National Academy of Engineering Presents 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize to Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The WPI Plan and Four Faculty Members Recognized with Prestigious Award for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education; April 15 Events Include Award Presentation and a Panel Discussion on Engineering Education
April 13, 2016

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On Friday, April 15, 2016, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with the 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education in a formal ceremony on the WPI campus. The Gordon Prize is awarded annually by the NAE to recognize new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders.

The prestigious award, given to WPI "for a project-based engineering curriculum developing leadership, innovative problem solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, and global competencies," will be presented by NAE president C. D. Mote Jr. It honors the WPI Plan, a revolutionary project-based approach to higher education, and also recognizes the leadership and contributions of four faculty members who continue the development and growth of opportunities offered by the Plan.

The award celebration will also include a panel discussion, "Perspectives in Engineering Education: A Conversation," and will be followed by a campus reception.


Speakers and honored guests will include:

Laurie Leshin, WPI President

C. D. Mote Jr., National Academy of Engineering President

• Faculty award recipients: 

        o Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute 

        o Arthur Heinricher, dean of undergraduate studies 

        o Richard Vaz, dean of interdisciplinary and global studies 

        o Kristin Wobbe, associate dean of undergraduate studies


        o Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College and president-elect of the Association of American Colleges and Universities 

        o Mark Russell, Raytheon’s vice president of corporate Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance; Fellow of the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 

        o Richard Vaz

Honored guests

        o Bernard M. Gordon, Chairman of BMG Charitable Trust, and his wife, Sophia 

        o Gordon Prize Committee Chair John C. Wall, M.D., retired vice president and CTO of Cummins, Inc. 

        o Harriette L. Chandler, Massachusetts state senator, 1st Worcester district 

        o Gladys Rodriquez, Senior District Representative for Congressman James P. McGovern.


Alden Memorial, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.

Friday, April 15, 2016

• 2:30 p.m., Panel Discussion: “Perspectives in Engineering Education: A Conversation”

• 3:30 p.m., Award Presentation

• 4:30 p.m., Campus Reception


Reporters interested in attending the panel discussion and/or awards presentation should contact WPI Public Relations at 508-831-6785 or