Sibley 150 - Celebrating 150 Years of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell

The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is celebrating 150 years of mechanical engineering at Cornell with a year of festivities that reflect on the school’s distinguished past and look forward to its exciting future.

150 years of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell

Screenshot of the thumbnail for the Sibley 150 YouTube video150 years ago, Cornell Engineering's Sibley School awarded its first Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. Today, our community includes practitioners, researchers, and educators who have defined mechanical and aerospace engineering. Working together, we can transform teaching and technology in order to lead innovation for the next 150 years.

Join us for the celebration THIS THURSDAY(!!) April 25th, 2024

This year-long celebration will culminate in a live-streamed on-campus event April 25th, 2024 featuring food, talks, and honored alumni discussing the past, present, and future of the Sibley School and of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Registration is now full and closed.

Swati Mohan, Bill Nye, and Bill Riley

Featured speakers include JPL's Swati Mohan '04, Science Guy Bill Nye '77,  and SpaceX's Bill Riley '99. (Full schedule is here.)

We’ve come so far in the last 150 years. The first Sibley graduates with mechanical engineering degrees invented milling machines and new techniques for grinding ball bearings. Our recent graduates are sending rockets into space and developing biomaterials to fight infectious diseases.  Over the course of the year we are pursing a number of initiatives looking to the future of the Sibley School.  Find out more about them below and how you can help.

Sibley 300 - The future of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Hands cupping a floating question markMechanical Engineering has changed a lot over the first 150 years of the Sibley School.  How will it change over the next 150 years???  What will Sibley 300 be like?  Campuses on the moon?  A.I. based instruction?  What will future mechanical and aerospace engineers learn and create?

We want to hear what you think.  Share your vision here for the future of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  A select few will be shared over the course of our Sibley 150 celebration year!

Cornell Lunar Lab - A permanent lunar presence

YouTube thumbnail showing an imagined Cornell Engineering Lunar CampusCornell has campuses in Ithaca, New York City, and Doha, Qatar.  What would it look like for Cornell to have a “permanent” presence on the moon? With the reduction in cost-of-launch, we are on the cusp of permanent, sustainable lunar settlement that will be used as a proving ground for exploration of Mars.  A laboratory station that could enable some long-term scientific experimentation and discovery, technology or prototype development and validation, and student engagement via telepresence lab activities and experiential learning.

Want to learn more about our vision for a Cornell Lunar Lab?  Connect with us here.  You can also support the early stages of the project through our Sibley 300 Future Fund.

side-by-side photos of Sibley hall and Upson Hall

We started in Sibley Hall. We are currently in Upson Hall. Where will be in 2173-74?

FLAME - Future Leaders in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Professor Nelly Andarawis-Puri and student participants in the flame program pose together in a line outside of Upson Hall at Cornell.The Cornell MAE Future Leader in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (FLAME) program was launched in the summer of 2022. The goal of the program is to help students launch into a Ph.D. program through a 2-phase process. The program also offers participants a subsequent fast-tracked and prioritized admission into the Cornell MAE Ph.D. program with tailored programmatic and financial support.

Learn more about how you can contribute and support the Future Leaders in MAE program by connecting with us here.

Experiential Learning Studios--Revisioning Undergraduate Laboratories

Four men participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Cornell's Toyota Forklift Learning StudioThe Sibley School is developing a new vision for how we do experiential learning – through the development of learning studios.  These studios are an entirely new way of conducting undergraduate instructional labs allowing students to look at the way they learn from a system level, with real-world systems.  These systems aim to become integrated learning spaces with enough complexity to serve a wide range of students, from first-year students to seniors. 

You can learn more about our first learning studio in partnership with Toyota Material Handling in this recent feature.  If you want more information about the project, reach out here.

Give a gift

You can support the next 150 years of mechanical engineering at Cornell with a gift to the Sibley 300 Future Fund.

Read our history

You can read Emeritus Professor Frank Moon's brief history of the Sibley School here

This is a composite picture of 6 LinkedIn posts featuring people, places, things, and information from the 150 year history of the Sibley School. The posts feature Sibley alumni and inventor Elmer Sperry, female Sibley student from 1884 Kate Gleason, current Sibley Professor Mason Peck, former Sibley director Robert Thurston, a group of female pilots from World War II who trained at Cornell, and a page from the 1923 student handbook listing the classes first-year students are required to take.

Follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with all the news from the Sibley School.