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PANORAMA New Mexico State University Alumni & Friends Magazine

Volume 67 Fall 2016 • FREE




+ ALSO INSIDE: Biologist using $4.4M grant to create hardier pecan trees

Letter from the President


he people who share their time and talents to educate and support our students are what make New Mexico State University such a great place. You know that NMSU is a caring community and our campus reaches all across New Mexico. I love that no matter where you look, you can find Aggies making a difference. Whether it’s a future educator volunteering to build a community garden right here in Las Cruces, or a deployed service member finding a kindred spirit in a fellow ROTC alum halfway around the world, our Aggie family finds a way to connect and make an impact. The pages of this issue of Panorama are full of fine examples of Aggies who care, support, mentor and lead. You’ll see we have educators and students, researchers and staffers, alumni and friends of our institution, who have chosen to be part of the great things happening here. I could not be more grateful for their efforts. When I say NMSU is my happy place, it’s not because of the great views or the historic buildings on our beautiful campus – it’s because of the people who help us make a difference. Thank you for being part of our caring community, transforming lives through discovery. I’m glad you’re part of our Aggie family.

Garrey Carruthers ’64 ’65 NMSU President and Chancellor of the NMSU System

This issue of Panorama is produced by the New Mexico State University Foundation, 575-646-1613.

Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Stewardship Leslie Cervantes ’86

ISSN 2470-0649

Associate Vice President for Development Terra V. Winter ’01 ’05

Editor Charlotte Tallman ’02 Associate Editor Amanda Bradford ’03 Art Director Peter Knapp ’03 ’07 Contributors Justin Bannister ’03 ’13, Kristie Garcia ’07, Andrés Leighton, Cassie McClure ’06 ’08, Darren Phillips, Niki Rhynes ’09, Sydnie Roper ’16, Jessica Savage ’95 ’11, Katherine Vandertulip, Rosemary Woller ’15 President, NMSU Foundation Andrea Tawney Chief Operating Officer, NMSU Foundation Tina Byford ’00 ’11

NMSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Crystal Lay ’02 ’10 President-Elect Tony Martinez ’96 ’98 Secretary/Treasurer Kay Brilliant ’71 Past President Amy Bigbee ’79 Executive Council Kim Archuleta ’95 ’02, Steve Duran ’90, Abigail Goodin ’12, Connie Lee ’69 ’73, Daniel Sonntag ’14, Andrea Sparkevicius ’91 ’99, Scott Sponseller ’96 ’98, Adam Thompson ’08

Copyright 2016 New Mexico State University New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. POSTMASTER: Send address change notifications to Panorama, MCS 3590, New Mexico State University, P.O.Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM, 88003-88001 Correspondences may be sent to University Advancement, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 3590, Las Cruces, NM 88003-3590 or Panorama is published twice yearly.

The Spring 2016 issue of Panorama, produced by the Office of University Communications and Marketing Services, received a Gold Award in the MarCom International Marketing and Communications awards competition.


Fall 2016


A Lifetime of Education

Family’s legacy gives future teachers the tools they need to thrive


2016 Domenici Conference

Speakers foster a community conversation about mental health care

ALSO INSIDE 2 Pete’s Corner............................... 27 Alumni Connections................ 28 Press Check.................................. 34 Aggie Pride.................................... 36 Around Aggieland...........................


On Campus and Beyond

ROTC answers the call of duty


More Than an Education NMSU’s caring community makes a difference every day On The Cover: The NMSU ROTC color guard marches on the Horseshoe during the 114th annual ROTC Pass-in-Review ceremony in April.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



NFL star Charley Johnson:

Always an Aggie


he quarterback position may be known for attracting some of the brainiest players in football, but most of the men who line up under center in the NFL aren’t addressed as “doctor.” Then again, Aggie legend Charley Johnson has never put much stock in doing one thing at a time. The NMSU graduate not only became an NFL star and an NMSU professor, he also served his country in the Army. Johnson received an honorary degree from the university in May in recognition of these and other achievements throughout his life. His college football career at NMSU included two consecutive Sun Bowl victories and an undefeated 11-0 record in 1960, the only NMSU football team in history to go undefeated. After graduating from NMSU in 1961, he signed a contract with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals. During his years in St. Louis, he also attended Washington University, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering. After two years of active duty, he returned to the NFL, where he played with the Cardinals, the Houston Oilers and the Denver Broncos, which he led to their first winning season. Johnson is among one of the most efficient quarterbacks in Broncos history and is in the Broncos Ring of Fame. He retired from professional football in 1975. In 2000, he returned to NMSU as the Chemical Engineering department head, where he continued his teaching responsibilities until 2010. He’s helped coach the Aggies’ quarterbacks for a number of years and continues to support and inspire the team. He and some of his teammates established the Warren B. Woodson Endowed Fund in the Athletics Department to support the program and honor the coach who had made such an impact on their lives. When asked what NMSU means to him, Johnson says, “It means a chance. A chance to improve academically, athletically and socially. I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today without NMSU. No way.” Justin Bannister ’03 ’13

2 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016



• Located at the base of the Sacramento Mountains • Established in 1958 • Initial enrollment: 278 students

NMSU-A president thrilled to return to his roots

• First classes held at Alamogordo High School campus

By Amanda Bradford ’03

• Current enrollment: More than 3,600


sk New Mexico State University Alamogordo President Ken Van Winkle how his job is going, and he can’t hide

his enthusiasm. “Bottom line is that I love my work,” Van Winkle says with a smile. “I truly believe in the community college and its mission. In my new role, I’ve had the opportunity to meet outstanding NMSU-A faculty and staff who work tirelessly for the students in our region.” Van Winkle grew up in Alamogordo, where his father was the high school band director. He began his career at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus as the trumpet instructor and Jazz Ensemble director in 1985. He directed the NMSU Pride marching band in the late 1980s and again from 2000 to 2005. He became director of bands in 1994 and conducted Symphonic Winds, the university’s premier concert band, from 1992 to 2010.

Before being appointed president of NMSU-A, first as an interim in May 2015 and later as its permanent leader in December that year, Van Winkle held several administrative positions at the Las Cruces campus. As associate dean for strategic initiatives and assessment, he was responsible for annual performance evaluations, assessment and academic program review at the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences. He has also served as the academic department head for the Department of Music and acted as interim department head for Journalism and Mass Communications. “In some ways, I’ve come full circle,” Van Winkle says of his return to his home town. “I have even run across some of my former teachers. “I think they’re surprised I made it this far!” he quips.  Van Winkle says his greatest success so far has been in leading the campus through an academic reorganization last

year that will provide NMSU-A students a clearer path to NMSU’s main campus, if they are seeking a bachelor’s degree, or a better understanding of how to complete a certificate or associate degree. “We have wonderful faculty, staff and students at NMSU Alamogordo,” Van Winkle says. “It’s my privilege to continue to work with the community to strengthen our campus and increase our enrollment.”

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



New academic leaders Rolando Flores Dean, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Most recent previous position: Professor and head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also served as director of the Food Processing Center, a 32-year-old unique outreach program in support of the value-added food and agricultural programs in Nebraska and the nation. Additional background: Flores worked first as a research food technologist and later as a research agricultural engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. He has served as an associate professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University, where he also held the G.M. Ross Professorship. Previously, he was also an associate professor and bioprocess engineer in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. Degrees earned: Flores earned a Ph.D. from Kansas State University in grain science in 1989. He has a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad de Costa Rica.

