50 Year Timeline

This timeline highlights 50 years of innovation, success, growth and fun.

July 1964

School of Technology implemented

The School of Technology came into existence on July 1, 1964, with Charles H. Lawshe as the inaugural dean.

The new school housed the Division of Applied Technology, the Department of Technical and Applied Arts and the Department of Industrial Education. The Division of Applied Technology included the departments of Nursing, Aviation Technology, Architectural and Civil Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology.

The school included 44 faculty in West Lafayette and 66 at the regional campuses.

Pictured: Denver Sams, head of the Department of Technical and Applied Arts; Harry Belman, head of the Department of Industrial Education; Helen Johnson, head of the Department of Nursing; George McNelly, director of the Division of Applied Technology and associate dean; James Maris, head of the Department of Aviation Technology; Charles Hutton, head of the Department of Architectural and Civil Engineering Technology; Gil Rainey, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering Technology; and in the front, Charles Lawshe, first dean of the School of Technology.

July 1965

Two new departments activated

Electrical Engineering Technology and Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Technology departments were established July 1, 1965.

July 1966

George W. McNelly named dean

November 1968

Department of Computer Technology authorized for regional campuses

July 1975

First Co-op programs approved for Technology

Mechanical Technology and Supervision co-ops were approved first, in 1975.

Other programs and their start dates were:

  • Electrical Technology, 1977
  • Aviation and Computer, 1984
July 1978

Computer Technology Department started in West Lafayette

The Department of Computer Technology officially started in 1978.

It is currently known as the Department of Computer and Information Technology.

July 1979

Department of Nursing moved out of school

The Department of Nursing moved from the School of Technology to the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences in 1979.

July 1983

Department of Technical Graphics created

The Engineering Graphics section of Civil Engineering transferred to the School of Technology and became the Department of Technical Graphics on July 1, 1983.

It is currently known as the Department of Computer Graphics Technology.

August 1983

Don Gentry named first Director of Statewide Technology

August 1984

CIMT program created

The Computer Integrated Manufacturing Technology program began August 15, 1984. Now known as manufacturing engineering technology, the program is a major within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology.

October 1984

Maurice G. Knoy Hall of Technology dedicated

Maurice G. Knoy Hall of Technology was formally dedicated on October 13, 1984. It was named for Knoy, a five-term member of the Board of Trustees, 1933 graduate of the mechanical engineering program and former president and CEO of Rostone Corporation.

July 1987

Don K. Gentry becomes third dean

June 1994

First Purdue Air Race Classic team

Heather Penney and Krystal Lewis became the first collegiate team to compete in the women’s Air Race Classic.

November 1994

Malaysia partnership created

The government of Malaysia, aiming to increase the quality and quantity of high-level technical manpower in its country, awarded the $20.7 million, five-year contract for faculty development and curriculum advice to the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA). Purdue International Programs and the university's School of Technology managed the Malaysia Polytechnic Development Project on behalf of the consortium. Read more.

April 1996

Epsilon Pi Tau chartered at Purdue

Charter installation for the Gamma Rho chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau, the international honorary for professions in technology

March 1997

Purdue chosen for FAA-CTI

Purdue and the Department of Aviation Technology were chosen to participate in the FAA's Collegiate Training Initiative to be a training location for potential air traffic controllers. The University continues to be part of the system.

January 1998

WIT formed

Women in Technology (WIT) organization formed.

August 1998

Weekend Master's Program approved

The Weekend Master’s Program was approved, offering a master's degree focused on industrial technology. The program has evolved into the Center for Professional Studies in Technology and Applied Research (ProSTAR), offering several master's degrees for working professionals in a variety of formats.

July 2002

Dennis Depew named dean

Dennis Depew served as dean of the College of Technology from July 2002 to June 2011.

January 2005

Named changed to College of Technology

The School of Technology was renamed College of Technology. Five other schools at Purdue also made the switch at this time.

September 2009

Niswonger Aviation Technology Building dedicated

Purdue University dedicated the newly expanded Niswonger Aviation Technology Building September 25, 2009. The addition of 18,200 square feet of learning space to the former aviation technology building helped centralize the department's operations and provided new lecture halls, classrooms, meeting rooms, a collaborative suite and a new computer laboratory. The building was also soundproofed to eliminate airplane engine noise from the nearby airport. The total project cost $7.5 million.

Pictured: Purdue Board of Trustees Chairman Keith J. Krach, President France A. Córdova, College of Technology Dean Dennis Depew, and Nikki and Scott Niswonger take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

July 2011

Gary R. Bertoline named dean

Gary R. Bertoline became dean of the College of Technology in 2011, and he continues to serve in that role.

