College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

Historical milestones

Education and research in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology have been an integral part of the University of Minnesota for nearly 150 years.

Although the College of Science and Engineering (formerly the Institute of Technology) was founded in 1935, its roots extend to the University's infancy.

2015 University of Minnesota launches new master’s program in data science
2015 Science Teaching and Student Services building is renamed Robert H. Bruininks Hall in honor of the former University of Minnesota president
2014 Amundson Hall Gore Annex addition completed
2014 Construction completed on NOvA neutrino lab detector in northern Minnesota
2014 Department of Civil Engineering changes its name to the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering
2014 Environmental engineering bachelor’s degree program approved
2014 $16 million major renovation of St. Anthony Falls Lab completed
2014 Work by the late chemistry Professor Izaak M. Kolthoff is named a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society
2014 Center for Sustainable Polymers receives $20 million grant to become one of only eight national NSF Centers for Chemical Innovation
2014 University receives $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead an Energy Frontier Research Center
2014 Physics and Nanotechnology Building construction completed
2014 University of Minnesota launches new master’s program in medical device innovation
2013 University of Minnesota is first in the world to install FEI ultrafast electron microscope
2013 University of Minnesota opening new state-of-the-art Medical Devices Center
2013 University of Minnesota gets approval from the Minnesota Legislature for the new Minnesota's Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) initiative
2013 Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces, and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) established with $28 million grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation
2012 Department of Industrial and System Engineering established
2012 Industrial and Systems Engineering bachelor's degree program approved
2012 Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science launch new lab safety initiative with help from Dow Chemical
2011 University of Minnesota hosts first-ever Cyber Security Summit
2011 University of Minnesota launches new Wind Energy Research Station at UMore Park in Rosemount
2010 University of Minnesota is first in the nation to begin using high-tech indoor solar simulator
2010 The college name changes from Institute of Technology to College of Science and Engineering
2010 The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building is renamed Kenneth H. Keller Hall in honor of the former University president and chemical engineering professor
2009 University of Minnesota Board of Regents approves name change from the Institute of Technology to the College of Science and Engineering effective July 1, 2010
2009 The college's Center for the Development of Technological Leadership changes its name to the Technological Leadership Institute
2009 Officials break ground on $40 million cutting-edge physics laboratory in northern Minnesota near Ash River that will be led by the University's School of Physics and Astronomy
2008 University launches Medical Device Innovation Fellows program
2008 The University opens Outdoor Stream Lab, a large-scale environmental research facility along the banks of the Mississippi River adjacent to the St. Anthony Falls Lab
2008 The University opens state-of-the-art Medical Devices Center research laboratory facility on the fifth floor of Shepherd Labs
2008 The college hosts first Minnesota high school regional FIRST Robotics Competition at Williams Arena
2006 The college launches nanotechnology initiative establishing a Center for Nanostructure Applications that will bring together researchers from across the University to focus on emerging applications of nanotechnology
2006 The college receives $15 million, five-year grant to establish an Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power in collaboration with seven universities and more than 50 industry partners
2005 The college's Institute for Mathematics and its Applications receives $19.5 million over five years, the largest single math research grant ever made by the National Science Foundation
2002 Walter Library reopens after a two-year renovation and restoration
2002 The college becomes a five percent partner in the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), which will be the most powerful on Earth
2001 Alumnus Daniel McFadden (Physics '57, Behavioral Sciences Ph.D. '62) and University of Chicago economist James Heckman earned the Nobel Prize in economics for their contributions to microeconometrics Renovation and expansion of Mechanical Engineering Building completed
2000 The college hosts the first annual Medical Devices Conference.
2000 Biomedical engineering department established
2000 George T. Piercy Molecular Materials Wing of Amundson Hall completed
1998 Digital Technology Center established UNITE begins offering courses via streaming video over the Internet
1997 Basic Sciences/Biomedical Engineering completed
1997 College's Center for Educational Programs established to develop and administer enrichment programs for K-12 students, including the U of M Talented Youth Mathematics Program, established in 1981
