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1931 image of truck with model of then proposed NC State stadium on truck bed

History

The College of Engineering's history has been richly interspersed with innovative and inspirational students, faculty and staff where women and minorities leap over social obstacles and strong leaders continue to guide the pack.

Pioneering engineer

Professor Frances M. “Billie” Richardson was the first woman faculty member hired in the School of Engineering in 1951 and was elected the first president of the Society of Women Engineers, North Carolina Section, in 1979. Also pictured is Dr. Frederick P. Pike, professor of chemical engineering. (Photo: 1951)

Professor Frances M. "Billie" Richardson (right) and male associate working in lab.

The dawn of nuclear power

NC State University’s School of Engineering operated the world’s first nuclear reactor used for teaching, research and public service. Burlington laboratory was built to house R-1, a 10-kilowatt reactor that has been upgraded numerous times since. The nuclear reactor program was also the first research reactor in the United States to go international.

Aerial view of Burlington laboratory circa 1953

Deans of Engineering

1923-1937Wallace Carl Riddick, Jr.
1937-1942Blake Ragsdale Van Leer
1942-1945L.L. Vaughn (acting*)
1945-1962J. Harold Lampe
1962-1978Ralph E. Fadum
1978-1989Larry K. Monteith
1989-1991James K. Ferrell (interim)
1991-1993Wilbur L. Meier, Jr.
1993-1994Tildon H. Glisson (interim)
1994-1995Ralph K. Cavin, III
1996John G. Gilligan (interim)
1996-2006Nino A. Masnari
2006-presentLouis A. Martin-Vega
*Acting and interim terms are indicated in parentheses. At NC State, the earlier term was “acting” and was later replaced by the the term “interim”.

Outstanding Seniors and Engineers’ Council Leadership

Larry Williams of Elizabeth City (right), chemical engineering senior at NC State University, received the 1978 Outstanding Engineering Citizenship and Service Award during special ceremonies. NC State Dean of Engineering Ralph E. Fadum (far left) presented him with a citation, and President of the Engineers' Council Marcia Sabiston (center) presented him with an engraved watch.
Larry Williams of Elizabeth City (right), chemical engineering senior at NC State University, received the 1978 Outstanding Engineering Citizenship and Service Award during special ceremonies. NC State Dean of Engineering Ralph E. Fadum (far left) presented him with a citation, and President of the Engineers’ Council Marcia Sabiston (center) presented him with an engraved watch. (Photo: Special Collections Research Center at NC State University Libraries, 1978)

College of Engineering Outstanding Seniors

Since 1947, when the college of Engineering presented the Scholarly Achievement award to Robert Schmidt, we have kept a list of our outstanding seniors. Since the 1960s, the College has recognized exceptional seniors in four categories: Scholarly Achievement, Leadership, Citizenship and Service and Humanities.

Engineers’ Council Leadership

The student council for the College of Engineering is the Engineers’ Council (E-Council). The E-Council plans and advertises college events, distributes funding to engineering student organizations and advocates student interests. The list below identifies E-Council officers since 1926.

College of Engineering Timeline

March 7, 1887

After years of debate, legislation was passed establishing the “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts” (N.C. Senate 29-13). Engineering departments were established.

October 3, 1889

The College opened for classes. After a long, hard battle to obtain the Federal grant made available for the revolutionary idea of higher education for the working class, the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (A. and M. College, now NC State University) opened its doors. Alexander Q. Holladay was named as the first President. The first student enrolled was Walter J. Matthews, mechanic arts (engineering).

September 1892

Dr. Wallace Carl Riddick Jr. joined the faculty of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts as professor of mechanics and applied mathematics at a salary of $1,500 per year. He was ecstatic. He wrote in a letter to his sweetheart, “Come on and marry me, Lilly. They’re paying me so much money I’ll never spend it all.” And she did.

1893

The first graduating class at N.C. State was in 1893 with 19 graduates: 14 completed the course work in “mechanics” (“mechanic arts” or “engineering”) to receive the BE degree (Bachelor of Engineering), and the remaining 5 received degrees in agriculture.

1895

Wallace Carl Riddick was the College’s first professor of civil engineering. He became head of the Department of Civil Engineering and served until 1908.

1898

Dr. Riddick served as the first football coach of NC State. While studying engineering at Lehigh University in the late 1880’s, Riddick learned the game of football. Wake Forest College paid his way home at Easter vacation to teach them the game, for this was a new game south of the Mason-Dixon line. On the basis of this arrangement, Riddick claimed to be the first paid football coach in North Carolina.

1899

George T. Winston became the second President of N.C. State. During his tenure, textiles courses were added.

1908

Daniel H. Hill was elected the third President, and Riddick was elected Vice President of the college (during this time he continued to teach civil engineering courses as a professor of hydraulics).

1910

Winston Hall was the first building primarily devoted to engineering activities; namely, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and the chemical department of the State Experiment Station.

1912

The football stadium was named in honor of Riddick, who had served as football coach in 1898 and 1899 and served for many years as a member of the Athletics Council.

1916

Riddick was named fourth President of the college. He served until 1923. 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. The total number of degrees awarded by the College reaches 1,000. Another report says Wallace C. Riddick became president in 1917.

