20 Feb 1865. The Architecture program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1865, with the first courses taught in 1868. Despite its founding within a technical school, the architecture program began as a course of general study that was more closely aligned with the liberal arts. William Robert Ware modeled the school as a modified version of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, entrusting the program’s design leadership to Eugene Letang, a French graduate of the École who was a strict teacher of precise draftsmanship and clear composition.

In 1932, when MIT President Karl T. Compton reorganized the institute’s academic structure, the School of Architecture was formally established, incorporating the department of architecture. The head of the department of architecture, William Emerson, became the first dean of the School of Architecture.