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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU honors general with Founder's Award

New Mexico State University honored U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lester Lyles and U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen at a reception Wednesday, April 7, at the Physical Science Laboratory.


Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, received the Hiram Hadley Founder's Award of Excellence. John Owens, NMSU's interim executive vice president, presented the award to Lyles, "in recognition of his leadership in the development of America's aerospace capabilities in the spirit of NMSU's founding leader." Hadley was the university's first president, 1888 to 1894.

Jay Jordan, interim dean of engineering, inducted Lyles and Skeen into the Sociedad de Ingenieros, or Society of Engineers, as "Ingenieros Eminente." The title recognizes them as having distinguished themselves in their fields. Both Skeen and Lyles have engineering degrees.

Lyles earned his master's degree in mechanical and nuclear engineering from NMSU in 1969, through the Air Force Institute of Technology program. He received his bachelor's in 1968 from Howard University. He has been director of the BMDO since 1996 and has previously served as commander of the Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center in California and the Ogden Air Logistics Center in Utah.

He was named the Astronautics Engineer of the Year in 1990 by the National Space Club and has earned a Distinguished Service Medal and a Defense Superior Service Medal, among others. In 1994 he received the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in recognition of his outstanding contributions to military equal opportunity policies and programs.

Lyles was visiting Las Cruces with the congressman to discuss next year's funding for instrumentation upgrades and improvements for testing activities at White Sands Missile Range.

Rachel Kendall