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NMSU Alumni Association honors distinguished alumni

  • By Kyle Purcell,
  • (575) 646-7562
  • kpurcell@nmsu.edu
  • Oct 16, 2012
NMSU sign on window
The New Mexico State University Alumni Association will recognize the achievements of several accomplished Aggies during the 2012 Homecoming Week. The Alumni Association will also present the James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service, which is awarded to NMSU alumni who have demonstrated outstanding involvement in NMSU, civic, humanitarian and professional service.

Don Beasley '72, a graduate of the College of Business, is the James F. Cole Memorial Award winner. Beasley graduated with a degree in accounting. He is part owner of his own accounting firm where he specializes in the tax portion of the business. Always looking for a way to give back to NMSU, Beasley hires 10 to 15 interns each year from the school and personally mentors them. Also, Beasley tries to encourage the next generation of alumni to understand the importance of giving back to the school in any way they can.

Chris R. Biad '93 is the distinguished alum from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Biad graduated with a degree in agronomy and went to work for his family's business, Biad Chili. He and other leaders in the chile industry have raised more than $400,000 to establish a permanent endowed chair in chile pepper research at the university.

J. Paul Taylor '42 graduated from NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor's degree in history. He had a 34-year career in the Las Cruces Public School District, working as a teacher, principal and administrator. Taylor later became a representative in the New Mexico state legislature. He was re-elected eight times and retired from public office in 2004.

Sandra Whaley '80, another distinguished alum from the College of Arts and Sciences, graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology. She is a veterinarian specializing in small animal medicine and joined Manzano Animal Clinic in 1986 where she is a partner in the business. Over the years, Whaley has been a large contributor to the College of Arts and Sciences. Her donation to the renovation of Foster Hall is most notable.

George A. Willis '83 graduated with a degree in journalism from the College of Arts and Sciences. Willis is a general sports columnist for the New York Post, one of the oldest daily newspapers in the nation. He has brought his expertise to many different multimedia platforms, including HBO, Showtime, WFAN sports radio, ESPN Radio and various Internet outlets. When visiting Las Cruces, Willis always takes time to visit NMSU journalism students.

Jackie K. Moore '82 is the distinguished alum from the College of Business. Moore received bachelor's degrees in marketing and management while on an athletic scholarship. She is currently the executive director of the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque. There, she oversees all aspects of the more than 200-acre park. Moore has always credited the education she received at NMSU for the success in her professional career.

Louis Kelley '61 is the distinguished alum from the College of Education. Kelley graduated with a degree in physical education. A football player in college, he went on to be one of the winningest high school coaches in the state of Texas. Kelley was head coach at Lubbock Estacado for 26 years where he won 15 district championships. In 1999, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal named Kelley the All-City Coach of the Century.

Dan E. Arvizu '73 is the distinguished alum from the College of Engineering. Arvizu graduated with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering. Arvizu is the director and chief executive of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. In the last three years, Arvizu has helped secure more than $400 million for new infrastructure and increased the lab's operating budget more than 50 percent.

Kyle James '07 is the distinguished alum from the College of Extended Learning. James graduated with a degree in Health Education and is the Rocky Mountain Region sales director for KP Sports, a sports marketing company. James is responsible for overseeing the Southern Utah University and Weber State University corporate accounts. In 2011, he was the sales executive of the year for KP Sports after he helped the Weber State athletic department gross more revenue than ever before.

Diana Fancher '93 is the distinguished alum from the College of Health and Social Services. She received her associate's degree in nursing from NMSU. She is the chief nursing officer at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where she is responsible for managing an operating budget of $85 million. One of her noteworthy contributions is her involvement with the El Paso Children's Hospital, which provides a health service that would otherwise force many in Dona Ana County to travel to Albuquerque to receive health care.

Mario Allegri '73 is the International Distinguished Alumnus. Allegri graduated with a master's degree in range ecology. Allegri works for the National Agricultural Research Institute in Uruguay. He has kept in close contact with NMSU as a researcher in pastures and rangelands since his graduation. Also, he has encouraged many researchers in Uruguay to enroll at NMSU.