Dr. Eric Scott Furgason, at the age of 70, recently transitioned this life and leaves a legacy of service to young people across the country that participated in the Summer Engineering Workshops at Purdue University. More than 8000 students were touched by him in over 40 years of continuous service to the Minority Engineering Program.
Dr. Furgason established and led an Electrical Engineering Project for students, grade 6-11 on basic circuit design in the early 1970’s. With Marion Williamson Blalock as MEP Director at the time, Dr. Furgason personally taught each Summer Engineering Workshop participant the basics of electrical circuit design and each student built a circuit board that, constructed properly the connected LED would turn on and off. Several generations of young people enjoyed the experience. Many student participants in the summer program would bring the board their mother or father built to show Dr. Furgason that their parent(s) had been to the camp as children. A host of them and their parents are now engineers, deans, directors, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
This project was fully funded and repeated each year by permission of each Head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Dr. V. “Ragu” Balakrishnan, The Michael and Katherine Birck Head and Professor of ECE, is the current department head. The College of Engineering at Purdue University is under the leadership of Dean Leah Jamieson, The John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering / Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering.
Many of our members institutions have people like Dr. Eric Scott Furgason, and NAMEPA has a venue to honor the exemplary service that they provide across the membership. University deans, professors, and engineering professionals have reached out to share that they were one of the 8000 touched by Dr. Furgason at a Summer Engineering Workshop at Purdue. At their request, we are sharing a brief video tribute to honor his life.
To each university dean, faculty member, administrator or staff member that shares in the work of broadening participation to underrepresented students, thank you for your service.
Virginia Booth Womack
President and Executive Director, NAMEPA
Director, Minority Engineering Program, Purdue University