The MESA family has lost a pioneer in the engineering education space with the passing of Raymond B Landis.

In the early 1970s while a California State University, Northridge professor, Landis began developing the framework for an academic support program targeting minority engineering undergraduate students. His Minority Engineering Program became the model for MESA’s undergraduate program and was replicated across the country.

Landis was later instrumental in encouraging and supporting the adoption of MESA community college programs. He is also a founding member of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) an organization aimed at attracting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented minority engineers in more than 125 schools of engineering nationwide.


He literally wrote the book on minority engineering education, and his strategies became the standard for successful retention and degree completion.

Landis was Dean Emeritus of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles. He previously worked at the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International, was an engineering professor at California State University, Northridge for 18 years, and served as CSULA’s Dean of Engineering and Technology.

Landis received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from UCLA, all in Mechanical Engineering.

His commitment to students and foresight for their educational needs made him a model and mentor for many MESA directors, students and faculty.

“Ray had such a presence when he was in the room.  You knew he was there.  Tall and confident, friendly and approachable, Ray was always readily available to inspire us to help our students by using his methods and his textbook in our Introduction to Engineering courses,” said Santa Barbara City College engineering professor Nick Arnold, who started a MESA program at Allan Hancock College under Landis’ guidance.

“I hope that Ray knew in his heart how much influence he had on my life, and on so many other colleagues and students.  It has been said that helping others adds meaning to your life – then Ray Landis certainly lived his life to the fullest.  Ray Landis will be dearly missed”.