Distinguished Alumni to receive accolades at NMSU Homecoming

October 13, 2010 by Layra Nicli, NMSU News Center

The New Mexico State University Alumni Association will honor and recognize seven Distinguished Alumni and the recipient of the 2010 James F. Cole Memorial Award at a dinner during the Homecoming 2010 celebration.

The Distinguished Alumni award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields and thus brought honor and merit to their alma mater. The James F. Cole award is based on non-monetary support to NMSU, involvement with NMSU, civic and humanitarian service and professional service.

The 2010 honorees are:

  • James (Skip) T. Prichard, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • Ammu Devasthali, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Robert E. Sinclair, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Julie A. Dill, College of Business
  • Presley F. Askew, College of Education
  • Sylvia Elia Acevedo, College of Engineering
  • Betty Jean Shinas, College of Health and Social Services
  • Jerean Camunez Hutchinson, James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service

Prichard earned his degree in animal science from NMSU in 1959. He founded the Mesilla Valley Clinic Inc. after completing his D.V.M at Colorado State University in 1970 and practiced veterinary medicine in Las Cruces for 16 years. From 1987 to 1988, he was assigned as a consultant in Ecuador through the U.S government to improve dairy health and production. He also has been the veterinarian for the NMSU campus Animal Research and Teaching Farm and the NMSU Horse Center for the last 25 years.

Devasthali earned two master’s degrees from NMSU in arts and sciences. She is an artist who works in a variety of media to create jewelry, sculptures, prints and paintings. She is a founding officer and director of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico and currently chairs the NMSU Center for the Arts volunteer leadership committee.

Sinclair earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s from NMSU in computer science in 1995 and 1997, respectively. Now he is responsible for Microsoft’s worldwide strategy to develop software and services that make it easier for people to use their computers. He recently visited the NMSU campus and held a lecture for computer science majors and faculty. His other passion is wildlife photography and he spends as much time as he can in the field.

Dill earned a bachelor’s in business administration, summa cum laude, in finance from NMSU in 1981. She has been president of Union Gas Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, since 2007. She chairs the Canadian Gas Association and serves on the board of the Ontario Energy Association. She was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame and was named one of the top 50 Women in Energy in 2002. She also participates as a member of the advisory council for the College of Business.

Askew received a bachelor’s, cum laude, in secondary education from NMSU in 1959. Before his retirement, he served as president of the Windsor Financial Group for almost 20 years. Now, he is president of the Colorado Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, board chair of the Tony Grampsas Youth Services board, and part of the development committee of the International Institute of Education. He devotes much of his time to volunteerism within his community and received the “Philanthropist of the Year” award from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation in 2006.

Shinas completed her bachelor’s and master’s in social work at NMSU in 1991 and 1992, respectively. She has worked as a medical social worker with Children’s Medical Services in Santa Fe since 1997. She also is a wellness instructor, teaching stress management through exercise, dance and breathing techniques. Shinas was the first president of the Social Work Alumni Chapter.

Acevedo earned her degree in industrial engineering from NMSU in 1979. She founded and is now president and CEO of Communicard LLC, a non-profit organization that focuses on mobilizing the educational support network across regions to fuel workforce development among youth. She leads the nation’s largest Spanish language education and college-readiness events, known as Feria Para Aprender. She is the recipient of a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year award, the Austin Business Journal Profile in Power Award and a Star of Texas Education Award. She also serves on the national Girl Scouts USA Board.

Hutchinson received her bachelor’s in business administration from NMSU in 1980. She acquired the famed La Posta de Mesilla in 1996. La Posta was recognized in 2001 as the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. She also was finalist for the 2004 New Mexico Restaurateur of the Year. She received the YWCA 2005 Reach Award for Women Who Make a Difference. She currently serves as president of the Las Cruces Catholic School Board and serves on the advisory council for the College of Business.

A dinner honoring the awardees will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Corbett Center Student Union West Ballroom.

For more information contact the NMSU Alumni Association at 575-646-3616.

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