|Title||Fundamentals First: The Story of Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Kenneth C. Rogers, Newcomen Society address, N.Y., June 1979.|
|Collection||Stevens Institute of Technology Collection|
|Credit||Gift of Arturo & Pat Martinez.|
|Scope & Content||
Fundamentals First: The Story of Stevens Institute of Technology. An address to The Newcomen Society in
North America by Dr. Kenneth C. Rogers, New York, June 21, 1979.
Published by The Newcomen Society as Newcomen Publication Number 1109, first printing Nov. 1979.
Booklet, 6" x 9" high, 28 pp. plus covers, photo illustrated.
A useful thumbnail history of the Hoboken college. Full text is in notes.
The Story of
Stevens Institute of Technology
DR. KENNETH C. ROGERS
"Were American Newcomen to do naught else, our
work is well done if we succeed in sharing with
America a strengthened inspiration to continue
the struggle towards a nobler Civilization-
through wider knowledge and understanding of the
hopes, ambitions, and deeds of leaders in the -past
who have upheld Civilization's material progress.
As we look backward, let us look forward."
Senior Vice-President for North America
The Newcomen Society
for the study of the history of
Engineering and Technology
Chairman for North America
"Actorum Memores simul affectamus Agenda"
This address, dealing with the history and growth of
Stevens Institute of Technology, was delivered at the
1979 New York Dinner of The Newcomen Society in
North America when Dr. Kenneth C. Rogers was the
guest of honor and speaker on June 21, 1979.
This statement, crystallizing a broad purpose of the Society, was first read
at the Newcomen Meeting at New York World's Fair on August 5, 1939,
when American Newcomen were guests of The British Government.
"From its inception, Stevens has stressed education of the
'complete' person, the intellectually well-rounded and physi-
cally fit individual who has a unified sense of how the world
operates. The combination of research and graduate educa-
tion, and a small intimate undergraduate school with unique
curricula, creates at Stevens an outstanding environment for
young men and women who are ready to work hard and
to devote themselves to becoming effective professionals and
- DR. KENNETH C. ROGERS
The Story of
Stevens Institute of Technology
DR. KENNETH C. ROGERS
MEMBER OF THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY IN NORTH AMERICA
NEW YORK DOWNINGTOWN PRINCETON PORTLAND
Newcomen Publication Number 1109
DR. KENNETH C. ROGERS
Library of Congress
Catalog Card Number 79-91593
Permission to abstract is granted
provided proper credit is allowed
The Newcomen Society, as a body,
is not responsible for opinions
expressed in the following pages
First Printing: November 1979
SET UP, PRINTED AND BOUND IN THE UNITED STATES
OF AMERICA FOR THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY IN
NORTH AMERICA BY PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS
INTRODUCTION OF DR. ROGERS AT NEW YORK ON JUNE 21, 1979, BY DR.
FREDERICK L. BISSINGER, COUNSEL, PENNIE & EDWARDS, COUNSELLORS-
AT-LAW; RETIRED PRESIDENT, ALLIED CHEMICAL CORPORATION; AND
CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Members of The Newcomen Society:
IT'S A PLEASURE to be here tonight to recognize the leadership of
President Kenneth C. Rogers and to honor the Stevens Institute
of Technology, the institution which I am privileged to serve
as chairman of the Board of Trustees. My 16 years of service on the
Board indicate only one measure of the affection I hold for Stevens,
where I earned my baccalaureate degree of Mechanical Engineer in
1933. While I was an undergraduate, my course of study included
an extensive program of engineering and scientific subjects as well
as a substantial emphasis on the humanities. The Stevens broad-based
and generalized approach to undergraduate education gave me a cer-
tain breadth and flexibility in my career that graduates of most other
engineering colleges might have found harder to achieve. I owe much
to this special character of my studies as a Stevens undergraduate.
Stevens Institute of Technology is a vigorous member of the in-
dependent or private sector in American higher education. The wis-
dom and generosity of the founder and of a succession of thousands
of donors over the decades have made it possible for Stevens to main-
tain its independence and pursue its distinct educational philosophy
for over a century.
In 1972 the Board of Trustees was faced with the problem of find-
ing a new president of the college. In December of that year, it chose
the man you are honoring here tonight, Dr. Kenneth C. Rogers, who
had been head of the college's physics department and who six months
earlier had been named acting provost and dean of the faculty.
Dr. Rogers earned the bachelor of science degree in physics from
St. Lawrence University, and the master's and doctoral degrees in
physics from Columbia University. His scientific interests and research
have focused on topics in plasma physics, physical electronics, high
current arcs, pulsed high magnetic field technology, optical spectros-
copy, high energy particle accelerators and elementary particle physics.
