The Graduate School welcomed back to campus Dr. Ronaldo Flores (’89) as part of the Alumni Fellow Week April 9-13. The K-State Alumni Fellows Program, sponsored by the Deans Council, the President’s Office, and the Alumni Association recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their career.
Rolando A. Flores is the Dean and Chief Administrative Officer in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. Flores is a Water for Food Institute Faculty Global Fellow and an active member of the America Association of Cereal Chemists International and the Institute of Food Technologists. Prior to coming to NMSU, Flores was Professor and Department Head of Food Science and Technology and Director of The Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Originally from Costa Rica, Flores earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Universidad de Costa Rica. He then completed a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University, after which he returned to Costa Rica to work in industry.
Flores learned about the opportunity to continue his education at K-State when Dr. Do Sup Chung and Dr. Richard Phillips, representing K-State’s Food and Grain Feed Initiative, visited Costa Rica. Networking with Chung and Phillips ignited Flores’ interest in K-State’s grain processing specialization and motivated him to pursue a PhD in Grain Science with specialization in international trade at K-State.
“What I most enjoyed about my graduate program at K-State is that I had the chance to study in a field where I had previous work experience and got to work with the theory behind the work I had previously done in the field,” said Flores. “Also, the grain processing facilities at K-State were very familiar to me from my work in industry, and I had a lot of contact with industry and international activities while a graduate student at K-State.”
Flores advises students and young professionals in his field to “pay their dues, do the necessary research, and learn critical analytical systems” to be successful in achieving their professional goals. He also says “to not be afraid of taking calculated risks, especially when you move from one job to another.” Flores feels fortunate that he has had the opportunity to pursue a variety professional positions at different universities and research institutions.
After working in industry and academia for over 25 years, Flores made the decision to fill an administrative role because he wanted to be able to support others and help them be successful in an area of research that is his passion.
“I am deeply grateful to the Graduate School at Kansas State for this recognition, and I am very proud of this university where I studied and researched,” said Flores regarding his selection as an Alumni Fellow.
Since 1983, the Alumni Fellows program has brought successful alumni back to campus to meet with students and faculty and share their expertise in the classroom and at informal settings.
Fellows are chosen by each college to return as distinguished guests and mentors, friends and counselors. They are honored in recognition of the ultimate measure of a university – not curricula, facilities or program, but the quality of its alumni.