History of ECE

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering History at MSU

Electrical engineering became a formal part of Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) in 1909 when the Division of Engineering was established. The new division had four units, including physics and electrical engineering. In 1916, the electrical engineering department was established separate from physics. For a period of time, it was named Electrical Engineering and Systems Science. In 1947 the Electrical Engineering building was built, (now know as the Computer Center) and housed MSU’s first mainframe computer, the MISTIC. In 1998, the department changed its name to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Today, the department consists of approximately 42 full-time faculty members, over 700 undergraduate students in electrical and computer engineering, and over 160 graduate students.

EE Building


1893 – First course in electrical engineering, offered under the Department of Physics 1901 – Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering established 1907 – A new Engineering Building was built, featuring over 40 labs and lecture rooms. 1915 – Department of Electrical Engineering separated from the Physics Department 1917 – R.E. Olds gifted $100,000 to rebuild the new (Olds Hall of) Engineering building. 1947 – Electrical Engineering Building established, (now known as the Computer Center) 1969 – Department renamed Department of Electrical Engineering and Systems Science 1962 – A new Engineering Building was constructed on Shaw Lane. 1988 – Name changes to Department of Electrical Engineering 1989 – Engineering was renovated and ECE moved to the current location (2120) 1998 – Department becomes the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 2000 – NSF Engineering Research Center (a partnership with MSU, U of M, and MTU) for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS) established 2002 – Fraunhofer Center for Coatings and Laser Applications established 2005 – Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Research Institute and Michigan State University Power Electronics Systems Center (ZELRI-MSU) established 2005 – High Performance Computer Center (HPCC) established 2006 – ECE Chairperson, Satish Udpa, becomes Dean for the College of Engineering 2006 – Elias Strangas and Fang Zheng Peng received funding from the 21st Century Jobs Fund Award from the State of Michigan 2007 – Timothy Grotjohn becomes ECE Chairperson If you know what the picture below is and how it was used, please let us know! G. Brendel EE 1958 emailed the following possibility: "It appears to be an EAI analog computer, possibly a PACE TR-48 (the left 2/3rds); lower right is perhaps some sort of digital interface?" Thanks Mr. Brendel.

Old EE Lab

Department Chairs

1901-1904 Martin D. Atkins (physics and electrical engineering) 1904-191–Arthur Rodney Sawyer (physics and electrical engineering) 1916-1924–Arthur R. Sawyer (electrical engineering) 1924-1947–L.S. Foltz 1947-195 –Ira B. Baccus 1957-1965–Lawrence Von Tersch 1965-1968–Harry G. Hedges, acting (Class photo above-first row, 4th from left) 1968-1976–Herman E. Koenig 1976-1987–John B. Kreer 1987-1989–Harriett Rigas 1989-2000–Jes Asmussen, Jr. 2000-2001 -Diane Rover 2001-2005–Satish Udpa  2005-2007–Timothy Grotjohn, acting - 2007-Pres.-Timothy Grotjohn

Class Photo From 1957 Class photo from 1957