Librarian, phys ed instructor leaves a legacy to benefit NMSU students

Mary Helen Lomax, a beloved physical education instructor at New Mexico A&M, now New Mexico State University, made a lasting contribution to the university that will benefit NMSU students for years to come.

When she passed away in 2016, Lomax left behind a substantial gift to NMSU that will be used to fund scholarship endowments and provide matching funds to help drive giving. She also bequeathed her collection of Native American artifacts to the university. 

Lomax was born in Big Spring, Texas, on May 2, 1928. In 1949, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and later obtained a master’s degree in physical education from the same university. 

She embarked on a 19-year teaching career that started at a private girl’s school in El Paso. After earning her master’s degree, she taught physical education at New Mexico A&M, San Angelo State University and junior high schools in Albuquerque and Odessa, Texas. 

While at New Mexico A&M, Lomax, who was nicknamed “Teach” by her students, served as a faculty sponsor of the Rodeo Club and the Four Square Club and adviser to the women’s intramural club. 

Lomax then discovered library science while attending Northern Arizona University one summer, and later transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a master’s degree in library science in 1969. She then became a reference librarian at Sul Ross State University, a position she held for 22 years until she retired in 1991. Lomax lived in Alpine, Texas, until her death. 

Donations in memory of Lomax may be made to the New Mexico State University Foundation. 

Adriana M. Chávez 

Mary Helen Lomax, pictured with Vaughn Corley (left) and C. S. Moll, were physical education instructors in the early 1950s. She also was an adviser to the women’s intramural club and faculty sponsor of the Rodeo Club and the Four Square Club.

After her death in 2016, Mary Helen Lomax left a gift to NMSU to fund scholarships, but she also gave her collection of Native American arti-facts to the university. Some of the artifacts are on display in the NMSU American Indian Center.