WPI Celebrates 131st Commencement Saturday, May 22

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - One of its shining stars returns to his alma mater when Eric Hahn, a member of the class of 1980, serves as Worcester Polytechnic Institute's 1999 Commencement speaker. During the ceremonies, Saturday, May 22, at 11 a.m., on the main quadrangle of the Worcester, Mass., campus, he also will receive an honorary doctorate in science.

WPI will award 577 bachelor's degrees, 234 master's degrees and 17 Ph.D. degrees. Jony Laplante, a chemical engineering major from Bath, Maine, will deliver the Message from the Senior Class.

Hahn, who earned a B.S. in computer science at WPI, has founded a series of highly successful companies involving software and computer technology. Most recently he established Inventures Group, an investment company that encourages and supports start-up technology companies.

He founded Collabra Software Inc. in 1993. Its flagship product, Collabra Share, won numerous awards before the company was sold in 1995 to Netscape. Hahn became executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Prior to Collabra, Hahn was with cc:Mail Inc., first as vice president of engineering and later as general manager. In 1991, cc:Mail was acquired by Lotus Development Corp. Hahn earlier served as a vice president and general manager of the Convergent Technologies division that produces PC and UNIX servers and software. Before that, at Bolt, Beranek and Newman, he was a key developer of the Arpanet network, the precursor to the Internet.

WPI recognized Hahn in 1995 with its Washburn Award, which honors young alumni for professional achievement. Interviewed in the alumni magazine, he praised an educational plan that develops well-rounded thinkers.

"What I appreciate most about my experience at WPI was that I got the chance to be an individual," he said. "My education was, to a large degree, designed by me, and I was responsible for it. I never felt like just some student ID number marching through a process to get to the finish line. And that's special - you don't get that everywhere."

A regular speaker at industry events, trade shows and panels, Hahn and his wife, Elaine, of Palo Alto, Calif., are the parents of two sons, Evan and Jeremy.

  • Honorary doctorates in engineering will go to four recipients for contributions to society, higher education or industry: Douglas G. Noiles of New Canaan, Conn., a member of the WPI class of 1944 and consultant in mechanical and bio-mechanical engineering; Paul Severino, chairman and chief executive officer of NetCentric Corp. of Bedford, Mass.; Bruce R. Bond, chairman, chief executive officer and president of PictureTel Corp. of Andover, Mass.; and T.S. Lin, chairman of Tatung Co., principal of Tatung Senior High School and president of Tatung Institute of Technology, all in Taiwan. During a visit to Taiwan last fall, WPI President Edward Alton Parrish presented the honorary degree to Lin in person, an honor that will be noted at Commencement.

  • The Baccalaureate Ceremony takes place Friday, May 21, at 5:30 p.m., in Alden Memorial Hall. The ceremony features inspirational music and messages from faculty, administration and students.

  • The Reserve Officer Training Corps Ceremony, at which eight WPI students will be commissioned, is Saturday, May 22, at 8:30 a.m. in Alden Memorial Hall. Brig. Gen. Edward R. "Buster" Ellis, commander of the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, will be the featured speaker. Ellis is the single-point manager for the Air Force Reserve Office Training Corps and Officer Training School.

For more information, please contact the WPI Communications Group at 508-831-5616 or 508-831-6085.

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