NMSU alum establishes endowment for electric utility graduate students
Las Cruces, NM (NMSU) — One of the first graduates from New Mexico State University’s Electric Utility Management Program has returned to establish an endowed scholarship. William Paul Charles, electrical engineering classes of ’67 and ’68, said that NMSU made his career possible and he is pleased to be able to give back to the program.
William and Patricia Charles made a gift of $25,000 to the College of Engineering to establish the William Paul and Patricia Charles Endowed Scholarship. The recipients will be recognized as the William Paul and Patricia Charles Fellow in Power Engineering.
The endowment will fund graduate student fellowships in the Electric Utility Management Program in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NMSU. Charles pledged an additional $25,000 that will complete the endowment by December 2018.
“We are very grateful for the generosity extended by William and Patricia Charles,” said College of Engineering Dean Ricardo B. Jacquez. “Financial support for graduate students is less plentiful than those offered to undergraduates and this fellowship will undoubtedly support a deserving student who will go on to work in and contribute to the extremely important business of electric power. This fellowship is also important because it provides the incentive for a power engineer to pursue an advanced degree. Engineers must pursue graduate degrees for our nation to maintain a leadership role and be competitive in development of technology and technological systems.”
William Paul Charles was one of the first graduates from the Electrical Utility Management Program. Before beginning the graduate program, he worked at White Sands Missile Range and NMSU’s Physical Science Laboratory. When he finished the program, he went to work for Shell where he ran their internal co-generation facilities and distribution network.
The Electric Utility Management Program is unique as a program that blends power engineering with regulatory economics. NMSU is one of only a dozen or so universities in the country to offer degrees in electric power engineering. Students in the NMSU program acquire both engineering skills as well as an understanding of the economics, management and societal aspects of the electric power systems. Courses from the College of Engineering and the College of Business Center for Public Utilities comprise the program. Most students in the program graduate with a minor in economics. Founded by Professor Bill Kersting in 1968 and currently directed by Klipsch School of Computer and Electrical Engineering Department Head Satish Ranade, this industry-funded program has graduated more than 250 students with master’s of science degrees in electrical engineering, seven of whom have become CEOs of public utilities.