Our History: Roots of Greatness
NYU Tandon's long history of world-changing engineering
We were founded in 1854 as Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, best known as Brooklyn Poly. In 2014 an official merger was completed with NYU — a momentous event that brought the discipline of engineering back to the university for the first time since the closing of NYU's iconic University Heights campus, home to the School of Engineering and Science, four decades earlier. The following year we became the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. But no matter what name we’ve gone by, one thing has always remained the same: our promise to harness the power of science and technology for the sake of a better society.
by Jeffery L. Rodengen
The 19th Century
The Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute is founded.
James J. Wood (1879) was responsible for the machinery that produced the distinctive cables of the Brooklyn Bridge. Arthur V. Abbott (1875) invented the coupling system for the bridge’s cables and a testing machine for the materials used in the construction.
Renamed the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn
The 20th Century
Charles R. Flint (1868) formed the Computing-Tabulating- Recording Company, which was later renamed IBM
Henry C. Goldmark (1874) coengineered the Panama Canal locks. He was later awarded a medal of honor by President Howard Taft for his crucial contribution to the project.
Professor and President Ernst Weber (‘58-’69) founded the Microwave Research Institute which developed electromagnetic and microwave defense and communication systems
Eugene Kleiner (’48) helped found Fairchild Semiconductor, a pioneer in transistor and integrated-circuit manufacturing. Kleiner later co-founded a venture capital firm that provided funding for such now-iconic companies as Amazon, Google and AOL.
The school officially becomes coed (although many women had attended and graduated during World War II)
Joseph L. Owades (’44, ’50) hit upon the formula for making the world’s first light beer.
After Apollo 11 carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the Moon, Jay Greene (‘64) manned the Flight Dynamics Console during the descent phase.
Renamed Polytechnic Institute of New York (acquired the faculty, programs and students of New York University College of Engineering)
Eleanor Baum (’64) became the first female dean of an engineering school in the United States, at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and 1995 first woman president for American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Former professor Rudolph Marcus won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems.
Charles Camarda (‘74) was chosen as an astronaut candidate by NASA and ultimately logged over 333 hours in space.
The 21st Century
The American Chemical Society designated the Polymer Research Institute as a National Historic Chemical Landmark
An affiliation is forged between Polytechnic and New York University, creating the Polytechnic Institute of NYU and paving the way for an official merger.
Ursula Burns (’80) was appointed CEO of Xerox, becoming the first African-American woman ever to head a Fortune 500 company.
Merger with New York University becomes official - name changes to the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
NYU Tandon's Future Labs (a network of startup business hubs) reports an estimated economic impact on New York City’s economy of $4.06 billion since launching in 2009.
Jelena Kovačević became the Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She is the first woman to head the school since its founding.