Our mission is to enhance the profile of the humanities at Colorado School of Mines
by means of interdisciplinary humanities education, research, and outreach.
Our vision is to make the humanities a strong, integral feature
of the teaching and research activities at Colorado School of Mines.
The Hennebach Program in the Humanities’ is built on the Hennebach Visiting Professorship endowment that was established in 1991. Since 1995, the Hennebach Program in the Humanities has supported a series of visiting scholars to help make the humanities an essential component of any education at the Colorado School of Mines.
Ralph L. Hennebach (1920-2008)
In memory of his father and family, Ralph L. Hennebach, CSM class of 1941, in 1991 established the Hennebach Visiting Professorship in the Humanities. This professorship assists the Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies in faculty development by bringing exceptional humanities and social science talent to campus. Mr. Hennebach’s leadership gift further persuaded ASARCO Inc. to join him in meeting a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities designed to strengthen the liberal arts in engineering education at CSM. When making the gift, Mr. Hennebach envisioned that visiting professors would stimulate interest and inspire students to further pursue the humanities.
Ralph L. Hennebach was born in Garfield, Utah, where his father was employed as a metallurgist. When his father became superintendent of the Leadville Smelter and Refinery the family moved to Leadville, Colorado, where the young Ralph grew up and began his career with the American Smelting & Refining Co. (now ASARCO) as carpenter’s assistant. After graduating from CSM, Mr. Hennebach joined ASARCO as a chemist in the El Paso laboratory, subsequently becoming an assayer and plant metallurgist. Mr. Hennebach served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (1944-1946). After his service he returned to Denver to marry Mary Louise Johnston and then rejoined ASARCO as assistant superintendent of the Hayden, Arizona, copper smelter. In 1948 he was transferred back to El Paso and put in charge of a new stag fuming plant. In 1952 he attended MIT as a Sloan Fellow and after earning in MBA in 1953 spent two and a half years in the ASARCO New York office as an ore buyer. In 1955 he was promoted to assistant manager of the Western Department in Salt Lake City. In 1958 he became assistant to the vice president, smelting and refining, New York; then in 1963 vice president of smelting and refining ASARCO. In 1964 he assumed the position of director; in 1966 executive vice president; in 1971 president; and in 1982 CEO and chairman of the board of ASARCO. He retired in 1985. Mr. Hennebach served as a director of many boards and was a great supporter of Mines. He and his wife of 61 years raised their family in Short Hills, New Jersey, and enjoyed playing golf and traveling. At his death, Ralph Hennebach was survived by his wife, Mary Louise; his son, Mark; his daughters, Anne Kirspel and Margo Hennebach; his sister, Carmen Fisher; and six grandchildren.