Dr. Charles Vest, a Morgantown native and West Virginia University graduate who went on the head the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will receive the nations highest honor for technology today (Friday, July 27) in Washington, D.C.
President Bush is expected to present the 2006 National Medal of Technology to Vest and other honorees in ceremonies at the White House. Others will receive the National Medal of Science.
The event is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. in the White House East Room. It will be carried live by webcast on the White House Web site:http://www.whitehouse.gov/.
Vest graduated from WVU in 1963 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then studied at the University of Michigan, where he stayed on as a professor, researcher and administrator after earning his masters and doctorate there.
From Michigan he moved on to MIT , where he served as president from 1990-2004. He was praised during his tenure for his innovations as an administrator.
WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. joins that chorus. The president, who is retiring in September, invited Vest to participate in his 1995 inauguration in Morgantown.
Charles Vest may have been the most respected college president in America,Hardesty said.
Vest, who was named to WVU s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1991, also has honorary doctoral degrees from Harvard and Cambridge universities. He currently serves as president of the National Academy of Engineering.
Eugene Cilento, the Glen H. Hiner dean of WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, said hes pleased his school can lay claim to one of the countrys top technological leaders.
We are very proud and honored,he said,to have such a distinguished alum who has achieved so much in his prestigious career to be president emeritus of MIT , the new president of the National Academy and now to receive this highest level of recognition for technology innovation in the United States. It is richly deserved, and we look forward to his continuing leadership in technology education and research.
The technology medal honors Americas leading innovators for their contributions to the nations well-being, be it through the development of new products, processes and concepts. It is administered by the Department of Commerce, which established the award in 1980 through an act of Congress.
These individuals are some of the most innovative minds in America,Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said.They have done everything from improving the health of our nation to keeping our nation more secure, and they have inspired future generations of American inventors, discoverers, teachers and innovators.
The other technology honorees are: Leslie Geddes, Purdue University; Paul Kaminski, Technovation Inc.; Herwig Kogelnik, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs; and James West, Johns Hopkins University.