Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Discover How The Purdue Boilermakers Frederick S. Cooper III And Others Started The Global Black Engineering Organization NSBE

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The Purdue Boilermakers Frederick S. Cooper III Started Visionary Engineering Legacy  Still Lives In The USA And Abroad With NSBE

Celebrating Black History by Dr. Charles L. Singleton

Chicago’s visionary scholar-athlete Fred Cooper, academically and athletically, was successful during his collegiate days at Purdue University from 1970 until 1974.  As an undergraduate, the young and studious Fred Cooper, a four-year football scholarship recipient made the very best of his college experience.  He respectfully and respectively exceeded beyond all expectations.

Looking back in time, Cooper’s keen “attention to detail,” including, an impactful athletic performance, and his extraordinary vision helped to jump-start an amazing engineering accomplishment to improve black engineering student recruitment numbers and retention rate.  During his keynote address at the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 40th Year Celebration, on September 13, 2015, Fred Cooper stated that, “The problem we were trying to address back then was to help stop the 80% drop out rate of black engineering students at Purdue.

The way we approached it was to form a support group ourselves to help and support each other.  But we also wanted to be a recognized group on campus to have access to university resources.  And more importantly, we wanted Purdue to be committed to our success.”  

In 1971, the precursors, Fred Cooper and fellow student Edward E. “Big Ed” Barnette Jr (1949-1991), shared an “engineering social idea and a pressing need” for starting the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) with Dr. John C. Hancock, Purdue University’s Dean of Engineering.  And, after student conferencing with the dean, the prominent Dr. Arthur J. Bond (1939-2012) was assigned as BSE’s advisor.

During this time, he was the only African American faculty member on Purdue’s faculty. Progressively, several timely-motivated meetings and conversational discussions eventually created the Black Society of Engineers (BSE). The first president of the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) was Ed Barnette in the NSBE Photograph Below:

Edward E "Big Ed" Barnette JR. 1949-1991, Purdue University from 1969 until 1973

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NSBE Purdue Alumni

And likewise, Fred Cooper served 2 years as the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) president from 1972- 1974. In the year that followed, the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) was renamed the Society of Black Engineers (SBE).

Anthony Harris was its president.   Harris continued to champion the “engineering visionary-leadership model” of Fred Cooper and Ed BarnetteFrom this amazing organization’s yearly momentous start (1971-1975), Anthony Harris, plus five others became known as the legendary “Chicago Six.”  The names of these Purdue University students were Edward A. Coleman, John W. Logan Jr., decd., Brian Harris, Stanley L. Kirtley, decd., and George A. Smith. Also, several unnamed students; 15 or so, who studied engineering, were strongly supportive in establishing and renaming the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) as the Society of Black Engineers (SBE). Kudos, thus in 1975, once again, Anthony Harris, the SBE president (below) was productive in providing exemplary leadership for the early formation of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

While the NSBE was moving forward in the mid and late 1970s, Marion Williamson Blalock, an early “Minority Engineering Program” genius was steadfast in recruiting and mentoring underrepresented students in the College of Engineering. Moreover, Virginia Booth Womack and Michele Cooper were extremely instrumental in extending the metrics for tracking student success, and the establishment of 100 nationwide-chartered chapters that replicated the strong-support system of Purdue University’s first engineering chapter.  Unanimously, with the timely support of Purdue University’s Administration, faculty and staff, these pioneering scholars launched an amazing organization for steadily improving college student recruitment; attendance, and the retention rate of black engineering students then and now.           

Contemporaneously, in this 21st century, the visionary birth of the NSBE initiated by Fred Cooper’s inventive insightfulness, Ed Barnette’s creativeness, Dr. Arthur J. Bond, ‘74’s early advisory role; the six co-founders’ collective brotherly spirit; Blalock’s, Womack’s, M. Cooper’s and others’ hard work, are truly alive and impactful throughout the United States of America and around the world. Oh Yes, NSBE is Simply Amazing!

“The National Society of Black Engineers’ trailblazing start and remarkable story.” “Consistently and historically speaking, today, the National Society of Black Engineers Professionals organization (NSBE) has grown from six to more than 17, 000 – 18,000 members; 30,000 worldwide, and its annual meeting has blossomed into the Annual Convention, hosting more than 13,000 attendees. NSBE has over 500 active chapters in the U.S. and abroad: 148 NSBE Jr. (pre-collegiate), 291 collegiate and 84 NSBE Professionals chapters.” --- NSBE History. NSBE Today: https://www.nsbe.org/Home.aspx

Footnote: Fred Cooper in 2015 said, “NSBE was originally founded with one objective in mind; that every student who enrolls in the engineering program … graduates.   That should still be the number one objective.”  Bravissimo, Fred Cooper, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), successfully graduated in December 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He played 2 years of professional football.

Today, academically and athletically, Fred Cooper’s examples of collegiate achievements should serve as a replica or model for all high school and college student-athletes. Therefore indeed, for more information concerning Fred Cooper and Edward Barnette, and the "Chicago Six," read Fred Cooper, “His Impact on Purdue and Engineering: Click Here

Also, NSBE Founders> Click Here

More About the HBCU Author:
Dr. Charles L. Singleton,’68, a clinical and educational consultant, is the Editor and Publisher of the Alston High School’s Garnet & Blue (AHSG&B) 1964 Journal: Elizabeth City State University (ECSU. ECSC) Senior Class 1968 Journal; the Atlanta Metro Alumni Journal (AMAJ), and The Family Journal USA Overseas Newsletter. His brother, Mr. Isreal T. Singleton, Claflin University, ’72, is the Editor-in-Review.

Those who are willing and able can make a GoFundMe financial donation in honor of a loved one to help with the continuance of their publications. Continue your reading of Dr. Singleton’s informative publications by clicking here 

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Copyright © 2005 -2020 by The Family Journal, USA and Overseas, Sarah McLean, Karen Merrilles & Charles L. Singleton | All Rights Reserved.

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