In 1867 what was to become the University of Illinois was established as the Illinois Industrial University. The Polytechnic Department, later the College of Engineering, was one of the University's first six departments. The Department of Physics was established in 1889, and in 1891, the first courses in electrical engineering were offered in the first electrical laboratory. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering traces its beginning to that time.
The department continued to grow throughout the early part of the 20th century, setting its foundation as a leading innovator in electrical engineering. Among the luminaries who found their home in ECE were Joseph Tykociner, who in 1922 made the first demonstration of sound on film, and John Bardeen, who joined ECE in 1951 and went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics twice--in 1956 as co-inventor of the transistor and in 1972 for his theory of superconductivity.
A computer engineering curriculum was integrated into the department in 1973, and the Department of Electrical Engineering officially became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1984.
In 2014, the department opened and moved into a 230,000 square-foot home, after more than six decades in Everitt Laboratory. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Building is designed to be net-zero energy, and includes a solar array on its roof and on the roof of a nearby parking structure.
ECE ILLINOIS has a rich history that has shaped the department to what it is today. The department is ranked as one of the best in the world, boasting innovative faculty, hands-on classroom experiences, and ground-breaking research. The links below will provide a more in-depth look at that rich history.
Provides a detailed view of our history and the innovations that were made here.
Here you can find more detailed information on some of the individuals and innovations that have been part of the fabric of ECE ILLINOIS.
- Excerpts from The Centennial History of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
- A brief Biography of William L. Everitt, namesake of Everitt Lab
- ECE Hall of Fame
- ECE Department Heads: Then and Now
- Commentary on the Wullenweber Direction Finder
- Professor Emeritus George Swenson's Reminiscence
- Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory
- Historical commentary on the land where Everitt sits
- Archive of "Antennas on the Web"
- Joseph Tykociner and the "Talking Film"