Engineering News Winter 2015
Civil Engineering Alum Leads $2B Project
Santa Clara University hosted a number of illustrious visitors and events in 2014 (the Dalai Lama comes to mind!), but one was particularly meaningful for the School of Engineering—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ frocking (or promotion) ceremony of SCU civil engineering alumnus Michael C. Wehr '85 to the rank of major general. Last September, Wehr received his second star at his alma mater, where his career began in the ROTC program. "It feels great to come back to the place and people who shaped me at an early age for the career that led to this day," he said. His parents, Art and Margaret Wehr, had the honor of participating in the ceremony, while his Santa Clara sweetheart, Deborah Kalisz Wehr stood by his side.
Among other highlights, his career has included four combat tours, most recently serving as the Theater Engineer for Afghanistan. As a two-star general, Wehr is now in command of the Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he is responsible for a $2 billion civil works program and plays a vital role in managing the Corps' water resources program in the Mississippi River Valley. To give you some perspective on the scope of his assignment, this division encompasses the third largest watershed in the world—trailing only the Amazon and Congo Rivers in size—and is the most navigable and most connected to arable land on Earth.
Less than 50 percent of one-star generals earn their second star. Leading the ceremony, Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick cited Wehr's compassion, decisiveness, work ethic, and engineering prowess that, coupled with a calm, strong leadership style makes him one of the Army's best.
Responding humbly, Wehr said, "It takes a lot of little things to make something big happen. It's a real honor to celebrate this moment here at Santa Clara. It is a gift to get to lead. It's about living, learning, loving, and leaving a legacy—carrying a torch, but thanking those who handed it to me and those who will receive it." Wehr also recognized the incredible importance of mentoring, specifically thanking his Santa Clara ROTC professor of military science, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Robert E. Camors.