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Alumnus celebrated for contributions to engineering and diversity

By Amy Raley

Alumnus celebrated for contributions to engineering and diversity

Author: Amy Raley
Magazine Section: Always
College or School: CoE
Article Type: Issue Feature
Arthur J. Bond (BSEE ’66, MSEE ’68 and PhD ’74) has never let what is unpopular or inconvenient stop him. And today, a building named for him stands as a testament to all he has achieved.

Bond enrolled at Purdue in 1957 as an electrical engineering student, a highly unusual choice and a unique challenge for a young black man at that time. It was the beginning of an illustrious career marked by continual barrier breaking.

As an undergraduate, Bond displayed leadership qualities that were recognized by Purdue administrators. As a graduate student, he worked hand-in-hand with then-president Frederick Hovde to advance civil rights at Purdue, and actively recruit black students at a time of racial division. Bond helped found Purdue’s Black Cultural Center and he created the first chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which now has 30,000-plus members in its 298 college, university and alumni chapters. It also has 89 pre-college chapters.

Arthur Bond in front of Arthur J. Bond Hall

After serving on the faculty at Purdue and at Tuskegee universities, and working in the private sector, Bond became dean of engineering and technology at Alabama A&M University in 1992. Largely because of his efforts, in 1995 the land-grant university won a decades-long legal war with the state of Alabama, when the state was ordered to fund engineering at the university. Within a few years, because Bond saw to it, AAMU was offering accredited courses in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.

“I created, from scratch, the electrical and mechanical engineering programs and got them accredited through ABET, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology,” Bond, now 72, says from his home in Alabama. “In the time that I was there, the number of graduating engineers went from around 80 unaccredited graduates per year to 1,000 or more accredited engineers.”

After a lifetime of unselfish work on behalf of thousands of African Americans who have passed through doors that he pushed open, Bond was given a rare honor in December 2010. For his role in advancing engineering at Alabama A&M, the university named its engineering building Arthur J. Bond Hall.

“It’s very infrequent that a college or university names a building for a living person, so it says a lot,” Bond acknowledges. “It’s the culmination of my lifelong effort to get more black engineers into the profession.”