A Brief History of the School

Growing Gains

Our unique status as the only school of engineering headquartered in the heart of Northern Virginia's technology corridor provides unparalleled access to opportunities with businesses, government agencies, and national security entities. Capitalizing on these relationships fuels our growth.

The Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University is a fast-growing force for innovation in research and education located in the heart of Northern Virginia's technology corridor.

Milestones and Markers by Decade

1980s - Establishing our roots

1980  - Area business leaders convince the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) that engineering degree programs are needed in Northern Virginia.

1981 - SCHEV approves the establishment at George Mason of the following programs: BS in computer and electronic engineering, MS in computer and electrical engineering, MS in computer science, and MS in operations research and systems management.

1985 - The Board of Visitors approves the School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E); Andrew P. Sage becomes the first dean of IT&E.

"All indications at George Mason say there has been a great increase in the visibility of the institution. The university is becoming what it has long been planned to become -- a premier Virginia university. The president cited the School of Information Technology and Engineering as the best example of this progress."
-- from the minutes of the Board of Visitors, Sept. 11, 1985

1990s - A period of transition

1990 - First chair of the Department of Information and Software Systems Engineering is appointed.

1991 - IT&E moves into the new Science and Technology II Building.

1996 - Dean Andrew P. Sage retires as dean and is named Founding Dean and Emeritus and University Professor.

1997 - Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering Department is established.

1998 - Lloyd J. Griffiths is named dean of IT&E.

1999 - Sidney O. Dewberry, who played a key role in the development of the urban systems engineering program, receives the school’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

2000s - Honoring our benefactors

2002 - BS in Information Technology Program for undergraduates is established.

2005 - School receives a $10 million gift from Ernst and Sara Volgenau to establish new Department of Bioengineering.

2006 - State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approves name change to Volgenau School of Engineering.

2009 - School moves to a new building and the building is named in honor of Long and Kimmy Nguyen.

2010s - A trajectory of growth

2010 - BS in Bioengineering is approved.

2012 - Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering changes name to Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering.

2012  - Kenneth S. Ball is named dean of the Volgenau School of Engineering.

2013 - MS in Data Analytics Engineering approved by SCHEV.

2014 - BS in Cyber Security Engineering and PhD in Bioengineering are approved by SCHEV. Sidney O. Dewberry leads an effort to establish Bill and Eleanor Hazel Endowed Chair.

2015 - Department of Mechanical Engineering is established. Name of the Applied Information Technology Department is changed to Information Sciences and Technology.

2019 - Highest research expenditures and awards; MS in Cyber Security Engineering approved.

2020 - All-time enrollment high of 8,000+ students; Cyber Security Engineering Department established. Proposed College of Engineering and Computing and School of Computing approved by the Board of Visitors.

  THEN (1985) NOW (2020)
FACILITIES Buildings on the Fairfax Campus Active on five campuses
TOTAL STUDENTS 1,7878 8,637
TUITION AND FEES $1,656 $11,262
RESEARCH EXPENDITURES $277,737 $63,000,000