Aggie Pride

Hightower family finds a home at NMSU

When it came time for Albuquerque native Rylie Hightower to decide where to go to college, she knew one thing was for certain: “I didn’t want to be a Lobo.”

She decided that she wanted to attend a college in New Mexico that was far enough away from home to feel independent but still within driving distance to family. 

After weighing her options, she opted to follow in the footsteps of many family members, taking a path that led to New Mexico State University, where she became a proud Aggie. 

Rylie excelled as a nursing student and track and field student-athlete at NMSU. She participated in student leadership programs, volunteered in programs designed to help others and earned accolades as a research scholar. By the time she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2015, she was the 12th member of the Hightower family to have graduated from NMSU since 1970, a tradition that has endured for more than 40 years. 

“Being an Aggie was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Rylie, now a licensed registered nurse in Alabama who is working on a doctorate in biomedical neuroscience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “I found a family away from family. I found a home away from home at NMSU, and I think that is what led me to be successful.”

The family’s ties to NMSU started when Rylie’s uncle, Michael Hightower, became the first member of the family to attend the university in 1970. He studied civil engineering and went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. In 1977, Rylie’s father, Tim Hightower, also started studying civil engineering at NMSU and later earned a bachelor’s degree in 1982. Their brother, Steve Hightower, was the second member of the family to graduate from NMSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology in 1976.

And, if all goes as planned, the family will celebrate its 13th NMSU graduation at the end of the fall 2018 semester, when one of Rylie’s younger sisters, Hailey Hightower, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Carlos Andres López ’10

In December 2017, (from left) Kaycee Hightower, Rylie Hightower and Hailey Hightower were among the 20 family members to celebrate the Aggie football victory at the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Arizona.

Since the 1970s, the Hightower family has had 12 family members graduate from NMSU with the 13th expected in December 2018. In 2003, Shaun Hightower (middle) celebrated his graduation at Aggie Memorial Stadium with Scott Hightower (left) and Julie Hightower (right).

Posted by grel in Fall 2018

An Aggie home

Three generations of the DeMund family are pursuing degrees at NMSU

Across-country road trip to California in 2002 started the DeMund family’s journey to New Mexico State University.

When the family was looking to relocate from the United States Virgin Islands and continue their academic studies, the DeMunds remembered travelling through Las Cruces. Norma DeMund, her son, Sulieman, her daughter, Ilé, and Ilé’s son, Alchesay, visited NMSU’s campus in 2010.

Three years later, Norma, her husband, Harold, Ilé and Alchesay moved to Las Cruces, and Sulieman, an U.S. Navy and Air Force veteran, followed in 2014.

Since arriving at NMSU, Norma has completed the course work for her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

“Being in the College of Education, it feels like home,” says Norma, who dreams of starting a school. “They make you feel very, very comfortable.”

Ilé is working on her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and Sulieman is pursuing his government and international relations master’s degree. 

Sulieman says he hopes to recruit more family and friends to NMSU. 

“When you are in this school, this school takes care of you,” he says. “I can’t ask for a better university. I brag to everybody about this gem.” 

Alchesay, who graduated from Las Cruces High School in 2017, is a freshman and Harold, a retiree who will be 75 in October, audits courses. The pair is taking a government course together. 

“I’m taking courses I never would have taken when I was in school,” Harold says. “I’ll probably go to school until they throw the dirt on top of me. My mother says continue to learn something new every day – keep your brains in gear. She’s 98 years old.” 

Tiffany Acosta 

Three generations of the DeMund family moved to Las Cruces to continue their academic careers. From left to right: Alchesay DeMund, freshman, Ilé DeMund, graduate student, Harold DeMund, audits courses, Norma DeMund, doctoral student, and Sulieman DeMund, gradute student, found the right fit at New Mexico State University.

Posted by webcomm_admin in Fall 2017

CRIMSON blood

The Floyd-Rogers family has eight generations of Aggies between them

The blood in the Floyd-Rogers family definitely runs Aggie crimson. On the Floyd side, five generations have attended or are attending New Mexico State University, while the

Rogers side claims three generations of Aggies. The connective tissue between both families is Siiri Rogers, who graduated from NMSU in 1987 and works at the university as director of Student Information Management. Of Rogers’ four daughters, two – Mary and Michelle – are recent graduates, and her other two – Melissa and Megan – are currently attending NMSU.

It all started with Rogers’ great-grandmother, Isabella McClernon, who studied general science at NMSU in 1923. Four years later, Rogers’ grandmother, Mary Edith Floyd, received a B.S. in science, while her grandfather, Richard Floyd, received his B.S. in agriculture in 1931.

Rogers’ father, two uncles and one aunt all graduated from NMSU between 1952 and 1956.

“Both of my husband’s parents graduated from NMSU, and he attended for a while, too,” Rogers says. “His mom belonged to Zeta Tau Alpha, the same sorority as my girls, so that was kind of a neat connection.”

The Floyd side of the family also made a major contribution to Aggie pride, according to Rogers’ father, Dick Floyd.

“My uncle was an engineering student and he was part of the crew of engineers that went to the top of Goddard Hall and they straightened the A on A Mountain,” Floyd says. “Every time I look at ‘A’ Mountain, I think of my Uncle Kenneth.”

-Janet Perez

 

Top: Several generations of the Floyd-Rogers family gathered for a photo recently at Dove Hall on the Las Cruces campus. They are Dick Floyd and Siri Rogers, seated, and Megan Rogers, Mary Rogers Holcomb, Michelle Rogers and Melissa Rogers, standing from left to right.
Bottom right: A historic photo of the Floyd family includes Siiri Rogers’ grandparents, Richard Thomas and Mary Edith Floyd, center, along with her father, Dick Floyd, at right, and his siblings, Charles and Stewart Floyd, at left, and Gretchen Floyd, seated beside him. 

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017