Letters to and from the Editor

Nothing fills my editor’s heart with more joy than when I get feedback from readers about stories in the Journal. So I was happy to hear from an alumnus who praised the Women’s Varsity 8 rowers for their NCAA national championship effort, but questioned their distinction as WPI’s second national champions as stated in the story (Summer 2022). Instead, he remembered that the 1974 men’s bowling team was the first to bring home a national championship, a feat that was noted in Sports Illustrated due to the team’s unlikely road to success. For more details on this achievement, see page 21 for Arthur Carlson’s The Archivist column.

Upon investigation, it turns out we were technically correct—the bowling team did not compete in the NCAA and the story in question did specify the rowers were the second to win an NCAA national championship (golfer Eric Meerbach ’87 was the first in 1986). Fun fact from Sports Information Director Rusty Eggen: Bowling only became an NCAA sport 20 years ago, and only for women. Not surprisingly, since the on-campus bowling alley is no longer, WPI does not now field either a men’s or women’s bowling team, NCAA sanctioned or not.

Furthermore, the bowling team was also not the first to bring home any national championship for WPI—that honor goes to Harry Dadmun, Class of 1891, who won the national championship in the half mile. According to a story in a 1989 WPI Journal by former Director of Public Relations Roger Perry Jr., Dadmun remained connected to the track team even after he retired, attending meets and informally advising coach Merl Norcross.

Please keep those reader feedback emails coming.

—Kristen O’Reilly, Editor

To the Editor

I was very interested in the article about Lens and Lights and its involvement with the analog projectors in the Fuller Labs (Summer 2022). I was a member of the Lens and Lights Club for three years, from 1972 through 1974, being the president my senior year.

I and several others in the club were licensed projectionists, but the projectors were in Alden Memorial Hall, not Fuller. My recollection is that the projection booth and projectors were installed during World War II when the WPI campus was used for officer training as part of the war effort.

What happened to those projectors?

At the time, Lens and Lights showed quite a number of movies with quite a large variety of genres, including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for the Fine Arts Society and a very popular showing of Myra Breckinridge!

We also had a pair of portable 35MM projectors, with sound, that were used for movies shown in venues other than Alden. One of my fond memories was showing early Bollywood movies to students and families for the vibrant Indian community that was there at the time.


—Mike Szteliga ’74

Editor’s Note: LNL head projectionist Thomas Piccione reports that two 35MM Simplex projectors are still in the club’s possession. He says that because the Alden projection booth no longer exists, “one of them is fully assembled and functional, and lives on a pallet to be ‘portable;’ It gets brought out from time to time. The other is disassembled, but still complete. The functional one still has its original carbon arc, and it has been rewired to work, but for use indoors (or where we don’t have sufficient power to run the arc), we have added a removable LED source. It came out for the LNL 60th Reunion and we ran a short of ‘Buck Rogers’ in Alden, though not from the booth this time.”

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