NAE Announces Committee on Racial Justice and Equity


Tue, September 15, 2020

Washington DC, September 15, 2020 —

Updated: September 17, 2021

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today the newly established Committee on Racial Justice and Equity. Created by NAE President John Anderson as a presidential advisory committee, it will advise him and the NAE Council on ways that the engineering community and the NAE can address issues related to racial injustice and inequity.

“Neither the NAE nor any other organization can solve all the societal problems associated with racism, prejudice, and discrimination, but it is our responsibility to do our best in recommending solutions based on scientific evidence and engineering methods,” said Dr. Anderson. “Current events underscore how critical it is for us to redouble our efforts to include the perspectives of everyone as we build the future world that we want, one in which we are all valued equally. Engineers serve society, and to be effective engineers must be aware of societal problems in all dimensions.”

The committee is tasked with:

  • Recommending ways to make NAE members and the general engineering community aware of racial injustice and inequity.
  • Recommending initiatives designed to increase the percentage of engineering degrees in higher education achieved by African Americans.
  • Developing strategies to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the highest leadership positions of the NAE.
  • Recommending ways that technology can be used to improve racial justice.
  • Developing strategies for fundraising to achieve these tasks.

The committee will meet three times per year and provide recommendations to the NAE president that will be presented to the NAE Council.

Percy A. Pierre has been appointed chair of the Committee on Racial Justice and Equity. He was elected to the NAE in 2009 for “service as assistant secretary of the Army, contributions to engineering education, and leadership in creating the national minority engineering effort.” His NAE service includes chairing the Planning Committee for the Symposium on Minorities in Engineering and subsequently the NAE Committee on Minorities in Engineering. He has also helped design and fund several major minority engineering organizations including the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, the National GEM Consortium for minority graduate fellowships, and several precollege programs.

“The NAE has a long history of working for diversity and equity in the engineering profession and I am pleased to lead this committee as we focus not only on equity but racial justice,” Pierre said. “There is a much greater awareness of racism today but awareness without action changes nothing. It is my hope this committee can foster greater action with measureable outcomes at the NAE and guide programmatic efforts.”

The committee membership is as follows:

  • Percy A. Pierre (Chair), Glenn L. Martin Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Wanda M. Austin, Retired President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation
  • Thomas P. Bostick, CEO, Intrexon and Lieutenant General (retired), U.S. Army
  • Rafael L. Bras, Former Provost, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Nicholas M. Donofrio, IBM Fellow Emeritus, IBM Corporation
  • Dimitar P. Filev, Henry Ford Technical Fellow, Ford Motor Company
  • Mauricio Futran, Vice President, Advanced Technology, Johnson and Johnson
  • Wesley L. Harris, Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Lester L. Lyles, Independent Consultant
  • Gary S. May, Chancellor, University of California, Davis  
  • Warren F. (Pete) Miller, Jr., Former Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Roderic I. Pettigrew, CEO, EnHealth, Texas A&M University
  • Darryll J. Pines, President, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Wanda A. Sigur, Retired Vice President and General Manager of Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • John B. Slaughter, Professor of Education and Engineering, University of Southern California and former director, National Science Foundation
  • Kenneth E. Washington, Vice President, SW Engineering, Amazon Web Services


Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

L. Eileen  Erickson
Contact L. Eileen Erickson
Director of Outreach and Communications
National Academy of Engineering