- On Feb. 7, 1964, the Tennessee State Board of Education accepted the resolution authorizing then
Memphis State University to accept a gift of $100,000 from Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Herff
to start a master's degree program in engineering science.
- Engineering courses were initially offered in the fall of 1964 under the name of the Graduate Division of Engineering and Applied Science.
- In May 1965, the State Board approved an undergraduate engineering program.
- In 1965 the name was changed to the Herff School of Engineering, and in 1968 it became the Herff College of Engineering.
- Mr. Herff, who died two years after donating his gift to establish the College, left
the bulk of his estate in trust with the State of Tennessee for the benefit of the
University. The Trust continues to help sustain and expand the engineering programs.
- The current Department of Engineering Technology has roots dating back to 1912 and the Industrial Arts Department of West Tennessee State Normal School. In 1965 the name was changed to the Department of Industrial Technology, and in 1968 it became the Division of Technology. Since 1980 it has been known as the Department of Engineering Technology.
- The School of Engineering was initially located in the Ball Hall Education Building.
- A new engineering building was completed in 1970, and by 1971 the College had moved into its three-building, $6.5 million complex on Central Avenue.
- The first graduates from the College received their degrees in 1967. Chao Wathabhanieh of Thailand was the first to receive a degree.
- By 1970 enrollment was 351 in the undergraduate program and 76 in the graduate program. In
the fall of 1988, enrollment had grown to 1,406 in the undergraduate program and 158 in the graduate
program. Currently, the College enrolls approximately 800 undergraduates and 200 graduate
- The Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering Technology
and Manufacturing Engineering Technology undergraduate programs were first accredited
in 1971, followed by the Mechanical Engineering program in 1973.
- Computer Engineering Technology was first accredited in 1977.
- The PhD program was inaugurated in September 1987, and the first degree was awarded in May 1990.
- The Biomedical Engineering Department was established in 1988.
- The Ground Water Institute was established in 1992.
- In July 1996, the joint graduate program in Biomedical Engineering, offering both MS and PhD degrees,
was established between the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee
Health Science Center. The first PhD was awarded to Amy DeJongh Curry in 1997.
- The BS in Computer Engineering was approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
in June 1999 and was accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET in 2004. The PhD in Computer Engineering was approved in July 2005.
- The Center for Advanced Sensors was established in 2005.
- The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved the BS in Biomedical Engineering
in July 2005. The program will undergo its initial accreditation visit by the Engineering Accreditation
Commission of ABET during the fall 2009.
- The Center for Advanced Intermodal Transportation Technologies was established in
John A. Pafford (B.S.E.T. 1987) is the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus from the Herff College of Engineering. A co-founder of Spine Wave, Pafford has more than 30 years of experience in the orthopedic industry with 20 years in senior management.