October 2011

Solar Decathlon team places 2nd


The Purdue University Solar Decathlon team, Purdue INHome, placed second in the international U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. The university-wide team was led by students and faculty within the College of Technology. Read more about the project.

February 2014


Save the Date: February 22 - February 28, 2014

Rube Goldberg Machines Contest

Flick at Fowler - Jobs the movie

College of Technology Career Fair

FareWELcome Lunch

Early Career/ Outstanding Alumni Awards Breakfast

Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner


February 2014

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Saturday, February 22, 2013
Purdue Armory
10:30 a.m. – Doors Open
Noon – Competition Starts

Come cheer on the College of Technology’s Association of Mechanical and Electrical Technologists (AMET) team.

2014 Challenge – "Zip a Zipper"

What it is
The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is an annual national competition that challenges teams of students from middle school to college age to compete in building the most elaborate and hilarious Rube Goldberg Machine.

Rube Goldberg Contest Judging
Teams and their machines are judged on a range of criteria from complexity, machine flow, creativity, humor and story-telling -- along with the successful achievement of the task at hand.

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February 2014

Flicks at Fowler - Jobs the movie

Flick at Fowler - "Jobs"

Monday, February 22, 2014
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fowler Hall, Stewart Center

Ashton Kutcher – Steve Jobs
Josh Gad – Steve Wozniak
Dermot Mulroney – Mike Markkula
Ahna O’Reilly – Chris-Ann Brennan
Lukas Haas – Daniel Kottke
Matthew Modine – John Sculley
James Woods – Jack Dudman
J.K. Simmons – Arthur Rock
Lesley Ann Warren – Clara jobs
Ron Eldard – Rod Holt
Elden Henson – Andy Hertzfield

What’s it about?
The story of Steve Jobs' ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.

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February 2014

FareWELcome Lunch

FareWELcome Lunch (’14 May/August graduates only – BS/MS/PhD)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | South Ballroom, Purdue Memorial Union

Let us say farewell to you as a student and welcome to Purdue's longest standing tradition — joining the ranks of Boilermaker Alumni. The FareWELcome Lunch is also open to Technology faculty and staff.

Enjoy a free lunch and pick up your senior gift from the College.

Join Us!

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February 2014

Early Career & Outstanding Alumni Awards Breakfast

The College of Technology alumni awards honor those alumni who have elevated the University and college by using his/her education to improve and move the world forward.

The alumni listed below have exceeded those expectations of the University, college and their community. We honor them for harnessing the power of their Purdue degree to Imagine, Create, and Experience.

Early Career Awardees

  • Kevin Hendress (CIT ’02/MS ’04 Tech), Infrastructure Analyst, Deere & Company
  • James Milburn (BCM ’06), Owner, Milburn LLC
  • Keri Wright (AT ‘04/MS ’06 Tech), Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Asset Management, Inc.

Outstanding Technology Alumni

  • Ron Baysinger (MET ’93), Market Development Manager, Phoenix Contact
  • Tamara Fisher (CIT ’84), Product Manager, Noridian Mutual Insurance
  • Kevin Houk (ECET ’92), Solution Architect – Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation
  • Tom Kerker (BCM '84), Operations Manager, FA Wilhelm Construction
  • Brandon Oelling (CGT ’98), Senior Account Executive, Appirio

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February 2014

Distinguished Technology Alumni Dinner

The College of Technology alumni awards honors those alumni who have elevated the University and college by using his/her education to improve and move the world forward.

The alumni listed below have exceeded those expectations of the University, college and their community. We honor them for harnessing the power of their Purdue degree to Imagine, Create, and Experience.

2014 Distinguished Technology Alumni

  • James Paulsen (AT ’83) (Bio)
  • Don Scifres (TLI ’80 – OLS) (Bio)


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DTA biographies


James Paulsen BS ’83, Aviation Technology
1986-2011: U.S. Navy
2012-Present: Chief Flight Instructor, Lafayette Aviation

The Purdue Legacy

James Paulsen was drawn to Purdue, in part, by the history, legacy and reputation of its aviation program. Paulsen’s impressive aviation career, particularly his nearly four decades as a U.S. Navy officer and pilot, builds on the storied reputation of a Purdue education.
“A lifelong interest in aviation and history naturally led me to Purdue, with its pioneering interest and contribution in the development of aviation,” he says.

