College of Engineering

About the College

Courses in engineering were among the first established at The University of Toledo, which was founded in 1872 as The Toledo University of Arts and Trades. In fact, the courses offered in the first three decades following the University’s incorporation parallel the first two years of the current engineering curriculum. Local real estate broker and editor of The Blade, Jesup W. Scott, founded The Toledo University of Arts and Trades with hopes of turning Toledo into a major city of commerce. Scott died in 1874, and The University was forced to shut its doors in 1878 due to lack of funding.

In 1884, the heirs of Jesup Scott donated the assets of the University to the City of Toledo, establishing it as a municipal institution. Supported by a tax levy, the University reopened with the Manual Training School as its first department. The department was modeled after the Polytechnic School at Washington University in St. Louis, and offered systematic training in drawing, mechanic arts and domestic science. In compliance with the terms of the Scott trust, the Manual Training School admitted female students in 1886. The school was successful, attracting national attention and soon outgrowing its quarters. The College of Arts and Sciences was established in 1909, and The College of Industrial Science was established in 1910 as the precursor of the present College of Engineering.

The College of Industrial Science offered a two-year curriculum including civil, electrical, mechanical and metallurgical engineering. Arrangements had been made for students to complete a four-year Bachelor of Science degree at The Ohio State University or the University of Michigan. In the wake of the First World War, the University recognized a need for auto mechanics and engineering laboratories, and this helped garner support for the creation of a separate engineering college within the University.

In 1929, Delos M. Palmer was named coordinator of the University’s engineering programs, and in 1931, The College of Engineering was established and housed in what is currently the Health and Human Services building on UT’s main campus. Palmer was named Dean following the graduation of the first four-year class from the new college in 1933. That year also marked the arrival of Philip C. Nash as University President. He possessed a professional engineering background and came to the city from Antioch College where he was well acquainted with its engineering co-operative education program. In 1934 President Nash and Dean Palmer attempted to start a co-op program in engineering, but the program was ultimately discontinued as a result of the Great Depression.

The Engineers Council for Professional Development, a forerunner of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), accredited the first curriculum in general engineering in 1942. In 1950, the College was departmentalized with five specialized degrees replacing the Bachelor of Engineering degree. Accredited Bachelor of Science degrees were available in Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Engineering Physics. The University joined the state of Ohio’s system of higher education in 1967, and this new status brought additional funding for capital improvements and growth in technical areas such as engineering. The College introduced Bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Engineering in 1971, Engineering Technology in 1974, Computer Science and Engineering in 1978, and Bioengineering in 1997. Between 1997 and 1999, the Engineering Technology department established Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Construction Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Computer Science and Engineering Technology. All current programs maintain ABET accreditation.

The College of Engineering moved to its current location, southeast of the University’s main campus, in 1986 with the purchase of a building from Owens-Illinois, Inc. The move was necessitated by a ten-year period of enrollment growth that tripled the number of engineering majors enrolled in the College. After procuring adjacent facilities from O-I, in 1990 the University decided to construct a new engineering building in addition to renovating the O-I facilities. The $20.4 million dollar project included $11 million for the new building, financed by capital improvement funds from the state of Ohio. The combined facilities provided 226,000 square feet of space to house the College of Engineering. In 1995, the new building was named Nitschke Hall, in honor of Glasstech, Inc. founder and philanthropist Norman Nitschke, and in 1997 the College constructed the Lois and Norman Nitschke Auditorium. Later, the South Engineering building was renamed Palmer Hall in honor of former engineering dean Delos Palmer. The College continues to improve upon the engineering campus in order to increase capacity and inspire ingenuity among students and faculty.

A mandatory cooperative education program was implemented as a Bachelor of Science degree requirement for all engineering students in the fall of 1997, completing the vision of President Nash. The program provides a full year of professional practice, giving students a competitive edge upon graduation. The engineering co-op program, one of only eight such programs in the nation, continues to attract talented and motivated students.

The college has experienced incredible growth since its founding in 1931, and remains dedicated to its mission of student success, academic distinction, and interdisciplinary scholarship. With record high enrollments, state-of-the-art facilities, and a talented faculty and staff, the College of Engineering continues to thrive as a strong pillar of the University of Toledo.

Last Updated: 6/22/17