Vega honors father with scholarship for engineering students

Since joining Dow Chemical in 1998, Louis Vega ’91 has carried the Olympic torch at the Sochi, PyeongChang and Rio Olympics, and held executive positions across the globe in Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. 

Vega studied government and economics at NMSU before moving to Washington, D.C., to work for the late New Mexico U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici. After 12 years in the political arena, he joined the team at Dow. Over his 20-year career, he has helped advance the company through leadership roles including vice president of Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions, and president and managing director of Dow Australia and New Zealand. 

Now president of Dow North America and vice president of Government Affairs and Advocacy, Vega wants to share his success with others, including students at his alma mater. In fact, his generosity towards NMSU is changing students’ lives today through two endowed scholarships. 

“The success I’ve been able to achieve professionally is beyond anything I could have dreamt of when I was growing up in Socorro or while I was at NMSU, and I don’t want to wait to give back,” says Vega. “These endowed scholarships will last and grow as long as the university does. They can be a tool to drive education and a life that is rewarding and exciting for students.”

On #GivingTuesday 2018, Vega established the most recent endowment, the Vega Family Endowed Scholarship, to benefit students in the College of Engineering. The scholarship honors his father, Guadalupe Vega ’75, who graduated with an engineering degree. 

For Vega, education has always been a family affair, and his earliest memories of NMSU are clambering around campus at age four while his dad attended classes. Vega witnessed the crucial role of support in educational ventures early on, receiving the same backing when it was his turn to take on the role of an Aggie undergrad. Providing current students with this sense of support is Vega’s main motivation for giving back through academic scholarships.

“It takes support to reach success, and these scholarships are part of showing students they are not alone, especially if they are the first in their family to go to college” he says. 

In fall 2019, the first Vega Family Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Alberto Barajas, a first-generation college student and aerospace engineering major. In addition to taking a heavy load of engineering classes, he minors in music and plays in the Pride Band and Jazz Ensemble. 

Vega’s generosity is not only helping Barajas pursue his education, it is also creating an opportunity for relationships and experiences that make Aggie grads like Vega consider NMSU their home, even long after they’ve graduated. 

Megan Hansen ’06 ’09

Louis Vega (right) established the Vega Family Endowed Scholarship during #GivingTuesday 2018 to honor his father, Guadalupe Vega.

The Vega Family Endowed Scholarship benefits College of Engineering students, and Alberto Barajas is the scholarship’s first recipient.