Inventor Dean Kamen Receives WPI's Inaugural Presidential Medal for His 'Technological Humanism'

Award Recognizes a Career of Making Technology Society's Servant

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.-WPI has conferred on the inventor Dean Kamen '73 the University's inaugural Presidential Medal. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify the ideal of the "technological humanist" that is at the heart of WPI's approach to education.

Kamen accepted the medal during his recent keynote appearance at the 14th annual meeting, on the WPI campus, of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology (NCSSSMST).

In presenting the medal, WPI President Edward Alton Parrish observed that, "Ever since humans harnessed fire, made stones and sticks into tools, and invented the wheel, the ideas, insights and surprises associated with technological advances have made life an endlessly fascinating journey. Couple a passion for social progress with extraordinary technical prowess and an entrepreneur's talent for product design, production and distribution, and it is easy to understand the upward spiral of Dean Kamen's career of contributions."

Driven to show youngsters that mathematics and science can be fun and exciting, Kamen in 1991 founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit group dedicated to changing the way young people view science and technology. FIRST holds an annual contest in which high school students work in teams with engineers from sponsoring corporations and universities to design and build robots that compete against one another in events modeled after sporting contests. (In the current competition, the robot built by the WPI/ Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science team placed first in a regional competition on Long Island and went all the way to the semifinals at the national competition at EPCOT Center earlier this month.)

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