The author of some 30 articles that have appeared in professional
journals, he holds patents for a plasma accelerator and for a stabilized
high current electric arc.
Dr. Rogers has held research positions and visiting professorships
at Cornell University, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the
City University of New York and Princeton University.
In 1957, Kenneth Rogers joined the Stevens faculty as an assistant
professor of physics. Seven years later he was named professor of
physics and in 1968, he became head of the physics department.
Under his leadership, the physics department received and effectively
administered a $670,000 grant from the National Science Founda-
tion to strengthen and expand programs offered by the department.
Shortly after he became president of Stevens, Dr. Rogers was
asked to comment on the future of private colleges and particularly
the future of Stevens. At that time he said:
"When I think of Stevens' future, I like to think of a kind of
lean and tough institution-no frills, but everything done with
skill and confidence. . . .
"I'd like to see each of us at Stevens feel convinced that if we
do something, we do it very well, no matter what it is. . . .
"What I see is a certain intellectual sharpness, a keenness, an
edge-no nonsense, no sham-a kind of lean and athletic intel-
lectual roughness. That is how I see the Stevens' style."
Let's see how well he applied what he characterized as the "Stevens
style" in guiding the college during the past seven years.
When he became president, Stevens was having operating deficits
of more than $1 million per year; today, they are substantially at a
Enrollments were down; today, they are at a peak both at the
undergraduate and graduate levels.
The administration of the college has been strengthened and
streamlined. Objectives for future goals of the college have been
formulated. Programs for mutual cooperation between the private
sector and Stevens have been put into operation.
[ 6 ]
All in all, Kenneth Rogers has engineered the transition from being
the head of the physics department to being a strong administrator
and effective fund raiser with consummate skill. Fund raising is par-
ticularly important since private, independent colleges can only remain
private and independent by adequate support from the private sector.
Dr. Rogers has given the school new vitality and purpose so that
we as Trustees feel we are in a sound position to ask for continued
Notwithstanding his many activities on behalf of Stevens, Dr.
Rogers manages to fulfill commitments beyond the Stevens campus.
He is a director of the First Jersey National Bank, the Public Service
Electric and Gas Company and the New Jersey State Chamber of
Commerce. A past president of the Association of Independent En-
gineering Colleges, he is now a trustee of the Independent College
Fund of New Jersey. Dr. Rogers is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I introduce to you the fifth
president of Stevens - DR. KENNETH C. ROGERS.
My fellow members of Newcomen:
THANK YOU, Dr. Bissinger, for your most kind introduction,
to which I feel compelled to make an addendum. Were it
not for your own counsel and guidance and indeed the sup-
port of all of Stevens' devoted trustees, our programs of the last few
years would have been all but impossible to accomplish. I thank you,
and also express my gratitude to the Newcomen Society, and its dis-
tinguished president, Charles Penrose, for honoring Stevens Institute
of Technology this evening.
The Educational Philosophy of Stevens
Sixty years after the founding of Stevens, the most eminent sci-
entist of this century was asked to give his views on higher education.
He remarked that, even for technical schools, the demands of life
are much too great for colleges to emphasize specialized knowledge.
Instead of graduating specialists, he maintained, institutions of higher
learning should strive for the development of students who have
harmonious personalities and general ability, with the capability of
independent thinking and judgment. Mastery of the fundamentals
of a subject, and learning to think and work independently, are much
more fruitful than the acquisition of detailed knowledge. Of course,
Albert Einstein was that scientist, and his thoughts correspond pre-
cisely to the basic educational philosophy that has guided Stevens for
over 100 years.
From its inception, Stevens has stressed education of the "com-
plete" person, the intellectually well-rounded and physically fit indi-
vidual who has a unified sense of how the world operates. Our phi-
losophy has been to produce a graduate whose formal training has
stressed common features among different branches of knowledge,
and who will leave Stevens with a comprehensive view of a broad
field and how its respective parts meld together. Our greatest em-
phasis has been on general concepts and a long-range perspective
within each of the college's three undergraduate curricula.
The original curriculum at the founding of the Institute in 1870
was a single integrated engineering program, based on a core of re-
[ 8 ]
quired courses in mathematics, the sciences, fundamental engineering
principles and the humanities. Unlike many other institutions provid-
ing undergraduate engineering education, Stevens has never fraction-
alized its curriculum into different specialities of engineering.
