Assistant Dean Paul E. Parker helped countless of students persist and excel in their engineering studies. His challenge was to address a severe under-representation of minority students studying engineering at Illinois. Since Parker became director of the UI’s minority engineering program in 1973, the number of minority undergraduate engineering students at the university has grown from 92 in 1969 to 400 in 2000.
His influence on several generations of MEP alumni cannot be overstated. Recognized nationally for his commitment to minority engineering education, he received the 2001 Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year Award from the National Society of Black Engineers, outstanding faculty member for 1992 by the UIUC Dad’s Association and named black engineer of the year in 1991 by U.S. Black Engineer magazine.
Personal comments of his personal impact to others are found on Dean Parker’s memorial page.
Dean Parker’s legacy continues through faithful and consistent support from alumni MEP and partners. The following have become MEP signature activities that continue to this day:
S.O.S. (System of Survival / System of Success) is a MEP tradition that has influenced thousands of engineers. MEP alumni coordinate this weekend retreat with workshops to help prepare students succeed through academic, professional, and personal growth. This retreat is held each year in early October at the Allerton Park and Conference Center.
Students, families, faculty, and alumni share an evening at this end-of-the-year banquet to recognize and celebrate the progress and accomplishments of students.
The Dean Paul Parker Scholarship Fund was established in 2000 by a group of University of Illinois College of Engineering alumni to honor former Assistant Dean Paul E. Parker. The Parker Scholarships are awarded based on merit to minority students enrolled in the College of Engineering.