March 2, 1917

The College name changed from the “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts” to the “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering.”

1918

The North Carolina Society of Engineers was organized with charter member Wallace Carl Riddick serving as one of the key organizers. He served as the society’s second president and for three consecutive terms.

1921

Lucille Thomson became the first woman ever to enroll at NC State. She enrolled in electrical engineering.

It is a widely held belief that Katharine Stinson was the first woman to receive an engineering degree from NC State (BSME with aeronautical option, 1941). However, many believe Lucille Thomson was the first woman ever to enroll at NC State. She enrolled in 1921 (electrical engineering). While some records indicate she married and left college before earning her degree, other records say she graduated. Alumnus Dan Stewart, Class of 1923, said he distinctly recalls that Lucille graduated with his class.

1923

Eugene Clyde Brooks became President of NC State.

Lucille Thomson (according to some records) becomes the first woman ever to graduate (or to get an engineering degree) from NC State. [See 1921 Lucille Thomson entry.]

May 28, 1923

The School of Engineering was formed, and Riddick was named the first dean (Wallace C. Riddick, Jr., dean from 1923-1937), following his expressed desire to take on this role. The School consisted of the Electrical Engineering Department, Civil Engineering Department, Physics Department, Textile Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

During Riddick’s 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.

June 9, 1923

The “Engineering Experiment Station” was established by NC State’s Board of Trustees.

1924

Departments that were precursors to materials science and engineering were formed in the 1920s. These were Ceramic Engineering (1924), Mining Engineering (1925), and Geology (1927).

1929

The Aeronautical Engineering Option was offered for the first time.

1930

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 685. The Industrial Engineering department was established. The first record of I.E. as a curriculum at NC State appears in the spring 1930 college catalog.

March 27, 1931

The Consolidation Act passed, changing NC State’s name from the “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering” to the “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering of the University of North Carolina.”

1933

N.M. York became the first editor of Southern Engineer magazine, produced by the Engineers’ Council. (In the 1980s the magazine was renamed NC State Engineer.)

The first IE degrees were granted to Henry K. Saunders and Harold E. Thomason.

1934

Col. John W. Harrelson became President of NC State, but he choose the title “Dean of Administration” instead of President. The title was later changed to Chancellor.

1935

The Department of Geological Engineering was formed from the geology and mining departments. (Courses in metallurgy in the years before 1954 were taught in the Department of Mechanical Engineering by W.W. Austin.)

1937

Wallace Carl Riddick, Jr. retired as Dean of Engineering after 14 years of service.

Dean Blake Ragsdale Van Leer became dean. He served until 1942, when he left on military leave. During Van Leer’s tenure, he established a service division in Diesel and Internal Combustion Engineering.

More departments were established: Industrial, Ceramics, Chemical, Math, Architectural, Geological, and Agricultural. The first graduate work in Engineering was offered: engineering mechanics and strength of materials. [Narrative book says 1930, not 1937.]

First accreditation of engineering curricula: ceramic, civil, electrical, mechanical.

First honorary engineering degree was given at NC State: Arthur Ernest Morgan, Doctor of Engineering.

1940

The Department of Aeronautical Engineering was established. School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 1,180.

1940-1941

Wallace Carl Riddick received the Award for Outstanding Achievement from the North Carolina Society of Engineers in recognition of 50 years of “most commendable service” to the State of North Carolina.

One of the most significant contributions to the war effort is the Diesel Program, developed by the Mechanical Engineering Department to train naval officers.

Katharine Stinson was the first woman to receive an engineering degree from NC State (BSME with aeronautical option, 1941), according to some records. However, see note under 1921 regarding Lucille Thomson.

1942

Blake Ragsdale Van Leer resigned his position as Dean of Engineering for military leave.

L.L. Vaughan was named Acting Dean (“acting” was the term for “interim” at that time). He served 3 years. During Vaughan’s term (1) Army Special Team Program was conducted at Engineering School (one of four ASTP Centers in US to have an advanced engineering program); (2) NC State became the only engineering school in the South to conduct the Pratt-Whitney Fellows Program to train women as engineering aides; (3) US Bureau of Mines Laboratory was established in the School of Engineering (building transferred to NCSU in 1957); (4) groundwork was laid for establishment of a minerals research laboratory in western part of the state.

Fall 1944

[This date is listed as Fall 1942 by University Archives.] The North Carolina Engineering Foundation, Inc., “a non-profit organization having for its purpose the development of the State through engineering education and research,” was formed by a group of 49 representative engineers, contractors, and industrialists interested in fostering and promoting ways of improving and developing engineering in North Carolina. (On May 3, 1999, the name changed to “NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc.”)

April 1945

L.L. Vaughan stepped down as Dean of Engineering.

J. Harold Lampe became Dean and went on to serve 17 years, the longest tenure of any Dean of Engineering at NC State. During Lampe’s years of service (1) among curricula developed to serve special industrial needs were furniture manufacturing and management, construction, heating and air conditioning, and nuclear engineering (aeronautical engineering became an option in the Mechanical Engineering department); (2) department of Engineering Research, Industrial Extension Service, Department of Mineral Industries, Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Engineering Placement Office were established; and (3) three major buildings are constructed: Riddick Engineering Laboratories, Broughton Hall, and Burlington Nuclear Engineering Laboratories.

