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Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing

  • Engineering Students circa 1900

Our History

Engineering has been taught at the University of South Carolina for over 150 years. In 2009, former and current faculty, staff, and students celebrated our 100th anniversary as our own College. Below is a timeline of our milestones with the University over the past 200 years.

1801: South Carolina College chartered

1805: South Carolina College opens

1848: Engineering classes taught in senior year

1861: Civil War begins; SC College closed

1865: Civil War ends; SC College becomes University of South Carolina with engineering, agriculture, law and medicine taught

1866: E.P. Alexander is first professor of engineering

1877-1880: School closed

1880: South Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts opens. Engineering taught within this college. Degrees given in civil and mining engineering.

1894: South Carolina College offers unauthorized B.S. in Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering; since then, engineering degrees offered continuously

1902: Physics/Engineering professor Benjamin Sloan becomes President of South Carolina College; Prof. Colcock (college dean, 1908-1912) becomes responsible for SC College's (now UofSC) mascot being called the "Game Cocks."

1908: Department of Engineering created; graduate degrees offered in Civil and Electrical Engineering added — awarded for total of five years study

1909: School of Engineering created; Civil engineer F. Horton Colcock named first dean. Classrooms in Davis College and New Science Building (Barnwell)

1912: Civil engineer M. Goode Homes becomes "Professor in Charge" of School of Engineering

1917: Five-year "Cooperative Engineering Degree" begins

1926: Civil engineer Robert L. Sumwalt hired

1942: Sumwalt named dean

1950: First master's degree is offered

1952: New engineering building is built, later named for Sumwalt

1955: Research activity begins

1959: Sumwalt becomes president of the university; Electrical engineering buys school's first computer for $55,000

1961: Doctoral program established

1962: School of Engineering renamed College of Engineering

1966: First Ph.D.s awarded in engineering to Samuel Lee Torrence (Chem) and Tsung-Ming Tai (Chem)

1969: The distance education program APOGEE (A Program of Graduate Engineering Education) started, credited for forging close relationships between university and industry

1987: Swearingen Engineering Center built, adding more than five acres of floor space to the college footprint

1993: Renovations to SCE&G annex completed (300 Main building), adding 65 labs and 165,000 sq. feet

1994: SCE&G buildings renovated and occupied by the College of Engineering

1999: February 25 – College of Engineering becomes College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT)

2000: Department of Computer Science moves from the College of Science and Mathematics to COEIT and becomes the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

2007: April 20 – College of Engineering and Information Technology becomes the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC). September – John Swearingen, 1938 chemical engineering grad and building namesake, passes away at the age of 89.

2008: CEC introduces ECELS (Engineering and Computing Expanded LIFE Scholarships) – the first program of its kind in the state

2009: May 16 – CEC celebrates 100th anniversary with guest speaker Andrew Card ('71, Civil); Dean Michael Amiridis becomes University Provost.

2011: Dr. Tony Ambler becomes Dean. College receives top state and national rankings from the National Research Council. Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research founded with donations from Darla Moore, Anita Zucker and Marva Smalls. 

2012: Biomedical Engineering becomes ABET accredited. Executive Masters Programs in Engineering Management approved.

2013: College receives three "Best Of..." top rankings from US News & World Report (Grad Schools: Engineering, Grad Schools: Chemical Engineering, and Online Programs: Grad Education – APOGEE ranked 28th in the nation).

2016: Dr. Hossein Haj-Hariri becomes Dean. 

2017: Department of Integrated Information Technology, with an ABET-accredited undergraduate computing program and innovative Master of Health Information Technology degree, joins CEC.

2018: Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program, first in South Carolina, enrolls first students. Artificial Intelligence Institute opens.  

2020: Mechanical Engineering professor Michael Sutton joins Chemical Engineering professor John Monnier as CEC’s second member of the National Academy of Engineering.

2021: Mechanical Engineering professor Frederick Dryer elected to the National Academy of Engineering. 

2024: The University of South Carolina officially renames the College of Engineering and Computing to the Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing in honor of a transformative $30 million gift from Alex ’83 and Kristin Molinaroli. The gift recognized multiple generations of the Molinaroli family, including seven USC alumni, many of whom are graduates of the engineering and computing programs.

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