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About the School of Science and Engineering

About the School of Science and Engineering

Saint Louis University formed the School of Science and Engineering in 2022 to better meet the future needs of its students and faculty. The college brings together select departments from the College of Arts and Sciences — chemistry, computer science, earth and atmospheric sciences, and physics —with the former Parks College for Engineering, Aviation and Technology. 

Honoring the Legacy of Oliver “Lafe” Parks

A pilot pictured in the cockpit of a historic plane with the rudder reading Parks P-1 St. Louis, Ill 2019
The Parks P-1 aircraft with an OX-5, 90 horsepower engine on the Parks flightline in 1929.

The University continues to honor the legacy of Oliver “Lafe” Parks, who donated his aviation school to SLU in 1946, through the Oliver L. Parks Department of Aviation Science within the School of Science and Engineering.

Founded by Oliver "Lafe" Parks in 1927, just two months after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic, Parks College was the first federally approved school of aeronautics.

During the World War II era, the aviation college and its subsidiaries were responsible for training one of every 10 Army Air Corps pilots, plus thousands of aircraft mechanics. After the war, Parks realized that future aviation leaders would need a broader, more academic education. He felt the best way to ensure this breadth was to seek affiliation with a major university. In 1946, he gave Parks College to Saint Louis University, and with that, the holder of Air Agency Certificate #1 became part of the oldest university west of the Mississippi.

Over the years, the school added programs in aircraft maintenance management, avionics engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and civil engineering. In the fall of 1997, after seven decades in Cahokia, Illinois, the college moved into McDonnell Douglas Hall, a state-of-the-art building on the University’s St. Louis campus.