NMSU computer science endowed professorship recognizes faculty excellence

LAS CRUCES – Hue McCoy started his foray into computer science in the 1960s. Even back then he had a number of high-paying job offers after graduation. In the mid-1970s McCoy began a career at White Sands Missile Range and also taught part-time at New Mexico State University. He joined NMSU’s computer science department’s full-time faculty in 1990 and retired from NMSU twice, the first time in 2001. Then he sat out a year and came back to NMSU and retired again in 2011.

When teaching computer science, McCoy always felt strongly about connecting his students with employment opportunities. Over the years he’s connected hundreds with opportunities for jobs.

“I had been out in the workplace so they would come to me and say ‘I’m looking for a job now what’s available?’ I have many former students working at White Sands, at Sandia National Labs, at Intel,” said McCoy. I like to keep up with them.” 

Michelle Watson was among a handful of women getting degrees in computer science at NMSU in the early 1990s. “I had him (McCoy) for classes in both my junior and senior years,” she said. “Phenomenal classes to prepare anybody for the real world and what it’s like to be a computer scientist in the industry.”

From left: Hue McCoy, New Mexico State University retired computer science professor, with Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

These days, McCoy’s goal is to attract and keep top computer science professors at NMSU. The Department of Computer Science established its first Endowed Professorship named for McCoy and his late wife Pat, who provided the seed funds to start the endowment in 2019.

McCoy is passionate about computer science education and securing NMSU’s place as a leader in that field. McCoy’s wife Pat was also a long-time NMSU employee, spending 29 years as a counselor for NMSU students in the university’s counseling center, she retired in 2008. She was an expert on eating disorders and campus sexual violence and presented her work at several national conferences. After they had both retired, they wanted to do something for the university. They have contributed to other scholarships for NMSU students. Then they had the idea for the endowed professorship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *