MIT President Charles M. Vest has been elected president and chairman of the board of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM).
Since its inception in 1976, GEM has become the nation's foremost industry/academic partnership for increasing the number of master's and doctoral degrees awarded to underrepresented minorities in engineering and science.
Dr. Vest's election to a two-year term came May 24 during GEM's annual board meeting, held at Notre Dame University. Dr. Vest succeeds Dr. John White, dean of engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In electing Dr. Vest, the board cited his personal commitment and the demonstrated leadership of MIT in enhancing opportunities for graduate education for minorities.
The GEM partnership, comprised of 82 industrial sponsors and 77 university members, provides financial and employment support, plus graduate training, for 200-250 students annually. In addition, GEM publishes highly regarded information about choosing to attend graduate school and completing it successfully; sponsors annual national teleconferences about issues such as "Why Graduate School" and "Successful Mentoring," and sponsors the award winning educational program, Journey.
MIT, a founding member of the consortium, enrolls GEM scholars in significant numbers (a total of 138 over the past 19 years). With a completion rate of 94 percent, MIT is among the most successful universities in graduating GEM students.
Each year, five-10 seniors are awarded GEM scholarships and use these awards here and at other universities.
GEM's new executive director, Dr. Norman L. Fortenberry (Class of 1983), is a former GEM scholar. He received the SB, SM and ScD at MIT, where he was a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Fortenberry taught at Florida State University, and most recently served in the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Fortenberry will succeed Dr. Howard Adams of Notre Dame on July 1 and is the first GEM alumnus to serve as executive director.
Dr. Isaac Colbert, associate dean of the MIT Graduate School, serves on the GEM Executive Committee and represents MIT on the board.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 1995.