Carnegie Mellon Engineering




CIT History: A Timeline

To learn more about the history of CIT, click a date range to open and close that set of dates.

  • 1900 - 1920

    • 1903
      Andrew Carnegie

      Pittsburgh is chosen as the site for Andrew Carnegie’s technical schools.

      Arthur Hamerschlag

      Arthur Hamerschlag is named director.

      Hamerschlag

      Students begin classes amid the construction of the school’s buildings, which were designed by Henry Hornbostel.

    • 1908

      The class of 1908 consists of 58 graduates.

      Doherty Wean

      The first building, Industries Hall (now Porter), is constructed. It is followed by Margaret Morrison, Administration Hall (Baker), and Engineering Hall (Doherty).

      Diplomas received in 1908:

      • Architectural Practice: 4
      • Chemical Engineering Practice: 2
      • Metallurgical Engineering Practice: 8
      • Civil Engineering Practice: 7
      • Electrical Engineering Practice: 23
      • Mechanical Engineering: 14

      Carnegie Technical School hosts the first annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers on December 28 and 29, 1908. Arthur Hamerschlag, director of Carnegie Technical Schools, offers the opening remarks and greeting.

    • 1912
      CIT historical seal

      Carnegie Technical Schools becomes Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT), often referred to as Carnegie Tech or just Tech, and now has the power to grant degrees.

      The first engineer graduates with a bachelor’s degree.

    • 1914

      CIT confers its first master’s degrees, which is in physics.

    • 1916

      Hamerschlag begins Carnegie Mellon’s research tradition, which was not originally part of Andrew Carnegie’s plan for the school, by having CIT found the Division of Applied Psychology. The organization performed psychological research to determine how to match people with the job that is right for them, a test that the U.S. military used in World War I to place men into ranks.

    • 1919

      The university grants its first-ever doctoral degree, which is in civil engineering, to Mao Yisheng, a pre-eminent engineer who designed China's two most famous bridges: the Qiantang River Bridge near Hangchow and the Yangtze river Bridge at Wuhan.

    • 1920
      Buggy

      “Pushmobile races,” later termed “Sweepstakes” or “Buggy,” begin. The races draw on the university’s strong engineering background, requiring students to build an aerodynamic cylinder car that will be steered by a driver in a relay race around Schenley Park. (See a video of Buggy)

  • 1921 - 1940

    • 1922
      Thomas Baker

      Thomas Baker becomes president.

      Kiltie band

      The first Kiltie band is established.

    • 1923
      Senior fence

      The first senior fence is built.

    • 1924

      The Bureau of Metallurgical Research is created, enhancing the emphasis of graduate research in engineering.

    • 1927

      CIT adopts the College Board examinations (now SATs).

    • 1928

      Enrollment at CIT’s College of Engineering & Science is 1,428 students.

    • 1930
      Carnival booth

      The first Carnival is held, an event that still takes place over a long weekend in spring and includes a variety of traditions including Sweepstakes, student booths (usually built from wood, some of which serve as vendors or games and others which exhibit students’ creativity), and student performances.

    • 1934

      Albert Einstein talks about his equation E=mc2 at CIT. Students crammed into a packed auditorium to hear him speak. At the time, CIT contained the physics department.

    • 1935

      President Baker retires, and leaves his estate to the college.

      The first issue of The Carnegie Technical, the College of Engineering and Science magazine, is released. The magazine was published by undergraduates, but both graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and alumni contributed. It quickly gained a reputation as being one of the best of its kind.

    • 1936
      Robert Doherty

      Robert Doherty becomes president of Carnegie Tech.

    • 1937

      Doherty develops the Carnegie Plan of Professional Education, dividing CIT curriculum into two branches:

      • Scientific: for problem solving based upon a foundation of fundamental science
      • Humanistic-Social: to give engineers fundamental social knowledge
    • 1938

      Westinghouse Scholars Program begins, a fellowship program established by Westinghouse Electrical Corporation. It later became the Westinghouse Professorship.

  • 1941 - 1960

    • 1943

      Lillian Marie Moravecky and Julia Ann Randall are the first women regularly enrolled in the College of Engineering.

      Otto Stern, professor in the College of Engineering and Science, wins the Nobel Prize in Physics.

    • 1946

      Carnegie Tech students set up a wired radio or carrier current system, WCIT, which is still on the air today, on the advice of Prof. E. M. Williams of the Department of Electrical Engineering. The department offered the students use of a transmitter and other necessary equipment.

    • 1947

      Electrical and mechanical engineering students design and test a faculty rating instrument that is the predecessor to Carnegie Mellon’s current Faculty Course Evaluations.

    • 1950
      John Christian Warner

      John Christian Warner becomes Tech’s fourth president. During his inauguration ceremony, the first alumni awards are presented. During Warner’s term (1950-65), graduate enrollment increased by 92% and Ph.D.s granted by 144%.

