Written by Troy Eller English, SWE Archivist.
PIONEERS FOR THE FUTURE
The 1966 SWE national convention (as they were called then) was hosted at the Westward Ho Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, a locale fitting of the convention’s theme, “Pioneers for the Future.” In a rapidly expanding city known for its sun and tech-friendly business climate, the convention’s technical sessions focused on solar energy and computers. The convention included speeches by two women engineering pioneers, the renowned Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Ph.D., and Jane Rider, who became Arizona’s “First Lady of Engineering” when she received a civil engineering degree from The University of Arizona in 1911.
The convention was hosted by the Southwest Section, an expansive section chartered just two years prior with boundaries encompassing the entirety of Arizona, New Mexico, “and that portion of Northern Texas in the environs of El Paso and Amarillo.” The boundaries of the Southwest Section contracted over the following 25 years as the number of SWE sections and members in the region expanded, and it was renamed the Phoenix Section in 1990.
– Troy Eller English, SWE Archivist