Dean's Message

A Century of Engineering Excellence

Godfrey MungalFor 100 years, the School of Engineering at Santa Clara University has been educating the leaders and innovators of the future, imparting to its students the knowledge, skills, and vision necessary to make a difference in their communities and in the world. Founded in 1912, the first engineering laboratory was located in an old seed warehouse—a far cry from today's facilities where students control satellites in space and research properties and materials at the nanoscale level.

In the course of a century, much has changed in the sphere of engineering and its affiliated pedagogy. Previously unimagined disciplines such as computer engineering and bioengineering have emerged to join civil, electrical, and mechanical fields as transformative forces in society. 

 

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History

Engineering with a Mission

Santa Clara University's School of Engineering has been educating leaders and innovators for 100 years. Deeply rooted in SCU's Jesuit tradition of developing the whole person, the School has produced generations of engineers of integrity. As we celebrate our centennial, we are proud to highlight some of the accomplishments of our many distinguished faculty and alumni.

The Mission Church in 1854
The Mission Church in 1854. Photo
from the Archives of SCU.

At the heart of Santa Clara University is Mission Santa Clara, site of the original school founded in 1851 with a charge to inspire the life of the mind by educating the whole person. Students were guided in both their mental and moral formation and encouraged to learn about and interact with their communities in a compassionate manner.

It was in this same spirit that, after the turn of the century, college president James P. Morrissey set out to transform Santa Clara College into Santa Clara University by broadening the scope of academics to include law and engineering. His vision was to develop Santa Clara into a place where ethical students engaged in academically rigorous study. Key to this transformation was the establishment of the School of Engineering, which was founded in 1912.

George L. Sullivan
George L. Sullivan. Photo
from the Archives of SCU.

The School of Engineering was begun under the direction of its first dean, George L. Sullivan, who strove to educate engineers of excellence. Resources were limited, but during his 43 years of leadership Sullivan was able to shepherd the College of Engineering safely through the turbulence of World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, as well as through wave after wave of engineering innovation.

One of the school's early milestones was earning accreditation. In 1936, the school applied for and was granted accreditation of its civil, electrical, and mechanical curricula, making it the only Catholic institution west of St. Louis to have an accredited engineering program.