More than 150 people turned out Friday, November 2, for a lunch gala celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Engineering Diversity Programs (EDP) in the Tickle College of Engineering.
Using the theme “45 Years of Community Excellence: A Celebration of Continuing Growth,” the event took place at the Foundry a World’s Fair Park and drew alumni from across the years, as well as faculty, staff, and students for a day celebrating the office, its impact, and the successes yet to come.
“This was a good way for us to get together and talk about some of the things this office has meant,” said EDP Director Travis Griffin. “It serves to connect current students with alums that came before them.”
As part of the ceremony, the director’s position that Griffin holds was renamed the Fred D. Brown Jr. Director in honor of Brown, who pioneered diversity efforts in what is now the Tickle College of Engineering at UT.
Brown created the office, then known as the Minority Engineering Scholarship Program (MESP), in 1973, at a time when there were only 26 African-American students in the entire college.
Renamed the Office of Diversity Programs in 1999, the office serves to increase the number of underrepresented students, including African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native, and females.
The program blossomed under Brown’s leadership and that of his successors, James Pippin and now Griffin, to the point that more than 1,000 minority engineering students have now graduated from the college, a number that continues to grow.
Having a ready-built group of underrepresented students is one key to helping them succeed academically. Being a part of a community, of something larger, is a bond that has helped our students for 45 years.”
Participants were also encouraged to meet with Tickle College of Engineering Interim Dean Mark Dean, himself an alumnus and past participant in MESP, to learn about ongoing diversity efforts in the college.
Check out some of the photos from the event.