CU grad fosters new area of study at Mesa State

“Arch” Archuleta of Grand Junction has a new engineering center named for him at Western Colorado Community College. He attended dedication ceremonies Friday in the former Poma manufacturing building at 2510 Foresight Circle in the Foresight Industrial Park. The engineering program, now in its second year, has 80 students.

S. John “Arch” Archuleta tapped into a rich vein of interest when he worked with officials at Mesa State College and the University of Colorado to establish an engineering program housed at Mesa State.

Now in its second year, the program has 80 students, far more than the dozen to 15 expected when the program began.

More than 100 people recognized Archuleta’s contribution Friday when the Archuleta Engineering Center was dedicated.

Students already are enrolled in classes in the building at 2510 Foresight Circle, which formerly housed Poma’s manufacturing operations.

Archuleta donated $500,000 to each institution to establish the program and serves on boards affiliated with the programs.

“I’m an intermediary,” Archuleta said.

“I’m a CU guy” who works with Mesa State.

Archuleta, however, has been much more than that, said John K. Bennett, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder, where he also oversees the Mesa State program.

“Arch has chosen the role of ‘CU ambassador at large’ to western Colorado,” Bennett said.

“The CU-Mesa State partnership that will be homed in this center bridges the Archuletas’ love for CU and western Colorado.”

The 30 students who enrolled in the first year of the program and 50 in the second are a “surplus of riches,” Bennett said.

“We’re kind of surprised,” Archuleta said of the response to the new engineering program.

“We hope to pick up 50 more in the fall.”

Archuleta, an engineer and banker, retired from the engineering firm of Johnson-Voiland-Archuleta and moved to the Grand Valley several years ago.

He and his wife, Bonnie, built Bonnie Brook Vineyards on Orchard Mesa overlooking the Colorado River.

Many of Archuleta’s relatives, including his brother, Manny, and several of his classmates from the Golden High School Class of 1956, attended the dedication of the center.

The group already has contributed more than $8,000 to the Archuleta Family Scholarship Plan, which benefits students in the engineering program.

Students clearly are drawn to such a program in western Colorado in large part because of Archuleta, Bennett said.

“Arch creates his own enthusiasm,” Bennett said.


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