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College of Engineering | July 26, 2023

UTEP Announces 2023 Distinguished Alumni and Gold Nugget Awardees from College of Engineering: Celebrating Excellence and Inspiring Future Generations

2023 Distinguished Alumni and Gold Nugget Awardees from College of Engineering


The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has proudly unveiled its selection of distinguished alumni and Gold Nugget Award recipients for 2023, celebrating the outstanding achievements and contributions of its graduates. The honorees will be recognized during UTEP's upcoming Homecoming celebration, taking place from October 29 to November 4, 2023.

For over three decades, UTEP has been honoring exceptional graduates from each of its colleges and schools, who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields, exhibited a commitment to giving back to their communities and alma mater, and have served as a source of inspiration for future generations of Miners.

Among the well-regarded awardees is Hilda Galvan, J.D., who has been named a Distinguished Alumni. Galvan is a member of the College of Engineering, having graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1985. Currently a prominent Dallas attorney, she boasts expertise in intellectual property and the intersection of law and technology. After her time in the telecommunications industry, she pursued further studies in law at The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout her impressive 35-year legal career, Galvan has provided invaluable strategic counsel to businesses on safeguarding proprietary technology and adapting to emerging technologies in their operations.

In addition to her thriving professional endeavors, Galvan has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her community and alma mater. She actively mentors students in UTEP's Law School Preparation Institute and, along with her husband, Mike Galvan, established the Galvan-Contreras Engineering Endowed Scholarship to support UTEP students. Her contributions to the business community and dedication to philanthropy earned her induction into the Junior Achievement Dallas Business Hall of Fame in 2023.

Another standout honoree is Irazema Solis Rojas, who receives the coveted Gold Nugget Award from the College of Engineering. She earned her B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1995 and an M.S. in Civil Engineering in 2010. Currently serving as the Chief Technical Officer for Water, Wastewater, and Reclaimed Water at El Paso Water, Solis Rojas plays a crucial role in overseeing a $500 million budget and six departments, ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of clean water, and driving essential infrastructure projects in the El Paso region.

With over 25 years of experience in water management, Solis Rojas has actively promoted collaboration with her alma mater. She often recruits UTEP students for internships and encourages them to apply for positions at El Paso Water, fostering the growth of young engineers and promoting inclusivity in the workplace.

The Homecoming celebration is poised to be a moment of immense pride for UTEP and the College of Engineering, as it pays tribute to these remarkable individuals and their profound influence on their respective fields and communities. For more information about UTEP’s Homecoming events and activities, please visit:

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