Nikola Tesla, a prolific inventor with a background in both electrical and mechanical engineering, has been a great inspiration to me. He was a genius driven by a desire to improve people’s lives. His induction motor and polyphase generator proved the supremacy of alternate currents over direct currents and ushered in a modern era of efficient electric power that revolutionized American industry. Some of his other inventions laid the foundation for radio communications and remote control.
I see this pioneering spirit in our alumni. William H. Flanagan, MC&TD ’51, Hon. ’11, founded Nexus, Inc., a company that would define the market for connectors used in military and commercial communication headsets. Doug D. Schumann, AM ’64, Hon. ’08, took great ideas about sensors and joystick controls for mobile equipment and turned them into an industry-leading business at P-Q Controls, Inc. Robert H. Swanson, PET ’59, Hon. ’07, had unique insight into the need for high-performance analog, integrated-circuit products and took his 30-year-old Linear Technology Corporation from start-up to a tech giant listed on the S&P 500 index. Today, his products are essential components in MP3 players, high-end cell phones, and automotive electronics.
The pioneering spirit is also alive in our current students. I see it in the fourteen Wentworth architecture students who were featured at the first-ever Boston Society of Architects student showcase last year. I see it in the industrial design students who worked with Design Museum Boston to plan, fund, and launch their own travelling exhibit. I see it in the group of engineering students who designed a sub-pressure chamber to accelerate wound healing. I see it in the student projects that often fill Watson auditorium—self-propelled hydrofoils, motion-controlled robots, miniaturized diagnostic chips no bigger than a quarter, and many others. Wentworth strives to empower these ideas, both through our interdisciplinary, project-based educational model and in our dedication to developing an environment conducive to innovation.
To that end, we are readying two new campus facilities that will spur the next generation of innovators: the Center for Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, including new labs outfitted with the latest technology, and the Flanagan Campus Center, with facilities that will provide students with a hub for interaction and discovery. To ensure a bright future for Wentworth and for the industries our students will go on to impact, I encourage you to visit www.wit.edu/tomorrow and find out how you can support these campus projects—and help us make a true investment in innovation.