Assistant Dean Paul E. Parker helped countless of students persist and excel in their engineering studies. His professional charge was to address a severe under-representation of minority students studying engineering at Illinois in the late 1960s. Since he became director of the Illinois' Minority Engineering Program in 1973, the number of minority undergraduate engineering students at the university has grown from 92 in 1969 to 400 in 2000.
His influence on several generations of MEP alumni cannot be overstated. Recognized nationally for his commitment to minority engineering education, he received the 2001 Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year from the National Society of Black Engineers, UIUC Dads Association's outstanding faculty member in 1992, and named Black Engineer of the Year in 1991 by U.S. Black Engineer magazine.
Personal comments of his personal impact to others are found on Dean Parker’s memorial page.