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College of Engineering to honor Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Connor

The College of Engineering will honor an alumnus and its graduating students at its traditional ceremony to be held Friday, May 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the Corbett Center Auditorium. At the ceremony, Michael L. Connor, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner and NMSU chemical engineering alumnus, will be honored as Ingeniero Eminente.



U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner and NMSU chemical engineering alumnus Michael L. Connor (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)

All graduating engineering students at the ceremony will be inducted into the Sociedad de Ingenieros, established at NMSU in December 1989. The society is dedicated to each graduating class of engineers in anticipation of the future contributions they will make to society while practicing their profession. At each ceremony, eminente members are inducted into the group. These recipients are NMSU College of Engineering alumni who have distinguished themselves in their field of study and who serve as role models for the new graduates.

Connor was confirmed commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation by the U.S. Senate on May 21, 2009. He has more than 15 years of experience in the public sector, including having served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee since May 2001. At the committee, Connor managed legislation for both the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey, developed water resources legislation and handled Native American issues that are within the Energy Committee's jurisdiction.

From 1993 to 2001, Connor served in the Department of the Interior, including as deputy director and then director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office from 1998 to 2001. In this capacity, Connor represented the Secretary of the Interior in negotiations with Indian tribes, state representatives and private water users to secure water rights settlements consistent with the federal trust responsibility to tribes.

Before joining the Secretary's Office, he was employed with the Interior Solicitor's Office in Washington, D.C. and in Albuquerque. He began his career with the Department of the Interior in the Solicitor's Honors Program in 1993. Connor received his J.D. from the University Of Colorado School Of Law, and is admitted to the bars of Colorado and New Mexico. He previously received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from New Mexico State University and worked for General Electric.