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NMSU Homecoming is honoring heroes

New Mexico State University's Homecoming 2003 started Thursday by honoring some of the university's heroes at the Third Annual Danny Villanueva Scholarship Breakfast.

Danny Villanueva at the Third Annual Danny Villanueva Scholarship Breakfast as part of New Mexico State University's Homecoming 2003 Thursday, Oct. 30. He contributed more than $55,000 to programs at the university. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSU alumnus Danny Villanueva, a former NFL football star and Spanish language television pioneer who now heads a venture capital firm, presented gifts of $55,000 towards programs at the university.

"I am honored and happy to do it," he said.

Villanueva presented $10,000 to the Warren Woodson Scholarship Association Fund. The fund was created to honor Warren Woodson, former NMSU football coach, and his contribution to New Mexico State. According to a former NMSU football player, Woodson was a true hero who guided 37 of the 42 members of the 1960 team to graduate from New Mexico State. The endowment provides additional scholarship funds for NMSU football players to help them earn degrees.

Villanueva also contributed $15,000 to the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, of which he is an alumnus, saying he is grateful for the support he received from his fraternity brothers during his years at NMSU.

Villanueva matched the $30,000 raised by Chicano Programs for the Danny Villanueva Scholarship Endowment, which was established to assist Hispanic students at New Mexico State University. Daniel Castillo and Lina Benavidez, past scholarship recipients, and Janine Vasquez, scholarship recipient for 2003, attended the event to thank Villanueva.

More heroes will be honored during the homecoming parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, on University Avenue. The 281st Transportation Company, a Las Cruces-based Army Reserve Unit that recently returned home from Iraq, will have a float and march in the "Legacy of Heroes" parade.

Other homecoming events include the Alumni Tailgate Party from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at the football practice field, followed by the Homecoming football game against Arkansas State University at 5 p.m. in Aggie Memorial Stadium.

For more information about Homecoming 2003 activities, contact the Alumni Association at (505) 646-3616 or visit http://www.nmsu.edu/~Alumni/Homecoming.html.