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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Esogbue: Scientific eyes on the first

ICON

ONE fact about Nigerians in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) beyond the shores of the nation is that they are doing marvelously well and unsung most of the times.

And one of those doing extremely well is the current Director, Intelligent Systems and Controls Laboratory (ISCL), School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), United States (US), Prof. Augustine Esogbue.

With his scientific eyes on the first, Prof. Esogbue who joined the faculty in June 1972 as an Associate Professor under a joint port folio with the Health System Research Center, until becoming full professor five years later, has held several leadership positions including founding director of ISCL, Minority Undergraduate Scholars Engineering Research Programme (MUSERP) at Georgia Tech as well as founding faculty advisor, chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers at the same institute since 1976.

A honorary professor at the Chinese Daqing Petroleum Institute, Heilongjiang Province, Prof. Esogbue is known for taking the first positions in all his years at the St. John’s College, Kaduna, Kaduna State, where he graduated in flying colours.

Just last April 29, he was honoured by group of students from Georgia Tech as the “Most Likely To Win a Nobel Prize” 2005 via the school’s Dean Griffin’s Day award. In a congratulatory message from the institute signed by Dean, Students Affairs, Ms Gail A. DiSabatino, who said, “Up with the White and Gold awards. I hope you would agree that being recoginised by students is one of the most important honours that could be conferred upon a member of our academic community.”

She expressed hope that he would continue work to make an impact on campus, and Prof. Esogbue thus, “You are an outstanding role model for the students as well as your peers. Thank you for the many contributions, which you have made to the Georgia Tech Community.”

Six months later, on October 2005, received certificate of appreciation from the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) for his demonstrated dedication to the cause of ethical enterprise, regionally and internationally, which was presented by National President of NACC, Chief (Dr) I. O. Dada.

Prof. Esogbue, the first African to obtain a Ph.D in Industry and Systems Engineering sphere, is also the first and longest serving black don at Georgia Tech, even as he is the pioneer African to be elevated to full professor in engineering in a core research university in the United States.

A fellow of six reputable international industry groups, namely the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Nigerian Academy of Sciences (NAS), and pioneer African elected into the Institute for Research Management Sciences (INFORMS) as well as fellow Kerr L. White Institute for Health Services Research (KLWI).

In 1999, Esogbue was the first recipient of the Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Education given by the National Society of Black Engineers and is premier award for African Americans in science, engineering and technology. Just as he was a pioneer recipient of the Andrew P. Sage Best paper of the Year award by IEEE-Systems, MAN and Cybernetics society, the same year.

Honoured in 2004 by the City Council of the City of Altanta, Prof. Esogbue as director of ISCL is lead investigator on hybrid approach to intelligent control via fuzzy sets, neural networks. And as the chancellor’s distinguished professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and Management Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, Esogbue is also an assistant professor, Operations Research and Member of the Systems Research Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio.

This is in addition to his having held honorary appointments as adjunct professor of Community Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine and in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Atlanta University, Columbia University Seminars in Water Resources and Pollution Faculty, and Professor in Residence at Howard University.

Author of five books, 20 book chapters, with over 150 technical publications and nearly 300 technical presentations at conferences and research meetings globally, Prof. Esogbue has broad and revolutionary trace of service to various communities, nationally and internationally, at Georgia Tech and the Greater Atlanta area.

These have earned him accolades as National Advisor since 1989 to the National Society of Black Engineers where he is the longest serving advisor and the only African; Atlanta Sister Cities Commission, Commissioner since 1975-longest serving Commissioner, Leadership Atlanta Development Corporation - Leadership Atlanta, 1979-first African, Trustee of Georgia Council on International Visitors since 2001; Outstanding Citizen Award, 2001 of Georgia Goodwill Ambassador Corps; Member, Advisory Council on International Relations of Atlanta City Council; member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Board of Trustees, 2000 till date and the 100 Black Men of America. In 1990, he began to preside over the Collegiate 100 and is the first African.

Founding chairman of both the Lagos Atlanta Sister Cities Committee since 1975 till date and Board of Trustees, American-Nigerian International Chamber of Commerce, Prof. Esogbue as a commissioner for the City of Atlanta’s Sister Cities Commission has received numerous citations from various Mayors of the City of Atlanta including one for “dedication and service to the City of Atlanta and being a Pillar of Exemplary Strength in our Community” in 1995 and another for valuable contributions to bringing together the City of Lagos, Nigeria and the City of Atlanta, Georgia as the Chairman of the since 1975, in the spirit of cooperation, friendship, and international understanding.

His firm commitment and dedication to world diplomacy and unity is greatly appreciated and honored as indicative of Mayor Bill Campbell statement of 1997. He presided over the Technology Transfer Committee for the 2000 Presidential Dialog with Nigerians in the Diaspora and subsequently served on the founding Board of Trustees, Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization of the Americas (NIDO-Americas).

In 1979 he authored a proposal written jointly with the City of Atlanta which he carried directly to the Shagari administration, leading to the founding of the Nigerian Consulate General in Atlanta a year later.

Equally, a founding member of the Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NITPA), where he is serving on the governing council, Prof. Esogbue is a founding member of the Nigerian Peoples Forum (NPF) as well as that of Advisory board even as a member of the International Technical Programme Committee for the USA-Africa conference on Manufacturing Technology.

A member of the advisory committee of the Nigerian Economic Development Council, Prof. Esogbue served on the Steering Committee of the 1998 South Eastern Regional Summit on Africa and was elected delegate to the US National Summit on Africa held in Washington in February 2000.

This summit, ITREALMS Online learnt was charged with developing the basis for the formation of a US Policy for Africa, just as he is the global Coordinator of Academicians in Universities and Research Institutes for the Brain Drain-Brain Gain, Inc. an organization of Africans working to reverse the well-known brain drain challenges.

A key note speaker at the 8th International Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Computer Society with the theme: Information Capacity Building-The Future of Nigeria’s Economic Growth, last June, he lately served as the Chairman of the Global Diaspora Science and Technology Committee that saw to the success of last year’s Conference on “Bridging the Science and Technology Gap between Nigeria and the Diaspora” held in Abuja in July 2005.

He also served as the key note speaker at the 2005 annual conference of the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) with the topic “Space Technology and National Security”.

The Delta-born professor has been honored by several African organizations for his leadership and community involvement, just as he was the 2002 honoree of the Consulate General Leadership and Service Award. Esogbue who holds the traditional honorary chieftaincy title of the Ozorkilolo of Ibusa, no doubt is a man with the first as his goal as he is currently being touted for the prestigious NASA medal award; NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the largest agency in the world for promoting all aspects of space systems, from exploration to navigation missions, and ensures U.S supremacy in space systems. This is billed for later this year in US and is tagged as premium from the globally renowned technological organization.

NB: Also published in Daily Champion as: Esogbue: A thoroughbread engineer, the same date.

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