Our History

GEM History


Call to Action: 1972

J. Stanford Smith, General Electric Company SVP, calls for tenfold increase in minority engineering graduates within 10 years.

First Step: 1973

National Academy of Engineering sponsors Symposium on Increasing Minority Participation in Engineering.

Ted Habarth: April 1974

Habarth, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory affirmative action officer, drafts national consortium proposal to increase participation of minorities and women in engineering.

Forty Strong: July 1974

University of Notre Dame hosts meeting of  40 representatives from 13 research centers, 14 universities, and five advocacy organizations to develop methods to increase representation.

Task Force: Fall 1974 

Group charged with revising Habarth proposal based on July meeting recommendations.

Graduate Focus: 1975

Task force reconvenes; discovers and agrees mission should fill graduate education gap minority engineer development pipeline.  Proposal is completed and sent to 53 institutions and organizations with cover letter from Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, University of Notre Dame president.

First Fellows: 1976

Six Master’s in Engineering (MS E) fellowships are awarded.

Other Milestones

  • 1978: Howard G. Adams, PhD, becomes executive director
  • 1981: Ted Habarth appointed president
  • 1985: 106 fellowships awarded
  • 1987: Edward W. Seeberger appointed president
  • 1990: PhD Engineering (PhD E) and PhD Science (PhD S) fellowships launched
  • 1990: GEM awards 132 MS E, 15 PhD E, and 15 PhD S fellowships
  • 1992: 105 students total have graduated from the MS E program
  • 1993: 214 fellowships awarded.  First two PhD E students graduate
  • 1993:  John A. White appointed president
  • 1995: Charles Vest appointed president
  • 1996: GEM’s 20th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.
  • 1996: Faculty Bridge (now Future Faculty Professionals (FFP) Symposium) launched
  • 1998: GEM awards 174 MS E, 9 PhD E, 40 PhD S fellowships; graduates total 129 MS engineers, 10 PhD engineers, and seven PhD scientists
  • 2001: GEM win the Exemplary Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Partnership Award by the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network
  • 2001: Kurt Landgraf appointed President
  • 2003: Ronald E. Goldsberry appointed President
  • 2004: Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) Blue Ribbon Panel names GEM the “sole exemplary graduate-focused program” in A Bridge for All: Higher Education Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • 2006: GEM’s 30th anniversary celebration in Chicago, IL; GRAD Lab launched
  • 2007: GEM Moves from the University of Notre Dame to Educational Testing Services (ETS) offices in Washington DC; Juan Andrade appointed President
  • 2009: GEM secures permanent home in Alexandria, VA; Michael L. Vaughan appointed President
  • 2010: Alfred Grasso appointed President
  • 2011: GEM’s 35th anniversary celebration at the National Harbor (Maryland – DC Metro)
  • 2012: Eric D. Evans appointed President

Now, 3,000 men and women have achieved the Master’s in Engineering, PhD in Engineering, and PhD in Science through our best-in-class graduate fellowship program.  Each year, more than 300 graduate students are on college campuses around the nation and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to realize the dream of obtaining an advanced degree.  Each is a role model going to work in our communities as an expert in his or her chosen field.

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