The following departmental history was written using the research presented by Clarence Smith, ISE assistant department head, at the department’s 75th Anniversary Celebration held November 3, 2006. This history is based on previous works prepared by former department heads Robert Carson and Cliff Anderson, as well as research conducted in the University Archives of the DH Hill Library. Information has also been acquired from the College of Engineering to help provide greater context. The latest information was added by ISE Communications with assistance from Paul Cohen and Julie Swann.
March 7, 1887
North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (A&M) Established
After years of debate, legislation established the “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts” (N.C. Senate 29-13). Early Engineering departments were established.
North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts Begins Classes
NC A&MA (now NC State University) opens its doors.
Wallace Carl Riddick Jr. Joins A&MA
Wallace Carl Riddick Jr. joins the faculty of NC A&MA as a professor of mechanics and applied mathematics.
A&MA Awards its first Bachelors of Engineering
The first graduating class at A&MA with 19 graduates:
- 14 Bachelor of Engineering
- 5 Bachelor of Agriculture
The Dawn of a New Day
The 19th century gives way to the 20th as technology accelerates rapidly.
The New Dormitory Building is built
The New Dormitory Building is built. When it was built, it was the largest dormitory in the South.
The New Dormitory building is dedicated to the class of 1911
In honor of the Class of 1911’s fight to end hazing on A&MA’s campus, the New Dormitory Building is renamed to the 1911 Building.
RIDDICK Becomes President of A&MA
Riddick is named the fourth President of A&MA.
A New Name
Riddick Changes the name of North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (State College).
The US Joins the War
The United States joins the Allies against the Central Powers in the World War.
A Growing School
Riddick divides State into schools with deans heading them to accommodate rapid program expansion and increased enrollment.
Lucille Thomson became the first woman ever to enroll at State College
Lucille Thomson became the first woman ever to enroll at State College. She enrolled in electrical engineering.
It is widely believed that Katharine Stinson was the first woman to receive an engineering degree from State College (BSME with aeronautical option, 1941). However, many believe Lucille Thomson was the first woman to enroll at State. She enrolled in 1921 (electrical engineering). While some records indicate she married and left college before earning her degree, others say she graduated. Alumnus Dan Stewart, Class of 1923, said he distinctly recalls that Lucille graduated with his class.
SCHOOL Of Engineering formed
The School of Engineering was formed, and Riddick was named the first dean (1923-1937). 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.
Civil Engineering And Electrical Engineering Buildings built
The Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Buildings at 111 Lampe Drive are built.
Industrial Engineering Department Established
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. Departmental classrooms and offices are located in the Civil Engineering Building.
Howard Burton Shaw
Howard Burton Shaw serves as the first (and only) Professor of Industrial Engineering for nine students.
The Consolidation Act
The Consolidation Act passed, changing 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” (still State College for short).
First IE DEGREES AWARDED
The first IE degrees were granted to Henry K. Saunders and Harold E. Thomason.
The First Dean of Engineering Wallace Carl Riddick Jr. retires.
Blake Ragsdale Van Leer
Blake Ragsdale Van Leer becomes the new Dean of the School of Engineering.
civil engineering building’s new name
The Civil Engineering Building is dedicated to Josephus Daniels and renamed to Daniels Hall.
Frank Groseclose becomes the First Department Head of Industrial Engineering.
David Henderson, a former student of Groseclose, becomes an instructor with the Industrial Engineering Department.
Great Depression Ends
The mobilizing of the world’s economy for the war helps to end the Great Depression.
September 1, 1939
World War II
The Second World War Begins when the Republic of Poland is invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic.
April – IE Department moves into the 1911 building
The Industrial Engineering Department moves into rooms 125 and 132 of the 1911 building.
December 11, 1941
The United States Joins the War
The United States joins the Second World War after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese Empire on December 7th.
Ie Department loses 2/3rds of its staff
With the United States being pulled into the War, Groseclose and Henderson are called into the conflict, leaving Shaw the only professor of IE at State.
Ie Department Becomes dormant
Shaw, the only professor of IE at State, passes suddenly. With his death, program instruction in Industrial Engineering ceases. There will be no graduates in IE until 1948.
September 2, 1945
World War II Ends
World War II ends with the formal surrender of the Japanese Empire on September 2, 1945.