June 4, 1946

The Engineering Experiment Station was renamed “Department of Engineering Research” by action of the Board of Trustees.

July 29, 1946

As part of the School of Engineering, the “State College Minerals Research Laboratory” (now called the Minerals Research Laboratory) began formal operations in Asheville.

1949

Ralph E. Fadum became head of Civil Engineering.

June 1949

Dr. Clifford K. Beck of Oak Ridge accepted the offer to head the Physics Department and proceeded to work on a proposal for a nuclear reactor at NC State College. The initial draft was completed July 5, 1949, and was later revised on March 30, 1950.

September 1949

Dr. Clifford K. Beck began his term as Physics Department Head. During his tenure (1) Daniels Hall space was renovated for physics, (2) approval to proceed with reactor design was secured from the AEC, (3) appropriation of $50,000 was granted by the 1949 General Assembly, (4) a curriculum in nuclear engineering, with full undergraduate, “fifth-year,” and master’s programs, were devised and approved.

1950

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 1,690.

Summer 1950

Dr. Raymond L. Murray joined the Physics staff (Physics was in the School of Engineering at that time) at NC State College. He served as head of the Nuclear Engineering Department from fall 1963 through spring 1974.

Fall 1950

The newly organized nuclear engineering curriculum was placed into operation, and the first courses in nuclear engineering were given.

Plans for construction of a building to house the 10-kW nuclear reactor on the campus of NC State College were completed, and construction of the reactor and laboratory building was begun. The Burlington Mills Textile Foundation contributed $200,000 for the project.

Riddick Engineering Laboratories building was named in memory of Dr. Wallace Carl Riddick.

Frances M. “Billie” Richardson became the first woman faculty member in the School of Engineering at NC State.

1952

The Advisory Council of the School of Engineering was formed, comprising a 15-member group of leaders from the State’s industrial, professional, and community life.

1953

Carey H. Bostian became President/Chancellor of NC State.

First Ph.D in engineering was awarded to Ralph Marshall McGehee.

The first African-American graduate students enrolled at North Carolina State. Hardy Liston (mechanical engineering) and Robert L. Clemons (electrical engineering). (Clemons became the first African American to receive a degree from the university when he received a professional degree in electrical engineering in May 1957. See 1957 below. Hardy Liston withdrew.)

March 5, 1953

The School of Engineering Advisory Council held its first organizational meeting. Maurice Hill, president of Drexel Furniture Company, Drexel, NC, was elected first chairman.

September 5, 1953

NC State’s School of Engineering today operated the world’s first nuclear reactor used for teaching, research and public service (first non-government nuclear reactor). One year later, NC State launched the nation’s only doctoral program in nuclear engineering.

1954

The first PhDs in ceramic engineering at NC State were awarded to William C. Hackler and Albert D. Indyk.

The first PhD in chemical engineering at NC State was awarded to James K. Ferrell.

The first PhDs in nuclear engineering at NC State were awarded to Robert Howell Bryan and Hervasio Guimaroes de Carvolho (arguably the first Hispanic student to receive a PhD at NC State).

July 1, 1954, the Minerals Research Laboratory (MRL) became the responsibility of the School of Engineering.

In 1954, the departments of Ceramic Engineering, Geological Engineering, and the Metallurgy Program in Mechanical Engineering were merged to form the Department of Mineral Industries with W.W. Austin as head. Separate degree programs were retained in ceramics, geology, and metallurgy.

The first African-American undergraduate students entered NC State; 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 became the first African American to receive a degree from NC State, when he received a professional degree in electrical engineering. (See also 1953.)

1958

The Research Triangle Institute at Research Triangle Park was established by NC State, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.

1959

John T. Caldwell became chancellor.

1960

Irwin Holmes was the first African American to receive a bachelor’s degree from NC State (electrical engineering).

1961

The first woman to receive an advanced degree in engineering from NC State was Anna Clyde Fraker (MS in metallurgical engineering) (See also 1967.)

Harold Lamonds was named the first head of the Nuclear Engineering Department; he served until 1963.

The engineering mathematics degree, formerly offered through the Department of Mathematics in the School of Engineering, shifted to Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS). The last mention in University Archives for that degree as being actually awarded was in the 1961 commencement program.

1962

The first PhD in civil engineering at NC State was awarded to Charles Fisher Page.

June 1962

J. Harold Lampe stepped down as Dean of Engineering after 17 years of service, the longest term for any Dean of Engineering at NC State.

Ralph E. Fadum was named Dean of Engineering. During his tenure, 1962-1978, (1) the Center for Acoustical Studies, the Water Resources Research Institute, the Engineering Design Center, and the Center for Marine and Coastal Studies were established; (2) the Department of Mechanical Engineering broadened to include Aerospace Engineering; (3) the Department of Engineering Mechanics and the Department of Materials Engineering were established; and (4) the Cooperative Engineering Education Program and Engineer-in- Residence Program were initiated.

May 10, 1963

NC State’s name changed from the “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering of the University of North Carolina” to “North Carolina State of the University of North Carolina at Raleigh.” [Odd, but true, as if a word is missing after “State.” This cumbersome name lasted only two years.]

1964

The Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI), a joint federal-state program for the UNC System, was established at NC State. The Dean of Engineering serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of WRRI. [Note, University Archives says it was 1965, not 1964.]

A new degree was established: the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. Long before that, NC State offered an aeronautical option within the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree program.

1965

The first PhDs in mechanical engineering at NC State were awarded to Ozer Ali Arnas, Charles Team Carley, Tuncer Cebeci and Franklin Delano Hart.

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 3,365.

July 1, 1965

NC State’s name changed from the cumbersome “North Carolina State of the University of North Carolina at Raleigh” to “North Carolina State University at Raleigh.”

1966

James K. Ferrell became head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, which he carefully nurtured to national prominence during his tenure until 1980.

During Ferrell’s tenure he (1) established within the College of Engineering the Eos computer system, (2) helped organize the Triangle University Computation Center that linked NC State, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill in one of the world’s largest university computing centers, (3) directed energy and environmental research programs in the College of Engineering, (4) and later served as the college’s associate dean of research and interim dean of engineering.

1967

Anna Clyde Fraker became the first woman to receive a PhD in engineering at NC State (ceramic engineering, 1967) and the first woman to receive an advanced engineering degree of any kind at NC State.

Geological Engineering left the Department of Mineral Industries to become the Department of Geosciences, in what is now the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

1968

The first PhD in engineering mechanics at NC State was awarded to Larry Herbert Royster.

1969

The Center for Acoustical Studies was founded by Franklin D. Hart.

The Department of Mineral Industries name was changed to Materials Engineering, and the distinctions between ceramics and metallurgy degrees was removed.

1970

The first PhD in industrial engineering at NC State was awarded to Manmohan Krishan Wig.

The first PhD in materials engineering at NC State was awarded to Walter Jackson Lackey.

1972

The first PhD in operations research at NC State was awarded to Sanji Arisawa.

1973

The Nuclear Reactor Program was established.

Arthur Eckels was released from some of his electrical engineering teaching duties to initiate the School of Engineering’s first minority engineering effort — that of fundraising for programs to recruit minority students. The school’s first summer program for minorities, held in 1973, was funded by General Electric and Western Electric, followed by funding from DuPont in 1974.

1975

Hubert Winston became the first African American to receive a doctoral degree in chemical engineering. He also had the distinction of being the first African-American faculty member in the College of Engineering and in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 3,702.

1976

Joab L. Thomas became chancellor.

Byard Houck was named Director of Special Programs and created the Minority Introduction to Engineering (MITE) summer program. MITE later merged with the Student Introduction to Engineering (SITE) program.

1978

By 1978 NC State was running the largest minority engineering summer programs in the nation after only five years of recruiting and fundraising efforts.

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education was established.

June 30, 1978

Ralph E. Fadum stepped down as Dean of Engineering after 16 years of service, the second longest term for any Dean of Engineering at NC State.

July 1, 1978

Alumnus Larry K. Monteith became Dean of Engineering and served until 1989, with the following accomplishments during his tenure: (1) Establishment of numerous interdisciplinary industry/education research centers, including the Center for Communications and Signal Processing, the Center for Engineering Application of Radioisotopes, the Center for Transportation Engineering Studies, the Center for Precision Engineering, the Applied Energy Research Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Center, and the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute; (2) Increased emphasis on developing graduate programs, computing facilities, television and video-based engineering education, and recruitment of minority students; (3) Development of high technology programs and acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, such as those in the Solid-State Laboratories; Microelectronics Research Program, and Materials Research Center; (4) Development of plans for the Engineering Graduate Research Center for the new Centennial Campus; (5) Precision Engineering Center’s receipt of a $5 million grant—the largest direct research ever won by the University up to that time; (6) the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s receipt of a $1.7 million per year grant for a research and graduate education program in hypersonics aerodynamics.

1979

Sarah A. Rajala joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty and became the first woman PhD faculty member to join the College of Engineering.

1980

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 5,406.

June 5, 1980

The Center for Engineering Applications of Radioisotopes was established.

September 1, 1980

The Center for Transportation Engineering Studies was established.

1981

Hans Conrad was appointed head of Materials Engineering.

The Microelectronics Center for North Carolina was established (“at NC State” says University Archives).

1982

Bruce R. Poulton became chancellor.

The Center for Communications and Signal Processing (CCSP) was established. (In 1995 it became the Center for Advanced Computing and Communications.)

George Bland became the first African American appointed as an Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Student Services, 1982) and as an Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs, 1985).

November 23, 1983

The Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute was established.

January 12, 1984

The Applied Energy Research Laboratory was established.

July 20, 1984

The Materials Research Center was established.

The University received a 780-acre tract of land from the State of North Carolina, part of the Dorothea Dix Hospital property. Plans called for a “Centennial Campus” to be built as a series of clusters with a mixture of academic buildings and private research buildings.

1985

John Hren became the department head for Materials Engineering.

The first PhD in aerospace engineering at NC State was awarded to Alan Wade Wilhite.

January 1, 1985

The Electric Power Research Center was established.

