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CHAPTER IX

The Hard Corner of the Past g g g g 1939–1955 He came to his feet as if released from a tight spring, brushed past the lectern and strode to the front of the stage. The sleeves of his gown waved wildly with his swinging arms, and he moved his head from side to side so that not one person would miss what he had to say. Then his voice boomed out. “The course we steer is well charted.” The audience settled back, reassured. Even the language was familiar. The day had started out like a nightmare. The procession had wound its way toward the gymnasium through a cold, damp mist which shrouded the campus. Everyone had nervously fidgeted while the chairman, who had obviously mislaid his notes, searched through one pocket after another. Acting out a role in anyone’s bad dream, he left the stage, then returned, still without them. Nevertheless, Wat Tyler Cluverius was duly introduced. From then on he took command. There had been no few misgivings about the appointment of this retired Navy officer. To follow Ralph Earle, who had been immensely popular, was not an easy succession. Then, too, there was the matter of Admiral Cluverius’ “advanced age”—past sixty-five. The reservations about age were swept aside when Admiral Cluverius first moved on campus like a conquering armada. Maybe he was not young, but no one was more youthful. Youth, he said, was the one thing which his new life would have in common with the old. He spoke of his near-half century of “rigid routine of peace” and “active endeavor of war,” a career which began as midshipman on the battleship Maine and carried him to the position of chief of staff of the United States fleet. He had known Admiral Earle well, had been his classmate at Annapolis, and had commanded the U.S.S. Shawmut in the mine-laying operations of the North Sea under his direction. To Ralph Earle’s memory, no one would have greater allegiance. Moreover, the new president announced that he had come to Boynton Hill with the one intention of completing the “Ralph Earle program.” He wasted no time. By June, at the first commencement at which President Clu verius officiated, the major part of the expansion was either finished or well on its way. It was the 75th anniversary of the school’s founding, appro priately raining, when the largest class in history passed over the new footbridge which curved across West Street. The bridge, which Ralph Earle had almost boyishly wished for and talked

You will find us well housed . . . We possess an able and earnest faculty. Behind you stands a united board of trustees. —Philip M. Morgan to President Cluverius at Inauguration

President Cluverius

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We are most desirous of the bridge across West Street, together with the grading of the hill to west of the dormitory. The cost is considerable but these two will give our college a completed and handsome appearance everywhere it touches the city. —Ralph Earle, 1933

Worcester Tech will definitely carry forward its building program. It believes that the strengthening of its engineering facilities is the best contribution that can be made to national defense. —The Journal, July, 1940

It is an earnest hope that some suitable building will be erected to bring students together at least once a week. —Yearbook, 1908

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about since 1926, was named for him. “But it doesn’t have anywhere to go,” he had been reminded again and again whenever he had been persistent. Now it had somewhere to go—for just across the way was the resplendent, towered Alden Memorial Hall, made possible by the trust fund set up by Professor Alden before he died. As beautiful and as functional as such a hall could be, no expense had been spared from its high massive ceiling beams and stained glass medallions to the hand-carved limestone figures which represented Man’s cultural interests. The addition to the Salisbury building had been completed for several months, with its great hall (the best for lecture purposes in the school) named for Professor Kinnicutt. Later, in the fall of 1940 at Homecoming, Dean Roys—carrying a new shovel and wearing a broad grin, both of which had been waiting for a good thirty years—broke ground for the new Mechanical Engineering building. Wallace Montague, chairman of the Ways and Means committee for developing Ralph Earle’s plan, called this building the “remaining need . . . the last building needed to complete the west campus.” And so it seemed, at the time. On Commencement Day in 1940 Dean Jerome Howe had listened attentively to the speaker of the day, Charles Francis Adams. He had pronounced the names of graduates as they reached for their diplomas; he had attended the president’s reception, the activities during the afternoon, and the Senior Hop at night. Wearily he wrote in his journal at the end of the day, “Arrived home 2:30, rather tired.” As a postscript he added: “The Institute affairs have kept our minds somewhat off the dreadful news from France where Paris has fallen into the hands of the Germans.” W.P.I. had been founded at the conclusion of a war in 1865; its 50th anniversary had been observed on the brink of a war; now its 75th was at the edge of another. There was an awkwardness when the country marked time for a year and a half, with the pace alternating between preparedness and indifference. One day there was a draft registration, the next, a tea dance “to lighten student mood.” One evening the students who had signed for the Voluntary Military Instruction Course drilled in Alden Memorial; on the next, the Interfraternity Ball was held for the first time in the same place. A German Jewish refugee spoke at a meeting of the Cosmopolitan Club; Admiral Cluverius acted as Santa at the Faculty Christ mas party. There were Junior proms, Tech concerts, the Tech Carnival, and the usual class rivalry. At the same time there were lectures about chemical warfare, drills for civil defense, and an intensification of the Civilian Pilot Training program by the Aeromechanics division. Finally came the Sunday afternoon radio bulletin announcing


