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EXCELling Nationally at Engineering Education

Minority Engineer Magazine Lists Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering Among Top 20 in Undergraduate Programs


Swanson School DEI Fast Facts

 There are 227 undergraduate URM Scholars in the Swanson School of Engineering.

 This year’s first year class includes 92 scholars – the most to date for Pitt EXCEL.

 Over the past three years, ten Pitt EXCEL undergraduates have become National GEM Consortium Fellows from the Swanson School of Engineering. This is a highly competitive fellowship that includes funding at the MS and PhD levels.

 More than 1,600 URM undergraduate scholars have graduated from Swanson School of Engineering to date.

Minority Engineer Magazine Top 20 Logo

The undergraduate engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering was selected by readers and editors of Minority Engineer Magazine for inclusion in its annual Top 20 Universities List. Published by Equal Opportunity Publications Inc., the list is determined via survey of randomly selected readers to name the top universities who they believe provide a diversified undergraduate curriculum, student base and faculty, as well as foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment. The results are tabulated by Minority Engineer editors for publication.

“For more than 50 years, Pitt and the Swanson School have helped underrepresented minority (URM) students adapt to university life and the rigors of an engineering education,” noted Sanjeev Shroff, Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Alumni of the programs also find themselves wanting to give back and help the next generation of students succeed, which has engendered a wonderful community of support and scholarship. We are very proud to receive this recognition from Minority Engineer.”

The history of Pitt’s investment in URM success began in 1969 with the creation of the IMPACT Program by the late Karl Lewis, emeritus professor of civil engineering, through funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to University archives, as early as 1975, IMPACT had been recognized by agencies such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science as one of the outstanding science-engineering projects of its type. 

IMPACT’s legacy would continue in Pitt EXCEL, a comprehensive undergraduate diversity program committed to the recruitment, retention, and graduation of academically excellent engineering undergraduates, particularly individuals from groups historically underrepresented in the field.

“Dr. Lewis and his undergraduate scholars were part of a movement when it came to academic programs for success in engineering at Pitt and across the country at that period in history. Dr. Lewis saw his scholars as engineers who needed a strong academic and environmental foundation to achieve success,” explained Yvette Moore, Pitt EXCEL director. “Not all high school students have access to required courses like calculus and physics, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be successful engineers. As EXCEL has grown and evolved, we still see the need for programs like academic counseling and peer to peer connection because environment is key to retention.”

Ultimately, Moore believes that developing an environment of culture and community within the Swanson School has helped students help each other to not only graduate to pursue advanced degrees or find careers in industry, government, or as future teachers.

“If I can get the environment right the retention will come,” Moore said. “This recognition from  Minority Engineer Magazine represents an understanding that there is a history, a place, and a legacy that is alive in the Swanson School of Engineering.”


The list of Top 20 Universities includes: 

Alfred University 
Cornell University 
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 
Howard University 
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) 
Morgan State University 
North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T) 
Northeastern University 
Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) 
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) 
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFU) 
Spelman College 
Temple University 
Texas A&M International University 
University of Michigan 
University of Pittsburgh 
University of Louisville (UofL) 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) 
University of Wyoming (UW) 
Yale University