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Office of the Dean, G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-06-001

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of the Office of the Dean of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering date from 1976 to 1988, with the bulk of the materials coming from the years 1978-1982, as well as archived college websites from 2015-Ongoing. The records are those of Dean V. David VandeLinde and Associate Deans Jared Cohon and Alan Karr. Types of records include correspondence, reports, faculty records, meeting records for numerous engineering and university-wide bodies, publications from both university and outside sources, and general administrative records. There are also a few files containing Dean VandeLinde's research and class materials, Associate Dean Karr's research materials, and letters of recommendation written by Associate Dean Cohon. The record group reflects the many and diverse activities of the Dean's Office, and is subdivided as follows:

Series 1: School of Engineering Records, 1977-1983
Subseries 1: Academic Programs, 1977-1982
Subseries 2: Administration, 1977-1983
Subseries 3: Other Internal Records, 1977-1982
Series 2: University Records, 1976-1988
Subseries 1: University Administration, 1976-1982
Subseries 2: Academic Programs, 1978-1982
Subseries 3: University Committees, 1978-1988
Subseries 4: Other University Records, 1976-1982
Series 3: Extra-University Records, 1976-1982
Subseries 1: Companies, 1976-1982
Subseries 2: Foundations, 1978-1982
Subseries 3: Government, 1978-1982
Subseries 4: Scholarships and Awards, 1977-1982
Subseries 5: Other Universities, 1980-1982
Series 3: Websites, 2015-Ongoing


  • Creation: 1976-1988
  • Creation: 2015 - Ongoing


Use Restrictions

Administrative records in series 1, 2 and 3 are restricted for twenty-five years from their date of creation. Employment records in series 1 (subseries 1 and 2) and series 2 (subseries 1), as well as other confidential records in series 1 (subseries 2 and 3), series 2 (subseries 4) and series 3 (subseries 1, 2, 3 and 5), are also restricted. For details, see Regulations Governing Access to Restricted Records, at the front of each binder.


Engineering education began in 1913 with three professors, Charles J. Tilden, Carl C. Thomas and John B. Whitehead, who were appointed by the Board of Trustees. These men took responsibility for organizing programs of instruction, designing buildings, selecting equipment and choosing additional members of the teaching staff.

The department of engineering, as it was called, had an advisory committee to direct the affairs of the department. The advisory committee comprised the professors in the engineering and science departments, along with university president Ira Remsen. The committee was responsible for determining educational policy, instruction, faculty appointments and the granting of degrees.

In 1920, John Boswell Whitehead was named Dean of Engineering, having previously served as secretary of the department and as a prominent member of the advisory committee. Whitehead was a consultant to local governments and was an internationally acclaimed recipient of awards such as the Edison Medal and the George Montefiore Foundation Prize. His research interest was in electricity, including the theory of dielectrics, which resulted in the invention of the corona voltmeter. Under Whitehead, members of the faculty rendered services to public and private concerns including the Pennsylvania Railroad, B & O Railroad, Black and Decker, Crown Cork & Seal, and Mercantile Trust & Deposit.

William B. Kouwenhoven, also a recipient of the Edison Medal and a pioneer in biomedical engineering, joined the school of Engineering in 1914 and was named assistant dean in 1930 and dean in 1938. In 1953, Kouwenhoven resigned the deanship to return to full-time research on closed chest massage and cardiac defibrillation, research which led to the perfection of these techniques and won him two honorary degrees from Hopkins, the LL.D. (1962) and M.D. (1969).

Robert H. Roy succeeded Kouwenhoven as Dean of Engineering in 1953. Roy received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Hopkins in 1928 and spent the next twenty-one years in industry. He began teaching in the Evening School in 1939, and in the Faculty of Philosophy in 1947. In 1948, he became professor and chair of the new Department of Industrial Engineering. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Roy worked to automate the registrar's office and the library circulation system. In response to Roy's efforts in the 1960s to gear the graduate program toward the training of university teachers and researchers, the Ford and Sears Foundations made grants of $2.185 million to the School.

In 1965, Roy and Faculty of Philosophy (Arts and Sciences) Dean G. Wilson Shaffer effected the merger of the School of Engineering and the Faculty of Philosophy, as part of a general decision to stress graduate study in engineering, with the goal of producing university teachers and researchers. Within ten years, however, the department of engineering began pressing for independent status, feeling a loss of identity and political voice in the Academic Council. When undergraduate enrollment dropped and the department found it difficult to attract support from government and industry by the late 1970s, Roy and others laid plans for another school of engineering.

With the opening of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering in 1979 came a new Dean, Vernon David VandeLinde, who expressed a goal of re-establishing the university's credibility in the engineering community. VandeLinde emphasized cooperation between engineering and other divisions of the University, specifically between Biomedical Engineering and the School of Medicine. In 1982, the Whiting School assumed responsibility for all part-time engineering programs, formerly held by the School of Continuing Studies. The Department of Civil Engineering was re-formed in 1983, and today the School grants degrees in nine departments.

NOTE: For a more complete history of engineering at The Johns Hopkins University, see Mary Ruth Yoe's Hopkins: Engineering at the University (1989), available in the Archives.


6.3 Cubic Feet (2 record center cartons, 10 letter size document boxes)

2 Website(s)

Language of Materials



These records were transferred to the Archives by Charlotte Friedman, Executive Assistant to the Dean of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering.

Accession Number


Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Jonathan Roberts, Aravinda Pillalamarri, and Jennifer D'Urso.

Office of the Dean, G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering records
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA