Actions of MIT’s 15th president have ‘grown to inspire generations,’ Reif says.
Dr. Evelynn M. Hammonds, Class of 1947 Career Development Assistant Professor of the History of Science, and Vincent W. James, associate director of admissions and director of the Educational Council, are MIT's YMCA Black Achievers for 1995.
The Black Achievers Program annually recognizes more than 100 people from the Boston area for professional accomplishments and commitment to community service. As part of the program, they are asked to volunteer 40 hours over the course of a year for community service projects or projects involving young people.
Professor Hammonds, who joined the MIT faculty in 1992, is responsible for both graduate and undergraduate instruction in the history of medicine and science in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. She also serves on departmental, school and Institute committees.
She received the BEE degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the BS in physics from Spelman College, both in 1976, the SM in physics from MIT in 1980 and PhD in the history of science from Harvard University in 1993.
"Professor Hammonds. has repeatedly demonstrated leadership ability," wrote Professor Merritt Roe Smith, director of the STS program, in a letter nominating her as a Black Achiever. "Her serious yet friendly personal manner, coupled with her growing visibility among historians of science and technology, her active participation in our core departmental activities. and her interest and involvement with students at all levels, has added significantly to the quality of our instructional program and the overall reputation of our department."
He said the "short answer" to why she is an Achiever "is her energy, intellect, personality and sense of commitment."
"She is particularly committed to bringing communities with disparate disciplinary backgrounds and interests closer together," Professor Smith added. "A good example is the role she played in organizing an enormously successful and influential 1994 conference at MIT on Black Women in the Academy. Other examples include service on various professional committees and editorial boards and numerous lectures around the United States on themes related to race, gender and the history of science."
Professor Hammonds is a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. She is also co-chair of the Committee on Women for the History of Science Society and a member of the editorial collective, Radical History Review. She has written many essays, book reviews and articles, and has received numerous awards.
Mr. James received the SB in chemical engineering from MIT in 1978 and an MBA degree from Rutgers University in 1990.
He worked five years, from 1978 to 1983, at the Procter and Gamble Co. in Cincinnati in the engineering and engineering systems divisions. While in Cincinnati, he was a member of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments-a citizens group which looked at and endorsed federal urban development grants.
After doing consulting work, he was employed from 1985 to 1991 by the Bankers Trust Co. in New York City in its corporate accounting and information systems division. During that time, he was a member of the Urban Bankers Coalition, an organization and networking group for minorities in the banking industry.
Mr. James joined the Admissions Office in 1991. As Educational Council director, he coordinates alumni/ae involvement in the admissions process-at present there are 1,600 MIT graduates who represent MIT in local communities-and he encourages alumni/ae to get involved in MIT affairs. He also participates in recruiting and admitting students to MIT.
"He takes the initiative to effect change through the use of management tools," drawing on 13 years experience as an engineer and analyst before coming to MIT, wrote Michael C. Behnke, director of admissions, in his nomination letter.
"He is a great facilitator," Mr. Behnke said, "a leader in the areas of total quality management and reengineering. We operate a lot in subcommittees to solve problems, and he's often the organizational backbone in the subcommittees. In keeping with being an MIT graduate, he's an excellent problem solver. A lot of people are good problem solvers on an individual basis, but he operates very well as part of a group as well."
Mr. James had served on the Total Quality Management task force for the administrative side of the Institute, and he is currently on the Student Services Reengineering design team.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 1995.