West Virginia University alumnus Charles Vest has been elected to be the next president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

A Morgantown native, Vest graduated from WVU in 1963 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He is president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Charles Vest represents the best of West Virginia and the best of West Virginia University, WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. said.We are proud to have him as an alumnus of this institution.

Vest will begin a six-year term as NAE president, beginning July 1.

NAE members are the nation’s premier engineers, elected by their peers for distinguished achievements.

The nations well-being and our place in the world community depend in large measure on our leading and implementing the new, cutting-edge innovations that come both from basic research and sophisticated development,”Vest said in a statement.

After graduating from WVU , Vest earned both a masters and doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1967, respectively. He later held positions of dean of engineering, provost and vice president for academic affairs at that institution.

Vest served as MIT ’s president from 1990-2004. During that time, he worked to strengthen federal, university and industry relations and undertook a number of initiatives to bring education and research issues to broader public attention. He also placed special emphasis on enhancing science and engineering in undergraduate education.

Charles Vest possesses the broad knowledge and exceptional leadership abilities needed to lead our nations top engineers in finding innovative solutions to the problems facing our society,said Gene Cilento, Glen Hiner Dean of the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Vest was elected to the NAE in 1993 for technical and educational contributions to holographic interferometry and leadership as an educator, and he currently serves on the NAE Council.

Among Vest’s career honors is the NAE ’s Arthur M. Bueche Award in 2000, awarded for his university leadership, commitment and effectiveness in helping mold government policy in support of research and forging linkages between academia and industry.

Vest is the recipient of 10 honorary doctoral degrees, including one from WVU . He is also a member of WVU s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Selected as a member of the bipartisan Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, Vest brought a strong science and engineering background to the analysis. He led a U.S. Department of Energy task force on the future of science programs and chaired a presidential advisory commission on the redesign of the International Space Station.

In addition, Vest was vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness for eight years, is a former chair of the Association of American Universities and serves on the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

Vest has served on numerous National Academies studies, most recently on the highly citedRising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,which highlights the roles of science and engineering in economic growth and competitiveness in the United States.

Established in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is part of the National Academies, which also include the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. These independent, nonprofit institutions serve as advisers to government and the public on issues related to science, engineering and medicine.

For more information, contact Susan Case, WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, 304-293-4821 ext. 2213.