Around Aggieland

Outstanding faculty, staff honored during spring convocation

Two new Regents Professors, 13 other faculty members and one department were recognized for their excellence in teaching and service to the university and community during the spring convocation ceremony in January.

In addition, Chancellor Garrey Carruthers presented the Presidential Medallion to retired director of special events Barbara Hubbard for her dedicated service to the university and the community. Susan DeMar, College of Arts and Sciences, and Satya Rao, College of Health and Social Services, received the Community Engagement Award for their demonstrated efforts to better New Mexico communities through partnerships and volunteer work.

Michael Johnson, chemistry and biochemistry, and Nancy McMillan, geological sciences, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, were named Regents Professors, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the university’s mission in the areas of education and research.

Receiving the Donald C. Roush Award were Merranda Marin, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Michael Hout, College of Arts and Sciences; Matthew Holt, College of Business; Anna Lopez, College of Education; Fangjun Shu, College of Engineering; Maria Ortiz, College of Health and Social Services; Vicente Lombraña, NMSU Alamogordo; Kenda Josselet, NMSU Carlsbad; Mike Teitsworth, Doña Ana Community College; and Karen M. Henry, NMSU Grants. The Outstanding Assessment Committee for Co-Curriculum, Administration and Operations Excellence in Assessment Award was presented to NMSU’s Center for Learning and Professional Development.

Jane Moorman

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017

Million-dollar gift supports transformative scholarships for journalism students

Floyd “Cy” Cress traveled the world as a writer after World War II, saved his money and retired as a millionaire to a quiet life in Deming in the mid 1980s. He valued the power and splendor of the written word so much that he donated more than $1 million beginning in 2014 to fund journalism scholarships at New Mexico State University. So far, more than two dozen NMSU journalism students are realizing their dreams thanks to him.

“This gift was very exciting for our department,” says Hwiman Chung, department head of journalism and mass communications. “We had been looking for ways to help students financially, and with this donation, school can be possible for many more journalism students.”

Cress asked that his $1 million estate gift to the university remain anonymous until after his death.

He passed away in January of 2017 at age 96, but lived to see his generosity benefit 25 students who have received the Cy Cress Excellence in Journalism scholarship.

The scholarship was created in honor of his sister, Lois Cress, who shared his passion for journalism and was an editor for the Denver Post. The awards go to NMSU journalism students at any stage of their studies based on financial need and who have at least a 3.0 grade point average. The earnings allocated from Cress’ $1 million gift will be used for journalism scholarships each year.


Floyd “Cy” Cress donated more than $1 million to New Mexico State University to establish the Cy Cress Excellence in Journalism Scholarship. 

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017

On a roll: Engineering students’ device boosts quality of life for cancer-survivor dog

Last fall, three College of Engineering students working as on-campus co-ops at New Mexico State University designed and built a wheelchair device to assist a dog who had his right hind leg amputated due to cancer earlier last year.

Through the Aggie Innovation Space, Aggie Innovators Natalia Perez, Abdiel Jimenez and Arturo Dominguez designed and created a customized device for the 17-year-old Kita and his owner, Michelle Lebsock.

Perez, Jimenez and Dominguez met with Kita and Lebsock many times to determine the correct height, comfort and restraint requirements of the device. Ease of assembly and disassembly were also important factors the Aggie Innovators had to consider to ensure the device

was portable and easy to use. “The AIS team became very passionate about this project, sharing ideas, collaborating to assess specific constraints and requirements, and evaluating ideas for build-out materials,” Jimenez says.

“This project reminded us how engineers can enhance quality of life, and made us realize that our duty as engineers is not just for people and the environment but for our furry friends that make our lives happier,” Perez says.

Tiffany Acosta

Aggie Innovator Arturo Dominguez, left, and Michelle Lebsock pose with Lebsock’s 17-year-old dog, Kita, in his finished wheelchair. The device was designed and built by students in the Aggie Innovation Space at the College of Engineering.


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NMSU honors fallen Hatch officer

Fallen Hatch Police Officer José Ismael Chavez was awarded a posthumous degree during New Mexico State University’s fall 2016 commencement ceremony. Chavez, an NMSU student, died Aug. 12, 2016, after being shot during a traffic stop. “Officer Chavez was a dedicated student and gave his life serving this community,” NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said during the ceremony. “He absolutely earned this degree, and we were proud to present it to his family. He’s a perfect example of how NMSU is a caring community.” Chavez had enrolled in the last semester of earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice the day before his death. Carruthers presented a certificate to Chavez’s mother, Maria Ramirez, and his daughters, Janiley, 14, and Aryam, 6. Ramirez says she was already proud of her son, but now even more so after receiving the posthumous degree. “We are very thankful to NMSU for presenting this degree to us in his honor,” Janiley Chavez says. “We are very proud of him.”

Jane Moorman

Regents Chair Debra Hicks and Chancellor Garrey Carruthers stand with the family of Officer José Ismael Chavez after presenting them with his posthumously awarded degree. Chavez’s mother, Maria Ramirez, holds his photo, along with daughters Aryam and Janiley.


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Aggie Milestones


Clara Belle Williams became NMSU’s first African-American graduate in 1937. She took summer classes at NMSU while working as a schoolteacher in Las Cruces, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in English. Williams Street and Clara Belle Williams Hall are both named in her honor.


