University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering | University of Illinois Archives

Name: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Historical Note:

Electrical Engineering courses started as a division of the Physics Department in 1891. The Trustees approved a course in Electrical Engineering in 1891.1 The University of Illinois was comparatively late in offering a course in Electrical Engineering, but by 1894 the Department compared favorably with other Engineering Departments in equipment and facilities.2 The work of administration and instruction in Physics and Electrical Engineering separated temporarily into two departments in 1895, but were joined thereafter until 1898 when the department of Electrical Engineering was established as a separate unit.3 In 1919 the objectives were: to prepare men to engage in design, care and maintenance of electrical apparatus of all kinds.4 In 1972 the department's aims were to prepare men for responsible engineering positions in research, development, design, operation, sales, and administration in the fields of communication, computers, electronics and electrical power.5 In 1940, the Department absorbed the Department of Railway Engineering and its laboratory when that department was dissolved.6 Interdisciplinary courses are offered in conjunction with the departments of Astronomy, Biophysics, Computer Science, Mathematics, and the Coordinated Science Laboratory.7 From 1968 onward, computer science starts making an appearance in the electrical engineering curriculum. A specified sequence of electrical engineering courses enables specialization in the area of computer science.8

On February 16, 1984, the Board of Trustees received for record the president's report of Senate approval of a name change to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to reflect "the breadth of emphasis" in the department.9

ECE includes the following departments:

--Analog Computer Laboratory

--Biophysical Research Laboratory

--Vermilion River Observatory:

Completed in 1962, the Vermilion River Observatory was the site of the University's radio telescope, which was used in the study of signals from radio sources in space. The project was financed by the Office of Naval Research and the

Astronomy and Electrical Engineering Departments:

--Radio Research Laboratory (1974)

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 16th Report, March 11, 1891, p. 75.

2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 17th Report, 1894, p. 332.

3. Baker and King, History, 1:443.

4. University of Illinois Bulletin, Vol 16, no. 19, Jan. 6, 1919, p. 10.

5. Undergraduate Study Catalog, 1971-72, p. 285.

6. Baker and King, History, 1:504.

7. Research in Electrical Engineering, 1966, p. 88, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois.

8. University of Illinois Bulletin, Vol. 65, No. 109, May 1, 1968.

9. Board of Trustees Transactions, 62nd Report, Feb. 16, 1984, p. 485.



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