(Memphis)— The Christian Brothers University School of Engineering will celebrate its 50th Anniversary (1956-2006) the week of October 2-8, highlighted by an Anniversary Dinner on Thursday, October 5, to be held in the East Lounge of CBU’s Thomas Center.
Core engineering courses, similar to courses offered today, were being taught at Christian Brothers College as early as 1910. However, it was the vision and determination of CBC president Brother Lambert Thomas (whose tenure lasted from1953 to1962) that in 1952 laid the groundwork for an engineering program that later evolved into one of the top engineering schools in the Southeast.
At the time, CBC did not have the resources — money, classroom or laboratory space, or equipment— to build the electrical engineering program that Brother Lambert envisioned. He selected Brother Phillip Morgan to set up this program. Since Brother Phillip did not have an electrical engineering degree, he enrolled that same year in the Illinois Institute of Technology and earned his degree by 1954. Brother Phillip returned to CBU to establish the first engineering degree program in West Tennessee.
CBC already had a successful two-year junior college program, which expanded to a third year for the 1953/54 school year and to a fourth year by the 1954/55 school year. Brother Lambert selected architect A. L. Aydelott to design a classroom building, Ave Maria Hall, and a laboratory building, St. Joseph Hall, for the engineering program. Both buildings were completed by September 1955. By the 1956/57 school year, a B.S. in mechanical engineering was added as a part of the new four-year college curriculum.
Since 1956, the Christian Brothers University School of Engineering has produced over 2,500 engineering graduates. Currently, the university offers undergraduate engineering programs in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, all of which are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. It also offers two graduate degrees, a Master in Engineering Management and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management.
The 50th Anniversary Dinner on October 5 will acknowledge the School of Engineering’s 50 years of excellence by recognizing the Class of 1956. Also recognized will be the living deans who guided the School, all of whom are still affiliated with CBU: Brother Louis Althaus, currently executive assistant to the president; Dr. Fred Terry, professor of electrical engineering; Dr. Ray Brown, professor of mechanical engineering; and Dr. Siripong Malasri, professor of civil engineering. The dinner will also feature a proclamation from the Shelby County Government and an address by Chris Singer (CBU Class of 1983), deputy director of the Space Transportation Directorate of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
The School of Engineering Anniversary is being held in conjunction with CBU’s Alumni Weekend. Other engineering events during the week will include a picnic for engineering alumni, students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, October 3, on the Nolan Intramural Field from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A wine-and-cheese reception for engineering alumni will be held in St. Benilde Hall, a recently renovated laboratory building, on Friday, October 6, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Founded in 1871 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Catholic teaching order, CBU awarded the first college degree in the City of Memphis in 1875. Today, 102 full-time faculty members, with 89% holding doctorates or the highest degrees in their field, provide a comprehensive education to more than 1,700 students from 20 states and 22 countries.
For more information on the CBU School of Engineering and its 50th Anniversary celebrations, contact Dr. Eric Welch, Dean of Engineering, at (901) 321-3405.