Page 1

PANORAMA New Mexico State University Alumni & Friends Magazine


+ALSO INSIDE: 60th Anniversary of the Foundation

Volume 74 Fall 2019 • FREE

Aggies, Oh, Aggies

McKenzie Cooper, a member of the New Mexico State University PRIDE of New Mexico Honor Guard, twirls a flag while performing in the NMSU Homecoming parade in October 2019. PHOTO BY JOSH BACHMAN

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




t’s a great time to be an NMSU Aggie! We recently completed our new strategic plan – NMSU LEADS 2025. In it, we highlight a set of four strategic goals: enhance student success and social mobility; elevate research and creativity; amplify extension and outreach; and build a robust university system. Going forward, we will align all of our efforts in support of these goals. Regarding student success, we are very pleased to announce an increase in overall student enrollment numbers – the first such increase since 2010. Not only has enrollment stabilized, but we are now poised for sustained growth in both our undergraduate and graduate student populations. New students consistently express that they chose NMSU because they want a top-tier education with a highly diverse student body at one of the lowest costs in the nation. That is certainly something we can and will continue to deliver! Thanks, and go Aggies!

Dan Arvizu, Ph.D. ’73 NMSU Chancellor


s the end of fall approaches, we have another wonderful issue of Panorama to share with you filled with highlights and exciting stories of our alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends. Fall is a great time for Aggies to connect back to campus. We celebrated Homecoming in October, and it was a treat to see the reunions for the ’59 ’69 ’79 ’89 ’94 ’99 and ’09 classes. Not only is it special when Aggies join together on campus, but it is also meaningful when you share the impact NMSU has made in your life with the next generation. Alumni play a critical role in recruiting future Aggies to campus. Did you know the NMSU system had its first enrollment increase since 2010? We are always happy to welcome new Aggies each semester. In addition to inspiring the next generation, Aggies from across the country are participating in #AggieServe and giving back to their community. No matter where you live, you can join this volunteer initiative. Whether it’s working in a soup kitchen during the holidays or helping with a community garden – let us know when you plan to meet up with fellow Aggies and we will send you T-shirts to wear during the event as a small thank you for helping your communities. Finally, please join us for the fifth annual #GivingTuesday Dec. 3. A gift of any amount benefits our students at all five campuses. Last year, NMSU alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends joined together on a global day of giving to raise $2.1 million, and we couldn’t do it without you. To learn more, visit support.nmsu.edu/GT. We hope to see you soon,

Leslie Cervantes ’86 Associate Vice President of Alumni and Donor Relations University Advancement

This issue of Panorama is produced by the office of Marketing and Communications, New Mexico State University, 575-646-3221. Correspondences may be sent to Marketing and Communications, MSC 3K, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-3590 or panorama@nmsu.edu. Panorama is published two times annually. ISSN 2470-0649 New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. The magazine can be found online at panorama.nmsu.edu. Editor Tiffany Acosta Assistant Editor Adriana M. Chávez ’19 Art Director Gerald Rel Contributors Amanda Adame ’19, Carlos Cuesta Alboroz, Vladimir Avina ’18, Josh Bachman ’07, Minerva Baumann ’13, Eddie Binder, Megan Hansen ’06 ’09, Carlos Andres López ’10, Savannah Montero ’18, Jane Moorman, Melissa Rutter ’17, Faith Schifani, Erik Winter ’06 Chancellor Dan Arvizu ’73 President John Floros Interim President and Chief Operating Officer, NMSU Foundation Tina Byford ’00 ’11 Associate Vice President of Alumni and Donor Relations Leslie Cervantes ’86 Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Justin Bannister ’03 ’13 Executive Director of Marketing and Web Communications Melissa Chavira ’03 ’05 ’11 Director, Alumni Relations Rebecca Galves ’01 NMSU Alumni Association International Board of Directors Executive Council President Scott Sponseller ’96 ’98 President-Elect Carol Smallwood ’83 Secretary/Treasurer Michael Law ’05 Past President Tony Martinez ’96 ’98 Executive Council Members Nancy Flores ’88, Erika Swan ’95, Adam Thompson ’08 2019© New Mexico State University POSTMASTER: Send address change notifications to Panorama, MSC 3590, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM, 88003-88001

2 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019




Sweet Home NMSU Homecoming was celebrated in October with the annual parade, tailgate, football game and more


FALL 2019



NMSU students, faculty, alumni from various disciplines explore the final frontier


UNCOVERING HISTORY Three NMSU Library interns spent the summer diving into local papers



NMSU Foundation celebrates milestone anniversary



Nursing, social work students work together to help migrants amid influx

NMSU faculty, staff establish scholarships to help the next generation




UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY Bloomberg Terminal program launches in the College of Business

ALSO INSIDE 4 Around Aggieland 30 Alumni Connections 35 Pete's Corner 36 Aggie Pride

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



NMSU kinesiology student wins Miss New Mexico 2019 pageant JOSH BACHMAN


Misa Tran, an undergraduate kinesiology major, was crowned Miss New Mexico 2019 in June. She will participate in the Miss America pageant in 2020.

NMSU women’s rodeo team places seventh at college finals

The NMSU women’s rodeo team placed seventh in the nation at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, in June 2019. This is the first time NMSU recorded a top 10 ranking since 2009. Bethanie Shofner, Baylee Johnston, Abbie Shofner, Amy Bowditch, Jayde Wamel and Kaitlyn Harwell represented NMSU. After three great rounds in barrel racing, Wamel earned a spot in the championship round. She won the final and finished fifth in the nation. In the same category, Bowditch placed 16th. Harwell and Abbie Shofner also earned spots in the top 20 for breakaway roping. Faith Schifani

NMSU rodeo athlete Baylee Johnston dismounts her horse in the goat tying event at the Casa Grande, Arizona, college rodeo.

4 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

Siakam garners Most Improved Player honors, NBA Championship

In his third year in the NBA, former Aggie Pascal Siakam was named the league’s 2019 Most Improved Player after helping the Toronto Raptors win its first NBA Championship in June 2019. The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games to earn the title. Siakam averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during the 2018-2019 season. A Douala, Cameroon native, Siakam was a member of the Aggies from 2013-2016 before he was drafted as the 27th overall pick in 2016. In his final season in Las Cruces, Siakam earned AP AllAmerica Honorable Mention and WAC Player of the Year honors. Tiffany Acosta NBA PHOTO

isa Tran, who was crowned Miss New Mexico 2019 in June, is an undergraduate athletic training major in NMSU’s Department of Kinesiology and Dance, with plans to use her platform to help veterans and first responders and the Children’s Miracle Network. As part of Miss America’s social impact initiative, Tran will be working with Operation Gratitude, an organization that provides care packages to deployed U.S. service members, veterans, first responders, recruit graduates, military children and wounded service members and their caregivers. She also will work with hospitals affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network. After being inspired by her Alamogordo High School athletic trainer to attend NMSU, she fell in love with the kinesiology department. “What keeps me here is the faculty,” Tran says. “The quality of teaching that I’ve received from the kinesiology department in particular is impeccable.” Adriana M. Chávez ’19

