SOCORRO - Nearly 300 people will receive academic degrees from New Mexico Tech at the university's commencement on Saturday, May 17, including one longtime atmospheric researcher who will be presented with a Ph.D. in physics.

Charles B. Moore, emeritus professor of physics, who became one of the world's leading atmospheric researchers with just a bachelor's degree to his name, will be presented with a Ph.D. in physics, in recognition of his illustrious record of work in the field. Moore, who nominally retired from Tech in 1985, has continued to conduct research and to publish ever since. He received Tech's first Distinguished Research Award in 1984, and is the author or co-author of two books and numerous scientific papers.

In addition, New Mexico Tech will honor Dr. Carl Popp, retiring professor of chemistry, as Distinguished Teacher. Popp, who also served as Vice President of Academic Affairs for many years, taught over 10,000 students during his time at Tech and was nominated for this award by an array of current students and alumni.

For the first time, Tech will give its Distinguished Research Award to a professor in the humanities. Dr. Rafael Lara-Martinez, who teaches classes in the Spanish language and Hispanic literature and culture, will be honored for his extensive publication record. Lara-Martinez is regarded as an expert on Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton and is author of a critical, annotated anthology of Dalton's poetry.

In addition, awards will be presented to top students, who will be chosen at a secret faculty meeting shortly before commencement. The Class of 1953, holding its Golden Reunion, will also be recognized.

Commencement runs from 11 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m. on May 17. Following the conclusion of commencement, Skeen Library invites the public to view the exhibit "Joe Skeen: A Congressional Retrospective." Reflecting retired Rep. Joseph R. Skeen's 22 years in Congress, the exhibit consists of memorabilia and photos from the archival collection Skeen donated to the library after his retirement. The archival work area will be open immediately after commencement around noon until 1:30 p.m. Skeen and his wife Mary are expected to be present.

Selected items from Tech's institutional archives will also be on display in the library.