sk any Aggie football player who is the team’s most passionate fan, and he won’t hesitate to tell you it’s Lori Paulson ’02 ’04. Paulson, who earned her bachelor’s and MBA degrees from New Mexico State University’s College of Business, served a crucial and meaningful role the past two seasons as honorary team captain, becoming a friend and confidante to players and coaches. During that time, she was battling a rare type of pancreatic cancer, and her toughness and character served as an inspiration to the team. Paulson and her family made a $100,000 gift to the NMSU Foundation to establish the Lori J. Paulson Football Excellence Fund, which will directly support players, providing for needs including uniforms, equipment and nutrition. Paulson said she and husband Brandon Young hope the community will continue to build the fund. NMSU hosted a special gathering in January to honor Paulson’s impact on the football program and announce that the team’s meeting room in the Hall of Legends at Aggie Memorial Stadium would be named for her. Aggie Head Coach Doug Martin says the most valuable gifts Paulson gave the team over the past two years were her love, friendship and unwavering support. “It’s been a great celebration of a friendship. We started this thinking it would be a great way to motivate Lori, to inspire her, to give her something to fight for through this fight, and it was just the opposite – she inspired us,” Martin says. “She gave us something to fight for.” Martin recalls how Paulson would come to practice no matter how bad she felt, and if players were on the sidelines with a bad hamstring or shoulder, they’d hop right back into play. “They’ll see her coming down that ramp – back out on that field,” he says. “No way they’re standing there like that when she’s coming.” Martin officially named Paulson and Young’s son, Jeremiah, the team’s new honorary captain. Asked what he’d like to say, Jeremiah shouted: “Beat UTEP!” Athletics Director Mario Moccia joined others in thanking Paulson and Young for their gift, and gave Paulson
Former Aggies center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke gets a kiss from Lori Paulson during a dinner visit to her home. Ume-Ezeoke played for the Atlanta Falcons for the 2015 season, and Paulson traveled to Atlanta to watch him play an August preseason game.
“Never has there been a greater fan with her kind of love for you: never based on wins, losses or stats, but based on love and faith in you – and who you are, and who you’ll become.” —Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, former Aggies center
Spring 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama
Published on Apr 27, 2016
Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit https://panorama.nmsu.edu. To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...