Alumni Recognized For University Contributions at Graduation

Alumni Recognized For University Contributions at Graduation

SOCORRO, N.M. – Several alumni were honored during the 2017 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday in Socorro. In addition to the NMT Alumni Association awards, alumnus John Dowdle, Class of 1960, received a honorary doctorate for his many years of contributions to the university and the Alumni Association.

The New Mexico Tech Alumni Association annually recognizes alumni who have achieved distinction in their fields of endeavor. Recipients are selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors from nominations by other alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the Institute. 

Lauren Roberts

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Lauren Roberts (right) receives the 2017 NMTAA Distinguished Achievement Award from Dr. Stephen Wells, NMT President.


Lauren Roberts, Class of 1988, was awarded the 2017 New Mexico Tech Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Roberts earned his bachelor’s in Mining Engineering from New Mexico Tech in 1988.  He has done additional formal coursework at the University of Michigan Business School, the Colorado School of Mines, and at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

He was recently appointed Chief Operating Officer of Kinross Gold Corporation. Previously at Kinross, Lauren served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, where he worked with the Corporate Development team on mergers, acquisitions, and corporate strategy. 

Before that, he served as Regional Vice President, Americas, which is the largest region in the company’s portfolio (with five operating mines in three countries).  He prepared himself for that role by serving first as Regional Vice President, North America and then as Regional Vice President, South America.  He was also the General Manager at the company’s underground Kettle River-Buckhorn mine, where he led the successful development of the mine and its first years of operation, and the open pit Fort Knox mine, where he oversaw improvements to its safety record and operational performance.

Prior to joining Kinross, Mr. Roberts worked for eight years at Barrick Gold in various senior engineering and supervisory roles.  Before joining Barrick, Mr. Roberts spent five years at Hecla Mining company, primarily in engineering roles.

With an apparent relish for adventure and for residence in exotic places on the planet, Mr. Roberts has been stationed all over the western US, including Alaska, Santiago, Chile, the ever-exotic environs of Denver, Colorado, and now his home office is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Lauren has certainly made the most of his technical education in mining and mineral engineering begun at New Mexico Tech, having successfully merged that education with a head and a heart for the business of mineral extraction and marketing.

Dr. Francis “Frank” Greiner

Dr. Francis “Frank” Greiner was named the winner of the 2017 New Mexico Tech Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.

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Dr. Stephen Wells presents the 2017 NMTAA Distinguished Service Award to Dolores Greiner, the mother of honoree Dr. Frank Greiner.


The Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni or friends of New Mexico Tech whose meritorious contributions, through active, often volunteer participation, have significantly enhanced the influence and reputation of the Institute. 

Dr. Francis “Frank” Greiner, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at the University of South Alabama School of Medicine passed away just over two years ago.

As a young person, Frank’s academic gifts and interest in science led him to study chemistry at New Mexico Tech. He graduated with honors in three years (in 1975) while working on the grounds crew.  At nineteen he found himself as a graduate assistant teaching chemistry at Purdue.  That didn't suit him; so, he quit school and joined the Army.  When his enlistment was up, Frank entered the University of Delaware, where he earned a master’s degree in chemistry. He then went on to earn an M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia.  Following medical school, Frank completed an internship in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., and a radiology residency at State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where he served as chief resident.  From 1989-1991, Frank was a fellow in neuroradiology at University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Dr. Greiner settled in Mobile, Ala., where, on the staff of the University of South Alabama School of Medicine, he nurtured a deep understanding of MRI technology and became a specialist in this area.  He also served as an interventional radiologist, which required reading radiological images while performing a surgical procedure.  As a physician, radiologist, researcher, and teacher he was well-regarded, winning several distinguished teacher awards.  He paid attention to detail, kept learning his entire life, was unafraid to speak out when necessary, and always kept patient care at the top of the list.  Many nationally prominent medical facilities wished they could count themselves lucky enough to include Frank among their staff, including the Cleveland Clinic, which offered him a highly remunerative opportunity, but, in keeping with his character, Frank turned it down to remain involved with patients and students at the teaching hospital he called home.

Frank loved music from Brahms to The Bangles, and was an accomplished chess player, having once been Alabama state chess champion.  He gave to AmeriCare and the Waterfront Rescue Mission.  He was a member of a top-flight bar trivia team and loved "Talk Like a Pirate Day."  He had a wicked, dry, and occasionally bizarre sense of humor, and enjoyed riling people up, particularly those in positions of authority.

Frank loved Tech.  When he attended, there were peacocks roaming the campus, campus dogs, and a fair number of Vietnam Veterans who had practical experience in explosives.  That experience sometimes led to overly aggressive chemistry "experiments" involving home-made cannons and similar devices.  He loved the first hole of the El Fuego Baca golf tournament, and the rough-and-tumble treatment of the freshman class at St. Pats.  At Tech, he got to try many things, and even had a small part in a theater department production of "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner.

