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THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION FIFTY
YEARS HENCE II
NEW YORK CITY
TT takes a bold man to endeavor to foretell what changes
I will occur in engineering during the next fifty years; nevertheless the speaker will make the attempt for the purpose of pointing out a few of the salient possibilities, some of which are easily within reach and should be attained as quickly as possible, while others may, by some engineers, be deemed chimerical. It must be remembered, though, that that highly imaginative French author, Jules Verne, in some of his wildest flights of fancy, was merely foretelling actual occurrences which are to-day so common as to cause no comment.
The speaker has concluded that the most effective way for him to make these various prognostications is by means of an imaginary annual address of the retiring president of the American Academy of Engineers in the year 1968; and he hopes that he will be pardoned for having, when so doing, assumed that the said retiring president is his own grandson and namesake. Such an assumption can certainly do the youngster no harm; but, on the contrary, it may serve him as an incentive to endeavor, should he choose some line of engineering as his life's work.
Retiring President of the American Academy of Engineers,
Washington, D. C., March 10, 1968
Gentlemen: As retiring president of the American Academy of Engineers in this sixty-eighth year of the twentieth century, at a meeting held specially to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the incorporation of the Academy, I have deemed it to be eminently appropriate and fitting to choose as the subject of my address
THE PROGRESS OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION DURING THE
PAST HALF-CENTURY In dealing with this subject it has been my aim not only to record the advancement of the engineering profession as a whole, and in detail that of its numerous divisions and subdivisions, but also to indicate the influence which our Academy has had on that development.
As one looks back upon the history of this and other countries since the close of the Great War some forty-eight years ago, he can not help being struck by the immense influence which at every turn engineering has had upon the world's reconstruction and its subsequent development. Almost every step of importance that has been taken was initiated and carried out by engineers; and American technicists in every line have been the ruling spirits in all matters bearing upon the welfare of the nations, taking the lead over the engineers of all the other nationalities, in so far as progress is concerned. The reason for this is that the Great War not only killed off the flower of the European engineers, but also caused most of the European technical schools practically to close their doors, while the United States took the wise precaution of keeping the attendance at such institutions as nearly as possible up to the normal. Of course, the said attendance, immediately after the entrance of our country into the titanic struggle in 1917, was materially decreased by the volunteering into the service of a large proportion of the upper classmen and a smaller proportion of the lower classmen from all of our institutions of learning and especially from the engineering departments of the universities and from the technical and the trade schools; but by the earnest effort of the members of our closely affiliated organization, The Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, backed by strong pressure from the Administration at Washington, the attendance in the freshman classes of these institutions was at once actually increased a little above normal, and the next year was materially augmented. The result of this wise movement was that as soon as peace was declared and the necessity for world-reconstruction became evident, American