The college announced a $22 million commitment from The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois, in support of undergraduate educational initiatives.

A research team led by Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma demonstrates the feasibility of using a biodegradable material made from wood as the substrate of a computer chip.

Los Alamos leader Dan Thoma named first director of the Grainger Institute for Engineering.

Landmark $25 million pledge from The Grainger Foundation creates the trans-disciplinary Grainger Institute for Engineering.

Biomedical engineering senior Drew Birrenkott named a Rhodes Scholar.

A research team led by Justin Williams invents a transparent, implantable brain sensor.

Researchers in the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies developed a personalized smartphone app that can help recovering alcoholics stay on track. News about the app received widespread national and international coverage.

Ian M. Robertson began as the College of Engineering’s ninth dean.
The Wisconsin Energy Institute construction is completed. WEI serves as a showcase for renewable energy research and industry partnerships.

In its first ranking of online master’s programs, U.S. News and World Report ranked the college’s online graduate engineering programs No. 1. The programs continue to be highly ranked.

Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning debuts in Wendt Commons. The space maximizes technology-enhanced learning, instructor-student feedback and team study.

Engineering Physics Professor Douglass Henderson received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

UW-Madison hosts the National Science Olympiad. More than 6,000 competitors, educators, volunteers and parents from 48 states participated.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery opens. College leadership assumed a central role in conceiving the public-private research vision. Three of the first five research teams were from engineering.

Engineering Beyond Boundaries marks fifth year. The initiative provides incentives for faculty and staff to expand the culture of teaching innovation. More than 50 projects have been supported.


Biomedical Engineering Professor Justin Williams and then-graduate student Adam Wilson ranked No. 9 on Time magazine’s “50 best inventions of 2009” list for a brain-computer interface that allowed Wilson to post Twitter updates using only his thoughts.

Engineering Grand Challenges debuts. First-year engineers design solutions to National Academy of Engineering “grand challenges.” The course now is offered campus-wide and in some Wisconsin middle schools.

The college launches a new 8-credit, summer study-abroad program at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Now, nearly 100 students have participated in the program.

The Board of Regents approves engineering differential tuition, enabling the college to expand high-demand courses, classroom technology and hands-on opportunities, and to significantly grow undergraduate enrollment.

The college celebrates completion of $50.5 million in renovations and upgrades to the Mechanical Engineering Building. Renovations doubled its functional work space and provided adaptable classroom and laboratory designs.

Engineering mechanics marks 120th year; the Department of Pure and Applied Mechanics formed in 1887, with A.D. Conover as its first chair. In 1997, engineering mechanics, nuclear engineering and engineering physics merged to form the Department of Engineering Physics.

Phase 1 of new Mechanical Engineering Building opens.

Several UW–Madison faculty and staff launch the UW Energy Institute, which encourages collaboration on energy-related education, research and service activities.

The Concrete Canoe team wins its fourth consecutive national championship.

Mechanical Engineering Professor Patrick Farrell named UW–Madison provost.

Professor Mary Anderson, who holds appointments in geology and geophysics, the Geological Engineering Program, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, named to the National Academy of Engineering.

A new partnership with Rockwell Automation supports six full scholarships annually for qualified Milwaukee students from diverse backgrounds. The program produced its first two engineering graduates in spring 2012.

The college completes an open-space redesign of the main floor of Engineering Hall to create an exciting central commons for the college, with expansive space for social interaction and teamwork.

U.S. President George W. Bush named Hilldale Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biological Engineering Edwin Lightfoot as one of eight recipients of the National Medial of Science, the nation’s highest honor for science and technology.

U.S. Department of Transportation funds $16 million National University Transportation Center on UW–Madison campus.

The Concrete Canoe Team wins its third consecutive national championship.

UW–Madison Engineers Without Borders chapter receives the Mondialogo Engineering Award, an international initiative that recognizes engineering achievements aimed at meeting United Nationals millennium development goals and fostering intercultural dialog.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Jeffrey S. Russell receives the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

To better represent the breadth and innovation of its work, particularly in health systems engineering, the Department of Industrial Engineering changes its name to Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

A $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant establishes the Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation to boost the number of underrepresented students who receive bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

National Science Foundation funding establishes the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center to examine templated synthesis at the nanoscale and explore societal implications of nanotechnology.

Future Energy Challenge team wins American Tour de Sol Hydrogen Award.

FutureTruck team wins third consecutive national championship and Concrete Canoe team wins second consecutive national championship.

