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John Brooks Slaughter is a professor of education and engineering in the Rossier School of Education and Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). A former director of the National Science Foundation, chancellor of the University of Maryland, College Park, and president of Occidental College, he has served for many years as a leader in the education, engineering, and scientific communities. He is well known for his commitment to increasing diversity in higher education, with a focus on the STEM disciplines.
Dr. Slaughter, a licensed professional engineer, began his career as an electronics engineer at General Dynamics and then worked for 15 years at the US Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego, where he became head of the Information Systems Technology Department. He has also been director of the Applied Physics Laboratory, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, academic vice president and provost at Washington State University, the Irving R. Melbo Professor of Leadership in Education at USC, and president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.
He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as assistant director and then director of the National Science Foundation and by President George W. Bush to membership on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Among the boards of directors on which he has served are IBM, Northrop Grumman, Monsanto, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Sovran Bank, and Atlantic Richfield.
A member since 1982 of the National Academy of Engineering—for which he has served on the Committee on Minorities in Engineering, cochaired the Action Forum on Engineering Workforce Diversity, and served two terms on the NAE Council—he is also the recipient of its Arthur M. Bueche Award (2004). In addition, he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences; was elected to the Tau Beta Pi honorary engineering society; and was named Eminent Member of the Eta Kappa Nu honorary electrical engineering association. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1993 he was named to the American Society for Engineering Education Hall of Fame and received its Centennial Medal. In 1987 he was selected for the first US Black Engineer of the Year Award, and in 1997 received the Martin Luther King Jr. National Award. He received the UCLA Medal of Excellence in 1989, was elected to the Kansas State University Engineering Hall of Fame in 1990, and received the Roger Revelle Award from the University of California, San Diego in 1991.
Dr. Slaughter earned his PhD in engineering science from UCSD, MS in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, and BS in electrical engineering from Kansas State University. He holds honorary degrees from 31 colleges and universities.