History

2009
Keith Krach, BSIE '79
A member of the Purdue Board of Trustees since 2007, he was elected by his fellow Trustees to be the Chairman of the Board in July of 2009.
2007
Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering
Is the academic gateway to Purdue Engineering where many take their first step in the pursuit to become engineers, and houses Aeronautics and Astronautics plus other college programs.
2006
Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) established
The Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) was established by the College of Engineering on July 1, 2006. Upon the division's establishment, Dr. Inez Hua was named as the inaugural Acting Head. EEE is a unique program from other collegiate programs because it takes an interdisciplinary and synergistic approach to solving challenges at the interface of engineering and the environment. As of 2014, this program ranks 12th among undergraduate environmental engineering programs nationwide.
2006
Interim Dean Leah H. Jamieson named John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering
Leah H. Jamieson, interim dean for the Purdue University College of Engineering and the Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was appointed the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering following a national search.

As the associate dean for undergraduate education, as the Ransburg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and as a co-founder and director of Purdue's Engineering Projects in Community Service, EPICS, which has become a national model for engineering service-learning being adopted at 16 universities and one high-school, she had proven herself at Purdue and as an engineering leader. She is a newly elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the recipient of several awards in research and teaching, including the 2002 Indiana Professor of the Year and a National Science Foundation Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Provost Sally Mason appoints her to continue the momentum in the college that began under the leadership of Katehi.
2006
Biomedical Engineering Building
First biomed engineering building at a public institution in Indiana. The project is to be finished this summer. The building is in the Purdue Discovery Park, and it will serve as a synergistic environment for all students, faculty and staff within the school. It will link the biomed school with many of the life science and nanotechnology initiatives.
2005
Birck Nanotechnology Center
This national center will expand the frontiers of nanoscale research and be one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world, with specialized labs for nanoscale chemistry, biology, and physics. The building is in the Purdue Discovery Park.
2004
Engineering Education
Marks the first time any university in the country creates an academic department dedicated to engineering education.
2004
Arden L. Bement, Jr. appointed director of NSF
Dr. Bement became the 12th Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2004. During Bement's six-year term as NSF director, he oversaw the foundation's annual budget of more than $7 billion that supports the research and education of roughly 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students across the United States.
2004
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Established
The engineering program that brought the royalties of over 75 U.S. patents to Purdue during its thirty-two-year history at the university become a full-fledged school. The expansion from department to school is enabled by numerous financial contributions and construction of a $25 million biomedical engineering building.
2004
College of Engineering
The No. 8 engineering program in the nation changes its name from Schools of Engineering, reflecting a shift in the discipline of engineering toward more multidisciplinary, collaborative work where boundaries between specific fields have become less distinct.
2003
Robert & Terry Bowen Civil Engineering Laboratory for Large Scale Research
Is completely privately funded, costing $11 million. It provides the capacity to test full-scale building up to four stories tall.
2003
Chris McNett
At age 16, would become Purdue's youngest engineering graduate, finishing in three years with a GPA of 3.97 on a 4.00 scale.
2002
Dean Linda P.B. Katehi
Would bring to the college the hard work and determination she learned during her first studies in electrical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. As one of two undergraduate women in a class with 150 men, her male classmates accused her of stealing a spot that could have gone to a man. She would guide the College of Engineering during an exciting state of development, including increasing the number of faculty to over 300, and adding nine new buildings and major additions and renovations to the college that would increase the space for the college by almost 60 percent, or more than 325,000 square feet. Also, she would assist the college in developing diversity, which she believes "critical to quality." She would leave the university in late Spring of 2006 to become the Provost at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
2001
Arden L. Bement, Jr. appointed director of NIST
From 2001-2004, Dr. Bement served as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the Department of Commerce. Prior to joining NIST he was the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue.
1998
Biomedical Engineering
Forms from the Biomedical Engineering Center, also known as the Hillenbrand Center, created in 1972 by a gift from Trustee William A. Hillenbrand along with a subsequent endowment from Grace Showalter, a long-time supporter of Purdue. In 2006, biomedical engineering at Purdue would rank 32nd in the nation in graduate studies.
1995
Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Founded
Would become a national model for service learning in engineering.
