Philosophical Society of Washington

Tapping into Our Living History – Past Presidents of the Society and Traditions

William Spargo
MPR Associates

2021st Meeting Abstract
Friday, January 07, 1994 at 8:30 PM


For an organization to know where it is going, it must know where it has been. This is especially important during times of change. The early history of the Society, the late 1800's and early 1900's, is well documented. However, over the last thirty years, science and the Society have undergone changes. Science, as well as the methods of information exchange, has advances rapidly. Also, the movement of government laboratories to the suburbs have changed the profile of the membership significantly and made the corporate memory more difficult to maintain.

The Society has proudly relied on adhering to traditions that are not neatly codified nor documented to support its organizational structure. These traditions rely on the collective memory of the Society to govern the activities. This address will present the results of discussions I have conducted over the past year with 15 Past Presidents of the Society to gather up their collective memory regarding the Society. Their observations for the last quarter century, our living history, will help to guide us into the 21st century.

About the Author:

William Spargo, the retiring President of the Society, earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tulsa in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Rice University in 1972. During postdoctoral studies, he designed and evaluated mechanical hearts, prosthetic heart valves and other circulatory support Systems at the Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University. He is currently a professional engineer working primarily in the energy industry at MPR Associates, a consulting engineering firm in Alexandria, Virginia.

- Meeting Archive - Home -