On Saturday May 31st WPI hosted its annual Alumni Weekend. This year brothers from the Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th class reunion. Of the Class of 1964 two prominent Alumni and Theta Chi’s, Thomas B. Newman and Gary Goshgarian, were honored with special awards from WPI.
Thomas Newman was awarded the Herbert F. Taylor Award for Distinguished Service to WPI, given for his demonstrated and extraordinary personal commitment to the institution. As an undergraduate Thomas served as president of the chapter. In his time since attending WPI Thomas has consistently volunteered his efforts serving as a member of the Alumni Fund Board and helping to direct Anniversary Gift steering efforts for the 25th and 40th class anniversaries.
Until 2013 Thomas served as the Alumni Association Board Treasurer where he spent his efforts directing funds towards scholarships. In his 5 years of service on the board he led a fourfold increase in scholarships offered by the association. Along with his Wife, Bonnie, Thomas also established an ongoing scholarship which supports WPIs school of business.
Outside of his extraordinary contributions to Alma Mater, Thomas also served as Teradynes Vice President of corporate relations, a company that is a top manufacturer of automated test equipment. Even at Teradyne Thomas assisted in obtaining two separate pledges from Teradyne that went to support WPIs Camp Reach Summer program.
His exceptional service to both Theta Chi and WPI are truly impactful and deserving of this award. Our gratitude and congratulations go out to Thomas.
Our other Theta Chi award winner, Gary Goshgarian, received the Robert H Goddard Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement given for his work as a science fiction author and English professor. Although Gary attended WPI as a physics major, during his undergraduate career, he found himself more enthralled with his time spent in his humanities courses. Gary spent much of his time with a particular English professor, James Hensel, who acted as a mentor for Gary. With Hensel guiding Gary and after exhausting all the appropriate humanities classes at WPI Gary continued to follow his passions by taking additional classes at Clark University and Harvard.
After a few summers working at Raytheon, Gary decided that his passions lied elsewhere besides engineering and continued his education to receive his masters and eventually PhD in English. After accepting a job as an English professor at Northeastern University Gary pushed the envelope more by creating never before seen classes in science fiction, horror fiction, and modern bestsellers. While balked at by colleges at the time these classes are still alive and well at Northeastern and well attended by as many as 500 students.
Even with a successful teaching career Gary has also managed to write 9 novels in the genre of science fiction and archeological thrillers. In several cases he has made references back to his alma mater in his writing as appreciation.
Gary attributes much of his success to his time at WPI. “Thank goodness for fraternities” Gary said reflecting on how a difficult class load could be balanced out by a good group of friends. With a large body of work and a successful, still ongoing career, it is fitting that Gary receive the Robert H. Goddard award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.