Through the years the university continued upgrading and expanding equipment, facilities and faculty, leading to the creation of the College of Engineering, a department which now offers PhD’s in mechanical, industrial, electrical and aeronautical engineering.
In 1963 the Municipal University of Wichita became Wichita State University. As a state university, enrollment quickly doubled and faculty, programs and facilities expanded to meet the increased needs of the community and the state of Kansas.
Institute for Aviation Research began its early development
in 1985 when university
felt a need to strengthen research and services support
to the aviation industry. Fred Sudermann, executive
assistant to the president, was assigned the responsibility
and coordinating these efforts that, with the support
of the university faculty, the industry, the community
the federal government,
resulted in the creation of the Institute for Aviation
Research in 1985.
In 1988 Bill Wentz was appointed the executive director of the Institute, and planning for a new 74,000 square foot research facility began. With substantial funding commitments from Sedgwick County, the City of Wichita, Beech, Boeing, Cessna and the federal government, the building to house the Institute was completed. The Institute was dedicated on April 30, 1990, and the name was changed to the National Institute for Aviation Research.
Today, the Institute houses several state-of-the-art labs and support units, including Composites and Advanced Materials, Fatigue and Fracture, Structures, Advanced Joining Technology, Aging Aircraft, Aerodynamics, Crash Dynamics, Human Factors, Visual Technology, CAD/CAM, the Virtual Reality Center, the Information Technology Center, Computational Mechanics and the Research Machine Shop. It is also home to four Centers of Excellence. These centers promote the safety, research, manufacturing and design elements of today’s aviation industry. The Federal Aviation Administration has designated the Institute as a Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research, an Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence, and most recently the Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials. The Institute is also recognized as a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Center of Excellence.
its beginning, the Institute has experienced
continued growth and success under the direction
of able research
and university leaders including John Braezeale,
Bill Wentz and
Ramesh Agarwal. The Institute continues this
growth and services to the local and national
industry under the direction
of John Tomblin.