Kerry N. Weems (’78)
In May of 2007, President Bush nominated Kerry to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and in September 2007 placed Kerry in charge of CMS.
Kerry has twice received the highest award conferred on Federal employees, the Presidential Rank Award, the first by President Clinton in 2000 and the second by President Bush in 2007.
Kerry joined government service in 1981 working for Senator Harrison Schmitt and in 1983 moved to the Social Security Administration, then part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Since 1983, Kerry has held a number of posts within HHS, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, acting Assistant Secretary for Budget, Technology and Finance and Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Chief of Staff.
Kerry Weems was born in Portales, New Mexico, to Neil and Anita Weems. He was raised in Las Cruces where he attended elementary school. After living overseas for several years, Kerry and his family returned to Las Cruces where he completed BA and BBA degrees in 1978 at New Mexico State University; later complemented by an MBA from the University of New Mexico.
Richard A. Baldridge
Richard Baldridge is President and COO of ViaSat, Inc.
At ViaSat his duties include corporate responsibility for all day-to-day operations of the company’s five operating groups as well as investor relations.
Richard came to ViaSat from Raytheon Corporation where he was vice president and general manager of its Raytheon Training Systems division. With over 4,000 employees in the division, his responsibilities included day-to-day management of marketing, legal, overall management, and finance.
He has also served as chief operating officer, CFO, and VP of finance and administration for Hughes Information Systems and Hughes Training, Inc., before the divisions were acquired by Raytheon in 1997. He has held various senior financial and general management roles within General Dynamics Corporation.
Richard graduated from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, with a B.S. degree in business administration, with an emphasis in information systems. He serves as a director of Jobs for America’s Graduates.
Rick and his wife, Donna, have three children and one granddaughter, and live in Encinitas, CA (San Diego).
J.B. and Libby Pruett
J.B. and Libby Pruett are both New Mexico natives and graduates of New Mexico State University. They met and were married in 1961 while they were students. They have two sons who are also graduates of New Mexico State University; David, who received a BS degree with a major in business computer systems, and Gary, who has an associates degree in Water Technology from Doña Ana Community College.
J.B. graduated with a major in Animal Science and went on to obtain a MS degree from Texas Tech University and a PhD from Colorado State University. He taught in the Animal Science Departments at NMSU, Texas Tech and Colorado State. In 1976 J.B. joined Wooten Construction Company and ultimately served as its president for 15 years until 1998. He has been active in community and philanthropic activities including serving on the Board of the Presidents Associates scholarship program.
Libby received a BS degree from the College of Education and taught math and English at the junior high level for 10 years. She studied accounting at Arizona State University and worked as chief financial officer and comptroller of Wooten Construction Company until 1998. She is currently serving her third term as a Board Member of the NMSU Foundation. She too has been active in community activities and was on the Board of Directors of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chair in 2000.
In 1998 J.B. and Libby along with their son, David, began a construction and development company and own and manage commercial properties.
Joyce Whitfield Jaynes
Joyce Jaynes was born in Magnolia, Mississippi, to the Reverend and Mrs. Joseph Mayfield. Her childhood was filled with happiness and adulation that only the youngest of six children could command. However, the death of her father (when she was seven) and that of her mother (when she was ten) shattered this idyllic world.
She graduated from Meridian High School in 1942 and attended Georgia State and Little Rock University before moving to Las Cruces. She graduated from New Mexico A&M in 1945 with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
She married Willim E. Whitfield, Jr., and had three daughters, Cynthia, Julia, and Camille. They moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1959 when Whitfield Transportation relocated their offices. After 24 years of marriage, Ed Whitfield died in 1970 following a lengthy illness.
Driven by faith, Joyce has worked tirelessly to promote the economic, political, and spiritual welfare of women worldwide. She and her daughters have established an annual endowed scholarship in the College of Business at NMSU in memory of Ed Whitfield.
In 1980 she founded Whitfield Enterprises and continues to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer in the management of family-owned commercial properties.