“I’m a true believer in the landgrant system. Although it’s 154 years old, it’s vibrant–a model that’s been re-engineered." Little-known fact: Flores was the first person in his family to attend college and is a strong supporter of the tremendous advantage of higher education.

Lakshmi Reddi Dean, College of Engineering Most recent previous position: Dean of the University Graduate School and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Florida International University. Additional background: Reddi has been director of the Academy of Graduates for Integrative Learning Experiences (AGILE) at Florida International University and has held numerous other administrative appointments throughout his career. He served as department chair and the Gerry and Ruth Hartman Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering at the University of Central Florida, and before that, was head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Kansas State University, also serving as a professor in the department. He also served as an associate professor in civil engineering at Kansas State University. Degrees earned: Reddi earned a bachelor of technology in civil engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India, a master of science in civil engineering from The Ohio State University, and a doctor of philosophy in civil engineering from The Ohio State University.“

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“New Mexico State has taken [diversity] to a very high level. Giving access to a diverse body of students and ensuring they succeed is very important to me." Plans for the college: Emphasize entrepreneurial and resourceful approaches and diversify revenue streams at the college. Reddi’s top goal is to increase research productivity.

We’re getting global attention


bragging rights We’re Top Tier again

For the fourth time in the last five years, New Mexico State University has been recognized as a top tier university. NMSU was listed on the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for 2017 National Universities rankings. The ranking is based on many factors, including assessment of excellence and graduation and retention rates. U.S. News & World Report also ranked NMSU among its Best Graduate Schools for 2017.

On a list ranking the top universities across the globe, NMSU has been recognized on the 2016 Center for World University Rankings list. With more than 25,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide, this ranking would place NMSU in the top 2.3 percent. The Center for World University Rankings distributes the only global university performance tables that gauge both the quality of education and training of students along with prestige of faculty members and the quality of their research without the use of surveys and university data submissions.

Our alumni love to volunteer

Peace Corps has ranked New Mexico State University as one of the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-serving institutions in the country. NMSU made the list for the first time in 2016 and was tied for 13th with seven alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps. Since its creation in 1961, 270 NMSU alumni have traveled abroad to serve as Peace Corps volunteers.

Our Ed Leadership program is in the top 10

The Educational Leadership doctoral program in NMSU’s College of Education has been ranked one of the top in the country by Educational Leadership Degree Programs, a national rankings website. NMSU ranked seventh among the 10 universities on the list. According to the list, NMSU offers not only one of the most affordable online Ed.D. degrees in the country, but also one of the best values for a hybrid in-person/distance learning format.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Giving Tuesday returns to NMSU! In 2015, more than 2,440 donors gave in a way that will have a lifetime impact across the NMSU system, creating 82 new scholarships. This year, we hope to continue supporting student success during this one-day giving event. Visit: for more information, or join us Nov. 29 in the Aggie Lounge at Corbett Center Student Union.

Students at the 2015 Giving Tuesday event had fun in the photo booth area.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima visited Giving Tuesday headquarters in Corbett Center's Aggie Lounge.

The NMSU Foundation celebrated the success of their first-ever Giving Tuesday event.

6 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016


Avid supporter honored with presidential medallion By Charlotte Tallman ’02

Karen Becklin is no stranger to New Mexico State University. After receiving her doctorate in Education from NMSU in 1974, she continued supporting the campus for 20 years, working on college and university policy and funding issues in New Mexico before retiring in 2001. It didn’t take her long to begin supporting the university in another life changing way. Because of her continued and integral support of NMSU, Becklin was awarded the NMSU Presidential Medallion during the university’s convocation ceremony in August. The Presidential Medallion recognizes the outstanding service individuals give to the university beyond their time as employees. “Karen’s support of New Mexico State University has not gone unnoticed,” says NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers.

“She’s devoted her talents to an important and stimulating field that has a true impact on the university and the state. We are proud to call her an alumna, a former employee and a friend.” During her impressive career, Becklin also held positions at the Commission on Higher Education and the Legislative Finance Committee. She currently serves on NMSU’s Labor Relations Board. Becklin’s support has not only been her aptitude for public policy, but financial gifts that will impact how students learn about policy development. In 2013, Becklin made a gift to establish the Becklin Public Policy Endowed Professorship in NMSU’s College of Business and Domenici Institute. The Domenici Institute’s goal is to engage the general public and encourage them to discuss and take part in issues of public interest,

specifically when it comes to important policy matters. “Karen gave in such a way that generations of students at NMSU will have an opportunity to learn about important issues that impact our nation,” says Andrea Tawney, president of the NMSU Foundation. “That kind of impact leaves a legacy that will not be forgotten.” The faculty member who holds the professorship will continue the work of those like Becklin and engage the public and students in the precision of policy development. “NMSU and our alumni contribute strongly to the state. I want this professorship to encourage merit and to inspire the next generation to see public policy development as a rigorous and challenging career path, and one needed at all levels of society,” says Becklin. Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Creating a culture of giving

by Charlotte Tallman ’02

Student donors launch new philanthropy program By Charlotte Tallman ’02 Wolfe is just one of the many students throughout the When Chase Wolfe walked through Corbett Center StuNMSU system who are ready and willing to give back, and dent Union one afternoon last November, he heard enough with the establishment of the new Student Foundation, a cheering and cowbells in the lounge area to pique his interest. newly chartered philanthropy group on campus through the What he found was a roomful of Aggie alumni, staff, faculty, NMSU Foundation, they will have even more opportunities to friends and students raising money for student success during give and advocate for causes that matter to them. the first ever New Mexico State University Giving Tuesday. “The purpose of the Student Philanthropy program is to When he joined the crowd he felt an immediate desire to give enhance the culture of giving across all of back the way those around him were, our campuses by helping students create a and he made his first gift to NMSU. memorable legacy, understand the crucial By the time Chase walked out the role they play in the future of the univerdoors of Corbett Center Student sity system, and contribute as proud Aggie Union, he had become a different alumni when they graduate,” says Adrian person—someone who not only About the Student Foundation Has 25 members Bautista, assistant director for Annual knew he could make a difference, but Meets bi-weekly in Dove Hall Giving. did make a difference. Want to join? Call Adrian Bautista at 575-646-2552 Many times students chose to give back “I don’t think I ever realized how because of the experiences they have had at easy it was to give back,” says Wolfe, an NMSU campus or they want to make a difference by supa senior studying Agriculture and Extension Education in the porting the programs they are passionate about. College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sci“I believe it’s important to give back to the NMSU commuences. “When I made my gift, even though it was small, I knew nity because helping others is so important to me,” says Vanessa it would contribute to a much larger cause. That made me feel Delgado, class of 2018. The Communication Disorders major, good about myself, and appreciate even more the help I am receiving as a student.” who is a Crimson Scholar and a member of the Dean’s List in 8 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

What’s the best way to bring students, alumni, faculty and staff together to make a difference and keep up with the times? Crowdfunding! Much like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, NMSU’s Make a STATEment is a new way for community members, alumni and friends of the university to give to areas that matter the most to them. “This new platform for giving impacts so many areas on campus,” says Adrian Bautista, assistant director for Annual Giving. “We are telling stories about the

the College of Education, plans to be a speech language pathologist after she graduates. Student philanthropy is not just about giving money, it is also about giving time, treasure and talent to further a cause they support. One way the Student Foundation does that is by tabling across campus to promote their causes or to present examples of the way gifts to NMSU help the university system deliver a quality education to students. And, as a Land Grant Institution, NMSU relies on gifts from individuals, grants and foundations to provide scholarships, improve current student programs and maintain the caliber of education NMSU prides itself on providing. Tuition comprises about 60 percent of what it really costs to educate an NMSU student, so gifts from donors go beyond making an education more affordable for

amazing things that are happening on campus, we are offering an opportunity for others to give to areas that mean the most to them and we are empowering our students to raise money for the causes they care about right here on campus.”

feeding hungry students on campus to supporting a scholarship in honor of a child who passed away too young, Make a STATEment gifts are an investment in NMSU and an opportunity to make a difference.

