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Falk named NMSU's Sundt Honors Professor

New Mexico State University professor Connie Falk has been appointed to the M. Eugene Sundt Honors Professorship. The position is awarded to an NMSU professor who promotes innovative teaching ideas and fosters unique, experience-based classes.



New Mexico State University professor Connie Falk has been appointed to the M. Eugene Sundt Honors Professorship. The position is awarded to an NMSU professor who promotes innovative teaching ideas and fosters unique, experience-based classes. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Responsibilities of the professorship include planning and leading a Sundt Honors Seminar, an intensive learning opportunity that takes students both inside and out of the traditional campus. Falk, who teaches agricultural economics and agricultural business, will focus on institutional and grassroots efforts to integrate social justice, ecological principles and economic development in the transformation of societies in Central America.

"It is a huge honor to be selected as the recipient of this professorship," Falk said. "I look forward to meeting the students who will participate in the seminar in spring 2012 and will accompany me on the trip to Nicaragua to study sustainable development issues there."

"The selection committee felt this course is not only timely, but also meshes well with NMSU President Barbara Couture's internationalization initiatives," said Bill Eamon, dean of the NMSU Honors College. "The selection committee was very impressed with the quality and creativity of the candidates and their proposals. Fifteen excellent proposals were submitted in this round, testifying to the wellspring of creativity that characterizes the outstanding faculty at the university."

The selected Sundt Honors Professor will receive a salary increment of $10,000 plus a budget of approximately $10,000 to plan and finance the seminar, held in the spring semester of the awarded year. The budget for the seminar may cover costs for student travel, supplies, outside speakers and other activities. The Sundt Honors Professorship is a rotating chair that is held for two years. The next Sundt Professor will be selected in 2013.

The Sundt Honors Professorship, created in 2008, is funded by a $350,000 endowment from the family of M. Eugene Sundt. A portion of that endowment also funds two Presidents Associates Scholarships at NMSU.

"Gene" Sundt was the grandson of the founder of M.M. Sundt Construction Company, which began in New Mexico in 1890 before relocating to Arizona. One of the firm's best-known projects in New Mexico was to build the town of Los Alamos in preparation for the Manhattan Project. In just 14 months, the company built homes, research buildings and the infrastructure to support a community of military and technical personnel. Gene Sundt, himself, directed the project. He attended NMSU in the 1930s, but left to join his family's company before receiving a degree.