Early Co-Op

Speare’s pioneering spirit was evidenced in his institution of the Co-operative Engineering School, the second cooperative education program in the United States. The program, based on the “earn while you learn” principle, was eventually adopted throughout Northeastern, providing technical training to young men unable to afford an education at established universities. Still in existence, the Northeastern Cooperative Plan allows students to combine their studies with relevant work experience.

Two early co-op students
Students on mechanical engineering co-op
Co-op students calibrate precision condensers at General Radio

Top left: Early engineering co-op students at work in the manufacturing and testing of scientific instruments, ca. 1938.
Center: Students on an early mechanical engineering co-op, ca. 1938.
Right: Three early Northeastern students on an engineering co-op, calibrating precision condensers. ca. 1938.

Above: A letter from Rev. Samuel M. Lindsay of Brookline Baptist Church, praising Speare’s work on behalf of Northeastern University’s cooperative education program. 1932.