The Inauguration of President Grace J. Wang, PhD

Our 17th president will be installed on March 22, 2024.
Grace Wang standing with arms folded

Impact Driven: Honoring Tradition, Innovating the Future

Please join us on Friday, March 22, 2024, in celebrating the installation of Grace J. Wang, PhD, as the 17th president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. President Wang is an accomplished materials scientist and esteemed leader in higher education, government, and industry. Honoring our rich history and traditions, she will guide WPI toward the future by championing community and inspiring innovation. 

Fittingly, President Wang will bookend her inaugural festivities with events celebrating those at the core of WPI’s mission: our students. Festivities will include a student research showcase of undergraduate and graduate projects with real-world impact, campus tours highlighting our distinctive approach to education, a reception to celebrate our inclusive community—and more. 

We hope you’ll commemorate this historic moment with us.

We're celebrating with a full day of festivities.

Schedule of Events

Friday, March 22, 2024

 
Main Events

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

WPI Sports & Recreation Center

Doors open at 1 p.m. 

The Inauguration of Grace J. Wang, PhD

The moment we've all been waiting for: President Wang's official installation ceremony.

Ticket required. 

(Can't make it in person? Watch the livestream.)

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Rubin Campus Center, Third Floor

Inauguration Reception

Opportunity to warmly welcome President Wang into the community. 

RSVP strongly encouraged.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WPI Sports & Recreation Center

WPI Community Event

Join us as we celebrate the inauguration of President Wang with a night full of activities, dancing, great food, and even greater fun! You won't want to miss this. 

RSVP strongly encouraged.

 

 

Campus Showcase Events

9 a.m. 

Unity Hall, Second Floor Elevator Bay

Robotics Tour*

Join us for a look into WPI’s cutting-edge robotics research. Our labs are diving into soft robotics, human-robot interaction, manipulation, perception, autonomous robots, and 3D printing of soft robotic materials. Learn how our students and faculty apply research to real-world scenarios and business problems.

Duration: 40 minutes

*This activity involves standing and walking on flat surfaces.

10 a.m.

Bartlett Center (departure point)

Shuttle bus will bring guests to 50 Prescott Street and back.

Lab Tours*

Explore the forefront of innovation at WPI by touring our advanced Lab for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP) and PracticePoint laboratory. 

  • LEAP is pioneering revolutionary research in integrated photonics manufacturing, utilizing light signals for faster information transfer instead of traditional electronic signals. 
  • PracticePoint laboratory hosts a state-of-the-art motion capture lab and neuro suite, paving the way for groundbreaking developments in medical technology.

Duration: 60 minutes total (including roundtrip travel time)

*This activity involves climbing a few stairs to board a shuttle bus and standing and walking on flat surfaces. 

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Alden Hall (open house)

WPI Student & Faculty Showcase

Discover the impact of WPI students and faculty. Learn about their pioneering projects and research initiatives that transform knowledge into innovation, solving both local and global challenges.

11 a.m.

Rubin Campus Center, Main Lobby

Campus Tour*

Join us for a walking tour of WPI. Gain insights into WPI's history, discover the present-day functions of its buildings, and envision the potential future landscape of the campus. 

Duration: 40 minutes

*This activity involves standing and walking at a gentle pace, including navigating slight inclines. 

 

 
Archive Exhibits

All day

Rubin Campus Center, Third Floor

"The First Faculty"

Learn more about the first cohort of instructors that helped implement our founders' vision of "theory and practice." Artifacts on display will reveal actions and decisions that shaped WPI’s future, including the fight for more equal pay for women on campus. Elements of this display will form part of the “Women of the Institute” digital exhibit, coming later in 2024.

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

George C. Gordon Library, Ground Floor

Archive Open House

  • View our featured exhibit, “Video Game Console Wars,” as seen on WCVB’s "Chronicle." Located in the Gladwin Gallery.  
  • WPI’s archivists will showcase some of the university's treasures from our collections and share how they support WPI’s teaching and learning today.  
  • Yearbooks will also be available for viewing in the Fellman-Dickens Reading Room.

1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WPI Sports & Recreation Center, Main Lobby

"Creating a Place on the Hill: The Founding of WPI"*

Explore WPI’s history in this exhibit documenting the founders and their shared dream of creating an educational institution in the heart of the American Industrial Revolution. See images, documents, and other historic items from more than 150 years ago, all from the university archives.

*This exhibit will be open during the inauguration ceremony and community event. Ticket required for entry.

 

University Lecture

Arriving early? The night before the inauguration, join us for a special edition of our University Lecture series. 

Thursday, March 21 | 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. | Rubin Campus Center, Odeum

Don't miss this unforgettable event.

Register Here

After you register, you'll receive an email with a digital ticket. Keep it handy, as you must scan your ticket to enter the inauguration ceremony. Please register by March 1, 2024

(Note: This registration form is for general audience members only. For VIPs and collegiate delegates, please use the exclusive link in your invitation.)