the attack on Pearl Harbor. Almost with relief America got on with the grim business of war. Selective service, which had al ready taken its toll from enrollment, became more demanding. Soon the professors themselves were leaving—Plimpton, Merriam, Schwieger, Maxfield, Holt, Kolb, and Feldman—all borrowed for the duration of the war. The Admiral himself was called back to active duty, as secretary of the Naval office of Public Information and as a member of the Navy Board of Production Awards. The Journal captioned a column “The Admiral” for exclusive listing of the president’s many speaking engagements, chiefly in regard to the presentation of Navy E Awards. An accelerated program was announced for Tech almost at once; defense engineering courses were offered in evening and summer classes; Signal Corps trainees were housed on campus. Then in 1943 Tech was chosen as one of twenty-two colleges to direct the Navy program known as V-12. Lieutenant Commander Albert Schwieger, the young professor himself, was named in command of the Tech unit. The details of transfer to a naval school were as many, but not as difficult, as might be expected. The Mechanical Engineering building, just recently completed, had left the old building conveniently vacant to serve as quarters for the Navy seamen. The dormitory was commandeered as officers quarters and additional barracks, while the non-enlisted students were transferred to fraternity houses and private homes. The Navy’s preliminary investigation had made some very complimentary appraisals of Tech and its facilities. First of all, Percy Carpenter’s Physical Education Department was found to be so adequate that overnight it could be transformed into a wartime training center. Doc Carpenter had been an exponent of physical fitness long before Chief Petty Officer Charles R. McNulty came to supervise the Navy’s program of that name. When later Doc sometimes led the calisthenics drill, the stalwart Navy men had all they could do to keep up with him. The ob jective Navy survey showed that Tech had more intramural contests than any other school in the United States. It also showed that Tech had the most equipment per man in comparison with other schools. Top mention was given to its safety maintenance program, and Arthur J. Knight’s good housekeeping received special praise. The most happily received commendation of all was Tech’s scholastic rating—as tough as any school in the country. William W. Locke, Jr., professor in Electrical Engineering, who had been superintendent of the dormitory, shifted easily to the responsibility of housing and feeding the Navy boys. There were the classes, musters, and disciplines which are part of any officertraining school. And the old Tech bell was mustered into service for signaling traditional Navy time. The change-over to a wartime school was negotiated with little more confusion than the delivery of ten cases of peas addressed

Lieut. Commander Albert J. Schwieger

The men in blue quickly became and were proud to be Techmen. —Albert Schwieger

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Out of this wartime melting pot came a serious, hard-working and stable student body whose academic and social behavior was basically true to the traditional crimson and grey of W.P.I. —Albert Schwieger

Perhaps this is the last time you will have to rebuild a world. —Wat Tyler Cluverius, 1945

Now the job is education for peace, and the greatest responsibility falls upon the teachers. —Wat Tyler Cluverius, 1947

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to Worcester Poentheshories Institute Dormitory. Needless to say, it was convenient as well as impressive to have a built-in Admiral on the Hill for reviewing purposes. Juggling the curriculum to fit two classes of students was the task of Francis Roys, head of Mechanical Engineering and for many years chairman of the committee on Courses of Study and Degrees. Now he had been also named Dean of Engineering. The campus activities which were not suspended were only half-heartedly continued. The 1893 class held its fifty-year re union, but they, too, were preoccupied with the war. “If fifty years have not sobered us,” said one of them, “the times in which we are living have.” A special officer was named for policing the campus, blackouts and civil defense drills became frequent, and shortages developed of fuel, food, and especially of time. There also was a scrap-metal collection, which Jerome Howe reported poignantly in his personal journal, “I gave up my saber.” This world war, in contrast to the first one, had little glamour, especially when “missing” or “lost in action” reports began al most at once to appear on campus. In the final tally the names of forty-three Tech men (of the two thousand who served) were inscribed on the memorial plaque. Up to June of 1946, when the V-12 program was terminated, a total of 767 officer candidates had been enrolled in the Tech V-12 program. There were more confusions getting back to peace than there had been getting into war, involving a complete reshuffling of curricula, buildings, and personnel—with scores of instructors coming and going within a few years. There was even a renaming of buildings. The new Mechanical Engineering building had been dedicated as the Higgins Laboratories in memory of Milton Prince Higgins and in appreciation of gifts from the Higgins family. This left the old M. E. building like a lost child without identification. Habit was so strong that even after a large granite wall slab gave it the name of Stratton (in memory of Charles G. Stratton, senior member of the W.P.I. board and a generous contributor) the building henceforth usually had to be labeled twice whenever mentioned—“Stratton, or the old M. E. building.” When Atwater Kent died, leaving a bequest to Worcester Tech, the Electrical Engineering building became his memorial in name as well as in much of its work. Even the president had a moving day, climbing up two hills to Drury Lane, where the home once occupied by John Jeppson, a founder of Norton Company, had been given to the school by his son, George, a former student of Tech. A widower, Admiral Cluverius occasionally had the help of faculty wives as hostess at his receptions, and sometimes the great house on Drury Lane was open to guests with no Admiral in attendance at all. The happiest times were when his little granddaughter Peggy visited with her mother to charm everyone, especially the Admiral, into flagrant subjection.


