In recognition of his outstanding service to the Transportation Research Board (TRB), Dr. John M. Mason, Jr. is the 2023 recipient of the W.N. Carey, Jr., Distinguished Service Award. Mason, special advisor to the interim chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg, is recognized for his more than 40 years of service to TRB and for his unwavering desire to create knowledge through research. The Carey Award—named in honor of W.N. Carey, Jr., TRB’s executive director from 1967 to 1980—recognizes individuals who have given leadership and distinguished service to TRB.
The award will be presented on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, during the chair’s plenary session portion of the TRB Annual Meeting, January 7-11, 2024, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Mason had served as chancellor and dean of Penn State Harrisburg, of which he is also an alumnus, since 2018. He stepped down as chancellor in October 2023 and is now a special adviser to the interim chancellor until his retirement at the end of the 2023/2024 academic year. As chancellor and dean, he served as the chief executive and academic leader of the Capital College where he was responsible for advancing its principal mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service; strategic planning; budgeting; philanthropy; faculty and staff development; outreach; alumni and community relations; and NCAA Division III athletics.
Prior to his appointment at Penn State Harrisburg, Mason served as vice president for research and economic development and president and CEO of the Auburn Research and Technology Research Foundation at Auburn University in Alabama. During his tenure at Auburn, he was responsible for strategic university research and economic development initiatives, and related academic matters associated with externally sponsored scholarly activities across all academic programs, outreach projects, and the research enterprise of Auburn University.
Before his tenure at Auburn, Mason was an associate dean of the Penn State College of Engineering from 1987 to 2008, where he led strategic and programmatic activities associated with research, graduate programs, and outreach within the college. During this time he was also a professor of civil engineering and the director of the Thomas D. Larson Transportation Institute.
Mason began his volunteer service to TRB in 1982 with his appointment to the former Standing Committee on Geometric Design, which he went on to serve as chair and was recognized by the Committee with Emeritus Member status in 2001. During the past 40 years, Mason has been a member, vice-chair, or chair of 10 standing technical committees or task forces as well as being a chair or member of more than 20 National Cooperative Highway Research Program panels. He has also served on several policy study committees, including in 1997 as a member of the committee that produced guidance to state and local government on appropriate methods of setting speed limits and related enforcement strategies.
Mason has received numerous awards and recognitions in his more than 50 years in transportation engineering and research profession including the Penn State Harrisburg Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, for leadership in the profession and significant contributions to the betterment of society. He is also the recipient of the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Wilbur S. Smith, Distinguished Transportation Educator Award for outstanding achievements in the education and mentoring of students in the field of transportation and the Theodore M. Matson Award for contributions through research, adaptation to practice and the advancement of the profession via training and administration. Mason was named a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s National Research Council in 2011.
Mason received his associate’s degree in engineering from Pennsylvania State University-Allentown, a bachelor’s degree in transportation from Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg, a master’s degree in transportation engineering from Villanova University, and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University. He serves on the boards of directors of several organizations, including the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the United Way of the Capital Region. Learn more about the TRB here.