1995
Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Research in agricultural engineering evolves from its focus on the mechanization and automation of American agriculture - recognized as one of the top 20 engineering achievements of the 20th century by the National Academy of Engineering - toward the biological aspects of agriculture. The department focuses on the discovery of solutions to critical public issues including safe and sustainable food supplies, environmental protection, and energy supplies that are both reliable and renewable. A few years later it would be ranked second in the nation in undergraduate and graduate studies.
1995
Dean Richard J. Schwartz
Under his leadership, the Schools of Engineering would adopt a plan to spend $200 million to increase engineering facilities by 60 percent. Would serve as Dean until he turned 65, the mandatory retirement age of Purdue senior administrators, and would go back to his position as professor and also become co-director of Birck Nanotechnology Center. Joined the faculty of the School of Electrical Engineering at Purdue in 1964, became a full Professor in 1972 and Assistant Head for Instruction in the same year, and named Head of the School in 1985. Over the years, came to be known as an internationally respected expert on Photovoltaic Solar Energy, and would chair the National Research Council's Committee for the assessment of NASA's Solar Power Investment Strategy in 2001 and serve on the International committee for the European Union's Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference.
1994
Amy Ross, BSME '94, MSME '96
Daughter of astronaut Jerry Ross, Amy would become a NASA spacesuit engineering, working on advanced spacesuit technology for long duration and terrestrial missions; including designing the gloves that would make her father's hands-on work possible in the 1998 Endeavour mission.
1988
Materials and Electrical Engineering
Is built to house the expanding Schools of Materials and Electrical Engineering.
1987
J. Douglas Field, BSME '87
Would become the chief engineer for Segway LLC and head the team that created the Segway Human Transporter, the world's first self-balancing human transporter.
1986
Ravi Venkatesan, MSIE '86
Would become Chairman of Microsoft India, responsible for marketing, sales, operational and business developmental efforts.
1985
Gregory Ayers, BSE '85, PhD '89, (Veterinary Medicine)
Would come to hold 14 heart-related patents. Would be part of the first team to design, develop, manufacture and place within patients an implantable device to treat atrial fibrillation, a heart disorder found in about 2.2 millions Americans.
1984
Dean Henry T. Yang
He has directed over 60 PhD and MS theses and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education. He would serve 10 years as Dean to the Schools of Engineering before leaving to take over as Chancellor at UC Santa Barbara in 1994, making his total time at Purdue 25 years, including four years as the head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue.
1984
Mary Ellen Weber, BSChE '84
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut; later, would serve as the Legislative Affairs liaison at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., interfacing with Congress; after leaving NASA she would become the vice president for government affairs and policy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, also while occupying these various positions, she would become a nine-time silver/bronze medalist at the U.S. National Skydiving Championship.
1979
Keith J. Krach, BSIE '79
Would be the co-founder of Ariba, Inc., a leader in business-to-business electronic commerce services and software. He would be named one of the top ten entrepreneurs of 1998 by Red Herring magazine.
1978
David A. Wolf, BSEE '78
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut, logging 143 days in space, including more than 120 days on Mir as a scientific researcher.
1978
Gregory J. Harbaugh, BSAAE '78
Would become Shuttle Astronaut and be responsible for in-flight operations aboard flight 71, the first shuttle to dock with Mir.
1978
Mark Polansky, BSAAE '78, MSAAE '78
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut and fly STS-98 Atlantis mission in 2001 to help build the International Space Station by delivering the U.S. laboratory module Destiny.
1978
Patricia Galloway, BSCE '78
Would become the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2002 and also become the president and CEO of the Nielsen-Wurster Group, an international management consulting firm.
1978
Sue Hudson Abreu, BSE '78
Would become the president of the American College of Nuclear Medicine in 2001-2002; would later consult for corporations and healthcare organizations, specializing in nuclear-medicine product development; prior to these occupations she would serve as a U.S. Army colonel.
1977
Marwan Muasher, BSEE '77, MSEE '78, PhD '81, Honorary Doctorate '99
Would become the Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan. Prior to this post, would serve on Jordan's peace negotiating team, would serve as master of ceremonies for the signing of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Accord, would be the first Jordanian ambassador to Israel, and would be Jordan's minister of foreign affairs.