Zeitlin recognized by National Federation of Press Women


Faculty, staff honored at fall convocation ceremony

Larry Allen, former owner and now consultant for Allen Theatres Inc., was recognized with an honorary doctorate of letters degree during the spring 2019 commencement ceremony. Allen Theatres, Inc. has supported NMSU for the past 32 years. The family’s generosity has made its mark on the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, where the box office is named after Larry’s mother, Helen Foutz Allen. The state-of-the- Larry Allen, center, was presented with an art marquee for the honorary degree from NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu and President John Floros. facility also bears the Allen Theatres name to honor the impact of their support. He established the Allen Theatres, Inc. Endowed Scholarship in 1993 to benefit students who work with the company. In 2017, Allen Theatres, Inc. contributed a substantial gift to fund the Allen Family Locker Room and provide additional improvements to the NMSU Coca-Cola Weight Training Center. Since 2012, Allen has been a member of the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors and served on the NMSU Aggie Athletic Club from 2006 to 2012. Melissa Rutter ’17


eora Zeitlin has been recognized with two first-place awards from the National Federation of Press Women for her work with KRWG Public Media. As host of “Intermezzo,” a classical music radio program, Zeitlin’s first awarded segment was a heartfelt tribute to legendary composer Leonard Bernstein with whom her parents were close friends. August 2018 marked the centennial of Bernstein’s birth, and Zeitlin gave the international milestone in music a local angle. Her second segment was about Scaffolding Theatre Company’s production of “Othello: The Remix,” a rap adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. The interview features two of the show’s stars, Julian Alexander and Josh Horton. It started out as a regular interview, then the energy in the room became electric when Zeitlin asked them to share a few lines of rap with the listeners. “Intermezzo” airs on KRWG-FM from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Faith Schifani



Larry Allen receives honorary degree at commencement

NMSU honored faculty and staff join members of the Board of Regents Ammu Devasthali and Dina Chacón-Reitzel, NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, NMSU President John Floros and NMSU Provost Carol Parker at the 2019 fall convocation ceremony at the Atkinson Recital Hall in August.

NMSU honored faculty and staff at the 2019 fall convocation ceremony in August at the Atkinson Recital Hall. Every fall and spring convocation celebrates the start of a new semester. Reflecting NMSU’s commitment of excelling at supporting students in achieving their educational goals, four awards were presented to five faculty members and a staff member for their service to students. Robert Ewing, Department of Accounting and Information Systems, and Hyeongjun Park, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, received the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award. Anaka Gorz, Center for Academic Advising and Student Support, and Robert Steiner, Department of Economics and International Business, received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award. Lois Stanford, Department of Anthropology, received the Westhafer Award, which is given for excellence in teaching. John Idowu, Extension plant science agronomist, received the Distinguished Extension Award for outstanding leadership. Jane Moorman Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



New hotel, investment to help prepare HRTM students for hospitality careers

Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff and Pulitzer Prize-nominated short story writer Lee K. Abbott ’70 ’73 both died in spring 2019. A Stanford graduate, Medoff taught at NMSU for more than 50 years. He founded the Creative Media Institute and co-founded the American Southwest Theatre Company. He is internationally known for his Tony Award-winning play and Oscar-nominated screenplay “Children of a Lesser God.” Abbott was a Las Cruces native who graduated from NMSU with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Abbott’s short stories and essays appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review and The New York Times Book Review, among others. He went on to teach at The Ohio State University until he retired in 2012 and returned to teaching at NMSU in 2015. Abbott was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Minerva Baumann ’13 MIKE




Mark Medoff

6 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

Lee K. Abbott

The Courtyard by Marriott near the NMSU campus celebrated its grand opening in July 2019. The 126-room hotel offers real world, hands-on experience to NMSU students through jobs and internships.

Atomic Aggies finish sixth at Spaceport America Cup COURTESY PHOTO

Two famed NMSU professors leave behind lasting legacies



n July 2019, the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, based in the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, celebrated the opening of the Courtyard by Marriot, a 126-room hotel built on NMSU property that will serve as an experiential learning environment for HRTM students. The hotel, developed and managed by Total Management Systems, will offer real world, hands-on experience to HRTM students through jobs and internships. Students also will receive career training from TMS executives as part of a classroom lecture series that provides insight into hotel management skills. To further hospitality career exploration, the school will use a four-year, $400,000 investment from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation to create a Hospitality Futures Center. The new center will promote the importance of hospitality education and illustrate the broad career paths in the changing industry. Part of the funding will help refine existing recruiting, outreach and professional development programs, and design new hospitality career workshops targeted to high school students, teachers, guidance counselors and community college students. Carlos Andres López ’10

In its second year competing in the Spaceport America Cup, the Atomic Aggies executed a successful rocket launch. The 25-member group began working in August 2018 to construct the 8-foot rocket.

After a successful launch, NMSU’s high-powered rocketry team, the Atomic Aggies, finished sixth at the third annual Spaceport America Cup in June 2019 in Las Cruces. In the 10,000-feet commercial off the shelf, all propulsion types category, 46 teams competed to design, build and launch rockets. Overall, the Atomic Aggies finished 13th out of 124 schools in only their second year in the competition. The team included 25 members, who built an 8-foot, 55-pound rocket that climbed to 12,202 feet at the event. Scores are determined by proximity to predicted altitude, overall design soundness, number of components manufactured in-house and a technical report. Tiffany Acosta


The groundwork for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences was established in 1889. Early college curriculum included courses in chemistry,

meteorology, botany and human physiology.

105 years NMSU’s rivalry with the University of Texas at El Paso began with a Halloween football game in 1914. The Aggies won 19-0. NMSU will host the Miners Nov. 23 in Aggie Memorial Stadium.

55 years

The College of Business began operating in fall

1964. Its first dean was G.L. Guthrie.

35 years

NMSU’s Noche de Luminarias began in 1984. The event is now one of the largest luminaria displays in the state, with candle-lit paper bags illuminating the paths along Piñon Hall, the duck pond, the International Mall and Corbett

15 years

Center Student Union.

In 2004, NMSU established the state’s first Honors

College. The college is housed in the Conroy Honors Center, one of the oldest buildings on campus, named for former NMSU President William B. Conroy. Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



NMSU welcomes new administrators


our new administrators joined NMSU in summer and fall 2019. In July, Carol Parker started as provost, Jim Chavez ’81 started as Physical Science Laboratory director, and Roy Collins III started as the new general counsel and chief legal affairs officer, while in September, Ruth A. Johnston started as the strategic chief financial officer. Parker was formerly senior adviser for academic affairs and provost at the University of Texas at El Paso. Parker started her academic career as a first-generation community college student and went on to complete her baccalaureate education while working full time. She strongly believes in the power of higher education to provide a vehicle for social mobility. Parker has more than two decades of experience as a higher education administrator. She worked at the University of New Mexico from 2013-2017 as senior vice provost for academic affairs. Previous to that, she was an associate dean and director at the UNM School of Law. A former vice president at Sandia National Laboratories, Chavez manages PSL’s strategic direction, establishing national defense and security policies and the staffing and compensation practices necessary to effectively compete for and deliver products and services in the areas of research and technology. Chavez previously served as a director at Keystone International, providing global security consulting services for national laboratories, government agencies and groups. He also was responsible for building national security programs for Keystone. Collins was previously associate general counsel and interim general counsel at the University of Hartford. Collins, a native of Galveston, Texas, worked at Hartford since 2010. He previously served as associate general counsel at Idaho State University and assistant general counsel at Texas Southern University. He also served as commercial counsel for Chrysler Corporation and had his own private law practice. As strategic chief financial officer, Johnston helps set system-wide strategy, define financial objectives of individual entities within the university and drive operational efficiency while creating a climate of accountability. Johnston also provides innovative and strategic guidance to optimize NMSU’s existing, underutilized and untapped assets including real estate holdings. Johnston joined NMSU after recently serving as vice chancellor for the University of Washington Bothell Planning and Administration. She served as first vice president on the Western Association of College and University Business Officers board of directors, and also has served on the Network of Change and Continuous Improvement board. Adriana M. Chávez ’19






