LC Bulletin: Alumni donate more than money

October 26, 2012. Retrieved online October 31, 2012 from Richard Coltharp, Las Cruces Bulletin

Learning about distinguished alumni from New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College got me to thinking.

Colleges and universities rely on alumni more than most of us realize.

Former NMSU and NFL football player and Spanish language television pioneer Danny Villanueva is one of the more visible alumni, and he has contributed a great deal to the university and its athletic program.

Paul Klipsch, a 1926 NMSU (back then it was New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts) electrical engineering graduate, revolutionized the world of audio and speaker systems.

Growing up in Tulsa, Okla., my high school buddies and I coveted some of those pricey Klipsch speakers. We had to settle for Panasonic Thrusters instead.

I just learned recently that Alvy Ray Smith, a 1965 NMSU graduate, also in electrical engineering, was the co-founder of Pixar Studios.

He will be speaking on campus Friday, Oct. 26, talking about his career, which also includes important, groundbreaking work as director of computer graphics research for Lucasfilm.

A friend recently suggested – because the University of New Mexico has both a law school and a medical school, two often lucrative professions – the Lobos have a built-in advantage over the Aggies when it comes to alumni donations.

There’s a logic in that observation. In fact, it might be a factor around university donations in Oklahoma, too.

… Of course, alumni can contribute many things other than just money.

During this Homecoming weekend, NMSU will celebrate the Distinguished Alumni from each of its colleges. Many have supported their alma mater by providing internships for Aggies. Some have served as mentors to students, faculty members and even administration. Others have spread the gospel of New Mexico State University far and wide. And many serve simply as an inspiration to those considering the value of education.

As Andrea Tawney, the assistant dean of NMSU’s College of Business said, “People don’t always realize what a great institution we are – from the College of Business, the College of Engineering and all across NMSU. We have had some amazing alumni.”

Who knows? NMSU’s next Villanueva – or its first Pickens – could right now be a 1992 business grad in Chicago, a 2001 marketing grad running a small business in Las Cruces, a 1985 arts and sciences grad who just sold a computer company in California, or a 2013 graduate-to-be walking the International Mall as we speak.

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article


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