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College History

Engineering originated in 1934 when Boise Junior College (BJC) started offering a pre-engineering curriculum. In 1965, it gained a four-year status as Boise College and began awarding baccalaureate degrees. Nearly a decade later, Boise State gained university status to become Idaho’s third university. 

In 1995, after growing demand from technology and industry partners, the Idaho State Board of Education authorized the transfer of civil, electrical, and mechanical engineer baccalaureate programs to Boise State University. On July 1, 1997, the College of Engineering (COEN) was established with construction management, instructional and performance technology, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering as its founding departments.

The same year, Lynn Russell was named the founding dean of the College of Engineering. COEN received a significant $2 million donation from the Harry W. Morrison Foundation for the construction of a civil engineering building named in his honor. With the support of Micron Technology, Inc., 40 companies, foundations, and individuals, COEN announced the dedication of its second building, the Micron Engineering Center.

As of 2022, the College of Engineering has more than 2200 undergraduate students and more than 500 graduate students, representing 45 states and 44 countries. With more than 100 full-time faculty, over 57 research labs, and $16.5 million in research expenditures. The Boise State University College of Engineering has become the largest engineering college in the state of Idaho.

For a complete history of the Boise State College of Engineering visit our archives.

College of Engineering Deans

  • Lynn Russel

    Lynn Russell


  • Cheryl Schrader

    Cheryl B. Schrader


  • Amy Moll

    Amy Moll


  • Dean, JoAnn Lighty portrait

    JoAnn S. Lighty