History Legacy: Marion Williamson Blalock

Marion Williamson Blalock is the founding director of the Purdue University Minority Engineering Program and retired as MEP director in August of 2008 after serving over 34 years. Marion’s contributions to the Purdue College of Engineering span three decades and have had a monumental impact on national and local educational programs. As a mentor, mother, confidant, and businesswoman, Ms. Blalock invested her strength in the students that she served without reservation. She is well-known around the country for developing, implementing, and assessing programs and services to increase the outreach, recruitment, retention, and graduation of students from URM backgrounds pursuing engineering degrees.

She transformed Purdue’s Minority Engineering Program into a national model that has been replicated at major universities throughout the nation.  She has mentored thousands of minority students here at Purdue and across the country, and has helped over 2,300 students of color graduate with their engineering degrees. Many of her students have gone on to stellar careers in engineering, education, and business.

In recognition of Marion Blalock and her many contributions to the University, the College of Engineering, and the Minority Engineering Program, 7 donors led the way in establishing the “Marion Blalock Endowment” to support recruitment and retention programs in MEP. Her legacy lives on through this endowment and continues to support the critical outreach efforts.  In 2016, 61 attendees to the Summer Engineering Workshops received scholarship support through the Blalock Endowment.

Marion’s legacy is also that of a national leader who served as a member of the steering committee which developed the structure and vision of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA). She served in various roles within the leadership within this organization including President in 1983 – 1984. Beyond this service, she has also advised other organizations, most notably as a founding national advisor to the National Society of Black Engineers. At the 2016 NAMEPA National Conference, Marion was honored with the Legacy Champion Award as a pillar of NAMEPA community who has had an extraordinary impact locally and nationally through her dedicated service in fulfilling the NAMEPA mission.

If you would like to contribute to the Marion Blalock Endowment and support academically excellent and diverse undergraduate engineering students, please go to the following link: http://bit.ly/blalockendowment. One of the pillars of Marion’s legacy at Purdue is the Summer Engineering Workshops. Find out more and sign up students for an incredible engineering discovery and learning experience as designed by Ms. Blalock at this link.