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Tech Officially Dedicates the Lopez Chemistry Building

Tech Officially Dedicates the Lopez Chemistry Building

SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech officially dedicated the Daniel H. Lopez Chemistry Building on Friday, August 25, in honor of the 16th president of the university.

Lopez retired in June 2016 after 23 years in the institute’s top post. He worked a total of 30 years at Tech.

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Dr. Daniel H. Lopez cuts the ribbon to officially dedicate the new Lopez Chemistry Building, along with university president Dr. Stephen Wells and Board of Regents President Deborah Peacock.

 

Lopez heaped praise on everyone involved in the development of the 40,000 square-foot, $20 million building. He said the success of the project relied on a true team effort.

“The students are the heart and soul of New Mexico Tech,” Lopez said. “The faculty are important, but the students are why we are here.”

He also gave special thanks to the Board of Regents, both those in attendance and former board members.

“You made my job a pleasure and made it easy,” he said. “You have shown extraordinary leadership and supported my decisions. Other universities don’t have that kind of leadership.”

Board members Jerry Armijo and Deborah Peacock spoke about Lopez’s influence and impact on the university over the years. They mentioned many of the more than 40 construction projects that Lopez shepherded through to completion. They also talked about the growth Tech experienced during Lopez’s tenure. The Hispanic student population has grown from 8 percent to more than 26 percent. The total student body also more than doubled during his 23 years.

Peacock said, “Dr. Lopez broadened the curriculum of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, making Tech competitive to attract top students. This progress includes expanding offerings in new engineering programs, adding to our offerings of graduate degrees in the sciences and engineering fields to ensure opportunities as many address the needs of economics of New Mexico and the country.”

Chemistry Department Chair Dr. Michael Heagy spoke about the impact the new facility has already had on current students.

“We are joining a higher tier of research,” Heagy said. “This is big league – when you have a single discipline in one facility. We will honor that investment by the state and up our game.”

Current president Dr. Stephen Wells lauded Lopez for his track record of increasing research contracts. He said that the university had $17 million in research contracts when Lopez was named president. At the peak, research funding hit the $100 million mark.

He also said that Dr. Lopez laid the foundation for building an entrepreneurial spirit at New Mexico Tech by leveraging the cutting-edge research activity and initiating two ventures that would contribute to successful commercial activity.

In his closing remarks, Lopez said that the new building and the campus in general are “a gem, a pearl in the desert that is truly amazing. My contributions pale in comparison to the rewards I received.”

– NMT –