A statement made about Stevens in 1903 by Edgar Marburg of
the University of Pennsylvania aptly describes the educational phi-
losophy even to this day:
"She has not allowed herself to be beguiled by the educational
fads and follies of the time, nor to be swerved from her straight
course by any popular developments-more apparent than real
-for shortcut or highly specialized courses. She has wisely
held that the increasing necessity of specialization in after-life
served but to emphasize the need of broad and thorough train-
ing in the fundamentals."
In relating the history of Stevens, I will talk about three eras in
the college's development. The first era, we might call "The Foun-
dations," covered the terms of the first two presidents of the college,
from 1870-1928. The second era, from 1928-1970, which also saw
two presidents guiding Stevens, was one of "Growth and Diversifi-
cation." Graduate programs began, research commenced and then
expanded, the physical plant grew. The seventies have brought a
third era to the development of the college. Again under two presi-
dents, this decade has been one of "Outreach and Strengthening of
THE FOUNDATIONS: 1870-1928
The Stevens Family
The Institute is named after a family who perpetuated a tradition
in American engineering dating back to the early industrial revolu-
tion. John Stevens, a colonel in the Revolutionary War, purchased
from the State of New Jersey in 1784 the land included in the pres-
ent-day 55-acre campus of the college. Stevens Institute is on a prom-
ontory in Hoboken known as Castle Point overlooking the Hudson
River and Manhattan. John Stevens introduced the steam ferry to
New York Harbor, and experimented with the first American steam
locomotive which ran on a track in Hoboken, in 1825.
[ 9 ]
[top photo caption] THE PRESENT-DAY CAMPUS OF STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY SPANS 55 ACRES ON A SITE IN HOBOKEN, N.J., DIRECTLY OPPOSITE FROM
His son, Robert, invented the T-rail or solid steel railroad track
still used today. With Edwin, another son, Robert built and operated
profitably the first commercial railroad in the United States. Edwin,
on his own, participated in the design and construction of ironclad
vessels for the U.S. Navy. With yet another brother, John Cox
Stevens, who was first commodore of the New York Yacht Club,
Edwin joined in the syndicate that built and owned the yacht "America."
In 1851, that vessel defeated all the English contenders to
become the first winner of the trophy now known as the "America's
The accomplishments of the Stevens family in business and engi-
neering sometimes obscure their achievements in other areas of en-
deavor. The family and their relations-the Dods, Bayards, and
Fenwicks-have been deeply interested in the arts and politics. Since
the mid-nineteenth century, family members have consistently con-
tributed their time and fortune to educational institutions and gov-
ernment service. Millicent Fenwick, great-granddaughter of Edwin
A. Stevens, is the third woman member of the Stevens family to
[ 10 ]
sit on the Board of Trustees of Stevens. She is also the U.S.
Congresswoman from the Fifth District, New Jersey.
Creation of Stevens Institute of Technology
When Edwin Stevens died in 1868, his will provided, through a
generous contribution of land, building fund and endowment, for the
establishment of the college which bears his family's name. The origi-
nal trustees decided to make Stevens an engineering college with a
curriculum leading to a single degree they called Mechanical En-
The creation of Stevens occurred in a period of rapid growth in
American engineering education. The number of engineering schools
increased from seven in 1862 to seventy in 1872. The majority of
these schools trained highly specialized engineers in civil, mining
[bottom photo caption] EDWIN A. STEVENS ( 1795 - 1868) WHOSE WILL
PROVIDED FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT IN 1870
OF THE COLLEGE THAT BEARS HIS FAMILY'S
[ 11 ]
and mechanical engineering, but until the founding of Stevens, no
American school had devoted itself to mechanical engineering educa-
tion based primarily on scientific principles.
President Henry Morton
The first president of Stevens, Henry Morton graduated from
the University of Pennsylvania in 1857, became editor of the scien-
tific "Journal of the Franklin Institute" in 1867 and was appointed
a professor of physics and chemistry at the University of Pennsyl-
vania in 1868. When Morton became president of Stevens in 1870,
he was 34 years old, and in addition to his scientific accomplishments,
he had done the first full translation of the hieroglyphics on the
Rosetta Stone, was an artist in watercolors, and wrote verse.
Morton's goal for Stevens was to upgrade mechanical engineering
education by bringing it out of the workshop and raising its profes-
sional status. This was accomplished by casting aside earlier American
methods of training engineers that emphasized practice and tech-
niques. He substituted in their place the European model of science,
laboratory experiment, and research.
Morton determined that the curriculum should have a broad base,
with strong training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, metallurgy,
mechanical drawing and mechanical engineering, and furthermore,
the humanities and foreign languages.