8 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

College of Education receives state help to fund scholarships for aspiring teachers


In all, the New Mexico Higher Education Department is making $10 million in scholarships available to students in colleges and universities throughout the state. The state legislature passed the Grow Your Own Teachers Act in early 2019, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Teacher Preparation Affordability Act into law in March 2019. According to a report by researchers in the NMSU College of Education, there were 740 teacher vacancies in New Mexico in 2018, compared to 476 teacher vacancies in 2017. The college is working on several initiatives to address teacher vacancies in the state. The college also houses the Alternative Licensure Program, a program of study approved by the New Mexico Public Education Department that leads to an initial teacher licensure through online and in-person courses. Program participants may obtain a license in elementary, secondary or special education in New Mexico. For more information about the College of Education at NMSU visit https://education.nmsu.edu. Adriana M. Chávez ’19


aced with the rising number of teacher vacancies throughout New Mexico, state policy makers are addressing the issue by providing funds to help aspiring teachers pay for their college tuition. As part of the Teacher Preparation Affordability Act and the Grow Your Own Teachers Act, NMSU has received $700,000 in funds to provide scholarships to students studying to become teachers, as well as area educational assistants completing programs to become licensed teachers in New Mexico. The scholarships will be awarded to sophomores, juniors and seniors in the college. In spring 2020, second-semester freshmen who are 120 days from having received their high school diploma will qualify for funds as well. “These scholarships will help reduce the cost for teachers to earn licensure, which will allow early career teachers an opportunity to take home more money and not have a lot of student loans,” says Henrietta Williams Pichon, NMSU College of Education interim associate dean for academic affairs.

Aracely Estrada, far left, a current educational assistant, works with students during University Hills Elementary School’s afterschool program in Las Cruces. Seated on the floor with students is former educational assistant Vanessa Loya. Educational assistants, who are completing teacher programs and plan to become licensed teachers in New Mexico, may qualify to receive scholarships at NMSU as part of two acts passed by the state legislature in 2019.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



AGGIE BRAGGING Center for World University Rankings lists NMSU among top four percent According to the 2019-2020 Center for World University Rankings, NMSU has been ranked in the top four percent of institutions of higher education worldwide. With 20,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide evaluated, this year NMSU ranked 783rd overall and earned a national rank of 187th. 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.






NMSU ranks as a national top tier university For the seventh time in eight years, NMSU has been recognized as a top tier university according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for 2020 National University rankings. NMSU also ranked as a top public university and a top performer on social mobility as well as for ethnic diversity. The rankings are based on assessment of excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performances, and the number of alumni who give back.

Hispanic Outlook features NMSU on Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics In the August 2019 issue of The Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, NMSU has been recognized on the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics list. NMSU ranked 48th in both total enrollment for four-year schools and total graduate degrees granted, master’s and doctoral degrees, using data from the Department of Education.

10 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

Computer science ranks in top 25 nationally

NMSU ranked 22nd among fouryear public universities in the U.S., which includes more than 200 institutions, for enrolling and graduating women in computer science, according to a recent data analysis compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle analyzes data on higher education to compare colleges on various measures and publishes its analysis in a weekly feature called “Chronicle Lists,” put together by Ruth Hammond, a senior editor. The data is from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, published by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

P O T 25

Foudazi to develop new technologies for advanced water treatment Reza Foudazi, NMSU chemical and materials engineering assistant professor, is working on a project involving new methods for advanced water treatment. He has received a three-year, nearly $315,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, “Stimuliresponsive membranes from mesophase templating.” Through the development of new membrane technologies, Foudazi’s project will evaluate how to provide access to lowcost, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable methods for water treatment processes. Many types of membranes are routinely used in water treatment including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. “The overall goal of this project is to develop ultrafiltration membranes through cost-effective green chemistry, while simultaneously increasing their permeability, to reduce the cost and energy of water treatment,” Foudazi says. “The key feature in this project is to have the membrane stimuli responsive. We design the membranes in a way that their pore size can be changed by the temperature or the pH of the water.” Tiffany Acosta



Professor awarded $1.48 million grant to study Tamoxifen resistance NMSU professor Kevin Houston ’98 discovered a key to what causes resistance to Tamoxifen, a drug used for more than 40 years to treat metastatic breast cancers. Houston’s discovery led the National Institutes of Health to award him a $1.48 million, four-year grant to take his research to the next level. The chemistry and biochemistry professor’s goal is to help breast cancer patients by better understanding Tamoxifen or anti-estrogen treatment resistance. He and his team seek to identify resistance in its early stages so doctors can change treatments and provide better patient care. The NIH funds allow Houston to hire a postdoctoral student and two graduate students, but Houston also invites four to five undergraduates to participate in his research. “My undergrads, they run projects,” Houston says. “They’re growing cells. They’re treating cells. They’re presenting data. Here we have a true balance between research and teaching.” Minerva Baumann ’13

STEM Outreach Center receives $2.2 million to continue programs




The STEM Outreach Center, housed in the NMSU College of Education, has received $2.2 million to continue its out-of-school time programs to benefit students in grades K-8 for the 2019-2020 school year. The funding is provided by the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and helps the STEM Outreach Center implement programs at 25 schools in the Gadsden Independent School District, Hatch Valley Public Schools and Las Cruces Public Schools. Among the benefits of out-of-school time programs are increasing student participation and achievement in STEM fields; engaging students, parents and teachers by incorporating emerging technologies; and socialization opportunities for students across demographic barriers. Out-of-school time programs also provide safe, secure locations for students, along with encouragement of academic success. In late 2019, the STEM Outreach Center will request additional funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program for the next four years. Adriana M. Chávez ’19

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



12 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019



magine a college experience with service learning that makes a profound difference in the lives of students and their clients. The NMSU Doña Ana Community College Dental Hygiene Program has served the needs of the poor in India, provided dental services to local children and helped pioneer a dental clinic at Las Cruces Public School’s Lynn Middle School, the first community school in southern New Mexico. The middle school provides services to children and their families to improve health, well-being and student learning. The DACC Happy Smiles School based dental clinic at Lynn also is the first of its kind in the southern part of the state. Lynn partners with community agencies to bring mental health services, a food pantry, clothing and free dental services to students. Working with those in need is nothing new for DACC Dental Program students. In early 2018, 30 students, dental and medical professionals traveled to India and provided free dental services to more than 3,500 children and adults. The program also put together its first Happy Smiles two-day free dental hygiene clinic that served children from ages 2-14 who had no dental insurance or access to dental services. “Dental services play a significant role in developing healthy children and healthy communities,” says Elmer Gonzalez, program director of the Dental Hygiene Program. “The work we do at the clinic will improve oral health awareness, disease prevention, and provide school children with the tools to grow and develop positive oral health habits.” The dental clinic at Lynn opened in April 2019. The clinic operates every Wednesday, and sees at least five children per day. Two dental hygiene students provide dental health services to build their clinical and social skills. Faculty members supervise DACC students at all times. “The faculty and students at Lynn are very welcoming and make our services feel appreciated,” says Janaya Bunker, a Lynn graduate and the DACC Dental Clinic Coordinator at the school. Thanks to Gonzalez and the NMSU Foundation, corporate sponsors have provided funding for this collaboration. Delta Dental of New Mexico has provided two grants to purchase mobile dental equipment and funding for services. The Anderson Charitable Foundation also awarded a challenge grant after the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico awarded resources for a dental clinic in southern Doña Ana County. Another project scheduled for the 20192020 winter holiday break is a trip to provide dental services to clients in Vietnam. Eddie Binder


DACC Dental Hygiene Program helps improve smiles in Las Cruces, across the globe

Top: Elmer Gonzalez, program director of the DACC Dental Hygiene Program, treats a student at the dental clinic at Lynn Middle School in Las Cruces. Bottom: DACC students Justice Au (right) and Ariana Armijo provide dental health services at the clinic, which opened in April 2019.

