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Miguel Angel Marino
In Memoriam

Miguel Angel Marino

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Hydrologic Sciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Biological & Agricultural Engineering

UC Davis

Distinguished professor Miguel Angel Mariño, named after Archangel Michael, was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, where he completed his high school under the care of the Marist Brothers in 1957. He then attended a liberal arts college in Georgia, USA, and upon returning to Cuba briefly in 1959, his parents, sensing the dangers of the revolution just starting, sent him back to the United States. In 1962, at the age of just 22, Miguel earned a bachelor's degree in Petroleum Engineering from New Mexico Tech and in 1965 a master's in groundwater hydrology, from the same institution.

Later, Miguel had a rather successful stint at the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign-Urbana, a particularly relevant stay, for there he met a student from the University of Illinois, who became his inseparable wife Irma in 1968. The newlyweds moved briefly to Texas and then to Los Angeles, where Miguel obtained his Ph.D. in Water Resources Systems Engineering at UCLA in 1972. These were rather fruitful times, for, in the middle of his studies, his daughter Raquel was born and at the same time his parents were able to emigrate from Cuba to consolidate the family.

Miguel joined the faculty at UC Davis as a Professor of Water Science and Civil Engineering in 1972 and served the university for 37 years. He had indeed a rather stellar career being a member of two departments in two separate colleges and, after a remarkable academic production, he reached the rarified ranks of a Professor Above-Scale in 1999, which was followed, later on, by his recognition as a Distinguished Professor of UC Davis, a merit that only a few achieve.

Miguel was indeed a rather distinguished professor. Amongst the many honors and awards he was given, he was named fellow of the American Water Resources Association and of the American Geophysical Union, and received the lifetime Achievement Awards of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Groundwater Resources Association.

Professor Mariño was a gentle soul who conducted himself with great dignity. He was a truly good person, a concerned human being, a real gentleman, a beloved teacher, and, above all, a loving husband and dad, a love that was amply reciprocated by the utter dedication of Irma and Raquel during the times of the illness that took his life.

Having been blessed by his presence, I would like to include an acrostic I did for him, one that I know he enjoyed. But before I do so, I need to give you a short lesson on Cuban language.

You see, Miguel's last name was not Marino but Mariño, with the tilde on the n. It happens that there is a word, which I would not even mention, but I would pronounce just its second half: and it sounds ño. This is a rather versatile half of a word, but you need to pay attention to the context and intonation. For instance, if I say, ño, my proposal did not come through, you see that this is no good. But if I say something like, ño, what a wonderful racket player Miguel was, such is different.

So here is an acrostic, a phrase for each letter of Miguel Angel Mariño:

Miguel above all
Inspiration to follow
Gentle, bright, special
Unusual insights
Expert sound advice
Laudable contributions

Adorned by virtue
Nurtured in pain
Great with the racket
Elegant with the pen
Loving husband and dad

My friend did it all
And helped great many
Rose to every occasion
Inciting great work
Ño what a guy!
O simply the best

Carlos E. Puente