Adapted from Who was "Big Ed" Barnette (1949 - 1991)? by George Smith
Edward E. Barnette Jr. was an ambitious leader, who set high goals for his life, and pursued them with uncommon passion and energy. Ed chose to study Industrial Engineering at Purdue University during a time when 8 of 10 black freshmen dropped out every year. As an incoming senior, he and other black seniors felt a responsibility to help underclassman. In 1971, Ed went to Arthur J. Bond, an Electrical Engineering PhD candidate, and asked for help. Art wrote a Constitution and agreed to serve as the Faculty Advisor. Then Edward E. Barnette, Jr. moved forward and became the founding President of Purdue’s Black Society of Engineers. Among those Ed was determined to help, were six black freshmen, later to be known as NSBE’s own Chicago 6.
As a professional, Ed continued to serve, support, and embody NSBE’s mission. Ed was a successful senior corporate executive with the Digital Equipment Corporation, and at the same time, always mindful of his responsibility to inspire, help, and mentor the younger black engineers. For his accomplishments, Edward Barnette was declared one of the “Outstanding Young Men in America”. The Purdue University NSBE Chapter recognized his priceless contributions to our cause by establishing an annual scholarship in his name. Fittingly, Mr. Barnette was NSBE’s first recipient of the Golden Torch Award for outstanding academic, industry, and community achievements. “Big Ed,” was a beloved husband, father, fraternity brother, and friend to many, many people. He personified “positive impact” for our Society and his early vision enabled us to see a brighter day for our people.
Kamamu Abubakari, Sheila Alves, Paula Bennett, Ed Coleman, Brian Harris, Brian Johnson, Russell Marzette, George Smith, Richard White
Edward Barnette’s life represents the continuous cycle of giving from mentor to mentee. In recognition of Ed’s legacy of mentorship and the countless other professionals who make it their personal mission to give continuously, the Edward E. Barnette, Jr. Community Impact Scholarship was created. The Impact Fund and Scholarship will act as the NSBE Professionals’ continuous financial contribution to our 2025 goal, and beyond.
There is a great untapped power in NSBE’s professional membership. With just the slightest supporting word or the smallest financial contribution, we can change lives. This scholarship is a vehicle for both. This is the professionals’ direct contribution to addressing individual financial need as a barrier to success, and we will seek to raise no less than $25,000 dollars to support this effort. It directly engages professional members as individual donors, and through our chapters aims to encourage and recognize the amazing community centric impact of our members.
This scholarship program will encourage and support relationships throughout the organizations demographics. Local NSBE Professionals chapters will be asked to tenure a nomination in four demographic areas: pre-college, collegiate, non-traditional returning students, and professionals seeking their first advanced degree in engineering. It will encourage needed relationship building with K-12 schools, universities, and the corporate and community spaces where our members live, learn, and work. Nominated individuals should represent NSBE in the best traditions, with emphasis on their individual community impact, worthy of being recognized on a national stage.
This program will enhance all NSBE Professionals chapters’ and the society’s ability to contribute need- ed financial support towards the pursuit of higher education, while recognizing community impact nationally. In support of NSBE’s great challenge to graduate ten thousand black engineers by 2025 this fund will initially give away five $5,000 scholarships totaling $25,000.
This effort will recognize outstanding contributions to the community along the length of the entire STEM pipeline and thus throughout our membership. Specifically, it will support the continued educational objectives within the following demographic areas:
Chartered NSBE Professional’s Chapters shall nominate potential recipients per their own evaluation and selection process. Upon nomination recipients will receive a notification by e-mail that they have been nominated and will have the opportunity to apply for the scholarship.
Scholarship will be awarded annually via the Annual NSBE Golden Torch Awards held at Annual Convention