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Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering - About the Department

MAE - Historical Highlights

The Navy established a formal graduate education program in 1909 under SECNAV General Order No. 27.  Designated the School of Marine Engineering, the first commanding officer of the school (the official title was “head”) was Lt. Cmdr. M. E. Reed.

Ten students were in the first class:

  1. Lt. Harry I. Brisner
  2. Lt. Walter. B. Tardy
  3. Lt. F. A. Yates
  4. Lt. S. H. R. Doyle
  5. Lt. James O. Richardson
  6. Lt. Francis S. Whitten
  7. Lt. Joseph O. Fisher
  8. Lt. Samuel Murray Robinson
  9. Ens. Otto J. Cox
  10. Ens. A. T. Church.

Five of these officers achieved Flag rank:

  • Adm. James O. Richardson was the first “NPS” alumnus to earn four-star rank.  He was Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet, before retiring.
  • Vice Adm. Samuel Murray Robinson was presented the John Scott Award in 1942 for innovative work in warship design.
  • Lt. Brisner and Ensigns Church and Cox were promoted to rear admiral.

Two of the officers in the first class returned to serve as head of the Naval Postgraduate School:

  • Cmdr. Joseph O. Fisher was NPS head from 1921-1922.  Fisher earned the rank of captain before he retired in 1928.
  • Capt. A. T. Church was NPS head from 1927-1931.  He earned the rank of rear admiral before he retired in 1943.