On April 10, 2018, BEACON’s own Prof. Percy Pierre, Chair of the BEACON Diversity Steering Committee and contributor to BEACON from its earliest proposal days, was honored with the Historical Leader Award of the MSU Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association (BFSAA). BEACON’s Business Manager, Connie James, who is Recording Secretary of the group, was on hand to describe to the group some of Percy’s most significant contributions. His distinguished career has spanned serving as a White House Fellow, where he was deputy to the Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs; as Dean of Engineering at Howard University; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition, and later Acting Secretary of the Army; President of Prairie View A&M University; Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at MSU, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU. In the latter role, he has mentored over 200 minority graduate students to degrees in Engineering, the accomplishment of which he is most proud. Dr. Pierre was a principal architect of the national minority engineering effort, co-chairing the 1973 National Academy of Engineering Symposium that launched the effort. He served as the program officer for minority engineering at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, where his efforts resulted in funding of many minority engineering organizations, including NACME, GEM, MESA, DAPCEP, and SECME. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and has received many other awards and honors.
Percy’s wisdom and vast experience have helped to shape BEACON’s diversity efforts to be among the most successful of any of NSF’s Science and Technology Centers. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the positive and supportive atmosphere that pervades all of BEACON today.