Thayer School of Engineering, Dean records, 1867 - 1996Manuscript DA-4


The Thayer School of Civil Engineering was established at Dartmouth College in 1867 through the beneficence of General Sylvanus Thayer, Dartmouth 1807, a graduate of West Point and superintendent of the Academy from 1817 until 1833. Through gifts and communications between Thayer and the College, 1867-1871, the course of study and requirements for admission were set. Robert Fletcher, a West Point graduate, was selected by Thayer to be the first director. Fletcher served as director and professor until his retirement in 1918, remaining involved with the School until his death in 1936. The first students were enrolled in 1871. The chief administrator of the School was called Director until the name change to Dean took place in 1925.

The school changed its name to the Thayer School of Engineering in 1943. Originally granting only a degree of Master of Civil Engineering, the Thayer School now grants a Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Management, and a PhD, as well as combined engineering and medical degrees in conjunction with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Prior to the construction of Cummings Hall in 1938, the Thayer School occupied the experimental farm building on North Park Street, which had been vacated by the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts upon that college's removal to Durham in 1892, and Bissell Hall, when it was vacated after the construction of the new gymnasium in 1911. Cummings Hall was expanded in the 1940's, the Murdough Center, constructed 1971-73, provided space for both Thayer and Tuck libraries, and the MacLean Engineering Science Center was completed in 2006.

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