150 Years of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University
Mechanical engineering, originally part of mechanic arts, was one of two majors offered at Iowa State when the institution opened its doors in 1869. The other major offered was agriculture. In addition to providing instruction for students, the department and its associated shops manufactured tables, chairs and other items used on cam-pus during the early years of the university. The ME department also played an important role in the war efforts for both the First and Second World Wars by offering its facilities and faculty to train mechanics, machinists and other specialists during the war periods. The department, and university as a whole, saw tremendous enrollment growth during the post war periods, which led to an expansion of the department’s facilities and faculty. The department began granting Ph.D.s in mechanical engineering (jointly with other departments) in the 1950s. In 1973 it began offering the Ph.D.s specifically in ME. The year 2019 marks mechanical engineering’s 150th anniversary at Iowa State.