History & leadership – Faculty of Engineering
Dean Heather Sheardown smiles at a student on stage at convocation.

History & leadership

McMaster Engineering has a long history of excellence in industry-driven research and student-focused education.

Dean Heather Sheardown

Associate Deans

A timeline of Mac Eng’s history

DeanYears served
Heather Sheardown2022 – Present
Ishwar K. Puri2013-2021
David S. Wilkinson2008-2012
Mo Elbestawi2001-2007
Mamdouh Shoukri1994-2001
Gary R. Purdy1989-1994
Arthur C. Heidebrecht1981-1989
John W. Bandler1979-1981
Leslie W. Shemilt1969-1979
John W. Hodgins1958-1969
  • New McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute opens its doors

  • Celebration of 65 years of innovation as a Faculty marked with launch of Lighting the Way campaign

  • In the summer of 2022, Heather Sheardown becomes the first woman dean of the Faculty of Engineering

  • Integrated Cornerstone Design Project in Engineering program launches. The program is a full-year project-based experience where students are exposed to a series of design podcasts that develop both technical and professional skills

  • Led by McMaster Engineering, McMaster University becomes the first university to offer digital degrees

  • The Pivot – a transformation of engineering education focused on experiential learning inside and outside the classroom – launches in 2019.

  • Faculty marks 60th anniversary in 2018

  • Formation of MacChangers, a co-curricular program that pairs multidisciplinary teams with community partners to propose innovative solutions to local challenges

  • Launch of new Innovation Minor in collaboration with the DeGroote School of Business and The Forge

  • Beginnings of the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre

  • Launch of new Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences program

  • Opening of the Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning

  • First grads from Department of Computing and Software

  • The Faculty’s 50th anniversary in 2008 is marked

  • BTech Four Year Bachelor of Technology Program launches

  • LEED Gold Certified Engineering Technology Building opens

  • World’s most advanced and powerful microscope unveiled at McMaster Engineering’s Canadian Centre of Electron Microscopy

  • LEAP Summer Academy for secondary school students begins

  • Faculty expands: John Hodgins Engineering Annex, McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute, Engineering Information Technology Building, McMaster Steel Research Centre

  • School of Engineering Practice and Technology is founded with a gift from alumnus Walter G. Booth

  • First Engineering Musical performed

  • The McMaster Engineering Society launches the McMaster Laboratory Advancement Benefaction (macLAB) – lab equipment endowment fund

  • BTech Degree Completion Program launched

  • New Computing & Software department begins

  • Engineering & Society program introduced

  • Hodgins Memorial Lecture begins

  • First MacEngineer newsletter is distributed

  • In McMaster’s centennial year, 4,500 total engineering graduate

  • Communication Research Laboratory opens, lead by Simon Haykin

  • Computer Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering programs launch

  • Faculty doubles (+200 graduates)

  • Institute of Materials Research is established (later renamed the Brockhouse Institute of Materials Research in honour of Nobel laureate Dr. B. Brockhouse)

  • Courses in bio-engineering were offered as electives in all engineering programs (Eng phys, Chem and Electrical profs with joint research projects led the way)

  • On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Faculty, John Hodgins Engineering building was so named after its first dean, John W. Hodgins

  • First woman McMaster Engineering Society President, Susan Sproule, is voted in

  • First bioengineering courses begin

  • Engineering & Management program introduced (first grads in 1975)

  • Faculty quadruples (+100 graduates)

  • First Fireball Formal Dance takes place

  • Camp 13 established, wardens overview of Kipling Day

  • “Fireball” designed based on the heraldic emblem “gurgles enflamed” shown on the Arms of Hamilton College

  • McMaster Nuclear Reactor opens its doors. It’s  the first university-based nuclear reactor in the British Commonwealth

  • McMaster Engineering Society begins in 1959

  • New departments launch, including Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Metallurgical and Engineering Physics

  • First 25 students graduate

  • Faculty of Engineering born in 1958