Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of Chemical Engineering
The Chemical Engineering Department of Northwestern's Technological Institute was established in 1940. The department was established in order to comply with the agreement the university had entered into with Walter P. Murphy in connection with Murhpy's endowment of the new school of engineering which became known as the Technological Institute. Murphy insisted that the new school include departments covering the four major areas in engineering; chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical, of which the university had hitherto included only the latter three.
The pre-history of the department began, however, with the offering of a scattering of engineering courses that eventually led to the establishment of the Technological Institute's immediate predecessor, the College of Engineering, in 1907. Beginning with 1907, courses were offered in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, and a degree in engineering was awarded after the fifth year.
Since the old Swift Hall of Engineering did not include laboratory facilities for chemical engineering, the department could not formally commence activity until the summer of 1942 when new facilities became available with the opening of the Technological Institute. Because of World War II, faculty were difficult to recruit and for the first two years Dr. A.B. Newman, Chairman of the Educational Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, served as a consultant in establishing the curriculum. In February 1942, William E. Brinker, Jr. became the department's first professor and was named as the first departmental chairman after the addition of Virgil C. Williams to the staff in April. In 1943, the first graduating class of the newly established Technological Institute included twenty men who were awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. These students had provided technical assistance which aided the war effort during their tenure at the university. Dr. Brinker utilized these students to construct the department unit operations laboratories when professional help was not available.
The first graduate students entered the department in the fall term of 1945. This graduate program has been in continuous operation since that time and has contributed much of the basic research that has supported the department's curriculum and cooperative education program.
Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:
This collection contains minutes of meetings of Northwestern University's Chemical Engineering Department, spanning the dates September 1956 through September 1981. Also included is one folder of minutes of the Departmental Administrative meetings, for the dates October 1, 1970 through April 28, 1971.