Make a STATEment allows student organizations, departments and programs to generate support for their cause with interactive video messaging on an internal platform without having to pay fees. The messaging not only explains how they will use the money raised, but also tells the story of why it is needed. From

For more information or to find a cause you want to make a gift to today, visit

students; they also support the programs and research that enhance their learning. When students give, our NMSU community sees an increase in donor and alumni participation, enabling the university system to achieve a higher national ranking, increase the value of each degree and attract more corporate and foundation gifts.

Vanessa Delgado

“Helping other students in the NMSU community is important to me. Helping establish a giving community on campus is something I’m passionate about.” – Vanessa Delgado

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




ON CAMPUS & BEYOND By Jessica Savage ’95 ’11

10 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016


hile the purpose of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at New Mexico State University is to turn undergraduate students into disciplined and respected Air Force and Army officers, there is a program emphasis on team work and caring that results in leaders who value relationships and never stop being Aggies. By the time ROTC cadets graduate and receive their commissions, they have had spent two years in leadership positions. “ROTC is all about leadership as an officer,” says Lt. Col. Jeremiah Klomp, current Air Force ROTC Detachment 505 commander. By the time ROTC cadets graduate and receive their commissions, they have spent two years in leadership positions. “Our cadets are not going to be turning wrenches, working on airplanes or things of that nature. Rather, they will be leading the troops who keep us safe.” To embark on such an esteemed role, freshman cadets start out as learners, following orders and instructions, while sophomore cadets begin to take on instructing and mentoring roles. Between the sophomore and junior years, cadets attend field training, which prepares them for leadership roles in the cadet wing. Juniors and seniors are wing, group and squadron commanders. To adequately prepare the cadets, ROTC is made up of three things, Klomp says: academic classes, fitness training twice a week and leadership laboratory. Seniors are given the objectives of leadership lab and they devise a 15-week plan, which is approved and then implemented. While newly commissioned officers have four years of education and training, the real polish on their skills and abilities is their sense of caring for the airmen and soldiers under their command. “The biggest thing I want to impress on future leaders is that they need to be caring and compassionate,” says Lt. Col. Blanca Reyes, commander of Army ROTC. “If soldiers know that you care for them, they will give you that 10-million-fold back. We deal with humans. Everybody wants to know that someone cares for them. A caring, proficient leader is what soldiers are looking for.”

“Those who have served in the military often remark, ‘It’s a small Air Force,’ when they run into a former classmate somewhere in the world.” –Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Groll

Maj. George W. Childs III marks the 100-year anniversary of Army ROTC during the 2016 NMSU Founder’s Day picnic.

ROTC on Campus The NMSU community celebrated Founder’s Day and commemorated the 100th anniversary of Reserve Officer Training Corps this spring in Traders Plaza. While ROTC was created with the passage of the National Defense Act in 1916, Army ROTC at NMSU is connected to the actual founding of the university. As a land-grant university, military training was required, making Army ROTC as old as NMSU. “We at NMSU have actually had ROTC or its equivalent longer than ROTC has been in existence,” says Lt. Col. Jeremiah Klomp, commander and professor of aerospace studies for Air Force ROTC at NMSU. “ROTC, as an official program, didn’t start until 15 years after it started at NMSU.” The Air Force ROTC program at NMSU also has a similar claim to fame. The Air Force itself was created on Sept. 18, 1947, but NMSU started an Air Force ROTC, Detachment 505, a year before that, on Oct. 2, 1946.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




A U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk special operations helicopter out of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque appears on the NMSU Horseshoe in honor of the 114th annual NMSU ROTC Pass-in-Review event.

NMSU Air Force ROTC cadets march past the reviewing officials on the Horseshoe during the 114th annual ROTC Pass-in-Review event. Reviewing officials, from left, are Provost Dan Howard, Lt. Col Jeremiah Klomp, and Maj. George Childs.

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Lt. William “Fuzz” Thompson ’12 above, worked as a U.S. Air Force special operations liaison intelligence officer in Afghanistan. He struggled to mentally prepare for his overseas assignment – because it meant saying goodbye to his new wife, family and friends, as well as a comfortable lifestyle. “When I unexpectedly reunited with fellow Detachment 505 cadets downrange, I felt a renewed sense of comfort and was immediately reminded of home,” Thompson says.

NMSU and Army ROTC welcome first Hispanic woman commander When Lt. Col. Blanca Reyes was offered NMSU for her duty station as a new Army Reserve Officer Training Corps professor of military science, she knew immediately it was a good fit for her.

“Aggies are all over the world protecting this country. When I arrived in Afghanistan the second time, I learned the squadron commander I would be working for was an NMSU graduate who commissioned 10 years before I did.” –Capt. Seth Vincent ’08, Air Force intelligence officer and former Air Force ROTC

In her 21-year military career with the Army, Reyes was once stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, so she and her two young daughters were familiar with the Las Cruces community, and becoming a university professor represented a new career direction for Reyes – one she found exciting. As the first Hispanic woman commander for Army ROTC at NMSU and a first-generation American, Reyes has a lot to offer a university with a more than 50 percent Hispanic population. “It was very important to me to be an example,” she says. “The Army has given me so much. They put me through school. They paid for my bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees. Now it’s my turn to give back.” Prior to her new assignment, Reyes served as a theatre security cooperation intelligence planner for U. S. Army North, a position that had her assisting Mexican Army officers enrolled in an English-language immersion program. Reyes was responsible for planning and coordinating military intelligence between the U. S. Army, Canadian Armed Forces and the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense. Reyes began her Army career as a parachute rigger, which required being airborne qualified. Although Reyes doesn’t jump out of airplanes any more, she served in Baghdad during the Iraq War troop surge. “I learned that I was a lot stronger than I expected,” she says. The deployment earned her the Iraq Campaign Medal, the award she’s the proudest of among her dozen or so decorations, because it represents having a daily interaction with soldiers she was directly responsible for leading and ensuring their well-being and welfare. One of the things Reyes wants to impress on cadets is that graduation with a bachelor’s degree is a key requirement to being commissioned, because while it’s important to be technically proficient at their job, they have a civic duty to be a part of the community. “We, as an Army, can’t do everything alone,” she says. “You have to work with your community. They’re your partners. Here, the community and the alumni are so warm and welcoming.” Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


More THAN A N E D U C AT I O N NMSU’s caring community makes a difference every day

d e e s a g Plantin

By Charlotte Tallman ’02

Tiffany Diaz

A Fa m

ily mo ment

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Off the field...


hen Kinesiology major and New Mexico State University Softball player Tatum Reedy isn’t studying for exams, practicing for games or trying to get in a few hours of personal time, she is helping the community. In fact, Reedy and her team contributed more than a thousand hours of community service during the last school year, including nearly 55 from Reedy. “As a part of New Mexico State Softball, we are all part of something so much bigger than just the game. We represent the team, the school, the community and even the state,” says Reedy, a senior. “It's no longer just about ourselves, so any chance we get to give back to the community and interact with those individuals who support us is a win in my book.” Tatum says she’s encouraged to give back because she sees a culture of caring at NMSU. The campus community focuses on the success of students, faculty and staff, while always considering the impact the university can have in Las Cruces, the state and beyond.

