31st Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: James Banks

James Banks '76

Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair, Diversity Studies Emeritus, University of Washington

Founding Director, Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington

31st Annual MLK Leadership Award

James Banks '76

James Banks '76, an MIT alumnus who majored in electrical engineering, has been of particular service to MIT through his 15-year commitment to recruiting students from under-represented groups for employment at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. His efforts have led to productive relationships among MIT students, alumni and their employers, and created opportunities for students though his support of the Office of Minority Education's Second Summer Program. Banks also serves on the Industrial Advisory Council for Minority Education.

2012 Harold E. Lobdell '17 Distinguished Service Award, MIT Alumni Association 

The Lobdell Award, established in 1979, is given in recognition of alumni relations service that is of special depth over a sustained period. Lobdell’s interest and commitment to MIT spanned all areas of alumni relations. To date, a total of 287 individuals have received this award.

Jim began his volunteer service when he became a campus recruiter shortly after graduating. He has since provided guidance to many new alumni recruiters across the country and helped MIT students find employment at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. He’s mentored MIT students from under-represented groups and provided guidance to minority student organizations. He created opportunities for students through his support of the Office of Minority Education’s (OME) summer programs and served on OME’s Industrial Advisory Council. Jim is a sought-after advisor, initiator, and leader whose ideas and actions contributed to greater retention and higher academic achievement of MIT’s students. In 2005, in recognition of his service to MIT students, he was awarded the MIT Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award. Jim has served as chair of the Black Alumni/ae of MIT (BAMIT) affinity group and held positions on the Alumni Association Board, the Alumni Association Selection Committee, and the ad hoc Alumni Center Needs Assessment Committee. Jim’s dedicated service to greatly enhancing the MIT experience for students and alumni is inspirational to those around him and this award celebrates his remarkable volunteer contributions.