July 1, 1945

Board of Trustees approved standalone School of Aeronautics, encompassing efforts in both aeronautical engineering and air transportation. Aeronautical engineering degrees first were offered through a combined School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering.

1945

Elmer F. Bruhn selected as acting head of new School of Aeronautics. Bruhn joined Purdue in 1941.

1947

New hangar completed at airport to relocate all aero and structures laboratory facilities previously on main campus, including two wind tunnels.

1947

First aeronautical engineering graduate degrees awarded by School of Aeronautics (18 master’s degrees).

1950

Milton U. Clauser chosen as head of School, after Bruhn opted to return to teaching and research. Clauser came to Purdue from Douglas Aircraft Corporation.

1954

Harold M. DeGroff, added to faculty in Fall 1951, selected as acting head when Clauser took leave. When Clauser didn't return, DeGroff was named head in 1955.

1956

After dissolution of the air transportation program, School name changed to "School of Aeronautical Engineering."

1958

Madeline Goulard was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from the School and became the School's first female faculty member.

1960

Aeronautical Engineering merged with the School of Engineering Sciences and was renamed, “School of Aeronautical and Engineering Sciences.”

1963

Master of Astronautics established for Air Force Academy graduates to provide accelerated degree. Sometimes referred to as the "astronaut program," seven graduates became astronauts, including Richard O. Covey (pictured). The program ended in 1976.

1963

Paul E. Stanley, who joined Purdue as a flight instructor in 1943 and was Air Transportation faculty, served as interim acting head while DeGroff took a two-year leave of absence.

1964

Cooperative Education program started, under director of Professor L.T. Cargnino. The program began with seven students placed at five companies.

1965

School renamed to “School of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Sciences.”

1967

The School moved to the recently remodeled Civil Engineering Building, occupying the third floor. The building formally was dedicated as Grissom Hall on May 2, 1968.

1967

Hsu Lo appointed as department head. He served on school faculty from 1949-79.

1971

John L. Bogdanoff moved from associate head to head of the School. Bogdanoff was an original member of engineering sciences faculty before merger with School of Aeronautics.

1971

Elmer F. Bruhn Award established. Henry T. Yang was the first selected by AAE undergraduate students for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

1973

After the engineering sciences program was terminated, the School's name changed to “School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.”

1973

Bruce A. Reese, who had been director of the Jet Propulsion Center in the School of Mechanical Engineering, chosen as department head.

1979

Henry T. Yang, who'd been a faculty member since 1969, named acting head before moving to head in 1980. He became Dean of Purdue's College of Engineering in 1984.

1985

Alten F. Grandt, Jr., who joined the School in 1979, appointed head. He served in that position until returning to full-time teaching and research in 1992.

1993

After serving as a professor in the department for 18 years, John P. Sullivan started five-year term as department head. 

1996

Purdue Fall Space Day created. The one-day educational outreach program included VIP astronaut guests Don Williams and Gary Payton, pictured, in the first year. Student Cindy Mahler (pictured) started the group of volunteers. It became an independent student organization in 2007 and changed its name to Purdue Space Day.

1998

On 50th anniversary of the then-named Thermal Sciences and Propulsion Center, research complex renamed in honor of its founder as the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories.

1998

Thomas N. Farris, who'd joined the School's faculty in 1986, selected to assume headship after Sullivan resigned to return to full-time teaching and research.

1999

Inaugural class of Outstanding Aerospace Engineers announced. The OAE award, typically presented annually, is the highest honor given by the School for AAE alumni.

2001

Mach-6 quiet tunnel, built with major funding from the Boeing Company and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, completed. It was the only one of its kind in the world capable of running quietly at hypersonic speeds.

2004

C.T. Sun School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Excellence in Research Award established to formally recognize faculty research accomplishments, named after the longtime professor (1968-2016).

2006

Emphasis areas added in “aerospace systems” and “astrodynamics and space applications” to AAE’s traditional four technical areas of aerodynamics, dynamics and control, propulsion, and structures and materials.

2007

New $53.2 million Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering dedicated during a ceremony that included the building's namesake, who earned a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955. It became the new home for AAE.

2009

Tom I-P. Shih selected as School's head. Shih left Iowa State University to come to Purdue to replace Farris, who resigned to become dean of engineering at Rutgers University after serving the longest term as head in AAE (11 years).

 

2016

 

Board of Trustees approved a named headship for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Tom Shih was ratified as the J. William Uhrig and Anastasia Vournas Head and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, made possible by a generous gift from alumnus J. William Uhrig (BSAAE ’82) and Anastasia Vournas.

2017

Opening of the largest expansion in Zucrow Lab’s history that included five high-pressure combustion test cells, a state-of-the-art laser diagnostic lab, 1,500-degree air heater plus additional control rooms, offices and workshops.

2018

Graduate program endowed by Ernest Gambaro (BSAE '60, MSAE '61) and wife Monica and named the “Gambaro Graduate Program of Aeronautics and Astronautics.”

2019

William A. Crossley became latest AAE head, starting on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

2019

Fall enrollment hit all-time high 1,477 students (927 undergraduates, 550 graduates).

2019

Purdue University celebrated its sesquicentennial, and Homecoming was anchored by an astronaut reunion. Of Purdue’s 25 astronaut alumni, 16 are AAE graduates. The 2019 celebration included the School’s newest additions to the “Cradle of Astronauts” — Loral O’Hara (MSAAE '09), selected in 2017 to join NASA’s astronaut corps, and Beth Moses (BSAAE '92, MSAAE '94), the first woman to receive commercial astronaut wings.

2020

More than 11,000 degrees awarded in School’s history.