Professor Robert Thurston
On the original faculty was the eminent mechanical engineer and
pioneer engineering educator, Robert H. Thurston. For him and his
colleagues, mechanical engineering, and thus the curriculum at Ste-
vens, embraced all the existing and emerging disciplines of engineer-
ing. Thurston was elected first president of the American Society
of Mechanical Engineers, which was formed at Stevens in 1880. He
was responsible for the creation at Stevens of the first Mechanical
Engineering Laboratory in the United States.
Early Association with Business
One factor which added to the success of the generalized Stevens
curriculum was its close association with the business community
through its programs in management. The Institute established its
[ 12 ]
first formal program in industrial engineering or business engineering
when President Morton appointed Coleman Sellers as professor of
engineering practice in 1886.
The attitude of Sellers, a charter member of the American Society
of Mechanical Engineers, was that engineering, especially mechani-
cal engineering as a profession, was inherently concerned with the
business end of the engineering enterprise. As president of the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1886-1887, the same
year he started to teach at Stevens, Sellers wrote that "we must
measure all things by the test, will it pay?"
It was from Stevens, with its stress on the professional engineering
entrepreneur, that the pioneers in the movement called scientific
management, Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Gannt, gradu-
ated in 1883 and 1884 respectively. A Department of Business En-
gineering was established in 1902, the year that Alexander Crombie
Humphreys assumed the presidency of the college.
President Alexander Humphreys
Scottish-born Humphreys had acquired a sense of the importance
of business in engineering education from practical experience; from
the age of 14, he had been a clerk and gas works employee. In his
twenties Humphreys attended Stevens part-time, and in 1881 he
earned our Mechanical Engineer degree. He then went on to serve
as chief executive officer of over 55 gas and electric light companies.
The career of Alexander Humphreys parallels that of his friend,
Andrew Carnegie, who was a member of the Stevens Board of Trus-
tees from 1896 until 1920. Carnegie contributed the monies for the
erection of a laboratory of mechanical engineering, which was named
in his honor.
President Humphreys, in addition to advancing the Morton com-
mitment to a single, generalized curriculum, included among his
stated ambitions to establish an honor system at Stevens and "to
graduate not only engineers but gentlemen as well." With his en-
couragement, the senior class of 1906 petitioned the faculty for the
[ 13 ]
privilege of taking final examinations under an honor system. By
June 1907, all classes had adopted it. The honor system eventually
became the cornerstone for all student self-government at Stevens
and continues to this day.
The interest of President Humphreys in athletics inspired him to
improve facilities at Stevens. He persuaded an old friend, William
Hall Walker, to provide the necessary funds to build a gymnasium.
The Walker gymnasium was erected in 1916 and today, more than
60 years later, continues to serve as a principal athletic facility of the
The first director of Physical Education and Athletics, affectionately
called "Doc" Davis, believed that formal education should involve
the development of an individual as a whole and that athletics and
physical education are integral parts of that process. Doc Davis and
the many physical education teachers who followed him have always
had full faculty status.
First Expansion of the Physical Plant
For the first thirty years, all the activities of the Institute had been
carried out in the original building, called the "A" Building, which
today still retains most of its handsome features. Under President
Humphreys, expansion of the physical plant began. The Carnegie
Laboratory of Engineering was built in 1902 and the Morton Lab-
oratory of Chemistry in 1906.
GROWTH AND DIVERSIFICATION: 1928-1972
In 1928 Harvey Davis was inaugurated as the third president of
Stevens Institute of Technology. In 1951 Jess Davis (no relation to
his predecessor) assumed the presidency, which he held until June
1972. During the 44 years that these two distinguished men guided
Stevens, the Institute changed from a small four-year undergraduate
college of engineering into a much larger multi-faceted institution
with considerable research and a variety of graduate and undergradu-
ate programs stressing engineering, science, and management. This
second era was one of "Growth and Diversification." The changes
that took place occurred without destroying the essential traditions
[ 14 ]
[top photo caption] "GENTLEMEN" ENGINEERS IN THE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MACHINERY LABORATORY.
[bottom photo caption] EARLY STUDENTS AT WORK IN THE FOUNDRY PRACTICE SHOP.
[ 15 ]
of Stevens inherent in its unspecialized undergraduate engineering
President Harvey Davis
President Harvey Davis held the Ph.D. in classical physics from
Harvard, had taught mathematics at Brown and then returned to
Harvard as a professor of physics and later as a professor of mechani-
cal engineering. He stressed the need for graduate work to meet the
demands of the increasing degree of sophistication in the various
branches of engineering, and he recognized that hand-in-hand with
graduate work must go research, both fundamental and applied.
