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April 20, 2011

Namesakes-William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building

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William E. Wickenden and the Wickenden Building

As President of Case School of Applied Science from 1929 till 1947, William E. Wickenden led Case through the Great Depression, World War II, and the first years of the G.I. Bill enrollment surge. Case’s enrollment at the beginning of Wickenden’s presidency was 689; it had tripled by the end.

While many honors were bestowed on him during his lifetime, Wickenden did not live to see the construction of the building named for him. His unexpected death came mere hours after his retirement was official.

The William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building was constructed in 1953/54, at a cost of $1.65 million. It was part of the post-World War II building boom that saw Case Institute of Technology construct several classroom-office-laboratary buildings, its first dormitories, its first on-campus athletic center, a library-humanities building, and a student center. The difference between Case’s campus in 1950 and 1960 are striking.

The Wickenden Building boasted a closed-circuit television system, with camera and receiver outlets in all labs, classrooms, and conference rooms. Special-purpose labs were designed for illumination, transmission, high voltage, small motors, measurements, servomechanisms, and machinery, as well as industrial electronics, computers, communications, microwaves, acoustics, networks, and vacuum tubes.

In his dedication remarks, Case President T. Keith Glennan said of William Wickenden, “...he exemplified the high ideal that the profession of engineering was not merely a means of livelihood but was a means for employing knowledge and skill to contribute to human welfare... In recognition of a great leader and with renewed confidence in the ability of future generations to apply technology for the good of mankind” the new electrical engineering building was named the William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building on April 18, 1955. [1]

[1 1K 10:20 T. Keith Glennan, “Dedication of Electrical Engineering Building,” 4/18/1955]

Posted by jmt3 at April 20, 2011 12:49 PM

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