Our Heritage

A Legacy of Leadership

The University of Michigan’s Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME) program started in 1879 with an act of Congress authorizing a Navy officer to teach “steam engineering and iron shipbuilding” at the University of Michigan. That officer was Mortimer Cooley, who became the second Dean of the College of Engineering.

He was joined in 1900 by Herbert C. Sadler, NAME’s first professor, with the goal of making U-M’s program “second to none.” Thanks to a succession of distinguished faculty, pioneering research scientists and high-achieving graduates, their vision quickly became reality.

Over the years, NAME has continued to build on its rich intellectual heritage. Our world-class faculty have amassed an unparalleled record of excellence. Our alumni have gone on to become Chief Naval Architects of the U.S. Navy, leaders at the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), entrepreneurs, highly regarded scholars and team members of winning America’s Cup entries.

Today, NAME remains the world’s undisputed leader in teaching and research. But our leadership is being challenged as governments and industry sponsors across Asia, South America and Europe invest heavily in naval architecture and marine engineering programs.

To date, Michigan has maintained its pre-eminence in research and teaching. But the fact is, although our peers are still striving to reach our level of technical excellence, they have far surpassed us in infrastructure. At this crucial time, when engineering excellence in the marine environment is more important than ever, we are determined to extend our leadership status by building a state-of-the-art home for NAME that will support teaching and research for the 21st century.