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The College of Engineering at NC State University

NC State has had engineering departments since 1887 when the institution was founded and has had engineering students since classes started in 1889, but a formal school of engineering was not organized until later. Much of the history of the formation of the formal engineering “school” can be tracked by simply looking at the career of Dr. Wallace Carl Riddick Jr.

Riddick joined the faculty of the “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts” in 1892 as professor of mechanics and applied mathematics.  He became head of the Department of Civil Engineering in 1895 and served until 1908, when he was elected vice president of the college (during this time he continued to teach civil engineering courses as a professor of hydraulics). In 1912, the football stadium was named in his honor; Riddick had served as football coach in 1898 and 1899 and served for many years as a member of the Athletics Council.

In 1916, he was named president of the college. During his administration, he was instrumental in its reorganization (the name was changed to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering), dividing it into schools with deans in charge to accommodate rapid program expansion and increased enrollment.

On May 28, 1923, the School of Engineering was formed, and Riddick was named the first dean, following his expressed desire to take on this role. During his leadership, the school grew to include 12 departments, and the Engineering Experiment Station was established. Riddick, who organized the North Carolina Society of Engineering and the Raleigh Engineers’ Club, remained Dean of Engineering until he retired in 1937. In 1951, the Riddick Engineering Laboratories building was named in his memory.

In 1987, the School of Engineering changed its name to the College of Engineering.

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North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
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