1977
A.A. Potter Engineering Center
Is built to house the biochemical engineering laboratories belonging to LORRE, the rheology and catalysis laboratories, and a materials lab.
1976
Construction Engineering and Management
The program forms as a small division within Civil Engineering and it would quickly gain a national reputation for graduating some of the best prepared students in the nation. From the late 1980s onward this program would continue to see 100 percent of its students hired at graduation.
1976
Allen Alley, BSME '76
Would become the president, CEO, and Chairman of Pixelworks, a manufacturer of system-on-chip IC's for the advanced display industry and one of the United State's fastest-growing technology companies.
1975
Thomas Engibous, BSEE '75, MSEE '76, Honorary Doctorate '97, National Academy of Engineering member
Would become Chairman of Texas Instruments, where he would receive recognition for mentoring programs for women and minorities at the company; and would chair the board of Catalyst, an organization working to advance women in business.
1975
Janice E. Voss, MSES '75
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut, logging over 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits on five space flights. Would become the Science Director for the Kepler spacecraft at NASA Ames Research Center. Kepler should launch on a Delta II in October 2007, and will be looking for potentially habitable planets around distant stars.
1975
Rocky Rhodes, BSIE '75, MSIE '78
Co-founded Silicon Graphics, leading manufacturer of high-end visual computing systems, including the most powerful supercomputers in the world that deliver advanced computing and 3-D visualization capabilities to scientific, engineering and creative professionals.
1974
World's Largest Defibrillator
Leslie Geddes joins Purdue's Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center, where, with his research team, he would construct the world's largest defibrillator and establish the second and third laws of defibrillation.
1974
Moira Gunn, MS '72 (Computer Science), PhD '74 (Mechanical Engineering)
Would become host of radio's Tech Nation, a weekly interview show on National Public Radio that explores the impact of technology on society. Before radio, would work as a scientist and engineer for NASA.
1974
David Schwind, BSIDE '74, Audio Engineering Society fellow
Graduates as Purdue's first acoustical engineer; would lead acoustical consulting teams for Walt Disney, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Fox Network.
1973
Mark N. Brown, BSAAE '73
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut, logging over 249 hours in space; would leave NASA in 1993 for a successful career in the private sector, coming to be in 2003 the Vice President and General Manager of Computer Sciences Corporation's Aerospace Business Unit, a $100 million section of the company.
1973
Materials Engineering
The School of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering increases the importance of research in other areas then metallurgy, thus the school renames itself yet again. Over 30 years later, the school would be ranked 12th in the nation with an extensive alumni network, including company presidents and vice-presidents, researchers, business women and men, and university professors.
1973
School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Established
Forms from School of Aeronautical Engineering. The name change affirms the significant role astronautics had played in the school since 1957 and would continue to have there and world-wide. Its alumni would lead substantial advances in research and development of aerospace technology, including designing of aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles; heading major corporations and government agencies; and traveling to space as NASA astronauts. By 2005 the school would have for 10 years produced the most aerospace engineering degrees in the U.S.
1972
Dean John C. Hancock
Had received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from Purdue, the latter being awarded in 1957. He then joined the electrical engineering faculty, eventually becoming a full professor in 1965. The same year he also became head of the school. About nine years later, he is the dean of the Schools of Engineering. He would continue in the position until late in 1983 when he would resign to take a job in the private sector.
1972
Mike Eskew, BSIE '72, Honorary Doctorate '02, National Academy of Engineering member
Would become Chairman and CEO of UPS and serve on the U.S. President's Export Council, the principal national advisory committee on international trade.
1972
Gary E. Payton, MSAAE '72
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut; the Deputy for Technology at the Department of Defense; the Director of Theater Missile Defense Sensors at the Department of Defense; the Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Transportation Technology at NASA; and eventually the Vice President, Engineering and Operations, at ORBIMAGE, a leading global provider of geospatial imagery products and services.
1971
Charles D. Walker, BSAAE '71
Would become Shuttle Astronaut and eventually a strong advocate of space exploration serving as chairman of the board of directors of Spacecause, president of the National Space Society, and board director of the Association of Space Explorers.