A family moment

A growing impact

That caring focus shone bright in May, when Tiffany Diaz, one of NMSU’s newest graduates, was preparing to accept her bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. The excitement of her accomplishment was tempered by sadness, as her mom, T.J. Diaz, was battling cancer and was too ill to attend NMSU’s commencement. “When we heard Tiffany’s mom was unable to share in such a momentous occasion, we did everything we could to see that she did,” says Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. Together with James D. Libbin, then interim dean of NMSU’s College of Agriculture; Jean Hertzman, director of the School of HRTM, and student regent Amanda López Askin, Carruthers joined in a very special ceremony to present Tiffany with her diploma one week ahead of schedule at her parents’ home. The following Wednesday, T.J. passed away. While moments like the one NMSU leaders offered at the Diaz home are not an everyday occurrence, the impact of the actions of students, faculty and staff is.

Planting a seed

ty! i n u m m o ec h t n i d n a ...

When Katherine Mendoza, an early childhood education major, got her hands a little dirty weeding and spreading mulch while volunteering with the Know, Grow and Show Community Garden at University United Methodist Church on Locust Street near campus, she had no idea the impact her time would have on the children and residents in the area. In addition to providing fresh fruits and vegetables for the church’s food pantry and those in need, the spot will serve as a prayer garden for people of any denomination. “It has a really big impact on everybody,” says Mendoza, who has volunteered at the garden with more than 100 others, including representatives from NMSU and the Doña Ana Community College. “We’re really planting our own seed all together, and one day we’ll see this garden all put together.” Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


A giving community Sometimes the impact isn’t from food, or community service hours, but from generous service and gifts that make it possible for many students to attend NMSU. In 2015, the NMSU Foundation was joined by campus and Aggie communities to raise more than $5.8 million for scholarship funds (creating 82 new scholarships) across the NMSU system during a one day giving event, Giving Tuesday. “We are in the business of having an impact across the NMSU system, but we can’t do it alone,” says Andrea Tawney, president of the NMSU Foundation. “There are so many lives being changed every day because of our Aggie family, and when you see that kind of impact, you know we truly are a caring community.”

Professor’s compassion makes a dream come true As Cheryl Carroll sat in her geography class at NMSU-Alamogordo, she felt her eyes tear up. Her low vision disability was making it hard for her to see the diagrams describing weather condition details Professor Frank Webb was drawing on the board. “I was trying to keep up with what he was explaining, all the while straining to see what he was doing on the board,” Carroll says. “I kept wiping my tears and tried to stop crying, but the tears kept falling. I gathered my books and made my way out of the room.”

ebb W k n a Fr

As Carroll waited for her son, who was taking the same class, the feelings of failure increased, as did the tears. That was until Webb approached her after class. “He asked what he could do to help and I told him what had happened, including the frustration I felt from my inability to decipher what was going on in the lecture, all due to my broken eyes. He encouraged me to continue and told me that he would do everything he could to help me through.” Throughout the semester, Webb kept his promise, drawing diagrams on paper for Carroll and incorporating different strategies so she could see, even allowing her son to be her eyes during lab. The time he spent on Carroll allowed her to receive her Associate of Arts degree, a dream come true for her. The impact Webb had on Carroll inspired her to write “Against All Odds, a Dream Come True,” an essay and tribute to Webb, which was selected to be read at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Convention in Austin. “He made a difference in my life, and he took away the discouragement that came flooding in that day,” Carroll says. “I won’t ever forget that.”

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Cheryl Carroll

Mentors at NMSU support student success every day by engaging with students and providing them with leadership and guidance. It can be the edge a student needs to tackle the challenges in the classroom and inspire them to push themselves toward aspirational goals. Neil Harvey, head of the Department of Government at NMSU, is one person that does that for student Ismael Torres.

res r o T l e a s Ism r o t n e m vey Neil Har

“In his work, Dr. Harvey remains committed to community-based participatory research, and exemplifies the bridge between academia and service that results,” says Torres, a President’s Associates Scholar and former intern at the United States Department of Treasury. “His work empowers members of the community, and it is inspiring to witness the impact he has had.” –Ismael Torres

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




DOMENICI Public Policy Conference

Speakers foster a community conversation about mental health care


aking its lead from the lifelong advocacy for mental health parity that was a cornerstone of its namesake’s career, the 2016 Pete V. Domenici Public Policy Conference focused heavily on that topic this year, bringing in speakers to explore the challenges of modern mental health care from many angles. The conference, now in its ninth year, was established at NMSU with the goal of continuing Domenici’s legacy of service to the state of New Mexico and the nation by providing unique learning and policy research opportunities. The Domenici Institute also brought together members of the mental health care community in southern New Mexico to facilitate a round-table discussion with several of the speakers, who shared their insights and ideas for addressing challenges in the region.

Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction and other brain diseases, gave a passionate speech during the conference’s second day, detailing his experience with mental illness and his support for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which was championed in the Senate by Pete Domenici and Paul Wellstone, and later by Kennedy’s father, Ted Kennedy.

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U.S. Sen. Pete V. Domenici worked throughout his long career to achieve legislation that would improve the lives of people with mental illness.

Randy Ko, of University of New Mexico, asks a question of Dr. Fuller Torrey after his presentation. Students from universities all over New Mexico are invited to participate as student panelists during the conference, fostering new research and learning experiences across disciplines. Only 20 students are selected for the program. Miami-Dade County judge Steven Leifman told the audience about the horrible conditions he witnessed for people with mental illness in the criminal justice system. He’s at the forefront of a public policy movement in the criminal justice system to reduce the number of people with mental illness in prison, and to develop alternative approaches that offer treatment and support for recovery.

Mother, author and advocate Liza Long described her family’s fight to get the right diagnosis for her son, becoming emotional as she recounted the day she was forced to charge him with a crime to get him the help he needed.

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey shared his research schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – and his advocacy for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness.

