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Engineering brought him to NMSU, but

music paid the way DARREN PHILLIPS

chance encounter in New Mexico State University’s music room proved to be the ticket to college for Dan E. Arvizu ’73, NMSU’s fall 2015 honorary degree recipient. It was also the opportunity to begin an outstanding career that culminated in November 2015 when he retired as the director and chief executive officer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. “I played the trumpet in the Alamogordo High School Band, and was the band president,” Arvizu recalls. “It was one of those chance encounters when my friend and I walked through the Aggie music room while visiting the campus. The band director recognized us and said, ‘How would you like music scholarships?’ We were both students that needed financial help any way we could get it, so we said, ‘Sure!’” “I enjoyed music and played four years in the Aggie Marching Band, NMSU Symphony and the pep band at the basketball games,” he says. “I really had fun.” But a music degree was not Arvizu’s quest. He had chosen NMSU because of its excellent engineering school. As the first member of his immigrant family to attend college, Arvizu began a journey that has taken him to all parts of the world. Forty-two years later, he is one of the world’s leading experts in the fields of renewable and sustainable energy and one of the top 20 Hispanic scientists and engineers in America. “I was a pioneer,” he says. “I get a tremendous satisfaction in how technology has progressed and that I’ve had some small part in making those breakthroughs occur.” Jane Moorman

Spring 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


Panorama - Spring 2016  

Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...

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