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Mechanical engineering was one of the first majors offered to students when Iowa State College (as it was then called) first opened its doors in 1869. In addition to providing instruction for students, the department and its associated workshops manufactured tables, chairs and other equipment used on campus during the early years of the university. The ME department played an important role in the war efforts for both the First and Second World Wars by offering its facilities and faculty to train mechanics, machinists and other specialists during the war periods. The department, and university as a whole, saw tremendous enrollment growth during the post war periods, which led to an expansion of the department’s facilities and faculty. The university’s first female ME student completed her studies in 1908, while the department’s first African American alumnus graduated in 1914. Two other ME alums have even gone on to serve Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the fall of 2016, Iowa State’s ME department surpassed Georgia Tech to become the largest undergraduate ME department in the country. 150 Years of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University tells the proud history of the ME department, as well as the nuclear engineering department (which was eventually administered by ME), from its beginnings to where it is now in this interesting, visually-engaging book.
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