In only its third year of existence, the Clean Snowmobile team wins national championship, the Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor John Perepezko elected to National Academy of Engineering.
The Schoofs Prize for Creativity undergraduate innovation competition marks its 10th anniversary, while the Tong Prototype Prize celebrates its fourth year. The college later added more innovation prizes to its suite of opportunities for entrepreneurial students.

Several engineering faculty, including Industrial Engineering Professor Vicki Bier and Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Lawrence Bank, begin research as part of the newly established $12 million Homeland Security Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California.

Industrial Engineering Professor Raj Veeramani launches the UW E-Business Institute to help Wisconsin industries develop a better understanding of how Internet-enabled technologies and practices can increase their competitive edge in fierce global markets.

College debuts the Master of Engineering in Engine Systems, an online degree for professionals seeking to widen their training in engine technology.

Concrete Canoe team wins first-ever national championship.


FutureTruck team wins national championship second year in a row.



The National Cancer Institute funds a $10 million Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research. The center is headed by Industrial Engineering Professor Emeritus David Gustafson.


To reflect an increase in the scope of the discipline, and bring its name in line with research and instructional efforts, the Department of Chemical Engineering changes name to Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor David Larbalestier named to National Academy of Engineering.

NSF funds Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute with five-year, $3.5 million grant. WISELI is a catalyst for initiatives intended to enhance the advancement of women in science and engineering and to measure the success of such efforts.

Engineering Centers Building dedicated. The first new building erected on the engineering campus in 30 years, the facility officially opened for use in spring 2003.


Master of Engineering in Professional Practice program graduates first class. MEPP is the university’s first internet-delivered degree.

First undergraduates graduate from biomedical engineering department.

Dean Paul S. Peercy and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Max Lagally named to National Academy of Engineering.

John D. Wiley, professor of electrical and computer engineering, named UW–Madison chancellor.

Student Leadership Center established to foster interaction among COE student groups.


College launches LINKS program, which joins freshmen in course clusters and creates student cohorts and “link” subject material across courses.

Alumnus Jack St. Clair Kilby (MSEE ’50) wins Nobel Prize for co-inventing the integrated circuit in 1958.

College breaks ground for new Engineering Centers Building.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering begins degree program in computer engineering.

1900 - 1999 History

1999 The Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis developed a series of indicators for assessing the quality of care in nursing homes. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services adopted the indicators in 1999 for use nationwide. The indicators also are in use around the world.


Paul S. Peercy begins term as eighth College of Engineering dean.

