Diversity March at U.Va. Honors African-Americans in Engineering

Feb. 27, 2007 – The University of Virginia Chapter of The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Center for Diversity in Engineering will hold a march and ceremony honoring African-Americans in the engineering fields on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Open to all University students and faculty members, this March for the Cause will begin at 11:45 a.m. in front of the McCormick Road residence houses, where the first African-American students were housed, and will continue to the Lawn.

A short ceremony will follow the march featuring Robert Bland as the event’s keynote speaker.  Bland, the first African-American to complete undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia (1959), was a student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Several hundred African-American graduates from the engineering school have been invited to participate in the event.  “This is a march of celebration. We are honoring those who have come before us in the School of Engineering, and we’re looking forward to the future with optimistic eyes,” said Sonny Smith, president of the U.Va. NSBE Chapter.

Smith hopes this march will send a message to the University community that “although this may be the last day of Black History Month, let it be clear that this march will symbolize the footsteps that will continue to be heard throughout the years.”

The National Society of Black Engineers is the premier organization serving African Americans in engineering and technology.  With 18,000 members and more than 300 chapters, NSBE supports and promotes the aspirations of university and pre-college students and technical professionals. Its mission is to increase the number of black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.