    • 1955
      Allen Newell and Herbert Simon

      Allen Newell (IA’57), Herbert Simon, and J. C. (Cliff) Shaw create the “Logic Theorist,” the first thinking machine at Carnegie Tech.

    • 1956

      Tech gets its first computer, an IBM 650.

      A computation center is created by Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, GSIA, and Psychology. Alan J. Perlis, who would later receive the first Turing Award in 1966, is recruited to run it.

    • 1958
      Bud Yorkin

      Bud Yorkin, who earned a degree in engineering from CIT, wins his first Emmy Award for An Evening with Fred Astaire. His television career began when he worked as a member of the engineering staff at NBC.

    • 1959

      The first computer programming course is offered to freshman, and half of the Engineering & Science first-year class elect to take it.

  • 1961 - 1980

    • 1965
      Horton Guyford Stever

      Horton Guyford Stever becomes Carnegie Tech’s fifth president.

      The Computer Science Department is founded.

    • 1967
      Carnegie Mellon University seal

      Carnegie Institute of Technology and Mellon Institute merge. The new university is named Carnegie Mellon University.

    • 1970

      The College of Engineering and Science is split into two schools: Carnegie Institute of Technology (Engineering) and Mellon College of Science (with Computer Science).

    • 1971

      Engineering and Public Policy becomes a department. It is currently one of the only three departments in the United States that deals with the changes to society that are brought on by technology.

    • 1972
      Richard Michael Cyert

      Richard Michael Cyert becomes CMU’s president.

    • 1977

      Vasily Vasilyevich Kuznetsov, a CIT alumnus, becomes the first Vice President of the Soviet Union.

    • 1978

      The CMU Robotics Institute opens—the first of its kind in the country.

      Herbert Simon

      CMU professor Herbert Simon, a leader in artificial intelligence and computer science, is awarded the Nobel Prize for his research in human decision-making.

  • 1981 - 2000

    • 1982

      The SRC-CMU Research Center for Computer-Aided Design (CAD), named for the partnership between CMU and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), is funded. It is one of the only three CAD centers in the country at the time.

    • 1983

      Eight PCs become available for student use.

      Herbert Simon

      The Department of Electrical Engineering is renamed the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to reflect the increasing role of computers on campus.

    • 1984
      Judith Resnik

      Judith Resnik, who graduated with an electrical engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1970, is the second American woman in space.

    • 1986
      ICES logo

      The Engineering Design Research Center (EDRC) is developed. It was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in 1997 became the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES).

    • 1989
      INI logo

      The Information Networking Institute (INI) is established as the nation’s first research and education center devoted to information networking. The center promotes safe and responsible online behavior, and its current global programs represent an exceptional fusion of technologies, economics, and policies of secure communication networks.

    • 1990

      The College of Engineering is one of the first universities in the world to require that students learn engineering concepts during their freshman year.

      DSSC logo

      The Data Storage Systems Center is established after CIT wins an NFS competition. This win makes CMU the only university in the nation at the time with two NSF-sponsored engineering research centers.

      Robert Mehrabian

      Robert Mehrabian becomes CMU’s president.

    • 1993

      Researchers at the Information Networking Institute (INI) start the Wireless Research Initiative. Wireless Andrew is founded by Alex Hills, the founding director of the INI.

    • 1997

      The Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) is created. The center fosters multidisciplinary research and relationships between Carnegie Mellon University, industry, and government agencies.

      Jared Cohon

      Jared L. Cohon becomes the eighth president of the university.

      Roberts Atrium

      Roberts Engineering Hall, the first new engineering building in 42 years, is completed, and named after George Roberts (E’39), who helped fund the construction. Roberts is an internationally renowned expert in physical metallurgy, and the retired president and CEO of Teledyne.

  • 2001 - Present

    • 2002
      Cylab logo

      Carnegie Mellon CyLab, a university-wide initiative that works to improve cybersecurity and reduce cybercrime, is launched.

      Solar house

      CMU students design and build a solar powered house that is chosen for the first Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the Department of Energy in Washington, DC. The team represents more than 20 students from the School of Architecture, the School of Design, and the Mechanical Engineering Department.

    • 2004
      Pradeep Khosla

      Alumnus Pradeep K. Khosla is named Dean of the College of Engineering. His previous positions include: founding director of CyLab and ICES; director of the INI, and department head of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Khosla’s introduces “innovation across the curriculum,” which fosters innovation practices and management and prepares students for careers in the new global economy.

    • 2006

      Carnegie Mellon launches a research and education collaborative with Portugal, called Carnegie Mellon | Portugal (Information and Communication Technology Institute).