Even though there had been occasional graduate degrees awarded
on a special basis, no regular program leading to a master's degree
existed until 1930. The graduate division was formally established
in 1938 with five master's programs initiated in chemistry and chemi-
cal engineering, economics of engineering, electrical engineering,
mathematics and physics, and mechanical engineering. These pro-
grams, which drew support especially from the Westinghouse Cor-
poration, were offered in the late afternoon and evening to accom-
modate working engineers, scientists, businessmen and managers.
The graduate division was so successful that by 1939, the number
of graduate students had risen to over 300. Further expansion of grad-
uate studies occurred in 19 51, with the introduction of a doctoral pro-
gram in applied mechanics. By the early sixties, doctoral programs
were added in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and in chemical en-
gineering and electrical engineering.
Early Researchers of Distinction
While Harvey Davis promoted fundamental research, as never
before at Stevens, there had been some outstanding individual faculty
researchers at the college from its beginning. Alfred M. Mayer (1836-
1897), the first professor of physics from 1871 to 1897, was a mem-
ber of the National Academy of Sciences and is honored for his work
in sound, light, and magnetism. Irving Langmuir (1881-1957), a
1932 Nobel Laureate for his work in surface chemistry, held his only
full-time teaching position at Stevens from 1906-1909.
L. Alan Hazeltine, who taught at Stevens for over three decades,
[ 16 ]
invented the neutrodyne radio receiver, which neutralized feedback
noise and permitted finer selectivity of tuning in early radio. He
marketed this device in 1923, and in 1924 founded the Hazeltine
Corporation at Stevens.
One new member of Harvey N. Davis' faculty continued the asso-
ciation of Stevens with programs in management and business. In
1928, the first year of Harvey Davis' tenure, Johnson O'Connor, a
psychologist, established a Human Engineering Laboratory at Ste-
vens. He combined research in psychological testing with vocational
guidance services for Stevens seniors. O'Connor's laboratory was the
forerunner of our present Laboratory of Psychological Studies. It has
provided career and personal counseling to over 100,000 individuals,
including teen-agers, war veterans, college students, and adults con-
templating career changes, and it continues to conduct applied research
at all levels of management and operations.
Harvey Davis also brought Professor Kenneth Davidson to Stevens
as an instructor in civil engineering. In the early thirties, Davidson
began to test ship models in the Institute swimming pool. By 1935,
he had received grants from the Research Corporation for the build-
ing of an experimental towing tank laboratory on campus. Within ten
years, two more tanks were built with funds from the U.S. Navy,
for which the laboratory began to do military research that continues
Renamed in honor of its founder in 1959, the Davidson Laboratory
has included among its investigations the tracking of underwater mis-
siles in anti-submarine warfare, the testing and development of nearly
all of the U.S. Navy's torpedoes, and the testing of the Polaris mis-
sile. The U.S.S. George Washington, the world's first nuclear-pro-
pelled missile-launching submarine, was designed with the help of
tests done in the Stevens tanks. The America's Cup yacht races, iden-
tified with the Stevens family at the original 1851 contest, have also
figured in the laboratory's history. Since "Ranger" in 1937, the hull
configuration of every America's Cup defender has been model-tested
[ 17 ]
[top photo caption] DAVIDSON LABORATORY IS THE LARGEST CAMPUS-BASED HYDRODYNAMICS LABORATORY OF ITS KIND IN THE UNITED STATES, WITH FACILITIES FOR STUDYING MODELS OF ALL TYPES OF SEA-GOING VESSELS. HERE, AN OIL DRILLING PLATFORM IS BEING MODEL TESTED.
The Laboratory also has worked with defense agencies on ballistics
tests, on tread designs for vehicles, multiple overland vehicles, on
hydrofoils, on flutter and instability of wing designs, and on testing
of engine and propulsion systems. Another area of its research, done
primarily for state and local agencies is on such problems as losses in
water supply systems, design of drainage systems, and environmental
impact of wastes in rivers and bays.
President Jess Davis
The fourth president of Stevens, Jess H. Davis, had been professor
of mechanical engineering and president of Clarkson College of Tech-
[ 18 ]
nology. At Stevens, Dr. Davis presided over continuing enlargement
of academic programs, growth of the physical plant, and a period of
booming expansion in the number and quality of research faculty, in
research facilities and in the volume of funded research. Annual re-
search expenditures at Stevens reached $3.5 million in 1968. Given
the relatively small full-time faculty and research staff of approxi-
mately 150, this was a considerable accomplishment.
