Alumni Hall of Fame

W. Lincoln Hawkins
W. Lincoln Hawkins
Inducted October 1999

W. Lincoln Hawkins

Class of 1932
Chemist, Inventor, Advocate

Pioneering investigator of factors limiting the life of plastics, Lincoln Hawkins was co-inventor at Bell Laboratories of an anti-oxidant additive that made possible inexpensive plastic insulation of telephone cables. This new material saved telephone and power companies billions of dollars and made universal telephone service economical, revolutionizing the communications industry.

Hawkins also played an outstanding role in the development of viable means for recycling and reuse of plastics. He was granted 147 patents related to the development of environmentally advanced materials for communications equipment.

Hawkins was the first African American scientist at AT&T Bell Labs and the first African American member of the National Academy of Engineering. He was a passionate advocate and leader in efforts to expand the nation’s pool of minority scientific talent.

President Bush awarded Hawkins the National Medal of Technology in 1992.