1986

In keeping with national trends, the Department of Materials Engineering name was changed to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

March 14, 1986

The Precision Engineering Center was established.

Fall 1986

The Engineering Undesignated (EU) program began formal operations.

1987

The School of Engineering changed its name to the College of Engineering.

1988

The Mars Mission Research Center was established (according to University Archives, but College of Engineering records show 1989).

July 18, 1988

Administrative responsibility for the Department of Computer Science transferred from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS) to the College of Engineering.

1989

Christine Grant became the first African-American woman faculty member hired in the College of Engineering and in the Department of Chemical Engineering. William (Bill) Isler became the first African American to hold the position of Assistant Dean for Research Programs (1989) and later Associate Dean for Research Programs (1991).

August 19, 1989

The NSF Engineering Research Center for Advanced Electronic Materials Processing was established.

August 25, 1989

The Mars Missions Research Center was established (according to College of Engineering records).

September 30, 1989

Larry K. Monteith resigned as Dean of Engineering to become interim chancellor of NC State University. He became chancellor in May 1990 and served until July 1998.

October 1, 1989

James K. Ferrell was named Interim Dean of Engineering.

May 1990

Interim Chancellor Larry K. Monteith became Chancellor.

1991

School of Engineering enrollment (undergraduate and graduate combined) was 7,236.

February 1, 1991

The Pollution Prevention Research Center was established.

July 1, 1991

Dr. James K. Ferrell began serving as Director of the Center for Waste Minimization and Management (Pollution Prevention Center).

July 22, 1991

James K. Ferrell stepped down as Interim Dean of Engineering.

July 23, 1991

Wilbur L. Meier Jr. was named Dean of Engineering

January 1, 1992

The Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines was established.

The Center for Transportation and the Environment was established.

May 8, 1992

The Power Semiconductor Research Center was established.

July 1, 1992

The Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center was established.

June 30, 1993

Wilbur L. Meier Jr. stepped down as Dean of Engineering.

July 1, 1993

Tildon H. Glisson was named Interim Dean of Engineering.

September 10, 1993

The North Carolina Solar Center was established.

October 8, 1993

The Center for Nuclear Power Plant Structures, Equipment and Piping was established.

June 20, 1994

The Transportation Materials Research Center was established.

June 30, 1994

Tildon H. Glisson stepped down as Interim Dean of Engineering.

July 1, 1994

Ralph K. Cavin III became Interim Dean of Engineering.

August 1, 1994

Ralph K. Cavin III became Dean of Engineering.

October 1994

Groundbreaking for the Engineering Graduate Research Center was held.

November 2, 1994

The NC Ergonomics Resource Center was established.

August 22, 1995

The Center for Advanced Computing and Communications (CACC) reformed from the former Center for Communications and Signal Processing, established in 1982.

December 31, 1995

Ralph K. Cavin III stepped down as Dean of Engineering.

1996

NC State’s College of Engineering offered the state’s first online, real-time, Internet-based distance-education class to students at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The class was a graduate-level course in ergonomics.

Sarah A. Rajala became the first woman to be named an associate dean in the College of Engineering. She was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

January 1, 1996

John G. Gilligan was named Interim Dean of Engineering.

July 31, 1996

John G. Gilligan stepped down as Interim Dean of Engineering.

August 1, 1996

Nino A. Masnari became Dean of Engineering.

August 1997

Women in Engineering Program was established.

October 14, 1997

Grand Opening of the Engineering Graduate Research Center (EGRC) was held.

December 1997

The Silicon Wafer Engineering and Defect Science (SiWEDS) Center, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (NSF I/UCRC) ( unofficially established in February 1996) became a formal NSF I/UCRC.

July 1998

Larry K. Monteith stepped down as Chancellor; Marye Anne Fox became NC State’s first woman chancellor.

August 14, 1998

Kenan Center for the Utilization of Carbon Dioxide in Manufacturing was established as an official center jointly administered by NC State University and the UNC-Chapel Hill, with a special partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

May 3, 1999

The North Carolina Engineering Foundation, Inc. changed its name to the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc.

July 30, 1999

Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes was established.

November 16, 1999

Michael J. Rigsbee named head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

November 2000

The people of North Carolina passed an educational bond issue that provided more than $468 million for the renovation and construction of almost thirty academic buildings on the NC State campus. The bond referendum was a critical step in achieving the College of Engineering’s goal of relocating the entire college to Centennial Campus.

December 8, 2000

Network Technology Institute (NTI) established. Formerly Multimedia Lab since March 13, 1998.

January 16, 2001

NC State announces the establishment of the Networking Technology Institute (NTI), directed by Dennis Kekas.

January 1, 2002

Ayman I. Hawari appointed director of the Nuclear Reactor Program.

March 2002

NC State University was designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency; Dr. Annie Anton is involved.

March 4, 2002

Linda D. Krute appointed director of distance education programs.

June 2002

Yusef Fahmy named director of NC State’s Engineering programs at UNC-Asheville.

June 17, 2002

NC Ergonomics Resource Center reformulated, previously Ergonomics Center of North Carolina since November 2, 1994.

July 2002

Distance education in College of Engineering changed from being called Video-Based Engineering Education (VBEE) to Engineering Online.

