College History

Old History of COE Newly Recovered

This summer the College of Engineering came across an old history of the institution, as written in 1973 by Professor John H. Dittfach about the early years. It reads, in part: A Department of Agricultural Engineering was established in 1914, and for many years a Department of Mathematics and Civil Engineering existed. In 1936 this work was combined into a Department of General Engineering, lasting only long enough to separate in 1946 into two separate departments, again Agricultural and Civil. The pressure for a full-scale School of Engineering came from the returning veterans of World War II, who returned to civilian status with a G.I bill for education in their hands and found inadequate facilities in the Commonwealth for engineering education. Read more »

"Moments" Records COE History for 50th Anniversary

In 1997 the College of Engineering published a brochure called "Moments" (subhead: "Great Moments in Engineering Education") that captured much of the early history of the institution from its founding in 1947 to approximately 1975. Among the people and events mentioned in this impressionistic account are the first dean, George A. Marston, the first graduate, Mr. Antonio Ferreira, several of the early head secretaries, the creation of the Engineering Library in 1955, the beginnings of the departments, some of the early buildings, and the first concrete canoe. Read Article »

The First Eight Years

“The First Eight Years” was an historical narrative written by David C. N. Robb of the Massachusetts Zeta Fraternity in 1956 and republished in the 1997 50th anniversary brochure. Among other historical topics, it dealt in detail with the initial buildings and those built in the early years of the school. It also touched on the accreditation of the majors, the equipping of the laboratories, the expansion of the university, and the founding of campus chapters of professional societies and fraternities. Read Article »

Testing Moon Dust for NASA

This article was published by the Chicago Daily News in 1962 by its science writer about the work for NASA of Emeritus Professor Ernest T. Selig (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department), who was studying the composition of moon dust in preparation for the first lunar landing. As the article speculated, “When the first space ship lands on the moon, will it come to a jarring halt on a solid foundation – or will it sink into a sea of dust?” NASA funded Professor Selig to answer this vital question. Read Article »

Microwave Remote Sensing Pioneers

The following article was published by the University of Massachusetts Alumnus newspaper in 1983 about the microwave remote sensing research of Professors Calvin T. Swift and Robert E. McIntosh of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. The article goes into fine detail about the extensive research of the two microwave remote-sensing pioneers while using radiometry techniques to monitor ice formations, severe storms, and such ocean conditions as wind speeds and current, along with surface roughness. Read Article »

College Dedicates Knowles Engineering Building

The Summer 1991 Engineering News reported on the dedication of the Knowles Engineering Building in April of that year and featured the man it was dedicate to, alumnus Andrew C. Knowles III, on the cover. In addition to all his work for the university Board of Trustees, College of Engineering capital campaigns, and the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council, Knowles was noted for starring as a relief pitcher on the UMass Amherst baseball team in the mid-1950s, when he was known around campus as “Nuthinball” Knowles, the world’s best short game pitcher. Read Article »

Engineering from the Earth to the Moon

What do the front landing gear of the U.S. Air Force C5A transport plane, bomb shelters, Chicago’s 100-story Hancock Building, moon dust, the UMass Geotechnical Engineering Program, and the entire network of our country’s railroad beds all have in common. The answer is Ernest Selig. Selig, an emeritus professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, has worked on projects involving all the above, and he’s also done much, much more. Read more »

Brooks Writes Early History of College

Cheryl Brooks, the very busy director of the College of Engineering Career Planning and Student Development Office, somehow found time last semester to take a UMass graduate course in History of Higher Education in America. In the process, she wrote an insightful, well-researched, and entertaining paper on the College of Engineering’s early history. Entitled “History of the University of Massachusetts School of Engineering: Curriculum Design, Academic Standards, and Accreditation,” the 15-page paper sheds significant light on the early years at the College of Engineering. Read more »