Oscar Barton, professor and dean of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering at historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore, has received the Edwin F. Church Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The medal is given to individuals in recognition of their eminent service in the field of mechanical engineering education. This is the first time an African American has been honored with the award.
In addition to the Edwin F. Church Medal, the society will honor Dr. Barton by establishing the Dr. Oscar Barton Jr. Endowed Scholarship at Morgan State University. The scholarship will be awarded to underrepresented male students pursuing engineering degrees at the university.
Prior to joining the faculty at Morgan State University in 2020, Dr. Barton was as a professor and the founding chair of the department of mechanical engineering at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Prior to that, he worked for the United States Naval Academy for 22 years. At the time of his appointment to tenured professor at the Naval Academy, he was one of only three African Americans to achieve the milestone in the school’s history, and the first to do so in the Division of Engineering and Weapons. Dr. Barton has served the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as chair of its Committee on Engineering Education, and as a member of its Public Affairs and Outreach Council.
“I thank the ASME awards committee for my selection as this recipient of the 2024 Edwin F. Church medal,” said Dr. Barton. “I am humbled to be recognized as the first African American to receive this award, and I accept it on behalf of so many others whose notable commitments to democratizing engineering are just as worthy but have not yet been acknowledged.”
Dr. Barton is a graduate of two historically Black universities. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University in Alabama, as well as a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from Howard University.