2019 President’s Associates Virtual Ball

by the numbers

The President’s Associates Ball alternates each year between the large President’s Associates Ball gala event and the President’s Associates Virtual Ball. In spring 2019, the NMSU Foundation held a Virtual Ball that featured an online auction, sponsorship opportunities and three mini dinners at local restaurants attended by supporters and President’s Associates Scholars.

$25,000+ Total raised

$15,000 Online auction

$7,500 Sponsorships

$4,600 Mini dinners ticket sales

$3,000 Donor contributions


Students in the 2019-2020 PA Scholar class

Mark your calendars for the 2020 President’s Associates Ball Saturday, April 18, 2020 Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



NMSU students, faculty, alumni from various disciplines explore the final frontier By Tiffany Acosta

An Apollo VIII photograph shows the Earth-rise over the lunar surface in 1968. The photograph is part of the Clyde Tombaugh papers held by the NMSU Library Archives and Special Collections department.

From discovering planets to working at NASA, the NMSU community has made legendary contributions to the space domain and continues to test the limits of what is possible. 14 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019





or a third generation Aggie like John Mulholland ’86 ’95, working in space was destined from a young age. “My passion for this industry started when I was six years old watching the first moon landing,” he says. “At that time, being that young, it just seemed unreachable. I remember going outside at night, looking at the moon and being amazed that there were people there.” Mulholland, who has 30 years of experience in the industry working at NASA and Boeing, is leading Boeing’s development of the Commercial Crew Space Transportation system called the CST-100 Starliner. The effort is a return of domestic crew launch capabilities. The first Starliner is expected to launch by the end of 2019, and will be the first American-built crew capsule that will land on land. Two of the landing zones are at the White Sands Missile Range. “Boeing’s Starliner will revolutionize how people travel to and from space in the same way we led the commercialization of air travel around the globe,” says the Boeing vice president and program manager. Boeing is planning to offer low Earth orbit passenger flights to international and corporate astronauts, scientists, researchers, educators and tourists. “It’s exciting to be a part of a program that


John Mulholland (right), vice president and program manager of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Program, gives Vice President Mike Pence (center) and NASA astronaut Bob Behnken a tour of Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida.

John Mulholland (left), vice president and program manager of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Program, and Steve Stitch, deputy program manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, watch a boilerplate spacecraft attached to a giant balloon lift off from Spaceport America for a test of the Starliner’s parachute system. Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




Technical and Horticultural Scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Jacob Torres and his team are researching how to grow crops in space. One of the crops, New Mexico chile peppers, will make its first appearance in space in early 2020.

As a horticulture professor at Texas Tech University, Ellen Peffley led a team for NASA’s Advanced Life Sciences program to provide onions as a sustainable fresh food supply for astronauts.

We were told the astronauts love to have the green things around them, and they love to be able to see something that’s not a piece of machinery.

–ELLEN PEFFLEY ’77 ’81 ’85

16 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

is shaping a new industry in space,” says Mulholland, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at NMSU. While Mulholland focuses on the travel aspects, Jacob Torres ’14 is working on feeding astronauts. Torres, technical and horticultural scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and his team have been researching how to grow crops in space and in extraterrestrial environments like the moon and Mars. One crop his team is growing is New Mexico chile peppers. After testing a large number of varieties, New Mexico chile is slated to be sent to the International Space Station in early 2020. “Ultimately, the one that served our purposes was the Española Improved from the NMSU Chile Pepper Institute,” says the mechanical engineering technology graduate. “It’s a cross between the New Mexico Sandia pepper and Española pepper. It’s a nonpartisan variety.” Torres says it will likely be several years before the astronauts can consume the peppers, which will be the first fruiting plant grown on the space station. “The first grow outs will be pure science and technology demonstrations in the Advanced Plant Habitat,” he says. “Our ultimate goal is to supplement the astronauts’ diet, but right now we are trying to figure out our ABCs. “The biggest challenge we’ve had was deciding on a single variety to send up.” While engineering led Mulholland and Torres to the field, NASA sought out Ellen Peffley ’77 ’81 ’85. As a professor

Observatory NMSU operates ranked second in nation


of horticulture at Texas Tech University, in the early 2000s she led a team for NASA’s Advanced Life Sciences program to provide onions as a sustainable fresh food supply for astronauts on extended missions. “When you grow plants in elevated carbon dioxide and provide them the requisite light requirements the plants just grow like gangbusters,” she says. Peffley and her team’s work provided the basis for in-house NASA researchers to conduct water studies, which resulted in the onion variety “Purplette” making it to space more than a decade ago. “We were told the astronauts love to have the green things around them, and they love to be able to see something that’s not a piece of machinery,” says Peffley, who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture at NMSU along with a Ph.D. in agronomy. NMSU’s history in space also includes the well-known astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the then ninth planet Pluto in 1930. From 19551973, Tombaugh was an NMSU faculty member who helped establish the astronomy department at NMSU. While many NMSU alumni have worked in the space industry, one way students can gain research experience at NMSU is through the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium. The organization has been a member of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program that NASA has administered since 1989. NMSU is the lead space-grant institution in the state of New Mexico. From astronomers to engineers to horticulturists, numerous NMSU alumni, faculty and students have studied and made a career involving space. And just maybe there’s a six year old future Aggie looking at the sky and dreaming of an incredible adventure.

An NMSU faculty member from 1955-1973, Clyde Tombaugh helped establish the astronomy department at NMSU. He discovered Pluto in 1930.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama





pache Point Observatory, operated by NMSU and owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, is ranked second by Collegerank.net among the top 35 college observatories in the country. The No. 1 ranking goes to Haleakala Observatory at the University of Hawaii. Others among the top 35 include Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, Palomar Observatory at California Institute of Technology and Haystack Observatory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. APO, located in Sunspot, New Mexico, about 18 miles south of Cloudcroft in the Sacramento Mountains, is home to four telescopes: the 3.5 meter ARC telescope; the 2.5 meter Sloan Foundation telescope; the 0.5 meter Small Aperture Telescope; and NMSU’s 1.0 meter telescope. “Apache Point Observatory’s mission is to provide low cost, low downtime, high quality astronomical data efficiently Nestled in the Sacramento Mountains, Apache Point Observatory operates four telescopes as possible while providincluding the Astrophysical Research Consoring economic and social tium 3.5-meter telescope, which is used for a benefits to the community wide variety of astronomical research. and New Mexico as well as educating the public and providing a facility conducive for higher education astronomical learning,” says Mark Klaene, site operations manager for more than 10 years. The observatory sits on a mountain 9,200 feet above sea level. The night sky seen from APO is among the darkest in the U.S. Amanda Adame ’19

Foundation celebrate milestone anniversar Compiled by Megan Hansen ’06 ’09


The NMSU Foundation, originally named the New Mexico Foundation, was established in 1959 under NMSU President Roger Corbett. The first major campaign raised money to purchase a large computer for data processing, subsequently attracting a new segment of students interested in computer science.


