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Dr. Oscar Barton, the dean of Morgan State University’s Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering, recently spoke at the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s commencement ceremony for Ph.D. graduates. During his speech, Barton shared personal stories about his childhood, including the valuable lessons he learned from his father about servant leadership and the importance of education.

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He also spoke about his own accomplishments, including becoming the first African-American to achieve the rank of tenured full professor in the Division of Engineering and Weapons at the United States Naval Academy. Despite his father’s passing two years before he earned his Ph.D., Barton keeps his memory close by displaying his American Flag and a gold eagle statue in his office at Morgan State University.

Barton went on to discuss the history of Missouri S&T’s Ph.D. programs and emphasized the importance of innovation and knowledge creation in addressing societal needs. He then challenged the graduates to use their newly earned credentials to make a positive impact on society and to remember the feeling of accomplishment they experienced on graduation day.

Barton has an impressive background, including a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University and a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from Howard University. He spent 22 years in the U.S. Naval Academy, where he mentored numerous Midshipmen and established the academy’s first nuclear engineering program.

As the founding chair of mechanical engineering in the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason, he grew the department from three faculty and 12 students to 17 faculty, 385 undergraduate students, and six doctoral students. He is also a member of the Missouri S&T Board of Trustees and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Missouri University of Science and Technology is a STEM-focused research university with over 7,000 students. The university offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and ranks among the top 10 universities in the nation for return on investment. A recording of the commencement ceremony and additional information can be found on the university’s website.

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