WPI’s sesquicentennial logo is an iconic representation of 10 different architectural pieces: Alden Memorial, Atwater Kent Laboratories, Boynton Hall, Earle Bridge, Higgins Gardens, Higgins House, Institute Park Columns, Rubin Campus Center, Sports and Recreation Center, and Washburn Shops. In design, this amalgam approach is known as gestaltism—where the whole is perceived as more than the sum of its parts. This “coming together” of meaningful pieces to create a whole represents the communal strength and culture of WPI. Found in the center of these icons (note: not in the online version, but in several of the printed versions of the logo) is the logotype: “Imagine More” which bridges the visual symbolic past to the “yet undefined” and “imagined” future. The logo’s structure is historically elegant, yet illustratively energetic.
Visit your favorite places on with just a click. Explore the campus cornerstones that make up 150 years of WPI.
WPI’s very own “castle,” Higgins House was built in 1923 and donated to the university in 1970 by Aldus C. Higgins, WPI Class of 1893, the son of an early superintendent of the Washburn Shops. The Tudor-style mansion, complete with brick-and-timber construction, arched windows, a formal garden—and possibly a ghost—holds a strong link to the past. Its Great Hall continues to serve, as it did when the Higgins family lived there, as a space for functions and gatherings, while the house and garden provide tranquil spots for meetings and study groups.
Each spring, WPI community members look forward to the blooming of the vibrant and colorful flowers and shrubs arranged in meticulous rows in in Higgins Gardens. On warm days, students, faculty, and staff can be seen playing Frisbee, sunbathing, eating lunch, or just relaxing among magnificent azaleas, rhododendrons, and magnolias. The gardens and their many trellises and benches—as well as new sets of swings given to WPI the 2014 senior class—also serve as elegant backdrops for social functions such as alumni events and weddings.
The newest building on the WPI campus, the 145,000-square-foot Sports and Recreation Center, opened in 2012 and enables students, faculty, and staff to work out using state-of-the-art fitness equipment, take a dive in a competition-length swimming pool, and get their game on in a four-court gymnasium. Designed and constructed in alignment with WPI's commitment to environmental sustainability, the LEED-certified building is also one of the greenest sports centers in the nation and includes features such as rooftop solar panels and a rainwater collection system.
WPI students don’t have to go far to be immersed in nature, as one of Worcester’s most beautiful green spaces is located directly across from campus. The 24.6-acre Institute Park was donated to the city in 1887 by Stephen Salisbury II, who also paid to have two granite Doric columns placed at its corners, and who provided land for the WPI campus. Students regularly use the park to relax and play games, attend outdoor concerts at the Levenson Concert Stage, and even conduct research (project teams have made extensive efforts to tackle pollution in the park’s Salisbury Pond).
Nowhere does WPI’s passion for performing arts shine brighter than in Alden Memorial, a spacious auditorium where theatre groups perform on stage and music flows from windows throughout the day. The hall was built in 1940 with a gift from the George I. Alden Trust, established by WPI's first professor of mechanical engineering, George Ira Alden. Its main auditorium has hosted some of WPI’s most significant events, while the lower level contains music classrooms and practice spaces, including its innovative computer music laboratory.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, previously known as the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science, began in Boynton Hall. After John Boynton donated his life's savings to co-found the Institute, the town of Worcester provided granite from the Millstone Hill quarry to construct Boynton Hall in 1868. The building housed WPI’s first classrooms, labs, library, and offices—and its clock tower became a symbol of WPI’s commitment to classroom theory and learning as part of the Two Towers philosophy of balancing theory and practice.
Rising alongside Boynton Hall, Washburn Shops was constructed under the supervision of WPI co-founder and wire manufacturer Ichabod Washburn. While early students took classes in Boynton, they learned wood and iron working in Washburn, which contained a manufacturing plant. Its emphasis on practical hands-on education was symbolized by its tower with a distinctive arm and hammer weathervane. Today, Washburn is the oldest building in the United States still used for engineering education; it houses part of WPI’s mechanical engineering program.
Connecting Boynton Hall to Alden Memorial, Earle Bridge is as much a symbolic as practical part of WPI. Sponsored by Paul Morgan, Class of 1890, and named after Ralph Earle, WPI’s sixth president, the footbridge was completed in time for WPI’s 75th anniversary celebration. Since then, students have used it to traverse on a daily basis—but their most memorable trips occur when they cross the bridge as a symbolic entry into WPI during New Student Orientation, and when they cross it again four years later to receive their well-deserved diplomas on Commencement Day.
Built in 1907 and named for a radio pioneer and member of WPI’s Class of 1900, Atwater Kent Laboratories was the first building in the country dedicated to education in electrical engineering. Seen from the air, it resembles the letter E. From the ground, it is equally impressive, most notably for its large brick arch that once served as an entrance for an electric railway test car. Today it houses the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Robotics Engineering and is packed with modern workstations and equipment.
Named in honor of WPI alumnus and former chair of the Board of Trustees Stephen Rubin ‘74, the Center has served as the WPI community’s gathering place since it was built in 2001. Here, students, faculty, and staff come together to relax, refresh, and refuel. Located in the physical center of campus, the 71,000-square-foot building buzzes with activity throughout the day as community members grab a bite of food or cup of coffee or hang out in the game room. The building also contains offices for student activities, conference rooms, space for social events, and the WPI bookstore.