Colorado State’s Civil Engineering Department Celebrates 119th Birthday

Colorado State University’s Civil Engineering Department celebrates its 119th birthday on Dec. 9. The department will celebrate the founding and the vision of its first leader, Elwood Mead.  

On December 9, 1885, Colorado’s Board of Agriculture established the Department of Physics and Irrigation Engineering, effective for the 1886-87 academic year at Colorado State. Elwood Mead was appointed to serve as its head. The new program had developed to such an extent by 1889 that the state board approved another revision resulting in an Irrigation Engineering major. On June 5, 1896, the board established the Department of Civil and Irrigation Engineering, effective for the 1896-97 Colorado State academic school year; apparently, to provide a clear separation from physics department.

Mead’s career was distinguished for its variety and commitment to public service. He was ultimately honored by having his name attached to the Hoover Dam’s storage reservoir from which the dam was created, Lake Mead.

The department will have a casual birthday party complete with cake throughout the afternoon of Dec. 9 in that main office of the Department of Civil Engineering. The campus community, civil engineering alumni and friends of the department are invited to attend.