1865 Society

WPI Honors its Most Generous Donors

WPI celebrated its most generous donors on October 28, 2010, with the launch of the 1865 Society, a new donor society to recognize those who have completed gifts of $1 million or more to the university. 

The 65 inaugural members of the 1865 Society have contributed just over $118 million to support scholarships, professorships, academic programs, annual giving and capital projects that continue to advance the mission of WPI. These individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations are commemorated on a new, permanent campus monument located outside the main entrance to the Campus Center. The monument was installed on Oct. 27, 2010, and a special celebration honoring 1865 Society members was held on Oct. 28. 

The 1865 Society aptly takes its name from WPI’s founding year and reflects the philanthropy that established the university and that has continued over the last 145 years. Of the 65 inaugural members 
of the 1865 Society, 23 are individuals, nine are foundations or other organizations, and 13 are corporations. The remainder are deceased with no known living relatives to continue their WPI connection. 

The celebration on Oct. 28 included remarks from President Dennis D. Berkey and Stephen Rubin ’74, chair of the WPI Board of Trustees. President Berkey highlighted WPI’s long and highly valued tradition of innovation, as well as the university’s focus on developing the whole student “as a productive individual who understands the importance of knowledge, the ability to put knowledge to work, and to make a difference in the world.” 

“It’s a wonderful tradition, and I now come around to simply expressing gratitude to all of you who have appreciated and savored the qualities of this work and supported it so generously to find yourself as members of the 1865 Society,” President Berkey said. He added, “The generosity and the leadership of the people in this room is remarkable, and it’s part of the great thrill of being able to stand before you in my role that I enjoy here as your president.” 

Rubin recognized those 1865 Society members who were present or represented at the dinner: The George I. Alden Trust, represented by Susan Woodbury, then chair of the Alden Trust; Patricia and Robert Beckett ’57; Marion and Paris Fletcher, represented by their son and WPI Trustee Warner Fletcher; Esther and Howard Freeman ’40, a WPI trustee emeritus; The Hoche-Scofield Foundation, also represented by Warner Fletcher, a trustee of the foundation; Morgan-Worcester, Inc. and the Morgan Family, represented by WPI Trustee Philip Morgan; Maureen and Donald Peterson ’71, who is a WPI trustee and immediate past chair of the board; The Stoddard Charitable Trust, represented by Warner Fletcher, grandson of Harry Stoddard, founder of the Stoddard Trust; Ruth and Donald Taylor ’49, a WPI trustee emeritus who recently passed away; and the WPI Alumni Association, represented by then Association President Joyce Kline ’87 and Association Treasurer Tom Newman ’64. Emmanuel Pappas ’52 was also recognized as a new Presidential Founder for 2010. 

Rubin and his wife, Tracy, are also 1865 Society members and were recognized by President Berkey. In toasting the inauguration of the 1865 Society and the new monument to this remarkable group, Rubin used a favorite quotation among members of the WPI community. 

“These words are quoted often at WPI, but I cannot think of a more appropriate occasion to recall the closing of Two Towers: The Story of Worcester Tech 1865-1965, by Mildred McClary Tymeson: ‘Today the Institute stands solidly atop its rounded hill, still overlooking the City and reaching toward the sky. It stands there for more than any other reason because—by some strange and wonderful supply—there have always been enough people who cared.’” 

The celebration also featured a special performance by pianist Sergio Salvatore ’02, a widely recognized musician who has performed with jazz legends such as Chick Corea, Mel Torme, and Tony Bennett. Salvatore treated guests to an original piece titled “Three Movements,” which he composed while a student at WPI, as well as his own arrangement of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”