John B. Slaughter

University of Southern California | Los Angeles, CA | 2012

John B.  Slaughter Portrait Photo

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Dr. John B. Slaughter is recognized as a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for more than four decades of successful efforts to increase the representation and equitable inclusion of African-American, American Indian and Latino women and men in the scientific and engineering fields.

Dr. John Slaughter is a former director of the National Science Foundation, former President of the University of Maryland College Park, and former President of Occidental College. He has served for many years as a leader in the education, engineering and scientific communities.

Dr. Slaughter earned a Ph.D. in Engineering Science from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and his M.S. in Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University.

Dr. Slaughter began his career as a licensed professional electronics engineer at General Dynamics, and later served for 15 years at the U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego. During this time, he organized a group of his engineering colleagues to mentor inner-city high school youth to encourage them to study science and mathematics.

From 1975-1977, Dr. Slaughter served as the Chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Minority Committee. As chair he created programs that continue to support generations of engineering students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). During this same period of time, Dr. Slaughter also served as the Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at the University of Washington where he advised and mentored numerous African-American engineering students, many of whom were experiencing a sense of isolation and alienation because of the absence of role models and support systems in the College of Engineering.

Dr. Slaughter has mentored many young scientists and engineers personally, but the true impact of his mentorship comes from his leadership and initiatives over his 40-year career. As President and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), Dr. Slaughter grew the association the organizations partnerships from 13 to 50 institutions and served as a founding member of a consortium with a goal to create 110 urban high school academies of engineering in locales with large underrepresented minority populations. Through his initiatives and vision, NACME has reached and mentored 10,000 students in the past five years.

Dr. Slaughter is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), elected for his excellence and contributions to the field of electrical engineering research. He served on its Committee on Minorities in Engineering, co-chaired its Action Forum on Engineering Workforce Diversity, and served two terms on the NAE Council.

Dr. Slaughter holds honorary degrees from 30 colleges and universities. He is the recipient of the first U.S. Black Engineer of the Year Award in 1987, and was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. National Award in 1997. He also was appointed by President George W. Bush to membership on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).