A group of concerned Berkeley educators launch a study to determine why so few African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians are enrolled in the UC Berkeley College of Engineering. They develop a solution based on pre-college intervention.
The MESA program is founded at Oakland Technical High School with 25 students. MESA's goal is to develop academic and leadership skills, raise educational expectations, and instill confidence in California's students historically underrepresented in engineering, physical science, or other math-based fields, in order to increase the number of African American, Latino American and American Indian graduates from a four-year university.
Concerned about issues of retention, CSU-Northridge engineering faculty member Ray Landis establishes the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at his campus.
Impressed with MESA's success, the Hewlett and Sloane foundations provide $1 million to expand the Berkeley model and develop pre-college programs throughout the state.
With major support from Roger Heyns, president of the Hewlett Foundation, and Stephen Bechtel, Jr., president of Bechtel Corporation, the Industry Advisor Board (IAB) is established to mobilize corporate support for MESA. Richard Collins, a Bechtel vice president, is the first IAB chair. Other participants include the president of ARCO and the chairpersons of Chevron, Fluor Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed, Northrop, PG&E, Pacific Telephone, Rockwell, Southern California Edison and TRW.
The state legislature allocates $250,000 to MESA, provided that industry donations can provide one-for-one matching funds. The match is accomplished.