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NMSU dean shares history, critical contributions of engineering college

  • By Lakshmi Reddi, Dean
  • Feb 15, 2024

Engineers throughout the country will be recognizing National Engineering Week Feb. 18-24. Those of us at the New Mexico State University College of Engineering will be joining in recognition of the contributions that engineers make to our world.

Simply put, engineering is a people profession that has for centuries been a driving force to produce a better quality of life for the world. In fact, history has proved that engineers have made great strides toward producing clean water, environmentally safe energy sources and placed endless sources of data at our fingertips. Recent innovations in artificial intelligence are now on the verge of taking engineering to a different level.

While some may interpret new technologies as disruptive, the history of engineering has always shown the impacts of our work as largely positive. There is no area in modern life that has not been improved by technology developed by engineers. Medicine, for example, has enjoyed the application of technologies, radically improving diagnosis of disease, health monitoring equipment and high-tech prosthetics.

We take for granted as part of our day-to-day lives with smart phones and watches. We are also dreaming of space tourism and national defense methods that were unimaginable a decade ago.

At NMSU, we will proudly celebrate the preeminent role that the College of Engineering has played in developing new knowledge and building an engineering workforce for our state and beyond. For more than a century we have attracted brilliant faculty members who are both excellent teachers and world-class researchers. Their research varied from extending range of radio signals in the 1910s and 20s to creating improved smart-grid systems and water treatment technologies in the 2010s to 20s.

Many of our alums have gone on to be leaders in research and development, entrepreneurs, industry and government, contributing to regional, national and world economic development. Many of them continue to support the college, hiring students, generously donating funds for scholarships and other needs, and serving on the Engineering Advisory Board (who visit twice a year and will be on campus during E-week) to offer guidance and direction of programs.

The NMSU College of Engineering has earned national recognition along the way, most recently with top-ranking industrial engineering master’s programs. The college has maintained world-class degree programs earning continuous accreditation in civil, chemical, electrical and computer, industrial, aerospace and mechanical, engineering technology, surveying and geomatics (the only such program of its kind in the region).

NMSU’s engineering college began with a student-centric program led by storied deans such as Ralph Willis Goddard, who pioneered radio wave technology and set up a communications network for the military during the Mexican Revolution; Hugh Milton, who first initiated accreditation for the engineering college in 1938; and Daniel B. Jett, who wrote to engineering students deployed overseas during World War II. All of them had an open-door, and often open-home, policy for students.

That tradition of student support continues to this day through the Aggie Innovation Space, providing a student-led maker space and a 15,000-square-foot shop equipped with the latest technology—the largest facility of its kind in the region.

Our students receive support outside of classes through the Eloy Torrez Learning Communities, where they receive tutoring from peers and have access to other sources of support, benefiting from individualized attention at a level ordinarily expected only at private institutions.

One of NMSU’s primary goals is to develop and support a diverse population of students, faculty and staff. We are proud that our female students consistently do well with graduation rates. As a Hispanic-serving institution, we actively recruit and assist underrepresented students, as well as first-generation students.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the contributions that engineers make to society during National Engineering Week. If you are a parent, student or teacher who would be interested in NMSU’s College of Engineering we encourage you to contact the Office of Engineering Recruitment and Outreach at 575-646-3422 or email me at, for a tour to learn more about the exciting things that happen here.

Lakshmi N. Reddi is the dean of the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. He may be reached