ORIE Professor Mark E. Lewis Receives Commitment to Diversity Award
At a banquet in early May, Professor Mark E. Lewis was presented with the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award. Lewis, who joined ORIE in 2005 and was promoted to full professor in 2011, teaches and conducts research in stochastic processes, with particular emphasis on the theory of queues - the mathematics of waiting lines.
In 2004 the College of Engineering, under the leadership of then-dean, now Cornell's provost, Kent Fuchs, set 2015 goals for increasing underrepresented minority faculty members to at least seven percent, and women faculty members to at least 20 percent, according to Ezra magazine. Later, a Strategic Oversight Committee, with Lewis as a member, was established to monitor the hiring process and keep search committees accountable to good recruiting practices that pay attention to diversity.
According to the college's associate dean for Diversity, Alan Zehnder, Lewis "has been a steadfast voice ensuring that each faculty search makes strong efforts to recruit a diverse pool of applicants." He has also been a leader of the under-represented minority members of the faculty, "organizing this group socially, for support, and for getting their collective inputs put in front of the college leadership," Zehnder said.
The Warhaft award is named for the first associate dean for diversity, a professor of mechanical engineering who created Cornell's modern Diversity Programs in Engineering office, which was recently recognized by President Obama. Most awardees have invested their own time and resources to deliver important programs to students from groups that are typically underrepresented in engineering, Zehnder said.
"I met Zellman Warhaft not long after I arrived at Cornell," Lewis recalled recently. "It was clear from our first meeting that he sincerely believes in Cornell and its commitment to a diverse, faculty, staff and student body. To hear that same sentiment from the dean, provost and president shows that we are working hard to embed it in the culture. Receiving this award is a great honor. I look forward to working further with the administration in the future," he said.