Lafayette College’s Engineering Division strives to provide an inclusive environment for all to learn, develop and thrive. We are committed to fostering a supportive and encouraging climate where all students feel welcomed and valued.

At the 2015 National Engineering Deans Meeting, an ad-hoc group of engineering deans including Lafayette’s Director of Engineering, Scott Hummel, proposed a program aimed at increasing the diversity of students and faculty in engineering. The resulting Engineering Deans Diversity Initiative has been signed by more than 225 engineering deans nationally. The initiative calls for each engineering program to commit to developing a diversity initiative.


  • Lafayette has been recognized by the ASEE for our efforts and impact on diversity and inclusion. In addition to the Diversity Recognition Program, the 2017 ASEE summary report “Engineering By the Numbers” reported Lafayette College among the top 20 schools in percentage of Bachelor’s degrees awarded to women. It also noted Lafayette’s engineering programs 9th among all engineering colleges and universities in percentage of women tenured/tenure-track faculty.

Highlights of Lafayette’s diversity and inclusion activities, statistics, and programs include:

  • Lafayette introduced an anti-racism website which includes ways to get involved and outlines commitments, progress, and plans.
  • Lafayette College celebrated Hidden Figures week in November 2018 and the inaugural Women in STEM week in April 2019.
  • Alumnae, parents, students, faculty, and staff participated in a Council of Lafayette Women 2018 conference offering community, connection, information, and inspiration.
  • Nearly 40% of engineering students are women.
  • Nearly 1/4 of engineering students are from under-represented groups.
  • One third of full-time faculty members in Lafayette’s engineering programs are women. (The national average is 13.9% according to ASEE.) The retention rate of women faculty members exceeds the rate for men.
  • Lafayette has partnered with the Posse Foundation since 2002 to identify and support high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The College initially enrolled students from New York City, and became just the fifth institution to enroll posses from more than one city when it enrolled its first posse from Washington, D.C. in 2006.
  • Lafayette is working with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a college access organization based in New York City and San Francisco. Since 1963, SEO has helped more than 11,000 young people from underserved and underrepresented communities gain access to higher education. SEO’s mission is to provide an eight-year academic program that helps students from underserved public high schools get into and through college (with a 95% graduation rate).

Initiatives and programs

  • The identification of external funds to support the Lafayette chapter of the Society of Women Engineers’ programming and networking for women students and alumni.
  • The introduction of the Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars program to provide women engineering students with paid, faculty-mentored, on-campus research opportunities.
  • Logistical support for Minority Scientists and Engineers, as well as financial and logistical support for attendance at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers national conferences.