The Gordon Prize

WPI community celebrates prestigious Gordon Prize with panel discussion, award ceremony

April 15, 2016
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 Today, WPI will celebrate receiving the prestigious 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. The Gordon Prize was awarded to WPI by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The events include a panel discussion, “Perspectives on Engineering Education: A Conversation,” at 2:30 p.m. in Alden Memorial. Interim dean of engineering David Cyganski will host the discussion, and President Laurie Leshin will moderate.

Panelists are:

  • Rick Vaz, dean of interdisciplinary and global studies at WPI;
  • Mark Russell, a member of the WPI Board of Trustees and Corporate Vice President of Engineering and Technology and Mission Assurance at Raytheon;
  • Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College; and
  • C.D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering.
Rick Vaz
Kris Wobbe

The discussion will be followed at 3:30 by the presentation of the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education.

The Gordon Prize includes a $500,000 award, half of which will go to the university in “support of the continued development, refinement, and dissemination of The WPI Plan. The other $250,000 will be divided among four faculty leaders who have advanced the WPI Plan to new levels of innovation and opportunity.

They are Vaz, Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Arthur C. Heinricher, dean of undergraduate studies; and Kris Wobbe, associate dean of undergraduate studies.

WPI is investing its $250,000 into the Center for Project-based Learning, and Vaz who,  since 2006 has overseen the significant expansion of WPI’s Global Projects Program, will lead the new center.

Diran Apelian
Arthur C. Heinricher

“The Bernard M. Gordon Prize is the most prestigious award in engineering education,” he says. “The Prize recognizes 45 years of leadership in project-based learning as developed and delivered by several generations of WPI faculty.

“We are greatly honored by this recognition. WPI will use the institutional portion of the Gordon Prize to support the launch of the WPI Center for Project-based Learning, aimed at helping other colleges and universities make progress in advancing project-based learning on their campuses. Through the Center, it is WPI’s objective to enhance student learning at institutions of all types across the nation and the world.”

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.