The School's foundation and its first graduates

Graduating class of 1860
  • 1857: Foundation of "École Centrale lyonnaise pour l’Industrie et le Commerce", at the initiative of François Barthélemy Arlès-Dufour, Lyonnais businessman and humanist, and of  Désiré Girardon, teacher at The Martinière School, who dreamed of  "taking the best students of the Martinière and teaching them chemistry, industrial mechanics, civil construction and industrial drawing". The School was originally located at the corner of Rue d'Enghien (the future Rue Vauban) and Cours de Bourbon (the future Quai Castellane, then Quai Général-Sarrail).
  • 3 November 1857: Opening of the School with 14 students, who together made up the very first graduating class, the class of 1860.  


  • 1869: Second campus of Ecole Centrale de Lyon. Movement of the School to Quai Augagneur (the former Quai de la Guillotière, at n° 20).
  • 1887:Official patronage of the Chambre de Commerce de Lyon.

At the heart of Lyon

  • 1901: Movement of the School to Rue Chevreul with the support of the City of Lyon.
  • 1930: First female engineering student.
  • 1947: Handover of the School to the French Government.
  • 1963: Common entrance exam established with Ecole Centrale de Paris.
  • 1968: Common entrance exam established between Centrale and Supélec.

The beginning of international collaboration on the Ecully campus

  • 1967: Movement of the School to Écully, with the creation of a campus specially designed by the architect Jacques Perrin-Fayolle.
  • 1968: First exchange agreement with Darmstadt Technical University, Germany.
  • 1970: The School is renamed École Centrale de Lyon.
  • 1980: First agreement with Japan and the United States.
  • 1990: Creation of the Intergroupe des Écoles Centrale. First agreement with China.
  • 1992: The school becomes an Établissement Public à caractère Scientifique, Culturel et Professionnel. First agreement with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • 1996: Creation of European university network for double degrees: the TIME network.
  • 2000: First agreements with South American countries (Argentina, Chile, Brazil).
  • 2005: Creation of Ecole Centrale de Pékin, Beijing, by the Écoles Centrales Group.
Logo des 150 ans de l'École Centrale de Lyon
  • 2007: The Intergroupe becomes the "Groupe des Ecoles Centrales" with Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes et Paris. 150th anniversary of the School and 40th year of situation on the Ecully campus. Creation of the History website of the School to commemorate the occasion.

Strategic alliance on the Lyon Ouest campus

Logo Alliance Science & Business
  • 2010: Alliance established between Centrale Lyon and EMLYON on the  Lyon Ouest-Écully campus.
  • 2011: Founding member of the France AEROTECH network.
  • 2012: First graduating class of the I.D.E.A Program - a joint program of Centrale Lyon and EMLYON ; first Industrial Chair with Éco-Emballages.