Department History

The Pratt School of Engineering traces its history back to 1851 when the catalogue for Normal College, the forerunner of Trinity College and Duke University, advertised a course that included surveying in the sophomore year and architecture and engineering for seniors. When Normal College was renamed Trinity Colleve, similar courses were offered for another 73 years. With the change of name to Duke University in 1924, engineering underwent a period of vigorous development. Several milestones are noted below, particularly for civil engineering. With the first doctoral degree in civil engineering offered in 1964, the mission of the department began to evolve from solely a teaching focus to a combined teaching and research focus.

1927

Civil and electrical engineering departments were established. Mechanical engineering instruction was given through the department of civil engineering

1931

Mechanical engineering department established.

1937

Departments of civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering were administratively grouped to form the Division of Engineering after rapid growth of all departments.

1939

The university incorporated the Division of Engineering into the College Of Engineering, and a dean is appointed.

1948

College of Engineering moved to West Campus and begins classes in new Engineering Building (Old Red), now Hudson Hall.

1957

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering began offering work leading to the Master of Science degree in all three fields.

1963

The local chapter of Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society, was established.

1964

Doctor of Philosophy degree first offered in civil engineering.

1966

College of Engineering changed to School of Engineering.

1969

BSCE, BSEE, & BSME degrees changed to BSE degrees.

1972

Engineering Annex Building opened. Several labs within civil engineering primarily hydraulics, ocean engineering and structural engineering relocated to the annex.

1982

Department of Civil Engineering changed to Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

1987

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering established an undergraduate program in architectural engineering.

1990

International Honors Program established for all undergraduates.

1992

Engineering building (Old Red) named Hudson Hall to honor Fitzgerald S. "Jerry" Hudson E'46.

1998

Engineering In The Future Committee established by the Provost to assess the school and make recommendations for future growth.

1999

Duke University School of Engineering named the Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School of Engineering for Edmund T. Pratt Jr. E'47.

2002

Construction began on the Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences.

2004

Pratt dedicated new Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences for alumns Michael and Patty Fitzpatrick.

2005

Pratt established The Home Depot Smart Home as the world's first Platinum LEED rated dorm/research facility dedicated to smart, sustainable living research.

2005

Pratt established Helicopter Observation Platform user facility.

2008

CEE Department wins $14.4 million Center for Environmental Implications for NanoTechnology (CEINT) under Professor Mark Wiesner.