Sunday, September 28, 2014

William Barton Rogers - Founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

William Barton Rogers is best known as the conceptual founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT).

Born is Philadelphia in 1804 to a family of scientists (his father and three brothers all were professors of science). He was the second of four sons of Hannah and Patrick Rogers, the latter a chemist and physician who taught at William and Mary during the boys childhood.

His early studies were largely scientific at home under his father’s instruction.

At age fifteen, he enrolled at the College of William and Mary; later taught at his alma mater and in 1835, was transferred to University of Virginia in Charlottesville  as a  professor for natural philosophy at the until 1853.

Roger’s idea focused on three pillars of education, known later as the ‘Rogers Plan’.  His frequent trips to Europe he became impressed with the need in America of institutions in with scientific studies might form the basis of education.

He moved to Boston in 1853 in associated with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Boston Society of Natural History. It was also in large measure due to his belief that in this community was to be found a better opportunity for the founding of such institutions than in Virginia.

Rogers called for the creation of a university that stressed the value of ‘learning by doing’ the value of useful and applicable knowledge and the value of blending together both liberal arts and professional education curriculums.

In 1861, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, recognizing the value of such an institution, granted a charter establishing MIT.

Rogers became the Institute’s first president as well as professor of physics and geology. He died in the midst of delivering a commencement speech at the Institute in 1882.
William Barton Rogers - Founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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