Percy A. Pierre


Percy A. Pierre
St. James Parish, LA, USA
Associated organizations
RAND Corporation, Howard University, US Army
Fields of study
Signal processing


Dr. Pierre was born on 3 January 1939 in St. James Parish, located on both sides of the Mississippi River midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.He graduated from St. Augustine's High School, an all-male Catholic school in New Orleans.One of its missions is "To inculcate in each student the responsibilities to family, community and society at-large." This certainly can be seen in Dr. Pierre's accomplishments.

Dr. Pierre received his BSEE in 1961 and MSEE in 1963 from the University of Notre Dame. As a Notre Dame student, Dr. Percy Pierre helped organize the first and only civil rights march in South Bend, and was a leader in the effort to integrate restaurants and bars in South Bend. His earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1967, the first African American to earn a doctorate in that field.He subsequently held a Post-doc position at the University of Michigan in 1968.

He served in the following capacities over a more than 30-year period:

  • 1968-1969 RAND Corporation, Systems Engineer
  • 1969-1970 White House Fellow for the Executive Office of the President
  • 1970-1971 RAND Corporation, Systems Engineer
  • 1971-1977 Howard University, Dean of the School of Engineering
  • 1977-1981 U.S. Department of the Army, Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Regulation
  • 1981 Engineering Management Consultant
  • 1983-1989 Prairie View A&M University, President
  • 1990-1995 Michigan State University (MSU), Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies
  • 1995-present Michigan State University, Professor of Electrical Engineering

At MSU he also oversees several programs aimed at recruiting and retaining minority and women graduate students in the College of Engineering.

A Senior Member of the IEEE (38 years), his technical interests lie in the area of signal processing. He serves on the EPRI Advisory Council, and a program officer at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for minority engineering. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame and Hampshire College.