      The First Year Experience, which was endowed three years later by Deepak and Sunita Gupta, begins. The program aims to help engineering freshman decide what type of engineering they are most interested in by showing them the variety of options, and also helps ease the transition from high school to college life.

      Nadine Aubry

      Nadine Aubry is made the head of Mechanical Engineering. At the New Jersey Institute of Technology, she was believed to be the first woman in the United States to hold a position as the head of Mechanical Engineering. She is also the first female head of Mechanical Engineering at CMU.

      The Data Center Observatory is opened. The DCO provides data to researchers who are trying to understand the courses of operational costs and evaluate new solutions, and also provides researchers with a computation and storage utility.

    • 2007
      ETIM logo

      Students begin taking classes for the new graduate degree program in Engineering & Technology Innovation Management. The program combines business and engineering to teach students how to manage technological innovations, and has an emphasis on a multinational marketplace.

      Boss

      CIT’s collaborative work with Computer Science, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and General Motors pays off when Boss, Carnegie Mellon’s driverless vehicle, wins the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Urban Challenge.

    • 2008
      Silicon valley

      Carnegie Mellon’s new Silicon Valley campus becomes part of the College of Engineering. CIT is prominently involved in efforts to expand and strengthen the offerings at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.

      Washington speaker series

      The Washington Speaker Series is launched. The series brings together business, government, and research leaders and discusses issues dealing with innovation, policy, and technology.

    • 2009
      G20

      Pittsburgh hosts the G20, which brings together industrial and emerging market countries from around the world to discuss key global economic issues. CMU’s President Jared L. Cohon and CIT’s Dean Pradeep K. Khosla both speak at the event.

    • 2010

      The first nine students enroll in CIT’s new graduate program, Master’s in Energy Science, Technology, and Policy. The program has an interdisciplinary focus, and covers issues that range from the harvesting and conversion of energy to its distribution, demand, and usage.

    • 2011
      CMUR logo

      Carnegie Mellon becomes the first United States research institution with an in-country presence in Africa to offer degrees through its Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda program. The program is a partnership between CMU and the government of Rwanda, and offers students across East Africa a prestigious master’s degree in information technology.

    • 2012
      CMUSV

      Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley celebrates its 10 year anniversary as a campus. 

      Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

      CIT Dean Pradeep K. Khosla is named Chancellor at University of California San Diego. Associate Dean and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Vijayakumar Bhagavatula is named Interim Dean.

      Sherman & Joyce Bowie Scott Hall

      Groundbreaking takes place for the new Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall—future home to the new Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

    • 2013
      Dean James Garrett

      James H. Garrett Jr. is named Dean of the College of Engineering beginning January 1. Dean Garrett is a CIT alumnus and has been a faculty member since 1990. He served as Department Head for Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2006.

      Allen Robinson

      Allen L. Robinson is named Department Head of Mechanical Engineering. He succeeds Nadine Aubry, who became dean of the College of Engineering at Northeastern University. He co-founded the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, a multidisciplinary center involving faculty and students from the College of Engineering and the Mellon College of Science, during his 14 years as a CIT faculty member in MechE and EPP.

      Subra Suresh

      Subra Suresh becomes the ninth president of Carnegie Mellon University, succeeding Jared L. Cohon. Prior to assuming this role, he served as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Suresh is a distinguished engineer and scientist who has served as dean of the School of Engineering at MIT, published more than 250 journal articles, registered 21 patens, and written three widely-used books. He has also been elected to several national and international academies and has received numerous honorary degrees, honors, and awards. 

      David Dzombak

      David A. Dzombak becomes the head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on August 1. With 25 years as a CEE faculty member, he succeeds James Garrett who became dean of CIT in January. A University Professor, Dzombak has also served as associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for CIT and is faculty director of CMU's Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research.

      Bob Iannucci

      Bob Iannucci becomes Associate Dean and Director of CMU's Silicon Valley (CMU-SV) campus. He succeeds Martin L. Griss, director of the Disaster Management Initiative and founder and former director of the CyLab Mobility Research Center. Iannucci is a distinguished service professor at CMU-SV and director of the CyLab Mobility Research Center with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

      Larry Biegler

      On November 1, Lorenz T. Biegler becomes Department Head for Chemical Engineering, succeeding Andrew Gellman. Bielger, who served as Director of the Center for Advanced Process Decision-Making from 1995-2005, is the Bayoer Professor of ChemE, as well as a University Professor and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

    • 2014
      Jelena Kovačević

      Jelena Kovačević is named Department Head for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department beginning April 1. Kovačević is a professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, as well as director of the Center for Bioimage Informatics at CMU. She is a passionate educator whose research involves bioimaging and multi-resolution techniques such as wavelets and frames. She is a fellow of the IEEE and has served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and associate editor, guest editor and editorial board member of numerous publications and special issues.