NSBE - Convention 2011 - (Page 94)

37th NSBE Annual Convention St. Louis, Mo. • March 23–27, 2011 Golden Torch Award Winners Profiles by roger Witherspoon When the music starts in St. Louis on March 26, NSBE will celebrate its best. The NSBE Golden Torch Awards, now in their 14th year, recognize organizations and individuals who exemplify NSBE’s ideals of academic excellence, professional success and dedication to improvement of the black community. The NSBE Golden Torch Awards ceremony is a great show with a higher purpose. Since their inception, the awards have provided approximately $6.5 million in scholarships to talented high school seniors. Don’t miss this exciting, closing event of NSBE’s 37th Annual Convention: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the America’s Center convention complex, Halls 4 and 5. Admission is free for all convention attendees. GOLDEN TORCh LEGACy AWARD Nathaniel Thomas Illinois Institute of Technology City Colleges of Chicago athaniel Thomas was born in Mississippi. “When I was six months old, my mother said, ‘I’m getting out of here and going to Chicago where my kids will get an education.’ Neither of my parents could read or write, and all they knew was picking cotton. All they knew on my report card was whether or not I had a gold star, and if I didn’t, they’d whip my butt. I’d say ‘Mom, you have to have a perfect score to get a gold star,’ and I had a 99 average. But that didn’t save me. She said, ‘Your Dad only knows gold stars or nothing.’ ” He taught his father to read, so report card time wouldn’t be so traumatic. That would set a pattern: find students who wanted to learn, and teach them at their level. By 1973, Thomas had earned a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s in vocational guidance and was working as assistant director of co-op education at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The school received a $25,000 GE grant to develop a minority engineering program, and Thomas was asked 94 • nsbe magazine • convention 2011 N to organize a high school recruiting and talent identification program. At the time, Thomas says, “their bottom line was that black kids couldn’t possibly be as smart as white kids, so we would have to remediate them. I went out to find students who could do the work. I had 113 juniors lined up for that program who had engineering profiles but didn’t know what engineers do.” There were only nine black students in the anemic incoming freshman class of 1974: overall enrollment had declined from 650 to 350. Thomas was asked to take over all recruiting, and for the next three years, the entering classes held 801, 898 and 965 students. “Everything went up,” says Thomas. “The average SAT scores, the ACT scores, the GPA of the freshmen.” Thomas’ system of finding interested, qualified, regional students bolstered IIT’s overall enrollment, enhanced its financial position, boosted its overall standing in the engineering education field and trained hundreds of minority engineers. He left IIT as assistant vice president of External Affairs in 1988 after 15 years of continuous service and 22 years overall at the institute. He then became vice chancellor of Student Services for City Colleges of Chicago and later retired from Roosevelt University as director of the school’s REACH program, in 2003. “There is a satisfaction you get from being able to do things for other people,” Thomas says. “You can’t put a price on that.” Continued on page 96 www.nsbe.org http://www.nsbe.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NSBE - Convention 2011

Nsbe - Convention 2011
The Essence of Engineering
Flipping the Script on Retention
Nsbe’s New High-Tech Hook-Ups!
The Programs Zone
David Anfield of Walmart
Kerry Nichols of NAVAIR
Arthur Hall of Philadelphia Gas Works
Kevin Engram of Illinois Tool Works
Dr. Kevin M. Carter of MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Nsbe Calendar
Membership News
Mack Named Clarkson University Trustee
National Advisory Board Update
Nsbe Honors a Diversity ‘champion’
Things to Do in St. Louis
Golden Torch Award Winners
NSBE’s Steve Earl: Building for Home and Community
Employer Profiles
Advertisers Index

NSBE - Convention 2011