The President’s Associates group was formed in 1977, consisting of downtown Las Cruces business owners who pledged at least $1,000 a year to NMSU for student scholarships. The inaugural President’s Associates Ball was held Sept. 16, 1977 and was, according to then-President Gerald Thomas, “the event of the year.” The PA Ball is a tradition that continues today in support of PA Scholarships, a program designed to keep star students from New Mexico in the state.


During Homecoming weekend of 1988, NMSU’s decade-long Centennial Campaign, the largest fundraising effort in NMSU history at the time, successfully reached its goal to raise $18,881,988 – an amount signifying NMSU’s first 100 years.

18 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019


The Aggie license plate was released, allowing New Mexico drivers to show their Aggie pride. Since its launch, more than 20,000 Aggie plates have been issued. Partnering with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, $25 of every license plate is donated to the NMSU Foundation in support of student scholarships.


The first #GivingTuesday – a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – was held at NMSU Dec. 1, 2015. The successful inaugural event became an annual tradition. Since #GivingTuesday 2015, hundreds of alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students in the state, across the country and around the world have raised $13.4 million for Aggie students.


On Dec. 31, the historic Ignite Aggie Discovery! capital campaign will close. The largest cash-only campaign in NMSU history went public in 2017 and the $125 million campaign goal is within reach thanks to NMSU’s generous supporters.

2. 1.

tes ary




1. The NMSU Foundation began during Roger Corbett’s tenure as president. 2. Major gifts to the NMSU Foundation have improved facilities such as the Presley Askew Baseball Field. 3. Since #GivingTuesday debuted at NMSU in 2015, alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students have donated $13.4 million. 4. Dove Hall is home to the NMSU Foundation. 5. The President’s Associates Ball started in 1977 when Gerald Thomas was president. 6. For 42 years the President’s Associates Ball has raised funds for student scholarships. 7. Devasthali Hall, the newest building on campus, was supported with significant donor dollars. 8. Since 2001, New Mexico drivers have had the chance to display Aggie pride with an NMSU license plate and a portion of the proceeds is donated in support of student scholarships. 9. Fundraising campaigns, such as Make a STATEment, assist student organizations like Aggies Without Limits with the needed support to help communities around the world. 10. After the launch of the Aggie Ignite Discovery! capital campaign in 2017, the goal of $125 million by the campaign closing of Dec. 31 is near.






Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



By Carlos Andres López ’10



As a NMSU nursing student, Jennifer Patrick checks the vital signs of asylum-seekers from Guatemala at the El Calvario United Methodist Church in March 2019.

Nursing, social work students work together to help migrants amid influx

20 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Spring 2019


mid a surge of migrants seeking asylum in the United States, students and faculty from the College of Health and Social Services at NMSU went into action in spring 2019, joining a Las Cruces church in a volunteer effort to provide medical care and assistance with social services to Central American families living in limbo. It was the first time in the college’s 40-year history that students from the School of Social Work and School of Nursing joined together to aid migrants as part of collaborative, interprofessional clinical and fieldpractice experiences. Their support came as communities along the U.S.-Mexico border faced a wave of Central American families fleeing violence from their home countries. And, their help continued months after the influx began to recede. The CHSS students took their skills to El Calvario United Methodist Church, one of several organizations in Las Cruces that temporarily sheltered thousands of asylum-seekers in early 2019. CHSS instructors Randee Greenwald, assistant professor of nursing, and Olga Cabada, associate professor of social work, spearheaded the collaboration. “This experience gave us real context and insight as to how this collaborative process between nursing and social work students can add so much more to the help they can offer working interprofessionally,” Cabada says. Working in pairs, the students went to the church once a week over five weeks, helping with various tasks related to their fields of study for up to four hours or longer. The nursing students conducted triage examinations on migrants and worked in partnership with an on-site health care provider. The social work students, meanwhile, helped coordinate travel arrangements and compiled lists of social service programs for migrants. They also assisted the nursing students in situations that required mental health intervention. The students also shared meals with the migrants to foster better dialogue and trust. “I learned a lot about cultural humility, how the government systems impact asylumseekers and U.S. citizens, and how to be a better advocate,” says Josie Schmidt ’19, one of –JOSIE SCHMIDT ’19 the social work students who helped migrants at the church. “I also learned about the harsh conditions and experiences asylum-seekers go through in order to come to the U.S. to apply for asylum,” says Schmidt, who graduated in May 2019 with a master’s degree in social work and started working for the Aggie Health and Wellness Center in October 2019 providing counseling services. Like Schmidt, most of the students who volunteered at El Calvario in spring 2019 graduated. But two students in the social work graduate program began yearlong internships at the church in August 2019 as part of their field-practice training, continuing the work of the previous students. The situation is much different than earlier in 2019. Due to current immigration policy, the number of asylum-seekers coming into Las Cruces and other border communities for transitional shelter has dropped drastically. At the height of this year’s influx, El Calvario housed an average of 60 asylum-seekers, mostly families with children, per week. That number has since dwindled down to the single digits as a result of U.S. policy forcing migrants to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims play out in court. According to Cabada, the two new graduate students working with the church are planning a visit to Ciudad Juárez to help asylum-seekers during their internships. “Looking back on this experience,” Greenwald says, “we got to meet and listen to asylum-seekers, hear their stories, and learn about the conditions that caused them to leave their countries. In the time we shared, they were respected, they were heard and they were cared for.” JOSH BACHMAN


I learned a lot about cultural humility, how the government systems impact asylum-seekers and U.S. citizens, and how to be a better advocate.

As an NMSU social work graduate student, Josie Schmidt works on a laptop to find social service programs for the asylum-seekers at the El Calvario United Methodist Church in March 2019.

Randee Greenwald (left), assistant professor in NMSU’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Social Services, talks with George Miller, pastor at El Calvario United Methodist Church, before examining an asylum-seeker in March 2019. Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Clara Roberts (left standing), Melissa Perez and Luke Devine (left seated) agreed that during their internship meeting J. Paul Taylor during their internship with the NMSU Library was the highlight of their experience.



By Tiffany Acosta

Three NMSU Library interns spent the summer diving into local papers

s a child the anticipation of Christmas morning can be difficult to recreate, but for three NMSU students that feeling returned in summer 2019. Through the J. Paul Taylor and Mary Daniels Taylor internship program at the NMSU Library, Luke Devine ’18, Melissa Perez and Clara Roberts ’18 spent two months combing through boxes, not knowing what historic treasures could be discovered. A $7,500 gift from the Friends of the Taylor Family Monument funded the trio’s work in the NMSU Library Archives and Special Collections to process the Taylor ’42 ’54 ’63 ’85 papers. The Taylor papers are a unique part of the library’s special collections, providing artifacts that help illuminate the history of the Mesilla Valley. Processing a collection can be rigorous work, which happens in phases including appraisal and accessioning, arrangement, description and re-housing. “The three interns we had this summer made a huge contribution toward getting Mr. Taylor’s papers ready for use by researchers,” says Dennis Daily, associate professor and University Library, Archives and Special Collections department head. “They created box-level inventories for the bulk of the collection, which we will use as we move forward with arranging the materials and preparing them for open access.” The majority of the work completed by Roberts and Devine, public history graduate students, and Perez, studio art and anthropology 22 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019


Top: Since 1978, J. Paul Taylor and Mary Daniels Taylor, who died in 2007, have made more than 85 donations of papers, research materials, manuscripts, photographs and audio recordings.