Preview Grace Wang waving to crowd at her WPI welcome event

About the President

Grace J. Wang, PhD, began serving as WPI’s 17th president on April 3, 2023. She is also a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at WPI.

Elected by the WPI Board of Trustees after an extensive national search, Wang comes to WPI from The Ohio State University (OSU) where she served as executive vice president for research, innovation, and knowledge, and as a professor in Materials Science and Engineering. At OSU, Wang’s efforts helped expand the university’s research and innovation ecosystem, achieving $1.38 billion in annual R&D expenditures during her tenure.

Preview Grace Wang speaking to the WPI community
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

'Our Shared Path Forward'

On her first day in office, President Wang sent a letter to the WPI community expressing her passion for the university's unique approach to education and her abiding belief in its mission:

I am excited about the work and the opportunities ahead and wholeheartedly believe that WPI has everything it takes to further excel. That which has stood the test of time can be further honed as we focus on our strengths and commit to a shared path forward. For our students, our faculty, our staff—and the world that needs what we have to offer—we will meet the moment. 

Preview Grace Wang smiling outside on campus
WPI JOURNAL

Q&A: Get to Know President Grace Wang

WPI's 17th president reveals what attracted her to the position, what's surprised her so far, and how she relaxes.

I look forward to listening and learning from the great minds who make WPI what it is and whose voices will play an essential role in defining our way forward.
Plan your visit to the heart of Massachusetts.

Visiting WPI

Local Accommodations

Preferred Hotels:

AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester

125 Front St, Worcester, MA 01608

(774) 420-7555

Use this link for the WPI Inauguration rate.

 

Courtyard by Marriott

72 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605

(508) 363-0300 | Call directly for reservations and use code "WPI."

View rooms

 

Hampton Inn & Suites Worcester

65 Prescott Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605

(508) 886-9005 | Call directly for reservations and use code "WPI."

View rooms

Other Local Hotels:

Beechwood Hotel

363 Plantation St, Worcester, MA 01605

(508) 754-5789

View rooms

 

Hilton Garden Inn Worcester

35 Major Taylor Blvd, Worcester, MA 01608

(508) 753-5700

View rooms

Directions & Parking

Perched on a hill in the center of Worcester—which sits in the center of Massachusetts—WPI is easy to get to. 

  • By train: Union Station offers connections to the MBTA Commuter Rail and Amtrak.
  • By plane: Boston Logan International Airport isn't far, and Worcester Regional Airport is less than five miles from campus.
  • By car: WPI is conveniently accessible by car, thanks to multiple intersecting highways in proximity to campus. The Park Avenue Garage has ample space for visitor parking.

 

Find your way around campus using our interactive map.

What To Do in Worcester

As the second-largest city in New England and home to 38,000+ college students, Worcester and the surrounding area have no shortage of entertainment options. 

Enjoy a farm-to-table meal. Get a tasting flight at a local brewery. Go for a scenic hike. Watch live music or theater. Tour the Worcester Art Museum, just steps away from WPI. You won't run out of things to do or sights to see. 

For a detailed visitor's guide to Worcester and its neighboring towns, check out Discover Central Massachusetts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I still watch the ceremony if I can't be there in person?

Yes, we will livestream and record the event. You can watch the livestream on the WPI YouTube channel.

What will happen during the inauguration ceremony?

Every inauguration is different, and President Wang’s will highlight the best of WPI. Here’s what typically happens: The event begins with a procession led by the faculty marshal or WPI provost, with the president, trustees, presidential medal recipients, delegates from other institutions, WPI faculty and department heads, and the ROTC color guard following behind. The most significant portion is the investiture ceremony, which is when the president receives the university charter and seal. WPI community representatives and other VIP guests offer remarks throughout the program.

What will President Wang talk about in her inaugural address?

You’ll have to wait and see for yourself—we wouldn’t want to spoil it for you!

Will I need a special parking pass for the event?

The Park Avenue Garage will have ample space for visitor parking. Check back here soon for details on parking passes.

Will there be a dress code for the ceremony?

While there is no strict dress code, we recommend business or business-casual attire. WPI faculty and delegates from other universities will be wearing academic regalia for the ceremony’s procession.

Does the ceremony's venue have accessibility accommodations?

The Sports and Recreation Center's main (Quad) entrance, side entrances, and rear entrance are accessible with automatic door openers. You can access the elevator by entering the building from the main entrance and going to the right. Several ADA parking spots are available in the front row of the Park Avenue Garage, behind the Sports and Recreation Center. Use the WPI interactive map to find all accessible elevators, entrances, ramps, and parking locations across campus.

Who was the president of WPI before Grace Wang?

Laurie A. Leshin was WPI’s 16th president. Winston “Wole” Soboyejo served as interim president before Grace Wang was named.

Who was WPI's first president?

The first president of WPI—originally named the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science—was Charles O. Thompson, who served from the opening of the Institute, in 1868, until 1882.