October 14, 2002

Sarah A. Rajala was named associate dean for research and graduate programs, replacing John G. Gilligan, who was named vice chancellor of research and graduate studies for the university.

October 25, 2002

Formal groundbreaking for Engineering Building I took place on Centennial Campus.

January 2003

The College of Engineering published the premier issue of Engineering Frontline, a publication for alumni and friends that combines news with the NC State Engineering Foundation annual report.

January 1, 2003

Richard F. Keltie was appointed associate dean of academic affairs, replacing Sarah A. Rajala, who had served as associate dean of academic affairs since August 1996.

H. Troy Nagle was named interim head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Robert J. Trew was named head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, replacing John R. Hauser, who had served as interim head since August 16, 2001.

January 17, 2003

The Industrial Extension Service (IES) celebrated the grand opening of their first county-funded extension office, which is in Williamston.

April 24, 2003

Cyber Defense Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science opened.

May 2, 2003

The Department of Civil Engineering was renamed the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

May 30, 2003

Joint master of science and doctor of philosophy degree programs in biomedical engineering at NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill were approved with programs to begin in August 2003.

July 1, 2003

Yahya Fathi appointed co-director of Operations Research, replacing Xiuli Chao.

July 12, 2003

Teresa A. Helmlinger was inaugurated as the first woman president of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). She is also the first engineer from North Carolina to hold the office.

August 2003

NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill launched a new joint graduate degree program (master of science and doctor of philosophy degree programs) in biomedical engineering (approved by Board of Governors on May 30, 2003).

September 12, 2003

Center for Embedded Systems Research (CESR) was established.

October 24, 2003

Groundbreaking ceremony for Engineering Building II took place on Centennial Campus.

December 1, 2003

H. Troy Nagle was named interim founding chair of the new joint Department of Biomedical Engineering with UNC Chapel Hill.

January 2004

The College of Engineering joined forces with the College of Natural Resources to administer a BS degree in paper science and engineering, formerly a bachelor’s in pulp and paper science and technology; the new program was approved in November 2003.

January 1, 2004

Hien T. Tran (Professor of Mathematics) started his term as the new co-director of Operations Research, serving along with Yahya Fathi.

January 20, 2004

NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill opened the Triangle National Lithography Center (TNLC), a nanotechnology center, on NC State’s Centennial Campus.

February 1, 2004

H. Troy Nagle became Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

April 2004

The College of Engineering added Craven Community College’s new Havelock campus to its list of Two-Plus-Two program partners. The new program offers a BSE with a concentration in mechanical engineering.

May 1, 2004

Peter K. Kilpatrick was appointed director of the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC); he continued to serve as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering until he stepped down in 2007.

June 30, 2004

Alan L. Tharp stepped down as department head of Computer Science; he had served as head since 1993.

July 2004

The College of Engineering formed an agreement with Meredith College to establish a dual degree program (three years at Meredith, two years at NC State).

July 1, 2004

Mladen A. Vouk began serving as interim head of Computer Science.

August 16, 2004

Richard D. Gould named interim head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, replacing Mohammed Noori, who had served as head since November 1999.

September 2004

Construction on Engineering Building I was completed. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering began moving in.

September 16, 2004

The Department of Chemical Engineering was renamed the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

December 2004

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering vacated Riddick Engineering Laboratories and moved to Engineering Building I on Centennial Campus.

January 2005

The Ross W. Lampe Family of Smithfield established a $1 million “Lampe Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Department of Nuclear Engineering is expected to get a research center of excellence as part of a $4.8 billion multi-institutional project to establish the Idaho National Laboratory.

January 1, 2005

James L. Oblinger became NC State’s 13th chancellor.

October 1994

Groundbreaking for the Engineering Graduate Research Center was held.

February 2005

Two Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE): Carol K. Hall and Joseph M. DeSimone.

March 2005

The Engineering Graduate Research Center (EGRC) was renamed the Larry K. Monteith Engineering Research Center (MRC).

April 2005

The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $5.4 million to the College of Engineering as part of the foundation’s $9.3 million Aerospace Alliance Initiative, which will help the College establish a Center of Excellence for Certification and help businesses make parts for aging military aircraft, with initial focus on Cherry Point.

April 22, 2005

Dedication Ceremony for Engineering Building I was held.

June 2005

The Department of Industrial Engineering vacated Riddick Engineering Laboratories and moved to Daniels Hall.

June 2, 2005

Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) groundbreaking is held.

July 1, 2005

George F. List named head of the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, replacing E. Downey Brill Jr., who served as head since 1988.

August 17, 2005

The first floor of Engineering Building II opened just in time for fall classes.

September 23, 2005

Alumnus Edward P. Fitts (IE ’61) gave $10 million to the Department of Industrial Engineering. The commitment, part of the University’s billion-dollar fundraising campaign, is the largest gift ever received by the College from an individual donor and the largest endowed gift to academics in NC State’s history. In his honor, the department is renamed the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial Engineering. (See also February 16, 2006.)

October 2005

The gutting of Riddick Labs began. The renovated building will house the Physics Department and provide teaching space for the Department of Animal Science.

