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ACE Mentor Program of America receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring

NEW YORK – The Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program of America was one of eight organizations and nine individuals named as a recipient of the White House’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

The program, which encourages industry professionals and college and university representatives to work together to attract young people to their professions, is the brainchild of Thornton Tomasetti Founding Principal Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E.

Since1995, the ACE Mentor Program has offered guidance and training in architecture, construction and engineering to more than 100,000 high school students in 40 states and 200 cities across the United States. ACE has awarded more than $12.8 million in scholarships to date. Thornton now serves as chairman of the nonprofit.

The award will be presented during a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2011.

Key Points
•The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators reflect and benefit from the diverse talent of the United States.

•Candidates for the PAESMEM are nominated by colleagues, administrators and students in their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $25,000 from the National Science Foundation to advance mentoring efforts. ACE plans to use this grant to further honor its mentors.

•Dr. Thornton is one of the most preeminent structural engineers and educators in the world and served as co-chairman of Thornton Tomasetti until 2004. He has been involved in the design, construction and analysis of billions of dollars worth of projects worldwide, including hospitals, arenas, high-rise buildings, airports and transportation facilities and special structure projects. Many of these projects have set industry standards for innovative thinking and creativity and have won numerous awards. He has led the structural design of some of the world’s most important structures, including two of tallest: Taipei 101 in Taiwan and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia.

•In addition to design projects, Dr. Thornton is also a recognized expert in collapse and structural failure analysis. His credits include leading the engineering investigation of the Hartford Civic Center roof collapse in Connecticut, and the cooling tower scaffold collapse at Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia. He also participated in the FEMA Building Performance Assessment Team for the investigation of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

•Dr. Thornton has taught structural engineering for many years as a visiting and adjunct professor and as a visiting faculty/lecturer at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.; Princeton University in New Jersey; and Manhattan College, Pratt Institute and the Cooper Union in New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Manhattan College and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from New York University.