Bobby Lutz, 2012
Bobby Lutz: News
At New Mexico State University, Bobby Lutz learned success is dependent on hard work and teamwork (and more than a few good breaks) — a lesson he is paying forward to a new generation of NMSU College of Business students.
Lutz, a 1973 graduate of NMSU, is the College of Business’ Executive-In-Residence for the Fall 2012 semester. The program brings executives to campus to mentor NMSU business students. An Executive-In-Residence will share his or her experiences to further prepare our business students.
To use Lutz’s analogy, “The College of Business might teach them how to play golf — I would like to help them understand how to win golf tournaments.
“I fear the students are having a bigger impact on my life than I’m having on theirs,” Lutz continued. “I am excited for their futures. I remember how big the world was and the excitement of beginning that next adventure. I am envious of their youth, and of being able to start another painting with a clean canvas and so much paint.
“When they leave academia they will be incredibly prepared for what they are about to experience. The people I’ve worked with have come from essentially every school in the country, whether it was a Stanford or a Texas or a Princeton. NMSU better prepared me for the real world than I believe were most of my colleagues.”
Beyond the academic contributions the College of Business made to his success, Lutz clearly has fond memories of his professors, coaches and fellow students and feels strongly indebted to each.
When Lutz began at NMSU, the Vietnam War was winding down. As a young man from Oklahoma he wanted two things: to defer walking through a rice paddy and to play collegiate golf. As academics were not an initial priority, Lutz’s mid-term grades during his first semester — if not improved upon — would have been insufficient to remain on the golf team. But the man who nurtured Lutz’s golf game — legendary former NMSU golf coach Herb Wimberley — made sure he got back to his educational path.
“When I got to school I was incredibly immature (probably still am),” Lutz said. “Coach made sure that I had tutorial support. And he injected some much-needed discipline in my collegiate life. He really encouraged me.”
Lutz also thanks then assistant golf coach Mickey Clute. Clute, who had just returned from Vietnam, continues to be a significant NMSU partner and a successful businessman in Las Cruces.
“Mickey spent an incredible number of hours with me,” Lutz said. “He’s had a real impact on the college and the community. That first year, I can’t tell you how much time that man spent making me feel like I was the most important member of the team, and rest assured, I was never going to change the course of the NMSU golf program. Yes, I was fortunate to participate and even experience unexpected advantages because of the golf team, but what coach and Mickey did and what they were willing to extend to me still has me baffled. They saw in me something more than somebody who was going to change the path of NMSU golf. Maybe someday they will let me know what it was and why.”
After his freshman year, Lutz made the decision to transfer from the engineering school to the College of Business. It was there that Lutz connected with a generation of NMSU business professors that included accounting and finance professor Patricia C. Christmore, management professor John P. Loveland, economics assistant professor Thomas Goho and many others whose influence is still being felt today.
“For whatever reason, I felt like what I did in school was important to them,” Lutz said. “There are professors, it doesn’t matter what school you attend, where you’re just part of the machine. But with these professors, if you did not perform to their expectations, they let you know in an encouraging manner, a manner that let you know they expected more from you and you needed to expect more from yourself. I cannot think of a class where the teachers, the professors, were not willing to individually interact with each and every student. If I had gone to a school with classes of 150 to 300 students, I wouldn’t have made it.
“They are heroes. I stand in awe of the commitment they’ve made for their students,” he continued. “For the most part, they’ve sacrificed much to provide students opportunities and prepare them for the real world.”
Never even having seen New Mexico until two weeks before he started classes, the small campus community provided Lutz with a network of family-like support that still touches his life to this day.
“The support and camaraderie from the other students had the greatest impact. The relationships developed were the most meaningful part of my college experience (the individuals all know who they are and their faces are a part of my everyday life),” Lutz said. “I will never forget when my daddy put me on the plane to school. He said, ‘No matter what else takes place, no matter what else you do, make sure you enjoy yourself at school because you’ll never again be surrounded and nurtured by so many of your peers.’ His words still remain incredibly true today. The people having the biggest impact on my life were the other students. They were phenomenal.”
Today, Lutz is giving back to NMSU with his time and financial support, but he believes that no matter how much he gives, he will never achieve payback.
“Monetary contributions to the College of Business can in no way provide compensation for what the college gave to me and to many of the other students,” he said. “It is very much a part of our lives and our heritage. Some people, on the Fourth of July, hear the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and the hairs on the backs of their necks stand up. I have memories, flashbacks, of NMSU and I have similar sensations. I promise you I wouldn’t exchange my collegiate experiences with anybody. I received much more than I can ever give back.”