A Brief History Of Rose-Hulman
[Faculty Handbook Blurb] -- Page 3



The growth of the Institute accelerated under the presidency of Dr. Samuel F. Hulbert, another internationally-known teacher-scholar, this time in the field of bio-engineering, who succeeded Logan in 1976. After an extensive study of the Institute by a commission of the faculty and Board, Hulbert embarked on a capital fund drive entitled "Blueprint for Excellence" which included a proposal to The Franklin W. Olin Foundation that resulted in a $4.75 million grant for a new classroom/laboratory building. Construction of Olin Hall began in 1983, and shortly thereafter the George Hadley family provided funds for a new administration building, Hadley Hall. The Board of Managers then decided to modernize all the Institute's teaching facilities, ordering a renovation of the main building, renamed Moench Hall in honor of the longest-serving and most-respected faculty member of the twentieth century, the late senior vice president and professor of electrical engineering, Herman A. Moench.

It is perhaps not surprising, considering the above, that the Institute in recent years has acquired an international recognition for excellence. Beginning in the mid-1980's it became one of the leading recipients in the nation of equipment grants from the National Science Foundation and was ranked by U.S. News and World Report magazine--along with Cooper Union and Harvey Mudd--as among the top three undergraduate engineering colleges in the nation. Meanwhile, it established exchange relationships with universities in Germany, Russia, Ireland, Japan, and China; initiated academic programs in applied optics, engineering management, and bio-medical engineering; and became a national leader in the use of computer-based learning (it was one of the first engineering colleges to require that all students purchase their own laptop computers) and in the assessment of educational outcomes. Responding to demand from its constituencies, including faculty and students, it also became coeducational. After continual and sometimes heated deliberations for more than a decade, the Board of Managers in 1991 voted to admit qualified freshman students on the basis of merit without regard to gender. In the years immediately following the transition, which occurred in 1995, women's fraternities (they were formed as women's fraternities, not sororities) Delta, Delta, Delta and Chi Omega colonized the campus.

In this same period, the Board inaugurated a $100-million capital campaign. Entitled "The Vision to be the Best," it reached its goal in half the expected time of ten years and resulted in the expansion of the Hulman Union, and four new structures: the large Sports and Recreation Center (to replace Shook field house), a new football stadium (Cook Stadium), the Olin Advanced Learning Center, and--thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy--the Myers Center for Technological Research with Industry. By 1997, the total assets of the Institute had increased, with the value of the physical property and equipment, to $158 million. The endowment surpassed $130 million; and annual gift income--with 40% of Rose-Hulman alumni contributing to the Institute's annual campaign--rose to more than $11 million.

The Institute, as indicated above, was a creature of a free enterprise economy and political democracy and continues to uphold these values. Chauncey Rose had seen the need in his railroad business for employees who could use science for practical purposes. But the Institute, from its inception--in addition to its high regard for technical skills and in the tradition of its philanthropist founder--has responded to society's need for professionals: energetic, skilled, confident, creative individuals aware of their obligations, not just to themselves and their employers, but also as citizens, to their country and the world. This was expressed in the tradition of the main classroom building within which all academic departments, both technological and liberal arts, were under one roof and reflected in the Institute's emphasis on the humanities and social sciences, which make up 20% of the student's curriculum.

While Rose-Hulman in recent years increased in size--the student population (including graduate and off-campus programs) reaching 1,650 in 1997 and faculty numbering 113-- its character as a small college dedicated to high quality undergraduate education has remained intact. The student-faculty ratio is 15:1 so that undergraduate students are taught by faculty who hold the Ph.D. degree. Even the President teaches at least two classes a year. Its freshmen traditionally have had the highest SAT scores in Indiana and its graduates have received starting salaries above the median for engineering students in the country. Its graduates take positions in industry, some rising in management, and others start their own companies. Still others embark on careers in teaching, medicine, law, or public service.

The special qualities of the Institute were expressed a few years ago by President Hulbert. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, he said, "is dedicated to improving the welfare of mankind through its contribution to the career development of engineers and scientists. Its graduates must be problem solvers. The Institute's fundamental objective is to develop them academically, physically, and socially so that they can make significant contributions to the nation's economy, the resolution of its social problems, and the welfare of mankind. Craftsmanship is obviously more expensive than mass production, but the Institute believes that education on an individualized basis is the only way to develop a student to his or her maximum potential. To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, Rose-Hulman thus strives to do the following uniquely well:

1. Provide a liberal undergraduate education that balances science and engineering with humanistic studies, while emphasizing the importance of clear speaking and writing.

2. Provide excellent teaching and personal counseling by a faculty concerned about the individual progress and career development of every student.

3. Provide a physical environment which has been carefully planned as an ideal setting in which students can mature, both technologically and aesthetically.

4. Provide a broad range of extracurricular activities and encourage full participation in the life of the Institute so that students will cultivate a variety of extracurricular interests and abilities.

5. Provide encouragement for development of moral character and strengthening of religious faith.

6. Emphasize the importance of work, honesty, patriotism, and initiative.

7. Emphasize that motivation is essential to success.

8. Exemplify the belief that the free enterprise system's best hope is the talent of the individual rather than the consensus of a bureaucracy. Adherence to these values has kept the Institute strong for over a hundred-twenty-five years. With a clear mission, careful financial management, a dedicated faculty, and an outstanding student body, Rose-Hulman can move forward confidently at a time when many educational institutions are having to re-evaluate their missions, because of self-doubt, fiscal crisis, and loss of students."

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Rose-Hulman History Project.   William Pickett and John Robson, Copyright © August 1998.   
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