designed and constructed a communal laundry station in Cape Town, South Africa; analyzed greenhouse gas emissions related to food in Lyngby-Taarbaek, Denmark; and implemented programs for students with disabilities at zoos in Victoria, Australia. In other projects, students have brought solar energy to remote tribes in Thailand and helped communities mitigate water conservation and floodwater erosion issues in Namibia. In Venice, student projects range from transportation, canal erosion, and hydrodynamics, to the preservation of public art and artifacts in Venetian churches.
In addition to recognizing his remarkable work implementing what has become a national model for engineering and science higher education, the Goat’s Head Award honors Grogan for the countless hours he has dedicated to mentoring WPI students and alumni to pursue professions and lives of fulfillment. In particular, Grogan has been a mentor to Phi Kappa Theta for more than 60 years.
October 5, 2012