Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), has received the 2018 Transformer Award from the Black Alumni(ae) of MIT (BAMIT). Dr. Reid, a two-time graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was presented the award during the BAMIT Capstone Weekend, which was held on the Institute’s campus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Nov. 2–4. The Transformer Award honors “change agents who have made positive impacts on multiple aspects of the Black experience at MIT.” The theme of the Capstone Weekend was “The Road to 50: The Power of Community,” a phrase that acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union at MIT and encouraged Capstone participants to connect with, learn from and support one another. MIT graduate Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was the keynote speaker for the Capstone Gala, where the awards were presented on Nov. 3.

“It’s been more than 34 years since I joined my older brother as a proud alumnus of MIT, but the influence of the institution on my life has not waned,” said Dr. Reid. “I am truly grateful for this honor, which I see as the ultimate validation of my work in diversity and inclusion, from some of the people whose judgement I value the most.”

A leading advocate for increasing college access, opportunity and success for low-income and minority youth, Dr. Reid came to NSBE as executive director in June 2014, 30 years after beginning his one-year term as the Society’s top-ranking officer, the national chair, while he was a student at MIT. Before taking his current post, Dr. Reid served as senior vice president for research, innovation and member college engagement at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and, before that, as associate dean of undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education at MIT, working to increase diversity at the Institute. While employed at MIT, he earned a Doctor of Education degree at Harvard University, where his dissertation explored the interrelationship of race, identity and academic achievement. His book, “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life,” published in 2017, presents practical applications of the knowledge he gained at MIT and Harvard and through subsequent research. Dr. Reid earned his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1984 and continued there to earn his master’s degree in the same field in 1985.

During his tenure at NSBE, Dr. Reid has provided vital guidance to the more than 19,000-member, student-led organization, as it moves toward its primary strategic goal, which is to lead the United States to graduate 10,000 black engineers annually, with bachelor’s degrees, by 2025.

BAMIT’s mission is “to support the professional and personal development of the black community at MIT — with a special focus on the recruitment, development and successful graduation of black undergraduate and graduate students — and to amplify the voice of all black alumni who are committed to leadership, innovation and positive social transformation.”

Dr. Reid’s work exemplifies that “positive social transformation.” He joined 10 other BAMIT Award recipients — MIT alumni, faculty and friends — many of whom were his mentors and role models, at the Capstone Weekend Gala. Lifetime Service Awards were presented to Dr. Jackson (MIT Classes of 1968 and 1973); MIT Professor and former MIT Chancellor Phillip L. Clay, Ph.D. (MIT Class of 1975); former MIT Dean for Graduate Students Isaac M. Colbert; MIT Professor Wesley Harris; former MIT Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Mary Olivia Hope; former MIT Associate Dean for Student Support Services Ayida Mthembu; former MIT Alumni Association President and former MIT Corporation member Linda Sharpe (MIT Class of 1969); MIT Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education Blanche E. Staton and MIT Adjunct Professor Emeritus Clarence G. Williams, for their dedicated service to the black community at the Institute. Philip Freelon March, founder of Freelon Architects (MIT Class of 1977), received the Roots and Exponents Award for instilling hope for the future of black communities at MIT and beyond.

With more than 500 chapters and more than 19,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit www.nsbe.org.

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Read about NSBE’s “Be 1 of 10,000” Campaign at Graduate10K.NSBE.org.