Writer: Tiffany Acosta
The Rotary Club of Las Cruces has given New Mexico State University a gift of nearly $128,000 to benefit the Alec and Margaret Hood Memorial Scholarship in the College of Engineering. Rotary Club members were inspired by GivingTuesday, which resulted in more than $2 million for scholarships and programs at NMSU.
“Mr. Hood’s interest in mechanics and engineering led him to establish through his will two scholarships for students in the NMSU College of Engineering, one with the NMSU Foundation, and another with the Rotary Club of Las Cruces,” said Bill Harty, Rotary Club of Las Cruces member. “After this gift, the combined Alec C. Hood and Margaret Page Hood Scholarship fund will now exceed a quarter million dollars, its earnings providing significant support for NMSU engineering students now and in the future.”
In 1985 the Alec and Margaret Hood Memorial Scholarship was created to award scholarships for engineering students at NMSU with a grade point average of 3.0 or above. Rotary President Christopher Dulany, Past-president Alex Keatts and member Bill Harty presented a check to NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers at the Feb. 4 men’s basketball game.
“We are extremely grateful to receive such a generous gift from the Rotary Club of Las Cruces to support our students,” said Lakskmi Reddi, College of Engineering dean. “The Alec and Margaret Hood Scholarship has already benefited the lives of numerous students since 1985 and will now support more deserving students for many years to come.”
“The Rotary Club of Las Cruces has been closely connected with New Mexico State University since its 1923 inception,” Harty added. “Among its founding members were NMSU President Harry Kent and Dean Robert W. Goddard. Over the past 93 years, many university regents, presidents, deans and other campus leaders have served the Mesilla Valley through Rotary; more than 20 NMSU buildings are named for Rotary members and leaders. We are exceptionally pleased to be able to increase our support of university students in honor of Alec C. Hood’s long and dedicated service to Rotary and our community.”
Margaret Page Hood was a mystery writer and New Mexico journalist, and Alec C. Hood was a World War I veteran, a Las Cruces businessman and a longtime Las Cruces Rotarian.
Margaret, who was born and raised in the northeast, moved to Las Cruces in 1924. She started her journalism career in the publicity department of the Extension Service at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which became known as NMSU in 1960. She had articles published in the El Paso Herald Post, the Rio Grande Farmer, the Christian Science Monitor and the New Mexico Sentinel.
Born in Leeds, England, Alec immigrated to the United States in 1912. After settling in Las Cruces, Alec, a skilled mechanic, bought his own garage. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1917, and after he was discharged two years later he opened the Motor Service Company in Las Cruces. He organized a National Guard unit in Las Cruces in 1921 and served as first Lieutenant until 1924.
The Hoods married in 1925 and worked in Las Cruces until Alec retired in 1947. The couple moved to Maine, where Margaret started writing fiction. She penned seven novels. In 1953, the couple returned to Las Cruces. Alec served as Rotary Club secretary for 13 years and was an active member of the community until his death in 1985, two years after Margaret’s.
To learn more about the Hoods, the Margaret Page and Alex C. Hood Papers can be viewed at https://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=nmlcu1ms243.xml.