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Cooper family establishes memorial endowment

In honor of his lifetime commitment to education, the family of Lloyd Cooper has established a memorial fund to benefit students in the Educational Management and Development Department of New Mexico State University's College of Education.

The Cooper family (front to back: Mark, Carolynn, Kelt and Shaun) have established an endowment fund at New Mexico State University in memory of the late Lloyd Cooper. The fund will benefit the College of Education's Educational Management and Development

The Lloyd Cooper Memorial Fund has received more than $18,000 in donations since it was established shortly after Cooper's death in November 2000. The first scholarship will be given with the interest from the fund in the fall of 2002.

Cooper earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from New Mexico State and completed the doctoral program in educational administration at the University of Oregon in 19 months. He was a professor in the EMD department at New Mexico State from 1967 to 1997.

"Our father emphasized the importance of education our entire lives," said Kelt Cooper, one of Lloyd Cooper's sons and the superintendent of the Nogales United School District in Arizona.

The entire family, including Cooper's widow Carolynn Ann France Cooper and his four sons, have received at least one degree from New Mexico State. All four sons, Mark, Kirk, Kelt and Shaun, have advanced degrees and are educators with public school districts or at universities.

"New Mexico State is our university of choice," said Shaun Cooper, the youngest son and assistant director of the Information and Communication Technologies Department at New Mexico State.

During his 30 years of service at New Mexico State, Cooper supervised 55 doctoral students, the highest number in university history. He served as department head of the EMD department twice and as chair of the Faculty Senate.

"He was the best coach for the career-minded administrator," Kelt Cooper said. "He knew that education is more than just getting a degree. He taught about the career of being an administrator."

"He was devoted to writing. He encouraged us to spend five or six hours a week practicing our writing," said Mark Cooper, his oldest son and an associate professor of zoology at the University of Washington. "He thought it was one of the most important parts of the educational process."

Cooper started his educational career in a one-room school in Lincoln, N.M. "He received a prize in the first grade and told me that from then on he always looked for challenges," said Carolynn Cooper.

She said that many times Cooper turned down other positions because he wanted to keep his family in the Las Cruces community.

Cooper was honored by the Mexican government in 1995 at the National Games for his long-term commitments to improve the educational infrastructure in Mexico. These efforts included bringing thousands of books to remote Mexican communities, as well as his development of bi-national programs for training educational administrators.

"He knew most of the school administrators in New Mexico and understood rural education," Kelt Cooper said. "He was instrumental in the development of New Mexico's equalization formula in the 1970s, which is still the best formula I've seen anywhere."

Contributions to the memorial fund can be sent to the New Mexico State Foundation, Lloyd Cooper Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 3590, Las Cruces, N.M., 88003. For more information, call (505) 646-2130.