NAE President to present Ginn Distinguished Lecture on the future of engineering education

Published: Aug 28, 2009 9:46:00 AM
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Charles M. Vest

Charles M. Vest

Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will present a lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. in the Hartley Auditorium, 1103 Shelby Center. In his lecture, "Engineering Education and the Challenges of the 21st Century," Vest will discuss the impact that globalization and the changing nature of science and technology have on higher education, research, development and innovation, as well as the ways that our educational systems may have to transform to meet the greatest human challenges of this century. His lecture is part of the Samuel Ginn Distinguished Lecture series.

Vest earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1963 and master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1967, respectively. He joined the Michigan faculty in 1968, where he taught heat transfer, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics before moving into administration, eventually becoming provost and vice president for academic affairs. In 1990 he became president of MIT, concentrating on science, technology and innovation policy; building partnerships among academia, government and industry; and championing the importance of open, global scientific communication, travel and sharing of intellectual resources.

He was a member of the board of directors of DuPont for 14 years and of IBM for 13 years; was vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness for eight years; and served on various federal committees and commissions. These include the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy and the Rice-Chertoff Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee.

In July 2007, he was elected to serve as NAE president for a six-year term. He has written books on holographic interferometry and higher education. He received honorary doctoral degrees from 10 universities and was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush.

The Samuel Ginn Distinguished Lecture Series, founded in 2005, brings distinguished leaders from the academic and business communities to Auburn's campus to interact with faculty and students. Lectures cover subjects such as engineering, education, entrepreneurship and global engineering issues, as well as engineering and business leadership. It honors Auburn engineering alumnus and wireless engineering pioneer Samuel Ginn, who in 2001 donated $25 million to Auburn with the goal of advancing his alma mater into the ranks of the nation's top wireless engineering research and teaching institutions.

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