senior, was inventorying the contents of the boxes to help in the intellectual arrangement of the materials. “It’s little fun things you find that makes it fun when you are going through hours of legislative paperwork,” says Roberts. “I wasn’t expecting a lot of variety in the content of the collection,” Perez says. “When you open a box, you don’t really know what to expect, until you open it. For me that’s great because I would get so excited after getting so many papers. I would get excited to find a cassette or a VHS tape or even a pencil sharpener.” Despite the challenges of sorting through 200 boxes of materials, all three interns agreed having the opportunity to meet Taylor and learn about his life was the highlight of the program. “The internship was amazing,” says Devine. “I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the internship. Working with J. Paul Taylor and visiting with him, he’s so knowledgeable about Mesilla. It’s really amazing.” Taylor, who is now 99 years old, worked for more than 30 years as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent in the Las Cruces Public School system. He also served for 18 years as a representative in the New Mexico legislature following his retirement from education. He and his wife Mary Daniels Taylor, who died in 2007, have made more than 85 donations of papers, research materials, manuscripts, photographs and audio recordings since 1978. “Our parents’ wishes are to provide the public with the opportunity to enhance its understanding of Mesilla Valley’s history, and how it has been instrumental in shaping the state of New Mexico and the Borderlands,” says Mike Taylor, one of the seven Taylor children. “In particular, the numerous records dealing with Mesilla and its residents from establishment in the late 1840s up through the recent past will greatly help in demonstrating the great contributions Mesilleros have made to the region.” Daily says the goal is to have the descriptive guide to the collection available online and to provide access to the materials in the reading room of the Branson Library by the end of 2019.


Bottom: Clara Roberts (from left), Melissa Perez and Luke Devine spent summer 2019 sorting through 200 boxes of materials in the J. Paul Taylor papers.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



24 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019










NG 2019

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


PAYING it FORW NMSU faculty, staff establish scholarships to help the next generation

By Jane Moorman

NMSU Associate Professor Ryan Goss, left, established the Aggie Organ Donor Endowed Scholarship to support students who are waiting for an organ transplant or have a family member who has donated a major organ. In 2011, Goss received a kidney from a deceased organ donor but was unable to thank the family for the donation. Pictured with Goss is his wife, Dana Hubbard.



26 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

here are personal reasons why a scholarship is established. It is a sacred gift. An act of giving with no expectation of receiving anything in return except the personal knowledge of the good that has been done. Many NMSU faculty and staff have established scholarship funds to help students during their academic pursuits. For Ryan Goss and Gena Jones ’81, establishing scholarships, which help the future generation to pursue their dreams, is a way to show their gratitude for the encouragement they received. Goss experienced the benefit of the ultimate sacred gift – the donation of an organ from a total stranger. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences associate professor of turfgrass management was unable to thank the family of the deceased donor for the gift of a kidney in 2011, which has prolonged his life. “I had a little guilt with that fact,” Goss says. “I was looking for ways to give back. I thought there was no better way than to start a scholarship at NMSU. This scholarship is honoring those who donated major organs to me and others.” In 2012, Goss and his former wife, Diana, established the Aggie Organ Donor Endowed Scholarship to support students who are waiting for an organ transplant or have a family member who has donated a major organ. “My wife, Dana Hubbard, and my family have been very supportive of this endowment,” Goss says. “We have already awarded several scholarships.” There are dozens of students on campus who are eligible for the scholarship, according to Goss. “Having a major organ transplant is very expensive,” Goss says. “Prior to receiving one, the patient must go through a week of medical tests to prepare for a good match. This could mean staying in the city where the medical center is located.


RWARD And if they receive one, it takes six weeks of daily tests to determine the level of anti-rejection drugs that are needed.” Those costs have an impact on the finances of the recipient and their family, which could prevent them from pursuing a college education. “I want to encourage these students to pursue their career dream despite what they are going through medically,” Goss says. Jones knows the importance of the encouragement she received while attending NMSU and majoring in social work. “My family was encouraging and supportive,” says Jones, NMSU’s assistant vice president for human resource services and a first-generation college student. “Especially my older siblings, one of whom finished his degree after I graduated.” She is passing that encouragement on to the next generation of social workers. “The field of social work has a special place in my heart,” Jones says. “I think it is absolutely crucial that we continue to support this unrecognized field that has such a huge impact on our societal environment.” Because of her deep respect and compassion for the field of social work, Jones established the Gena W. Jones Current Use Scholarship in 2018 for social work students. It has already provided assistance for three social work students. “Social workers are exceptional people,” she says. “They deal with people and situations associated with social issues that impact the world. I want to support those special people.” Social work students face entering a career that is not a high paying profession but one that can be personally and professionally rewarding. “While in school you don’t want to build up a lot of loan debt,” Jones says. “Hopefully, this scholarship will help them to keep that debt down.”

NMSU Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Services Gena Jones established the Gena W. Jones Current Use Scholarship in 2018 for NMSU social work students. Jones majored in social work at NMSU and was a first-generation college student. The scholarship has already provided assistance for three social work students.

You can directly add to the impact of these scholarships or others. To learn more or donate to a specific scholarship or fund, visit support.nmsu.edu/give/faculty-staff or call 575-646-1316.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


UNDERSTANDING the GLOBAL ECONOMY Bloomberg Terminal program launches in the College of Business


28 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019



tudents at NMSU can now get a taste of Wall Street without having to leave Las Cruces, thanks to the new Bloomberg Terminal curriculum and certification program that launched at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year in the College of Business. Bloomberg Terminal is a software platform that provides real-time and historical data, market-moving news and analytics to help leading business and financial professionals worldwide make better-informed investment decisions. The service also features execution platforms for every asset class, research and a global network to communicate securely and reliably. By bringing the Bloomberg Terminal curriculum to NMSU, students can now gain insight and understanding of financial markets, and learn how to assess economic scenarios and interpret critical news developments that impact the global economy. They’ll also have the opportunity to obtain a résumé-enhancing certification offered by Bloomberg Market Concepts. The program was made possible through financial gifts from Thurman Case ’80 ’81, chief financial officer and vice president of finance for the Austin, Texas-based Cirrus Logic, and the Santa Fe, New Mexicobased Thornburg Investment Management. “As the largest investment manager in New Mexico, we are thrilled to partner with NMSU and Thurman Case to inspire and transform NMSU students into the next generation of leaders in business and finance,” says Jason Brady, president and CEO of Thornburg Investment Management. “Giving NMSU students access to the Bloomberg Terminal curriculum and certification can cultivate Thurman Case the skills that will help prepare them for opportunities in the business world,” says Case, who received a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration from NMSU. NMSU joins more than 950 universities worldwide that incorporate the Bloomberg Terminal into classwork. The program at NMSU is housed on the third floor of Business Complex and features nine Bloomberg Terminals. “You can’t get more real world than using the Bloomberg Terminal,” says Kenneth Martin, a Regents professor and finance department head. Martin is one of five faculty members from the department who are integrating the Bloomberg Terminal curriculum into courses. In summer 2019, Martin and two other finance professors, Harikumar Sankaran and Shofiqur Rahman, spent time at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, training on the terminals in preparation for the program launch. In Martin’s financial information technology course, students are using the Bloomberg Terminals, along Jason Brady with electronic financial information resources with spreadsheet applications, to investigate and solve financial issues and problems. “This course is required of all finance majors,” Martin says, “so every finance student will have the opportunity to work on the Bloomberg Terminal.” In fall 2019, the first group of NMSU students started completing the certification program offered by Bloomberg Market Concepts. After successfully finishing the program, students can add the certification to their résumés, becoming more marketable. “The Bloomberg Terminals are the coolest thing that I think I have used at this school,” says Austin Parkins, an undergraduate finance student who attends Sankaran’s fixed-income course in fall 2019. “After I put that I was certified on LinkedIn, I got a call within 24 hours from someone asking about it.” Alex Ledgerwood, a graduate student in the MBA Program, uses the terminals in three of his classes in fall 2019. “In my international managerial finance class, taught by Dr. Maria DeBoyrie, we used Bloomberg to understand the exchange rates in currency. We can see it all in real time,” he says. “Continuing the program would help NMSU turn out graduates who are already versed in the most common trade platform in the world,” Ledgerwood says. “I can’t emphasize enough that this something huge for our Finance Department.”


