The McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising

Often referred to simply as the "McDonald Mentoring Award," this program recognizes and honors diverse professionals in engineering and the applied sciences who, as exemplary mentors and advisors, have significantly and consistently supported the personal and professional development of others. In a university setting, these efforts will have included students and colleagues. In industry, government, or service organizations, they may have included a variety of developing personnel.

Beginning with the first award in April 2005, the program is designed to celebrate annually those who have enduringly engaged minds, elevated spirits, and stimulated best efforts. It also aspires to help spread the virtues of excellent mentoring and advising in the engineering and applied sciences community.

The program is endowed by Capers W. McDonald and Marion K. McDonald to operate through six supporting institutions. An international recognition is part of the annual society-level award programs of ASME. U. S. national honorees are recognized through the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi. Other outstanding mentors are selected annually through similarly-endowed institutional programs at Duke University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology universities where sponsor Capers McDonald has been privileged to have been a learner, either as a student or faculty member.

Each award consists of an individually engraved, three-inch bronze medallion and a significant financial award. A miniature replica of the medallion as a lapel pin is given to each honoree and to his or her nominators of record. Each university and Tau Beta Pi adds their annual honoree to a perpetual commemorative plaque. The annual Tau Beta Pi award includes a matching gift in the honoree's name to a university chapter of the society, and the Tau Beta Pi and ASME awards currently include travel stipends.

The central design of the medallion depicts an elder advisor and engaged youth. It is derived from a 1495 developmental sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, renowned European Renaissance designer, engineer, inventor and artist.


Top Row: (L) Award program medallion, obverse. (C1) Award program's first honoree, Dr. Mike Gustafson, with the McDonalds at Duke in April 2005. (C2) MIT awardee, Prof. Amedeo Odoni, celebrating with School of Engineering Dean Subra Suresh in 2007. (R) Award medallion on Tau Beta Pi brown and white neck ribbon.

Sidebar: (1) Duke School of Engineering Associate Dean for Student Programs Linda Franzoni, recognized in 2006. (2) Johns Hopkins 2009 awardee Dr. Trac Tran. (3) First Tau Beta Pi honoree, Dr. Carter Kerk of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in 2006.

This Web site and all images it contains are being used for limited and noncommercial purposes, principally teaching and personal mentorship. McDonald Mentoring Award medallion art 2005 Capers W. McDonald.


An annual award by ASME for exemplary mentors located outside of the United States.


A not-for-profit organization promoting the art, science and practice of engineering and allied sciences throughout the world. Award honors started in July 2010, with global nominations and selections led by a diverse international committee.


The Mentoring Award's nationwide, annual recognition through Tau Beta Pi began in October 2006.

Tau Beta Pi

The U. S. national engineering honorary, with over 30 active regional alumni chapters and approximately 250 collegiate chapters throughout the nation.


Supporting individual, endowed McDonald Mentoring Awards.

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina.

Pratt School of Engineering awards began in April 2005.

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences honors started in November 2008.

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland.

Whiting School of Engineering honors started in May 2005.


Cambridge, Massachusetts.

School of Engineering awards began at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in July 2006.