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Paul Parker to be honored by National Society of Black Engineers

Sharita Forrest, News Bureau
(217) 244-1072;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Paul E. Parker, assistant dean in the UI College of Engineering and the director of the minority engineering program, has been selected to receive the 2001 Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year Award from the National Society of Black Engineers.

The honor is one of the NSBE's Golden Torch Awards recognizing excellence among African-American engineers, scientists and technologists in academics, government and business.

Parker will receive his award March 16 at the NSBEÕs fourth annual Golden Torch Awards ceremony at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.

William R. Schowalter, dean of the college, nominated Parker for the award because of his demonstrated commitment to helping students of color succeed academically and professionally.

"Paul Parker's core is a quiet fire, a burning passion to reach young people and motivate them to excel in their studies and in a broader context of their lives," Schowalter said. "This passion forms the quality of his lifelong relationships with students and transcends their performance here at the university. He has helped to make the university community more inviting and cohesive, yet focused on its mission to provide a superior and stimulating educational environment for students and faculty."

Since Parker became director of the UI's minority engineering program in 1973, the number of minority undergraduate engineering students at the university has grown from 92 in 1969 to 400 in 2000. Over the years Parker has garnered numerous honors and awards for his professional accomplishments and his commitment to minority student education.

Among Parker's many honors are being included in the "International Who's Who of Information Technology (2000)," being named outstanding faculty member for 1992 by the UIUC Dad's Association and being named black engineer of the year in 1991 by U.S. Black Engineer magazine.

Parker earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, and his master's from the State University of New York at Buffalo.