Summary: 175 ears
ne hundred and seventy-five years ago, the Board of Visitors made civil
engineering a formal course of study at the University of Virginia. In
doing so, it set an example that guides the Engineering School today.
In 1836, the board was responding to the needs of a nation embracing the
Industrial Revolution. The United States required engineers to build machinery for
its factories, bridges for its turnpikes, and locks for its canals. The University created
a "department" of engineering to prepare young people to take on these challenges.
Service to society remains the primary purpose of the School of Engineering and
Applied Sciences. Our responsibility is to equip the current generation of students
with the knowledge they need to build the infrastructure of the 21st century.
In creating a school of civil engineering, the Board of Visitors also
demonstrated its openness to innovation. At the time, there were just three
institutions of higher learning in the United States wholly devoted to engineering
instruction. With its 1836 resolution, the University of Virginia became the first
enduring engineering program established in the South and the first in the nation
at a comprehensive university.