History of Western Engineering


photo collage of Engineering sdtudents then and now

1954 - The Department of Engineering Science was created within the Faculty of Science under the leadership of Professor L.S. Lauchland.  Western was the third university in Ontario to offer engineering courses.

1956 - Engineering Science extended to a four-year honours degree program with options in Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.

1958 - The first BESc degrees were awarded to a class of 12 students.  The degrees were accredited by the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.

1959 -The Alexander Charles Spencer Engineering Building opened October 30, 1959 by Dr. James Vance, President of the Engineering Institute of Canada.

1960 - The Faculty of Engineering Science was created with Richard M. Dillon as the first Dean.

1963 - The faculty headcount reached 19.  Total student enrolment reached 237.

1964 - The first MESc degrees were awarded to George Raithby, John Crago and George Steels.

1965- The first Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel opened. Senate approved a PhD program. 

1966 - The first female student graduates from the Faculty of Engineering Science with a BESc.

1967 - The Bioengineering Building opened. A MEng degree was approved in the field of Environmental Engineering. 

1969 - The first PhDs were awarded to Peter Castle and Nick Isyumov.  Both became faculty members.

1971 - The addition on the Alexander Charles Spencer Engineering Building opened and allowed shared facilities for Engineering Science and the Departments of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Pure Mathematics. Dr. Ab I. Johnson was appointed as the second Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Science. 

1974 -Dr. Jackson Dickinson established SACDA (System Analysis Control and Design Activity) computing software, which became the first major spin-off business for Western Engineering.

1977- Dr. Gordon F. Chess was appointed as the third Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Science.

1982 - The Industry Internship Program was introduced as a pilot project under the leadership of Dr. Hugh Peacock.  Two students were registered.

1984 - The new Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel facility opened.

1987 - Dr. Mohan Mathur was appointed as the fourth Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Science.

1988 - The Faculty formally introduced the Industry Internship Program for undergraduate students.

1989 - Discovery Western is established to allow school children an "engineering camp" experience.

1991 - A full cost recovery MEng degree program in modular format was launched. The Geotechnical Research Centre was approved by Senate. 

1992 - The Applied Electrostatics Research Centre was approved by Senate.

1993 - Engineering Science assumed occupancy of the entire Alexander Charles Spencer Engineering Building.

1996 - Materials Engineering merged with Mechanical Engineering to form an expanded Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

1998 - Senate approved the introduction of a new BESc degree program in Computer, Software and Integrated Engineering.

1999 - Engineering Science expanded to Elborn College.

2000 - Dr. Franco Berruti was appointed as the fifth Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Science. The Whittaker Foundation granted funding to start a Biomedical Engineering research and graduate studies program. Programs in Computer, Software and Integrated Engineering were accredited.

2001 - The Faculty removes "Science" from its name to become the Faculty of Engineering.

2003 - The new lecture hall addition to the Alexander Charles Spencer Engineering Building opened.

2004 - The Thompson Engineering Building opened, housing the Departments of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Franco Berruti was re-appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

2005 – Renovations to the Spencer Engineering Building include a new cafeteria and lounge area, tiered seating classrooms with multi-media equipment, and a modernized Dean’s Office.

2007 – Western Engineering celebrates a $5-million gift from the Lassonde Family Foundation on April 19, 2007 - the largest gift ever to the Faculty of Engineering - to support the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, which will replace the bioengineering building. The new four-storey building is expected to be completed by summer 2009.

2007The Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Western Regional Office officially opened Friday, May 25, 2007 in the Spencer Engineering Building.

2007Franco Berruti steps down as dean effective December 31, 2007 in order to focus more attention on his research.

2008George K. Knopf assumes role as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering effective January 1, 2008

2009 – The University of Western Ontario appoints Andrew N. Hrymak to a five-year term as dean of the Faculty of Engineering beginning July 1, 2009.

2009 – The Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building on The University of Western Ontario campus, officially opened its doors during Homecoming celebrations Saturday, October 3, 2009.

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