Jamie Michael with the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department and Doña Ana Wellness Institute gave an update on local mental health initiatives, following a roundtable discussion with several of the experts who spoke at the conference.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


2016 DOMENICI Public Policy Conference Discussion topics ripped straight from the headlines

2016 Student Panelists Kylie Katalinich, Eastern New Mexico University Tamlyn Crain, New Mexico Highlands University Cassandra Sanchez, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Garrett Autry, New Mexico State University Micaela de la Rosa, New Mexico State University Joli McSherry, New Mexico State University

Dylan Pell, New Mexico State University

Sonny Christopher Haquani, University of New Mexico

Connor Schultz, New Mexico State University

Andrew Hollis, University of New Mexico

Haley Stewart, New Mexico State University

Randy Ko, University of New Mexico

Margie Vela, New Mexico State University

Jay Maharath, University of New Mexico

Tessa Chrisman, University of New Mexico

Monica Moreno, Western New Mexico University

Tiberius Davis, University of New Mexico Gabriel Gallegos, University of New Mexico

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Grecia Rivas, Western New Mexico University

To discuss the 2016 elections, the conference paired up political strategist and former Bill Clinton campaign manager James Carville and Kristen Soltis Anderson, opposite page, a pollster and author of “The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up)� for a lively discussion and an extended Q&A with the student panelists. NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers moderated the discussion.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry discussed the work his city is doing to improve the relationship and restore trust between the police force and the community following a Department of Justice report that outlined problems in the department.

New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education Barbara Damron detailed some of the strategic priorities for higher ed in the state as it grapples with continued funding challenges.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel opened the conference with a keynote speech on national security. In addition to serving as the 24th U.S. Secretary of Defense – the first enlisted combat veteran to serve in that role – he also served two terms in the U.S. Senate, representing Nebraska.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama





Taking ROOT Biologist using $4.4 million grant to create hardier pecan trees By Kristie Garcia ’07


Jessica Savage ou mayBy enjoy receiving those packaged pecans as a gift during the holiday season. Or maybe it’s that freshly baked pecan pie that makes your mouth water. The pecan is one of the most nutritious nuts out there, and pecan production across the U.S. could improve thanks to a $4.4 million grant awarded to New Mexico State University. The grant was funded as part of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative through the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. NMSU’s allotment was part of $36.5 million awarded for research and extension to support American farmers. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grant awards in August. Research Associate Professor Jennifer Randall in the Department of Entomol-

22 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

ogy, Plant Pathology and Weed Science in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is the lead project investigator for the grant at NMSU, and her goal is to breed more productive pecan trees that will lead to improved yield of pecans. “We’ll target four trees that have very different traits, and we’re going to look at their genomes,” Randall says. “We’re going to start pin-pointing genes that are important for disease resistance and salinity tolerance. We will also look at flowering and tree architecture.” One tool that will be used is pecan rootstock cloning, a method developed by Randall. By using this method, rootstock best suited for a specific orchard area could be cloned for ideal growing conditions. Pecan trees grown in commercial orchards have two main parts that are

grafted together. The top part of the tree produces nuts and is genetically the same as other treetops in an orchard. The bottom part is called the rootstock, and each rootstock is genetically different. The research process, which began in late 2012, involves cloning rootstocks to make them genetically the same. The Randall Lab has cloned nearly 300 different pecan genotypes, or genetically different trees. Randall, who has a doctorate in molecular biology from NMSU, said she and her team are trying to find the best genetic tree for specific environmental needs. “When we find one, having everything genetically uniform can make a lot of differences in an orchard,” Randall says. What that means for growers is that rootstock best suited for a specific


New Mexico produces about 20 percent of the U.S. pecan crop each year

About 70 percent of the state’s pecan acreage is in the Mesilla Valley

NMSU’s pecan roots run deep: Fabian Garcia, the first director of the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station, planted some of New Mexico’s first pecan trees in the Mesilla Valley in 1913.

Many of the original trees are still standing at New Mexico State University’s Fabian Garcia Horticultural Science Center.



orchard area could be cloned for ideal ment that will help growers.” growing conditions. The challenge in The timing of the grant couldn’t the Southwest is that the soil contains a be better. large amount of salt. Randall said deterIn May, the USDA announced that mining rootstocks that are able to grow producers passed a Federal Marketing in high salinity soils is advantageous, Order for pecans. The FMO is a self-help as the pecan tree can better survive and program funded by pecan revenue and produce. administered by Identifying sapecan stakeholdlinity tolerant and ers for the benefit disease resistant of the industry rootstocks would and consumers. be advantageous to Collaboratpecan tree growers ing with NMSU in the Southwest, on the research as such trees may project will be lead to more prothe Hudson Alductive yields. pha Institute for Although pecan Biotechnology; NMSU Research Associate Professor Jennifer Randall and her team have cloned nearly 300 is an international USDA in Texas, different genotypes of pecan. Randall was recently crop, Randall is Georgia and awarded a $4.4 million grant to support her looking forward to Louisiana; the research on improving pecan production. what the grant will Samuel Roberts help achieve in the Noble FoundaUnited States. New Mexico now protion; and the University of Arizona. duces approximately 20 percent of the Much of the grant funding will be U.S. pecan crop each year and, in 2006, used for students, postdoctoral researchNew Mexico became the largest pecan ers, sequencing services, research and producing state in the nation for the first extension outreach. A website dedicated time in history. to pecan research will be available to “I think this will help our U.S. growinform growers about the advancements ers, as pecan is grown in 25 states,” she and new tools that will assist them in says. “It’s one of our native trees to North their farming practices. America, and there’s a lot of genetic di“The grant will allow us to train our versity that has not been described, and students and post-docs, who are our leadgrowers are not yet reaping the full beners for tomorrow, while accomplishing efits. Although pecan has been grown as the research at the same time,” Randall an industry for over 100 years, it’s still says. “And hopefully we’ll have a new in its infancy as far as a crop goes, as the generation of plant scientists that will trees differ very little from native pecan keep doing this work that is so importrees. There’s a lot of room for improvetant to the Mesilla Valley.” Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


A lifetime


ouples share many journeys throughout life, but the Douglases – Leonard and Bonnie – also shared an appreciation of how education lifted them and their family out of poverty, and how it could move the world. Their drive to spread the access to education has now turned into a lasting legacy at New Mexico State University. Leonard Douglas was born on April 8, 1910, near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. He was born into a farming family, homesteaders who had laid claim on the red-clay dugout where he spent the first 24 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

of education

eight years of his life. Bonnie Rose King was born on a hand-made rope and straw bed in at the Bar Z Ranch near Rankin, Oklahoma, on Nov. 17, 1908. Since school was more than three miles away, she learned to read under the tutelage of her grandmother. Her freshman year of high school was spent working as a maid in a lawyer’s home to pay for her room and board in a neighboring town, while her father scraped together money for tuition. Much like his future father-in-law, Leonard Douglas worked hard to

pull himself out of poverty and knew education was the way. He reported in his 1969 memoir, “After six fragmented and partial years caused by inadequate school district finance, I was graduated in 1929 as valedictorian of my class. No other member of my family had finished elementary school.” His daughter, Lynne Hartsell ’67, who is the guardian of the memories of her family, explained how poverty shaped her father’s character, and how he never forgot the judgment from others that came with being poor. From Hartsell’s family memoir: “My middle-aged father

Leonard Douglas, ready to go to medical college in Kirksville, Missouri, 1946.

Lt. Col. Robert and Lynne Hartsell have been married for 50 years.