Re-shaping of the Campus
The consequences of the 44-year era of expansion under both Davis'
presidencies were dramatic. From 1928 to 1972, the faculty increased
from 20 to 161 j undergraduate enrollment grew from 440 to 1,250;
and the graduate division, which first began in 1930, had 945 students
in 1972. Of course, this growth required a re-shaping of the entire
campus and expansion of the physical plant.
[bottom photo caption] IN 1928 THE UPPER CAMPUS CONSISTED LARGELY OF "THE CASTLE" (REAR CENTER), THE OLD STEVENS FAMILY HOME THEN USED AS A DORMITORY AND ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. THE WALKER GYMNASIUM AND PLAYING FIELDS ARE IN THE FOREGROUND.
[ 19 ]
When Harvey Davis was inaugurated in 1928, the upper campus
consisted largely of the old Stevens family home called "the Castle."
It was used as a student dormitory and administration building. The
remainder of the upper campus was occupied by the gymnasium and
playing fields. On the lower campus, the Navy Building, built in
World War I for the Navy Steam Engineering School, became the
principle classroom and faculty office facility.
Harvey Davis' dream was to transform Stevens from a commuting
school to a residential college. Fulfillment of this wish began with
the construction of Palmer Dormitory in 1937, continued under both
the Harvey and Jess Davis' administrations with the construction of
four more undergraduate dormitories, including Humphreys Hall in
1961, and culminated with the building of the Married Students
Apartments in 1965.
When in 1967, a sudden increase in engineering enrollments oc-
curred, and more student housing was required, a ship, the American
export liner "Exochorda" was acquired and docked just below the
upper campus. The "S.S. Stevens," as she was renamed, served as a
dormitory until 1975, when operating costs became so prohibitive that
she was sold for scrap and towed away.
Many of the buildings constructed since 1870 owe their existence
to the generosity and help of individual Stevens alumni. Charles
Stewart Mott of the Class of 1897 and a founder of General Motors,
gave the funds to construct the Mott Field House in 1947. The
Burchard Building, erected in 1958 and named for a member of the
Class of 1885, houses the Departments of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, and
Physics and Engineering Physics. Eugene McDermott, of the Class
of 1919 and a founder of the Texas Instruments Corporation, gave
major assistance to the construction of the Stevens Center, which was
completed in 1961 on the site of the old Castle. The Samuel C. Wil-
liams Library, dedicated in 1961, contains some 100,000 volumes, the
Frederick W. Taylor Papers, a collection of historical items from the
Stevens family, and one of the largest and best collections in the
United States on Leonardo da Vinci. Computer-searching capability
in the library gives it access to over 120 data-bases, containing mil-
lions of articles, books, and reports. The library also contains the
[ 20 ]
Stevens Computer Center and is graced by an especially designed mo-
bile contributed by its creator, Alexander Calder, a member of the
Class of 1919.
Growth of Research
The 1950s and 1960s were years of swift technological develop-
ment. With the advent of the nuclear-powered submarine, nuclear
power became a reality. The decision to begin a massive American
space program resulted in federal agencies of all sorts stimulating
universities and institutes of technology, through grants and contracts,
to expand their capabilities in scientific and engineering research.
Of course, Stevens participated in this intense effort. The growth
of funded research in the basic sciences and engineering in turn led
to greater scholarly work in every academic department, with Stevens
itself providing the financial resources when no outside support was
The rich diversity of academic research developed at Stevens since
the fifties is impossible to discuss in detail, but mention of some of
[bottom photo caption] RESEARCH IS CONSIDERED VITAL TO THE COLLEGE'S EDUCATIONAL MISSION. IN PHYSICS, STUDIES OF HIGH TEMPERATURE PLASMAS ARE A MAJOR ACTIVITY.
[ 21 ]
the work, not already touched upon that has achieved international
recognition gives some sense of the vitality of the Stevens faculty
efforts. Molecular structure and bio-chemistry in chemistry, polymer
engineering in chemical engineering; computerized information proc-
essing in electrical engineering; mathematical logic, topology, and
automata theory in mathematics; high temperature plasmas, relativity
theory and elementary particle research in physics; low temperature
cryogenics, also in the physics department; surface properties of ma-
terials in metallurgy; and ocean structures and new types of high
speed boats in ocean engineering are typical topics of this genre.
What, it can be asked, happened to the undergraduate curriculum
in the midst of all the growth that occurred under the Davis' admin-
istrations? The answer is that Stevens continued to offer its traditional,
generalized engineering program. World War II and the arms and
space races all confirmed the importance of having undergraduate
education rest solidly on basic principles, just as Henry Morton had
seen in 1870.
