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Former Tech Pres. Colgate Passes Away

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. December 4, 2013 – Dr. Stirling A.Colgate, an internationally renowned astrophysicist and former New Mexico Tech president, died Sunday, Dec. 1, at his Los Alamos home.

  Stirling Colgate-1999
  Dr. Stirling Colgate

Colgate, 88, was a professor emeritus at New Mexico Tech, and continued his research at a specially-designed laboratory on the Tech campus up until a few months ago when he was sidelined due to failing health. Since leaving the university in 1975 after 10 years as president, Colgate worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

He is survived by his wife Rosie, son Arthur, daughter Sarah Chase and her husband Bill, four granddaughters: Mika, Eposha, Ashley and Amanda; and a great-grandson Xavier. A son, Hank, preceded him in death.

Friends and colleagues are invited to a “Remembering Stirling” reception at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos on 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Colgate was born in New York City and attended Los Alamos Ranch School from 1939-1942. He was also a member of the Merchant Marine Armed Services from 1943 to 1946. He married Rosie in 1947 and obtained his PhD. from Cornell University in 1951.

Stirling was in the first group of physicists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he stayed from 1952 to 1964. He was president of New Mexico Tech from 1965 to 1975. He then went to work at Los Alamos National Lab, where he continued to work until his death. He was also a member of the National Academy of Science.


Stirling enjoyed living to the utmost. He loved hiking, flew a plane, sailed, skied and was generous and kind to everyone.

A more in-depth obituary will be forthcoming on the New Mexico Tech website.

– NMT –