The entire family in Georgetown, British Guiana, 1962. Back: Bonnie and Leonard Douglas Front: Betty Rose Douglas Rios, Blaire Rios, Lynne Hartsell.

Family's legacy gives future teachers the tools they need to thrive By Cassie McClure ’06 ’08 said softly, ‘Would they look at us and assume we were backward because there were so many of us and we had so little?’” After high school, both Leonard and Bonnie went to Dague’s Business College in Wichita, Kansas. They married in January 1929, but with the Great Depression, priorities changed. Leonard toiled at multiple jobs – raising turkeys, driving a school bus, picking cotton. Bonnie typed term papers and ironed – 10 starched, white shirts in an hour earned her fifteen cents. The years that followed in the stark landscape of dustbowl Oklahoma gave Leonard an even stronger yearning for education. While World War II raged on, he received a B.S. in business education, physical science, and social science from Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma. After he received his degree, Leonard became a teacher and high school principal. His positions took the

Douglas family to several small towns in Oklahoma, then to Missouri. Leonard was a dedicated and charismatic mentor to his students, aiding them not only with their studies, but in building their characters. Hartsell recalls that her father would be one of the last people the young men going off to war would stop to see. Faithful in return, Leonard would note the names of his students who died in service, and would somberly and dutifully write letters to the parents. Lynne remembers Bonnie asking Leonard, “What are you going to say? You barely knew him.” Leonard replied, “I will tell them that his life mattered. You don’t need to know much about a person to tell a parent that.” Leonard worked to receive his M.A. at Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, majoring in public school administration and minoring in supervision. Bonnie would take care of their children, Betty Rose and Lynne,

while running her own beauty shop. When he finished, Leonard showed he never forgot his wife’s sacrifices. In her memoir, Bonnie recalls a moment of gratitude: “My husband earned his Master’s degree in the summer of 1949. When he received his diploma, he handed it to me saying, ‘Your work has made this possible. Please open it.’”

The Leonard and Bonnie Douglas and Betty Rose Douglas Rios Memorial Library Endowment supports the growth of the NMSU Library resources in the field of education, with emphasis on curriculum and instruction, elementary education, and rural education and small schools. The selection of the materials is jointly determined by the NMSU Library and the NMSU College of Education.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


Student NEA students at NMSU give their adviser, Leonard Douglas, a plaque. The students pulled together $150 to establish a fund in his honor, which has since grown to an endowment.

Bonnie finally returned to complete her education when the Douglas family arrived in New Mexico. Leonard had taken a position as an instructor at New Mexico Western College in 1951 and he became a department head for the business education department. Bonnie took one night class at a time. Twentyone years after first starting college, Bonnie received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and social science. She completed her master’s degree seven years later. In 1958, the Douglas family moved from Silver City to Las Cruces when Leonard completed his Ph.D. at Colorado State College of Education. He accepted a position at NMSU in the department of education. He became a department head for the business education department, then a supervisor of secondary student teachers. Leonard also became the adviser to the NMSU Chapter of the Student National Education Association. In 1968, students pulled together $150 to establish a fund in his honor. However, 26 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

Betty Rose Douglas Rios, specialized in rural education resources during her career.

for that original deposit to grow into an endowment, it needed a champion, and it found two: their daughters, Lynne and Betty Rose. An NMSU Distinguished Alumna in 1989, Betty Rose Douglas Rios’ career was spent with the Educational Research Information Center Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. Betty Rose ’60 worked diligently to develop an extensive network of rural education and small school contacts nationally and internationally. The Leonard and Bonnie Douglas and Betty Rose Douglas Rios Memorial Library Endowment supports the growth of the NMSU Library resources in the field of education, with emphasis on curriculum and instruction, elementary education, and rural education and small schools. The selection of the materials is jointly determined by the NMSU Library and the NMSU College of Education. Elizabeth Titus, dean of the NMSU Library, appreciates the ability of the NMSU Library to be a resource for un-

derserved populations. “One of our main goals is creating access,” Titus says. “With an endowment that gives a specific charge, we can be focused on creating the best possible purchases that will impact our students’ educations.” Lynne Hartsell, now a retired educator, slowly sought out the means to bring the endowment to a level where funds could be disbursed, approaching old colleagues and former students of her parents. She recalled going to a family reunion where a down-on-her-luck relative, so moved by Leonard’s story, came up to Lynne and donated a dollar with tears in her eyes. “I knew it might be all she had right then,” Lynne says. “But she still believed in education.”

For more information about the endowment, contact April Anaya at or 575-646-1508.





Former Aggie men’s basketball star Pascal Siakam fulfilled his father’s dream this spring when he was drafted by the NBA’s Toronto Raptors with the 27th overall pick. He was the first Aggie player selected in the NBA draft in 25 years. Pascal's father, Tchamo Siakam, loved watching professional basketball and told his four sons in Cameroon it was his dream to see one of them play in the NBA. Tragically, his father was killed in a car accident in 2014 before he could see that dream come to fruition. Pascal relied on the support of his Aggie teammates and coaches as he worked through his grief, and went on to deliver a stunning performance in the 2015-16 season, averaging 20.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He led the nation with 27 double-doubles. Pascal was named the unanimous choice for WAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after being selected as WAC Player of the Week an unprecedented five times in his last season with the Aggies. He was named First Team All-WAC and selected to the WAC All-Defensive Team. He was also honored by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as a member of their All-District VIII Team and to the WAC All-Tournament Team. In the days leading up to the draft, Pascal told reporter Chris Dortch that his father was on his mind as he continued to prepare. “This is for whole family – that’s what drives me – most of all for my dad,” Siakam said in the interview with Dortch. “I still think about the conversations he had with me and my brothers. He was so excited talking about basketball, and the NBA. “And now I'm this close. It’s unbelievable. If I can make that dream become a reality, it will have been the best thing I ever did in my life.”

CARRYING A TORCH Louis Vega ’91 had the honor of bearing the Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the 2016 Summer Games. Vega is the chief of staff and vice president of Olympic and Sports Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company. He also returned to Brazil later in the summer to participate in the 2016 Paralympics.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



There's no place

like Home Photos by Sydnie Roper ’16 and Amanda Bradford ’03

Aggies clicked their heels together three times and found themselves back on campus during New Mexico State University’s Homecoming Week in September. They honored Distinguished Alumni in each college and celebrated James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service recipient Dino Camunez at a special Friday night dinner at Corbett Center Center Student Union. The Alumni Association also selected and honored Distinguished Alumni from Dona Ana Community College for the first time. The week culminated in a gameday tailgate before the Aggies took down the Ragin’ Cajuns in a thrilling double-overtime victory. If you weren’t able to get home for Homecoming, check out all the photos from the week’s events on our social media pages.

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College of Education Distinguished Alumna Amy Heil ’97 ’08 and her son, Nick Heil, at the awards dinner.

The theme of Homecoming 2016 was “There’s No Place Like Home.”

College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Colin Cahoon ’83 and his wife, Susan, at the Alumni Association tailgate.

James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service recipient Dino Camuñez '80 at the tailgate with his sister, Jocelyn Bartz, and daughter, Mira.

