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The Walter W. Braithwaite Legacy Award is named after the 1995 Black Engineer of the Year.

At the 2024 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Engineering Deans Event, Dawit Haile, the dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at Virginia State University, presented the legacy award to the year’s honoree, Robert McMeans Jr.

Haile praised McMeans for his significant contributions to his community. McMeans, a professional engineer and manager at Spirit AeroSystems, has a proven track record of mentoring students and leading STEM education initiatives.

McMeans developed a passion for tutoring and mentoring while spending hours assisting other students and helping them through academic probation.

After graduation, he relocated to Wichita, Kansas, and began volunteering as a math tutor for a local church.

McMeans enjoys giving back by designing homes and using his engineering expertise to create home solutions for low to moderate-income families. He has worked on many projects for the city of Wichita and other organizations, such as the National Urban League of Kansas.

His extensive service has helped revitalize communities and assisted residents and families in excelling academically and professionally.

During his acceptance speech, McMeans expressed gratitude to Spirit Aerossystems for nominating him for a Black Engineer of the Year award.

He thanked Mr. Braithwaite for his legacy and outstanding achievements that continue to inspire generations. Additionally, he acknowledged the direction and guidance he received from his parents and the support of his wife and son in the audience.

McMeans also applauded other incredible individuals who were considered for the award, recognizing their sacrifice and service to others.

He shared his desire to promote humility, service, and educational empowerment through his legacy, hoping to inspire others to thrive regardless of their increasingly complex challenges.

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