With just four days to go to the Inauguration of President Laurie Leshin and the start of WPI’s sesquicentennial celebration, an inspiring new video provides a glimpse into the past, present, and future of innovation at WPI by asking, “What’s possible when the sky is no limit?”
The video opens with a photo of a dusty red space nebula—an image with which many modern viewers are likely familiar, but that could have only been imagined by early space pioneers. And imagine they did: as the video shows, throughout the years many WPI alumni literally “reached for the stars” by imagining what was possible, and then making it a reality.
Notable images include Robert H. Goddard ’08 drawing an early space diagram, and standing next to his famous liquid-fueled rocket; Richard Whitcomb ’43 testing out his supercritical wing innovation that enabled supersonic flight; and alumni who developed a headset worn by Neil Armstrong on his moon walk, designed early astronaut capsule parachutes, and engineered the Hubble Space Telescope.
As the video shows, this spirit of innovation with impact has continued to flourish at WPI in recent years through faculty and student research and invention in space exploration and other diverse areas—from life sciences to biotechnology, fire protection engineering, humanities, and robotics. Examples include clips of WPI’s humanoid robot undergoing disaster relief testing, researchers conducting trials in the WPI burn lab, and efforts by students to preserve the canals of Venice.
Additionally, the video highlights WPI’s signature student projects, which not only enable students to make discoveries with purpose, but improve lives around the globe. Images of students conducting hands-on work in places ranging from New Mexico to Namibia flash onscreen alongside the declaration that “When enough people dare… When enough people commit… Anything is possible.”
The video concludes with a drone-mounted camera descending from the sky to focus on Leshin, followed by a closing picture of WPI’s two towers. The message is clear—WPI’s 16th president will continue and build upon WPI’s history of theory and practice with impact as she leads the university into the future.
– By Jennifer Wyglinski