Alumnus Honored for Impact on African American Students

Dr. Calvin Mackie, award-winning engineer, internationally-renowned motivational STEM speaker, successful entrepreneur, and bestselling author was honored with The College Board’s 2015 Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence Award. Mackie received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.

The award recognized Mackie for his efforts in encouraging African American students to strive for academic success. It was presented in during the 2015 A Dream Deferred™ conference, on March 11, which brought together educational leaders from around the country focused on increasing academic opportunity for African American students.

A New Orleans native and former tenured Tulane University engineering professor, Mackie, has inspired countless students to pursue STEM and succeed in education. Over the past decade, he has spoken locally and nationally at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities sharing his personal story. After high school, Mackie was accepted to Morehouse College, under the condition that he must first take remedial classes. Surpassing everyone’s expectations, he went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude and as a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He eventually earned four STEM degrees in 11 years.

Mackie was the recipient of the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, which he received in a White House ceremony. Sharing his journey from academic struggle to success with students, educators, and business and political leaders across the country, he has become an inspirational figure in education for African Americans and a powerful force for STEM.

Beyond his speaking background, Mackie has also further influenced academic success with STEM NOLA, an organization he founded to engage, inspire, and expose the local community to STEM by designing and delivering programs and activities within the New Orleans community. His widely popular and growing programs, such as “STEM Saturday with Dr. Mackie,” are for students in grades K-12 and are specifically targeted to underserved communities across the city. They are unique in that they focus on using project-based activities and hands-on learning. His programs are inclusive to everyone, yet focused on reaching students who have limited access to STEM.  In over one year, STEM NOLA has engaged over 2400 K-12 students from over 200 schools in the greater New Orleans area.

"It’s a true honor to receive this award,” says Mackie. “Having experienced the challenges that many students, especially African American students, face today, I take great pride in helping them overcome adversity and become successful men and women. Everyone deserves the same opportunity to succeed in school regardless of gender, race, social or economic background. I want to thank The College Board for their inspiring efforts and commitment to promoting this vital cause.”

The College Board's 2015 A Dream Deferred™ conference was created to bring together educators and leaders to discuss new solutions and improve educational opportunities for African American students. The Model of Excellence Award is a legacy to the well-known scholar and educational psychologist Dr. Asa G. Hilliard. Dr. Hilliard was in Egypt in 2007 to deliver a keynote to the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations when he passed away due to complications from malaria. The Model of Excellence Awards were renamed in his honor.