1998 Master of Engineering in Technical Japanese degree (METJ) approved; classes to start in fall of 1999.
New Master of Engineering degree (Polymer Engineering and Science) offered.
BS and PhD programs in Biomedical Engineering approved by Board of Regents.
New track in Radiation Sciences approved for Department of Engineering Physics.
Board of Regents approved development of Master of Engineering in Professional Development (MEPP), a distance-delivered degree to be delivered by Department of Engineering Professional Development.
Public received first look at architects’ renderings of proposed Engineering Centers Building, an education and research center for which construction will begin in the year 2000.
Team of UW–Madison student engineers shared first place in national FutureCar Challenge, doubling over-the-road fuel efficiency of mid-size American car without sacrificing safety, comfort or performance.
National Science Foundation announced Engineering Research Center for Power Electronics, a collaborative effort between UW–Madison, Virginia Tech, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina A&T State University, and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
Trace Research and Development Center, under direction of Industrial Engineering Professor Gregg Vanderheiden, received five-year, $6.75 million grant to make information technology more accessible to people with disabilities.
College began BS and PhD programs in biomedical engineering.
1997 Environmental Engineering Option offered as part of civil engineering degree.
Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics changed name to Engineering Physics.
1996 NSF funds kicked in for $10.6 million Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructural Materials and Interfaces (MRSEC).
Renovation began on Materials Science and Engineering Building.
1995 Department of Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics merged into Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics.
Johnson Drive, main thoroughfare of engineering campus, renamed Engineering Drive.
UW–Madison chosen as home of $10 million NSF National Institute for Science Education; COE Professor Denice Denton and educational psychology Professor Andrew C. Porter named co-directors.
College purchased Cray Supercomputer for Engine Research Center.
Researchers from Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR) grew first food in space — potatoes.
Plasma Source Ion Implantation (PSII) research group received share of $15.5 million government/private sector grant.
Gov. Tommy Thompson announced he would propose construction of $44 million Engineering Centers Building.
Brainstorm: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity launched. The student innovation competition expanded and ran for 20 years. First winner: Tom Swetish, inventor of collapsible land yacht/iceboat.
1994 Sculpture/fountain Máquina and Engineering Mall dedicated.
1993 First check presented to fund Reed Center for Photonic Devices.
Most recent addition to Engineering Building dedicated; facility renamed “Engineering Hall.”
1992 Department of Engineering Mechanics changed name to Department of Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics.
1991 Ground broken for new wing of Engineering Hall.
Team of college engineers created first-ever working magnetic micromotors — smaller in width than three human hairs.
1990 College granted first two “video” master’s degrees to students who completed graduate work by watching course videos at home, mailing in assignments and taking exams at special testing centers.
1989 Department of Engineering Professional Development transmitted first live satellite course.
1988 UW–Madison named Sematech Center of Excellence; research focused on X-ray lithography.
NSF announced UW–Madison would receive up to $12 million to establish Engineering Research Center for Plasma-aided Manufacturing.
Department of Metallurgical and Mineral Engineering changed name to Materials Science and Engineering.
1987 Department of Nuclear Engineering became Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics (NEEP).
1986 College notified of $5 million grant from NASA to operate center for commercial development of space-related technology (then named WCSAR).
1985 Extension’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science became official department within college; renamed Department of Engineering Professional Development.
1984 University Research Park founded to encourage technology transfer and create endowment for research programs.
Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory founded.
University of Wisconsin Polymerization Reaction Engineering Laboratory (UWPREL) founded under direction of Professor Harmon Ray.
1983 Interdisciplinary graduate program in Manufacturing Systems Engineering established.
Brewster Shaw (BSEMA ’68, MS ’69) flew on first of two Space Shuttle missions. (Other in 1985.)
Transportation Information Center established by Extension’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science.
1982 Disaster Management Center founded by Extension’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science.
1981 Engineering Computing Laboratory (ECL) and Data Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory (DASL) merged to form Computer-aided Engineering Center (CAE).
John Gustave Bollinger began term as College of Engineering’s seventh dean.
Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC) founded.
1980 Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication established; Arthur S. Lodge named first recipient.


During the 1980s, Professor Gregg Vanderheiden and colleagues in the Trace Research and Development Center developed many of the accessibility features that are now integrated into every Apple, Windows and Linux computer.

1979 First World Conference on Continuing Engineering Education held in Mexico City. Program developed by Professor John Klus and Judy Jones of Extension’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science.
1978 Ragnar E. Onstad Service to Society Award established to honor engineering teachers who have been leaders in contributing to the solutions of societal problems.


Medical Instrumentation: Application and Design was published. This landmark text, authored by Computer Engineering Professor John G. Webster, became the most-used biomedical engineering text around the world. It is now in its 4th edition.

