Elmer Parker Howe was a member of the first class to enter the Institute. He graduated in 1871, a chemistry major and the valedictorian of his class. Like many others from Tech's first class Howe never faltered in his support or concern with regard to WPI. He was a frequent contributor and gave of himself generously, such as giving $25,000 to the initial construction of the Foundry and its later conversion to a Forge Shop. From 1879 to 1892, twenty-six years after his graduation, he was elected to the Board of Trustees.