Arthur J. Bond, the first dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at Alabama A&M University died December 30. He was 73. Dr. Bond was an activist in the cause of increasing Black enrollment and retention in engineering and technology. He was a founding member of the National Society of Black Engineers and part of the team that fought for state funding of engineering at Alabama A&M University.
In 2010, Alabama A&M University trustees and officials formally named the school's engineering facility in honor of the former dean. Bond served with distinction as dean of the School of Engineering and Technology and was a tireless activist in the cause of increasing black enrollment and retention in engineering and technology. He was a founding member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and much later became part of the team that fought nonstop for state funding of engineering at AAMU.
He entered Purdue University in 1957 to study electrical engineering on National Merit Scholarship and Purdue’s Special Merit Scholarship. After two years, however, he had to drop out due to a softball injury. After he recovered, he joined the U.S. Army, but later returned to Purdue in 1966 and ultimately received the BSEE, MSEE and the Ph.D. degrees.
Upon receiving his doctorate, Bond became an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Purdue for five years, and then an associate professor at Purdue Calumet. He then went to work in industry for RCA, AlliedSignal, and Bendix.
In 1989, Bond joined Tuskegee University as head of its department of electrical engineering, where he helped the Electrical Engineering Department regain full accreditation from the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
In 1992, Bond joined Alabama A&M as dean of engineering and technology. At the time, the land-grant university was involved in the notorious Knight v. Alabama lawsuit, in which the plaintiff class, joined by the U.S. Justice Department argued that the State of Alabama's system of public university funding is a violation of equal rights.
The case resulted in a 1995 decree that ordered Alabama to fund engineering at Alabama A&M. The ruling further ordered that whatever level of the engineering program that would be built up in nine years would constitute the required level of funding by the state.
As dean, Bond played a pivotal role in meeting the nine-year challenge. A&M's efforts bore fruit in 1997, when it was able to offer the first engineering courses. In 2000 mechanical and electrical engineering at A&M was accredited with the effective date made retroactive to 1998.