The NJ State legislature passed, with one dissenting vote, the bill (17Mar 1902, Chapter 17 and Chapter 253, Section 41 of the Laws of 1902) entitled “An Act to Provide for the Establishment of a Course in Practical and Scientific Instruction in the Art of Clay Working and Ceramics in the State Agricultural College”.
Charles A. Bloomfield of Metuchen worked hard and persistently for three years to the end that New Jersey should have a ceramic school. His work with the legislature was invaluable and he readily could be considered the father of the school.
Perhaps the true founder of ceramic education was Dr. George H. Cook a vice-president of Rutgers College, who wrote a report, along with Dr. J.C. Smock (also of Rutgers) on the clays of New Jersey in 1878.
A first attempt to establish a school of ceramics at Rutgers was defeated in the State legislature in 1901.
“…the Department of Ceramics originated and developed in the ideal way, considering the history of Rutgers and the position of state higher education in this state. It originated from the industry, itself; it came from the desire of men in the clay-working industry to have the cooperation of higher education, and it was not a promotion on the part of the institution or a desire to extend itself in any way that might seem feasible or possible.” Dr. John Martin Thomas, president of Rutgers University, Feb 1926
Academics in the Early Years
Prior to 1890 perfect grades were automatically conferred on the top student in each course, regardless of his numerical grade for the course.
The Rutgers Scientific School (established on 4 April 1864), which included the Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering and the Department of Ceramics, was designated as the State University of New Jersey in 1917.
The first graduate student was Ralph Heidingsfeld, who received a Master of Science degree in Ceramics in June 1914.
Edward Orton, Jr. – first director of department of ceramics at Ohio State Univ 1895; one of the founding fathers of the Am Cer Soc; 1930-31 president of ACS; received honorary Doctor of Science degree from Rutgers on 13 June 1922.
In 1925 the University adopted a grading system using 1 as the highest grade.
Norman M. Tallan graduated in 1954 with a four-year academic average of 1.000 (perfect A) and became only the fourth such person since 1890 to do so. He was the first in the School of Ceramics to achieve this distinction. The next to receive a four-year perfect academic average of 4.00 was Andrew Gmitter Class of 2005.
Tuition in 1902 was $75 per year. Tuition in 2005 was $6,793 per year (plus $1,771 in fees & $8,107 for R&B).
Graduate student stipend in 1936 was $750 per year. Graduate student stipend in 2002 is $18,000 per year.
147 credits were required for graduation in 1936.
156 credits were required for graduation in 1952
135 credits were required for graduation in 1994.
128 credits were required for graduation in 2014.
Firsts for the Department
During WW II the Department obtained the first spectrograph installed at Rutgers. In 1972 the Department purchased the first Scanning Electron Microscope installed at Rutgers. When the CCR was established it was the first center of its type at Rutgers.
Cullen Parmelee the first faculty member of the then Dept of Clayworkers and Ceramics was actually an Instructor in Chemistry receiving his BSc degree from Rutgers in 1896. Cullen was promoted to Associate Professor of Applied Chemistry in 1905. Not until 1908 was there a Professor of Ceramics when Cullen was promoted to that position. Prof. Parmelee was the only Dept faculty member until 1911 when two Assistants in Ceramics were appointed – Ralph Heidingsfeld and George H. Baldwin, both who received BSc degrees from Rutgers. We had to wait until 1913 to obtain a faculty member that had received his degree from outside Rutgers – George A. Williams, BSc Alfred was appointed as an Assistant in Ceramics in 1913.
Names that we have been called
The Department of Clay-Working and Ceramics – 1902 - 1920 The Rutgers Scientific School (precursor of the College of Engineering), The New Jersey State College
Department of Ceramics - 1921 – 1945 The Rutgers Scientific School
School of Ceramics – Oct 1945 –1964 College of Engineering
Department of Ceramics - 1964 – Jul 1997 College of Engineering
Department of Ceramic & Materials Engineering - Jul 1997 – Jul 2005 School of Engineering
Department of Materials Science & Engineering – (Jul 2005 - present) School of Engineering
Faculty members that served as president of the American Ceramic Society
1914 – C.W. Parmelee
1937 – R.B. Sosman
1962 – J.H. Koenig
1978 – J.B. Wachtman
1979 – M.G. McLaren
1985 – E. Ruh
1987 – D.E. Niesz
Other Interesting Facts
The School of Ceramics was the first place where the original work was performed on the development of ceramic covers for radar equipment (radomes) and missile nosecones. A ceramic body was developed that was 99% dense and had the required refractoriness, high temperature strength and thermal shock resistance along with excellent electromagnetic properties required.
Women were first admitted to the College of Engineering in 1971. Prior to that women who took ceramics actually received a degree from The New Jersey College for Women (now Douglas College). Four women in the early 1940s took all the ceramic courses but received BS degrees from NJC. They were Genevieve Ducca (’40), Elaine Hammel Stein (’42), Marjorie Major (‘4?), and Marjorie Paul (’45). Marjorie M. Goss (’45). Harriet R. Wisely was the first female PhD in 1952.
In May 1989 the Department was awarded its first Kresge Challenge grant for $650,000 to be used towards the purchase of equipment for the CCR (SEM) and the FOMRP (fiber drawing tower). The Kresge foundation award is considered one of the nation’s most prestigious leadership gifts supporting capital needs.
Winner of the Student Speaker Contest
1947 – Lucien V. Bruno – 2nd place National Contest
1948 – Evon P. Wells
1949 – Richard Winchell – 2nd place National Contest
1950 – Malcolm G. McLaren – Winner of National Contest
1951 – Duncan C. Morrison
1952 – Benjamin P. Colosky – Winner of National Contest
1954 – H. Maurice Landemare – 4th place National Contest
1955 – Alexander F. Liten – 4th place National Contest
1956 – Thomas R. Clevenger – 3rd place National Contest
1958 – Jack Hanoka
1960 – John F. Mooney
1961 – Richard L. Pope
1962 – Howard C. McGowan
1963 – Howard C. McGowan
1964 – Joseph R. Sahid – Winner of National Contest
1965 – Richard G. LaBar
1966 – Charles W. Deneka
1968 – Carlino Panzera
1969 – Christian A. Young
1970 – Ronald Kurzeja
1971 – Stephen H. Garofalini – Winner of National Contest
1972 – George McKiken
1973 – Larry Kotacska
1974 – Gerald DiGiampaolo
1975 – Wilfred Martinez
1976 – Thomas R. Holmes
1977 – Asif Iqbal
1979 – Gustav Hughes
1980 – Richard Riman
1981 – Frank Kuchinski
1982 – Thomas C. Oakes
1983 – Theodore R. Grossman
1984 – Gregory E. Hannon
1985 – Donald Monroe
1986 – Kimberly E. O’Rourke
1987 – Margaret H. Smith
1988 – Stacy Clark
1989 – Joseph Saltarelli
1990 – Edmund Webb – Winner of National Contest
1991 – Mora C. Melican
1992 – Matthew Seaford
1993 – John Ballato
1994 – Brian T. Bland
1995 – Michael Dabrowski
1996 – David Bowser
1997 – Wendy Katstra - Winner of National Contest
1998 – Thansee Mustafa
1999 – Rhea M. Jaico – 2nd place
2000 – Timothy McCarthy
2001 – Neal Vachhani – Winner of National Contest
2002 – Navin Venugopal
2003 – Russell J. Caspe
2004 – Mark Dwoskin
2005 – Andrew Portune
2006 - No candidate
2013 – Spencer Ferguson – Second runner up in National Contest