1976 Kurt F. Wendt Library opened.
First U.S. program in technical Japanese translation established at UW–Madison with Edward E. Daub as director.
Energy Technology Center introduced by Extension’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science.
1975 Two-story brick addition completed on Metallurgical and Mineral Engineering Building.
1974 College initiates MS in Biomedical Engineering.
1972 John Bardeen (BSEE ’28, MSEE ’29) received his second Nobel Prize for Physics (with two other scientists) for developing theory of superconductivity at low temperatures. (He received his first Nobel Prize in 1956 (again with two others) for discovering “transistor effect,” which led to invention of transistor.
Environmental Studies minor approved.
1971 Department of Engineering Graphics changed name to Department of General Engineering to reflect a broader curriculum.
Union South opened.
1971-1981 William Robert Marshall, Jr. served as dean. (Had been associate dean from 1953–71.)
1970 Interdisciplinary graduate programs leading to MS and PhD degrees in Water Chemistry and Materials Science established.
Program leading to the Professional Development Degree (under guidance of UW Extension Engineering) approved.
Department of Civil Engineering became Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Department of Electrical Engineering became Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
1969 Engineering Research Building opened.
Coordinating Council for Higher Education approved Professional Development Degree Program. Mechanical Engineering Professor George Sell named first coordinator.
Industrial Engineering (previously been part of Mechanical Engineering) became separate department.
1968 First computer controlled robot designed and implemented by John Bollinger (now dean) to weld car frames at A.O. Smith Corporation.
Curriculum leading to BS in Agricultural Engineering established; PhD program approved in 1974.
Several interdisciplinary graduate programs approved: Biomedical Engineering; Oceanography and Limnology; Engineering and Area Studies; and Water Resources Management.
One of world’s first Rheology Research Centers established at UW–Madison with Arthur S. Lodge as founding director.
1967-1968 Ednor Rowe, known in scientific circles as “the father of synchrotron radiation,” created first electron storage ring, Tantalus.
1967 Extension Engineering merges into unit named Departments of Engineering, Mathematics and Applied Science, University of Wisconsin-Extension.
Chemical Engineering Professor Robert Marshall named a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Marshall served as college dean from 1971 to 1981.
1966 Industrial Engineering MS and PhD programs established. (BS curriculum approved in 1968.)
1965 Wing added to Metallurgical and Mineral Engineering Building.
1964 Graduate interdisciplinary program leading to MS, Space Engineering and Science established.
Extension Engineering opened branch in Milwaukee.
1963 University-Industry Research Program established.
Department of Nuclear Engineering established with Professor Max Carbon as first chair.
1962 East wing of Engineering Building completed.
1961 Limnology Building constructed next to Hydraulics Lab.
College-wide Engineering Computing Laboratory for instruction opened.
Experimental nuclear reactor built.
University Extension Division moved to new building on Lake Street. Engineering occupied seventh floor (and it still does).
1960 Professors R. Byron Bird, Warren E. Stewart and Edwin N. Lightfoot published “Transport Phenomena.” Text has since become icon for chemical engineering students. (58th printing in 1998.)
1959 Jack St. Clair Kilby (MSEE ’50) co-invented integrated circuit, spawning microelectronics revolution.
Curriculum for BS in Engineering Mechanics set up. (Previously, only graduate degrees offered in this field.)
1958 First PhD granted in Manufacturing Science.
1957 Nuclear Engineering Program leading to MS and PhD in nuclear engineering established. (Curriculum leading to BS degree approved in 1961.)
Electrical Engineering Professor Robert J. Parent teamed up with Meteorology Professor V.E. Suomi and other researchers in series of experiments to measure heat budget of Earth. (As result of such pioneering satellite studies, Space Science and Engineering Center organized within Graduate School.
1955 Annual Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award established to recognize faculty member contributing most to instruction of engineering students. Olaf A. Hougen named first recipient.
1954 The Solar Energy Laboratory was established under direction of Professor J.A. Duffie. Emeritus Professor Farrington Daniels, a pioneer in this field, founded the lab.
1953 College initiated first teaching and studying abroad programs.
1953 At urging of Wisconsin industry, Department of Chemical Engineering initiated BS degree in biochemical engineering with Prof. E.N. Lightfoot in charge. (However, program proved unpopular and soon was dropped.)
1953-1971 Kurt Frank Wendt served as dean.
1952 “Center arm” of Engineering Building’s east wing completed.
1950 West Wing of Engineering Building completed.


During the 1950s, the Department of Chemical Engineering began offering the undergraduate course Transport Phenomena and in 1960, Bird, Stewart and Lightfoot published the landmark text of the same name.

1949 Engineers’ Day established to recognize outstanding engineers and alumni.
Professor Leonard Hillis of UW Extension’s Department of Civil and Structural Engineering organized first Surveyor’s Institute. (1949–50 formally marked inauguration of engineering institutes, with eight programs serving about 120 people.)
Construction of a new Engineering Building began.
1948 Engineering Extension’s formerly separate departments of civil & structural, mechanical and electrical engineering combined into one department — Department of Engineering. H.E. Pulver named first chair.
John Bardeen (BSEE ’28, MSEE ’29) co-invented transistor with two others at Bell Labs.
1947 “Temporary” Buildings constructed throughout campus to handle enrollment surge after WWII.

Four remain on engineering campus, including General Engineering Building. Temporary buildings will be removed when construction of Engineering Centers Building begins in 2000.

Engine lab established in temporary building (T-25).

By 1969, when research activity moved to Engineering Research Building (ERB), lab had gained international prominence. In summer 1986, Army Research Office announced that UW–Madison was to receive grant establishing it as Army’s “Center of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion Systems.” In response to this major award, Engine Research Center established. (Award was renewed in 1992.)

Three-volume Chemical Process Principles, by O.A. Hougen and K.M. Watson, published. (Remained an influential text for three decades.)
1946-1953 Morton Owen Withey served as dean.
1946 Polymer Processing Research Group established.


Polymer engineering research began at UW-Madison. Today the college’s polymer research and education program remains among the most respected in the country.


Engine research began and today, the Engine Research Center research program is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and is widely respected for its work in internal combustion engine processes and power systems.


