Leo C. McAfee, Jr. Retires, Leaving a Legacy of Change and Opportunity
Family, friends, and former students came from all over the country to celebrate the career of Prof. Leo C. McAfee, Jr. As the first African American professor hired by the College of Engineering in 1971, his presence alone was enough to give hope and encouragement to under-represented minorities in the program. The stories shared were of lives changed and a deep and abiding thankfulness for the individual who was there to help them when needed.
Prof. McAfee also influenced the lives of hundreds of future engineers during his time as Education Thrust Leader for the Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems. In partnership with Michigan State University, he and his colleagues produced more than 80 summer and academic year courses, attended by more than 4,000 students. Prof. Wise, Director for the WIMS Center, stated in his remarks, “Over 60 percent of those students were minorities and over 50% were women. And of those graduating from high school, over 60% have gone on to college careers in science and engineering. That is having impact – and that is changing lives.”
One former EECS student credited him with giving her the opportunity of a second chance, leading to a master’s degree in EE:Systems and a successful career. Another former student who made a special trip to be at the event founded a highly successful company, and recounted the value of Leo’s consulting contributions at a key point in his company’s history.