By Elizabeth Myers
On November 30, Kenneth White will retire as Regents Professor and head of the civil engineering department at New Mexico State University.
White has served as a faculty member and administrator at NMSU for 37 and-a-half years. He, along with colleagues and graduate students, has authored more than 150 publications including refereed journal publications, books, book chapters, invited presentations, and technical reports.
After receiving his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University, White began his career at NMSU as an assistant professor in the structural engineering program. His teaching and research have focused on structural analysis related to inspection, maintenance and safety of bridges. His research in bridge inspection is the most significant contribution of his creative and scholarly efforts.
His administrative and research abilities led to his appointment as director of the Engineering Research Center, where he served from 1984 to 1988. He was appointed head of the civil engineering department in 1988. During the academic year 2003-04, White also served as interim dean of the College of Engineering.
Ruinian Jiang, assistant professor of engineering technology, was mentored by White. “Dr. White is my favorite teacher,” Jiang said. “He is a great leader and is always full of enthusiasm for his work and always gives us the confidence that we need.”
In 1983, the College of Engineering awarded him the Bromilow Award for Research. Over the past 27 years, the bridge inspection courses taught by White and his team have impacted more than 5,000 bridge inspection engineers from 30 different states. During this same time period, funding for his research has exceeded $15 million.
During his professional career he served as the technical lead for a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution research team testing the I-40 bridges across the Rio Grande and testing the Dang San Bridge in Seoul, Korea. White also served nine years on the New Mexico State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors.
White has received numerous awards, including the Leadership in Transportation and Development award from the New Mexico Department of Transportation Research Bureau; the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Surveyors; Ingeniero Veterano De Nuevo Mejico from the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers; and the Transportation Award for Excellence in Research from the Alliance for Transportation Research. In September White was asked to serve on the National Transportation Safety Board investigative team for the I-35W Bridge in Minnesota.
“We are really going to miss Dr. Ken White. His service to New Mexico State University, its students, faculty, and the population of New Mexico exemplifies the land-grant mission,” Steven Castillo, dean of the College of Engineering said. “His contributions have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of students and citizens of New Mexico.”