Graham W. Howard, a 1932 mechanical engineering graduate from Gill, CO. (about 10 miles from Greeley, Colo.), attended CSU when it was Colorado A&M. Today, the legacy he left at the University and in the field of engineering continues to make a vital impact. At Colorado A&M, he was a member of the Engineering Society, Phi Kappa Tau, the National Journalistic Society, and he became the captain of the Aggie baseball team where he played third base and shortstop and was the lead off in batting position. Howard paid his way through college while helping his father on the family farm, dreaming of one day making an impact in the engineering field. After graduating in 1932, engineering jobs were few and far between, so Howard attended Colorado Teacher’s College in Greeley, Colo. In 1934, he was hired by United Fruit Co., a company that would eventually transfer him all around the tropics, from Honduras to Guatemala to Costa Rica, where he would design bridges, water tanks, buildings, irrigation systems, abaca stripping, and a variety of other systems. A few of his most notable accomplishments with United Fruit Co. included designing a banana-rinsing process using the Bordeaux mixture to kill black Sigatoka on banana leaves, and designing an abaca-stripping process that was used by United Fruit Co. to provide manila hemp rope for the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Additional accomplishments included:
- building of a 40-mile mail railroad line and 300 miles of field-access railroad lines
- building of two diesel power plants that provided electrical power for two main sisal processing facilities and all electricity support of the 40,000-acre sisel plantation
- designing a preventive maintenance program for all factory facilities, marine-loading equipment, and water supply systems
- designing a 15-mile, 8-inch pipeline through uninhabited wilderness to provide process water to the plantation
Howard brought his love for baseball to Haiti by starting a softball program. He taught the natives how to play and sponsored 24 teams. He would umpire while his wife, Dorothy, kept score. Softball became a means of appeasing labor tensions during difficult economic periods, and the Haitians ended up building “Stadium Howard,” a softball stadium dedicated to Howard.
After a variety of professional experiences in the tropics, Howard, Dorothy, and their three children, moved back to the states where he eventually started his own company, Howard Manufacturing Co., in Littleton, Colo. He continued to develop products for his company until his passing in the spring of 1995. Today, the company exists as HMC International Division Inc. and continues to operate as a family-owned business that manufactures and markets belt-tension testers, slope-measuring devices, and door-pressure gauges, all of which were designed by Howard.
Two generations later, Graham Weaver, Howard’s grandson and namesake, started classes at CSU, with big shoes to fill. He entered this fall with an undeclared major, but has interest in the mechanical engineering field and may follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.
Today, Howard’s legacy lives on at CSU, and the fully endowed Graham W. Howard Memorial Scholarship assists in-need CSU students in the mechanical engineering program, the same program that gave him his start more than 85 years ago.