MIDDLETOWN, OHIO — Clemson University professor Juan Gilbert thought the purpose of a visit to his native state Feb. 14 was to deliver a keynote address as part of a Black History Month program in his hometown. Unbeknownst to Gilbert, the mayor and city council of Hamilton had additional plans. 

Miami University joined Hamilton’s governing body in naming February 2012, “Dr. Juan Gilbert Month” and Mayor Pat Moeller presented Gilbert with a key to the city.  

“Dr. Gilbert exemplifies what is special about Hamilton — the dedication and work ethic of its citizens to succeed,” said Moeller.

 “This was a tremendous honor to come home to the place where I was born and to be recognized by the mayor and city council as well as Miami University,” said Gilbert, chairman of the Human-Centered Computing Division in the School of Computing at Clemson. “My entire family was present and this was simply awesome and humbling.”

Gilbert is a Miami University alumnus. His sister, Katina Chandler, is a senior program assistant in the university’s Office of Multicultural Services.  Chandler helped put together the month-long series of black history programs at Miami University. She was in on the city’s recognition of her older brother.

“Our family is very proud of Juan’s achievements and all the things he does through his work in technology and his work as chairman of the human-centered computing division at Clemson University,” Chandler said.

Gilbert spoke before a crowd on “Racial Legacies & Learning XXVII” at Miami University’s Harry T. Wilks Conference Center. 

“At the lecture, Hamilton and Miami University celebrated mentoring, celebrated ‘making a difference,’ and celebrated an innovator and technology leader born and raised in Hamilton,” said Moeller. “Hamilton is proud of Dr. Juan Gilbert.”

Miami University president David Hodge also honored Gilbert with the prestigious Alumni Bishop Medal following a speech Gilbert delivered Feb. 15 at the university’s Middletown campus. 

“The Bishop Medal, named in honor of Miami's first president is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to their fellow human beings,” said President Hodge. “In addition to his outstanding contributions to engineering, Dr. Gilbert has given back through his stunning record of inspiring and mentoring under-represented students in their graduate programs”

Gilbert is no stranger to the national spotlight.

President Barack Obama recently presented the professor with the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring during a special ceremony at the White House.

Gilbert and his team of researchers at Clemson University are all about solutions. They develop cutting-edge technology to address and resolve real-world issues.

Gilbert and his team created an electronic, accessible voting system called Prime III.  Government and election officials in cities and states across the country are talking to the professor about using the software in upcoming elections. Prime III allows all people, including the physically disabled, to vote privately and independently on one machine. 

“His innovations have made an impact on one of America's most cherished rights, the right to vote,” said Moeller. “Dr. Gilbert's efforts have resulted in the physically challenged being able to vote.”

The National Council on Independent Living invited Gilbert and his team to demonstrate Prime III during its annual council meeting in Washington, June 13.

“What is impressive about Dr. Juan Gilbert is not just what he teaches but also how he teaches his students,” said Moeller. “We wish him continued success in mentoring young people to achieve significant educational goals and in real life applications of computer science in our daily lives.”

Gilbert’s sister, Katina, said she and her family are grateful Clemson University is so supportive of her brother, and she said,  “I know our father, who has passed, is smiling down on him. We just couldn’t be prouder.”

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