The Admiral had the ebullient good spirits of a child, and it was in his relationships with children that people were best permitted to glimpse the gentleness which made the Admiral’s dig nity all the more effective. The neighborhood youngsters came regularly to his office window for candy and conversation. There was always a treat, too, for any little dog visitor. The president’s schedule of Navy E presentations did not lessen for many months after the War, and the innumerable re quests which came to him for speaking ranged all the way from a children’s pet show to a dinner for Winston Churchill. To the Admiral, one was just as important as the other. One speech of which people never tired was his account of the Maine disaster in the Spanish-American War. Children—well, everyone—especi ally loved the part when he left the sinking ship and stopped to pick up the captain’s dog, which had been literally paralyzed by fear. As far as anyone knew, President Cluverius prepared very little for his many speeches. Rarely did he use a note. But the words were as facile and ready as his ideas, and he had command of both. Accompanying him on many of these occasions was a Tech alumnus who had been the first Tech man to become Mayor of the City of Worcester, Andrew B. Holmstrom, a vice-president of Norton Company and a former officer in the Navy himself. One Memorial Day the two men visited a nearby town and found themselves on an improvised stage near the War monument. The Admiral gave a sparkling review of the Civil War, describing in detail each battle in which the local boys had fought. As he talked, Andy Holmstrom noticed that his outline followed the information on the monument. “Aha,” he said to himself, “I’ve found out one of the Admiral’s secrets.” The denouement came when an official confessed that through a mix-up of delivery, the monument really belonged to another town. Its information pertained only in part to this one, but there had been so few persons to know the difference that the town fathers had simply let the monument stay there undisturbed these many years. No one enjoyed the story more than did the Admiral. Paul Swan, who had become W.P.I.’s publicity director and associate dean, also accompanied the Admiral on many trips. When out of town the president would condescend to call the young professor by his first name, but once back on campus he always reverted to “Swan”—conforming to his custom of addressing men usually by their last names. This impersonal formality was as much a characteristic of the president as was his forthright speech and vigorous good humor. After an enthusiastic reception at an alumni dinner he would immediately move along to the door, allowing no anticlimax of generalities. When once outside and in the comfortable back seat of his chauffeur-driven car, he would

We are lucky to have the Admiral devoted to us. He has spread our fame all over this country. He has told everybody from Maine to California that Worcester Tech men won the war with a little help, of course, from the Navy. —Aldus Higgins, 1948

Wat Tyler Cluverius

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Your eye is clear, your heart is strong, your enthusiasm is unabated. —Thomas S. Roy in trustee tribute to Admiral Cluverius on his tenth anniversary as president, 1949

The most important of these problems is the maintenance of student strength W.P.I. does not intend to recoup its losses by lowering standards. —Wat Tyler Cluverius, 1949

There is every indication that war is in the offing. We are committed. —Wat Tyler Cluverius, 1951

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for the first time relax and say to his young companion: “Always leave on the crest of the wave, Swan—always on the crest of the wave.” The Admiral did not lose his bounce even in the post-war ad justment on Boynton Hill. His letters in The Journal were as regular as always, his engagements just as frequent, his presence just as impressive. To be sure, there were 600 students when he thought there should be 900. Costs had increased, there was a decrease in investment returns, the school was operating at a deficit with a reduced staff. “All is well on Boynton Hill,” he nevertheless told the Alumni Association. “Spring is coming— sometime,” he added almost wistfully for the Admiral, before making resentful mention of the Korean War, which threatened so soon to disrupt the normal resumption of schoolwork. The Navy V-12 program had so successfully demonstrated the feasibility of an engineering school’s serving for officer-training that in 1951 a Signal Corps Unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps was established at Worcester Tech. Involvement in its program was basic requirement for two years, a voluntary option for two more. Colonel J. E. Foster became the Institute’s first professor of Military Science and Tactics. By virtue of ROTC, students were recommended for draft deferment until after graduation. The ROTC unit was provided a headquarters in the old Dean ery—née Jennings, née Thompson house—which had been discarded as a home when fuel rationing could not keep up with its drafty interior and open staircase winding up its three-storied height. Even with its new military status and with its lower windows barricaded for security purposes, the old house could never stand at attention. Upstairs the Commander’s desk sat uncomfortably in a feminine bedroom papered with a profusion of red roses as a final ludicrous touch. When later the Deanery was torn down to make room for Tech tennis courts, the ROTC unit moved to the Riley House. This house was actually the Higgins home first occupied by Milton Higgins when he became Superintendent of the Washburn Shops. After his death the house had been occupied by the family of his daughter, Katharine Higgins Riley, and the house had adopted the Riley name. Mrs. Riley had bequeathed her home and property to Tech, hoping that it would become a student center, which it did for several years before being superseded by the facilities of new dormitories. Many student activities had moved to Alden Memorial. The Masque or Tech shows were revived; dances became frequent; and the Musical Association extremely active, especially after the three-manual Aeolian Skinner pipe organ was installed in 1942. In a later year a carillon was added. Twice a day its tunes chimed over the City in one of the most pleasant gestures ever made by the Institute toward the community in which it lives.


