Engineering school wall honors notable patent holders with Pitt ties

Wall of honor in Swanson School

The Swanson School of Engineering is showing off its innovative faculty and students with a wall on the first floor of Benedum Hall recognizing those who have contributed to groundbreaking patents.

The patents and innovators being honored in the Faculty Innovation Showcase were suggested by faculty. The plaques, in most cases, contain the lead faculty innovator at the bottom, with the co-creators listed above. The plaques will be rotated occasionally, and the wall will make room for new patents as they are awarded.

Two notable patents from the early 1900s will be on permanent display:

  • William Dammond (civil engineering), the first black graduate of Pitt (then Western University of Pennsylvania) in 1893 and inventor of the “electric cab signaling system” and other safety innovations that greatly reduced casualties on the railroads.
  • Reginal Fessenden, the first chair of the Electrical Engineering department, whose pioneering work developing radio technology, including the foundations of AM radio, led to him conducting the first transmission of speech by radio and the first trans-Atlantic, two-way radio/telegraphic communication.