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Klipsch legacy to NMSU College of Engineering continues to grow

Thirty-nine engineering students at New Mexico State University are receiving financial assistance this academic year from scholarships established by the late Paul W. Klipsch and his wife Valerie - and the number will be higher next year.

Valerie Klipsch, left, visits with NMSU President Michael Martin during the university's homecoming weekend in October. (Photo by Victor Espinoza)

Valerie Klipsch recently established a new scholarship, named in honor of Mack and Louise Haley, to support students majoring in mechanical engineering. Mack Haley is a staff member in the College of Engineering assistant dean's office.

Mrs. Klipsch's latest gift also increased the endowments for two existing scholarships - one in honor of Jay and Lya Jordan and the other named for Joe and Priscilla Creed - and established a new work-study fellowship for engineering students. Jordan, dean and director of the Physical Science Laboratory at NMSU, is a former dean of engineering, and Creed is a former assistant dean.

The Klipsch legacy to the College of Engineering has had a significant impact on students and faculty alike over the years, said Dean of Engineering Steve Castillo. Prior to the recent gift, the Klipsches had established nine endowed scholarships and four endowed professorships. Klipsch scholarship awards provided to engineering students this year alone total more than $53,000, provided by the earnings from permanent endowments.

Paul W. Klipsch, often referred to as a "Legend in Sound," pioneered a unique corner-designed audio system that produced lifelike sound. In 1978 he was awarded the Audio Engineering Society's Silver Medal for his contributions to speaker design and distortion measurement. He was inducted into the Audio Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in 1997, joining the likes of Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, the Wright brothers and others.

Klipsch earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1926 at NMSU, when it was known as the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1981. He earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1934. He was born in 1904 and passed away in May 2002.

"Paul W. Klipsch was unquestionably a giant in the field of audio engineering and a true renaissance man," said NMSU President Michael V. Martin. "His remarkable success and his extraordinary life make all of us here proud he graduated from New Mexico State University. Paul's widow, Valerie, has made significant investments in his name here at NMSU that have served to enhance the education of many students. We are most grateful to Valerie for her generosity and her deep affection for this university."

The Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NMSU bears his name and the College of Engineering also is home to the Klipsch Museum, located in the Foreman Engineering Complex. The museum contains memorabilia donated by the Klipsches spanning more than eight decades of developments in the audio engineering field, along with antique audio equipment and a collection of Klipsch's most notable speaker designs. Exhibits include many of Klipsch's working papers containing his calculations and research results.