This occasion marks the one hundredth birthday of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Thank you for joining us in this Centennial Celebration. It has been an exciting 100 years, and every indication is that the next 100 (or even 10!) will be just as interesting.
The Department of Electrical Engineering was born from the Department of Physics and Electrotechnics in 1893. This new E. E. Department had one faculty member, John Price Jackson (age 24), who was also the Head of the Department. The first graduating class consisted of two students. We now have about 50 faculty members and graduating classes of several hundred. The Department has generated more than 10,000 alumni, many of whom have had distinguished careers and are here tonight.
Over this 100 years, many milestone events have occurred. The Department has grown steadily in size. To accommodate this growth, two buildings were constructed: E. E. West in 1939 and E. E. East in 1963. (We are now looking forward to completion of the renovation of E. E. West. Drop by and see it if you get the chance.)
Research activities received a strong impetus following the second world war with the formation of the lonospheric Research Laboratory (IRL, now the Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory, CSSL), under the direction of Dr. Arthur Waynick. Dr. Waynick replaced Dr. Eric Walker as head of the department in 1951, when Dr. Walker became dean of engineering (and subsequently, president of the University.) We are honored that Dr. Walker is able to join us tonight, and to be our guest speaker.
This document contains several short stories related to the history of the Department, which we thought you might find interesting. The first is about Dr. Walker, our Head from 1947 to 1951. This is followed by a review of departmental history, and subsequently by short pieces related to the Penn State trolleys (which were under E. E. jurisdiction), PENNSTAC (one of the first academic computers in the Country) and one on IRL-CSSL.
So thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate our Centennial. More importantly, I also thank you - our faculty, students and alumni, and university and college administrators (and spouses!) -for having helped the Department to achieve what it has and to be where it is after these 100 years. It is your contributions that we celebrate. And since we are now in some very challenging times, we will continue to need your support. You have made our past, and you are our future. Because of your ties to the Department, and your loyalty to Penn State, I think the future looks very bright indeed.
Dr. Larry C. Burton
Professor and Head of the Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering