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Two NAE members honor engineering pioneer and first Black National Science Foundation director John Brooks Slaughter. Read tributes below.
Dr. John Brooks Slaughter is the epitome of achievement in engineering, in science, and in addressing racial justice in America. It is appropriate that he is being recognized. Although he may not be as well known as other prominent and accomplished African Americans who are usually feted during Black History Month, his science, technology, and engineering achievements are unparalleled and should be extolled in history.
Dr. Slaughter was the first Black director of the National Science Foundation; the first Black president of Occidental College, one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast; the first Black chancellor of the University of Maryland; and a distinguished professor of engineering at the University of Southern California.
As important as his academic achievements are his dedicated, stalwart efforts to increase the presence of underrepresented students in the engineering and scientific professions, despite systemic and structural racism. He has fought tirelessly to call out and eliminate inequities inherent in the corporate world and in society that result in racial injustice and lost opportunities for minorities. He also serves on the NAE President’s Committee on Racial Justice and Equity in Engineering, forging a cultural transformation in the engineering profession.
Dr. John Brooks Slaughter is definitely a major force in Black history.
- General Lester L. Lyles, US Air Force (retired)
It is extraordinary to reflect on the range of John Brooks Slaughter’s achievements and impact from one side of this nation to the other. Over the course of more than sixty years as an engineer, scholar, and leader, he has powerfully advanced racial equity and socioeconomic mobility, increasing diversity in STEM and helping students excel in academics and their subsequent careers.
John’s friendship and mentorship over the years have profoundly affected me. His fierce commitment to creating and sustaining a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable engineering profession—and society in general—are an endless source of strength and inspiration.
- Gary S. May, Chancellor, UC Davis
Dr. Slaughter recently gave a special lecture on racial justice and equity at 56th NAE annual meeting. To read more about this special lecture visit here.