Engineering laboratory to be named in honor of Dr. William C. McCarthy

Writer: Linda Fresques

The College of Engineering at New Mexico State University will dedicate the Dr. William C. McCarthy STEM Memorial Laboratory on Feb. 16. The facility, located in the Foreman Engineering Complex, is a computer laboratory designed for students with disabilities. The laboratory is being named in honor of McCarthy, civil engineering professor, administrator and advocate for students with disabilities, who passed away this past July.

Dr. William C. McCarthy

The Dr. William C. McCarthy STEM Memorial Laboratory will be dedicated on Feb. 16.

McCarthy was director for Reaching the Pinnacle, a National Science Foundation-funded program for students with disabilities. Originally called the Regional Alliance for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Squared (RASEM), McCarthy started the program in 1999. The first of its kind, RASEM was a regional alliance in New Mexico and west Texas to provide the means, support and encouragement for students with disabilities to overcome the educational barriers they face in considering science, engineering, math and technology careers. The program provides support for student mentors, encourages project partners, and conducts an annual summer camp for pre-college students.

McCarthy received a presidential appointment to the NSF Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering and served as a member of the NSF Education and Human Resources Advisory Committee. He was member and vice president of the Engineering Foundation Board of Directors. Paralyzed in a car accident in 1966 as a senior at Las Cruces High School, McCarthy was told to abandon his dream of becoming an engineer. He achieved his dream and more.

McCarthy earned his doctoral degree at NMSU in 1981 and served as a graduate assistant during his advanced studies. He was a registered professional engineer in New Mexico. McCarthy joined the civil engineering faculty in 1981, reaching the rank of full professor in 1995. He subsequently served as associate dean of engineering, interim dean of engineering, and interim associate provost at NMSU in charge of student success and academic programs. He then returned to the civil engineering faculty in 2006.

During his tenure, McCarthy received numerous awards and recognition for teaching excellence, including the Frank Bromilow Award, The Chi Epsilon Southwestern District James M. Robbins Award and the Dennis Darnall Faculty Achievement Award in 2000. He served as president of the NMSU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and was a member of Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi Honor Societies.

A memorial scholarship fund has been established in honor of McCarthy.

The Dr. William C. McCarthy STEM Memorial Laboratory dedication will be held Feb. 16, 1:30-2 p.m. in room 330 of the Foreman Engineering Complex and is open to the public. For more information about the dedication or about the scholarship honoring McCarthy, please call 575-646-2913.

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