Noted Technologist Magaly Spector to Join
UT Dallas as VP for Diversity, Community Engagement

Plans to Improve Accessibility for Underrepresented Groups

June 13, 2007

Noted technology innovator and leader Dr. Magaly Spector, one of the most visible Hispanic females in the fields of science and engineering in the United States, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her role will be to promote diversity at all levels of the university.

Spector, a Cuban-born émigré to the U.S., is a physicist and engineer by training.  She is a Bell Labs Fellow who has held key research and development management positions during her 25-year career at Alcatel-Lucent.  She was also deeply involved in a number of diversity initiatives for the company, a successor to AT&T.

Spector will begin working with colleagues on a consulting basis in September and will assume her full appointment on January 7, 2008.  She will be a member of the UT Dallas cabinet, reporting to university President David E. Daniel.  

“We’re extremely pleased to add Dr. Spector to the UT Dallas administration,” said Daniel.  “Her work as a scientist, background in technology and business, and her understanding of issues of diversity particularly befit the role she will assume.”

Spector said that UT Dallas’ “deep commitment” to diversity is what drew her to the university. “A major goal of my life has been to increase and enhance the educational opportunities of college students pursuing careers in science and engineering, and in particular underrepresented minorities and women.  I strongly believe that the diversity of our people is a source of innovation and competitive advantage.”

From humble beginnings in Cuba, where her family was “very poor,” Spector pursued academics with a passion.  She graduated with highest honors from high school and won the Cuban Scholar Chess Championship.

As a young mother with an infant daughter, she enrolled full-time as a student at Havana University, where she earned a License in Physics degree in 1977.  She continued to hone her chess skills during that period, winning the university’s chess championship every year during her undergraduate studies, and eventually taking the national Cuban chess crown.

Spector came to the U.S. with her daughter by boat in 1980 as a political refugee.  A year later, she was hired by Bell Labs as a senior technical staff member.  While at Bell Labs, she enrolled in the graduate program at Lehigh University, where she earned a master’s of science in electrical engineering in 1985 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1993.  In 2000, she enrolled in business studies at Harvard University Business School.

Spector held increasingly responsible research and development positions at Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies, including global manager for product quality and reliability.  She was responsible for pioneering many new technologies that enabled high-speed Internet, optical and wireless networking communications and holds patents on her work.

For years, she was active in numerous diversity efforts at the Fortune 500 company, including a mentoring program for Hispanic employees, educational outreach programs for women and minorities and a corporate diversity committee, among others.

Spector has received numerous awards and honors for her achievements.  She was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s list of Elite Women for 2005; was Reader’s Digest’s national Orgullo Hispano Award recipient in 2004; was selected by Latina Style magazine as one of 2004’s greatest Hispanic achievers; was named one of the most distinguished women of the new millennium by Glamour magazine in 2001; and received a professional achievement award from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards corporation in 2000.   She was also one of nine women selected by the National Science Foundation to represent the U.S. on a mission to Mexico as a role model for extraordinary accomplishments by women in technology and business.

“UT Dallas’ commitment to embrace, enhance and celebrate diversity is one of most attractive aspects of the university,” Spector said.  “With the support of the faculty, staff, student leaders and the executive leadership, I am committed to making UT Dallas a leader in leveraging diversity to reach the highest levels of excellence.”

About UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.


Contact Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

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Magaly Spector

Dr. Magaly Spector

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August 20, 2014