William B. Gould IV

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of William B. Gould III

Community members using the campus-level entrance of Unity Hall can view a new plaque honoring the life and accomplishments of pioneering alumnus William B. Gould III. The entrance way was made possible by a gift from former President Laurie Leshin and her husband, Jon Morse, in recognition of Gould’s revolutionary work and illustrious career in radio and radar.

An electrical engineering major who enrolled in the university in 1921, Gould was among the first African Americans to attend WPI. He was active in the early days of the WPI Wireless Association, which at the time was one of only three college wireless associations in the country. Gould was called to service in World War II as an electrical engineer, where he provided support for development of long-range guidance systems for Cape Canaveral. He went on to a distinguished career and made major contributions to the electrical engineering field.

The Unity Hall entrance plaque unveiling was held in May and included a reception with Gould’s son, William B. Gould IV, and his wife, Hilda. President Grace Wang, Provost Wole Soboyejo, and university deans were in attendance. The event, led by University Librarian Anna Gold, also included a luncheon, and a point-to-point wireless connectivity demonstration presented by Professor Alex Wyglinski and students from the Wireless Innovation Laboratory.

Speaking at the reception with heartfelt emotion, Gould shared, “My father taught me something he learned at WPI that I will never forget. He explained that engineers were always seen as narrow people. But that way of thinking was wrong. Good engineering schools teach people about the arts as well as the sciences. And when I look at WPI and the way WPI is going forward, that is exactly what I see.”

He added: “I am so appreciative and honored. This is a very exciting day for me and for my family, and I know it would have been for my father, too. He was the greatest man I ever knew, and I am so honored to see him recognized in this way. I just wish he were here to see this.”

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