1971
National Society of Black Engineers
In the late 1960s, a devastating 80 percent of the black freshman entering the engineering program dropped out. In 1971, two Purdue undergraduate students, Edward Barnette and Fred Cooper approached the dean of engineering at Purdue University with the concept of starting the Black Society of Engineers. They established the society on campus and would be so encouraged by their success, that in 1974 they would invite every black engineering society possible to a conference at Purdue. From that meeting, NSBE would be founded, an organization that would develop into the largest student-managed organization in the country, with 10,000 members and more than 270 chapters on college and university campuses, 75 Alumni Extension chapters nationwide and 75 Pre-College chapters.
1970
Jerry Ross, BSME '70, MSEE '72, Honorary Doctorate '00
Would become Shuttle Astronaut and come to hold the record for the most spacewalk time.
1970
Michael J. McCulley, BSMet '70, MSMet '70
Would become Shuttle Astronaut and eventually Director of the Kennedy Space Center.
1970
Guy S. Gardner, MSAAE '70
Would become Shuttle Astronaut; program director of the joint U.S. and Russian Shuttle-Mir Program in 1992; and Director of Quality Assurance, Code QW, at NASA Headquarters in 1994.
1969
Richard O. Covey, MSAAE '69
Would fly 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia during his time in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1974, and eventually would become a Shuttle Astronaut.
1969
Women in Engineering Program Founded
Is the first of its kind in the nation and would serve as a model for such programs at other universities. The program would develop pre-college (K-12) outreach and recruiting activities, would start a number of initiatives aimed at retaining both undergraduate and graduate women, and would work toward creating a campus environment more innovative because of its greater diversity. As a result, enrollment of women in the College of Engineering would increase from less than one percent to 19 percent.
1969
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Division retains and recruits students who have an interest in both engineering and another discipline. It serves as the home for students interested in fields that are not served by one of the Schools of Engineering until a regular program is developed. Examples would include acoustical, biomedical, and environmental engineering, and before IDE was a division, it included nuclear engineering.
1968
Loren J. Shriver, MSAAE '68
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut and command flight 31, which deployed the Hubble Telescope.
1967
John H. Casper, MSAAE '67
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut and the Director of Safety, Reliability, and Quality Assurance at the Johnson Space Center, responsible for all safety, reliability and quality activities for JSC's human spaceflight programs, including the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle, Space Launch Initiative, and Crew Return Vehicles.
1967
Dean R.J. Grosh
Becomes dean and immediately initiates changes to make Purdue University a leader in graduate-level engineering research, setting the first steps to make Purdue's graduate engineering to be ranked as one of the Top-10 programs in the nation. Not only has Grosh been an administrator and instructor at the university, he also has been a student. He received his BS, MS, and PhD all from Purdue.
1966
Michael Ramage, BSChE '66, MSChE '69, PhD '71, Honorary Doctorate '96
Would serve as Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering company and play a key role in developing the petroleum industry's first reforming model based on fundamental kinetics. Would also chair the National Research Council's Committee on Alternatives and Strategies for Future Hydrogen Production and Use, which would produce the 2004 report "The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs."
1966
John E. Blaha, MSAAE '66
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut, log 161 days in space on 5 space missions, and become the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brooks Aerospace Foundation.
1966
Roy D. Bridges Jr., MSAAE '66, Honorary Doctorate '01
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut, the Director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center and the Directory of NASA's Langley Research Center.
1965
Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering
Due to the changing nature of its research and education and the significant increase of interest in materials beyond the metals, the name of the school changes to the School of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering.
1965
H. Mike Hua, MSAAE '65, PhD '68
Would spearhead the establishment of Taiwan's aerospace industry in the 1970s.
1964
Donald E. Williams, BSME '64
Would become a Shuttle Astronaut and eventually serve as Commander on STS-34 Atlantis in 1989 that deployed the Galileo spacecraft that explored Jupiter and made the discovery of likely sub-surface water oceans on the icy moon of Jupiter, Europa, prompting plans for future spacecraft to return to Europa to search for life.
1962
Robert L. Bowen, BSCE '62
Would found Bowen Engineering Corporation, which would become Indiana's leading utility contractor specializing in the construction of wastewater treatment plants, power plants, industrial facilities, and underground utilities.
