The Beginning of the School of Engineering

After the Civil War, the University opened again in 1865. The student body consisted of young men who had come from families which were formerly rich, but because of the devastation of the war, were no longer wealthy and thus, although as ill-prepared as the first class, studied with a determination born of necessity. In 1865, a chairman of physics, astronomy, and civil engineering was established and first held by General Alexander P. Stewart (for only a few months) and then General Francis A. Shoup, both generals of the Confederate Army. This chair was discontinued in 1868, but a new chair of mathematics and civil engineering was established in 1872. This was discontinued in 1875 and engineering was dropped from the curriculum until 1900. During the span of 1865-1875, twenty students pursued a program in civil engineering, but only two graduated. The first civil engineering graduate was William Henry Calhoun from Memphis in 1872. The second was John Hull Wildy from Los Angeles in 1874. During this period, specific courses taught included mechanical drawing, surveying, descriptive geometry, mechanics, hydraulics, materials, framed structures, masonry, and highway construction. From 1875 to 1900, only courses in surveying, mechanics, and descriptive geometry were taught.

The board of Trustees officially established the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi in 1900. Probably the most endeared professor and scholar at Ole Miss, Dr. Alfred Hume, taught surveying and drawing that year. Dr. Hume came to Ole Miss in 1890 from Vanderbilt University where he had earned the degrees of Bachelor of Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Doctor of Science. Dr. Hume later became Chancellor of the University. Dr. Hume must be considered as the single man who did the most to start the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi. A chair of electricity and electrical engineering was also established in 1900. This chair was filled by Professor Douglass S. Anderson who was also given the task of building and setting into operation the University electric light plant.

The Lyceum

The early 1900's saw a remarkable growth in engineering education at Ole Miss. In 1903, two wings were added to the Lyceum to provide laboratory and classroom space for the Engineering School. In 1908, two new faculty chairs were established, a chair of municipal and sanitary engineering and a chair in geology. The program grew from 15 students, one professor, no classrooms, and 12 units of study in 1900 to 200 students, three professors, seven classrooms and 50 course units in 1909.

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