Building upon the excitement of last year’s celebration of 150 years of engineering at Lafayette, we are investing in every aspect of our engineering programs, including facilities upgrades, increasing the size of the faculty, and adding state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, we have committed to making Lafayette more affordable for all families, thereby enabling us to recruit the best students from all segments of society. To help these goals become reality, we are making the largest investment in our engineering programs in the history of the College. Over the last three years we have raised more than $20 million for engineering programs and students specifically, with the goal of raising a total exceeding $25 million.
Results of our efforts are having a dramatic impact in a variety of ways. For example, in the area of diversity, Lafayette’s engineering programs now have 36 percent women students, highest in the history of the College. This number stood at 25 percent just five years ago and compares with a national average of 18 percent. As of next academic year, our tenure-track engineering faculty will consist of nearly 30 percent women, more than double the national average. Similar growth trends can be seen in the percentage of U.S. students from underrepresented groups enrolled in our engineering programs. Our commitment to diversity and inclusivity has led to many changes locally, both big and small, as we build a community where all people feel welcomed and encouraged to learn engineering methodologies, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and thrive both individually and socially.
The successes of Lafayette Engineering are evident not only on College Hill, but also more broadly. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking of undergraduate engineering programs, Lafayette was ranked 12th nationally. Over the past six years, we have risen higher and faster than any other program in the top 20. Our students have shown that we are among the elite engineering programs in the country by winning major research awards and national inter-collegiate competitions. Our steel bridge design team, for example, placed first among all U.S. engineering programs (including schools with graduate programs) in the most recent competition.
Clearly it is a time of great excitement and opportunity for Lafayette Engineering. As we look to the future, we have a bold vision of enhancing the educational experience of our students by encouraging them to take intellectual risk, instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, and fostering an appreciation of the humanistic, artistic, financial, and social facets of modern challenges. This issue of Lafayette Engineering magazine highlights a few of the many examples of people and projects that exemplify the Lafayette Experience.
William A. Jeffers Director the Engineering Division