Tech launches center for hydrologic innovation

New Mexico Tech Associate Vice President for Research Carlos Romero, left, shows a picture to Lt. Gov. Howie Morales.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain pictures

Friday was a banner day for New Mexico Tech with the launch of the Hantush-Deju National Center for Hydrologic Innovation, the ribbon-cutting for the Raul and Shari Deju University House, and the couple’s announcement they are helping expand the NMT Bright Star scholarship program .

Named for alumnus and philanthropist Raul Deju and his wife, Shari Deju, the Deju University House is a 5,200-square-foot facility on the north side of campus that can host alumni events, meetings and training sessions.

The Dejus were honored with a proclamation from New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham that Lt. Gov. Howie Morales presented.

Morales cited a few of Raul Deju’s many accomplishments as he read the proclamation, including his being a recipient of the 2015 John F. Kennedy lifetime of Entrepreneurship Award and being named one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the San Francisco Bay area.

The 5,220-sqaure foot Deju House is ready for alumni events, meetings and training sessions.

“Dr. Raul and Shari have touched many lives in their endless charitable giving in support of New Mexico Tech. And they’ve been tremendous assets to its community and students,” Morales said. “Congratulations for paving the way for many of us for generations to come.”

US Representative Melanie Stansbury appeared via Zoom and had good news about recent legislation she hopes will bring “hundreds of millions of dollars to New Mexico” to aid in addressing the growing water problems in the state.

The Hantush-Deju National Center for Hydrologic Innovation, which will be located within New Mexico Tech’s Research and Development Division, is also named after Deju. He is one of the earliest graduates of the New Mexico Tech hydrology program. Deju was a student of the program’s founder, the late, internationally renowned hydrologist Mahdi Hantush.

“I am excited about bringing this new center, the Hantush-Deju National Hydrologic Innovation Center, to life and excited that New Mexico Tech will lead the next chapter in the development of water systems with the objective of creating a process for the optimal usage of our Earth’s water resources,” Deju said. “Truly, an enormous transformative step for the entire world.”

Deju also announced that the NMT “bright star” scholarship program will be expanding, and the new recipients will receive the Dr. Stephen Wells award in the university president’s honor. The new scholarships have been set up in perpetual funds.

President Wells thanked the Dejus for their generous support for the university house, the site of the two ceremonies, and the vision and drive behind the hydrology innovation center.

“The hydrology center will be a new organization at Tech charged with conducting research intended to develop innovative tools and answer fundamental questions pertaining to hydrology that are relevant not only to New Mexico but throughout the world,” Wells said.

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