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05-08-2010

National Society of Black Engineers Executive Director Carl Mack Receives Clarkson University Honorary Degree

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/cmack2.jpg]

Carl B. Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University’s 117th Commencement on today.National Society of Black Engineers Executive Director Carl Mack Receives Clarkson University Honorary Degree

The degree was awarded for his "leadership and resolute commitment to social justice and the success of African-Americans, and his unwavering dedication to empower individuals through education and to increase the numbers of underrepresented groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through the development of young minds."

In addressing the Class of 2009, Mack said, "My advice to you today, the graduating class of 2010, is to pursue your greatness. And that greatness means that you are going to pursue something that is bigger than you, something that is far more special than you.

"The history of our great nation is filled with men and women who have achieved greatness and when you go through and recount all of their lives -- regardless of social economic background, race --there is one common denominator that they all have. All of the men and women in this great nation who have achieved that greatness had this one ingredient: opportunity. President Abraham Lincoln is considered great present because he had the opportunity to deal with slavery in this country; Susan B. Anthony is considered a great woman because she had the opportunity to deal with discrimination against sisters in this country when it came to voting.  Martin Luther King, Jr. is considered a great man in the history of our nation because he had the opportunity to deal with moral consciousness of America.

"And so now today, -- the graduating class of 2010, our Golden Knights -- you too have amongst your vast array of opportunities: global warming; alternative energy sources; conservation of land, resources and wildlife, the growing economic gap between the haves and the have nots, education, skyrocketing unemployment, an explosion prison population, world relations, war, immigration reform and yes, racism - are just some of the opportunities that wait you and your greatness.

"And so I say you to Class of 2010, my Golden Knights, don the intellectual armor that has been given to you by our great university; bring forth your sword of change; make sure that your heart is wrapped with that of servant-leader so that when you chase this opportunity you don’t chase it for fame and greatness, you chase it so that you can make a difference in the lives of others. And when you go with such sincerity in your heart, I can assure you that you will be successful and I can assure you that history shall remember your greatness."

Mack was born in Jackson, Miss., and is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. In 2006, the university named him a distinguished engineering fellow.

After moving to the Seattle, Wash., area in 1987, Mack worked as an engineer with the King County Metro transportation system for 18 years and coordinated the county’s award-winning Minority Engineering Internship Program. During this time, Mack also authored Black Heritage Day, the most comprehensive and unique perpetual calendar boasting 365 days of black history. The calendar was released in three editions from 1993-2001.

From 2003 through 2004, he also served as president of the Seattle King County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During his tenure, the branch grew from 600 to 2,000 members and won the 2004 Class 1-A Thalheimer Award as the top branch in the country.

Because of his significant contributions in the arena of civil rights, Mack was listed as one of the 25 Most Influential People in the greater Seattle area. Upon his announcement to leave greater Seattle, both the City of Seattle and the King County government named February 12, 2005, Carl B. Mack Day.

In March 2005, Mack began a new chapter of his life as the fourth executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), one of the nation’s largest student-governed organizations.

In each of his first four years at NSBE, the organization set records for membership, reaching 33,067 members in 2009, up from its previous high of 12,842 before Mack’s arrival. He also has been instrumental in increasing NSBE’s financial resources to record highs: expanding the organization’s cash reserves from $3.5 million to $9 million and securing a largest-ever grant of $1 million from a NSBE sponsor, among other highlights. Mack was recognized in the May 2008 and 2009 editions of Ebony magazine as one of the Top 150 Black Leaders in America.

Mack has led the expansion of NSBE’s Pre-College Initiative Program to the elementary-school level by founding the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) Academy. SEEK is designed to expose African-American youth to science, technology, engineering and math early and constantly, and has seen tremendous growth, from 250 children to nearly 1600, in its first three years.

Mack resides in Fort Washington, Md., with his sons, Joshua and Jonathan, and his wife, Jamiyo, a chemical engineer whom he met at NSBE’s 2000 Annual National Convention.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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