1962
Current Civil Engineering Building
Is built on Stadium Mall, later known as the Engineering Mall. It houses lecture rooms and laboratories plus college program offices.
1960
Michael J. Birck, BSEE '60, Honorary Doctorate '95
Would be founder, Chairman, and CEO of Tellabs Inc., an innovator in bandwidth solutions and a leading provider of cable telephony solutions in Europe. He would also be a leader in enabling nanotechnology research at Purdue.
1960
Nuclear Engineering
The atom bombs had dropped in Japan, nine years later in 1954 the world's first commercial reactor began to deliver power in Russia, and in 1955 the first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, was put sea. Additionally, the nuclear arms race had started. All the while, chemical engineering at Purdue, a program that had participated in the Manhattan Project, along with other Purdue programs began to hire more professors with nuclear experience. Several of these faculty members start the nuclear program. The program would soon have its own experimental reactor in 1962. More than 40 years later, the School of Nuclear Engineering would be ranked fourth in the nation for the second year in a row, expanding its research to include nuclear medicine.
1959
John A. Brighton, BSME '59, MSME '60, PhD '63
Would be U.S. National Science Foundation Assistant Director and Head of NSF Directorate for Engineering. As a nation-level policymaker, Brighton would help to ensure that the U.S. maintains its excellence across the frontiers of science and engineering, leading to fundamental discoveries, technological innovation, and economical growth.
1959
Metallurgical Engineering
Professor Reinhardt Schuhmann Jr., the founding father of contemporary metallurgy and materials studies, after about five years of research and teaching at Purdue, establishes the School of Metallurgical Engineering. This school would pave the way for other materials research at Purdue.
1959
Chemical Engineering
The school separates from the metallurgical engineering. Since the name of the School of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering, research in metallurgy at Purdue had expanded. In 1942, its PhD program started. In 1951, it became its own division.
1957
Roger Chaffee, BSAE '57
Would become an astronaut, but before going to space, would die with Gus Grissom on January 27, 1967 in the Apollo 1 flash fire at Cape Kennedy. Would be awarded posthumously be President Clinton in 1997 the Congressional Space Medal, the U.S. space program's highest honor.
1956
Eugene Cernan, BSEE '56, Honorary Doctorate '70
Would be the Last Man on the Moon, Apollo 17 in 1972; second American to walk in space, Gemini 9 in 1966; and pilot of the lunar module of the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal of the moon landing in which the lunar module would descend to within 8 nautical miles of the moon in 1969.
1955
Neil Armstrong, BSAE '55, Honorary Doctorate '70, National Academy of Engineering member
Would be First Man on the Moon, July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 mission.
1954
Professor Reinhardt Schuhmann, National Academy of Engineering member
Founding father of contemporary metallurgy and materials studies, one of the first academics to apply scientific theory to the practice of engineering; revolutionized the materials area in the 1950s by establishing the thermodynamics foundations for high-temperature metal processing, especially in copper and lead smelting; would found School of Materials Engineering at Purdue.
1953
Industrial Engineering
The formation of the department comes from a long history of the discipline being taught at the university, including some courses taught by Lillian Gilbreth, the first lady of engineering, but it is under the supervision of a faculty that has no members with a PhD Some of the original faculty members would take leaves of absence, at great personal sacrifice, to secure their doctorates from other universities. Because of people like these leading the program, over 50 years later the industrial engineering program at Purdue would be ranked second in the nation.
1953
Freshman Engineering
First program of its kind in the country. It would provide a plan of study that would stimulate interest in engineering careers and enable freshman to continue their course as upperclassmen at such a level as to provide the profession with the best prepared young engineers to be found anywhere.
1953
Dean George A. Hawkings
Prior to appointment, was Purdue professor of Mechanical Engineering. Under his leadership, the curriculum of Purdue engineering would be redefined. Hawkings would head numerous studies on the subject and write many papers about his findings before making changes. In the end, scientific theory would have greater application to engineering. Freshman and industrial engineering programs would be established. Chemical would be separated from Metallurgical Engineering, and the Division of Engineering Studies would be established.
1950
Virgil "Gus" Grissom, BSME '50
Would be in the first group of astronauts in 1959; second man in space, piloting Mercury Redstone 4 in 1961; command pilot for Gemini 3, the first two-person space flight; and would eventually die while serving his country on January 27, 1967, in the Apollo 1 flash fire at Cape Kennedy.