By Carlos Andres López ’10


Above: Austin Parkins uses a Bloomberg Terminal in a fixed-income markets and securities course taught by finance professor Harikumar Sankaran. Left: Kenneth Martin, a Regents professor in the Department of Finance, works on a Bloomberg Terminal. Martin is one of five faculty members in the department who are integrating the Bloomberg Terminal curriculum into finance courses. Right: NMSU students (from left) Billy Nipp, Eric Aragon and Madison McNeile work on the new Bloomberg Terminal program.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama




Larry H. Lang ’80 After a 30-year military career leading five U.S. Air Force bands, culminating as the commander and conductor of the internationally respected, U.S. Air Force Band, Col. Larry H. Lang ’80, became the executive director of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra in June 2019. An El Paso native, Lang’s love of music began in fifth grade and led him to NMSU where he earned bachelor’s degrees in music performance for trombone and music education. He went on to earn a master’s degree

and pursued his other love – teaching. Lang was a college band director for eight years before embarking on his military music career. Lang says, “all of my experiences as a player and teacher informed my work as a professional conductor.” Lang is now putting his talents to work for the Flagstaff Symphony, which has more than 60 musicians who serve an audience of 14,000 people each year. Minerva Baumann ’13



Gary Woodland, an American golfer who competes on the PGA Tour, won his first major championship in June 2019 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Not only was it a breakthrough moment for Woodland, but it was a victory for his caddie, Brennan Little ’93, who now boasts two major championship wins on his résumé. Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, played golf for NMSU under former head coach Herb Wimberly from 1989-93. During his collegiate career, Little

Terese Marie Mailhot ’13 Author Terese Marie Mailhot ’13 was awarded the 2019 Whiting Award in Non-Fiction for her book, New York Times bestseller, “Heart Berries: A Memoir.” Mailhot, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, wrote “Heart Berries” to tell the story of her life as a Canadian indigenous woman coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. She currently teaches creative writing at Purdue University. Not only did Mailhot earn her under30 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

graduate degree at NMSU, but she also met her husband, writer Casey Gray. “Heart Berries” has earned numerous other awards, including NPR Best Book of the Year, and Best Book of the Year from the New York and Chicago public libraries. In addition to the Whiting Award, Mailhot has received the Electra Quinney Award for Published Stories, a Clara Johnson Award and the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature. Minerva Baumann ’13

played 21 tournaments with a 76.38 stroke average. After college, he competed in the Canadian Tour, Asian Tour and the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament before he transitioned into a role as a caddie. Little first teamed up with fellow Canadian Mike Weir, who won the Masters Tournament in 2003. It was Little’s first time being on the bag of a major winner. After stints with Sean O’Hair and Camilo Villegas, Little joined Woodland in 2016. Carlos Andres López ’10



Brennan Little ’93



Washington Wizards 2019 draft pick Rui Hachimura (center) poses with head coach Scott Brooks (left) and general manager Tommy Sheppard during an introductory news conference in June 2019 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.


ommy Sheppard’s ’91 love of sports has guided him throughout his life. It set the foundation for a career that began at NMSU, where he worked in sports media relations as a student, and led him to the NBA, where he has spent the past 26 years working as a top executive for two teams. Sheppard, an Albuquerque native who earned a bachelor’s degree in community health and played football for the Aggies for three seasons, was named general manager of the Washington Wizards in July 2019. “I’ve been in the NBA for 26 years. This will be my 26th season. It was always a goal of mine to become a general manager in the NBA,” Sheppard says. Sheppard credits the opportunities he received as a student at NMSU for kickstarting his career. “Steve Shutt helped change my life,” he says, referring to the former longtime assistant athletic director of media relations at NMSU. “He gave me an opportunity to work during my senior year as I was graduating. It was just tremendous. He gave me this whole career in athletics.” Sheppard worked as Shutt’s student assistant for two years, during which time he developed an interest in pursuing a career in sports media relations. He says, “NMSU gave me an incredible opportunity to learn and be around fantastic people,” including Shutt, Darryl Seibel ’90, former NMSU football head coach Jim Hess, former NMSU information services director Eddie Groth, who died in 2013, and current NMSU athletics director Mario Moccia ’89. When he left NMSU after graduation, Sheppard took a job at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as an assistant sports information director. He was quickly promoted to sports information director and held the position until he joined the Denver Nuggets in 1994. “I started in media relations, and I expanded into scouting and working with the front office,” Sheppard recalls of his time serving as the senior director of Team Services and Player Relations for the Nuggets. “It was basically creating a new department within a department. We were team services, so we helped our players in every area as they moved and transitioned into the NBA.” Sheppard spent nine years with the Nuggets before joining the Washington Wizards, owned by Monumental Basketball, in Washington, D.C. He served as the team’s senior vice president for basketball operations for 15 years until he was promoted to interim general manager in April 2019. Three months later, he was named general manager, joining the leadership team of Monumental Basketball. In his new role, Sheppard oversees strategy, analytics, player personnel, scouting and coaching for the Wizards; Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ NBA G League affiliate; and Wizards District Gaming, a professional NBA 2K League team based in Washington. Carlos Andres López ’10

Washington Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard introduces 2019 NBA draft pick Rui Hachimura during an introductory news conference in June at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Smith cultivates relationships, takes helm of Anteater program

Top: Paula Smith, who was named athletic director at UC Irvine in June, worked in the NMSU athletics department as an undergraduate student for four years, which established a foundation for her career in collegiate athletic administration. Bottom: Smith celebrates commencement with UC Irvine student-athletes.

32 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019




hen Paula Smith ’88 was named athletic director at the University of California, Irvine in June 2019 she became one of only 40 women and seven African American women to currently hold the title. “It’s been a rewarding opportunity to serve UC Irvine where I’ve worked for the last 14 years,” Smith says. “The student-athletes, staff and community have been very welcoming in this new role and supported me 100 percent. I couldn’t ask for anything better.” After serving two stints as interim athletic director at UCI in 2007-2008 and 2018-2019, Smith was the deputy director of intercollegiate athletics prior to accepting the permanent position. The Alamogordo, New Mexico, native spent 12 years at the Big West Conference, where she started as intern and became an assistant commissioner before she was hired at UCI in 2000. Smith went on to spend five years at University of California, Riverside, before she returned to the Anteaters in 2006. Smith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, credits a change in majors from accounting and her four years as a student employee in the NMSU athletic department as helping prepare her for a career in athletics. For those interested in following in her footsteps, Smith believes building relationships is a key to moving up the ranks. “One of the things I felt that was key in my growth is staying connected with people in the business and being proactive about expressing your interest in the career,” Smith says. “With any form of business you have to network. It’s important to have the experience, knowledge and education as well as any work experience you can get, so don’t be afraid of volunteering your time. A lot of times that will get you in the door.” After 30 years of experience in collegiate athletic administration, Smith says understanding the reason for working in the field is vital. “We are helping young people have a quality athletic experience, while they are getting their education, and it’s about furthering our student-athletes as a whole person and what will be the next 40 years of their career.” Tiffany Acosta



