UT Celebrates 175 Years of Engineering
In 1838, students wanting to study engineering could take a single course in surveying at UT—then called East Tennessee College. Flash forward 175 years and students now have a choice of more than 350 undergraduate and 500 graduate courses in engineering.
This year marks 175 years of engineering at UT.
The College of Engineering is marking the anniversary with a series of events including a gala and dedication of the John D. Tickle Engineering Building on October 4. It is also celebrating forty years of diversity programs. A complete event schedule can be found on the College of Engineering website.
UT’s fastest-growing college, the College of Engineering has experienced significant expansion in enrollment and faculty and also in its national prominence. Since 2007, undergraduate enrollment has increased by 40 percent and doctoral enrollment by more than 60 percent. The college is now producing 20 percent more graduates than it did just five years ago.
The faculty has grown, and the college’s research profile has as well. Research funding has grown by 74 percent in the past five years to $56.8 million. Since 2009, the college faculty has added ten new prestigious Governor’s Chairs, eight endowed fellowships and professorships, and one endowed chair.
The college’s national rankings have also been on an upward trajectory. Its undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked thirty-seventh overall among doctoral ranking public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Its nuclear engineering graduate program is ranked sixth in the nation among all public and private universities.
Engineering was initially located in the former Reese Hall in 1888. Ten years later, classes were moved to Estabrook Hall. Today, the college spans twelve buildings and stretches from the area north of Cumberland Avenue to Neyland Drive. In the last two years, it has added two state-of-the-art facilities—the John D. Tickle Engineering Building and the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building—adding 260,000 square feet of instructional and research space.
“This celebration allows us to showcase the phenomenal progress that our college and university have made since their inception—but the best is yet to come,” said Dean Wayne Davis. “Our undergraduate and graduate student enrollment is expanding. Our facilities are expanding. We continue to move forward in providing a high-quality education to our ever-growing population of engineering students.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has placed a special emphasis on developing students in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to meet job requirements. The Tennessee legislature recently approved the governor’s proposal to invest additional recurring state funding into the College of Engineering to increase the number of faculty, provide additional support staff, and ensure the college’s ability to provide an increasing number of engineering graduates within the state.
“We have made great strides and with the support of Governor Haslam, the state legislature, UT President DiPietro, and Chancellor Cheek,” said Dean Davis, “and our graduates will be a major driving force for the economic future of our state and nation.”
In addition to the 175th anniversary, the college is also recognizing forty years of diversity programs. The Minority Engineering Scholarship Program was established in 1973 to motivate highly qualified African American young people to select engineering careers. Since then, UT has consistently ranked among the Top 50 universities and colleges in the nation for graduation rates of African American engineering students.
“The Minority Engineering Scholarship Program gave me a chance to attend a quality university and prepared me for success in the emerging computer industry,” said Mark Dean, co-inventor of the personal computer, former vice president at IBM, and John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “The program also allowed me to partner with other black UT students who had similar backgrounds and interests.”
For more information about the College of Engineering’s past, present, and future, visit the college’s website.
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