Harrington quad

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.


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


Mechanical engineering department established.


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


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


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


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.


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


Doctor of Philosophy degree first offered in civil engineering.


College of Engineering changed to School of Engineering.


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


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


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


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


International Honors Program established for all undergraduates.


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


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


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


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


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


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


Pratt established Helicopter Observation Platform user facility.


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