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Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University Foundation

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University Foundation

Retired Regional Businessman Bridges Communities with Endowed Scholarship

Retired Las Cruces businessman and engineer, Orlando Cervantes, recently gifted the New Mexico State University Foundation $50,000 to create the Orlando Cervantes Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship is special in that it specifically bridges the El Paso and Las Cruces communities by awarding graduates of El Paso High School with scholarship dollars to complete a degree in engineering from NMSU.

Cervantes proudly explained his idea behind the scholarship, “I’m an Aggie,” he said. “And, I’m a Tiger.”

A native El Pasoan and graduate of El Paso High School, Cervantes’ life is a culmination of opportunity, perseverance and hard work. In high school, he served as captain of the EPHS football, basketball and baseball teams, lettered in both football and baseball and was inducted into the EPHS Hall of Fame.

He earned a football scholarship to play at NMSU and after his freshman year, Cervantes voluntarily joined the military. He was stationed in Korea for two years where he honed his passion for engineering by working on building and engineering projects for the army.

Following his service, Cervantes returned to El Paso, completing his degree in engineering from NMSU in 1960.

Opportunity immediately came knocking, and after a one-year appointment with Robert McKee General Contractors in El Paso, Cervantes moved to the West Coast where he was able to build his engineering portfolio alongside some of the area’s top engineers.

Nine years later, Cervantes returned to Las Cruces to his wife’s family farm where he would face new career challenges, “I didn’t have a lot of experience in farming,” he said, “So I started looking for things to do.”

Using knowledge and skills from his background in engineering, Cervantes worked with companies in Louisiana to introduce a new Tabasco crop ¬- and processing method – to Mesilla Valley. His initial talks were met with speculation about the probability of success in the desert. “They thought I was nuts,” Cervantes said. “Especially because it was a new crop and process foreign to the area.”

His perseverance and unique innovation in crop production and chile processing – along with a little luck, “I just happened to pick the right crop,” he added – resulted in the growth of the farm from 10 acres to several thousand, which now produces millions of pounds of mash distributed worldwide.

Notwithstanding the farm’s success, Cervantes maintained a second career as a plan-review engineer. He has served on the boards of a variety of civic and community organizations and has played instrumental roles in numerous projects across southern New Mexico, including the development of the Planning and Inspection Departments for Doña Ana County and the city of Sunland Park, the creation of the performance zoning ordinance for Doña Ana County and the construction planning and design of NMSU’s Zuhl Library.

Cervantes hopes his scholarship opens doors for new generations of fellow Tigers and Aggies. He wants them to understand that it will take a lot of hard work to achieve their goals. “Each student will have a different situation and story when they come to study at NMSU,” Cervantes said. “To be successful, however, you have to be the first one in the morning to open the office and the last person to close the office at night. You have to remember that a degree is not a pass to success. You have to make the effort.”

Looking back, Cervantes admits that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his three children, Joseph, Dino and Tina – who now run the family farm – and his six granddaughters. With regard to his career, Cervantes remains humble about his successes. “You can find examples of achievements much greater than mine,” he said. “But, I’m happy with what I’ve done.”

Author:  Daphne Griffin – NMSU

Op-Ed: NMSU’s Giving Tuesday Transforms the Lives of Students

I often hear from the generous people in our community that they want to give to a cause they care about, but they just don’t think they can make a real impact with the amount they can afford.

I always tell them that even a modest gift can make a powerful difference – especially when it’s pooled with the gifts of others in a single, impactful day of giving. That’s why the New Mexico State University system began celebrating Giving Tuesday: To bring together caring people in our community and around the world to empower our students to take charge of their future.

We are thrilled to witness the collective impact of giving every day at NMSU, but Giving Tuesday stands out like no other, when hundreds of students’ lives are changed.

Giving Tuesday, taking place this year on Nov. 28, is a worldwide movement that celebrates and inspires generosity and philanthropy. We launched our first NMSU Giving Tuesday event on Dec. 1, 2015, and continued our momentum with our second event last November, which raised $2 million to benefit our students and programs across the NMSU system.

We’re already seeing the impact of the scholarships that were created during our first two Giving Tuesday events. Alexandria Claycomb is one recipient whose entire family benefitted from her scholarship. Alexandria, a junior from Albuquerque majoring in animal science, received a scholarship created in 2015 in memory of NMSU graduate Hannah Farbo, who passed away in November of that year.

The scholarship helped Alexandria’s family afford her tuition at a critical time, when her mother, Giovanna Eisberg, was also in school, working toward her Ph.D. Alexandria loves to tell people how she now gets to call her mom Dr. Eisberg.

Hannah’s parents, Brenda and D. Jay Farbo, said they chose to honor her with a scholarship in part because, if not for the generosity of so many people, Hannah might not have been able to attend college herself.

“She understood the importance of the scholarship awards and was always so surprised and grateful to receive the help,” Brenda Farbo said. “Without the scholarships, we knew we couldn’t foot the whole bill for her education, and the support lifted a huge burden.”

This year, as in the past, we’re focused on leveraging matching funds contributed by our gracious supporters to create as many endowed scholarships as possible, which can continue to be awarded for generations to come. Already, we’ve begun the establishment of more than 60 new scholarship endowments that will be finalized as part of this year’s event.

Many types of gifts from Aggie alumni and friends like you can also be matched to create an even more profound impact for our students. For example, the first $125,000 in gifts made online or in person on Giving Tuesday at the on-campus headquarters will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $2,500 per household. And the first $10,000 in gifts from alumni who are making their first-ever charitable contribution to any department, program or scholarship in the NMSU system on Giving Tuesday will be matched dollar-for-dollar by NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers and his wife, Kathy.

In addition, any contribution on Giving Tuesday to Aggie Cupboard, a food pantry that addresses food insecurity on three of our system’s campuses by providing students and staff members with non-perishable food items, will be matched by NMSU Provost Dan Howard and his wife, Jenifer Lichtenfels.

You can find out how you can make a gift that will be matched for double the impact on our website, support.nmsu.edu.

I would like to personally welcome you to our Giving Tuesday headquarters in the Corbett Center Student Union Aggie Lounge to experience the joy of this truly transformational event. We’ll be there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come be a part of the excitement, and help students across the NMSU system achieve their dreams of a world-class education and a better life!

Andrea Tawney, Ph.D., President, New Mexico State University Foundation

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