1949
Iven C. Kincheloe Jr., BSAE '49
Would become U.S. Air Force test pilot who flew the X-2 to 126,000 ft. in 1956, nearly becoming the first man in space. Would be selected to fly X-15 to become first American in space, but was killed in another test flight July 26, 1958.
1949
Paul Oreffice, BSChE '49, Honorary Doctorate '76
At age 28, would lead the start-up of the Dow Chemical Company in Brazil, which would become the second-largest chemical concern in the country; in 1978 would become president of Dow Chemical and lead the organization's transformation into a global enterprise.
1947
Robert Forney, BSChE '47, MSIE '48, PhD '50, Honorary Doctorate '81, National Academy of Engineering member
Research engineering, and, ultimately, executive vice president for DuPont; would lead in the development and manufacture of important new fiber products including Kevlar fiber which would be used in bullet-proof clothing, brakes and transmission parts, and a host of other applications.
1946
Stephen Bechtel Jr., BSCE '46, Honorary Doctorate '72
As Chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group - a premier U.S. engineering and construction firm - Bechtel would help build America's industrial base and improve life for people throughout the world.
1946
First woman receives PhD in Engineering from Purdue
Orpha Mae Thomas became the first woman to receive a PhD in engineering from Purdue. Her thesis was titled, "A Scientific Basis for the Design of Institutional Kitchens." In addition to being the first doctorate awarded by the then-school to a woman, Thomas? degree was the third PhD given in industrial engineering.
1945
School of Aeronautics Established
Aeronautics moves into its own program about a month before the war ends with Japan. With WWII, aircraft has proved to the world their lasting importance. The board of trustees selects the title School of Aeronautics because the school would offer degrees in both aeronautical engineering and air transportation; being one of only two institutions in the U.S. to offer the two options. The 1956, the school would become known as the School of Aeronautical Engineering, dropping the transportation degree.
1942
School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Established
Dean Potter decided by mid-1941 that aeronautical engineering should play a key role in Purdue's growing war training effort. Under his leadership, the School of Mechanical Engineering changes its name and begins the university's first, four-year BS curriculum in aeronautical engineering. During the war, aero engineering would work in conjunction with the armed forces and war industry to create specific training programs: the Air Corps Cadet Aeronautical Engineering Program, the Curtiss-Wright Cadette Programs to train young women for technical positions normally help by men at the airplane corporation, and the Navy V-12 Program.
1940
Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Building
To ensure research activities at the school wouldn't be severely curtailed, construction is completed on the first section of what is now Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering. A PWA grant of $271,584 made the $580,000 building possible. Professor Bray, the second head of chemical engineering, spent most of 1938 and 1939 designing the building and concentrating on the allocation of space.
1937
Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
John L. Bray, head of the school and a long-time metallurgical researcher, recognizes the importance of metallurgy within the School of Chemical Engineering by placing it in the name of the school. Later the disciplines would be split into separate schools that would continue to occupy the same building.
1936
Hoover Dam Completed
Elwood Mead, Purdue engineering graduate, directed the development of the dam, what is considered one of the most massive engineering enterprises of all time. The dam's reservoir, Lake Mead, would bear his name.
1935
Professor Lillian Gilbreth, National Academy of Engineering member
Would be known as the "First Lady of Engineering" and would become the first female member of the National Academy of engineering; teaches Purdue's first engineering management courses from 1935-1948.
1934
Professor Charles Ellis
Designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, teaches civil engineering 1934-46 at Purdue.
1933
Edward Purcell BSSE '33, Honorary Doctorate '53
Would win Nobel Prize in physics in 1952, with Felix Bloch, for finding a way to detect the extremely weak magnetism of the atomic nucleus.
1932
Current Mechanical Engineering Building
Is built to make room for a school that had outgrown its old space at Heavilon Hall. Would serve as the base of the current Mechanical Engineering Building.
1930
Purdue Airport
First university-owned airport in the nation; the faculty uses the building to hold aeronautics classes.
1929
Golden Gate Bridge
Charles Ellis, a Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue from 1934-46, draws the design that would be the blue-print for the bridge. He also would oversee test borings for the bridge towers and the surveying and sitting of them.
