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High honor bestowed upon NMSU professor emeritus

John Hernandez, a professor emeritus with New Mexico State University, has been named an honorary member of the oldest national engineering society in the U.S., the American Society of Civil Engineering, or ASCE.



Dr. John W. Hernandez, NMSU professor emeritus of civil engineering.


Honorary membership is the organization's highest accolade. Only 183 of the society's 137,000 members worldwide have been awarded this honor.

Hernandez was honored for his efforts in improving water quality as well as his accomplishments and efforts in consulting, academia and public office in the areas of water resources and water quality.

"It is very appropriate that Professor Hernandez be recognized by his peers with this prestigious honor," said Steven Castillo, dean of the College of Engineering. "The contributions he has made to his profession and society as a whole are enormous."

Hernandez began his career with NMSU as an associate professor in 1965. For the next 16 years, he served as dean of the College of Engineering, co-creator of the New Mexico Environmental Institute, co-director of the Southwest Center for Women and Minorities in Engineering and director of the Environmental Health Engineering Program.

In 1981, President Reagan named Hernandez deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Also that year, Hernandez retired as a captain from the Navy Civil Engineering Corps Reserve.

Two years later, he became the EPA's acting administrator.
In 1984, Hernandez returned to NMSU after a brief post with the U.S. Department of Energy.

He has served as a visiting professor to Bogazici University in Turkey and the University of Auckland in New Zealand as well as a research professor at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile.

Honorary membership in ASCE is the latest in a long list of awards for Hernandez. In 1970, President Nixon gave him a letter of commendation for exceptional service in the field of air and water pollution. He has also received NMSU's Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award, New Mexico's Distinguished Public Service Award, the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers' Engineer of the Year Award and the National Construction Industry Council's Construction Industry Recognition Award.

Hernandez earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico, a master's degree in sanitary engineering from Purdue University, and a master's degree in environmental engineering and doctoral degree in water resources management, both from Harvard University.

Hernandez is a resident of Las Cruces.