Mission Statement

To pursue excellence and national prominence in the areas of operations research, information technology, manufacturing, and related fields of Industrial Engineering through innovative teaching, distinguished research and scholarship, and active professional leadership. Building on its unique strength and national reputation in undergraduate education and industrial research, the Department strives for leadership in educational innovation, multidisciplinary research, and industrial partnership. Our ultimate mission is to produce leaders who have learned to think critically and analytically, have the skills and techniques to comprehend and create new knowledge, and are willing to serve and inspire others.


The origins of industrial engineering can be traced to a movement called scientific management. It started in the late 1800s in the United States, and its central thesis was that work could be made more efficient and productive by analyzing it and properly designing the methods by which it is accomplished.

Lehigh's engineering college quickly followed suit; beginning in 1924, an industrial engineering curriculum was an option available through the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The pace of society's technological advancement led to a rapid growth in the field, and at Lehigh this shift was recognized in 1930 by renaming the administrative unit "Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering." 

By 1949, industrial engineering had evolved into its own discipline, and the Department of Industrial Engineering was formally established as an independent entity in the College of Engineering. Its name remained the same until 1994, when it was renamed the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, based on a recommendation of Lehigh President Peter Likins. In 2001, the department name was changed to Industrial and Systems Engineering.

About Mohler Laboratory

In 1986, the university purchased and renovated the former B’rith Shalom synagogue on the corner of Packer and Brodhead Avenues to house the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and other technological programs. The Board of Trustees dedicated this “facility for the future” in Hal’s name out of appreciation for his leadership and support, and the building is now known as Mohler Laboratory.

The four-story building serves as the central hub of the Department, with the departmental office located on the 4th floor, faculty offices located on both the 3rd and 4th floors, and the graduate student office on the 3rd floor. The majority of the ISE classes are held in various classrooms throughout the building with state-of-the-art equipment. Students have access to two computer labs on the 1st and 4th floors. Mohler Lab also houses the Enterprise Systems Center (2nd floor), the Healthcare Systems Engineering Program (3rd floor), the Computational Optimization Research at Lehigh Lab (COR@L), the George E. Kane Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (1st floor), and the Automation and Robotics Laboratory (1st floor), each contributing to the research and industry efforts of the Department. 

Department History Highlights:

Highlights of our department history includes the following milestones and accomplishments:


  • In 2021, the Department launched the Lehigh ISE Outreach Program.
  • The Lehigh ISE Alumni Academy was formed in 2021.


  • Luis Nunes Vicente becomes Department Chair in August 2018.
  • The Department established a world-class research group in Mathematical Optimization and Operations Research.
  • In 2011, the Department launched the Healthcare Systems and Engineering M.Eng. Program.


  • August 2008: Tamás Terlaky named Department Chair.
  • September 2007: IE alums Daniel Smith, '71 was named President and Dennis E. Singleton, III, '66 was named the Co-Vice Chair of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees.
  • August 2005: Joseph C. Hartman named Department Chair. 
  • September 2004: the Computational Optimization Research Lab at Lehigh (COR@L) was founded.
  • August 2002: Information and Systems Engineering established as a new degree program.
  • December 2002: the Center for Value Chain Research (CVCR) was established.
  • August 2001: the department's name was changed from Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering to Industrial and Systems Engineering to reflect a broadening scope of the departmental activities in the past decade and to further develop research and education.


  • 1994: The Industrial Engineering Department's name was changed to Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering to encompass the new programs that were being added.
  • Long-distance satellite-based degree program and the M.S. degree in Quality Engineering were established.
  • The department's name was changed from Industrial Engineering to Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
  • Louis A. Martin-Vega becomes department chair in 1994, and S. David Wu succeeds him in 1998.


  • In January 1988, the Department moved to the Harold S. Mohler Laboratory from Packard Laboratory. The building was named after Harold S. Mohler, '48, former President, CEO and Chairman of the Hershey Foods.
  • Marlin U. Thomas becomes department chair in 1988.
  • Computer technology drives changes in curriculum, with courses in CAD/CAM, robotics and automation, and computer information systems becoming a vital part of the program.
  • Curriculum further expanded to include computer integration technology, artificial intelligence, expert systems, and neural network methods.


  • IE alum Lido (Lee) Iacocca, '45, was named President of the Chrysler Corporation in 1978. He is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy by championing the development of Chrysler's K-car series and the world's first minivan.
  • George E. Kane becomes department chair in 1974.
  • The starting seeds of the Enterprise System Center (ESC) were formed in 1973.
  • The field of Information Systems becomes an important part of department.
  • Coursework in computer-aided manufacturing and automation was added.
  • Three new laboratories began operations: Computer-Aided Manufacturing Lab, Information Systems Lab, and Work Systems Lab.


  • The Department initiated a Ph.D. program and the first two Ph.D.'s were awarded in October 1969.
  • Lehigh's computer center becomes a university-managed operation in 1968.
  • Coursework was added to the curriculum to cover new concepts in the evolution of Industrial Engineering such as operations research, statistics, and data processing.
  • Research becomes a significant part of the Department's operations.


  • In 1957, the Manufacturing Processes Laboratory was started to provide a more experimental approach to the instruction of production methods.
  • Thomas Holme was designated as first department head in 1950, with Arthur F. Gould taking over in 1952.
  • Curriculum was heavily oriented towards work measurement, motion analysis, incentives, and production methods, which were important topics in industrial engineering at the time.
  • First digital computer installed at Lehigh, and the IE department administered the university's computer center.


  • In the 1948-1949 academic school year, Industrial Engineering Department was established.
  • Graduate program begins with the awarding of first Master's degree in 1935.
  • First undergraduate degrees in Industrial Engineering were offered by Lehigh University in 1927.
  • IE curriculum administered by Mechanical Engineering Department.
George Kane, Lehigh University

History of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Lehigh University, 1924-2010

by Mikell Groover, Professor Emeritus, Lehigh University

In 2017, longtime faculty member Dr. Mikell Groover authored a history of Lehigh's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Please click here for the monograph.