Alumni Connections

Impact that lasts

Memorial scholarship helps students overcome learning challenges

When professor Pat Gavin stepped up to the podium to pay tribute to his late son Gage Gavin, he expected to see only close friends and family – but instead was surrounded by hundreds who had been touched by Gage and his family. Gavin is director of the PGA Golf Management Program in the NMSU College of Business, and at that moment on the podium, looking out on those caring faces, he had a vision: a way to remember Gage and the great person he was, and also help future students with scholarship support, allowing them to focus on their schooling instead of worrying about how to pay for it.

Gage had recently turned 18 and graduated from Oñate High School when he passed away unexpectedly in June 2015. Graduating meant more to Gage than anyone could have known, and surpassed a milestone that Pat and his family had fought so hard for. Gage struggled with a learning disability, but never let that get him down. He was a loving person and was quick to share a hug and smile with his brother and sister, as well as the people he met during his nightly visits to the community dog park or on the trails up to Aguirre Springs with his mom.

“Simply put Gage was everyone’s best friend,” Pat says. “He always put what would help others before worrying about what would help him.”

During Gage’s eulogy, full of laughter and tears, Pat made an announcement that he would be establishing an endowment in Gage’s memory at NMSU. Instead of his initial goal of $50,000 in three years, he pledged he would raise $50,000 in three weeks. It sounded like an impossible feat, but a week after establishing the endowment through the NMSU Foundation, it had grown to $20,000, and after three weeks, it was over $65,000. Pat increased the goal to $100,000, hoping it would help even more students pursue their educational dreams.

The Gage Gavin Endowed Scholarship was established to support the PGA Golf Management Program, with preference given to students with a documented learning disability. It was Gage’s dream to work at the NMSU golf course along with his dad. To qualify for the scholarship, a recipient must have a minimum of 2.5 grade-point average. Many merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with the best grade points, but it was Pat's intention to help students with learning disabilities succeed in reaching their goals, regardless of their grades.

In the short time available, it already  has made a difference for Kyle Sidlo, a  two-time recipient of the scholarship  who came to Las Cruces from San Diego.  Kyle is happy to have the perfect weather  for golfing and the support of the Gage  Gavin Endowed Scholarship to allow  him to focus on his studies.

“It’s a tight group, like a fraternity or  sorority,” says Kyle, who is in his junior  year. “When we heard about Gage, everyone  came together to support Pat. He  is our mentor and we love everything he  has made available to us. “Kyle is similar  to Gage in that he was diagnosed with a  learning disability that increased his test  anxiety. For Kyle, an added half hour to  take a test makes all the difference. His  parents discovered it when he was in elementary  school and like Gage's parents,  helped him to seek out opportunities to  make his achievements possible. 

Pat believes the endowment is a way  to remember and honor Gage, and help  his family find some peace in their grief.

“I miss him every day. We miss him  every day,” Pat says. “This endowment  allows us to meet and help students and make a difference.”

He says the love and support the family has received through donations of  money, flowers, phone calls and messages  was beyond their imagination. 

“I’ll continue to thank people forever,”  he says. “It meant a lot to see the  outpouring of respect for Gage and our  family. It was a way to take a horrible  negative situation and find something  positive in it. 

Kyle agrees. “This is a way for Gage’s  memory to live on.”

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Kyle Sidlo, right, was  the first recipient of  the Gage Gavin, was  the first recipient  of the Gage Gavin  Memorial Endowed  Scholarship, which  was established by  New Mexico State  University marketing  professor Pat Gavin,  left, in honor  of his son

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For more information about the  Gage Gavin Memorial Endowed  Scholarship, contact Anthony Casaus at acasaus@nmsu.edu  or 575-646-5817,  or visit https://makeastatement.nmsu.edu/project/2815. 

Posted by webcomm_admin in Fall 2016

An evening of thanks and support

It was an incredible evening of good food, fine wine, cooking presentations, giving and gratitude during the 2016 President’s Associates Ball on April 22 in the Doña Ana Community College student lounge. Donated auction items from all over the United States brought in $55,000 during the ball, allowing the New Mexico State University Foundation to provide President’s Associates Scholarships to a new class of 15 PA Scholars.

The evening showcased student talent from across the NMSU system. The DACC Culinary Program offered their talents during a special VIP cooking lesson and wine paring, as well as a cocktail reception. Generous sponsors for the sold out event included U.S. Bank, Hakes Brothers, Salopek 6U Farms, Ashley Furniture, Wells Fargo, Harris Corporation, and Flavours Catering by Sodexo.

“This scholarship is the reason I am at NMSU, and I will never forget this opportunity.” -Emerson Morrow


Scholars come to NMSU from all over the state, including:

Albuquerque
Artesia
Carlsbad
Chaparral
Cliff
Clovis
Corrales
Espanola
Fort Sumner
Hobbs
Las Cruces
Los Alamos
Portales
Silver City

Because the very foundation of the scholarship is to honor students who demonstrate their commitment to academic excellence, activities and experiences above and beyond that of their peers, students receive a scholarship that covers the full cost of tuition and fees, plus a stipend of $3,250 annually for other educational and living expenses. Donors make these scholarships possible.

President’s Associates Scholars from all over New Mexico have graduated from NMSU and gone on to become leaders in their fields, making the entire state of New Mexico proud to call each one of them one of our own.

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Posted by webcomm_admin in Fall 2016

There’s no place like home

Aggies clicked their heels together three times and found themselves back on campus during New Mexico State University’s Homecoming Week in September. They honored Distinguished Alumni in each college and celebrated James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service recipient Dino Camunez at a special Friday night dinner at Corbett Center Center Student Union. The Alumni Association also selected and honored Distinguished Alumni from Dona Ana Community College for the first time.

The week culminated in a gameday tailgate before the Aggies took down the Ragin’ Cajuns in a thrilling double-overtime victory. If you weren’t able to get home for Homecoming, check out all the photos from the week’s events on our social media pages.

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Posted by webcomm_admin in Fall 2016