Recognized largely as a small engineering school in western Pennsylvania, Carnegie Tech was spreading its influence throughout higher education and into secondary schools. Many colleges and universities sent delegations to Tech to learn about the Carnegie Plan. Under President John C. Warner, who succeeded President Doherty in 1950, the principles of the Carnegie Plan, including its focus on problem-solving skills, were disseminated into secondary schools. In the 1950s, the newly formed Graduate School of Industrial Administration, endowed by William Larimer Mellon, emerged as one of the three or four best business schools in the nation.
The Warner administration oversaw the institution’s burgeoning research enterprise. This period of research growth was aided by the work of the institution’s Computation Center, founded in 1956 to provide computing services to the campus. A major grant from benefactor Richard K. Mellon in 1965 aided the establishment of a Computer Science Department, a department which would be the genesis of Carnegie Mellon’s worldwide reputation in computer science.
By the end of the Warner administration and the start of the administration of President H. Guyford Stever in 1966, Carnegie Tech had most elements of a university. Its merger in 1967 with the Mellon Institute created Carnegie Mellon University and brought a $60 million endowment, extensive research facilities and renowned research personnel to the institution.
Five years later, President Richard M. Cyert (1972-90) began a tenure that was characterized by unparalleled growth and development. The university’s research budget soared from about $12 million annually in the early 1970s to more than $110 million in the late 1980s. The work of researchers in new fields such as robotics and software engineering helped the university build on its reputation for innovative ideas and pragmatic solutions to the problems of industry and society. Carnegie Mellon began to be recognized as a truly national research university able to attract students from across the nation and around the world.
The Cyert administration stressed strategic planning and comparative advantage, pursuing opportunities in areas in which Carnegie Mellon could outdistance its competitors.
An archetypal example of this approach was the introduction of the university’s “Andrew” computing network in the mid-1980s. This pioneering network, which linked all computers and workstations on campus, set the standard for educational computing and firmly established the university as a leader in the uses of technology in education and research.
Education and teaching also benefited in this period with the establishment of a University Teaching Center to improve faculty teaching and the renovation of many of the university’s classrooms.