Rose-Hul·man In·sti·tute of Tech·no·lo·gy (RHIT): a small, private, non-sectarian college specializing in teaching engineering, mathematics, and science, located in Terre Haute, IN. RHIT has ranked #1 for 11 consecutive years (and counting) by US News and Word Reports for schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Posts in this category pertain to my alma mater, Rose-Hulman.

Haunted Fraternity House

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Indiana, RHIT, Terre Haute

Here's one for my mother-in-law: the fraternity house in which I lived while in college is haunted. The Terre Haute Trib-Star writes about it every so often; here's the latest. Here's a little background from the article:

[The] fraternity house was part of a several-building complex for the former Vigo County Home for Dependent Children, which was also known as the Glenn Home. The orphanage was created in 1903, though the “main building” was constructed in 1896, and still survives, a Web site dedicated to the Glenn Home’s history reports.

Several buildings were replaced through the orphanage’s tenure, which lasted more than 75 years. It finally closed in 1979, and many of the buildings later became part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s property.

And then the legends began.

Here is the Glenn Home History website.

Busy Weekend

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Friends, Indiana, Missouri, Photos, RHIT, Saint Louis, Terre Haute

Steph and I had a busy weekend. We left Friday evening for Rose-Hulman's Homecoming weekend. As in previous years, accomodations were a tent on the grounds of the fraternity house. Activities included the Pep Rally and Bonfire Friday night, followed by the annual Alpha Chi Sigma alumni dinner at Applebee's, and then another bonfire at the Pike house. Saturday, we visited the Chemical Engineering department open house, then joined the Rose Chorus to sing the national anthem before the football game, complete with F-16 flyover from the local air national guard unit. The game included copious amounts of roasted pig. Later that evening was the annual Pi Kappa Alpha actives-vs-alumni softball game at the IM fields, which spawned a pickup game of actives-vs-alumni football - and, of course, more food: grilled burgers and brats. Afterward, we had more bonfire action at the house. Sunday morning we had the annual Pike alumni association meeting on campus. After lunch, Steph and I headed back toward Saint Louis.

RHIT Homecoming 023

Homecoming 2006 Photo Set
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Of course, on the way home, Steph and I took a detour to Hidden Lake Winery in Aviston, IL, for a wedding. Two friends from college were getting married on a gorgeous Fall afternoon.

Colleen's Wedding 002

Colleen's Wedding Photo Set
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Lucky Number 13

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Indiana, RHIT, Terre Haute

Gerald Jakubowski Named 13th President of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology:

Gerald S. Jakubowski, vice president of Arizona State University, provost of the ASU Polytechnic campus and professor of engineering, has been selected to be the 13th president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Jakubowski will assume the presidency on July 1, according to Robert Bright, chairman of the Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees. He was chosen after a six-month national search.


Rose-Hulman St. Louis Area Alumni Habitat For Humanity Project

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Missouri, RHIT, Saint Louis

Saint Louis area Rose-Hulman alumni and friends participate in St. Louis Habitat for Humanity in North St. Louis, 20 August 2005.
(Originally uploaded by Chip Bennett)

On Saturday, August 20, 2005, several St. Louis area Rose-Hulman alumni participated in a build project for St. Louis Habit For Humanity.

Alumni Ted Jaenke (ME'60), Eric Hopf (CS'02), Chip Bennett (CH'00), and Anna Johnson (non-alum) helped with Phase III construction of the Kennedy Household in North Saint Louis.

With the weekend forecast threatening thunderstorms, the RHIT alumni were blessed with a day of beautiful, sunny weather on a perfect summer day. The group helped with construction of the outdoor shed, back porch and stairs, front porch support columns, preparation of the exterior foundation for stucco work, and painting of the interior and basement walls and ceilings. Bennett volunteered to be the Site Safety Observer for the day.

The event - the first of its kind for the St. Louis area alumni group - was a success, and the group hopes to continue to work with Habitat For Humanity in the future.

Sun Sets On Midgley Saga

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Indiana, RHIT, Terre Haute

In a conclusion to the controversy of the past academic year at Rose-Hulman, embattled President Jack Midgley resigned June 11th. The resignation ends Midgley's tumultuous tenure heading the nation's premier undergraduate engineering institution. Coverage here from the Indy Star. The resignation comes prior to - and perhaps in anticipation of - any action taken by the school's Board of Trustees, which had delayed a decision on Midgley a week prior.

Follow the background story here, here, and here.


