Washburn Society

Recognizing those who have given $5 million to $9.99 million


The Washburn Society takes its name from Worcester’s Ichabod Washburn, a blacksmith who had become owner of the world’s largest wire factory by 1865. Washburn also had a vision for a new type of school, one that would replace the age-old apprentice system with a formal educational program for tradesmen. He offered to build a model manufacturing facility on campus to provide practical experience that would augment classroom instruction. The trustees accepted Washburn’s offer, but only after delicate negotiations modified his original objective from training trade apprentices to providing hands-on shop experience for future engineers. This combination of classroom, laboratory, and shop experience became the hallmark of a WPI education and continues to thrive today.

Ichabod Washburn did much to determine the substance and character of WPI, holding true to the institute’s motto of Lehr und Kunst – theory and practice. Through their remarkable contributions, members of the Washburn Society ensure that a WPI education remains of the highest quality and that the institution’s character remains strong and distinctive.


  • Welcome Package

  • Society-specific lapel pin

  • Special recognition gift

  • Recognition on a campus monument to WPI’s most generous benefactors

  • Invitations to exclusive events such as the 1865 Society Dinner

  • Personal concierge contact in the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship to coordinate your personal WPI activities

  • Special access to theater and music performances, private tours, lectures, seminars, competitions, and exhibits

  • Insider e-mail list to be the first to hear breaking news at WPI

  • 25% off your purchases at the WPI campus bookstore