The first organization of EE department heads met in Philadelphia, PA, on June 20, 1963. Forty-seven campuses were represented. The organization was originally called AEEDH, standing for Association of Electrical Engineering Department Heads, and later EEDHA. Most AEEDH meetings were held at ASEE Annual Meetings and, starting in 1971, at the annual Frontiers in Education conference. The organization published annual directories, offered advice regarding accreditation issues, held regional and national meetings, and generally facilitated interaction and information exchange among department heads.
In 1985 the organization held its first stand-alone meeting apart from ASEE or FIE, and in 1986 changed its name to NEEDHA, standing for National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association. Since 1985 it has met annually.
In 2001 the name was changed to ECEDHA, partly to recognize the importance of computer engineering, and partly to encourage participation from departments outside the United States.
In 1992 an extensive history of NEEDHA was written by Keith R. Carver. Supplies of this document have been exhausted, and there are no plans to print more. The World Wide Web edition of this history has been available since January 25, 1997.
The transfer of ECEDHA leadership from one President to the next is symbolized by the passing of the ECEDHA gavel, a ceremony which normally takes place at the annual meeting.