University of Massachusetts Amherst

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GI Bill creates pressure for creating an engineering school

1946

Following WWII, the GI bill allowed those who fought in the war to study any field of their choosing. Many of the GIs in Massachusetts pursued engineering after many of them had received training in engineering during the war. The origins of our College of Engineering came from the returning veterans of World War II, who returned to civilian status with a G.I bill for education in their hands and found inadequate facilities in the Commonwealth for engineering education.

Engineering programs at established universities such as MIT and Worcester Tech were filling up fast and there were more GIs than available positions. George Marston, an associate professor at UMass in the late 1940s, saw the opportunity to help create a school of engineering at the university. Not only did the university create opportunities for the GIs, but much of the early lab equipment was donated war material.