University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Department of Materials Science and Engineering | University of Illinois Archives

Name: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Historical Note:

The Department of Mining Engineering had its conception in the 1867 aims of the Illinois Industrial University's Committee on Courses and Faculty, which listed the department as part of the proposed Polytechnic Department.1 Courses in mining engineering were offered in the Civil Engineering Department during the 1870-75 period.2 In 1885, the University faculty adopted and approved a B.S. program.3 The program had its first graduate in June 1887.4 With little student interest, the program lapsed in 1889. An attempt was made two years later to revive interest by offering a course for coal miners.5 A lack of response caused the Department to be abolished in 1891.6 In 1901, the Board requested Illinois members of Congress to support a bill promoting mining engineering.7 In June, 1909, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act calling for a Department of Mining Engineering with provision for instruction and extension work by the University.8 In 1911, the Department began to work closely with the State Geological Survey and the United States Bureau of Mines.9 July 1912 brought the formation of the Mining Laboratory, which expanded to include sampling and grinding, fuels, coal preparation, ventilation and safety lamps, drilling and blasting, heat treatment and assaying.10 A Mine Rescue Station gave demonstrations on the use of equipment, trained men and did rescue work.11 Although metallurgy courses had been offered as early as 1884, they were taught in the Geology Department. In the Fall of 1916, an option in metallurgical engineering was offered in Mining Engineering. In 1934, the department name was changed to the Department of Mining and Metallurgy.12 In 1966, the B.S. program in mining engineering was dropped because of small enrollment, though graduate courses continued to be offered.13 From 1961 to 1968, the name of the department was changed to Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Engineering. In 1969, the name was changed back to Department of Metallurgy and Mining Engineering.14 In February 1989, the Departments of Metallurgy and Mining Engineering and Ceramic Engineering were merged to form the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to enable the departments to coordinate their efforts in responding to the new high technology approach to materials development, design, and application. The merger was intended to eliminate duplication of effort and to promote interaction between faculties and students.15

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 1st Report, May 7, 1867, p. 51.

2. Catalogue & Register, 1869-70, p. 32; 1884-85, p. 54.

3. Board of Trustees Transactions, 13th Report, April 7, 1886, p. 157.

4. Ibid., 14th Report, June 7, 1887, pp. 46, 48

5. Ibid., 17th Report, 1894, p. 331.

6. Ibid. March 28, 1893, p. 97.

7. Ibid. 21st Report, December 10, 1901, p.224.

8. Ibid, 25th Report, June 24, 1909, pp. 168-69.

9. Ibid., 26th Report, September 26, 1911. pp. 507-09.

10. Ira O. Baker and Everett E. King. A History of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois (Urbana), pp. 330-36.

11. Board of Trustees Transactions, 25th Report, March 9, 1909, pp. 116-17.

12. Ibid., 37th Report, April 11, 1934, p.482

13. Ibid., 53rd Report, February 16, 1966, p.53.

14. Ibid., 51st Report, August 10, 1961, pp. 784-85, 968; 55th Report, June 23, 1969, pp. 157, 382 and November 15, 1969, p. 654.

15. Ibid, 64th Report, February 4, 1988, pp 466-67.

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