In 1795 Union College became the first college chartered by the Regents of the State of New York. The history of Engineering at Union began in 1845 when Union became the first liberal arts college to offer engineering. The first engineering department was in Civil Engineering, and was spearheaded by Union’s first engineering faculty member, W. M. Gillespie. In 1895 the Electrical Engineering program was initiated and from 1902 to 1913 it was headed by the ‘electrical wizard’ of the General Electric Company, Charles P. Steinmetz.
Union engineering and computer science faculty still reside in Steinmetz Hall. Although steam engines were studied at Union as early as 1868, and Ira N. Hollis was listed as a “Professor of Mechanical Engineering” in 1883, the Mechanical Engineering department was not formally launched until 1952 when the first class was enrolled. The Computer Science program grew out of the Electrical Engineering department in 1970. The Computer Engineering program was added in 1997, and in 2001 Computer Science became a separate department in conjunction with the Electrical Engineering department changing its name to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Bioengineering is the latest program to be introduced, in 2009, to the Union Engineering offerings.