A Brave New Millennium | History | NC State ISE

Fitts-Woolard Hall | NC State ISE

A Brave New Millennium

The following departmental history was written using the research presented by Clarence Smith, ISE assistant department head, at the department’s 75th Anniversary Celebration held November 3, 2006. This history is based on previous works prepared by former department heads Robert Carson and Cliff Anderson, as well as research conducted in the University Archives of the DH Hill Library. Information has also been acquired from the College of Engineering to help provide greater context. The latest information was added by ISE Communications with assistance from Paul Cohen and Julie Swann.

A New Millennium


A Brave New World

As the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2000, the world looks radically different from a century ago. With the advent of the Internet, Industrial Engineering has a wide frontier to explore in the brave new world of the 21st century.


Higher Education Improvement bond

The people of North Carolina pass the Higher Education Improvement bond. This bond provides more than $468 million for the renovation and construction of new buildings at NC State.

Relocating the college

Using the Higher Education Improvement Bond, the College of Engineering begins making plans to migrate to updated spaces.


Thom Hodgson named into the National Academy of Engineering
National Academy of Engineering Award

Thom Hodgson is awarded the National Academy of Engineering Award.


The Engineering Oval begins construction

Ground is broken for Engineering Building I (EBI), the first of five planned engineering buildings on Centennial.


Electron Beam Melting machine
Electron Beams

IE Department becomes the first academic department in the world to own an Electron Beam Melting machine

Engineering Building II

A groundbreaking ceremony is held for Engineering Building II (EBII).


Engineering Building I opens its doors

Engineering Building I is completed. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) move in.


Advisory Board Member Ed Fitts
Edward P. Fitts

IE alumni Edward P. Fitts donates 10 million dollars to the IE Department.

First Floor of EBII is open for classes

The first floor of Engineering Building II opened just in time for fall classes.

Daniels Hall

ISE returns to Daniels Hall after being in Riddick for 55 years.


The Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)

The IE Department is renamed the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering(ISE). ISE becomes NC State’s first named academic department.

Masnari Steps Down as Dean of Engineering

Nino A. Masnari steps down as Dean of Engineering after serving 10 years.

Dean Louis Martin Vega
Louis Martin-Vega

Louis A. Martin-Vega becomes the Dean of Engineering. Martin-Vega is the first Hispanic dean at NC State.

IIE/Rockwell Software Student Simulation Competition

ISE undergraduate simulation team wins first place in the IIE/Rockwell Software Student Simulation Competition. They have placed in the “Final 5” seven times in the past eight years. This is a record unrivaled by any other school.

IIE/Pritsker Doctoral Dissertation Award Competition

ISE students place in the top three of the IIE/Rockwell Software Student Simulation Competition for the ninth year in a row, setting an international record.

Valedictorian Quadrivium

Four ISE students (a quadrivium, if you will) are recognized as valedictorians.


Paul Cohen, Department Head
Paul Cohen

Paul Cohen becomes the new Department Head of ISE, replacing James Wilson. Cohen is also named the Edgar S. Woolard Distinguished Professor.

2007 – 2009

The Great Recession

The Great Recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. It is marked as a period of general economic decline.


Preparing a New Home

Plans are made for ISE to join the rest of the College of Engineering on Centennial Campus. An architect is chosen to design Engineering Building IV.



The ISE department received enough funding from the State of North Carolina to build EBIV, However, due to the Great Recession, the State had to revoke its funding as other critical areas suffered.

first female department head, Julie Swann



The Department welcomed its first female department head, Julie Swann, from Georgia Tech.

Fitts-Woolard Hall | NC State ISE


Fitts and Woolard fund ISE’s New Home

A generous donation by Ed Fitts and his friend, and fellow ISE alumnus, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., allows the department to gain enough funding to begin constructing the new building on Centennial Campus, dubbed Fitts-Woolard Hall in honor of the duo.

December 12, 2019

Mysterious Illness in Wuhan, China

A cluster of patients in the city of Wuhan begin to experience the symptoms of an atypical pneumonia-like illness.


Daniels hall purged of its name

The NC State Board of Trustees votes to change the name of Daniels Hall due to Josephus Daniels’s involvement in the Wilmington Massacre – the only successful coup of a legally elected government in United States history. The building is now called 111 Lampe Drive.

The WHO names the Mysterious Illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the illness as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov). It is also widely known as “COVID”, “Coronavirus”, “Corona” and “SARS-CoV-2”.

2019 Novel Coronavirus

COVID reaches North Carolina on March 3rd. On March 11th, the WHO declares a global pandemic and NC State extends spring break by a week. By March 15th, classes move online and students are moved off campus.

A new home for ISE

Fitts-Woolard Hall is finished and the ISE departments moves into their new home.



The ISE department continued to expand with the creation of the Master’s of Engineering Management (MEM) degree program.

Master’s of Engineering Management (MEM)