[bottom photo caption] WOMEN UNDERGRADUATES WERE FIRST ADMITTED IN 1971 AND TODAY COMPRISE OVER 13 PERCENT OF THE UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT.
[ 22 ]
The influential 1955 Grinter Report of the American Society for
Engineering Education officially recognized the need for new empha-
ses in American engineering education and recommended many fun-
damental changes in the composition of undergraduate engineering
curricula, including increases in the humanities, science and mathe-
matics content. Many colleges of engineering were forced to make
major curricular rearrangements, but at Stevens, almost no change
occurred, because our curriculum already highlighted the sciences and
humanities and included most of the Grinter Report recommenda-
tions. As the history of Stevens has shown, the Institute has stead-
fastly held to the principle that undergraduate education must em-
phasize "know whys" of science and engineering fundamentals instead
of technological "know hows."
In 1958, the undergraduate engineering degree was renamed
"Bachelor of Engineering," a title that more accurately reflected the
breadth of course content that has always been the basis of our cur-
riculum. In the same year, Stevens introduced an undergraduate
science curriculum in chemistry, mathematics and physics leading to
the Bachelor of Science degree.
OUTREACH AND STRENGTHENING OF
QUALITY 1972 - PRESENT
The present era of Stevens' development began in 1972 and has
focused on "Outreach and Strengthening of Quality" through new
programs and long-range planning.
The engineering curriculum once again has been thoroughly re-
viewed, and the basic philosophy of an unspecialized program has
been reaffirmed. The science curriculum continues, and a third under-
graduate curriculum has been established in Systems Planning and
Management. It prepares students to apply the principles of manage-
ment and engineering to social systems and leads to the degree of
Bachelor of Science.
The humanities place in all three undergraduate curricula has been
assured, and increased strength in humanities is now possible through
recent major grants from the National Endowment for the Humani-
ties and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
[ 23 ]
[top photo caption] THE TOTAL ENROLLMENT OF SOME 2,500 INDIVIDUALS INCLUDES UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS. THE COLLEGE'S FACULTY NUMBERS ABOUT 150.
Plans for the Future
Every one of the college's ten academic departments has developed
plans for the future. Some have begun a change in emphasis to new
topics of prominence. For example, the Department of Electrical
Engineering has become that of Electrical Engineering and Com-
puter Science, with new priorities in communications engineering,
computer science and computer engineering. Mechanical engineering
has placed emphasis on machine systems design and on energy and
power systems. In civil engineering, strengths in geo-technical and
environmental engineering are being developed. Metallurgy has taken
a leadership position on the campus in studies of the surface properties
of materials. Chemical engineering is focusing activity in polymer
processing. Engineering design using computers has received new at-
tention with the help of a major grant from the National Science
Foundation. Modern biology has surfaced as an active area of research
and study. Applied psychology has become an important feature of
graduate programs in management science.
In reaching out for new opportunities for service, the Institute has
[ 24 ]
[top photo caption] THERMODYNAMIC ANALYSIS BEING DONE ON THE JOY AIR COMPRESSOR, PART OF A JUNIOR-YEAR LABORATORY COURSE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING.
enlarged its scope of interest. In 1971, we admitted women to the
undergraduate programs for the first time. The growing interest by
young women in engineering and scientific careers has been a large
factor in Stevens' recent growth. From 25 freshmen women in 1971,
the undergraduate enrollment of women has increased so that today
[ 25 ]
our total female undergraduate enrollment is 209. For the second
consecutive year, Stevens has offered a special career program for tal-
ented high school women designed to heighten their awareness of
the engineering profession.
Stevens Technical Enrichment Program
In one of the first projects of its kind in the nation, Stevens has
developed a pre- and in-college program that provides academic re-
inforcement and cultural enrichment to talented, disadvantaged and
minority students who have an interest and aptitude in science and
technology. Known as the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program
or STEP, this project has been highly successful; almost all of its
students have entered college, and today alumni from STEP have
become involved in many aspects of engineering in private corpora-
tions and governmental agencies.
Hudson County Community College
This decade of outreach and strengthening of quality has involved
Stevens in a leadership role in creating a vocationally-oriented com-
munity college in Hudson County organized along totally new lines.
Many of the programs of the community college are provided to
county residents through contracts with the higher educational insti-
[bottom photos caption] FRESHMEN GAMES TRADITIONALLY MARK THE BEGINNING OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR. THE INCLUSION OF WOMEN STUDENTS HAS CHANGED THE APPEARANCE OF THIS TIME-HONORED EVENT.
