Mario Beruvides, Ph.D., P.E.
Associate Vice Provost of International Affairs and AT&T Professor of Industrial Engineering
Dr. Beruvides joined Texas Tech University in 1994 and is the AT&T Professor of Industrial Engineering in the College of Engineering. Last year, he also accepted the role of Associate Vice Provost in International Affairs where he is looking forward to promoting international research efforts and mentoring scholars with an international focus. Dr. Beruvides believes that the subjects of math, science, and engineering are truly universal and throughout his career has developed a national and international reputation in engineering research and education. He credits his love for the sciences as well as for the arts to the influence of his many dedicated teachers and mentors, who also helped develop his love of teaching and caring for his students.
Tell us about your background and how you became interested in higher education. What brought you to Texas Tech?
“Through my early education, K-12, I enjoyed both the math, science, and technical classes as well as the arts, literature and music courses. My decision to go to university was a practical one. I chose to satisfy my technical side through my professional development and my artistic side was satisfied by the time periods away from my chosen profession, engineering. During those studies, both the in the technical and artistic, I was very lucky in that a number of great teachers, and they were many, influenced me much and all contributed to growing in me a love of education. It didn't happen in an instance, but was an accumulation of many caring and wonderful men and women that taught me their chosen area of study/work and the love of education itself.
I was introduced to Texas Tech by two professors at the University of Miami during my MS studies and another professor at Virginia Tech where I did my doctoral studies. All three were Red-Raiders and all colluded to get me to Tech. It worked and I am thankful for it. They were three great mentors and I have much to thank them for what they did for me and my career. It was a conspiracy.”
How does your career in teaching engineering provide a platform for working with international students, faculty, and research?
“Before I became a professor, I worked as an engineer in industry for close to 11 years. I was exposed to many international experiences in work and frankly, the subject matter of math, science, and engineering is universal. So from my earliest professional work experiences, I have been surrounded by many talented people from all the corners of the earth. As a professor, I cannot mention a single class that I have taught where there wasn't at least one international student, nor have I been part of a faculty that didn't have an international mix. Engineering, at all levels is probably one of the most internationally integrated professions in the US. Be it working in industry, teaching in the class room, doing research with graduate students or faculty colleagues, it has always been an international experience. I know no other reality. I continue to do research, publish papers, attend conferences with former students who now live back home in their counties of origin. Nothing has prepared me better for working internationally than the engineering profession itself.”
What has been your favorite experience of your teaching career so far?
“It may sound corny, but I really get a kick out of teaching in the classroom itself. I enjoy preparing the lectures and very much relish the questions that students pose during class. The worst of times in the class is silence. So I work hard on trying to get students to engage. Another experience that is enjoyable is when through time you see students grow in their knowledge. Though I experience this growth in the undergraduate and masters students, it is most prominent in the PhDs. I am almost giddy on the day of a PhD students final defense. I love to see them shine. I have been able to graduate 54 PhDs thus far in my career, and have enjoyed seeing them all grow to become doctors.”
What are your goals and expectations as the new Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs?
“After some 29 years as a professor, teacher, scholar, and researcher, I was looking for a new challenge and adventure. The AVP position hopefully allows me to spring board off of my academic experiences to now grow and hopefully mentor scholars with an international focus. Helping build international research efforts with the existing group of individuals dedicated to this endeavor at the International Affairs Office at TTU is a wonderful opportunity. There are some really fantastic things happening at International Affairs and I look forward to being a part of it. My goal is to be contribute to the group that growths these efforts at TTU.”
As you think of your accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
“I am most proud of the students. After these many years at this job, I regularly get calls or visits from former students and we talk about where life has taken them. Many have accomplished wonderful things and have beautiful families of which they have been gracious enough to share with me and my wife Ana. My wife just loves all the Holiday/Christmas cards we receive each year from them and of course they get cards from us (they are all on Ana's address list). She especially likes the cards with pictures of their families. Many of the students shared Thanksgiving dinner and other Holiday or special meals and get-togethers with us. Ana and I keep up with them via Facebook etc. Definitely, I am most proud of my students.”
What do you enjoy doing outside of Texas Tech?
“I have a number of things I enjoy outside of my duties at Texas Tech. First and foremost, I am simply a family oriented person and very much love to be with my family. I can proudly say that we are a close-knit family. Most of our vacations and other holidays and special events circle around sharing those events with the family (the extended family). When we travel together as a family, one of the things we enjoy, along with going to local restaurants to taste the regional cuisine, is to visit art museums. This combines my love of travel and art, especially of paintings
On an individual level, as stated above, I love the arts and much of my time is spent on artistic related ventures. I paint and have enjoyed painting since I was in elementary school. I paint in watercolors, acrylics, and oils. I have done some works in pen , pencil, and charcoal. My favorite media is a combination of pen and watercolors, though lately I have been fascinated with iconography and have learned to paint icons not just using acrylics paints but in the original eastern orthodox style that is painted on hardwood boards with a gesso coating using natural pigment paints with an egg-tempera base. Painting is very relaxing for me and in many ways is a form of meditation.
I also love literature, especially Spanish literature, both in prose and poetry. I have had a love for writing since very young. This love has led me to be able to have several books of poetry and poetic prose published in Spain as well as some poems and short stories published in literary magazines here in the US. Writing is another way to explore a number of ideas and feelings in other ways that painting, though truly a wonderful way to express oneself, is more fulfilling. I love to read and especially love to be read to. My subscription to audible in priceless. I like to combine hearing audio books with my favorite way to exercise, which is to walk. So when I am exercising, I put my earphones on and then walk around the park near our home and that walking takes me to places in the past, or on sailing ships in the Pacific, or intrigue in European parlors of the 17th century, or a murder mystery on the streets of 1940s LA. And it is so wonderful when a great piece of literature is read in an engaging manner. Being read to by a great reader is truly a thing of beauty.”
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