The carillon was a gift of Mrs. William Binns Smith, who thus and with many other gifts to Tech memorialized her husband. Alden Memorial was an ideal meeting place for the Faculty Wives, who had formally organized in 1924 eventually to be come the W.P.I. Women’s Club. The room reserved for the ladies became known as the Janet Earle room, in affection for the Ad miral’s widow. She was also remembered by the continuation of the Janet Earle Fund. Upstairs in Alden Memorial were quarters for bachelor instructors; downstairs, of course, was the library. Emily Haynes had moved in with the books when Alden was first opened, but she retired two years later after forty years of service. Mrs. BonnieBlanche Schoonover became her successor in 1942. The auditorium in Alden adapted itself well to alumni functions, assemblies, and departmental lectures. Professor Coombs, retired but still very active at eighty years, gave hymn books for the great hall. The elderly professor was often seen on Tech’s campus in his role of secretary of the Worcester Draft Board. And seldom was there an alumni occasion when he did not ap pear, usually as marshal, sometimes with the old battered um brella which for so many years had stood in the corner of his office as reminder of what he could do with one. The alumni had become increasingly influential in determining Institute policy. In a survey of “What do they do after they leave the classroom?” the answer was “Just about everything.” Fiftyfive per cent were in industry, nine per cent in public utilities, seven per cent in education, and five per cent in government. The rest were distributed in a wide variety of occupations. Longevity was obviously a common characteristic. In 1941 there was still at least one alumnus living from every one of the seventyone graduating classes. Many Tech men resided in Worcester County, the officers and managers of Worcester industries. More than a hundred were at Norton Company as superintendents or department managers. Three Norton vice-presidents, the president and chairman of the board also had been Tech students, giving the community frequent reason to be thankful that George I. Alden and Milton Higgins had not spent all their lives on Boynton Hill. At Tech’s first reunion after the war, more than a thousand alumni members sat down to dinner. The anticipated joyousness of the occasion was dulled by the loss of so many classmates during the war and by the recent death of the alumni secretarytreasurer, Herbert Taylor. Herb had fought his own valiant battle against tuberculosis for many years. In the March Journal he had introduced Donald E. Smith as his assistant “not only to relieve a rather heavily loaded executive, whose health has been unstable, but also to expand the program.” The next issue of The Journal reported Herbert Taylor’s death. The two projects which Professor Taylor had relentlessly pro-

Emily M. Haynes, Librarian

What a whale of a reunion we are going to have when this business is over. But this is not the year for it. —Herbert F. Taylor, 1944

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Edwin Higginbottom

Raymond K. Morley

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moted were the Alumni Fund, started in 1924, and alumni par ticipation in student recruiting. The Techni-Forum was a development of this latter interest, a program in which principals, science instructors, and guidance counselors were invited to come to Boynton Hill to make their own appraisal of the Institute. Publicity had been a divided load shunted from person to person for many years. In the old days the very word had been avoided as sounding too commercial, but in 1925 Charles J. Adams, the professor of English, had been appointed with candor “to direct publicity.” An excellent speaker with a brilliant repertoire of stories, he developed a series of radio broadcasts, an nouncements, and lectures. It was he who conceived the idea of a Tech’s Founders Day to be observed each year on November 11. When Professor Swan inherited the task of public relations, he continued the observance of placing wreaths in Rural Cemetery, where all the founders of Tech (with the exception of John Boynton) had been buried. Then the group of school officials and student leaders climbed the long hills to the little town of Mason, New Hampshire, there to place on Mr. Boynton’s me morial stone a memento of a school’s ever-growing gratitude. Re naming the yearbook the Peddler was a by-product of this em phasis on history, and thus grew the legend of John Boynton as a peddler—a romantic, but nevertheless exaggerated impression. In the redistribution of departments after the War, English (which now was headed by Edwin Higginbottom) and Mathe matics (under Raymond K. Morley) both moved to Stratton, “or the old M. E. Building.” By this time both departments had ac quired new status, the first for its inclusion of literature as well as composition, the second for its higher and deeper technical applications. Professor Morley, who had been the Sinclair professor of Mathematics since 1921, provided a good bridge from the old to the new approach. He was entirely familiar with the old and undisturbed by the new. With either one it was impossible to count the pieces of chalk as they broke off into the waste-basket from Professor Morley’s restless fingers while he lectured. This scholarly professor, with his helpful way of translating the ab stract into the tangible, produced an understandable set of models which were envied and imitated by mathematics teachers across the country. Meanwhile the Mechanical Engineering Department was stretching comfortably in its new quarters, the Higgins Laboratories, where in 1949 Gleason H. MacCullough, an acknowledged expert in applied mechanics, had succeeded Francis W. Roys, who was becoming increasingly active in administrative duties. Almost half of the degrees granted by Worcester Tech were from this department of Mechanical Engineering. The new laboratories, their own best testimony to the development of mechanical engineering, provided space for experimentation in heat transfer, lub -


