University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah has announced that Joseph L. Cecchi, dean of the School of Engineering, will hold the Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing endowed position.

 This award recognizes Cecchi’s many contributions to the School of Engineering and The University of New Mexico, including his distinguished work as a professor and dean, and as associate provost for national laboratory relations, Abdallah said.

Jim and Ellen King, of Albuquerque, made the gift that created the endowed deanship. The School of Engineering is the first school or college in the university to hold an endowed dean’s position.

“Dean Cecchi has served our university for many years and has performed admirably as a professor, dean, and advisor to the provost. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the inaugural presentation of this award,” said Abdallah. “We are also grateful for the generosity of our donors, Jim and Ellen King, for this endowment.”

Cecchi, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, served as dean of the School of Engineering from 2000-2009, and again from February 2014 to the present. He has also served as advisor to the provost and president for national laboratory relations since 2013.

“I am deeply honored by Provost Abdallah’s appointment of me as the inaugural Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing,” Cecchi said. “I am also extremely grateful to Jim and Ellen for their generous and visionary gift to the School of Engineering, and to the New Mexico Legislature and the governor for establishing the higher education endowment fund that provided a match for the King’s gift.”

Jim King earned a law degree at UNM and a bachelor of business administration in accounting from the University of Notre Dame. He is chairman of the board of Bradbury Stamm Construction, where he has served in a variety of leadership roles since 1972. Under his leadership, the company grew substantially and became an innovator in hiring women into management roles. He is a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Central New Mexico; the Albuquerque Economic Forum; the UNM Lobo Club and the President’s Club; the New Mexico Amigos; and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. He is director of the UNM Alumni Association board, the Albuquerque Economic Development Inc. board, and the investment committee of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Ellen King manages Bradbury Stamm’s philanthropy efforts, as well as being involved with a variety of community organizations. She is a member of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation Board, the advisory board for the Center of Non-profit Excellence at United Way, as well as being instrumental in the establishment of Mandy’s Special Farm (a facility for disabled adults in Albuquerque’s South Valley).

The Kings have been loyal supporters of UNM over the years, having donated to various programs, including the UNM Cancer Center for skin cancer research.

UNM’s School of Engineering joins many other top-ranked engineering schools around the country that have endowed dean positions, including Stanford University, Purdue University, University of Michigan, Duke University, Cornell University, and University of Tennessee.