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History

The idea of a school of practical science had been maturing in the minds of Chancellor Sandford Fleming and Principal Grant for some time and many Kingstonians supported the idea. In 1887, John Carruthers provided money for a Science Hall, which was opened in 1891. When the School of Mining was founded two years later, Science Hall became its home. Dr. W.L. Goodwin of Queen's Chemistry Department was appointed Director of the School. A great deal of the credit for the development of the School of Mining must be given to Dr. Goodwin, who constantly pressed for more and better equipment, and for larger and better accommodation.

 

A Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science was created within Queen's College in 1893 with Professor Nathan F. Dupuis as Dean. The Faculty awarded degrees to graduates of the School of Mining. For several years all departments of the School of Mining were housed in Science Hall. As the School grew, provincial government grants were made available to provide new buildings. Ontario Hall was built for Mineralogy, Geology and Physics; and Fleming Hall was constructed for the Departments of Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. A mining laboratory building, or Mill, was added. Gordon Hall was built a few years later for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; and Nicol Hall was provided for Mining and Metallurgy.

 

Five regular degree students were enrolled for the first session of the School, and a number of others were enrolled in diploma courses. Emphasis was on mining, chemistry and mineralogy, with some instruction being given in other branches of engineering. Beginning in 1896-97, graduates in mining received the degree B.Sc., with provision also for the degree of M.E.(Mining Engineer) on proof that three months had been spent working in a mine. By 1905-06, the degree of Master of Science had appeared. Degrees were awarded by Queen's University, rather than by the School of Mining - further evidence of the close affiliation that existed between the institutions. (It is interesting to note the fee structure in those early days. The fees established for first year were $40, for second year $45, third year $50, and fourth year $55. Registration cost $1, the annual examinations $3, and graduation $20. In 1900 one student reported his total expenditures for first year, including fees, books, lodging and train fare, were less than $200).

 

In 1912 Queen's College separated from the Church and became Queen's University with a Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. By 1914 there were twenty-nine faculty members and two hundred and forty-six students. Most of the faculty and engineering students interrupted their teaching and studies to join the Canadian Army and served with great distinction in World War I. Amalgamation of the School with the University was accomplished in 1916. The School of Mining became the "Queen's University Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science", with Dr. Goodwin as Dean.

 

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has grown steadily in size and reputation in the intervening years. Now, almost twenty-seven hundred undergraduate students are enrolled and there are over one hundred and sixty faculty members in the ten engineering programs. Instruction in engineering programs is provided in both modern and historical buildings with extensive teaching and research laboratories and computing facilities.

 

Since its inception, the Applied Science Faculty and its predecessor, the School of Mines, have graduated over 15,000 engineers, many of whom have had distinguished careers nationally and internationally. Queen's engineering alumni are involved in engineering projects around the world. The Faculty celebrated its centennial in 1993.

 

Further information about the history and development of the Faculty can be found in Professor Richardson's book Queen's Engineers. All proceeds from the sale of Professor Richardson's book will be directed to financial support of students and student projects.

Walter Light Hall
Walter Light Hall

As Walter Light Hall turns 20 years old this year we will be presenting some stories surrounding the building and dedication as well as some historical information about the Department. The first story we present is a history of our Department written in 1989.

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