Writers: Lorena Sanchez and Linda Fresques
Some 300 engineering students who graduated in May had the opportunity to take part in a 23-year-old tradition unique to NMSU: The Sociedad de Ingeniero. This semester’s ceremony was held Friday, May 11 at the Corbett Center Ballrooms.
Engineering graduates, including the highest honors graduate, Craig Bear; outstanding senior, Alicia Salazar; and alumnus and El Paso Electric Company Vice President Robert Clay Doyle, were honored in the ceremony.
Doyle will be named as Ingeniero Eminente during the ceremony. Doyle, who received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from NMSU through the Electric Utility Management Program, is vice president of transmission and distribution for El Paso Electric Company. In addition to his many community activities, Doyle is a member of the NMSU Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Academy Industrial Advisory Group and a member of the school’s Electric Utility Management Program Advisory Board.
Bear, an electrical engineering student, received the highest GPA for the most credit hours of any engineering graduate. He will continue next fall at NMSU to obtain a master’s degree in electrical engineering through the Electric Utility Management Program.
Salazar, a chemical engineering major, was selected as outstanding senior for the college by the Alumni Association in recognition of her high academic standards and involvement in camps organizations. She will attend graduate school at the University of Michigan.
The Sociedad de Intenieros ceremony was created in 1989 by the College of Engineering deans and department heads who wanted to create an organization that would help engineering students to understand the worldwide importance of their profession.
“We wanted something special that would inspire NMSU engineering students, to make them proud of what engineering is and what it contributes to society. Also to encourage all grads to practice their profession in an ethical and moral manner,” said J. Derald Morgan, dean of the college at that time.
Morgan along with co-founders Assistant Dean Joe L. Creed, Associate Dean J. Eldon Steelman, and University President James Halligan formed the society and held a graduation ceremony specifically for engineering students—a tradition that has been instituted every semester since.
The title alone carries with it a tremendous amount of meaning. In romance languages, particularly Spanish, the word “Ingeniero” extracts meaning from the word “ingenuidad” translated as ingenuity or genius. The word “Ingeniero” has remained a title of respect that represents the academic rigor required to obtain such a degree, and the achievements that come with it. Therefore, “Sociedad de Ingenieros” was chosen not only to highlight the diverse group of students who make engineering their profession, but the vocation and designation “Ing.” to precede the names of the graduates.
Sociedad de Ingenieros’ founding membership includes Associate Dean Larryl Matthews, and department heads George D. Alexander, Rohinton K. Bhada, Satish J. Kamat, M. Don Merrill, George Mullholland, and Kenneth R. White.
“The ceremony includes some of the history of the college, reading of the Engineer’s Creed, and one or more ‘Honorario’ or ‘Eminente’ members who are selected each semester based on their accomplishments in the engineering profession and/or service to the NMSU College of Engineering,” Alexander explained. Eminentes are alumni of NMSU engineering, Honorarios do not have to be alumni.
It remains the purpose of the society to instill pride in the graduates and give them the opportunity to be a part of an organization that is unique to their college. “We wanted graduating seniors to be more conscience of their role and responsibility,” White said.
After Sociedad de Ingenieros proved to be a success, it inspired Matthews to create a similar organization at another university and NMSU’s College of Agriculture to establish the Sam Steele Society.