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Michael Latham

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 27 - April 6, 1995

"I have discovered that (Michael Latham) has another life outside of the graduate program," civil engineering professor David F. Kibler reported in his nomination of Latham for the Graduate School Service Award.

Latham is a master's candidate in civil engineering, conducting research on the hydrologic control of pollutants carried by urban stormwater.

Outside of class, Latham has been active in a number of service organizations. Service began while he was in high school, he says. He coached Little League and did work projects though his church. "At church, we'd go on week-long projects every year. It just evolved from there."

Upon arrival at Tech as an undergraduate in 1990, he became involved in Circle K, the collegiate arm of the Kiwanis Club. "My roommate was a member," Latham explains. Pretty soon he was cleaning up highways, organizing the construction of a haunted house for area school children, and running a concession stand at university basketball games to raise funds.

The same year, he enrolled with the United Methodist Campus Ministry to work on the Appalachian Service Project. He supplied labor and engineering supervision on the pouring of new concrete footings for an old house being restored for an elderly couple. He also helped raise $1,200 for food and supplies during the project. In March 1993, he was part of the ASP relief effort in Charleston, S.C. to help re-build homes destroyed in 1989 by hurricane Hugo.

Each year of his college career, Latham has expanded his service involvement. As a sophomore, he began to work for the Montgomery County Christmas Store, becoming a member of the food committee responsible for planning the food drives and making purchases throughout the year to help approximately 1,400 families.

As a junior, he made himself available as a personal friend and counselor to a 10-year-old boy whose father had died suddenly, Kibler reports. This commitment involved outings to the circus, miniature golf, Tech basketball games, and sledding, and evenings of one-on-one basketball.

Continuing a life-long interest in scouting, Latham spent three summers as a ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, breaking trail, leading orienteering trips, and serving as camp counselor for younger scouts.

His professional and academic activities include the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter, the Chi Epsilon Honorary in civil engineering, and the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society at the university.

He expects to graduate this summer or fall and get a job. Latham views civil engineering as another area where he can benefit the community.