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Alumnus endows ‘station of innovation’ parking space for the School of Engineering

April 15, 2024 - by Kim Delker

photo: Doug Cambell and Donna Riley

In what is believed to be a University of New Mexico first, a UNM School of Engineering alumnus and strong supporter of both the university and the School has provided funding for a reserved parking spot near the engineering buildings on campus.

The Doug Campbell Endowed Parking Fund will generate the funds needed to pay for the yearly fees for the reserved parking space, B-160, which is in the B lot along Redondo Drive close to the Centennial Engineering Center. The current fee for a yearly reserved space in a surface lot is $1,326 a year, according to the UNM Parking and Transportation website.

A special placard below the sign reads, “A Station of Innovation, Courtesy of Doug Campbell.”

To mark the occasion, the official unveiling of the space is planned during a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:15 p.m. April 25.

According to the gift agreement, the parking space will be utilized by the dean’s office in the School of Engineering “to recognize leadership and service to the School by staff, faculty, students, alumni and donors.”

Campbell said he was inspired to provide funding in this unusual way after conversations with Donna Riley, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing, and others about ways to raise the reputation of the School, attract and retain more high-profile faculty, and the barriers that exist that prevent this. When he learned that parking on the urban campus of UNM is an issue and that even the dean had to purchase her own reserved parking spot, Campbell knew he had to take action.

“After that conversation, I took a bike ride and started thinking about it. I came to the conclusion that this is unacceptable, so I started inquiring about how I could endow a parking space for the School of Engineering’s use.”

Although endowing a parking space is an unusual way to give back to the university, Campbell emphasized he was very serious about the mission of the gift.

“It’s about breaking down barriers,” he said. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do. Tell me what I can do. And this was something I could do.”

This first is not the first “first” for Campbell, who earned bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in civil engineering from UNM in 2001 and 2002, respectively. In 2023, he completed his $5 million cash pledge to UNM, which created the Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, the first endowed department in UNM history.

Riley said the parking space will be managed by the dean’s office and will be used to provide parking for various guests meeting with the dean or others in the School, as well as other purposes as approved by the dean’s office, with priority given to those visiting the School for the mission of advancing innovation.

“Doug Campbell saw this as a small first step in an effort to make collaboration and innovation just a bit easier in the School of Engineering,” she said. “We are very grateful for Doug’s support of this mission by removing the barriers that he can.”

Campbell is also funding a new dean’s lecture series in the School of Engineering focusing on innovation that will debut this fall. Information about that speaker series will be announced in the coming months.