October 5, 2005

The Engineering Graduate Research Center (EGRC) was renamed the Larry K. Monteith Engineering Research Center (MRC) in a dedication ceremony.

December 16, 2005

Steve Kalland was named Executive Director of the North Carolina Solar Center.

2006

An NC State engineer helped invent a filter that removes a human form of Mad Cow Disease from blood.

The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $5.4 million to the COE as part of an Aerospace Alliance Initiative.

January 2006

NC State University and IBM announced a new curriculum initiative in Services Sciences, Management and Engineering (SSME). The joint endeavor involving the Colleges of Engineering and Management made NC State the first research university in the U.S. to launch a master’s-level curriculum initiative in SSME.

February 16, 2006

The Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering became NC State’s first named academic department.

April 28, 2006

Engineering Building II was dedicated.

August 6, 2006

Nino A. Masnari stepped down as Dean of Engineering. He served 10 years in that capacity.

August 7, 2006

Louis A. Martin-Vega became the first Hispanic dean at NC State, boosting the College of Engineering’s rankings and research funding.

November 1, 2006

Dr. John S. Strenkowski was appointed associate dean for research, replacing Sarah A. Rajala, who had served as associate dean for research since October 2002.

2007

Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center opened.

The Department of Computer Science and the College of Design joined forces to form Design Tech, a collaboration for research. The NSF provided funding for three years of their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program to work with the project.

The College of Engineering received the first US large-format Electron Beam Melting (EBM) machine.

August 16, 2007

Richard D. Gould was named head of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He had served as interim head since July 2004.

Paul H. Cohen was named the Edgar S. Woolard Distinguished Professor and head of the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, replacing James R. Wilson, who had served as head of the department since 1999.

October 17, 2007

Engineering alumnus Dr. Rajendra Pachauri shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for environmental protection.

October 20, 2007

NC State’s PULSTAR nuclear reactor produced the world’s most intense low-energy positron (antimatter electron) beam.

2008

NC State was awarded the FREEDM Systems Center, an NSF Engineering Research Center.

Collaboration with the College of Veterinary Medicine produced the world’s first osseointegrated leg implant for a dog.

ATEC (Advanced Transportation Energy Center) was created and given a grant by the state.

January 1, 2008

Peter S. Fedkiw was named head of the chemical and biomolecular engineering, replacing Peter K. Kilpatrick, who had served as department head since January 2000.

Christine Grant was named associate dean for faculty development and special initiative. The new position was created to provide support for faculty in the College of Engineering.

January 22, 2008

The Operations Research Program gained a top ten ranking.

March 9, 2008

Three NC State professors were honored on a list of “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era.”

April 2008

The COE opened the Secure Open Systems Initiative (SOSI) on Centennial Campus, a collaborative effort to improve open-systems-related security and technology.

June 1, 2008

Yousry Y. Azmy was named head of nuclear engineering, replacing Mohamed Bourham, who had served as interim department head since July 1, 2006.

July 8, 2008

Richard F. Keltie was named associate dean for administration and academic planning.

November 1, 2008

Jon P. Rust was named head of the textile engineering, chemistry and science (TECS).

Dr. Daniel Stancil was named head of the electrical and computer engineering and Alcoa Distinguished Professor, replacing Dr. Robert Kolbas, who had served as interim department head since 2008.

2009

The Industrial Extension Service reached its goal of creating $1 billion in economic value to NC manufacturers from 2006 to 2010.

Centennial Campus celebrated 25 years.

The US News and World Report listed Engineering Online as the nation’s largest public online engineering graduate program.

January 1, 2009

Jerome Lavelle was named associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the College of Engineering after serving in the position on an interim basis since 2008.

August 16, 2009

Dr. Justin Schwartz was named head of the materials science and Engineering and Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor, replacing Michael Rigsbee, who has led the department since 1998.

September 1, 2009

Nancy Allbritton was named head of biomedical engineering, becoming the College’s first female department head.

2010

Engineering Building III was dedicated.

NC State took a leading role in federal nuclear energy hub.

NC State co-hosted the NAE Grand Challenges Summit with Duke University.

Red Hat donated funds to NC State to establish “The Garage,” a collaborative, open, entrepreneurial space near Centennial Campus.

April 2010

Dr. Randy Woodson became NC State’s 14th chancellor.

July 1, 2010

Richard F. Keltie was named associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering after serving in the position on an interim basis since 2008.

August 1, 2010

Morton Barlaz was named head of civil, construction, and environmental engineering, replacing George List who had led the department since 2005.

2011

FREEDM’s smart transformers were named among world’s 10 most important emerging technologies by MIT Technology Review.

Spring 2011

The NSF FREEDM Systems Center went completely solar.

October 24, 2011

Brian E. Campbell was named executive director of development and college relations at the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc., replacing Ben Hughes who had served in the position for 18 years.

November 2011

A program was launched with JUST, one of Jordan’s top universities, marking the first time a US research nuclear reactor was used for education purposes outside the US.

2012

The College and University celebrated their 125th anniversary.

A former NC State graduate student of ECE, Abdurrahim El-Keib, becomes interim prime minister of Libya.

The NSF ASSIST Nanosystems Engineering Research Center is announced, making NC State at the time the only institution in the nation with two active NSF ERCs.

