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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Ford donates truck to New Mexico State University engineering program

New Mexico State University students will get a chance to customize a new Ford FX4 Ranger truck donated by Ford Motor Co., an engineering technology professor said.

Engineering Technology students Jacob Mowad, left, and Jacob Baker look under the hood of a new Ford FX4 Ranger XLT pickup truck at New Mexico State's Engineering Complex. Ford donated the truck to New Mexico State's College of Engineering as a learning t

ck is a state-of-the-art off-road vehicle with special shock absorbers, a limited slip differential, "shift-on-the-fly" automatic transmission and steel skid plates underneath to protect the engine, oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank.

It was delivered to the university by Mark Bill, chief engineer of Ford's Ranger program, who became aware of New Mexico State's engineering program when a group of students visited Ford's Dearborn, Mich., Ranger plant in January. He said he hopes his visit to Las Cruces will further an ongoing relationship between Ford and the university.

"This shows that Ford takes a sincere interest in providing opportunities for students, and does it on a face-to-face basis," said Anthony Hyde, an associate professor in the university's engineering technology program.

Hyde said the engineering program will capitalize on Ford's donation in January 2002 by sponsoring a design competition in which engineering and technology students will be invited to participate in modifying the truck into a safari vehicle. The students who submit the best designs will get the opportunity to build their designs on the truck, he said.

"The truck's a good learning instrument," said Jacob Baker, a senior in mechanical engineering technology. "Students can use it to experiment on, get experience in the shop and test new ideas."

Hyde said much of the credit for Ford's donation goes to Jesus Flores, a senior in mechanical engineering who last year submitted a proposal to Ford to fund an ultra-light off-road vehicle. The company provided a $9,000 grant to build the vehicle and invited a group of students to tour its plants. Flores and engineering students Chance Valentine and Jacob Mowad are building a prototype of the ultra-light, Hyde said.