As early as 1873, civil engineering was taught at Valparaiso University. Sisters Ethel and Merle McCall were the first women engineering graduates, each receiving civil engineering degrees in 1915. Full four-year programs were established in 1920, with offerings in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. During World War II, with the shortage of male students, the program was temporarily reduced to two years at Valparaiso University followed by two years at Purdue University.
After the war, four-year engineering programs were reinstated on campus through the initiative of students who raised funds and then designed and built the new engineering laboratory building. The first post-World War II degrees were offered in 1951 in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. The Indiana Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, was chartered in 1963.
In 1968 the College of Engineering moved to the newly constructed Gellersen Engineering and Mathematics Center. This facility was provided through the generosity of the late William A. Gellersen of Oakland, Calif. The building, located on the eastern edge of the campus, houses faculty offices, classrooms, and laboratories.
The optional cooperative education program was initiated in 1983, and the first group of cooperative education students graduated in 1986.