College of Engineering Firsts
— Historical Highlights of Women and Minorities in the College of Engineering at NC State University
Note: See also "Celebrating 100 Years of Women at NC State University," NCSU
1921 – Lucille Thomson of Wilmington was the first woman to enroll as a regular
student at NC State and the first woman enrolled in engineering. (She
majored in electrical engineering but did not graduate.) She was described
in the Alumni News as NC State‘s first co-ed and the 1,000th student to register.
1941 – Katharine Stinson became the first woman to receive an engineering
degree from NC State (bachelor of mechanical engineering, aeronautical option).
1942 – Margery Belle Garriss was the first woman to receive a bachelor's
degree in architectural engineering and the second woman to receive an engineering
1948 – Lois Madden (Lohneiss) Todd (ChE ‘48), was the first woman to graduate
with a degree in chemical engineering. She was also the third woman to
receive an engineering degree from NC State.
1951 – Frances M. Richardson was the first woman faculty member hired in
the School of Engineering. (See also 1979.)
1953 – The first African-American graduate students enrolled in NC State
University: Hardy Liston in mechanical engineering and Robert L. Clemons
in electrical engineering. (See also 1957).
1953 – Emily Brown Blount was the first woman to receive a bachelor‘s degree
in civil engineering. (See also 1954.)
1954 – Emily Brown Blount was the first woman to receive a professional degree
in civil engineering.
1956 – The first African-American undergraduate students entered NC State
University in 1956; all were engineering students. Walter Holmes enrolled
in mechanical engineering with an aerospace option, and Irwin Holmes, Manuel
Crockett, and Edward Carson enrolled in electrical engineering.
1957 – Robert L. Clemons, one of the first two African-American graduate
students enrolled at NC State, became the first African-American to receive
a degree from NC State; his was a professional degree in electrical engineering.
1960 – Irwin Holmes was the first African American to receive a bachelor's
degree from NC State. His degree was in electrical engineering.
1960 – Doris Lane Garcia was the first woman to receive a bachelor's degree
in industrial engineering.
1960 – Janice McLean Bireline was the first woman to receive a degree in
1961 – Anna Clyde Fraker became the first woman to receive an advanced degree
in engineering, when she received her master's degree in metallurgical engineering. (See
1962 – Flora Corpening Lester was the first woman to receive a degree in
1964 – Ilona Marianne Evans was the first woman to receive a degree in nuclear
1967 – Anna Clyde Fraker became the first woman to receive a doctorate in
1970 – Samiaha Mourad was the first woman to receive a PhD in nuclear engineering.
1973 – Aziza Ragai El-Lozy was the first woman to receive a PhD degree in
1973 – Samia Galal Abdel Hamid Saad was the first woman to receive a PhD
degree in civil engineering.
1975 – Hubert Winston was the first African American to receive a doctoral
degree in chemical engineering. He also has the distinction of being the
first African-American faculty member in the College of Engineering and in the
Department of Chemical Engineering.
1979 – Sarah Rajala became the first woman professor of electrical and computer
engineering and the first woman PhD faculty member in the College of Engineering.
1979 – Frances M. Richardson was elected the first president of the Society
of Women Engineers, North Carolina Section.
1989 – Christine Grant became the first African-American woman faculty member
in the College of Engineering and in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
1993 – When Sarah Rajala was appointed director of the Center for Advanced
Computing and Communication, she became the first woman in the College to serve
as director of a research center.
1996 – Sarah Rajala was appointed associate dean of academic affairs, making
her the first woman to hold any associate dean‘s title in the College of Engineering.
1998 – Annie Antón became the first Latin American woman to join the College
of Engineering faculty when she joined the Department of Computer Science.
2002 – Sarah Rajala became the first woman associate dean for research and
graduate programs in the College of Engineering.
2003 – Teresa Helmlinger Ratcliff (EO ‘78) became the first woman president
of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). She is the first
engineer from North Carolina to hold the office.
2006 – Louis Martin-Vega became the first Hispanic dean at
NC State University.