College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Steve Hanzely ’67 ’69 at the awards dinner.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



An Evening of Thanks and Support President’s Associates Ball 2016 raises $55,000 for life-changing scholarships

30 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

It was an incredible evening of good food, fine wine, cooking presentations, giving and gratitude during the 2016 President’s Associates Ball on April 22 in the Doña Ana Community College student lounge. Donated auction items from all over the United States brought in $55,000 during the ball, allowing the New Mexico State University Foundation to provide President’s Associates Scholarships to a new class of 15 PA Scholars. The evening showcased student talent from across the NMSU system. The DACC Culinary Program offered their talents during a special VIP cooking lesson and wine paring, as well as a cocktail reception. Generous sponsors for the sold out event included U.S. Bank, Hakes Brothers, Salopek 6U Farms, Ashley Furniture, Wells Fargo, Harris Corporation, and Flavours Catering by Sodexo.

President’s Associates Scholars from all over New Mexico have graduated from NMSU and gone on to become leaders in their fields, making the entire state of New Mexico proud to call each one of them one of our own.

“This scholarship is the reason I am at NMSU, and I will never forget this opportunity.” -Emerson Morrow

Scholars come to NMSU from all over the state, including: Albuquerque Artesia Carlsbad Chaparral Cliff Clovis Corrales

Espanola Fort Sumner Hobbs Las Cruces Los Alamos Portales Silver City

Because the very foundation of the scholarship is to honor students who demonstrate their commitment to academic excellence, activities and experiences above and beyond that of their peers, students receive a scholarship that covers the full cost of tuition and fees, plus a stipend of $3,250 annually for other educational and living expenses. Donors make these scholarships possible.

Richard Coltharp and Janet Acosta

PA Scholar Micaela de la Rosa

President's Associates Scholars at the PA Ball

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




IMPACT THAT LASTS Memorial scholarship helps students overcome learning challenges By Cassie McClure ’06 ’08

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Kyle Sidlo, right, was the first recipient of of the Gage Gavin Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which was established by New Mexico State University marketing professor Pat Gavin, left, in honor of his son.



Gage Gavin graduated from Oñate High School in 2015, a milestone that made his family and friends very proud.


hen professor Pat Gavin stepped up to the podium to pay tribute to his late son Gage Gavin, he expected to see only close friends and family – but instead was surrounded by hundreds who had been touched by Gage and his family. Gavin is director of the PGA Golf Management Program in the NMSU College of Business, and at that moment on the podium, looking out on those caring faces, he had a vision: a way to remember Gage and the great person he was, and also help future students with scholarship support, allowing them to focus on their schooling instead of worrying about how to pay for it. Gage had recently turned 18 and graduated from Oñate High School when he passed away unexpectedly in June 2015. Graduating meant more to Gage than anyone could have known, and surpassed a milestone that Pat and his family had fought so hard for. Gage struggled with a learning disability, but never let that get him down. He was a loving person and was quick to share a hug and smile with his brother and sister, as well as the people he met during his nightly visits to the community dog park or on the trails up to Aguirre Springs with his mom. “Simply put Gage was everyone’s best friend,” Pat says. “He always put what would help others before worrying about what would help him.” During Gage’s eulogy, full of laughter and tears, Pat made an announcement that he would be establishing an en-

Gage Gavin, left, was someone his father described as “the mascot of our family.” He was very close to siblings Courtney, center, and Patrick.

dowment in Gage’s memory at NMSU. Instead of his initial goal of $50,000 in three years, he pledged he would raise $50,000 in three weeks. It sounded like an impossible feat, but a week after establishing the endowment through the NMSU Foundation, it had grown to $20,000, and after three weeks, it was over $65,000. Pat increased the goal to $100,000, hoping it would help even more students pursue their educational dreams. The Gage Gavin Endowed Scholarship was established to support the PGA Golf Management Program, with preference given to students with a documented learning disability. It was Gage’s dream to work at the NMSU golf course along with his dad. To qualify for the scholarship, a recipient must have a minimum of 2.5 grade-point average. Many merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with the best grade points, but it was Pat's intention to help students with learning disabilities succeed in reaching their goals, regardless of their grades. In the short time available, it already has made a difference for Kyle Sidlo, a two-time recipient of the scholarship who came to Las Cruces from San Diego. Kyle is happy to have the perfect weather for golfing and the support of the Gage Gavin Endowed Scholarship to allow him to focus on his studies. “It’s a tight group, like a fraternity or sorority,” says Kyle, who is in his junior year. “When we heard about Gage, everyone came together to support Pat. He is our mentor and we love everything he

has made available to us.” Kyle is similar to Gage in that he was diagnosed with a learning disability that increased his test anxiety. For Kyle, an added half hour to take a test makes all the difference. His parents discovered it when he was in elementary school and like Gage’s parents, helped him to seek out opportunities to make his achievements possible. Pat believes the endowment is a way to remember and honor Gage, and help his family find some peace in their grief. “I miss him every day. We miss him every day,” Pat says. “This endowment allows us to meet and help students and make a difference.” He says the love and support the family has received through donations of money, flowers, phone calls and messages was beyond their imagination. “I’ll continue to thank people forever,” he says. “It meant a lot to see the outpouring of respect for Gage and our family. It was a way to take a horrible negative situation and find something positive in it.” Kyle agrees. “This is a way for Gage’s memory to live on.”

For more information about the Gage Gavin Memorial Endowed Scholarship, contact Anthony Casaus at or 575-646-5817, or visit https:// project/2815.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Recent books by NMSU Alumni

Panorama welcomes information on books and creative works by NMSU alumni. Information may be sent to

Compiled by Amanda Bradford

The Bee Who Sneezed Stephen Evans ’09 and Mic Ru ’08


Stephen Evans is the head chef for the University of Missouri Athletic Dining and has been hidden away in the back of kitchens since he was 16 years old. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 18 to serve his country. After his honorable discharge in 2005, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Restaurant Tourism Management at NMSU and was hired on as the chef for the University of Missouri Tigers. Around the same time, he discovered his hidden talent for writing children’s stories. Evans collaborated with illustrator Mic Ru of Rain Bear Design Studios, another NMSU graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, on “The Bee Who Sneezed,” and together, they created 2nd Tour Publishing. The creative team is planning a series of children’s books, including “The Lizard in a Blizzard,” “The Rat Who Loved Math” and “The Duck Without a Quack.”

Mesilla Comes Alive: A History of Mesilla and Its Valley C. W. Buddy Ritter ’58 ’81 SELF-PUBLISHED

Fifth-generation New Mexican and owner of the Double Eagle Restaurant in historic Old Mesilla, C.W. “Buddy” Ritter has written a descriptive history of the Mesilla Valley. “Mesilla Comes Alive: A History of Mesilla and Its Valley” tells the story of one of the iconic towns of the old west, from the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century to the granting of statehood to New Mexico in 1912. Written in short, entertaining, informative sections, and loaded with custom maps, archival photos and other illuminating illustrations, “Mesilla Comes Alive” provides a fascinating journey back in time and includes stories of such notable and colorful figures as Don Juan de Oñate, Santa Anna, Billy the Kid, Albert Fountain, Pat Garrett and many others. The book also puts forward several interesting theories that contradict the accepted history of the area, and includes two items – a newly discovered photo of Billy the Kid and a short history of Mesilla written by Albert Fountain – that have not previously appeared in any book.  34 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

The Poet & The Singer Bud Russo’66 LULU.COM

“The Poet & The Singer,” the first mainstream novel by Las Cruces writer Bud Russo, is the story of singer Anne Melandrevich, who uses the stage name Annie Melodie, and her husband, Geof Barringer, the poet. Though poor and struggling, the two artists know they’re meant for each other and make the most of the love they share. When Anne is discovered by a Nashville producer, her career skyrockets, giving the young couple what they’ve dreamed of. Yet conflict between their marriage and Anne’s successful career results in them separating, until the story’s climax challenges not only their fortitude as well as their strength as a couple. A Las Cruces resident since 2005, Russo retired after 40 years of writing for trade magazines about manufacturing and automation, a career that took him across the country and around the world. In New Mexico, he turned his interests and skills into travel and general interest stories for Southwest Senior, a local monthly publication.

