New scholarship helps Aggies in financial need

With advanced degrees in chemistry, more than a dozen patents and a successful company he built from the ground up, Carroll “Benny” Dickens ’86 still believes the obstacles he conquered at NMSU were among the toughest. 

Dickens was the first in his family to go to college in the early 1980s and the first from his small hometown in rural Arizona to attend the university on a football scholarship. His senior year, Dickens was a four-year starter and captain of the NMSU football team as well as District 8 Academic All-American. His experiences at NMSU left an impression on him that remains today.

“It wasn’t easy. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life and what I’m most proud of, and I have more than a dozen patents and built my own company,” Dickens says. “None of that was as hard as the physical and mental challenges I faced at NMSU.”

While Dickens credits his time as a student-athlete with building his character, he saw other student-athletes struggle in the face of financial hardship. Seeing a way to make a difference, earlier in 2019 he worked with the NMSU Foundation to fund the Benny Dickens Endowed Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences. The award seeks to lighten the burden for NMSU’s non-scholarship student-athletes.

“A commitment to a team is like having a job: academic career, practices and away games. Being a student-athlete requires 100 percent of your attention plus you carry the same academic load that any other student does,” Dickens says. “If you can do that, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

The 55-year-old entrepreneur also teaches a class encouraging students to decide what they want to do and go for it. He has a positive approach to facing challenges. 

“Any time you have the pleasure of adversity in life and come out the other side, it’s a serious self-esteem booster.”

Dickens is married to Valerie, his wife of 27 years. They have two children, Gabe and Alex, who were both student-athletes in college. 

Minerva Baumann ’13

Carroll “Benny” Dickens ’86, a chemistry major who was captain of the NMSU football team during his senior year, overcame several challenges that led him to start a successful company and earn more than a dozen patents. Earlier in 2019, Dickens worked with the NMSU Foundation to establish the Benny Dickens Endowed Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences. The scholarship helps non-scholarship student-athletes at NMSU.