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Graduates of 1962 Return for Golden Grads Reunion

May 31, 2012

5-31-12 – The UNM School of Engineering welcomed back its Golden Grads on May 11 in commemoration of their graduation 50 years ago.  At a lunch reception in their honor, Dean Catalin Roman said, “It is an honor and pleasure to welcome back the 1962 Golden Grads, their wives and significant others and to celebrate their lives and career achievements.”

Academic department chairs gave briefings on enrollments, research initiatives, and achievements. After the lunch, they conducted tours, including civil, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering laboratories.

The 15 Golden Grads (all of whom received either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering degrees) were invited to introduce their guest and share key points of the past 50 years, including degrees earned, career highlights, where they live, and how UNM Engineering changed their lives.

Nine of the 1962 Golden Grads were part of the Technical Development Program (TDP), an innovative educational initiative at Sandia National Laboratories.  For the TDP, Sandia recruited approximately 60 graduates from the top ten percent of their classes in engineering schools across the country to pursue their Master’s degree in engineering at UNM while working at Sandia part-time.

According to Stephen Rottler, Vice President, Science and Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Sandia, the TDP was a significant educational program at Sandia for many years. “A large number of our key people, including multiple executives and directors earned advanced degrees through the program,” he said.

Most of the 1962 UNM Engineering Golden Grads attending this year’s celebration worked at Sandia in a variety of projects, including major initiatives for the cold war, safe transport for nuclear weapons, anti-terrorism work, energy programs, and nanostructures.  Several attendees moved to different parts of the country for their careers and many still work as consultants.

The UNM Engineering Golden Grad activities are part of the larger University events coordinated by the UNM Alumni Association.  The program was started as a way to honor those graduates that could not attend commencement ceremonies because of their service in WWII and the Korean Conflict.