1989 School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture separates from the college, becoming the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
1988 Electrical Engineering/Computer Science Building (renamed Keller Hall in 2010) completed on the site of the old Experimental Engineering Building; Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences dedicated in honor of Winchell, the founder of the Minnesota Geological Survey
1987 Center for the Development of Technological Leadership established
1983 Civil Engineering Building completed, extending seven stories below ground
1977 Former faculty member John Van Vleck and two others win the Nobel Prize in physics for contributions toward understanding the behavior of electrons in magnetic, noncrystalline solid materials.
1975 Astronaut Donald K. “Deke Slayton (Aero '49) commands Apollo-Soyuz space mission
1972 Seymour Cray (Electrical Engineering '49) founds Cray Research and leads development of supercomputers. Former faculty member John Bardeen wins his second Nobel prize in physics, for developing the theory of superconductivity
1971 Kolthoff Hall completed
1971 UNITE Instructional Television debuts
1970 School of Mines and Metallurgy abolished; its programs are transferred to the newly reconfigured departments of chemical engineering and materials science and civil engineering; computer science and engineering department established
1963 Mechanical engineering professor obtains patent for the first automatic retractable automobile seat belt
1963 Wilson's reorganization continues: mathematics departments from the College of Liberal arts and Institute of Technology (College of Science and Engineering) merge, becoming the School of Mathematics in the Institute of Technology
1962 President O. Meredith Wilson launches a major University reorganization: College of Science, Literature, and the Arts (SLA) becomes the College of Liberal Arts; Geology and astronomy departments transferred from SLA to Institute of Technology (College of Science and Engineering); physics and astronomy brought together to establish School of Physics and Astronomy
1961 Melvin Calvin (Chemistry '35) wins the Nobel Prize for his work in photosynthesis using Carbon 14
1960 Mechanical engineering professor obtains patent for a first-generation "black box" flight recorder
1958 Earl Bakken (Electrical Engineering '48) designs the first battery-operated heart pacemaker
1957 Mines and Metallurgy Building completed (annexed to Amundson Hall in 1970)
1956 Alumnus Walter Brattain (Physics '27), former faculty member John Bardeen, and William Shockley win the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor
1949 Chemical Engineering Building completed (renamed Amundson Hall in 1970)
1948 Mechanical Engineering Building and Akerman Hall completed
1946 Professor E.W. Davis develops the first of many processes for converting taconite rock into commercial iron ore
1940 Professor Alfred O. C. Nier (Electrical Engineering '31) establishes that uranium 235 is responsible for slow fission in uranium
1939 Alumnus Ernest Lawrence (Physics '23) wins the Nobel Prize for developing the cyclotron
1938 Vincent Hall and St. Anthony Falls Laboratory completed
1935 Institute of Technology (renamed College of Science and Engineering in 2010) created by consolidating engineering, architecture, mines, and chemistry in one collegiate unit Samuel Lind named the new college's first dean
1929 Aerospace engineering and mechanics established
1928 Physics Building completed (renamed Tate Laboratory of Physics in 1965)
1927 Former faculty member Arthur Compton wins the Nobel Prize in physics
1924 Old Electrical Engineering Building and Main Library completed (library was renamed Walter Library in 1959)
1919 Chemical engineering department established
1918 Minnesota Technolog, the college's student magazine, debuts
1914 Chemistry Building completed (renamed Smith Hall in 1971); First Engineering Day celebrated on St. Patrick's Day, this annual celebration (which eventually became Engineering Week in the 1950s and then IT Week in the 1980s and then Science and Engineering Week in 2011) has been held continuously for nearly 100 years
1913 Agricultural Engineering Building completed
1912 Main Engineering Building completed Lind Hall in 1975)
1911 Experimental Engineering Building completed
1910 Civil engineering department established
1909 Biosystems and agricultural engineering (later renamed bioproducts and biosystems engineering) department established
1898 Mechanical engineering department established
1894 Math department established in the College of Engineering
1893 Chemistry department established
1892 Astronomy department established
1891 Electrical engineering department established
1889 Physics department established; Pillsbury Hall completed
1888 School of Mines established
1884 College of Engineering organized
1874 Geology and geophysics department established
1872 Minnesota Geological Survey established
1870 Math department established in the School of Science, Literature, and the Arts
1869 U of M reorganized as a land-grant university, with math professor and Civil War army engineer William Watts Folwell as its first president
1862 U.S. Congress passes the Morrill Act, which establishes the federal land-grant university system
1858 Minnesota becomes 32nd U.S. state
1851 U of M founded as a preparatory school