1928
Maurice Zucrow, PhD '28, Honorary Doctorate '70
Would receive the first doctorate granted by Purdue. Would become a world-renowned researcher, conducting rocket-engine studies in the '40s and '50s at Purdue's Jet Propulsion Center, which would be renamed Zucrow labs.
1928
Police Radio
Robert Batts, a Purdue engineering undergraduate, builds first receiver for police cars.
1925
Agricultural Engineering
Takes on the task of bringing the Industrial Revolution to agriculture; among some of its first acts, would prove the effectiveness of tractors to Indiana farmers, then proving to farmers and power companies the efficiency and need of using electricity on farms, putting Indiana at the forefront among states having good electric service in rural areas. Eighty years later the program would be renamed Agricultural and Biological Engineering and be ranked second in the nation for ABE.
1924
Current Electrical Engineering Building
Is completed at a cost of $264,187 to meet the expanding needs of the EE program that had out-grown its first building. It would be the base of the current EE building.
1922
Roscoe George, BSEE '22, MSEE '27
Would become the inventor of all-electronic television receiver with colleague Howard Heim, and later would become Director of Purdue's first high-voltage lab.
1921
Donovan Berlin, BSME '21, Honorary Doctorate '53
Would design important WWII planes, the P-40, which would become the plane of the Flying Tigers, and P-36. The two would be the only numerous battle-ready fighters available in the U.S. at the outbreak of the war. A total of 11,998 P-40s would be built before production would finish in 1944. The Tigers would make Berlin an honorary member because of the plane's excellent performance.
1920
Dean Andrey A. Potter
Becomes dean; would build Purdue into the largest and one of the most respected engineering colleges in the country, serving as Dean until 1953. People would often refer to him as "The Dean of Deans" because of his large role in the direction of engineering education in this country during the twentieth century. He was born in Vilna, Russia on August 5, 1882.
1911
School of Chemical Engineering Established
Forms with some of the brightest individuals in the university, not only well versed in the sciences but also in a foreign language. During the first years, the school would require students to read, write, and understand German, since the major advances in the field came mostly from Deutschland. A campus-wide IQ test in 1919 would reveal that the seniors in the school had the highest average IQ, 135, of any group on campus. Almost 100 years later chemical engineering at Purdue would be ranked 13th in the nation for undergraduate degrees and 12th for graduate degrees. German would no longer be a requisite.
1910
Practical Mechanics Building
What would be renamed Michael Golden Engineering Laboratories and Shops, is built to house some of the electrical and mechanical engineering classes at Purdue.
1907
Dean Charles H. Benjamin
Purdue engineering's last dean of a slower era. The man would take a laidback approach to leadership within the schools and didn't stick around to manage things over the summers, vacationing in New England, his former home, until the day before classes started. In his view, engineering wasn't his life. It was part of it, spending much of his free-time painting with water-colors and writing poetry. However, Dean Goss recommended only him to be his successor.
1906
Civil Engineering Building
What would be renamed Grissom Hall, is build to house the increasing number of students in the growing school. Years later is would house Industrial Engineering, and Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering.
1900
Father of Radio Broadcasting
Reginald Fessenden succeeds in sending the first wireless transmission of the human voice-radio as we know it today. He would later be known as the father of radio broadcasting, but he initiated his experiments for the transmission developed at Purdue when he spent a year at the university in 1892.
1900
Dean W.F.M. Goss
Becomes first dean of the Schools of Engineering that he helped found. He had come to the school in 1879, and he created the world's first locomotive testing lab at Purdue in 1891.
1897
Martha Dick Stevens, BSCE '97
Purdue's first female engineering graduate. Also would earn a BS in 1894 and MS in 1898.
1895
Heavilon Hall
Smart took immediate action to re-erect the building. After his rallying "one brick higher" speech, the university re-builds the hall nine bricks higher as the home of Purdue engineering.
1894
Heavilon Hall
Construction is completed on the new home for Purdue engineering. In the building, there's floor space of more than an acre, a 100-horse-power Harris-Corliss triple-expansion engine constructed especially for a laboratory, a wood-working room that has enough tools for 150 students, and a forge-room equipped with smithing tools. At the dedication, state Governor Claude Matthews makes a speech and the new engine lab is the scene of a Gay Nineties dance. Four days later, the building would burn to the ground. University President James A. Smart would have tears in eye watching it go from flames to ash in the night.