Branson Library, NMSU’s oldest library still in use, opened in 1952. It was named for NMSU President John William Branson, who served from 1949-1955. Additions to the library were constructed in 1966, 1974 and 1981. It also underwent a major renovation from 1993 to 1994.


The first section of NMSU’s International Mall was dedicated in October 1972. The NMSU Alumni Association collected donations, which were matched by the university, to construct the pedestrian mall as part of a campus beautification project. The I-Mall, for short, now spans a mile between the NMSU Horseshoe and the Pan American Center.


Ralph B. Crouch, the former Mathematical Sciences department head and associate dean of the graduate school, began his career at NMSU in 1947. Today, the Crouch Award hon-ors current or living former NMSU employees for outstanding contributions to the life of the university community.


The Official NMSU Ring is celebrating its 15th anniversary at NMSU. The symbol of Aggie Pride and academic accomplishment is manufactured by Balfour. Thousands of NMSU graduates have purchased either gold or silver class rings since 2002.

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017

Kevin Johnson named Starbucks CEO

In December 2016, Kevin Johnson ’81 was named chief executive officer at Starbucks. He began his new position April 3 in addition to his role as president. Johnson had been president and chief operating officer for the coffee giant since March 2015. He was responsible for Starbucks’ global operation businesses and core support functions throughout the company’s supply chain, marketing, human resources and technology as well as its mobile and digital platforms. He has been a board member since 2009. Prior to joining Starbucks, Johnson spent 16 years at Microsoft and five years at Juniper Networks as CEO. In 2008, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee serving President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Johnson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from NMSU, will be awarded an honorary doctorate at the spring commencement ceremony in May.

Tiffany Acosta

Kevin Johnson was also inducted into the NMSU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2001 and honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2008. 

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Pat and Lou Sisbarro’s love of NMSU recognized with honorary doctorates

For 35 years, Pat and Lou Sisbarro have called Las Cruces home. The couple raised three children, built a successful company and became active in the community since moving in 1981 from Michigan to New Mexico – in part, they say, because they were drawn to New Mexico State University. The Sisbarros’ deep connections to NMSU were recognized with honorary doctoral degrees at fall commencement.

 “Pat and Lou Sisbarro are two of NMSU’s greatest champions,” says NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “For years, they have devoted their time and support to causes that benefit this great university, into the benefit of our students and the greater Las Cruces community.” As they built up their business to one of the largest families of auto dealerships in the Southwest, they also strengthened their connections to NMSU, supporting athletics, the theatre program, cancer research through the Aggies Are Tough Enough to Wear Pink fundraising campaign, and entrepreneurial students through Aggie Shark Tank. Most recently, they created the Pat and Lou Sisbarro Community Park, with a track and exercise area

that has brought community members onto campus to connect with the university. From humble beginnings in New Jersey, the couple feels they are living the American dream. “If we can do it, anybody can do it. It’s hard work, determination – draw that line and go for it,” Lou says. “I knew we were going to be successful. There’s no doubt in my mind. I don’t think we had any idea we would reach the level we’ve reached.”

Tiffany Acosta

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017

Aggie bragging rights

Ranked among the best for vets

This year, NMSU was ranked on the Military Times Best for Vets list – a first for the university. NMSU works to create a supportive and inclusive environment for military-affiliated students, including veterans, spouses and dependents. Among other measures, the Military Times ranking is based on university culture, academic outcomes and quality, student support, academic policies and financial aid. Additionally, NMSU was recognized as a Military Advanced Education & Transition 2017 Top School. NMSU has also been designated a Military Friendly school since 2010.

A leading degree producer for minorities

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education has named NMSU as a top university for awarding degrees to minority students. The publication lists the top 100 producers of associate, bachelor’s and graduate degrees issued to minority students each year. NMSU ranks in the top 10 in bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics for communications technologies/technicians and support services; agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences; hospitality administration/management; engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; and education. NMSU also ranks in the top 5 in bachelor’s degrees awarded to Native Americans for marketing; engineering; agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences; physical sciences; and engineering technologies and engineering-related fields.


Top 50 best value online colleges

NMSU is ranked 35th on the Top 50 Best Value Online Colleges for 2017 by Value Colleges, an independent online guide to the best values in undergraduate and graduate education. The Value Colleges rankings are based on cost, reputability and return on investment. NMSU has also been recognized as a top tier university for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report, and that publication also ranked NMSU among its Best Graduate Schools for 2017. For the ninth year, Forbes has recognized NMSU as one of America’s Top Colleges. NMSU was named to the 2016 Center for World University Rankings list and was named one of the 50 most underrated colleges in America by Business Insider.

Home to top-notch engineering research centers

NMSU is part of a team of universities that received a five-year, $2.5 million grant to establish a regional transportation research center called Tran-SET. The center’s goal is to improve transportation infrastructure through innovative materials and technology. This marks the third major research center consortium for NMSU civil engineering. The university is also a member of the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, which is tasked with expanding the emerging field of biogeotechnical engineering. Additionally, NMSU is part of the Urban Water Engineering Research Center, which works to reinvent America’s aging water infrastructure.

Posted by webcomm_admin in Spring 2017