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Len Sugerman to receive honorary doctorate from NMSU

Retired Air Force Col. Leonard R. "Len" Sugerman will receive an honorary doctorate at New Mexico State University's fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 11. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in NMSU's Pan American Center.

Len Sugerman will receive an honorary doctorate at New Mexico State University's fall commmencement ceremony on Dec. 11.

n has distinguished himself as a military leader, university administrator and civic volunteer. A native of New York City, Sugerman attended the renowned Stuyvesant High School, a public school with a focus on science and mathematics. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1942 with the rank of private and retired 33 years later as a colonel.

During World War II, Sugerman helped build runways for bombers on the islands of Kwajalin, Tinian, Saipan, Guam and Okinawa. Later in his military career, he oversaw the development and testing of many generations of bomb-navigation, guidance, attitude control and autopilot systems for aircraft and missiles.

In the 1950s and 60s, Sugerman served in the Pentagon and at Andrews Air Force Base. During this time, he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Sugerman was first stationed in New Mexico in 1964. His initial assignment was at the Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman Air Force Base, where he served as the director of the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility. He then became the Air Force deputy to the Commanding General at White Sands Missile Range. Sugerman ended his Air Force career in 1975 at the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

After retiring from military service, Sugerman stayed in southern New Mexico, becoming assistant to the director of the Physical Science Laboratory at NMSU. In this capacity, he participated in the launching of sounding rockets, missiles and high-altitude balloons on every continent. Sugerman received a master's degree in public administration from NMSU in 1984.

Sugerman has been a community volunteer for more than 25 years, focusing his efforts on programs to prepare youth for high-tech careers and to create high-tech jobs in southern New Mexico. Toward this end, he has been an active member of many groups, including the New Mexico Academy of Science, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and the United Nations Association. Sugerman co-founded the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico and the Southwest Space Task Force, an ad hoc citizens' advocacy group determined to establish an inland launch site in southern New Mexico.

At NMSU, Sugerman has been an active volunteer for and donor to the Department of Government, the Air Force and Army ROTC, the Model United Nations and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium. He currently serves on the Dean's Council for Excellence in the Sciences.

"Len's untiring efforts on behalf of many educational and scientific programs, both on the campus of New Mexico State University and throughout New Mexico, have made an enormous difference to our quality of life and the opportunities available to the members of our community," said NMSU President Mike Martin.

Sugerman's volunteer work has earned him many awards, including the New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award in 1995, the Branding Iron Award from the NMSU Board of Regents in 1996, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences in 2004. The building housing the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium was recently named the Sugerman Space Grant Building in his honor.