UB Engineering School Publishes History of Its First 50 Years

Release Date: March 11, 1997 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has published "Engineering the Future from the Ground Up: A History of the First Fifty Years Of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo -- and a Glimpse at the Future."

Compiled by Charles M. Fogel, UB professor emeritus, and edited by Anne B. McGrail of the school's Office of External Affairs, the book is dedicated to George C. Lee, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research and former dean of the engineering school.

The history chronicles the engineering school from its beginnings in 1946 through half a century of growth and increasing national and international recognition for its educational and research programs.

The establishment of the school as a separate entity in the university coincided with the end of World War II and the increasing need for skilled engineers in Western New York industry. In its first year, the school had an enrollment exceeding 800 students, many of them attending school on the GI bill.

The 88-page text and more than 100 photographs refer to such 1940s-era practices as the awarding of the "Engineering Sweetheart" prize at the Engineering Sweetheart Ball and classroom situations where students sat at rows of desks working on engineering designs with pencils and rulers.

The book also chronicles more recent achievements, such as the student-built high-mileage car that gets 800 miles to the gallon and the broadcasting of engineering classes to other SUNY schools through EngiNet.

Also featured are personal comments on the past -- and future -- of engineering by famous alumni, including Wilson Greatbatch, the co-inventor of the implantable cardiac pacemaker and recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Technology; Erich Bloch, Distinguished Fellow, Council on Competitiveness and former director of the National Science Foundation, and Ira S. Flatow, host of National Public Radio¹s "Science Friday" show.

A detailed timeline lists milestones in the school¹s history, from the 1946 dedication of Karr Parker Hall on what is now the South (Main Street) Campus, to the first offering of classes off-campus at a local corporation in 1952, to the 1958 hiring of Robert Ketter, who would eventually become UB's president and the establishment of both the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research and the Calspan-UB Research Center in 1986.

The soft-cover book is available from the engineering school for $20, which covers the publishing and mailing costs. To purchase a copy, contact Pat Doeing in the Office of External Affairs at (716) 645-2768.

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