1,000th Undergrad FPE Degree Awarded
The Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the Clark School graduated its 1,000th undergraduate student earlier this spring. The department is one of only a handful of such programs across the country, and the only one offering accredited undergraduate degrees. Its graduates form a close-knit community whose members play leading roles in corporate, government, and academic institutions.
Coincidently, the 20th Ph.D. degree where the principal research advisor was a faculty member in the department also was awarded. The department expects to graduate its 300th master's degree student this summer.
A Far-Reaching Impact
Clark School fire protection engineering graduates have gone on to positions in government, industry and research sectors of the profession. In the post-9/11 era, their expertise is used in the development of building and fire codes that will ensure building survivability; conduct forensic studies of significant fires; and test everyday products (e.g., clothing, furniture, etc.) to ensure their flammability is within the code developed for fire safety limits. Registered fire protection engineers are required to review plans for all federal buildings before they are constructed, to ensure the design meets fire and life safety requirements. Fire protection engineers are also involved in the design of new fire protection products ranging from fire detectors to equipment for the fire service.
Clark School Fire Protection Engineering: A One-of-a-Kind Program
In 1956, John L. Bryan, known affectionately as “Prof” by his students, returned to Maryland after completing B.S. and M.S. degrees at Oklahoma State University. The Maryland State Fireman’s Association had been studying the initiation of an academic program in fire protection at the University of Maryland since 1950. Together, their efforts resulted in an appropriation and a mandate to institute an academic fire protection program in the College of Engineering in 1956. Six years later, the first four Bachelor of Science degrees in fire protection were awarded.
Although more than a half century has passed since the program was initiated, the Clark School still has the only program in the country to award engineering accredited bachelor’s degrees in fire protection engineering. Initiating its graduate degree program in 1989, it is one of only three graduate-level programs in the country.
The department recently announced a new chair. Jim Milke, P.E. is the fourth chair of the department, following John Bryan, Steven Spivak and Marino di Marzo. Milke is among those first thousand B.S. graduates from the department and has served on the faculty since 1981. He recently was nominated to be president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the international professional organization in the field.
For more information, visit the web site of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering.
Published June 21, 2011