1887 – 1940

Engineering and computer science programs have a long and distinguished history at Syracuse University. As early as 1877, civil engineering courses were offered through the College of Liberal Arts. Electrical engineering followed in 1897, then mechanical engineering in 1900. The University, with the vision and financial support of noted industrialist Lyman Cornelius Smith, established a college dedicated solely to teaching various areas of applied science in 1901. Programs in industrial (1911), chemical (1914), and aeronautical (aerospace) engineering (1927) were added in response to societal demand.

1940 – 1970

In the early 1940s, many students left the University to fight in World War II. When it ended, the College made tremendous efforts to successfully provide engineering education to hundreds of returning veterans taking advantage of the G.I Bill. From 1948 until 1952, the College relocated to a Thompson Road campus six miles from the University, to accommodate the “G.I. Bulge.”
Upon the return to the SU hill in 1952, the College of Applied Science became the College of Engineering. Facilities were expanded to include Hinds Hall (named for William Lawyer Hinds, then chairman of the Crouse-Hinds Company of Syracuse) and Link Hall (named for Edwin A. Link, the noted aviator, and Link Flight Trainer inventor), which was built in 1970 to accommodate expanding undergraduate and graduate programs. A master’s program in engineering administration (engineering management) was established in 1957.

In 1958, the Institute for Sensory Research was established under the direction of Dr. Jozef Zwislocki (a Distinguished Research Professor of Neuroscience and a member of the National Academy of Sciences), who developed a community of faculty, staff, and students, world-renowned for multidisciplinary studies of the structure and function of sensory systems. The undergraduate program in bioengineering grew out of this community and was officially established in 1971.

1970 – 1995

Syracuse University became the second institution in the country to offer degrees in computer engineering when it established its programs in 1971. Programs in environmental engineering were also started that year. In 1985, manufacturing engineering and engineering physics programs were established.

The Center for Advanced Technology in Computer Applications and Software Engineering was created in 1984 under the leadership of Dr. Bradley J. Strait, professor of electrical engineering, who served as dean of the college from 1981-1984 and 1989-1992. The Northeast Parallel Architectures Center, an interdisciplinary center for high-performance computing, followed in 1987, and the Center for Hypersonics, supported by NASA to focus on studies in air and space travel, was created in 1993.

Interdisciplinary programs in computer and information science were established at Syracuse University in 1966, and a separate School of Computer and Information Science was created in 1976. In 1992, the College of Engineering and the School of Computer and Information Science were united to form the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

1995 – 2005

The College unveiled a $4.5 million environmental systems complex in Fall 2001. This facility provides sophisticated research and teaching space for programs in environmental, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering.

In May 2001, a consortium of colleges and universities, led by the College, were awarded $15.9 million by the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Research to fund the establishment of the New York Environmental Quality Systems Center at Syracuse University.

Also in 2001, the College received a $3 million grant from NASA and the State of New York to establish the Advanced Interactive Discovery Environment for Engineering Education, a state-of-the-art virtual learning environment.

And, a Department-of-Energy-funded Industrial Assessment Center was established to assist manufacturing facilities in New York State by through energy reduction, waste stream minimization, productivity optimization, and increases in efficiency.

Eric F. Spina was named Dean of the College at the end of 2003 and went on to serve as the Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University until 2015.

2005 – 2015

In 2005, The Department of Bioengineering and Neuroscience and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science merged to form the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering in 2005.
Link Hall was expanded in 2008 with “Link+,” a five-story, interdisciplinary wing built onto the north side of the building. The addition houses state-of-the-art research laboratories for the College. Dean Laura J. Steinberg joined the College in the same year.

The College continued to expand its resources in 2010 with the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute (SBI), focusing on research in biomaterials, smart medical devices, and biological/tissue-engineered constructs.

The same year, the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) opened in Downtown Syracuse. Within the Syracuse CoE, more than 200 private companies, organizations, and academic institutions create new products and services in indoor environmental quality, clean and renewable energy, and water resource management. It is home to many of the College’s mechanical and aerospace engineering labs.

The Center for Information and Systems Assurance and Trust (CISAT) was also established in 2010 to explore new ideas in information and systems assurance and trust by bringing together faculty from the College of Engineering, the College of Law, the School of Information Studies, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

In 2015, the College once again gained new leadership as Teresa A. Dahlberg was selected as the new Dean of the College.

2016 and Beyond

At the beginning of 2019, Can Isik, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, became interim dean of the college, after Dahlberg announced that she would assume the role of vice chancellor and provost at Texas Christian University.

J. Cole Smith was named as Dean of the College in the Fall of 2019. Smith came to Syracuse University from Clemson University where he had been associate provost for academic initiatives and previously served as chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering.

Today, the College of Engineering and Computer Science is recognized nationally for excellence in teaching and research, balancing its commitment to excellence in education, in engineering, and computer science with the leadership role it plays in exploring emerging and innovative technologies.