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Joe Creed, champion of NMSU engineering, passes

Joe Creed, a devoted Aggie who filled many different roles at and dedicated many years of his life toward the benefit of New Mexico State University and its students, passed away Dec. 12.


This is a head and shoulders photo of Joe Creed.
Joe Creed, a devoted Aggie who filled many different roles and dedicated many years of his life toward the benefit of NMSU and its students, passed away on Dec. 12. (NMSU photo)

Creed's accomplishments at NMSU were numerous. Most notably, he became the first assistant dean on campus with a development role and laid the foundation for which many corporate and personal donations were acquired, leading to some of the largest and most prominent gifts on campus, such as Fulton Center, the naming of Zuhl Library and the renovation of Goddard Hall.

"During his tenure at NMSU, Joe enhanced the lives of many students in the classroom and was instrumental in establishing partnerships with companies and alumni for the benefit of faculty, staff and students. Joe was a champion of the college and will be greatly missed," said College of Engineering Dean Ricardo B. Jacquez.

At his retirement in 2005, Creed said, "I've said many times that other than my family, NMSU has been the biggest influence on my life."

Creed came to NMSU in 1954 at the age of 18 as the result of a chance acquaintance.

He began college at University of Oklahoma, but found it was not a good fit.

"If you had money, a car and belonged to a frat, you probably had fun. I had none of these. My social life was limited to visiting in the dorm lounge and TV," he noted.

Creed met a person who would change his life, and the course of history at NMSU.

Joe Priestly, whose family owned the Las Cruces Sun-News and was studying journalism at OU at the time, told Creed about a small university in southern New Mexico that had a great engineering program and co-op program with White Sands Missile Range. Creed, along with three friends, transferred to NMSU.

Creed tried out for football after his first year and earned a scholarship as a walk-on the next season. During his undergraduate years, he also met and married Priscilla, who he said "gave me the stability and kept me focused on my goal of attaining a degree in chemical engineering." Creed completed his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from NMSU in 1959.

Following his graduation, Creed worked for a Tulsa, Okla. pipeline equipment fabrication company as a design and sales engineer and was promoted to sales manager and chief engineer. He gained significant industrial experience with fluid process equipment such as pumps, vessels, mixers, heat exchangers and process control equipment.

In 1966, Creed formed PMC, Inc., an engineering design and manufacturing firm, where he served as president and co-owner for 17 years. PMC performed all aspects of engineering from design to turn-key projects on process equipment and fire systems. One of PMC's major projects involved the installation of a fire system on the main control center platform for Phillips Petroleum in the Houston ship channel and which was then towed to a final North Sea location.

In 1982, Creed sold his interest in PMC and returned to Las Cruces to join the chemical engineering faculty. He was initially hired on a part-time basis to teach the undergraduate laboratories; his duties were increased in 1985 to include teaching of the undergraduate design class. He earned a multidisciplinary M.B.A./M.S. in chemical engineering in 1986.

He was named assistant dean of the college in 1988. In that position, Creed was responsible for the college's development activities, including alumni relations, public relations and work with charitable foundations.

As the first assistant dean at NMSU focused on corporate and alumni relations, appointed by then College of Engineering Dean J. Derald Morgan, Creed was instrumental in changing the way NMSU solicits donations from corporations that hire NMSU graduates and alumni.

Creed was instrumental in the Goddard Hall Historic Renovation Project, raising nearly $5 million to renovate the building that was erected in 1913. The renovation was complete in 2001. Currently used to house College of Engineering administrative offices, Goddard Hall has been deemed an architectural treasure and serves as a unifying landmark for campus.

Creed forged a close relationship with NMSU electrical engineering alum Paul W. Klipsch and his wife, Valerie. The Klipschs established endowed scholarships that support more than 40 students and four departmental professorships. The college is home to the Paul W. and Valerie Klipsch Museum and the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Creed remained a close friend to Valerie following Paul's death in 2002.

Creed also impacted the lives of many students while teaching. His legacy to students continues to touch today's engineering students through College of Engineering Sociedad de Ingenieros. Begun in 1989, thousands of graduating engineers have taken part in the ceremony, for which Creed was one of the founding members. The society was established to give recognition to each new graduate of the College of Engineering prior to commencement.

While in the College of Engineering, he took on additional responsibilities as the corporate relations liaison officer for the entire campus. He was appointed as interim vice president for university advancement in 1999, a position he held for two years before returning to his former position in engineering.

While serving in advancement, Creed was instrumental in securing a donation from Herb and Joan Zuhl of more than 2,000 fossils dating back to the Precambrian era (4.5 billion- 543 million years ago) and resulting in the naming of Zuhl Library. A subsequent gift from the Zuhls expanded the Alumni and Visitors Center to house never-before-seen pieces from their collection for citizens and visitors to Las Cruces to enjoy.

Creed also took part in negotiating gifts of more than $7 million from Stan Fulton, owner of Sunland Park Race Track and Casino, resulting in the Stan Fulton Center, an academic support and sports medicine complex for student athletes, and the establishment of chairs in the College of Education, College of Health and Social Services and the College of Business.

Creed was named as adviser to the president on athletics and NCAA faculty athletic representative.

Although Creed formally retired from NMSU in 2005, he continued to be an ardent supporter and was present at College of Engineering events and on the NMSU University Golf Course.

Services will be held for Creed at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at La Paz - Graham's Funeral Home, 555 West Amador, Las Cruces, N.M. Remembrances for Creed are welcomed on the NMSU College of Engineering Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

The family has requested that donations be made to the NMSU Foundation to establish the Joe Creed Endowed Professorship in Chemical Engineering in lieu of flowers. Donations may be sent to: College of Engineering Assistant Dean's Office, MSC 3449, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30111, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001.