September 22, 2015
Danielle McNamara
(510) 987-0230

Press Release


The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation was named the 2015 MESA Champion for the company’s long history of support of the program.


Bechtel will be honored at the 12th Annual MESA Student Leadership Conference October 2-3 at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara.


The invitation only, two-day conference is fully sponsored by industry donations.


More than 200 hand-picked MESA students will receive extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers during the conference. The students are all computer science and engineering majors from 38 universities and community colleges throughout California.


Since 2000 the foundation furthered MESA’s efforts with more than $300,000 in support. The monies signify a renewed relationship between MESA and the engineering company. Bechtel has very early and close-knit roots with MESA.


In 1977, Bechtel chairman, Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. was tasked with providing leadership for a consortium of Bay Area companies that would assist in motivating and preparing high school minority students to attend college in math-based majors.


“I agreed to take on that effort and immediately contacted the CEOs of twelve major companies. Shortly thereafter, MESA’s Industry Advisory Committee was formed,” Bechtel told MESA during a 1994 interview.


Bechtel was also a staunch advocate in pushing internal involvement with his organization. He asked Bechtel vice president Richard Collins for support; Collins was named the first MESA industry advisory board chair.


“We have all been thrilled to see MESA grow in size, scope and quality such that it now truly provides that ‘continuum’ that we had envisioned at the outset. We can be proud of our association with a wonderful, successful program. It will continue to succeed because it is so right and its cause is so just,” Richard Collins told MESA in 1994.


MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers, so they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide go directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors.


For more information about MESA visit or follow us on Twitter @MESASTEM.