Contemporary Black History - "Mark Dean

Mark Dean
March 2, 1957 – Present
A lot of kids growing up today aren't told that you can be whatever you want to be. There may be obstacles, but there are no limits.~ Mark Dean

Dr. Mark Dean is one of the most prominent black inventors in the field of computers. He started working at IBM in 1980 and was instrumental in the invention of the Personal Computer (PC).He is credited with helping develop a number of landmark technologies, including the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip.

Mark Dean was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee. From an early age, he had a love for building things. As a young boy, Dean constructed a tractor from scratch with the help of his father, a supervisor at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Dean also excelled in many different areas, standing out as a gifted athlete and an extremely smart student who graduated with straight A's from Jefferson City High School. In 1979, he graduated at the top of his class at the University of Tennessee.

Dean holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, a master's degree in electrical engineering from Florida Atlantic University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Not long after college, Dean took a job at IBM. Working with colleague Dennis Moeller, Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal computers. Dean's research at IBM helped change the accessibility and power of the personal computer. His work led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, Dean led a team of engineers at IBM's Austin, Texas, lab to create the first gigahertz chip—a revolutionary piece of technology that is able to do a billion calculations a second .In all, Dean holds three of the company's original nine patents and, in total, has more than 20 patents associated with his name.

In 1996, Dean became the first African-American IBM Fellow, the highest level of technical excellence at the company. A year later, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President's Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineers.