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Former Student Thanks Professor For Changing His World

June 1, 2011

evans-juFrank Evans (left) transferred into the School of Engineering as a junior in 1960. Graduating in 1962, he continued in graduate school. Excited by the idea of space exploration, he decided he needed several courses outside of his major, Electrical Engineering, to make his education more attractive to potential employers with space program involvement.

He approached now emeritus ME Professor Fred Ju (right) for permission to take Ju’s courses in Advanced Dynamics. “I agreed but figured these were very difficult courses and Frank probably wouldn’t last more than 2 or 3 weeks,” says Ju.

Evans not only lasted but received top grades in the classes. “His final paper on Orbital Mechanics was so good, that I kept it until I retired from UNM,” adds Ju.

Evans got a job with TRW Systems mission planning group in Houston. The group provided support services to NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center. Evans worked on the Gemini and Apollo missions, including Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission.

“His courses helped me a get a great job in the Apollo program,” says Evans. “I am profoundly grateful to Professor Ju and the University for providing me with this opportunity.”

Later, when Evans and his wife Janet, a retired member of the Marquette University Political Science faculty (center), started planning their major philanthropic giving, recognizing Ju’s role became an important piece of the plan. They understood how many determined, potential engineering students face daunting financial needs, and wanted to combine that understanding with a way to honor and thank Ju.

Their solution was to create the Fred Ju Fund to provide need-based scholarships for students applying (but not yet admitted) to the UNM School of Engineering. Recipients are selected based on financial need, demonstration of unusual initiative, and a statement of purpose reviewed by the SOE Scholarship Office.

The Evans visited UNM in April 2011 to sign the endowment agreement. A special guest at the signing was Ju. “I am very pleased that Frank has recognized our time as student and faculty member by naming this scholarship for me,” Ju said. “This is a great honor.” The scholarship is designed to help other UNM School of Engineering scholars change their lives and accomplish their dreams -- whether they’re out of this world or not.


The group celebrating the signing of the endowment are:

(left to right, back row) Dr. Jew Chyi Liu (a friend and former student of Fred Ju); Steve Peralta, Director of Engineering Student Services; Elsa Castillo, Scholarship Administrator; Bill Baker; Chaouki Abdallah, Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Bruce Thomson, Professor of Civil Engineering; Chuck Fledderman, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

(left to right, front row) Arup Maji, School of Engineering Interim Dean; Frank Evans; Fred Ju