ricants, fuels, structure of metals, ventilation, heating, refrigeration, metallurgy, and internal combustion. Upstairs, M. Lawrence Price and B. Leighton Wellman supervised the work of students in five well-lighted design rooms. (These two professors had for seven years shared an office in the old M. E. building.) Professor Well man had recently completed the manuscript of his comprehensive Descriptive Geometry and could declare in an entirely convincing way, “Engineering is design.” There were many to say that his book was the best of its kind in the country; even he had to admit it was the biggest. The Higgins Laboratories had been the first building erected on campus for academic activities in thirty years. That is, with the exception of Kinnicutt Hall, which in 1939 had been added to Salisbury for the departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering. There had been such an increased interest in these areas that very soon afterwards the space proved inadequate again. An other appendage added to Salisbury was this time utilized by Ernest Wilson (who united the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering under one head in 1940) as a unit operations laboratory for Chemical Engineering. There, according to undergraduates, the Chemical Engineering majors had “more air per capita to contaminate.” But not for long. Hardly had the laboratory been finished be fore Professor Wilson needed still more room. So did Morton Masius and his Physics Department, of which he had become chief in 1939. Prophetically, the classes of these departments spilled over into eighteen rooms of other buildings. Electrical Engineering, with Theodore H. Morgan since 1931, had had its own kind of progression from electric lighting to electronics. It had become clear that this department could not be disassociated from the others on campus, and more and more often Hobart Newell found himself out at the Alden Hydraulic Laboratory handling the electronic phases of hydraulic research. No facility of the school was used more extensively for re search and defense than this laboratory, its unique value coming from its natural resources as well as from its leadership. During the War the applications of flow phenomena became immeasurably diversified. Hydraulics found itself involved in ballistics, propulsion, turbulence, diffusion, aerodynamics, oceanography, fog dispersal, ship resistance and a dozen other related problems. The laboratory had made projectile, hydrophone, and endurance tests; it had calibrated ship logs, made flood control surveys and recommendations, and, of course, had modeled many dams and rivers. Charlie Allen retired from teaching, but not as director of the laboratory, in 1945. For two years more than a half century he had been accumulating medals for his pioneer work in hydraulics. For the same length of time he had been giving his incomparable lecture on Gasoline, Its Uses and Abuses. “Never once has he, his cigar, or his audience exploded,” marveled The Journal. When

We strive to equip a man with his sleeves rolled up, ready to go to work, to set him on the threshold of his career, well equipped for his task. —Wat Tyler Cluverius, 1947

Hobart H. Newell

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A college needs equipment, books, buildings, playing fields and money—but most of all, it needs men, men like Charlie Allen. —Tribute to Charles M. Allen from the A.S.M.E.

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members of the A.S.M.E. stood in deference to Professor Allen when he entered their meeting in 1947, he showed his surprise, but soon recovered composure with a wave of the hand: “Not me. I’ve paid my way.” Indeed he had paid his way, receiving only half salary for his teaching schedule, the rest of his livelihood earned by consulting. All office expenses of the lab, the furniture, telephone, and even stamps he had paid for himself. He made no complaints, and he would have been the first to say that the most valuable thing he gave to the school was his successor, Leslie J. Hooper, a Worcester Tech graduate. Professor Hooper, who had affiliated with the laboratory in 1927, had widely extended its research, but always in the best of Charlie Allen traditions. Since 1900 the great area of the laboratory grounds, which in cluded two hundred and sixty acres of land and three ponds, had been available to the students of Civil Engineering for a practice area. There they had camped for three weeks of the year and had laid out their imaginary railroads and highways in ideally simulated conditions. They even helped to cut the many cords of wood for Charlie Allen’s wood stoves until oil and steam boilers were in stalled as concessions to progress. “What shall we name this park?” he asked the students one day when they were clearing a fire road through the woods. “Back Acres,” said one of the boys —giving the area a name so appropriate that it has never needed another. Arthur French had retired as head of Civil Engineering in 1933, as an instructor in 1938, but could be seen almost any day of the week in his emeritus corner of Arthur Knight’s little office in Boynton. There, puffing his familiar corn cob pipe and throwing his long legs over the edge of the roll top desk, he kept good track of his old department, with special interest in the consulting activities headed by his successor, Andrew Holt. Pro fessor French himself, until well after eighty, supervised many municipal and industrial building projects in the City. He was also instrumental in formulating Worcester’s building laws and in supervising the construction of every building on Tech’s campus since 1899. The Washburn Shops reflected the changes in engineering more than did any other department of the school—the Shops, that is, and the Power Laboratory, which had been completely revamped even to its new chimney stack. The old forge shop had been re placed by a modern welding shop under the direction of Carl Johnson, the Horatio Alger professor who had had no formal education but was already the author of textbooks which were used in every important engineering school of the country. A start had been made in 1931 to refurnish the Washburn Shops with modern machinery; in 1952 there was another spurt of en thusiasm when the old Rawson coupling was adapted to Army helicopters. But it was not the same. Gone now were the old over-


