The National Acadermy of Engineering on Sunday (Oct. 4) presented its Simon Ramo Founders Award to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, recognizing her “extraordinary impact on the engineering profession” and “leadership in engineering research and education.”
Katehi, elected to the academy in 2006, became the first woman to receive the Founders Award in its 51-year history. Presentation of the award — a commemorative medal — took place during the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I have always felt privileged to be an engineer, and to be recognized and appreciated by one’s peers in this way is a truly wonderful honor,” Katehi said in a news release that came out before the award presentation. “I feel particularly fortunate that throughout my career, I have had many opportunities to mentor women engineers, and I know as our field becomes more diverse, other women and underrepresented minorities will win this and similar awards.”
Katehi has been regarded as a pioneer in engineering education for more than 30 years. Since her early years as a faculty member, she has focused on expanding research opportunities for undergraduates and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with an emphasis on women and underrepresented groups.
The Simon Ramo Founders Award acknowledges Katehi’s “visionary leadership in engineering research, entrepreneurship, and education, and for national advocacy of higher education as a major driver of the U.S. economy,” along with outstanding professional, educational and personal achievements to the benefit of society.
Katehi has been UC Davis chancellor since 2009, overseeing all aspects of the university’s teaching, research and public service mission.
Under her leadership, UC Davis has progressed with its 2020 Initiative to add up to 5,000 new students by the end of the decade, along with 300 new faculty and needed facilities. Furthermore, in 2013, Katehi established the UC Davis World Food Center to tackle critical issues such as how to feed a growing planet in an environmentally friendly way and to advance the nexus between food and human health. Earlier this year, Katehi established the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health, in collaboration with Mars, Incorporated, to seek solutions to global issues in food, agriculture and health.
The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.
The NAE is part of the National Academies (along with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council) — private, nonprofit institutions that, under a congressional charter, provide science, technology and health policy advice.