Filed in SportsTags: College, Colts, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL, RHIT

The Indy Star is reporting that the Colts will return to Rose-Hulman:

Tony Dungy got his wish: The Indianapolis Colts will spend future summers in Terre Haute, Ind.

The team and officials at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology announced Thursday that the Colts will return to campus for a seventh summer of training camp. Players report July 27.

Apparently, this deal is unlike the previous, single-season extension:

The Colts did not reveal the length or financial terms of the agreement, but it is a multiyear deal.

This is truly great news. The Rose-Hulman campus and facilities really are, as Dungy says, ideal for the Colts' training camp. And the location helps build regional support for the team. That, and it's my alma mater, so I am, of course, biased...

Vote: No Confidence

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Indiana, RHIT, Terre Haute

The Rose-Hulman faculty pass a resolution of no-confidence in President Jack Midgley, 82-47.

By a vote of 87-42, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology faculty passed a resolution saying they have no confidence in President Jack Midgley.

The vote, which occurred by secret ballot, came during a special faculty meeting Tuesday that lasted more than two hours.

By all accounts, not good news:

Right after the meeting, Grigg went to Midgley's office to inform him. He also planned to contact representatives of the board of trustees.

Asked if he believed the vote would carry a lot of weight with trustees, Grigg said, "It would be very hard to imagine otherwise."

However, as the article notes, the faculty are merely advisory, and the vote is not binding on the Board of Trustees. The initial response from the Board may be essentially a non-comment, or it could be indicative of the weight the Board will place on the vote:

Board of trustee chairman Clyde Willian issued a statement through Dave Piker, vice president for public relations.

"President Midgley has assured the board of trustees that he is absolutely committed to working with the faculty to resolve the concerns that are being discussed," Willian said. "The board is fully aware of the issues presented by the faculty and others.

Based on prevailing sentiment, the result of the vote does not surprise; however, the overwhelming outcome is enlightening. A vote of no-confidence is no trivial matter. For nearly two-thirds of the faculty to vote in favor indicates just how deep the rift has been driven.

I hope Dr. Midgley can recover and repair the obvious wounds created on campus. I truly believe the vision he has shared with the alumni with respect to the future ofRose-Hulman is positive. Perhaps it is not yet too late. But a no-confidence vote affirmed by two-thirds of the faculty sends a very loud, very clear signal.

UPDATE: Coverage from the Indy Star. Interesting note at the end of the article:

Votes of no confidence on university leaders are unusual, but some presidents do survive them. In October 2002, the majority of the faculty of Indiana State University voted against President Lloyd Benjamin after a two-year tenure. The board took no action and he remains president.

Critical Crossroads?

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Indiana, RHIT, Terre Haute

The Terre Haute Tribune Star reports on the on-going controversy surrounding Rose-Hulman President Jack Midgley:

Normally, the tight-knit Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology community tries to settle its differences and controversies in-house and out of the public eye.

These aren't normal times, however.

Many faculty, staff, students and alumni are frustrated and angered that the board of trustees is not addressing long-simmering concerns about Rose-Hulman President Jack Midgley, who has held the post since July 1.

I still have yet to hear any real evidence of anything Midgley has done. Several hot-button issues have been brought up, including: Ventures, the Homework Hotline, and the departure of several Vice Presidents since Midgley's arrival. Still, I've yet to see much real, hard evidence, besides "intimidation" and "threats". Several times I've heard or read that Midgley has "lied", or "said one thing to one person, and the opposite thing to another," but I have yet to hear of a specific instance of either allegation.

Take, for instance, the Homework Hotline. A picture caption in the Trib Star article reads as follows:

Hard facts: Mike Lindley a Rose-Human senior from Robinson, Ill., states his case for saving the Homework Hotline during a rally Friday calling for the removal of Rose President Jack Midgley. Some fear the Homework Hotline may be in jeopardy.

"Some fear..."? Taking a look over on AboutMidgley.com sheds some light about these "fears". According to Institute meeting minutes (available on-campus only), the current grant for the Homework Hotline will end June 2005. During this meeting, a report was given that the school was in discussion with tutor.com to transition the Homework Hotline to tutor.com, and also that a propasal was to be prepared for a transition grant through a Lilly endowment to cover an additional year for the Homework hotline.

So, without getting into the merits of the plan, it seems that Dr. Midgley is trying to find a way to preserve the Homework Hotline beyond its current grant, and yet his detractors count it against him.