lords of the Shops and the Foundry—Pa (Howard P.) Fairfield, Pop (Walter M.) Monroe, Louis Rawson, and Burton Gray. The superintendency shifted from one person to another; the equipment became more and more obsolete; the facility was used less and less for teaching purposes. Tradition reared up in protest every time there was mention of abandoning the commercial work of the Shops. Besides, it would be unpleasant to dismiss the faithful persons who had worked forty years and more with very low wages. “They told me this would be a steady job when I came here,” muttered Thure Johnson when he heard the rumors. He had worked in the Shops for sixtyfour years. The old building was almost deserted, leaving only a few workmen and the Aeronautical students upstairs, now disturbing no one with their noisy aerodynamic equipment. The graduates from this option were numbering more than three hundred, reflecting great credit on Tech’s instruction in their subsequent experience. Professor Merriam, who was justifiably proud of his hardworking honor students, tempered the schedule with a few welltimed social occasions. In a revision of Mountain Day, which in early years had been a traditional holiday for the whole school, the Aeronautical students once a year deserted campus to climb Mount Monadnock. Once on top, they were probably not surprised to discover that the agenda of the day included Professor Merriam’s lecture on the history of Aeronautics. There was a trend toward integration of instruction on Boynton Hill. This was in sharp contrast to the older pattern in which departments had existed almost like small separate kingdoms. The change had come mainly because life itself had proliferated in so many directions, and periodically, in trying to keep up with the specialties, Tech had had to gather them up into basic groups. “The number of hours demanded of each student has become unreasonable,” was a faculty statement made in 1893 that had had to be repeated many times. Now there were new pressures. “Engineering Gets Exciting,” reported a Journal headline, “Highly Technical.” Some of the excitement was due to the world-wide renaissance of the rocket experimentation pioneered by Tech’s own Robert Goddard. In addition to what—for lack of a better word—educators re ferred to as “sophisticated” courses of the physical sciences, there were pressures from the humanities and extracurricular activities. The Honor Plan, introduced in 1937, had already provided some latitude by extending the privilege of options to good students. And several of the departments were offering post-graduate work, a development which was as controversial as it was inevitable. The old guard hesitated even to use the words “graduate study” lest they reflect on the undergraduate work of the Institute. When President Earle announced the graduate level in 1933, he had merely said, “We have embarked on a new plan.” In 1940

The inquiry is also sometimes made as to when the research will be completed. The answer is that it will probably be the same year the automobile and the airplane are completed. It has not the finality of building an individual machine, but is a new method of transportation, which I feel certain will have many more applications than the sending of recording instruments into the high atmosphere, important as this phase of the subject is. —Robert H. Goddard, February, 1936

The work will eventually open a new field in engineering; a fact which is only beginning to be recognized. —Robert H. Goddard, 1936

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Donald G. Downing

There is always the need for one new laboratory building at the Institute. —Ralph Earle, 1931

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the trustees were said “to approve a fifth year for selected seniors.” “This is not a post-graduate department,” they hastened to add, “but a means whereby we can furnish additional education”— shades of the Institute’s first year, when the board had modestly issued “diplomas” instead of “degrees.” Nevertheless, the new work in the 1940’s led to a master’s degree. It was graduate work, and it brought strong new colors to old patterns. The summer courses offered during the War were renewed and strengthened under the direction of Donald Downing in 1950, and later by Kenneth Merriam. And the School of Industrial Management was organized in 1949 with twenty-nine men from twenty-two local industries in the first class. Championed by President Cluverius and industrial leaders such as Wallace Mon tague and Philip Morgan, this program was supervised by a team of Tech men which included Albert Schwieger as director, Edwin Higginbottom, and Ernest D. Phelps. Industrial Management, which offered a four-year series of evening courses, had as one of its main objectives a cross-pollination of ideas between the industrial and academic worlds—almost as much an experiment in group relationships as in adult education. There were un believably good results, handsomely fulfilling Ichabod Washburn’s wish that the school might be closely allied with the real work of the world. The School effected a balance of theory and practice on a higher level than even Mr. Washburn would have dared to dream. The summer school, the ROTC unit, the graduate program, and the School of Industrial Management were all helpful in in creasing the enrollment of the Institute. At the same time, financial reports made better reading, especially after the receipt of several bequests such as the gifts from Charles L. Allen, officer of Norton Company and a member of Tech’s board for many years, and from Mrs. Theodore T. Ellis, the widow of a Worcester publisher. An unexpected gift came from Mary Ellen Butterick, her estate having materialized from the dressmaking pattern business—the first in the country—started by her parents in Sterling, Massachusetts, in 1863. And there had been many surprised and beaming faces on campus that morning in 1951 when it was announced that Forrest W. Taylor’s real estate holdings, their value estimated at two and a half million, had been left to the Institute. Mr. Taylor had had no relationship with W.P.I. other than that his sister, Agnes, had married a Tech alumnus, Harry P. Davis, chairman of the board of the National Broadcasting Company. In the years of Dr. Homer Gage’s treasurership the endowment had been raised from $500,000 to more than four million. And in 1947, after the War, a million and a quarter had been added in a campaign for endowment, salaries, and a new building for Civil Engineering. Bookwise, the school had never been in better shape. The trustees were nevertheless reluctant to build,


