Randal D. Pinkett
M.B.A. and S.M., Leaders for Manufacturing Program, 1998; Ph.D. 2002; MIT
28th Annual MLK Leadership Award
Randal D. Pinkett (M.B.A. and S.M. from the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, both in 1998; Ph.D. 2002), a graduate of Rutgers University and a Rhodes Scholar, was a principal investigator on the Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections project, which brings computers and Internet connections to residents of the Camfield Estates housing development in Roxbury. The project was part of his Ph.D. dissertation. He is the chief executive officer of Building Community with Technology, a consulting firm in Plainfield, N.J.
"Randy is part researcher, part engineer, part entrepreneur, part activist," said Pinkett's doctoral advisor, Professor Mitchell Resnick. "To make the Camfield Estates project happen, Randy needed to line up foundation funding, attract corporate donations, write new software, inspire local residents and conduct evaluation studies. All of these activities were essential to the project and I can't think of any other individual who could have played all the roles Randy did."
Pinkett, named Graduate Student of the Year in 2001 by the National Society of Black Engineers, offered his thoughts on Dr. King at the celebratory breakfast in 1999. Alluding to poet Robert Frost's choice of "the road less traveled," Pinkett said, "Each of us, in his own unique way, chooses a new path, crossing over into uncharted territory. What about when there is no road? Then the road is made as one walks."
Clarence G. Williams, special assistant to the president and ombudsperson (left), greets alumnus Randal Pinkett (center) and Pinkett's mother, who came from New Jersey to see him receive a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award. Photo: Donna Coveney, MIT News, 2002