History of the department

Founding trustees standing on steps

What became the present Department of Electrical Engineering, the second branch of engineering to have been established at Tufts, was formally created by a Trustees action on November 10, 1890 within the College of Letters and became operative in 1891. The limited equipment available was at first located in the "College Edifice" which was named Ballou Hall in 1892 at the request of the students. The building, constructed in 1853, was the center of academic facilities and activities, including the chapel, library, recitation rooms, and laboratories. Two rooms on the third floor were assigned to Physics, one for lectures and the other as a laboratory.

When electrical engineering was first offered it was not contemplated that it would be likely to have more than one or two dozen students at most. By 1894, there were over a hundred students and they had nearly submerged the Department of Physics.

Desperately needed relief for housing finally came in 1900 with the construction of Robinson Hall. When the structure was opened that year, the physics department and all of the engineering work was transferred there from Ballou Hall. The department was a beehive of activity in the new building as enrollment increased. Laboratories were rapidly filled, especially after laboratory work was extended to the freshmen and sophomore years, and both new and used equipment was acquired. In 1901, Tufts awarded 13 degrees in engineering, nine of which were B.S. degrees in electrical engineering.

Chairs of the ECE Department:
Thomas Vandervelde (2021 - present)
Eric Miller (2012 - 2021)
Jeffrey A. Hopwood (2007 - 2012)
Joseph P. Noonan (2006 - 2007)
Mohammed Afsar (2004 - 2006)
Robert Gonsalves (2002 - 2004)

Chairs of the EECS Department:
James Schmolze (2000 - 2002)
Robert Gonsalves (1996 - 2000)
Denis Fermental (1994 - 1996)

Chairs of the EE Department:
Denis Fermental (1988 - 1994)
Edward J. Maskalenko (1975 - 1988)
Arthur Uhlir, Jr. (1970 - 1975)
Alvin H. Howell (1941 - 1970)
Eric A. Walker (1938 - 1940)
Edwin B. Rollins (1918 - 1927, 1929 - 1938)
William Leslie Hooper (1883 - 1918)