Career and a Calling Fulfilled

Paulsen knows college wasn’t preparation for all the challenges of a dynamic career, but he knows the foundation for 30 years in the Navy was laid with assistance from the College of Technology. What followed would fill the pages of a thrilling book or blockbuster movie. He flew FA-18s from aircraft carriers, served as a political advisor to the U.S. State Department, commanded a strike fighter squadron in combat and initiated counter-IED technologies for the Marine Corps. In addition, he led an air wing of eight squadrons of different aircraft into combat and directed human resources responsibilities for half of the Navy’s 53,000 officers.
All told, Paulsen has more than 5,000 flight hours in the cockpit, including over 3,000 hours in the FA-18 Hornet and Super Hornet. He also had 1,000 landings on the decks of nine aircraft carriers. From his years as a U.S. Navy pilot and commander and his days at Purdue, he has discovered that the dynamic nature of aviation technology demands origination and adaptability to maintain its leading edge. “I have found innovation to be a more precise description of the requirements of the world of naval aviation, and creativity is more of an element of that innovation. In my experience, that innovation has been necessary to adapt to the continuous change of the industry.”

He's Already Back

Now retired from the Navy, Paulsen enjoys a second career in aviation, returning to the Purdue region as chief flight instructor for Lafayette Aviation. And he’s reconnecting with his Purdue roots. “I have fond memories of meeting several Purdue grads and fellow naval aviators, including those who have walked on the moon.”



Donald Scifres BS ’80, Technology Leadership and Innovation
Managing Partner, VisionTech Angels
General Partner, VisionTech Partners

Dedicated to Purdue

The right learning environment can make all the difference in finding that perfect career fit. The atmosphere at Purdue allowed Donald Scifres to explore endless opportunities and pointed him toward a career that advanced his range of interests. As an alumnus, he’s still involved with Purdue as member of the John Purdue Club, President’s Council and a Life Member of the Purdue Alumni Association. Scifres recruits and promotes the careers of interns and graduating seniors and serves on the College of Technology Dean’s Executive Council. That enthusiasm shines through his participation in all aspects of Purdue life.

An Out-of-the-Box Thinker

Thinking outside the box and taking the long view of a problem are characteristics that Scifres sees as a gift. He has visualized the endless possibilities that have helped spark successful careers and businesses. Scifres feels fortunate to have a career he considers a hobby, focused on connecting quality investors to high potential earlystage companies. His time at Purdue laid that foundation “Being a bit of a contrarian thinker who many times sees the world differently than others has allowed me to imagine and pursue outcomes to help people and organizations accomplish more than they may have otherwise thought possible.”

What’s next?

Scifres sees himself as an entrepreneur and teacher. In his successful career as managing partner at VisionTech Angels and general partner of VisionTech Partners, he has connected people with complementary experiences, skills, interests and perspectives who have then been able to accomplish more as a team. “My career focus has shifted in the past several years to identifying, supporting, and investing in early-stage and high-growth technology, life science, medical device, pharma and similar businesses. I expect to continue these endeavors for the foreseeable future while allocating more time to family and not-for-profit endeavors.”

April 2014

50th Anniversary Gala Celebration

April 25, 2014
5:30 - 11:30 p.m.

What makes the College of Technology special?  The people.  Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends like you come together to shape the college, how it is perceived, and how it persists through a chaotic technological world.

This year has marked the 50th anniversary of our college. It has been a period of reflection on what sets the College of Technology apart from other areas on campus — the belief in learning by doing — but also what will propel us to our 100th year.

In September, we kicked off our celebration with a tailgate honoring our 1964 faculty and a special presentation from State Representative Sheila Klinker. Throughout the year, our departments hosted lectures, panel discussions, receptions and tours to help commemorate our 50th anniversary. We will culminate our festivities with a Gala Dinner.

Thank you for being part of this journey the last 50 years. Thank you for helping us Imagine, Create and Experience technology every day.

Ever grateful. Ever true.

Cost:  $75/person ($10 of the registration fee goes to the 50th Anniversary Endowed Scholarship)

Location: Purdue University Airport - Niswonger Aviation Technology Building


February 2015

CoT Career Fair

Students from all majors campus-wide may meet with representatives from more than 75 companies to discuss career and internship employment opportunities.

DATE: February 4, 2015  (Registration is now closed for companies)

TIME: 11:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m

PLACE: Purdue Memorial Union, North & South Ballrooms  


Career Fair Coordinator:

Vanessa Buntin
Manager of Special Events and Alumni Relations

Curt Hadley
Director of Corporate Relations

Departmental Contacts

Aviation Technology
Suzanne Coolbaugh-Walker

Building Construction Management
Dawn Lamb

Computer Graphics Technology
Regina Brown

Computer and Information Technology
Angela Murphy

Engineering Technology
Vickie Brewer

Technology Leadership & Innovation
Jill S. Albrecht