The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Engineering the College of Engineering

Honoring Our Past, Designing Our Future

  • David Reckhow and Brown-haired female student wearing glasses with beaker

    David Reckhow and Student

  • Bob McIntosh, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • George Marston, First Dean of the School of Engineering

  • Engineering Quad

  • Alan Lutenegger and Don DeGroot


UMass starts Department of Agricultural Engineering


Engineering Shop erected


Goessmann Lab erected


Engineering courses combined into a Department of General Engineering


GI Bill creates pressure for creating an engineering school

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... Read More


Entering class in the School of Engineering in 1947 was 120

Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering established

School of Engineering hires first 16 faculty members

George A. Marston becomes first Dean of the College of Engineering

George Marston was the first dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, a position he held from 1948 to 1963. With a tenure of 15 years, Marston oversaw the immense growth of the new engineering school and its departments.

Marston saw the need for an... Read More

School of Engineering established

The history of the School of Engineering really begins with the establishment of the University of Massachusetts as a university in 1946 and the establishing of the School of Engineering as a member of the academic community in 1947. In May of 1947, the name of Massachusetts State College was... Read More

1947 to 1952

First department heads designated

Merit P. White was the first department head of Civil Engineering (1947). In 1948, Robert R. Brown became the first department head of Electrical Engineering. Maurice E. Bates was the first department head of Mechanical Engineering (1947). The first head of the Chemical Engineering Department... Read More


Electrical Engineering established


Civil Engineering receives accreditation

1949 to 1966

Building the engineering complex

The school started out with one building in 1947, the engineering shop, erected in 1916. A two-story engineering annex was completed at the end of the year with government help, but this building was completely destroyed by fire in January of 1948. It was rebuilt in the same year as a one-... Read More

Establishing the engineering curriculum

With the establishment of a School of Engineering in 1947, the four major Departments of Agricultural, Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering were authorized to have degree-granting programs. The Agricultural Engineering department was transferred to the School of Agriculture in 1954.... Read More


Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial Engineering receive accreditation

Antonio Ferreira receives first designated engineering degree on campus

1950 to 1960

First engineering student societies established

An important factor in the student/faculty/industry relationship was the establishment of student chapters of the national professional engineering societies on campus. The first such chapter to be established was a student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers in January of 1950... Read More


Chemical Engineering established


Student radio station WMUA set up in Marston Hall

School creates first Engineering Library on campus

The Engineering Library Opened in 1955. It was located on the second floor of Marston Hall, with Josephine Tudryn overlooking the books; while students, donating their time, covered the evening hours. Then, two part-time secretaries, Joanne Grady and Myrtle Blanchard, were responsible for the... Read More

1957 to 1964

The G.E. Apprentice Program

This joint apprentice program between the GE operation in Pittsfield and the UMass College of Engineering in Amherst was a pioneering industry-university partnership that afforded highly qualified high school graduates a full scholarship to UMass along with practical work experience in the GE... Read More

1963 to 1966

E. Ernest Lindsey appointed Acting Dean at the College of Engineering

1964 to 1989

Tenure of Oretta Taylor, the “First Lady” of the School of Engineering

1966 to 1976

Kenneth G. Picha appointed Dean at the College of Engineering


Wind Energy Program established

Wind energy research and development began here in 1972 with the award of a NSF grant that led to the construction of a 25 kW wind turbine on campus. At the time, this turbine was one of the largest operating wind turbines in the United States and one of the first modern turbine designs in the... Read More

Start of UMass Amherst transit system

A transportation grant was awarded in 1972 to Professor Paul Shuldiner of the Civil Engineering Department and professor William Goss of the Mechanical Engineering Department to implement a transit system for the Amherst area and a study of the effects of this system involving the university... Read More


Professor John E. Ritter coordinated new Minority Engineering Program

Former MEP Directory Ting-Wei Tang

Created in 1973 to recruit and support underrepresented minority students, specifically African-American, Native American, and Hispanic-American students, the MEP was one of the first of its kind in the country. Professor John E. Ritter coordinated the newly instituted program in 1973. In 1975... Read More


V.I.P. (Video Instructional Program) established

The VIP program originated in 1974, when a grant was awarded to the School of Engineering by the Digital Equipment Corporation, which was spearheaded by Andrew Knowles. VIP allowed for students across the country and around the world to experience the UMass Engineering program without stepping... Read More


First concrete canoe, the Porcupine, built in 1972 by Civil Engineering students


Joseph S. Marcus appointed Acting Dean at the College of Engineering


Society of Women Engineers established

1977 to 1981

Russel C. Jones appointed Dean of the College of Engineering


Microwave Remote Sensing Lab established

MIRSL specialized in the conception, design, and implementation of advanced microwave and millimeter-wave systems for remote sensing of the geophysical environment. The research laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was founded in 1981 by Professors... Read More

1981 to 1982

Samuel F. Conti appointed Acting Dean of the College of Engineering


Richard Giglio appointed Acting Dean of the College of Engineering


Women in Engineering Program established

The Women in Engineering Program’s sole purpose was to recruit women to the engineering field and degree program and support them throughout their careers as engineering students and beyond. WEP students were not only supported as students, but they were educated in the various career... Read More

1983 to 1991

James E.A. John appointed Dean of the College of Engineering


Knowles Engineering Building established

The engineering quadrangle was filled with sunshine and well-wishers on April 27th, 1991, for the dedication of the college’s new research facility, the Knowles Engineering Building. Speeches and ceremonies praising the facility and the man its name honors, alumnus Andrew C. Knowles III, were... Read More

1991 to 1993

Keith Carver appointed Acting Dean of the College of Engineering

1993 to 2004

Joseph I. Goldstein appointed Dean of the College of Engineering


CASA established

The Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, or CASA, was initially funded with a $17-million grant from the NSF over five years, an additional $5 million over five years from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, plus more than $35 million in industry... Read More


Michael Malone appointed Dean

ELab II erected

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the College of Engineering’s seventh building, named ELab II, took place on May 7, 2004. The new building with its 57,000 gross feet of space was built to accommodate new labs in both the Chemical Engineering Department and the Civil and Environmental... Read More


The Engineering Career and Student Development Center established

The Engineering Career and Student Development Center was established to help prepare students for career and professional opportunities and to provide a place where engineering students, faculty, and employers can meet and develop a mutual and beneficial relationship. Located in Marston 114,... Read More


Institute for Cellular Engineering funded with IGERT Grant

In 2008 the UMass Amherst Institute for Cellular Engineering, or ICE, was funded with a $3-million grant from the NSF to provide graduate students with the fellowships, training, and hands-on research opportunities to build an employment pipeline directly into some of the country’s most... Read More

2009 to 2012

Ted Djaferis appointed Interim Dean of the College of Engineering


Northeast Climate Science Center established

After the announcement in October of 2011 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar that UMass Amherst has been chosen to lead a consortium of seven universities and host the $7.5-million Northeast Climate Science Center, there was national coverage by... Read More

UMass IGERT Offshore Wind Energy Program started

Started by Principal Investigator Erin Baker with a $3.2-million grant from the NSF in August of 2011, the IGERT program generated an interdisciplinary graduate program in offshore wind energy engineering, environmental science, and policy. The goal of the program was to create a community of... Read More


Tim Anderson appointed Dean at the College of Engineering