[ 26 ]
tutions in Hudson County. Stevens has offered a very successful elec-
tronics technology program, now joined by a chemical technology
Technology for Tomorrow
Our future plans include even greater efforts to strengthen every
activity in which we are engaged and to acquire the most effective
tools to do our work. Perhaps our most ambitious single project is
a new center for mechanical, civil and environmental engineering to
be constructed as soon as possible, on a site adjacent to the Chemistry
and Chemical Engineering Center. Other improvements we envision
are new dormitories for both undergraduate and graduate students,
new facilities for physical education, and extensive renovations of the
original Institute building, and the Carnegie Laboratory.
These and other important needs will be met through the most
ambitious development program in the history of the college. Known
as Technology for Tomorrow and launched in November of 1977,
the program's goal is to raise over $42 million, an amount comparable
to the entire endowment of Stevens.
The program's goals are as follows:
Buildings and Exterior Campus Improvements $29,500,000
Facilities and Equipment 3,075,000
Operational Requirements 6,640,000
Endowed Merit Scholarships Fund 3,050,000
With 12,000 alumni; a total enrollment of some 2,500 students;
a faculty of 150; and a vigilant 33-member Board of Trustees, Ste-
vens should be more than able to hold its own in the difficult years
The great need of our society for broadly trained and talented en-
gineers and scientists is increasingly evident. The combination of re-
search and graduate education, and a small intimate undergraduate
school with unique curricula, creates at Stevens an outstanding envi-
[ 27 ]
ronment for young men and women who are ready to work hard and
to devote themselves to becoming effective professionals and enlight-
"Actorum Memores simul affectamus Agenda!"
This address was prepared based on the historical research of two
Stevens faculty members: Dr. Geoffrey W. Clark, Associate Profes-
sor of the Humanities and the late Dr. James H. Potter, George
Meade Bond Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
In addition the author wishes to acknowledge the help of Laurence
A. Minck, Executive Secretary of the Stevens Alumni Association,
for supplying information and materials; and Ms. Amy G. Bass,
Director of Publications, for editorial assistance and preparation.
[ 28 ]
[inside back cover]
THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY
IN NORTH AMERICA
IN APRIL 1923, the late L. F. Loree (1858-1940) of New York, then dean
of American railroad presidents, established a group now known as "American
N ewcomen" and interested in Business History, as distinguished from -politi-
cal history. Its objectives center in the beginnings, growth, developinent, con-
tributions, and influence of Industry, Transportation, Communication, the Utili-
ties, Mining, Agriculture, Banking, finance, Economics, Insurance, Education,
Invention, and the Law-these and correlated historical fields. In short, the back-
ground of those factors which have contributed or are contributing to the progress
The Newcomen Society in North America is a non-profit membership cor-
poration chartered in 1961 under the Charitable Law of the State of Maine, with
headquarters at 412 Newcomen Road, Exton, Pennsylvania 19341, some jive miles
east of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and 32 miles west of the City of Philadelphia.
Here also is located The Thomas Newcomen Memorial Library and Museum in
Steam Technology and Industrial History, a reference collection, including micro-
film, open to the public for research and dealing with the subjects to which the
Society devotes attention.
Meetings are held throughout the United States of America and across Canada
at which Newcomen A ddresses are presented by leaders in their respective fields.
The approach in most cases has been a life-story of corporate organizations,
interpreted through the ambitions, the successes and failures, and the ultimate
achievements of those pioneers whose efforts laid the foundations of the par-
The Society's name perpetuates the life and work of Thomas Newcomen
(1663-1729), the British pioneer, whose valuable contributions in improvements
to the newly invented Steam Engine brought him lasting fame in the field of
the Mechanic Arts. The Newcomen Engines, whose period of use was from 1712
to 1775, paved a way for the Industrial Revolution. Newcomen's inventive
genius preceded by more than 50 years the brilliant work in Steam by the world-
famous James Watt.
The Newcomen Society in North America is affiliated with The Newcomen
Society for the Study of the History of Engineering and Technology, with
offices at The Science Museum, South Kensington, London, S.W. 7, England.
The Society is also associated in union with the Royal Society for the Encourage-
ment of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, whose offices are at 6 John Adam
Street, London, W.C. 2, England.
Members of American Newcomen, when in Europe, are invited to visit the
home of Thomas Newcomen at Dartmouth in South Devonshire, England, and
to see the Dartmouth Newcomen Engine working.
Rogers, Dr. Kenneth
Stevens, Edwin A.
|Year Range from||1979|
|Year Range to||1979|
Stevens Institute of Technology