60 Percent of WPI's Class of 2000 Traveled Off-Campus to Complete Degree

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - You've heard about the global village, but how about the global classroom?

When Worcester Polytechnic Institute's seniors walk across the stage to collect their diplomas this Saturday, about 60 percent will have studied off campus to complete their graduation requirements, "from Boston to Bangkok, from Washington to Melbourne," says Natalie Mello, WPI's director of global operations. "Of our 625 graduates, we count 412 off-campus experiences; 47 went twice and 365 went off campus at least once."

WPI's project-oriented curriculum requires students to complete three extensive hands-on research projects. Increasingly, students are opting to complete those projects at off-campus sites. Students are often involved in helping to solve global problems such as saving the beautiful but deteriorating canals in Venice or helping farmers in Thailand to grow better crops.

WPI's Global Perspective Program will celebrate its increasing student involvement today, Friday, May 19, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Commonwealth Ballroom, 10 Lincoln Square, in Worcester. Students will be presented with a gift to commemorate their participation.

Mello will thank the people who make the program work, from faculty advisors to administrators to parents, but especially the students who work at locations all over the world.

"Expectations for their performance is very high, and they exceed them," she notes. "If they did not, project sponsors would not request-and in some cases, beg-that we continue to send WPI students to them. Today, we will thank them for their hard work, their perseverance and their conscientious approach to completing their projects and for the very high demands they place upon their teammates and themselves."

Founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based curriculum.