December 2012

Richard F. Keltie stepped down as associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering.

2013

Dr. John Gilligan was named Senior Advisor to the Dean for Research and Graduate Programs effective January 1.

The state-of-the-art James B. Hunt Jr. Library opened in January on NC State’s Centennial Campus. The 220,000-square-foot library contains NC State’s engineering collections and is a short walk from the new engineering buildings on Centennial.

Dr. Carl Koch was elected to the National Academy of Engineering membership.

Angelitha L. Daniel was named director of Minority Engineering Programs.

Dr. Donald L. Bitzer, who helped develop the technology behind plasma-screen televisions, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Alice Forgety was named the new director of recruiting, enrollment management and educational partnerships in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Thomas E. Cabaniss, an NC State engineering alumnus, was appointed to the University’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. John Gilligan was appointed to the newly created position of executive associate dean of engineering on July 1.

Dr. Tameshia Ballard was named the director of engineering education by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education within the colleges of Engineering and Education, respectively, on August 16.

Dr. Douglas S. Reeves was appointed interim assistant dean for graduate programs in October 2013.

Tom McPherson was named director of the NCSEF board.

2014

Dr. Grabow was appointed BAE Interim Head on July 1st.

Dr. Peter Hauser was appointed Interim Head of TECS on December 1st.

Dr. Laurie Williams was appointed interim head of computer science in December 15th.

2015

Brian Campbell was named Assistant Dean of Development and College Relations in January.

Robin E. Manning replaced Thomas R. McPherson Jr. as president of the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc.’s board of directors in January.

Engineering partnered with NC Central to create a new 3-plus-2 dual degree program that was developed in March.

Office of Faculty Development and Special Initiatives renamed to Office of Faculty Advancement around May.

Dr. Douglas Reeves was promoted from assistant dean to associate dean of graduate programs on July 1st.

Dr. Kostadin Ivanov replaced Dr. Yousry Azmy as head of nuclear engineering on August 17th.

2016

North Carolinians voted to pass the Connect NC Bond referendum that ensured $77 million in public funding is available to build the Engineering Building Oval on March 15th. (Note:  The Engineering Building Oval was renamed Fitts-Woolard Hall on April 20, 2018.)

NC State and UNC Pembroke established a joint undergraduate degree program in which students will spend three years at UNC Pembroke and two years at NC State, graduating with bachelor’s degrees from both institutions. The official partnership was signed July 12th, by NC State Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Robin Gary Cummings.

Phil Mintz replaced T.A. Helmlinger Ratcliff as interim executive director of industry expansion solutions on July 22nd.

Dr. Marko Hakovirta was named head of forest biomaterials in August.

Len Habas was named president of the NC State Engineering Foundation Board on October 27th.

2017

Dr. Garey A. Fox was named head of biological and agricultural engineering in January.

Laurie Williams was named interim head of computer science.

Dr. Jeff A. Joines replaced Dr. Peter Hauser as department head of textile engineering, chemistry and science on January 3rd.

2018

The University on April 20, 2018, broke ground on Fitts-Woolard Hall, which came as the result of a $25 million gift from alumni Edward P. Fitts Jr. and Edgar S. Woolard Jr. The building was formerly called Engineering Building Oval.

Leading the way for others

In 1960, Irwin Holmes was the first African American to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from NC State.

Irwin Holmes on the tennis court.

College of Engineering Firsts

Historical Highlights of Women and Minorities in the College of Engineering at NC State University

Historical Image of Lucille Thomson
Lucille Thomson

1920-1929

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.

1940-1949

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 degree.

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.

1950-1959

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: 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 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.

1960-1969

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 engineering physics.

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 also 1967.)

1962 – Flora Corpening Lester was the first woman to receive a degree in mechanical engineering.

1964 – Ilona Marianne Evans was the first woman to receive a degree in nuclear engineering.

1967 – Anna Clyde Fraker became the first woman to receive a doctorate in ceramic engineering.

1970-1979

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 in materials engineering.

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.

1980-1989

1989 – Christine Grant became the first African-American woman faculty member in the College of Engineering and in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

1990-1999

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.

1994 – Gregory Washington was the first African-American man to receive a PhD from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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.

2000-2009

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.

2010-2019

2014 – Dr. Makita R. Phillips becomes the first African-American woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from NC State.

2018 – Suzanne S. Gordon becomes the first woman to serve as president of the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors.

Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award

The Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award was established by the Faculty of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University in 1966 to honor engineering graduates who have been recognized for outstanding achievements in:

• Planning and direction of engineering work,
• Fostering professional development of young engineers,
• Contributing to knowledge in the field of engineering, or
• Bringing, in other ways, distinction to the University through engineering achievement.

These engineering graduates have received an undergraduate or graduate degree, or both, from the College of Engineering.

Nominations for this prestigious award come from members of the Engineering faculty, and a vote by faculty representatives determines the recipients of the award.

Announcement of the annual awards is made by the Dean of Engineering at the Awards Banquet during Alumni Weekend. The recipient is presented a bronze medallion and engraved certificate.

In addition, each outstanding engineer’s portrait hangs in Page Hall in a gallery dedicated to recipients of the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award.