Highlights from Engineering’s History at Hopkins
- 1876 “..we must beware lest we are led away from our foundations; lest we make our schools technical instead of liberal; and impart a knowledge of methods rather than of principles. If we make this mistake, we may have an excellent polytechnicum but not a university.”
—Hopkins President Daniel Coit Gilman (right), in his inaugural address
- 1912 The Maryland legislature passes “The Technical School Bill,” which creates at Hopkins a department of “applied science and advanced technology.”
- 1913 “I knew we had to start the School on a high level or it would never amount to anything.”
—John B. Whitehead (who earned Hopkins degrees in 1893, 1896, and 1902), first dean of Engineering, speaking about the need for a strong graduate program that would grow from the base of a strong undergraduate school
- 1914 “Only a very small part of the actual knowledge content of a profession may be imparted to a university student. The main thing is to train the mind—to ‘put him in the way of study’—for study he must throughout his entire professional life if he is to keep abreast of his work.”
—Charles J. Tilden, the first professor of Civil Engineering at Hopkins
- 1915 “There are great advantages to be derived from the association of technical schools with universities, particularly where research and investigation, with the idea of enlarging the sum of human knowledge, are recognized as a part of the university’s work.”
— Hopkins President Frank Johnson Goodnow in his inaugural address
- 1919 The Department of Engineering becomes the School of Engineering.
- 1921 Conferral of the first Master of Engineering degree at Hopkins
- 1922 Conferral of the first Doctor of Engineering degree at Hopkins
- 1933 Gathering in Latrobe Hall, 125 Engineering alumni return for their first general alumni reunion, held June 3 in celebration of their School’s 20th anniversary.
- 1943 Admission of the first woman candidate for the Bachelor of Engineering degree
- 1946 “As the School of Engineering draws near to the close of its first thirty-five years, it is apparent that in its establishment the State of Maryland achieved an extremely good bargain.”
—John C. French, A History of the University Founded by Johns Hopkins
- 1953 “The revised program in engineering was an experiment in 1951. Today we can say that it has been completely successful. More and more engineering schools have come to see the problems in the same light and have made modifications in their curricula very similar to those made at Johns Hopkins.”
—Hopkins President Milton S. Eisenhower
- 1961 “…to insure that Hopkins will continue to produce engineers who are truly educated and creative individuals, not merely cogs in an increasingly complex industrial machine.”
—Hopkins President Milton E. Eisenhower, when the School of Engineering changed its name to the School of Engineering Science
- 1963 “In the university, technology could be the cement between science and humanism.”
—Abel Wolman ’13 A&S, ’15, speaking at the 50th anniversary celebration of Engineering at Hopkins.
- 1977 “When the interest toward engineering and the training of engineers is diminished, the university loses one of its major links to the present.”
—from the report of the Hackerman Committee, chaired by Willard Hackerman ’38. In September 1977, it recommends that the Hopkins trustees re-establish a school of engineering.
- 1979 The G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering opens its doors in September. It has 50 faculty members, 330 undergraduates who had been students in the Division of Arts and Sciences, 115 freshmen (23 of whom are women), and 130 graduate students.
- 1981 The Whiting School’s National Advisory Council is launched, and its first chair is Edward G. Uhl, chair and CEO of Fairchild Industries (Uhl is a Hopkins trustee emeritus).“The Bent” is back: Hopkins re-establishes the Maryland Alpha chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society.
- 1982 A campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers is established. Twelve years earlier, Hopkins had admitted women as undergraduates.
- 1983 The nation’s largest part-time engineering graduate program, built up over two decades at Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory in Howard County, becomes part of the Whiting School.
- 1984 “We’re traversing a world in which nothing any longer stands by itself. Nothing I touch can now do without the advances in materials. Nothing I touch can stand without oceanography, or hydrodynamics, or electronics. My message is this simple: Watch. Look at prospect, as well as retrospect. I hope the School will always find linkages, because that’s where you find advance.”
—Abel Wolman ’13 A&S, ’15, speaking at the Whiting School’s fifth anniversary gala dinner
- 1986 A campus chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers is established.
- 1992 The Society of Engineering Alumni (SEA) is formed at Hopkins, and welcomes Engineering graduates from all decades.
- 1995 Michael Bloomberg ’64 designates $15 million for Engineering as part of his $55-million “initial commitment” to the Johns Hopkins Initiative. An Electrical Engineering major as a Hopkins student, Bloomberg is a former chair of the Hopkins trustees and has made Hopkins a major beneficiary of his philanthropy. In 2001 he was elected major of New York City.
- 1999 “Biomedical engineering has a long a proud history at Johns Hopkins. Application of engineering to the solution of biomedical problems was under way in 1940, and we have been educating graduate students since the early 1960s.”
—Murray B. Sachs, Massey Professor and director of the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute
- 2005 “Our future graduates will continue to have not only the depth of technical education in the fundamental principles of science and engineering, but also will have even more opportunities to learn through embracing formal and informal exposure to opportunities in the humanities and social sciences, entrepreneurship, music, and the many other offerings that Hopkins provides.”
—Dean Nicholas P. Jones
Material for this insert has been drawn from interviews and many other sources, including:
- A History of the University Founded by Johns Hopkins, by John C. French (The Johns Hopkins Press, 1946)
- Johns Hopkins: Portrait of a University, by John C. Schmidt (Johns Hopkins University, 1986)
- Johns Hopkins: Centennial Portrait of a University, by Robert P. Sharkey (Johns Hopkins University, 1975)
- Engineering at the University, by Mary Ruth Yoe (published by the Whiting School on its 10th anniversary)
- Johns Hopkins Magazine, March-April 1964 (articles for Engineering’s 50th anniversary)
- Past issues of the Johns Hopkins Engineer.
Historic photographs courtesy of the Ferdinand Hamburger, Jr. Archives of The Johns Hopkins University. Special thanks to archivist, James Stimpert of the Ferdinand Hamburger, Jr. Archives for research and photograph reproduction assistance. Contemporary photography: Will Kirk and Jay VanRensselaer of Homewood Photographic Services.