Synthetic polymers played a pivotal role in World War II. Shortly thereafter, Emeritus Professor Ronald L. Daggett developed plastics program in Mechanical Engineering. Daggett attracted national attention in early 1960s for pioneering work on injection-molded heart valves.

1941 Bombing of Pearl Harbor spurred massive changes throughout college and university: classroom schedules stepped up to permit earlier graduation; vacation periods shortened; curriculum changes made in technical fields to allow more practical and immediate applications of knowledge; fuller summer program inaugurated; Army and Navy take advantage of offer to use campus for any type of training.
Governor Julius Heil signed bill calling for compulsory military training for all able-bodied male students during their first two years of study at UW–Madison.

(Throughout WWII, the College of Engineering and other departments trained 100 Navy officers in diesel engineering; 200 mechanics and 600 meteorologists for the Army Air Forces; 800 Navy aviation cadets, engineers and Marine glider pilots; and 600 civilian pilots.)

1940-1945 Engineering Extension, along with College of Engineering departments, taught evening courses to help meet shortage of engineers and technicians in industry.
1940 The college sponsored the first Engineering EXPO as a replacement to St. Patrick’s Day parades, which had grown increasingly hostile.
1939 State Highway Commission of Wisconsin completed central highway testing laboratory on engineering campus. Forty-year agreement allowed university engineers to use facility for instruction, research and thesis work. In 1977, building remodeled to house computer sciences and physics. Building again remodeled in 1983 and 1987, becoming home to Computer-Aided Engineering in 1987.
Department of Civil Engineering founded, consolidating five engineering divisions: structural; hydraulic and sanitary; railroad; highway; and city planning, surveying and mapping. Leslie F. Van Hagan named chair.
1938-1946 Francis Ellis Johnson served as dean.
1937-1938 A.V. Millar served as acting dean.
1936 Department of Instruction renamed Department of Engineering Economics.
1933 Radio Station WHA goes on the air, thanks to the technological assistance of engineering students.
1932 Former Forest Products Laboratory building remodeled for Mining Engineering.
1931 Mechanical Engineering Building dedicated. Department head, Gustus L. Larson, is mechanical engineering’s first chairman.
1928 Charles A. Lindbergh, who completed first solo flight across Atlantic Ocean in 1927, received honorary degree from University of Wisconsin. Lindbergh enrolled in College of Engineering from 1920–22.
1926 Emily Hahn became the first woman engineering graduate with a mining engineering degree.
Memorial Union erected.
1925 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) chartered to handle patents and earnings on their investments.
1920 Randall Shop constructed on the present engineering campus in the “Sawtooth” portion of Mechanical Engineering Building.


First Lieutenant A.E. Kelty (BSME ’17) became one of college’s first casualties of WWI while flying a photographic mission over Verdun, France. (Later received Distinguished Flying Cross.)
Under quota of Student Army Training Corps, college required to train 450 men as mechanics, shop workers and electrical and radio specialists.
1915 Construction began on Camp Randall Stadium. Major additions made in 1924, 1940, 1950, 1957 and 1964.
1914 Engineering Experiment Station founded to assist industries in Wisconsin.
Department of Chemical Engineering held first Summer Course in Chemical Manufacture, an undergraduate requirement that still exists today (now called Operations and Process Laboratory).
1912 Engineering students inaugurated annual parade in honor of St. Patrick, patron saint of engineering. With law students also claiming Patrick as their patron saint, spirited rivalry between two groups grew in intensity. Many parades involved egg tossing from both sides.
1909 Faculty voted to abolish general engineering course.
Former heating plant (now Radio Hall) became home to Mining and Metallurgy Laboratory.
1908 Summer Session courses offered for first time.
Mining and metallurgical engineering degree revived.
1905 Department of Chemical Engineering established. Charles F. Burgess served as first chair (1905–1913).
Classes began in Chemical Engineering Building (previously the Chemistry Building) on Park Street, opposite Memorial Union. (Building demolished in 1968.)
Hydraulics Laboratory erected along Lake Mendota, where it remains today.
Agricultural Engineering Building erected (still home to this discipline).
1904 After several reorganizations, the college name was changed to “College of Engineering.”
Electrical engineering wing added to Machine Shops Building.
Engineering and Commerce Course established for students on five-year plan.
Scale model of UW campus, including steam engineering laboratory, displayed at Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
1903-1937 Frederick Eugene Turneaure served as dean.
1903 General Engineering Course established to meet needs of business and industry. Course provided “fundamental principles and practices of some of the ordinary applications of science to modern industry. ”
1901 Extension Engineering launched summer school for carpenters, machinists, sheet metal workers, and stationary, marine and locomotive engineers.
1900 First classes taught in Engineering (now Education) Building. Facility included drafting room, steam lab and materials testing lab.
College again reorganized into seven course areas: civil, sanitary, mechanical, electrical and general engineering, and applied electrochemistry and premetallurgical engineering.

