Professor Rafael Bras and NASA administrator Woodrow Whitlow Jr., who have earned six MIT degrees between them, will receive Leadership Awards at the 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebratory Breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 3. Ticora V. Jones, a senior in materials science and engineering, will also receive a Leadership Award.
The breakfast, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Morss Hall at Walker Memorial at 7:30am. Seating is limited, with reservations required by tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 27). For additional information, see the MLK Celebration web site.
The theme of this year's celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy is "Engineering Bold Leadership For the 21st Century: A Blueprint for Full Participation In Academia, Government and Industry." The keynote speaker will be Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, who received the SB and PhD in physics from MIT.
Professor Bras, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been the Bacardi-Stockholm Water Foundations Professor since 1995. He earned the SB from MIT in 1972 and the SM and PhD as well.
Professor Bras was nominated as a faculty member for the award by senior Jeriel Rivera, president of the MIT chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), who said: "The leadership and integrity Professor Bras has demonstrated during his 24 years as a professor deserves special recognition. His interaction with members of SHPE and his continious support of minorities at MIT should be commended."
Dr. Whitlow, who earned the SB (1974), SM and PhD in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, is the director of the Aeronautics Directorate at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. He was nominated as an alumnus by Professor Wesley Harris of aeronautics and astronautics, who was Dr. Whitlow's advisor at MIT and a colleague at NASA.
Professor Harris cited Dr. Whitlow for developing research partnerships among NASA centers, industry and historically black colleges and universities and directing doctoral and master's theses. "Woody's actions have remained consistent with Dr. King's model for excellence in one's profession and for personal involvement and commitment to enhance the brotherhood of humankind," he said.
Ms. Jones, who hails from Durham, NC, is a co-founder of the Black Women's Alliance of MIT. She has been a group facilitator and tutor for the Office of Minority Education, winning the Tutor of the Year award, and she is also a National Merit and National Achievement Scholar and a member of the National Society of Black Engineers.
Dr. Jackson was the first African-American woman to head the NRC and the first African-American woman to earn an MIT doctorate. She became president of RPI last July. Other speakers at the breakfast will include President Charles M. Vest, Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow and Provost Robert A. Brown.
The MLK Day celebration will also include these events in Lobby 10:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ An exhibit designed by 30 students who participated in an IAP seminar coordinated by Tobie Weiner of political science. The exhibit, which will be assembled in sections, dramatizes the belief that the struggle for freedom begins with individual commitment. The student leader of the seminar is Edward R. Mitchell, a senior in mathematics.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Students will participate in a special dedication to honor Dr. King's memory from noon-1pm.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Members of the Consecration Ministries, under the direction of Je'Nise Robertson, will enlighten the community with their spirited dancing from 4:30-5pm.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The South Mass Choir, under the direction of Darryll Maston, will sing a capella selections of joy and harmony from 5-5:30pm.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 26, 2000.