NMSU alumni recognized for distinguished careers, philanthropy and service

DATE: 08/29/2019
WRITER: Megan Hansen 
CONTACT: Leslie Cervantes, 575-646-1613, leslie86@nmsu.edu

Continuing a time-honored Homecoming tradition, the New Mexico State University Alumni Association has selected recipients for the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards, the inaugural Young Alumni Service Award and the James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service.

The Alumni Association has been presenting these prestigious awards since 1956, adding the James F. Cole Memorial Award in 1966 and the Young Alumni Service Award this year. Honorees are selected based on personal accomplishment, professional achievement and charitable service. The James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service, specifically, is presented to NMSU alumni who have demonstrated outstanding university involvement and civic, humanitarian and professional service. 

The 2019 James F. Cole Memorial Award recipient is Van Bullock, a two-time graduate – ’72 and ’76 – of the College of Engineering and the College of Business. Bullock is an associate broker at Steinborn and Associates, a part-time instructor at NMSU and a member of the boards of Jardin de los Niños and the Las Cruces Public Schools Foundation. 

One honoree from each academic college is selected to receive a Distinguished Alumni Service Award, demonstrating the strength and service from graduates across the university. This year’s six Distinguished Alumni live around the country and have very different career paths, but common among all is their leadership, community involvement and generosity towards NMSU. 

The 2019 Distinguished Alumni from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science is Dr. Clenton Owensby, a ’64 graduate and a professor of Range Management at Kansas State University.

The Distinguished Alumni awardee from the College of Arts and Sciences is Dr. Srini Kankanahalli, a ’91 Ph.D. graduate in Computer Science and the co-founder and chief technology officer of clearAvenue, a systems integration company in Columbia, Maryland. 

The College of Business awardee is Margaret Hardin – class of ’94 – who studied business administration and is the current CEO of Ergobaby, a leading designer of award-winning baby carriers based in Los Angeles, California, that partners with several charities. 

The recipient from the College of Education is Abel Covarrubias, a ’96 and ’98 graduate and a founder and CEO of Aprendamos Intervention Team, providing a range of early-intervention services to New Mexico children and families. 

From the College of Engineering, the Distinguished Alumni awardee is Jack Davis, a ’69 and ’73 graduate. Davis is the retired president and CEO of Arizona Public Service and president and COO of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and current chairman of the board for Portland General Electric. 

From the College of Health and Social Service, the Distinguished Alumni recipient is Dr. Debra Hagler, who graduated in ’80 and ’82. Hagler is a clinical professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. 

This year’s new award, the Young Alumni Service Award, has been introduced to recognize a graduate age 40 or younger who has made great strides both professionally and philanthropically, shaping their community’s future through service. 

The recipient of this inaugural award is Natasha Nesiba (’13, ’15), who graduated from NMSU with degrees in Computer Science. Nesiba is a software engineer at Google who already has deep philanthropic roots at NMSU. As a freshman, she arranged to redirect her own scholarship funds into an endowed scholarship to support women pursuing computer science studies.

The awards will be presented during the Homecoming 2019 festivities at a dinner on Friday, Oct. 4. Recipients will also be recognized throughout the weekend at public events. To learn more about each awardee, please visit http://support.nmsu.edu/connect/alumni-awards/. Registration for the dinner is open at https://advancing.nmsu.edu/alumni/events/alu-homecoming-2019-sweet-home-nmsu.

 


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