Engineering @ 175

Publication Date

This is the first in a series of articles on engineering at Union. Future issues will profile engineering alumni and the future of engineering within the liberal arts.

The Whiple Bridge

The Whipple Bridge in the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve in Rexford, just a few miles from campus, is still in use today as a pedestrian bridge.

An early mechanical engineering lab.

An early mechanical engineering lab.

WANTED: You engineering story
We are soliciting recollections, photos (1 MB or larger) and other materials from alumni. Please send to magazine@union.edu.

Though we acknowledge 1845 as the start of engineering at Union, the seeds were sown as early as 1802, when the first course on surveying was taught.

Throughout most of the College's history, engineering within the context of the liberal arts setting has made Union unique. The College's location near the Erie Canal, major railroads and the headquarters of General Electric also made it a natural leader in engineering education.

The history of engineering is traced in a new online exhibit, "Brick by Brick: 175 Years of Engineering at Union College, 1845-2020."

The presentation was curated by Matthew Golebiewski, project archivist, with materials and assistance from Schaffer Library's Special Collections and Archives. It includes a video by Rebecca Cortez, professor of mechanical engineering and director of engineering.

LEFT: Prof. William Gillespie, considered the founder of engineering at the College, began teaching civil engineering at Union in 1845.  RIGHT: Squire Whipple, Class of 1830, civil engineer and author, was a pioneer of bridge building whose spans were ubiquitous along the Erie Canal.

LEFT: Prof. William Gillespie, considered the founder of engineering at the College, began teaching civil engineering at Union in 1845. RIGHT: Squire Whipple, Class of 1830, civil engineer and author, was a pioneer of bridge building whose spans were ubiquitous along the Erie Canal.

 Florence Folger

Notable among the male graduates at Commencement in 1925, Florence Folger Buckland, third from left, was a GE employee and MIT grad who earned a master's in electrical engineering some 45 years before coeducation.

Christie Dionisos '19 in the phasor lab, a venue for research at the interface of electrical engineering and music

Christie Dionisos '19 in the phasor lab, a venue for research at the interface of electrical engineering and music.

Union College magazine covers

Union College

A magazine for alumni and friends

MAGAZINE HOMEPAGE