Frank’s love of Tech and his appreciation for the opportunities his undergraduate education made possible for him are reflected in a donation made in his honor by his family, and that love of Tech is reflected, too, in the naming of the lecture hall in Workman Center after Frank Greiner.

Ladies and gentlemen, New Mexico Tech and the New Mexico Tech Alumni Association proudly and gratefully present the Distinguished Service Award posthumously to Dr. Francis “Frank” Greiner.  Accepting the award will be Ms. Dolores Greiner, Frank Greiner’s mother, and Dan and Jeannette Carter, Frank Greiner’s uncle and aunt.

The Vigilantes

In 2017, an unusual presentation is being made, unusual in two respects. First, the NMTAA awarded two Distinguished Service Award; and second, it is being presented to a group rather than to an individual. This second Distinguished Service Award is being presented to the musical group known as the Vigilantes.


Members of the Vigilante Band accept their NMTAA Distinguished Service Award from Dr. Peter Mozley, Associate V.P. of Academic Affairs. From left are Jeff Hatchell, Bill Giebitz, and Dave Thomas.


Many (if not most) of the alumni who return to campus for the annual 49ers celebration do so in the hope of seeing the Vigilantes perform at the Capitol Bar, reliving as a result their own days as students at Tech.  Apart from the 49ers parade, the Vigilantes represent the longest continuous 49ers tradition. 

The service rendered as a result helps to reacquaint the alumni with Tech and with Socorro.  We recognize with some sadness that your performances in conjunction with 49ers in October, 2016, may well have been the final appearances by the group; so, we thought this year’s graduation ceremony would be the appropriate time to acknowledge the band’s service to Tech and to the community.  If indeed the October, 2016 performances were the last, the Vigilantes will be sorely missed in October, 2017 and beyond.

The Vigilante Band took form "unplugged" during August 1975 one sunny afternoon in Socorro, New Mexico, when a group of otherwise unassociated musicians gathered at a house on 6th Street, and played a few songs over-and-over-and-over.  Those gathered were many and diverse in number, but soon the group was thinned-out into a “workable harmony” form.  Largely, the Vigilante Band, and its name, was the dream of Ed Brandt, banjo player.  Ed, then the band’s lead singer and protagonist, taught members to harmonize better, listen to other band members, and generally pushed and pushed the members to demand more of themselves musically.  Over the first two-years, there was no gigging, only endless hours of seemingly direction-less practice, night-after-night.

The band’s official history asserts that it was really bad then, but they worked hard on their song list, which is still with them today.  The first real public 'gig' was in the "Ore House,” the old basement hangout beneath Driscoll where Tech really found and kept its personality.  This gig was fully acoustic, and although they could barely be heard, there was much dancing.  They then were graduated upstairs to the living room at Driscoll, which most really remember as our first gig with a sound system.  But the real break came at the Roadrunner Lounge (now the Bodega), Socorro, on October 20th, 1978, where they held on for four sets.  The sound system was maxed-out and barely audible, but, the audience danced anyway and it furthered the dream.

Their connection to New Mexico Tech comes about because all the band members at one time or another in their lives have been students attending classes or have been staff working at Tech.  This shared experience has nurtured a love for Tech, for the community of Socorro, and (perhaps especially) for the Capitol Bar, which in and of itself is a shared experience for almost all of us.

The current members of the group are Denby Auble, Jeff Baseheart, Brad Billings, Bill Giebitz, Randy Hanson, Jeff Hatchell, Barry Hembree, Bruce Mitchell, Bo Putnam, Dave Thomas, and Shaun Wilson.  To close the ceremony, Thomas (who teaches courses at NMT) played and sang the first verse of the theme song to the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”

John Dowdle

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John Dowdle, Class of 1960, is hooded for his honorary doctorate by Peter Mozley and Dr. Douglas Wells (right), V.P. of Academic Affairs.


Earlier this year, the NMT Faculty Senate approved conferring an honorary doctorate to Mr. John Dowdle. A native of Deming, N.M., Dowdle earned his degree in mathematics from New Mexico Tech. He spent the following year as a computer-oriented mathematics fellowship at the University of North Carolina.  Next, he was awarded a National Defense Education Act Fellowship from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) where he received an master’s in cconomics with distinction in 1963.  

He returned to New Mexico to start his career at Mountain States Telephone Company. For 30 years, John enjoyed a successful career with joined Booz, Allen & Hamilton, living and working in Dallas, Chicago, the Middle East, Buenos Aires, Mexico City.

John retired from the company in 1998, but he didn’t quit working. He joined Day & Zimmerman as president of the transportation construction division. When he retired again in 2003, John started his own management consulting firm.

John has always stayed involved in civic groups, professional organizations and New Mexico Tech activities. In 2010, he organized the Class of 1960 reunion and was a guest speaker for the Management Department lecture series. For decades, John has been an active leader in the NMT Alumni Association. John lives in Santa Fe, where he remains involved in civic groups, professional organizations and New Mexico Tech activities.

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