Bill Predebon Wins 2015 Diversity Award

Bill Predebon, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Michigan Tech Diversity Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of a faculty or staff member who contributes to diversity and inclusion through exemplary leadership and actions.

In his nomination of Predebon, Carl Anderson, retired associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering, said: “Bill has actively supported Women in Engineering, programs such as what used to be called Minorities in Engineering and the Summer Youth Program, which has a strong underrepresented minorities outreach component.”

 Predebon was co-principal investigator on Michigan Tech’s ADVANCE grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. He served on the steering committee for the University’s first two climate studies led by Chris Anderson, then head of Tech’s Office of Institutional Equity. He also was a member of a Michigan Tech team that attended an NSF workshop to develop strategies for recruiting underrepresented minorities faculty.

Predebon received the Parting the Waters Award from the Black Student Association (BSA) for his support of underrepresented minority students. The BSA also honored him in 2007 with the first M.L. King Award for “believing and continuing the dream.” In 2009 he received a recognition plaque from the African Student Organization for his support of African Night.

“Bill has been known for his willingness to try out-of-the-box strategies for recruiting underrepresented minorities and female faculty and students,” Anderson went on to say. “He led the way in recognizing the value of a diverse workforce. And he did this before it became part of the common expectation of a department chair. He led the way.”

Jill Hodges, director of the Office of Institutional Equity and chair of the Diversity Council, said: "The Diversity Council was impressed by all of the excellent nominations. We are so pleased to have so many people working tirelessly for diversity and inclusion across campus. The reviewers noted that Bill stood out for his long-term persistence in working on issues of diversity.”

Predebon accepted the recognition modestly. “I am humbled to have been selected for this award, as I don't believe I am doing anything special in respecting, embracing, supporting and celebrating diversity,” he said. “Diversity in all aspects brings with it a rich experience for all of us.” 

This is the second year that Michigan Tech has given a Diversity Award. The inaugural Diversity Award went to Linda Ott, professor of computer science.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.