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History

Russ College history

 

The Russ College has been breaking ground throughout our history. After Ohio University was chartered in 1804 – the first land-grant college in the Northwest Territory transferred to the United States in 1783 – surveying courses were offered to early students of the nascent institution.

Formal civil engineering courses first appeared at Ohio University before the Civil War, and four-year electrical engineering courses of study began here in 1890 — one of the first higher education institutions in the country to offer them.

Our technology program dates back to 1904, when "manual training" was offered as a summer course. In 1914, the department of industrial arts was formed. We offered our first industrial technology bachelor's degree in 1956 and eventually established the modern Department of Engineering Technology and Management.

When Ohio University reorganized in 1935, it established the College of Applied Science, which would later become the College of Engineering in 1963. By 1939, we were producing both civil and electrical engineering graduates and, with the advent of flight training in 1940, aviation pioneers who helped build our country's infrastructure and industry following the Great Depression and into the second World War.

Following the industrial demand of the postwar years, mechanical engineering became a department in 1947 offering an optional program in industrial engineering. Industrial and systems engineering eventually became an independent department twenty years later.

We were on the cutting edge again offering computer programming courses in 1958, and established a distinct degree program in computer science by 1968.

Following an $8 million bequest from Paul C. and Beth K. Stocker in 1979, renovations to the former Crook Hall dormitory on West Green began in 1982, and all the campus engineering education and research facilities were brought under one roof in Stocker Center in 1986.

The college was renamed in 1994 to honor devoted alumni Fritz J. Russ (BSEE '46, HON '75) and his wife, Dolores H. Russ, who bequeathed a transformational $124 million gift to the college, still the largest gift to any public engineering college in the U.S. Their dedication to the profession of engineering, their belief in its ability to change lives, and their generosity allow us to educate future engineers who work toward the greater good.

In 2010, the Russ College and the Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine unveiled the Academic & Research Center, a state-of-the-art learning and research facility built with private funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and alumni Charles R. (BSME '66, HON '05) and Marilyn Y. Stuckey. The building features modern learning studios and project rooms, connected laboratory suites, a three-story project hangar and an atrium living room with movable furniture, encouraging collaboration between the medical and engineering fields.

We continue our legacy of firsts as the only engineering and technology college to clearly identify our purpose as engineers and technologists to create for good. Our students, faculty and staff apply our talents and knowledge to work together to improve the human condition and make a sustainable mark on the world.