Rotten Gambler Two Becomes a True American Edward Lumsdaine ’63 ’64 ’66 SELF-PUBLISHED

Edward Lumsdaine was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai, mostly during war times, as told in his memoir, “Rotten Gambler Two Becomes a True American.” His mother was Chinese, his father an American merchant. After stints as a cabin boy and waiter on a Danish tramp steamer and four years in the U.S. Air Force, he started his studies on the G.I. Bill at Ventura College, with little education past primary school. He soon met his wife-to-be, an exchange student from Switzerland. He then earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering, all at New Mexico State University. After working for the Boeing Company as a research engineer, his love for teaching lured him back to the academic life at South Dakota State, the University of Tennessee, and New Mexico State. Later in life, he began to think about his roots in childhood, and many urged him to jot down his incredible experiences of survival. The result is this self-published memoir of his youth.

The Man with the Black Box

Goodnight, Campsite



Colin P. Cahoon ’83

A historical fiction thriller from Mesilla Valley native Colin P. Cahoon, “The Man with the Black Box” is a terrifying examination of the corruptibility of mankind, a riveting twist on the classic battle of good versus evil, and a fantasy thriller of historic proportions. An international crisis threatens to plunge the world into war at the dawn of the 20th century, but the British Foreign Office finds itself blinded by the bizarre deaths of crucial agents and informants as it struggles to stave off the coming conflagration. For help, they turn to an unconventional outsider, Inspector Jenkins of Scotland Yard, who soon finds himself on the trail of a mysterious man with a deadly black box and a host of devoted accomplices. What’s in the box? Everyone is dying to know.

Life Lessons for My Daughters James Parker ’71 ’72 SELF-PUBLISHED

James Parker didn’t know, when a medical emergency left him comatose, that the result would be a plea from his daughter to tell his life’s story. While his life growing up on a farm was simple, many unusual things occurred. James tells these stories in a sometimes hilarious and always entertaining way – like the story of how, at 10 years of age, James got a rifle for Christmas. It was too cold to shoot it during the winter so he would sit in a chair in the kitchen and shoot at an arrangement of bottles and cans sitting on a table in the backyard. He would raise the rifle, kick the door open with his left foot, aim, and fire, being careful not to shoot a hole in the screen door or an unsuspecting family member. After moving to New Mexico, James found himself in midst of youthful fights, car wrecks and speeding tickets. He faced court appearances, overcame illnesses, attended colleges, raised children and enjoyed a long, loving marriage. These stories aim to entertain, and perhaps even inspire his readers to write about their own lives.

Loretta Sponsler ’00 Loretta Sponsler was born and raised in New Mexico, currently lives in Colorado, and travels all over the country, although the West holds a particular spot in her heart. She has a degree in journalism from NMSU and worked most of her career as a technical writer and editor with the U.S. government. Now Loretta is a full-time mom, part-time writer. Loretta and her family, complete with three young boys, have traveled all over the United States, pulling a travel trailer and camping along the way. The Sponslers spend every moment they can at a campsite, exploring the great outdoors. “Goodnight, Campsite” was born of a love of camping and books, and it filled a rather large void in children’s books about recreational vehicles.

Quinn-Essential Nutrition Barbara Quinn’75 WESTBOW PRESS

Inspired by readers of her internationally distributed column, “Quinn On Nutrition,” registered dietitian nutritionist Barbara Quinn thoughtfully unpacks and delivers answers to more than a hundred current nutrition topics. With her typical style of common sense and humor, Quinn mixes the serious science of nutrition with delicious experiences from her family, friends, and faithful readers. And because life sometimes gets too serious, “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” nourishes your lighter side with reasons to have a cup of tea, fun advice for guys and gals, and favorite corny food jokes. Quinn earned her Bachelor of Science in dietetics at NMSU. Quinn’s column originates in the Monterey County (California) Herald and is distributed to more than 600 media outlets worldwide. The book features several pieces associated with her years at NMSU, including a chile FAQ that highlights information from the university’s Chile Pepper Institute.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama









GIVING A PRIORITY By Charlotte Tallman ’02

The Cook family, left to right: Sandra, Philip, Paula and Loren.


f you had to measure the success of the Cook family, you wouldn’t measure it just by their professional and family achievements, but also by the gifts of time and donations they dedicate to the communities and organizations they appreciate, including New Mexico State University. Brothers Philip ’84, and Loren ’86, ’91, both College of Business Distinguished Alumni, and their wives, Sandra ’84, and Paula, make it a priority to give back in a way that demonstrates long-lasting impact. “I decided a long time ago that you have to learn how to give, and you have to teach your kids how to give, or they will have to learn it by themselves,” says Philip, chief financial officer of Samson Resources. The couple made it a point to set an example for their two daughters, Laurel and Alexandra, not only in how they give, but also why they give. “As we decide where to give, it becomes all

36 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

about the kind of impact we will have.” One way they make an impact at NMSU is through the Philip and Sandra Cook Endowed Scholarship, which they created to help students who are qualified to attend NMSU, but are not able to attend their first semester without financial assistance. As a new endowment, the scholarship was first awarded to Alicia Munoz Galvan this semester. “It is nice to give back to New Mexico and something we love, and we believe in the power of an education,” says Sandra, who is a philanthropic leader in her community. Loren and Paula give to also make an impact, and together established the Loren and Paula Cook Current Use Scholarship and a permanent scholarship endowment. The current use scholarship has been awarded to six graduate students in accounting. “I believe I am successful in business for many reasons, and I have a lot of

people to thank. NMSU is one of those reasons, and I owe a lot of thanks to the university and the people within it,” says Loren, founder of Cook Legal Group and CTH Partners, a business consulting firm. Loren says he and his siblings found success in work ethic and discipline because of the influence of their parents, Glenn and Eleanor. Loren and Paula, along with their children Abbey, Connor, Madeline and Olivia, look for opportunities to give in a way that increases impact. Both Phillip and Loren have dedicated time as well as money, serving on the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors and College of Business Advisory Boards and mentoring students both in their hometowns and on campus. “What we do needs to make a difference,” Loren says. And it does – both for the students in the College of Business and the NMSU community as a whole.

Fall 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


PANORAMA New Mexico State University Alumni & Friends Magazine





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38 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2016

NMSU Panorama Fall 2016  

Panorama is the New Mexico State University Alumni & Friends magazine.

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