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NMSU

Happy days

Pioneers break bread during a lighthearted day at NMSU

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She got her nickname from Bob Hope and once played gin rummy with John Wayne.

“I could tell you story after story,” retired New Mexico State University Special Events Director Barbara “Mother” Hubbard told the NMSU Pioneers at their 2019 summer luncheon, held Tuesday, Aug. 20 at the NMSU golf course.

Beginning in 1968 and continuing through her retirement in 1998 and beyond, Hubbard brought performers like Hope, Tiny Turner, Neil Diamond, the Osmond Brothers, Charlie Pride, Whitney Houston and Garth Brooks to the Pan American Center.  Now 92, Hubbard continues to travel the United States raising money for her American Collegiate Talent Showcase (ACTS) scholarship program, which includes more than a dozen scholarships available to NMSU students.

Among the guests at the lunch was Venue Today magazine founder Linda Deckard, who is writing a book about Hubbard. Hubbard received the magazine’s first-ever Women of Influence award in 2006 and was the top voter getter when entertainment industry professionals were asked to nominate and vote on that first award recipient, Deckard said.

Also speaking at the lunch were NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu and Provost Carol Parker.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities that are in front of us,” Arvizu said. NMSU’s strategic plan is in place, he said, and included input from one-third of the university’s faculty and staff. The plan, Arvizu said, “reflects who we are as a land grant, Hispanic-serving institution.”

The plan focuses on student success, developing and expanding research and partnerships, elevating outreach and creating a robust university, the chancellor said. NMSU, he said, should “serve the needs of our faculty, who are here to serve the needs of our students.”

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here,” said Parker, who became provost in July. Parker, who grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan, has previous service as the provost at the University of Texas at El Paso and as senior vice provost at the University of New Mexico. NMSU, Parker said, “is just the most exciting story in higher education.”

Also attending the lunch were NMSU President John Floros, Chancellor Emeritus and former New Mexico Gov. Garrey Carruthers and NMSU Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement, Participation and Stewardship Leslie Cervantes.

The lunch also included recognition of the NMSU students who are recipients of this year’s four Pioneers book scholarships. The four are psychology major Clarisa Casillas, mechanical engineering major Adam Flores, computer science major Jeffrey Lansford and athletic training major Destiny Vielma. All four are from Las Cruces.

“You’re being a part of our journey and you’re helping us succeed,” Vielma, a freshman, told the Pioneers.

The scholarship “goes a long way,” Casillas said. “It’s incredible how much it helps.”

“We’re very proud to have you here today,” Pioneers President Emmet Brooks told the students.

The Pioneers has been awarding book scholarships to NMSU students since 1995.

The Pioneers was created by then-NMSU President Dr. Gerald Thomas in 1984 “to preserve the relationship between NMSU and its former employees,” said Pioneers President Emeritus Denise Welsh.

“If you are an employee who has worked for at least 20 years at NMSU or have retired from NMSU, and you have made a gift to NMSU in the past year, you are (already) a Pioneer,” Welsh said. The Pioneers host three luncheons each year, in the spring, summer and fall, “to break bread, hear stories and listen to guest speakers,” Welsh said.

For more about the NMSU Pioneers, visit advancing.nmsu.edu/pioneers.

Mike Cook may be contacted at mike@lascrucesbulletin.com.

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