School of Engineering Dean Awarded Prestigious ASME Edwin F. Church Medal
Dr. Oscar Barton Becomes First African American to Receive Award, Endowed Scholarship Established in His Name for Underrepresented Males Pursuing Engineering Degree
BALTIMORE — Morgan State University congratulates Oscar Barton, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., F.ASME, dean of the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., School of Engineering, for the honor of being awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) prestigious Edwin F. Church Medal. Celebrated for his outstanding contributions to mechanical engineering education, Dr. Barton is the first African American to receive this distinguished award in its 52-year history.
“I thank the ASME awards committee for my selection as this recipient of the 2024 Edwin F. Church medal,” said Dr. Barton. “I am humbled to be recognized as the first African American to receive this award, and I accept it on behalf of so many others whose notable commitments to democratizing engineering are just as worthy but have not yet been acknowledged.”
The Edwin F. Church Medal, established in 1972, is presented to individuals who have demonstrated eminent service in enhancing the value, importance, and attractiveness of mechanical engineering education. Dr. Barton’s recognition comes in consideration of his outstanding leadership at Morgan State University. As dean, he has spearheaded innovative strategic growth, fostered dynamic collaboration among faculty, staff, and students, managed multiple research centers, and advanced academic and research programs preparing students for future industries. Integral to the Edwin F. Church Medal’s awarding is ASME’s shared responsibility to diversify and cultivate tomorrow’s engineering professionals. To this end, ASME has committed to establishing the Dr. Oscar Barton, Jr. Endowed Scholarship focused on underrepresented male students pursuing engineering degrees at Morgan.
“Having this scholarship established through the ASME Foundation for underrepresented male community college students seeking to complete the BS engineering degree, is one more example of their commitment to investing resources where needed. It will further strengthen partnerships between 2-year institutions and the Mitchell School of Engineering at Morgan State,” added Dr. Barton.
ASME was founded almost 150 years ago to harness the latest technologies in engineering for the benefit of humanity. Throughout our history, we’ve honored those unique individuals who make extraordinary contributions to this effort,” said Tom Costabile, P.E., executive director/CEO of ASME. “We are proud to recognize Dr. Oscar Barton, Jr., with the ASME Edwin F. Church Medal for his distinguished career advancing the highest standards of excellence in mechanical engineering education and for his unwavering commitment to equity in engineering.”
Before his tenure at Morgan, Dr. Barton served as a professor and founding chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University. He amassed a 22-year career at the U.S. Naval Academy, showcasing a dedication to research on developing closed-form solutions for complex systems and analyzing dynamic responses of composite structures, yielding over 60 published articles.
The Edwin F. Church Medal, administered by the General Awards Committee, is not limited by age or ASME membership. Nominees, whether professional educators or not, must demonstrate ‘eminent service’ beyond their usual activities, a criterion met by Dr. Barton’s exceptional leadership and research contributions.
Dr. Barton will be honored at an upcoming ASME Foundation event, “Reinventing the Future: Diversity Driving Innovation,” for his distinguished service advancing mechanical engineering education and his extraordinary advocacy for diversity in engineering. Scheduled for March 21, 2024, the fundraiser benefits the ASME Foundation’s breakthrough initiatives in engineering education, early-career resources, and sustainable innovations, bringing together visionary STEM leaders and advocates progressing toward equity in engineering.
An active fellow of ASME, Dr. Barton’s commitment to academic innovations is evident in his involvement with program assessments and his appointment to the Missouri S&T Board of Trustees, Academic Affairs Committee.
Morgan’s School of Engineering, under Dr. Barton’s guidance, continues to thrive with accredited undergraduate programs and diverse expertise across various disciplines. It serves as home to a world-class faculty with expertise across various disciplines, including civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and transportation and urban infrastructure studies. In its inventory of degree programs, Morgan’s School of Engineering also boasts a number of contemporary, in-demand programs that are either unique or exclusive to Morgan, including Engineering Physics (BS), Mechatronics Engineering (BS), Secure Embedded Systems (PhD), among others.
The University congratulates Dr. Barton on this well-deserved recognition, further solidifying Morgan State University's commitment to excellence in mechanical engineering education and advancing its prominence as a top producer of Black graduates holding degrees in engineering nationwide.