Martinez '50 endows the Betty Martinez Excellence Fund for Nuclear Engineering

Ram photo

Ramiro "Ram" Martinez '50 has signed an endowment agreement for the Betty Martinez Excellence Fund for Nuclear Engineering. This endowment funds scholarships benefiting students of the Department of Nuclear Engineering.

"I always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and so I am fortunate. I wanted to do something to help the university," said Martinez. "I attribute my success in the industry to [my wife] Betty. She supported me in all of my work activities, which often called for long hours," he said regarding his choice of the endowment's name.

Originally from Laredo, Texas, Martinez graduated from Texas A&M in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. He served nearly five years in the U.S. Air Force, with extensive time as a navigator and bombardier. Following that, he spent 30 years with the Rockwell Corporation, 18 of which were focused on the design and development of rocket engines. The most notable of the engines he worked on were the Thor Missile, and the Saturn V-1 Missile. The latter launched the 3-man vehicle that went into orbit for the first time. He developed and put into production the lunar ascent engine that successfully lifted the module off of the moon surface six times, rocket engines for expeditions to Mars, oxygen and hydrogen combiners for nuclear power plants, and steam generators using liquid sodium for the Clinch River Program. Finally, after retiring from his career, Ram and Betty moved back to College Station.

Upon returning, Martinez found himself living next to to Dr. Yassin Hassan, who is now the head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering. They developed a solid friendship, and Hassan recruited Martinez to the department, where he helped develop the fluid dynamics laboratory and completed his master's degree in 1994.

Martinez is very involved with the department, and makes as many functions as he can.