February 25, 1948 – October 18, 2018
Ricardo B. Jacquez, age 70, passed away peacefully in his home on October 18, 2018 following a 15-month battle with cholangiocarcinoma. Jacquez served as Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management at California State University-Chico (Chico State) for the last three years. Prior to relocating to California, he served 34 years at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico as a professor, department head, associate provost, and dean.
A celebration of Ricardo’s life will take place in February 2019. Details of the event will be announced early in the new year.
Ricardo was born February 25, 1948 in El Paso, Texas. He was raised in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico along the Rio Grande, where his father was a farmer and truck driver and his mother a housewife and partner to her husband. The first in his family to go to college, Ricardo earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering at NMSU. With the encouragement and support of his family and mentors, Ricardo went on to earn a PhD at Virginia Tech in 1976. He began his career as a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla before returning to NMSU in 1981. Ricardo relocated to Chico, California in 2015.
Throughout his career, Ricardo had a passion for helping others, especially students and young faculty. He was the founding advisor for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter at NMSU and founding director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Louis Stokes New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation program, which works to improve the diversity and graduation rates of underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at New Mexico’s colleges and universities. In 2007, President George W. Bush and the NSF honored him with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring—just one of many awards in Jacquez’s life that recognized his passion and professional success. At Chico State, he was a contributor to efforts that secured the $4.2-million Hispanic-Serving Institution STEM Grant, which led to the establishment of the Engineering Student Success Center as a place for all students to get the help they need to succeed. He was also an advocate for gender diversity and women in leadership, as seen by his support of the Chico State Women in Concrete club and Society of Women Engineers student chapter, and encouragement of female faculty and staff in advancing their careers. In 2012, his contributions to increasing diversity and access in higher education were honored with a distinguished service award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence.
Above all, Ricardo was a devoted son, husband, father, brother, and uncle to his large family. He supported their dreams and aspirations, always encouraging them to work hard and achieve their dreams, whatever those might be. He was an energetic advocate for education, believing in its unique power to transform lives; he loved fishing, photography, bird watching (especially hummingbirds), and good wine; he actively and lovingly supported his wife’s “horse habit”; and he enjoyed family birthdays, holiday gatherings, and spending time with his grandchildren. He was a life-long baseball fan, a passion he shared with his son Pablo, and is smiling from heaven about the Dodgers’ win in the 2018 National League Championship Series.
Ricardo is preceded in death by his parents Margarito and Francisa (Barrio) Jacques, and nephews Brian Jacquez and Daniel Tellez. He is survived by his wife and life partner, Michele Auzenne; three children – Ricky Carr, Erica Jacquez, and Pablo Jacquez; two stepsons – Wilton and Benjamin Buntain; seven grandchildren – Alyssa, Lauren, Veronica, Justice, Ray, Memrie, and Pablo Jr.; three great-children – Avery, Logan, and Marie; his siblings – Buddy Jacques (Linda), Joe Jacquez, and Irma Tellez (Ray); and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. We will love and miss him forever. His spirit will live on in our hearts and in our actions.
In lieu of flowers, donations to support student and faculty development efforts, including student scholarships, may be made to the NMSU Civil Engineering Academy or the CSU-Chico College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management Annual Fund.