largely because of inflation, the uncertainties of returns, and general economic instability. Admiral Cluverius was disappointed. So, too, was Andrew Holmstrom, a Civil Engineering graduate, who had been chairman of the fund-raising campaign. Meanwhile the Civil Engineering Department was being squeezed into tighter and tighter corners of Boynton Hall and into an assortment of borrowed spaces in other buildings. Since 1912, when Acting-President Conant first suggested a Civil Engineering building, the department had been patient—proposing plan after plan for quarters of their own. The department had been ready to move into Stratton in 1941, when the Higgins Labs were built, but the Navy V-12 had come along as preemptor. For some forty years, sympathized The Journal, the Civils “have had plans for a better life.” There was “better life” in Civil Engineering and in Tech’s whole school spirit when, after so much waiting, Admiral Cluverius announced a building program. It was to include the erection of a Civil Engineering building, another extension of Salisbury, re modeling of Boynton Hall and the Atwater Kent Laboratories, an additional field house, campus lighting, and general repairs. The Admiral, who thrived on action, bombarded people with his plans. His step seemed to have even more bounce, his voice more excitement, as he planned a tight schedule of alumni visits. On Saturday’s Homecoming Day in the fall of 1952 he greeted trustees and alumni, then on Monday kept an appointment in Philadelphia, with no one, not even the Admiral himself, suspecting that all was not well. Part way home, in New Haven, he became so ill that he was moved from the train to a hospital. There he died as heroically as he had lived—alone. It had been exactly thirteen years and a day since this vigorous president had first assumed office. His predecessor, Admiral Earle, had died four months after a hurricane; his own death occurred a few months before another natural disaster, the tornado of 1953. For Worcester Tech it was the same man, Stephen D. Donahue, who reported all of them—the hurricane, the tornado, and the deaths of the two presidents. In all these events this alumnus was deeply involved—especially in the tornado, which destroyed his home yet spared his family; and the moving account of his mixed reactions became a classic for the ten thousand other persons who were similarly made homeless by the experience. Steve, City Editor of the Worcester Evening Gazette, had managed the part-time assignment of directing W.P.I.’s News Bureau since 1928. After the turmoil of 1952 Worcester Tech had an afterwave of unpleasantness which brought with it the emotional debris of two wars, a reconstruction period, and the loss of a president. When a whole world—or even a small world such as that on Boynton Hill—has such a thorough shaking, there has to come

The most pressing need [for Civil Engineering Department] is that of adequate space to carry on its work. —Arthur W. French, 1925

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The great illuminating scientific power of the next half century will be a simple, single well-balanced course of liberal culture upon a scientific basis. Every institution will tend in this direction by the silent but intelligent adjustment, year by year, to the necessities of the hour. —John Woodman, 1868

Arthur B. Bronwell

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a time of settling. People get misplaced, circumstance does not cooperate, and timing is wrong. There were several such years of upheaval before a new pattern could even be seen. But by 1955, after the brief presidency of Alvin E. Cormeny and the inauguration of Arthur B. Bronwell, strong exciting colors were beginning to show. The enrollment was reaching up again toward the 900 mark, the school had come to terms with reality by terminating the Washburn Shops, the curriculum had been stabilized with a reasonable proportion of humanities and graduate work, and the Civil Engineering building (named Kaven Hall after Moses Kaven, a generous benefactor of previous years) was opened for classes. The big heavy drafting desks, used almost continuously since the school began, had been moved down the long hill to Kaven, and while it had been a-building, Professor Holt and his professors had collected a group of pictures illustrating the accomplishments of their graduates—their trophies—to decorate its wide corridors. “I’ve waited forty-five years for this day,” said Arthur J. Knight at the dedication, breaking his precedent of not speaking in public. “When we get the Civils out of here—” had been the cry of the growing Boynton Hall staff for many years. There were several summer months during the remodeling of Boynton when everyone was out of the building with the exception of the switchboard operator. Partitions were put in; partitions were torn down, sometimes revealing old blackboards still covered with chemistry formulas written there by Dr. Fuller. When the staff moved back, the Alumni Association (now with Warren B. Zepp as secretarytreasurer) was given the spacious quarters of the old design room. David Lloyd, the first person in Institute history to bear the title of business manager, was eventually given a big corner for the corralling of several financial functions which had been distributed among many persons since the retirement of Emily W. Danforth, financial secretary for forty years. Now there was ample room for the president, the registrar, and the Placement office. On the third floor were classrooms for History, Languages, Economics, Government, and Business. Also in Boynton there was a new office for Admissions and Students with a new director, Donald Downing, and his associate Ernest W. Hollows. Jerome Howe, as previous Dean, had meanwhile retired, and Paul Swan, Associate Dean, had become president of Leicester Junior College. Since its organization the Institute had had a strong tie with this school in Leicester. Almost all of the founders of Tech had been either graduates or members of the board of what had then been known as Leicester Academy. The Earles, from Leices ter, had helped to strengthen the tie, and there had been many trustees and teachers who served both schools in the capacity of directorship. Three times between presidents of W.P.I., in extremely trying transition periods, Dean Francis Roys had acted as chief