Alabama Texas

Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



From sales to CEO, Hormel Foods leader values NMSU education

34 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019



im Snee ’89 was in his final semester at NMSU, preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, when he was offered a job to work in retail sales for Hormel Foods in San Francisco. His first day on the job was June 5, 1989. More than three decades later, Snee still works for the global food company, based in Austin, Minnesota. But he’s no longer in retail sales. In the years that followed his arrival at Hormel Foods, he worked his way up, and now serves as the company’s chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, leading 20,000 employees across more than 40 brands that generate more than $9 billion in annual revenue worldwide. Hormel Foods is one of the most admired global-branded food companies in the world and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. “If I had to sit down and write the script for my professional career the day I graduated from New Mexico State,” Snee says, “I would’ve never been so bold to think this was in the realm of possibility. “The education that I received from NMSU, the success of the company, and my ability to deliver results all came together in unison and allowed me to continue to advance and achieve what I’ve been able to achieve,” he says. Snee, who’s originally from Albuquerque, came to NMSU in 1985 to study business computer systems in the College of Business. However, he realized he was better suited for marketing and switched majors. As a student, Snee played intramural sports and joined the Jim Snee is the CEO, president Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He also and chairman of the board at met Tammy Atwater ’90, whom Hormel Foods, where he leads he later married, and who also 20,000 employees across more than 40 brands that generate graduated from NMSU with a more than $9 billion in annual political science degree. revenue worldwide. “I always felt at home at NMSU,” he says, “and I think that speaks volumes about the culture of our amazing educational institution.” After NMSU, Snee furthered his education while working for Hormel Foods. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and participated in Harvard Business School’s executive leadership and management programs. Over the next decade, Snee advanced within the company’s leadership team, starting in 2008, when he was named vice president of affiliated business units. In 2011, he became the leader of Hormel Foods International, overseeing the company’s global portfolio. Between October 2015 and October 2016, he was named president, chief operating officer and then CEO. In 2017, he was elected to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Snee is the 10th president and CEO in Hormel’s 128-year history. “There’s a multitude of things this job touches,” he says, “but more than anything, I’m the cheerleader, the champion and the spokesperson for not only how successful the business is, but all of the good things that the organization is doing that perhaps people don’t realize.” Carlos Andres López ’10


NEW SCHOLARSHIP HELPS Aggies in financial need




ith advanced degrees in chemistry, more than a dozen patents and a successful company he built from the ground up, Carroll “Benny” Dickens ’86 still believes the obstacles he conquered at NMSU were among the toughest. Dickens was the first in his family to go to college in the early 1980s and the first from his small hometown in rural Arizona to attend the university on a football scholarship. His senior year, Dickens was a four-year starter and captain of the NMSU football team as well as District 8 Academic All-American. His experiences at NMSU left an impression on him that remains today. “It wasn’t easy. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life and what I’m most proud of, and I have more than a dozen patents and built my own company,” Dickens says. “None of that was as hard as the physical and mental challenges I faced at NMSU.” While Dickens credits his time as a student-athlete with building his character, he saw other student-athletes struggle in the face of financial hardship. Seeing a way to make a difference, earlier in 2019 he worked with the NMSU Foundation to fund the Benny Dickens Endowed Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences. The award seeks to lighten the burden for NMSU’s non-scholarship student-athletes. “A commitment to a team is like having a job: academic career, practices and away games. Being a student-athlete requires 100 percent of your attention plus you carry the same academic load that any other student does,” Dickens says. “If you can do that, there’s nothing you can’t do.” The 55-year-old entrepreneur also teaches a class encouraging students to decide what they want to do and go for it. He has a positive approach to facing challenges. “Any time you have the pleasure of adversity in life and come out the other side, it’s a serious self-esteem booster.” Dickens is married to Valerie, his wife of 27 years. They have two children, Gabe and Alex, who were both student-athletes in college. Minerva Baumann ’13

Any time you have the pleasure of adversity in life and come out the other side, it’s a serious self-esteem booster.

Carroll “Benny” Dickens ’86, a chemistry major who was captain of the NMSU football team during his senior year, overcame several challenges that led him to start a successful company and earn more than a dozen patents. Earlier in 2019, Dickens worked with the NMSU Foundation to establish the Benny Dickens Endowed Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences. The scholarship helps non-scholarship studentathletes at NMSU.


Fall 2019 | New Mexico State University | Panorama



Vega honors father

with scholarship for engineering students




ince joining Dow Chemical in 1998, Louis Vega ’91 has carried the Olympic torch at the Sochi, PyeongChang and Rio Olympics, and held executive positions across the globe in Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. Vega studied government and economics at NMSU before moving to Washington, D.C., to work for the late New Mexico U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici. After 12 years in the political arena, he joined the team at Dow. Over his 20-year career, he has helped advance the company through leadership roles including vice president of Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions, and president and managing director of Dow Australia and New Zealand. Now president of Dow North America and vice president of Government Affairs and Advocacy, Vega wants to share his success with others, including students at his alma mater. In fact, his generosity towards NMSU is changing students’ lives today through two endowed scholarships. “The success I’ve been able to achieve professionally is beyond anything I could have dreamt of when I was growing up in Socorro or while I was at NMSU, and I don’t want to wait to give back,” says Vega. “These endowed scholarships will last and grow as long as the university does. They can be a tool to drive education and a life that is rewarding and exciting for students.” On #GivingTuesday 2018, Vega established the most recent endowment, the Vega Family Endowed Scholarship, to benefit students in the College of Engineering. The scholarship honors his father, Guadalupe Vega ’75, who graduated with an engineering degree. For Vega, education has always been a family affair, and his earliest memories of NMSU are clambering around campus at age four while his dad attended classes. Vega witnessed the crucial role of support in educational ventures early on, receiving the same backing when it was his turn to take on the role of an Aggie undergrad. Providing current students with this sense of support is Vega’s main motivation for giving back through academic scholarships. “It takes support to reach success, and these scholarships are part of showing students they are not alone, especially if they are the first in their family to go to college” he says. In fall 2019, the first Vega Family Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Alberto Barajas, a first-generation college student and aerospace engineering major. In addition to taking a heavy load of engineering classes, he minors in music and plays in the Pride Band and Jazz Ensemble. Vega’s generosity is not only helping Barajas pursue his education, it is also creating an opportunity for relationships and experiences that make Aggie grads like Vega consider NMSU their home, even long after they’ve graduated. Megan Hansen ’06 ’09

Top: Louis Vega (right) established the Vega Family Endowed Scholarship during #GivingTuesday 2018 to honor his father, Guadalupe Vega. Bottom: The Vega Family Endowed Scholarship benefits College of Engineering students, and Alberto Barajas is the scholarship’s first recipient.

36 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Fall 2019

Help us ensure that EVERY deserving Aggie receives a scholarship from the NMSU Foundation. Your contribution of any amount, combined with thousands of gifts from fellow Alumni and Friends, adds up to make a transformational impact on our students, our University system and our world.

$112.53M 28,210 dollars raised AS OF 09/26/2019


alumni & friends





for student scholarships

for faculty and staff support



for programs and research

for facilities



ENDS DEC. 31, 2019

$125M GOAL $50M


for student scholarships


With your help, we can reach our goals!

Find out how you can make a difference. Visit ignite.nmsu.edu.


PANORAMA New Mexico State University Alumni & Friends Magazine






Profile for Panorama

NMSU Panorama - Fall 2019  

NMSU Panorama - Fall 2019