The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) presented NJIT with its Rising University Star Award at its 35th anniversary awards dinner and celebration dinner Sept. 29, 2009 at the Waldorf Astoria. Accepting for NJIT were Robert A. Altenkirch, president; Joel Bloom, vice president for academic and student services and dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College; and Tony Howell, executive director of NJIT's Educational Opportunity Program.
Joining guest speaker Bill Cosby, more than 500 leaders from industry, academia, government, universities, foundations, and other organizations gathered from across the country to attend this premier, black-tie event. This year’s theme, “Changing Lives, Changing America,” spoke to NACME’s dual role of changing lives through its involvement in Kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education. The theme also addressed the organization’s ability to change America through its leadership and policy advocacy to produce a graduating engineering class that looks like America.
Proceeds from the dinner will provide critical scholarship funding to help NACME continue its 35-year legacy of assisting in the education of underrepresented minorities in engineering, technology, math and science-based professions.
NJIT and NACME have worked together for more than a decade to increase the number of minority engineering students in higher education. NACME’s leadership, policy papers, reports, programs, and financial support have enabled NJIT to remain a top national leader—11th in the nation this year, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education—when it comes to graduating underrepresented minority engineers.
Since 1985, NACME has supported NJIT’s in preparing these students through five scholarship and grant programs. To date, more than 400 NJIT students and alumni have been the beneficiaries. Many would never have been able to graduate without NACME’s support. NJIT President Emeritus, Saul K. Fenster, served on the NACME Board for many years. “We heartily congratulate and thank NACME on its 35th anniversary,” said Joel Bloom, EdD, vice president, academic and student services and dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College. “I also want to give special thanks to John Slaughter for his decades of leadership in higher education and wish him the best for years to come in his retirement.”
NJIT's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, has been the support system for NACME students. The program provides educational opportunities and improves educational outcomes for populations traditionally underrepresented in mathematics, the natural sciences, engineering, computer and information science, business, architecture, engineering technology, and in the professions related to these fields.
EOP offers both academic and financial support, as well as career and personal counseling, to many first-time, full-time freshmen and transfer students. EOP is in the forefront of NJIT’s mission as an opportunity school to serve underrepresented minorities. Often many of NJIT’s graduates are the first in their families to graduate from college. Program features include an intensive pre-freshman summer academic enrichment program, winter inter-session classes during freshman year, plus counseling and academic advisement throughout students' academic careers.