A Second Golden Age | History | NC State ISE

A student working in the 1980's.

A Second Golden Age

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.

Explosive growth


Anderson steps down

The headship of Cliff Anderson ends after 16 years as Department Head is the longest tenure in our department’s history.

William Smith

William Smith becomes the Department Head of Industrial Engineering, having previously served on the faculty at Lehigh University.


Furniture gets funding

The Furniture R&D Applications Institute, headed by IE professor Anco Prak, is funded by the National Science Foundation.


A New IIE President

William Smith becomes the 1975-1976 National President of IIE.


A Final Act

One of Smith’s final acts as President is presenting the IIE Fellow Award to John Canada.


record numbers

A record number of BSFMM degrees are awarded (29 in total).

record Growth

Graduate program enrollment hit 50 for the first time.

C.A. Anderson Outstanding IE Faculty Award

The first C.A. Anderson Outstanding IE Faculty Award, established by the undergraduate students in IIE, ΑΠΜ and the Furniture Club, was given to Jim Tompkins.



FMM degree program enrollment peaks at 92 students.

Darrell Rice

Darrell Rice replaces Haywood Burnette as Park Shops Lab Manager.

IE Department Plan for the 80s


IE 50th Anniversary

A 50th Anniversary Convocation of industry, academic and student leaders is held in August, resulting in a strategic plan entitled “IE Department Plan for the 80s.”

IIE REgion III & Iv Student Conference

Our undergraduate student chapter of IIE hosted the IIE Region III & IV Student Conference on the NC State campus for the first time.


The big three-double-o

IE undergrad enrollment climbs rapidly, hitting 300 students.


Accelerated Growth

IE undergraduate enrollment continues accelerating, hitting 470 170 more than the previous year!

Smith Departs

Bill Smith steps down as department head.

Canada Takes the lead

John Canada serves as acting head after Smith steps down.


Thom Hodgson

Thom Hodgson replaces Canada as the new Head of the Industrial Engineering Department.

Birth of IMSEI

Hodgson, working with Associate Dean of Engineering Carl Zorowski, initiates the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute (IMSEI) graduate program.

Enrollment Peaks

Undergraduate Enrollment peaks at an all-time high of 535!


Graduates surpass 100

The total number of students receiving the BSIE degree tops 100 for the first time. 122 BSIE degrees are awarded.

Kathy Rau

Kathy Rau earned the first-ever College of Engineering Faculty Senior Scholar Award, recognizing her as the most outstanding rising senior in engineering. 


Most Outstanding Chapter

IIE student chapter earns IIE’s “Most Outstanding Chapter” award after 6th, 4th, and 2nd place finishes over the previous three years.


One Hundred and fifty

All degrees granted by the department in one year surpassed 150, an amount not realized before or since.


Stephen Roberts

Stephen Roberts is named IE Department Head at NC State after serving several years on the faculty at Purdue University,


Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center

The Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center is established with Tom Culbreth as Director.


BSIE, Furniture Manufacturing track

The BSFMM degree is replaced with the BSIE, Furniture Manufacturing track.

Paul Bottoms was awarded the first BSIE, FM degree.

Graduate Numbers Climb

IE graduate enrollment topped 100 for the first time.

Wilbur Meier

Wilbur Meier joins the IE faculty full-time after serving as NC State’s Dean of Engineering for two years.


The Ergo Center

the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina was formed in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Labor with Mahmoud Ayoub as Director.


Distance Education.com

Former ISE Associate Head Gary Mirka taught the state’s first online, real-time, Internet-based, distance education class to the University of North Carolina at Asheville students.


Jim Wilson gets “promoted”

Jim Wilson becomes Department Head. He is the first department head to be “promoted” into the position, joining the IE faculty in 1991.