Privately funded endowments are a critical component of the long-term financial stability of New Mexico State University. More than 1,300 endowments have been created to fund scholarships, establish professorships and academic chairs and support a wide variety of programs across the university.
The combined value of these funds is now more than $127 million. The yearly payout on endowments provides the university more than $5 million annually to support the various entities specified by the donors.
Funds in our endowment pool are invested in perpetuity so that the earnings will be available each year, says Tina Byford, associate vice president for university advancement. Our endowment policies are structured in a way that allows colleges and departments to award scholarships, enhance faculty salaries through professorships and provide unique research opportunities for faculty and graduate students with academic chairs, despite the ups and downs of the financial markets.
The NMSU Foundation oversees investment of the funds in the endowment pool.
It is important to us to be good stewards of philanthropic dollars, says Dennis Prescott, president of the NMSU Foundation and vice president for university advancement. Trust that we are managing our funds well is what encourages individuals to create new or additional endowments.
It is also important that the Foundation Board periodically reviews its policies on endowments, Prescott continues. That resulted in a decision to raise the minimum level for a named endowment fund to $15,000 beginning July 1. We want our awards to have a more meaningful impact on a students ability to attend college and be just as impactful for endowments established for other purposes.
Barbara Wise, director of major gifts, who works with donors creating scholarship endowments, encourages them to develop criteria that will make it easy to award the scholarship every year.
Campus scholarship coordinators also have a wish list of areas where additional funds could have an immediate impact. These include more support for graduate students, non-traditional students, students who have exhausted federal and state funding, transfer students and staff members who are attending college while working full time.
Endowments can be funded with cash, appreciated securities, credit cards, NMSU payroll deduction or bank electronic funds transfers. They also can be created over a period of up to five years. However, no award is made until the endowment is fully funded.
Each of the universitys endowments has a special story behind it. The individuals who create these funds often want to recognize the impact that a particular individual or even New Mexico State had on their lives.
Now enjoying retirement in Las Cruces, after long careers at White Sands Missile Range, Paul and Joy Arthur first met when they were students in the electrical engineering program at Purdue University. Joy, a native of the Philippines, was one of only two women in a class of 165. Upon graduation, Paul accepted a position at White Sands Proving Ground where he would be working in the emerging field of missile and rocket development. He and Joy married in 1958.
Both took many classes at NMSU, but Joy became the first woman to earn a masters degree in electrical engineering in 1966. When the Arthurs established their scholarship endowment, they chose to support a female graduate student in that field.
Foreign students studying here are usually well-funded by their home countries. We want to be sure there are similar opportunities for students who are U.S. citizens.
James Kilcrease is pursuing his doctorate in the department of plant and environmental sciences. His studies hit a bump in the road when he was diagnosed with cancer.
It was a rough several months, he says, but moving into the category of survivor made him determined to do something to help others who might face similar challenges in the future.
Kilcrease has created the Aggie Cancer Survivor Graduate Scholarship to provide extra funds for someone facing a similar challenge. He invites anyone who is a survivor or knows one to support this endowment.
A cancer diagnosis is very scary, but knowing that this resource is available could inspire other graduate students not to lose hope in their ability to achieve their dreams, Kilcrease says.
Kevin Marvel and Tamara Koch met while they were students at NMSU in the 1990s. He was pursuing graduate degrees in astronomy and she was enrolled in journalism. Although she maintained a 4.0 GPA, as a foreign student she was not eligible for any of the departments scholarships. They joked that if they had the opportunity, they would create a scholarship for such a student. Now they are doing just that. In fact, they are creating two endowments, one in journalism and one in the astronomy department.
We have many fond memories of our time at NMSU and wanted to give back in a way that would reflect the positive impact the university had on our lives, Marvel says. We are taking advantage of the installment plan option because that fits into our budget, but we look forward to the day the first award is made.
When Daniel Marks Reyna passed away in 2011, his wife Rebecca, an 18-year employee of NMSU, wanted to do something that would preserve his memory and his strong relationship with New Mexico State University. Reynas career focused on improving the quality of life and health for people living along the U.S.-Mexico border.
With that in mind, Rebecca and her daughters created a scholarship in his name in the College of Health and Social Services.
He was a man of dedication and selfless service. I hope the students who receive this scholarship also will learn about what a great man he was who touched the lives of many, she says.
Dick Roney earned his degree in chemical engineering in 1973.
All of the faculty were very committed to students success, but it was a very intense major, he recalls.
After graduating from NMSU, he earned an MBA from Michigan State. His career included co-founding MEGA Systems and Chemicals that had operations throughout the U.S. and Asia to support the semiconductor industry.
There are two endowments at New Mexico State University created by the Roney Family Foundation. The first honors his mother Lucille Earnhart Roney and her love of Las Cruces and literature and poetry that she instilled in her sons. The scholarship is for a female student from New Mexico with a major in English Literature.
The second is for a returning veteran in the chemical engineering department. Roney was a company commander in the Army in Germany and Vietnam before returning to NMSU to complete his degree. This scholarship honors the men that served with him in both Germany and Vietnam.