$ 1.5 million donation launches Collins Diversity scholarship

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Cornell Engineering established the Lance R. Collins Scholarship, created to support graduate engineering students from traditionally under-represented populations, and to honor Lance R. Collins, who for 10 years was Dean Joseph Silbert of the College of Engineering.

Alumni of Cornell Engineering raised $ 1.5 million to fund the scholarship. Board members from the College of Engineers were instrumental in the success of the effort, including Board Chair Elissa Sterry ’79, M.Eng. ’80.

“The Board is honored to have worked closely with Dean Collins in his tireless efforts to make Cornell Engineering a leader in diversity and inclusion,” said Sterry. “This fund will help to perpetuate its legacy. “

When his second five-year term as Dean of Cornell Engineering ended on June 30, Collins became the Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Virginia Tech’s new innovation campus.

Cornell’s first African-American dean, Collins prioritized the diversification of faculty and students at the College of Engineering. It more than doubled the proportion of undergraduates from underrepresented communities, from 8% to 19%, and increased the number of women enrolled in undergraduate studies from 33% to 50%, while maintaining rates of graduation and grade point average equal between genders.

For his work on diversity, Collins received the Inaugural Mosaic Medal of Distinction in 2017 from Cornell Mosaic – an alumni organization founded to increase engagement of alumni from all walks of life – and the Edward Bouchet Heritage Prize 2018 from Howard University and Yale University, which recognizes educators and advocates who promote diversity and inclusion.

“Cornell’s diversity efforts lead the nation,” said Collins, “and I’m incredibly proud that the former engineers have chosen this way to recognize my contribution to these efforts. I look forward to meeting fellows in the future and offering my services as a mentor to those who are interested. It is a legacy that I will cherish forever. “

In addition to his success in diversifying the college’s student body and faculty, Collins led one of the largest fundraisers in Cornell Engineering history and helped secure its two largest donations, which created the Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering and the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Collins has also prioritized experiential learning within the college, launching the Engineering Leadership Program and developing new entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the Marketing Fellowship and Upgrading Awards. ‘scale and prototyping.

Jami Joyner, Director of Engineering Diversity Programs at Cornell, and José F. Martínez, Associate Dean for Diversity and Academic Affairs at Cornell Engineering, will play an important role in creating the qualification and application process for the Collins Scholarship. .

“The Collins Fellowship reaffirms Cornell’s founding principle of” … any person … any study “as it reinforces Cornell Engineering’s commitment to institutionalize access, inclusion and excellence in all STEM disciplines “said Joyner.

“This scholarship is a great way to culminate Lance’s 10-year effort to make Cornell Engineering one of the most diverse elite engineering schools in the country, Martínez said.” Lance R. Collins scholars will strengthen yet another outstanding cohort of Sloan, Colman, GEM and other engineering graduate fellows. “

Chris Dawson is a writer for the College of Engineering.

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