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UPR Mayagüez professor is the first Hispanic to obtain an important award for highway engineering

Kimberly Ann Massa Núñez's picture
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El doctor Benjamín Colucci Ríos, catedrático del Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Agrimensura del RUM

Dr. Benjamín Colucci Ríos, professor of the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying (INCI) of the Mayagüez Campus (RUM) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), became the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic-American to receive the Wilbur S. Smith, in the 2021 edition, an award granted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“The Institute of Transportation and Development recognizes every year those engineers for their outstanding achievements in highway engineering, which is part of civil engineering. I receive it with great humility, as it is associated with leadership and incessant dedication to improving road safety in Puerto Rico and worldwide. This discipline is my passion and it fills me with pride that I am recognized by the longevity association in the world, established in 1852. It is the highest honor granted in this profession, that is why I dedicate it to all my fellow colleagues and professors. of the RUM ”, said the also director of the Puerto Rico Transportation Technology Transfer Center, founded in 1986 and one of the 58 centers located in the United States and its territories.

As an outstanding fact, this tribute is similar to another that Colucci Ríos also received in 2019, the Wilbur S. Smith International Award as Distinguished Educator in Transportation, granted by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE, for its acronym in English) . The collegiate professor is the first Puerto Rican and Latin American to obtain both recognitions. The official ceremony of the recent tribute will take place in June 2021, when he will join his German colleague, Harold Michael, who is also worthy of the two mentions.

According to the professor, on this occasion he competed with other engineers with outstanding international credentials, whose nominations were submitted before the end of 2020. Last February, he learned of his selection in a letter from Thomas W. Smith, executive director of the ASCE.

“To excel in life it is important to have ethics, commitment, and responsibility, but above all, a lot of humility. It is wanting to make a difference to improve the present and future generations, as well as contribute to the development of new leaders so that they continue this baton pass. You have to be focused and persistent, you can't take it off. Always go with the truth and if you make a mistake, you have to say it, "said the engineer.

The president of the UPR, Dr. Haddock celebrated the recognition and great contributions to the institution, to Engineering and to the island by the professor.

“In the university community we greatly celebrate this important recognition from ASCE to Dr. Benjamín Colucci Ríos, who is a pride of the UPR as a graduate and distinguished professor. Dr. Colucci Ríos is not only a committed and academic entrepreneur, he is an extraordinary human being, who with determination has built an impeccable professional career in the field of Engineering, at the service of the university and the benefit of Puerto Rico. He is undoubtedly the best example that students can have of what can be achieved through a purposeful life based on the principles of service, education and the noblest values ​​of the human being. Congratulations! ”Said Haddock.

For his part, Dr. Agustín Rullán Toro, rector of the Mayaguez campus of the UPR, congratulated Dr. Colucci for this new achievement in his career and for his career so committed to the well-being of citizens on the roads, as well as safety both drivers, as well as pedestrians.

“I have been joined by immense ties of great friendship for many years with Dr. Benjamín Colucci Ríos. I know that he takes his profession with the utmost seriousness and commitment. For that reason, this distinguished professor of our beloved College received an award as important as the Wilbur S. Smith awarded this year by the ASCE, in addition to many others who have honored him over the years. With all my heart, he always celebrates all his initiatives because they have a positive purpose for our country, ”he said.

As an important fact, the engineer Wilbur S. Smith (1867-1912) is considered a legend in the field of engineering and is remembered worldwide for his contributions and innovations to transportation systems.