National Academy of Engineering (NAE) president Dr. Charles Vest will receive an honorary degree from UConn and deliver the keynote presentation during the School of Engineering’s Sunday, May 8, 2011 commencement ceremonies at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs.
In nominating Dr. Vest for the honor, Dr. Mun Choi, dean of the School of Engineering, said “Dr. Vest embodies the exceptional qualities that UConn strives to nurture in its students and faculty members. His luminous accomplishments across his career, leadership in science and technology, commitment to enhancing the nation’s educational excellence and focus on competitiveness and sustainability, provide ample reasons why he was selected for this important recognition. We are deeply honored to host Dr. Vest.”
Dr. Vest, who ranks among the world’s most respected and influential technology leaders, has served as vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (Clinton and Bush administrations), the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy and other roles of international importance.
Throughout his career, Dr. Vest has worked to bring issues concerning education and research to broader public attention and to strengthen national policy on science, engineering and education. He chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and the U.S. Department of Energy Task Force on the Future of DOE Science Programs, and he is a past chair of the Association of American Universities. Among his honors and awards is the 2006 National Medal of Technology, which was presented by President George W. Bush.
Dr. Vest is president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-2004). During his tenure as president, MIT launched its OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative; co-founded the Alliance for Global Sustainability; enhanced the racial, gender, and cultural diversity of its students and faculty; established major new institutes in neuroscience and genomic medicine; and redeveloped much of its campus. Earlier in his career, Dr. Vest was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Michigan, where he previously served as Dean of Engineering.
Dr. Vest earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University (1963), and both his M.S. (1964) and Ph.D. (1967) degrees from the University of Michigan. His research interests are in the thermal sciences and the engineering applications of lasers and coherent optics.
Further details of the School of Engineering’s May commencement may be found on our website in coming months