After nearly 30 years of presidents whose qualities of leadership were nurtured in the military, the Trustees chose a successful industrialist as WPI's eighth president. Their choice was Alvin Cormeny, who was then vice president at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey.
Clearly, WPI was ripe for change, and the choice of a business executive was widely applauded. But somewhere along the line, the hoped-for marriage of WPI's needs and Alvin Cormeny's administrative skills faltered. The fast-paced reorganization methods he had used in industry appeared foreign to the traditional ways of academe. In the period after his brief WPI presidency, Cormeny went on to become vice president of the University of Maryland.