Two African Americans Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

There are now 2,290 American members of the highly prestigious National Academy of Engineering. The vast majority of the members are white men. The number of African-American members is minuscule.

But this year, two of the 68 new members are African Americans.

Cato T. Laurencin is Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine, vice president for health affairs and dean of the medical school at the University of Connecticut. He also holds an appointment as professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering at the university. He was honored by the academy for “biomaterial science, drug delivery, and tissue engineering involving musculoskeletal systems, and for academic leadership.”

Dr. Laurencin is a 1980 graduate of Princeton University. In 1987 he earned a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from MIT and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School.

Lester L. Lyles is CEO of the Lyles Group, an independent aerospace consulting firm in Vienna, Virginia. He was honored by the academy for “leadership in advancing air and space technology and for national service in space exploration.”

Lyles spent 35 years in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of general. During his career his assignments included command of the Space and Missile Systems Center in California, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and command of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Lyles is a 1968 graduate of Howard University. He earned a master’s degree in mechanical and nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.