This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

65 years ago

An engineering school is established

Dean Paul E. Mohn, right, and two mechanical engineering students, 1951. Photo: UB ARCHIVES

  • Assistant Dean Charles M. Fogel, 1951. Photo: UB ARCHIVES

Published: June 9, 2011

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Beginning in 1921, UB offered an engineering curriculum for freshmen who planned to transfer to an engineering school. It was Chancellor Samuel P. Capen’s vision of the role of an urban university that would result in the eventual creation of the school.

When Capen became chancellor in 1922, he took steps to strengthen the ties between the university and the community. The Evening Division (now Millard Fillmore College) was established, and in his first annual report, Capen wrote that the university “cannot long delay the establishment of courses which will meet in a large way the demands of its industrial environment. These courses may be comprehended under the general term engineering.”

Although Capen did not at first favor establishing an engineering school—preferring instead to see engineering courses offered through the new Evening Division—he did write in his annual report for 1924 that “the Niagara Frontier needs a school of engineering more than it needs any other educational agency not yet established.”

Between 1923 and 1934, an engineering curriculum developed within the Evening Division. The first “day classes” in engineering were offered in 1935, when the Mathematics Department expanded to become the Mathematics and Engineering Department. Five years later, a separate Engineering Department was established within the College of Arts and Sciences.

A school of engineering was authorized in 1946, with Paul E. Mohn as the founding dean. Charles M. Fogel was one of three faculty members hired for the new school.

Fogel, who died on May 20 at the age of 97 (see obituary), began his association with UB in 1931 as an undergraduate physics student. He was a senior engineer at the National Union Radio Corporation in Newark, N.J., when he was offered a teaching position in UB’s new engineering school.

In the 65 years since its founding, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has developed into a school offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in six departments, with graduates living in all 50 states and in 52 countries.

Charlie Fogel, as he was known to his colleagues and friends, served as assistant dean of the engineering school from 1947-52. He was named assistant to the president in 1965 and served as assistant executive vice president from 1968-79.

When he retired from UB in 1984 and assumed emeritus status, Fogel enjoyed the distinction of having been a UB faculty member longer than any other individual and of having served under six UB chancellors and presidents.

Fogel wrote histories of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1985 and 1996. Both are available in the University Archives. Other collections include records of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 1946 forward, the papers of founding Dean Paul E. Moh, and 20 administrative, student and alumni magazines and newsletters.

John Edens, University Archives