1837 - 1899 History

1899 The Department of Materials Construction was established. In 1905, this area of study was transferred back to the Department of Mechanics.
Board of Regents approved BS in Applied Electrochemistry degree.
1896 Engineering students produced the first issue of Wisconsin Engineer magazine, which has remained in publication ever since.
1895 Charles F. Burgess received BS in electrical engineering and appointed to develop an electrochemistry laboratory. Professor D.C. Jackson directed Assistant Professor Samuel B. Fortenbaugh to develop a division of applied electrochemistry within Department of Electrical Engineering, marking beginning of chemical engineering at UW–Madison.
1892 Charles R. Van Hise received the first-ever PhD conferred by UW–Madison in metallurgical and mineral engineering and made department head. In 1903, he became university president.
1891 Department of Electrical Engineering founded. Dugald C. Jackson served as first department chair (1891–1907).
1889 The university reorganized again with Mechanics and Engineering being one of four colleges. Appropriation of one percent of the state’s railroad license tax, for continuous use of the College of Mechanics and Engineering, enabled college to greatly expand its work.
Enlarged program of instruction offered seven “systematic” courses: civil, railway, mechanical, mining, metallurgical and electrical engineering, and railway mechanics. These areas underwent more refinement over the next several years.
Civil Engineering Professor C.D. Marx conducted experimental Mechanics Institute in Racine, Wis. (College’s first venture in outreach education.)
1887 Engineering classes moved into new quarters in a rebuilt Science Hall.
The Department of Pure and Applied Mechanics, which eventually became the Department of Engineering Mechanics, was established with A.D. Conover serving as first chair.
1886 The Machine Shop was completed and used to house engineering equipment such as lathes, saws and forges. The building was demolished in 1968 to make way for Helen C. White Hall.
1884 Fire destroyed Science Hall. Engineering students were forced to use cramped space in a former dormitory, North Hall, for the next four semesters.
1877 Classrooms, drafting rooms, machine shop, steam and hydraulic power lab, and materials testing lab were established in the original Science Hall.
Engineering Shops and the Chemistry Building were constructed.
1876 The first mining degrees were granted. Twelve were conferred before the program was discontinued in 1889.
1875 Mechanical engineering study was introduced. Major Nicodemus was appointed professor of civil and mechanical engineering.
1873 The first regular class in engineering, three civil engineering students, graduated.
1871 Major W.J.L. Nicodemus instituted a full course of study in civil engineering. He has been dubbed “the father of technical instruction” at UW-Madison.
The Department of Mining and Metallurgy was established. Roland Duer Irving was named its first professor. The first degree was conferred in 1876.
1870 The first mining courses were held in the basement of Bascom Hall.
1869 The university awarded its first bachelor’s degrees to women.
1868 Colonel W.R. Pease was named the first professor of engineering and served as professor of military science and civil engineering.
1866 The University was again restructured, this time providing for a College of Arts that “shall embrace courses in the mathematical, physical and natural sciences, with their applications to the industrial arts such as agriculture, mechanics and engineering, mining and metallurgy, manufactures, architecture and commerce . . . .”
1862 The Morrill Act provided for military instruction on campus; the university was allowed to use military instructors to teach engineering courses.
1860 Engineering instruction was discontinued by the university.
1858 An ordinance reorganizing the university grouped civil and mechanical engineering in the Department of Science, Literature and the Arts.
1858 Thomas D. Coryell was appointed instructor of surveying and civil engineering. He was the first graduate of the university to be given a post on the faculty.
1857 Engineering education began at UW-Madison when the Board of Regents created the Department of Theoretical and Practical Engineering; however, no money was available to employ teachers.
1849 University of Wisconsin was founded and first held classes for 17 students.
1848 Wisconsin became the 30th state.
1848 Governor Nelson Dewey signed a bill creating the University of Wisconsin and its board of regents.
1838 The state territorial legislature passed a bill establishing a University of Wisconsin “at or near Madison, the seat of government.”