The Sports & Recreation Center is normally a setting for events like pickup games and workouts, but recently, it served a very different purpose. On the evening of February 23, the gym was transformed into an elegant scene for the third annual Trustees’ Celebration of Faculty Achievement.
“Our faculty is made up of an incredible group of high achievers with an impressive volume of work," said President Laurie Leshin in her opening remarks. "It’s easy to forget to take a moment to celebrate, so we’re here tonight to honor the extraordinary achievements of our faculty, the lifeblood of the university. It is absolutely a highlight for me every year to get to celebrate the great work of our faculty. These recognitions are incredibly well-deserved and hard-earned. … I can’t express how grateful I am of all your hard work, and how proud I am of all your accomplishments.”
Faculty members were treated to a night of dinner and dancing while having the opportunity to honor, reflect upon, and discuss the endeavors of themselves and their peers that took place during the calendar year of 2016. President Leshin, Provost Bruce Bursten, and Board chair Jack Mollen served as the evening’s emcees; achievements honored included faculty promotions, WPI awards, national recognition, professional society fellows and awards, selected distinctions, editorials and publications, and patent inventors.
The five-page event program listing the faculty’s myriad accomplishments is a testament as to why WPI was recently rated first in the nation for the quality and accessibility of its professors by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking, an honor that President Leshin attributed to the combined work and dedication of each and every faculty member.
One of the faculty members honored was Alex Wyglinski, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who received his award after being named a Distinguished Lecturer by the IEEE Vehicular Society. “It was such a special experience to be recognized by the Board of Trustees, President Leshin, Provost Bursten, and my peers for activities that I am pursuing here at WPI,” Wyglinski said. “I am truly honored to be part of such a wonderful, supportive, and friendly community.”
The ceremony didn’t stop once all the names in the program were read and awards were accepted. The president went on to explain that, even if a faculty member wasn’t listed in the program, they were still being celebrated that night for their contribution to making WPI what it is today.
On that Thursday night, faculty members were able to take a break from their books and research to laugh and enjoy each other’s company while busting a move or two on the dance floor. Although the event didn’t last long into the night as President Leshin had joked at the beginning of the ceremony, it’s still safe to say that faculty members packed as much fun as they could into the evening.
Mollen wrapped up the evening with a grateful acknowledgement. “All of us gain so much from seeing WPI through your eyes,” he said. “Thank you for letting us share this night with you.”
- By Allison Racicot