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NMSU alumnus enhances learning communities in engineering

The path to becoming a successful engineer involves more than solving calculus or chemistry problems. Students need to be creative and innovative, and New Mexico State University’s Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering is providing assistance to students beyond the engineering basics.


Woman, left, helps man with homework while sitting at a table.
Kendalle Finchum, New Mexico State University chemical engineering senior and peer learning facilitator, assists Seth Howe, mechanical and aerospace engineering freshman, with calculus homework. The students are working in the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering, which offers tutoring to all engineering students, and has increased its student services thanks to a generous gift from Eloy Torrez. (NMSU photo by Elizabeth Howard)
Man’s head shot.
Eloy Torrez, a New Mexico State University College of Engineering alumnus, has made a generous gift to the college in support of the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering, which offers tutoring and mentoring services to all engineering students. (Courtesy photo)

Thanks to a generous gift from Eloy Torrez of $315,000 to support a new endeavor in the college, the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering has added additional student services since the initiative launched in spring 2017. The initiative offers tutoring to all engineering students and has 14 junior and senior peer learning facilitators who mentor and tutor all engineering students. During the first 10 days of opening this fall, 175 engineering students received support services.

“The learning communities is like a hearty tailwind pushing me and assisting me ever closer to my goals,” said Jacob Eiland, electrical engineering freshman.

“This gift is phenomenal to NMSU engineering,” said Lakshmi Reddi, College of Engineering dean. “Eloy exemplifies the academic and professional skills we want our students to have. His career path is remarkable. With this gift and naming of learning communities, he will impact thousands of engineering students.

“The learning communities will offer help to students outside classrooms through tutoring and mentoring,” Reddi said. “It will also offer avenues for students to develop interpersonal, entrepreneurial and other skills needed in their careers. This initiative is expected to greatly enhance our student retention, especially for women and first-generation students.”

Reddi said he hopes the Torrez gift motivates others to support numerous activities of the initiative such as a lecture series, an endowed chair for director of learning communities and design project support.

“In my 47 years of professional experience, there are two qualities I’ve found that are necessary to be an effective leader: humility and discipline,” Torrez said. “Having the willingness to admit that your team is your strength – that we succeed or fail together – and applying a reliable, consistent methodology to improve your team’s processes are by far the most important leadership traits.”

President of SEI Group, Inc., Torrez founded the company in 1996. For the past 16 years, SEI Group, Inc., has been listed in the “Hispanic Business Magazine” Top 500. The company provides engineering, construction, facility operation and maintenance, energy saving and security technologies to the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

Torrez begin his career as an entry-level engineer with Hughes Aircraft Company, and in only 14 years he became the chief engineer of the Maverick missile system and a laboratory manager.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1970 from NMSU, the Hondo, New Mexico, native graduated from UCLA with an engineering master’s degree in 1976.

For more information on supporting NMSU students, visit https://advancing.nmsu.edu.