1894
David Robert Lewis, BSCE '94
Purdue's first African American engineering graduate. From 1894 to 1906 he would hold the position of mechanical drawing instructor at Armstrong & Slater Memorial Trade School at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia. Later, he would start a successful career as real estate broker in Pittsburgh.
1893
David Ross, BSME '93
Would initiate the building of Ross-Ade Stadium; as for his engineering life, he would earn 88 different patents, many dealing with transportation, including "traffic-eyes," the nighttime reflective highway markers; would also form Ross Gear and Tool Company which would become part of TRW Commercial Steering.
1892
Locomotive Library
University builds world's first locomotive testing lab, a facility for railroad experiments using the Purdue's experimental steam and locomotive train engines, the Corliss and the Schenectady.
1891
Arrival of original "Boilermaker Special"
The 85,000-pound test locomotive Schenectady, the original "Boilermaker Special," arrives at Purdue to be used in the world's first locomotive testing lab.
1889
Electrical Engineering Building
The first EE building is erected on the site where Wetherill Chemistry Laboratories would later stand. The building has 330,899 square feet and costs $27,316.37 to create.
1888
School of Electrical Engineering Established
School forms with concentration in power generation and distribution. Almost 115 years later, the school would be on the cutting edge of fields ranging from nanotechnology and photonics to communications and computing with plans already in action to spend $4.5 million annually to increase the number of faculty and staff to 100, to gain $75 million of additional endowment, and to fundraise $60 million to construct a new learning and discovery facility and to remodel the EE and MSEE buildings. It would be ranked ninth in the nation. Its alumni would excel worldwide as entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, researchers, inventors and educators.
1888
Elwood Mead, BS '82 (Agriculture), MSCE '88, Honorary Doctorate
Graduates as Purdue's first agricultural engineering and would be the recipient of Purdue's first honorary doctorate. In the 1930s, he would direct the development of the Hoover Dam.
1887
School of Civil Engineering Established
Forms with 29 students headed by one professor. Over 115 years later, the school would rank seventh nationally out of approximately 240 CE programs, and it would have almost 60 faculty members; 500 undergraduate and 300 graduate students; and over 800 of its alumni serving as presidents, CEOs, or vice-presidents for a variety of companies.
1885
Charles L. Ratliff, BS '85
Receives the first BS in engineering granted by Purdue.
1885
Mechanics Hall
The university establishes the first engineering building on campus, later called Mechanical Laboratory and also Science Hall. It would house the first electrical and mechanical engineering classes at Purdue. It stands where Stanley Coulter would later be built.
1882
School of Mechanical Engineering Established
Purdue's first engineering school forms with not even one of Purdue's 90 total students qualified to take an engineering course from the University's one engineering instructor. Over a century later, the school would have 49 faculty members teaching over 1100 undergraduate and graduate students. The undergraduate program would be ranked seventh in the nation, and the graduate program, ninth.
1876
President Emerson E. White
After a semester as president, set the course of Purdue to provide education in the Applied Sciences and Technology, as to make students beneficial to industry and agriculture, making engineering education one of the highest priorities of the university.
1876
Special Schools of Science and Technology Established
The schools are Civil Engineering, Chemistry and Metallurgy, Physics and Mechanics, Agriculture, Horticulture and Natural History.
1874
President Abraham C. Shortridge
Becomes president and within months establishes the first four-year courses of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue.
1874
Engineering's Beginning
University President Shortridge announces in a November 1 report the beginning of four-year courses for civil and mechanical engineering to start in the spring semester of 1875.
1865
Indiana General Assembly Votes to Participate in Morril Act
Just before the surrender of the Confederate army at Appomattox, the State Legislature accepts the act's provisions to form Indiana's land-grant institution, which would later become known as Purdue University.
1862
Morril Act Passes into Law
Sets the first funding provisions for Purdue, and for a more democratic form of university education. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2; the federal government would turn over public lands to states that would use the proceeds from their sale to maintain a college to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts.