Faculty Directory

Pierre, Percy A.

Pierre, Percy A.

Adjunct Professor and Glenn L. Martin Endowed Professor
Former President of Prairie View A&M University and former Acting Secretary of the United States Army
Electrical and Computer Engineering
1423 AV Williams Building


  • University of Michigan, Post Doctoral Studies, 1968
  • The Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, 1967
  • University of Notre Dame, M.S.E.E., 1963
  • University of Notre Dame, B.S.E.E., 1961


Percy Pierre joined the Clark School as an Adjunct Professor and Glenn L. Martin Endowed Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Fall 2019. He will assist the college in the recruitment and mentoring of women and underrepresented minority graduate students, and in the recruitment of diverse faculty.

Pierre has over 50 years of experience in academic administration and the administration of military research and development. His service in academic administration includes Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University, President of Prairie View A&M University near Houston Texas, and Dean of Engineering at Howard University in Washington DC. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame and the Board of Trustees of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. His service in military R&D administration includes service as Acting Secretary of the Army in 1981, as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition, and as a researcher at the RAND Corporation. Subsequently, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Aerospace Corporation, which performed systems engineering studies of space systems for the US Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Naval Analysis which does systems studies for naval operations. He served as a program officer of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and was instrumental in organizing and funding the creation of several organizations in support of minorities in engineering. Pierre also served as a White House Fellow in the Office of the President of the US in 1969. Pierre is recognized as the first African American to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering. Pierre was elected to National Academy of Engineering membership in 2009 for his service as assistant secretary of the Army, contributions to engineering education, and leadership in creating the national minority engineering effort.


  • National Academy of Engineering, member 2009
  • Honorary Doctoral Degree: The University of Notre Dame, 1977
  • Honorary Doctoral Degree: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1984
  • A "Game Changer" in the 100 year History of Engineering at John Hopkins University, 2013
  •  Regents Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley, 1990
  • Distinguished Service Medal, US Army, 1981
  • Superior Public Service Award, US Navy, 1993
  • Lifetime Mentor Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008
  • Cavanaugh Award for Public Service, University of Notre Dame Alumni Association, 2008
  • Founder’s Award, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, 2004.
  • Diversity Award, Michigan State University, 2004
  • The Golden Torch Award, National Society of Black Engineers, 2003
  • Frederick Scott Award, Society of Black Alumni of the Johns Hopkins University, 2003
  • Frazier Thompson Pioneer Award, Black Alumni of the University of Notre Dame, 1997
  • Reginald Jones Award, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, 1984
  • Senator Proximire Award for Excellence, US Congress, for presentations of the Department of the Army’s Research Development, and Acquisition Budgets for FY 79 and FY 80



  • DIRECTOR, CMS Energy Corp. of Michigan, a $6B public utility in Michigan, 1992-2010
  • DIRECTOR, Old Kent Financial Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI. A bank with assets of $20B, 1992-2002
  • DIRECTOR, Whitman Education Group, Miami, Florida: owner of post-secondary colleges with sales of $110 million per year, 1995-2003, subsequently acquired by another company
  • DIRECTOR, Center for Naval Analyses, Alexandria, VA, Chairman of Technical Advisory Committee, 1983-1993
  • TRUSTEE, The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, CA: a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) supporting the Air Force with systems analysis and engineering for space systems, 1991-1999


  • TRUSTEE, The University of Notre Dame, 1974-2019
  • TRUSTEE,  Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, 1996-2005
  • TRUSTEE, The Hitachi Foundation, Washington, DC: a US Foundation endowed by Hitachi Ltd. to support education and economic development in the US, 1985-1998
  • Defense Science Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC, 1993-96
  • Board of Overseers, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL, 1993-99
  • The Army Science Board, Office of the Secretary of the Army, 1983-85
  • NASA Advisory Council, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC, 1982-85
  • NASA Advisory Council, University Relations Task Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1991
  • National Security Advisory Board, Los Alamos National Laboratory,  1989-1994 
  • TRUSTEE, The White House Fellows Foundation, Treasurer, Washington, DC, 1981-1983
  • TRUSTEE, The Southwestern Athletic Conference, New Orleans, LA, 1983-1989, Chairman 1985-87
  • TRUSTEE, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), New York, NY, 1983-1989
  • ADVISORY COUNCIL: Lincoln Laboratory, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, MA, 1981-1995
  • Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation, Washington, DC, 1991-92
  • Advisory Council, The Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, 1993-2003
  • DIRECTOR, Michigan Biotechnology Institute, Lansing, MI, 1991-95: agricultural biotechnology research
  • DIRECTOR, Consortium for International Environmental Science Information Network, Saginaw, MI,1992-96, information network for environmental science
  • DIRECTOR, Industrial Technology Institute, Ann Arbor, MI, 1993-95: non-profit manufacturing research

At various times, taught graduate and undergraduate courses in probability and statistics, information theory, electronic communications at the University of MichiganUCLA, Howard University, Morgan State University, Southern University and Prairie View A&M University.

Properties of Random Functions with Applications to Communications Theory

"New Conditions for Central Limit Theorems," Annals of Math. Statistics, Vol. 40, #1, February, 1969.

"Singular Non-Gaussian Measures in Detection and Estimation Theory," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. IT-15, #2, March 1969.

"On the Independence of Linear Functionals of Linear Processes," SIAM Journal of Applied Math, Vol. 17, #4, July 1969.

"New Techniques for Finding Solutions and Error Bounds in Signal Detection and Estimation Problems," The RAND Corp., Santa Monica, CA, RM-6089-PR, August 1969.

"Characterization of Gaussian Random Processes in Terms of Independent Random Variables," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. IT-15, #6, November 1969.

"The Sample Function Regularity of Linear Random Processes," SIAM Journal of Applied Math, Vol. 17, #6, November 1969.

Asymptotic Eigenfunctions of Covariance Kernels with Rational Spectral Densities," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. IT-16, #3, May 1970.

"On the Convergence of Error Probabilities in Signal Detection Problems," Information and Control, Vol. 17, #1, August 1970.

"Infinitely Divisible Distributions, Conditions for Independence and Central Limit Theorems," J. Math Analysis and Applications, Vol. 33, #2, February 1971.

"Central Limit Theorems for Conditionally Linear Processes," SIAM Journal of Applied Math., Vol. 20, #3, May 1971.

"The Quadratic Variation of Random Processes," A Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie Verw., Ger. 19, Z91-301, 1971.

Note: Three of these papers were cited by Eugene Wong in his invited paper "Recent Progress in Stochastic Processes--A Survey," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 19, #3, May 1973.

Minorities in Engineering

"Reflections on Howard Engineering in the 1970's", Chapter in the book Andrew Billingsley, Scholar and Institutional Builder, Essays and Tributes, Edited by Charles Jarmon, Black Classic Press, Baltimore MD

"BEACON: Using Diversity as an Evolutionary Tool for a High-Performing Science and Technology Center", Co-author Judi Brown Clarke, Chapter in the book Evolution in Action, edited by Wolfgang Banzhaf, published by Springer Press, 2020.

"A Brief History of the Collaborative Minority Engineering Effort: A Personal Account." Changing the Face of Engineering: The African American Experience. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 2015. 

"An Alien Profession," New Engineer, January 1972.

"Minorities in Engineering," Proceedings of the Engineering Manpower Commission, Engineer's Joint Council, November 30, 1972.

"Engineering:  Change in Response to Societal Needs," U. of Notre Dame Alumni Magazine, February 1974.

"Minority Graduate Education, IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol. E-17, #1, February 1974.

"Engineering High Schools," Conference on Preparing for a New Generation of Engineers, American Association of Engineering Societies, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1982.

"On Establishing a High School for the Engineering Professions Within the East Baton Rouge Parish School System," A Report, Percy A. Pierre and Associates, October 1982.


"The HUD Urban Systems Engineering Demonstration Program:  An Overview," International Conference on System Sciences, U. of Hawaii, January 1973.

"Science and Technology:  Social Implications, A Black Perspective," Keynote Address, MIT Black Students Conference, April 1974.

"Seminars on Technology and Development," a report to the U.S. Agency for International Development, Howard University, 1974.


"Equipping the Army:  A Statement to the Congress on the FY 1979 Research, Development and Procurement Request, Congressional Record, 1978.

"Transportation Technology for the 1980's and Beyond," Session Chairman, Annual  Meeting, National Defense Transportation Association, 1979.

"Equipping the Army:  A Statement to the Congress on the FY  1980 Research, Development, and Procurement Request," Congressional Record, 1979. 

"On Investment Strategies for Radar Technologies," Keynote Address, 26th Annual Tri-Service Radar Symposium, West Point, NY, July 1980. 

"Smart Weapons and Digital Secure Communications," Defense Electronics, November 1980.

Note:  The statements "Equipping The Army" were cited by Senator Proxmire for his excellence award as the best agency presentation he had seen from the Pentagon.

Higher Education

"Combating Minority Brain Drain," Educational Record, The Magazine of Higher Education, Spring 1987. 

Welcome, NAE Members

The Clark School welcomes six National Academy Engineering members who will be returning to or joining our faculty this fall.

National Academy of Engineering (NAE)