Wentworth's Steady Rise; officials cite historic progress at century old Boston school
Wentworth website, Aug. 24, 2015
BOSTON – Senior administrators at Wentworth Institute of Technology say recent enhancements at the 111-year-old school are solidifying its status as a leading educational institution in its own right—here in the heartland of American academia.
“There is tremendous progress to point to,” said Wentworth President Zorica Pantić. “Especially in the past few years.”
The first female engineer to lead a higher-education institution of technology in the United States, Pantić said academic and construction upgrades are taking Wentworth across an identity threshold, shedding its status as one of Boston’s best-kept secrets and revealing its maturation into a major academic entity.
There is little doubt that a broad transformation is underway on the Institute’s 31-acre campus, which occupies land in Boston’s Mission Hill, Roxbury and Fenway areas, and is a member of the Colleges of the Fenway consortium. Earning high marks from city officials for helping with a chronic student housing shortage in Boston, Wentworth in 2014 opened its seventh residential complex, the Apartments @ 525 Huntington. The school’s library in Beatty Hall is scheduled for major renovations in 2016. Laboratory and academic spaces have received substantive upgrades. And Wentworth is in the design and planning stages for what would be a marquis campus facility at 500 Huntington Ave.
All the while, notes Pantić, Wentworth’s “Do, Learn, Succeed” ethos and work-focused co-op requirement is ushering a very high percentage of students into careers or graduate schools immediately after Wentworth*, and the Institute has transitioned into a master’s-degree-granting institution.
After commencements this April and August—with the co-op programs and juniors and seniors on campus in the summer, the school holds two ceremonies each year—Wentworth’s Class of 2015 will join more than 38,000 Institute alumni in 72 countries and all 50 states; the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Wentworth graduates are shaping Boston’s future. More than half of the school’s alumni stay in Massachusetts after graduation, serving largely to fuel Boston’s economic engine. Hundreds of Wentworth grads today are literally building the City of Boston, in the technology, architecture, and construction management industries.
Prospective applicants are noticing the school’s progress, as well, says Keiko Broomhead, Wentworth’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “We are seeing an incredible level of interest,” she says, “particularly with regard to the new academic programs.”
Achievements in that area, from 2005-2015, include:
- Thirty-two additional full-time faculty members
- The introduction of six new engineering programs: biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, and interdisciplinary
- Implementation of new graduate programs in architecture, facilities management, construction management, and technology management. A master’s in civil engineering will be offered in the fall of 2015, and a master’s in applied computer science the following spring.
- Establishment of EPIC Learning (Externally Collaborative, Project-based, Interdisciplinary Curricula)
- Launching of Accelerate, the Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, and the Social Innovation Lab
- Opening of an industry-leading manufacturing center; the Altschuler Computer Center; the Gelfand Strength of Materials Labs; and the Center for Sciences and Biomedical Engineering
- An expanded study abroad program
- Major renovations to academic facilities
- Rollout of an expansive branding initiative built on Five Factors of Career Success
- Implementation of online degree programs; the first group of students to earn their masters degrees 100-percent online graduated in April 2015
“Taken together, the physical enhancements and academic advancements are creating a widespread, palpable sense of momentum about Wentworth,” said David Wahlstrom, the Institute’s vice president for business.
The progress at Wentworth has also caught the attention of alumni including Alan E. Feltham, MDE ’69, MA ’73, and Thomas Levenson, BC ’64.
“I am very impressed with what my college has become,” said Feltham. “For years, Wentworth was (just) a very good college...now it is a beacon ...a technological education leader.”
Levenson agrees. “Today,” he said, “its name alone makes me proud to be an alum.”
“All of this progress supports what I like to stress about Wentworth,” adds Pantić, “which is that the Institute offers a world-class education in a world-class city.”
*Surveys and metrics accounting for 74 percent of Wentworth’s Class of 2014 showed 98.94 percent were either employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduating. Forty-two percent of those students received an offer from their co-op employers and 91 percent of those in the job force are working in their respective academic discipli