For the last 50 years, we have been advancing engineering and technology for the community, region, and the world. As the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University celebrates its 50th anniversary year, I would like to take a brief look back over the past 50 years, specifically through the labors of the deans who have brought the college to be the powerhouse that I am fortunate enough to lead today.
In 1963, Old Dominion College inaugurated its Department of Engineering under the dynamic leadership of then-dean J. Harold Lampe. Although Lampe moved on from the College along with his first graduating class in 1966, he brought to the region a class of "scientist doers" that have changed the way engineering is done.
His successor, Ralph Rotty, brought a sense of community and fellowship to the College, and to the otherwise reserved field, during his tenure at Old Dominion. Not only was this familial sense felt within the College among his faculty and staff, it was also felt by the community at-large. It was also Rotty who stressed the importance of a good solid fundamental understanding of engineering for all engineering students, no matter their intended concentration of study.
When John Weese took the reins of the engineering school in 1974, he sought to grow the College to its full potential. He so believed in this school that he personally traveled door-to-door to create durable external connections and increase enrollment figures. His outreach ideas were also implemented in the annual college open house, high school outreach, and female student support.
Jim Cross, while dean of the college, extended the efforts began by Weese in further expanding the outreach exertions to the research side of the domain. Through his engineering clinic, Cross sought to help solve the problems encountered by our neighboring communities.
Growing our engineering program by maximizing its efficiency, Dean Bill Swart, my predecessor, broadened our reach and the expanse of our programs through targeted strategic partnering. The college found that these affiliations added practical depth to topics taught in the classroom.
Since its inaugural class of 12, the College can now boast over 3,200 students currently enrolled, 550 degrees annually conferred, and in excess of 14,000 alumni. We are proud of our modest beginnings and those who have led this great College to what it is today. That is why I look to my predecessors, and to the history of the Batten College, as my guiding light each day I serve this remarkable school as its dean. To many more trailblazing years of ODU Engineering!
Oktay Baysal, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASME
Professor, Eminent Scholar and Dean