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Endowed fund to help NMSU history graduate students

A friendship that developed between a widow and a New Mexico State University professor and his wife has resulted in a donation of $280,000 to NMSU.

Lydie Thiery Hull (Courtesy photo)

When Lydie Thiery Hull's husband Edward died, she moved to Las Cruces to be closer to her sister and brother-in-law. Hull's neighbors, NMSU History Professor Emeritus Monroe Billington and his wife, Wilma, befriended her. Since Hull had no heirs, she discussed with the Billingtons options as to how she should dispose of her estate upon her death.

Monroe Billington told Hull that since science and technology get so much attention today while history does not, "Why not give it to a small department that's doing a great deal of good, but without the fanfare science and technology get?"

So when Hull wrote her will, she provided for her entire estate, worth $280,000, to be bequeathed to the New Mexico State University Foundation as the Edward and Lydie Thiery Hull Endowed Fund.

Jeffrey Brown, NMSU academic department head of history, praised Hull's generous gift.

"We have many fine students who want to join us. We are here to help them to achieve an education in history. Unfortunately, many good students who are quite interested in history do not have sufficient family incomes to fully support their studies. The fact that Lydie Thiery Hull gave her entire estate to help history students pursue their dreams is marvelous."

Brown also reflected upon the need to study history.
"Societies and cultures have developed over many centuries. In order to understand how people and their cultures have developed, think and act, we really must understand their historical roots. History is vital to this understanding. By studying history, we can understand how societies and cultures developed and how people created the institutions and beliefs that structure the modern world. When this understanding is combined with other studies, our students can become technically proficient and still be able to work with people from every culture."

"Technocrats are running the world today, but some of them could do better if they read some history," Billington added.

The Hull Endowed Fund's annual interest will be used for various scholarships and stipends for NMSU history graduate students who will be known as Hull History Scholars. Beginning with the 2007-08 academic year, three history graduate students will be selected for awards, which may be as high as $3,000.

Minimal requirements for award recipients include a grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher, excellent writing skills and excellent letters of recommendation. Deadlines to apply are March 15 and November 15 with the awards to be split over both semesters. Award recipients must remain in good standing as graduate students after the first semester in order to receive the second semester award.