officer on campus. Rangy, long-geared, the Dean was known by the students for forty years as Spider Roys. He had had a heavy load for much of the time, carrying one-third of the school’s instruction in his department of Mechanical Engineering, besides being chairman of the committee on Courses of Study and De grees and chairman of the faculty. All the way he had fought the battle, sometimes an unpopular one, for a strong undergraduate program. Named vice-president in 1956, Dean Roys held that office until 1963, when he retired after fifty-three years of dedicated service to Tech. Dean Roys was also chairman of the board for a time until he was succeeded in 1954 by Philip M. Morgan. Mr. Morgan was the son and grandson of two former trustees and for a period served on the board simultaneously with his father. Under Morgan leadership the school was guided through a time of reorganization much as it had been organized under the surveillance of community leaders. There was no gainsaying the editorial comment made by the Worcester Evening Gazette that W.P.I. was a “famous technical school, founded as a community institution and grew up as one.” For anyone who overlooked this traditional community participation and support, there would be trouble. School started in the fall of 1954 with a sense of well-being, two hurricanes, and an unbeaten, untied football season, which rivaled the year of 1938, when weather and football had had a similar collusion. Doc Carpenter, who retired in 1952, was still on the bench to watch the Engineers win and to share the satisfaction of his successor, Robert W. Pritchard. Varsity athletics had had short shrift during the War. There had been hardly enough men to fill the spots on the diamond in baseball. Intramural activities had been nevertheless strong, es pecially after Aldus Higgins had given playing fields for soccer and tennis (Edwin Higginbottom was coach for both) in the name of the Class of 1893. But with the exception of Pete, the mascot, commended by Admiral Cluverius as “presumably a good student and well behaved,” no one had received any awards. With the victory celebration after the football season in 1954, teachers, trustees, teams, and students agreed Worcester Tech had turned the hard corner of the past and was headed in a new direction. Still—over the campus could often be heard the metallic clang of the old Tech bell, its sound covering the grounds like a heavy blanket of reminder. More than likely it was only a call for Nils Hagberg, the campus chief of police, but sometimes in an eerie moment there were persons who wondered who was ringing it— John Boynton or Ichabod Washburn.

g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g

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Salisbury Laboratories, with the addition of Kinnicutt Hall

Administrative group, 1940. Standing: Taylor, Kolb, Miss Rugg, Miss Haynes, A. J. Knight, Locke. Seated; Howe, Cluverius, Roys

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The Earle Bridge, a gift of Paul B. Morgan

Earle Memorial Square, where city meets campus

Destroyer U. S. S. Earle

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Alden Memorial Hall

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Alden P. Johnson, step-grandson of George I. Alden from Mr. Alden’s third marriage. Mr. Johnson is now chairman of the Alden Trust.

Medallions, designed by Wilbur H. Burnham, adorn the center panels of nine windows in Alden Memorial Hall

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President Cluverius pays homage to prom queen Tech Band, 1949-1950

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Herbert F. Taylor, in one of his last official appearances as Secretary-Treasurer of the Alumni Association, presents cup given by Class of 1917 to class having largest attendance at reunion

Tech Carnival, originated in 1916

Tech Masque in Alden Memorial Hall

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182 Undefeated tennis team, 1943


Left: Pete, at the end of undefeated football season, is served steak by George Andreopoulos under supervision of Pete’s master, Donald T. Atkinson. Pete, purchased for two dollars in 1933, lived to be seventeen years old. To the end, according to Don, “Pete carried himself with the distinction of every Worcester Tech graduate.”

President Cluverius and Doc Carpenter in nostalgic moment near the end of both their careers

183 Football in undefeated season, 1954


Stratton Hall, or old M.E. Building

184 Higgins Laboratories


The Hard Corner of the Past - part 1