Speaking of the aboutmidgley.com web site: the Trib Star references the site forum (in fact, the article quotes my post on the forum, as well as a follow-up phone interview by the author, Sue Loughlin, who contacted me through my post on the forum). However, this same forum, that positions itself ostensibly as "a conversation about our president" with the following criteria stated:

This site hopes to provide the following:

  • A public forum to allow us to discuss Midgley and his actions (anonymously if desired)
  • News articles relating to Midgley and our campus

The site, however, will not provide the following:

  • A means for simply bashing Midgley (any discussion topics must be of intellectual value)
  • An unfair picture of Midgley (post your positive experiences as well)

Hit The Road, Jack T-ShirtYet this same site, with this stated purpose, both unequivocably supports an online petition to ouster Midgley, and blatantly sponsors anti-Midgley rhetoric, as with this rally in support of a faculty meeting to hold a no-confidence vote - going so far as to sell "Hit The Road, Jack" T-Shirts directly from the web site. While the web site may have been started with objectivity in mind, it no longer maintains any credibility in that regard.

Back to the article: without any apparent evidence of deleterious changes made by Midgley, the focus is instead on the more abstract "way he treats people" and questions of character. However, no specific instances are referenced, and the rhetoric among the "Hit The Road, Jack" crowd has elevated to hysteria:

1993 Rose-Hulman graduate and current Ventures employee Brian C.] Dougherty further says that Midgley "is destroying Rose-Hulman at a pace that I would have never believed attainable ? Rose-Hulman has suffered damage to its reputation that will take 20 years to repair."

Rose-Hulman is "at a critical crossroads," [Assistant Dean of Faculty Dan Moore] said. If Midgley stays on as president, "I don't think the 2015 conversation [about the college's future] will be relevant. We'll be lucky to still be operating."

[Former Board of Trustees member Scott A. Jones] resigned from the board in mid-February "because I could not get other trustees to listen to my concerns or to take any reasonable action to save Rose-Hulman from Midgley before it is too late."

Jones believes "the future of Rose-Hulman is at stake."

Even should the allegations prove to be all true, Rose-Hulman has survived disastrous administrations before, and it will do so again in the future. I certainly understand and appreciate the passionate concern for the Institute; I share that same concern. But so far, I still believe this issue is really a matter of conjecture, rumor, change-resistance/post-Hulbert fear that have all blown out of any reasonable proportion.

Web Site New Forum To Discuss Rose President

Filed in PersonalTags: College, RHIT

Apparently Dr. Midgley is "controversial" enough to warrant a website dedicated to discussing him:

A Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student has developed a Web site that provides a forum for discussion about the college's controversial new president, Jack Midgley.

www.AboutMidgley.com is not part of the college's Web site.

Personally, I'm sick of it already. All the rumor-mongering and chcken littles acting like Midgley is the end of Rose-Hulman. To be fair, anybody would be the end of Rose-Hulman as we knew it under Sammy. As with any outstanding administrator, no replacement could hope to replicate him - then again, nor should any replacement want to, or even want to try. The Midgley administration needs to be the Midgley administration, not the Hulbert administration redux.

Here's my first post on the forum:

From my experiences with Dr. Midgley, I think he is a great addition to Rose-Hulman. Dr. Midgley is not Sam Hulbert; he never will be - nor will anyone else. Thus, his style of administration will not be the same as Hulbert's.

Being on the outside, having graduated five years ago, and therefore not having quite the same emotional attachment as current students and faculty, I can say from my perspective that Dr. Midgley will be positive.

His business acumen and vision for the Institute are much-needed in a world in which the nature of post-secondary education will be facing drastic change in the near future.

Personally, I applaud his action to remove the "We're #1" banners; I never liked them - they seemed to me to be too much like boasting. I much prefer the focus to be on where we are going, not where we are, or where we have been. Would we rather revel in our past accomplishments as #1, proclaiming that status proudly to the world, or work diligently to continue to set the standard for undergraduate engineering education, confident in knowing we are Number 1, whether or not we plaster it across campus?

Change is inevitable in the real world. In every instance of change, there are some who will embrace it from the onset, some who will hesitate, some who will come along after some time and convincing, and some who will resist change at all costs. Rose-Hulman is right now going through this process. Those who will always resist any change are right now making the most noise.

Call me one of the early-adopters. Whether with Dr. Midgley or his successor, change will happen. Personally, I think the change Dr. Midgley brings is good for Rose-Hulman.

(Temporary: original Haloscan Comments - Comments)