The University of Connecticut is founded by an act of the Connecticut General Assembly and a generous gift of land, several buildings and funds, donated by Charles and Augustus Storrs. By the late 1800s, the State of Connecticut had a rich and distinguished heritage of mechanical engineering endeavors. Among these were inventions (mass production techniques of Eli Terry and Seth Thomas, as well as the cotton gin by Eli Whitney), arms manufacturing (Colt's Manufacturing Company and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company) and tool making (Pratt & Whitney and The Stanley Rule and Level Company). In keeping with this statewide activity, the new institution in Storrs offered courses in mechanical arts and technology from its very first day of classes in 1881.

Four year program in mechanical engineering established at the University of Connecticut.

John N. Fitts is the first engineering professor. A graduate of the Class of 1897, Fitts was appointed professor of mechanical engineering. During his tenure, a strong program in mathematics, physics and chemistry was instituted.

The Division of mechanical engineering established. John N. Fitts is named Dean of the Division.

First bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering awarded to Earl R. Moore. Moore later served on the Engineering faculty until his retirement in 1954.

The Division of Engineering moves from the basement of Whitney (Old) Hall to the Mechanic Arts building. The building had been constructed in 1909 for use by the mechanical engineering program but instead served as the Dining Hall for ten years.

The State Chamber of Commerce, at the Legislature's request, studied major problems of the College. Their response suggests that women no longer be admitted and "a limited number be sent with scholarships to Connecticut College for Women," that mechanical engineering is "exotic" but tolerable; that the School of Agriculture's "Two Year Course be discontinued" €” in effect, dismantling the College. President Beach replies that the Chamber of Commerce report was written by a committee that had never been to the College and had never interviewed College officials. The Legislature does not implement the recommendations of the report.

Division of mechanical engineering is renamed the Division of Engineering. Courses are now offered in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering receives full accreditation.

The State grants the University $86,000 to complete the equipping of several mechanical engineering laboratories in order to keep its accreditation.

The School of Engineering premieres its graduate program with an M.S. degree offering in three disciplines including Mechanical Engineering.

A program in industrial-mechanical engineering (IME) is established. The program was offered as an option in mechanical engineering and never attained departmental status.

Construction of Engineering II, authorized in 1955, is completed. It houses the chemical and mechanical engineering offices.

Industrial-mechanical engineering program closed.

The first Ph.D. in mechanical engineering awarded to Paul J. Nemergut.

The Aerospace Engineering Department was combined with the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1972.

United Technologies Engineering Building construction completed.

15 women graduate the program, the highest number to-date.


Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Connecticut
191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139
Storrs, CT 06269-3139
Phone: (860) 486-2090, Fax: (860) 486-5088