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McElyeas receive Branding Iron Award

NMSU President William Conroy congratulates members of the McElyea family on the Branding Iron Award of the president's Associates Ball. From left are Conroy, Eula Fern Thompson, Dave Thompson, Ulysses McElyea Jr., Shannon Bradley and Michael Bradley.

(Photo by Russell Mott)

Ulysses and Hazel McElyea Sr. of Las Cruces, who have been involved with New Mexico State University for more than six decades, have received the 1999 Branding Iron Award, the highest honor given by the NMSU Foundation.

The Branding Iron honors individuals' outstanding loyalty, service and support. The award was presented to the McElyeas recently at NMSU's President's Associates Recognition Ball.

Among the McElyeas' support of the university is an endowment they established in the athletics department. For years, the couple provided a "home away from home" for team members, who could always count on a home-cooked meal when they stopped to visit. The McElyeas were inducted into the Aggie Sports Association Hall of Fame in recognition of their efforts to establish the first Aggie Booster Club in the late 1940s.

They also have supported the College of Agriculture and Home Economics and College of Engineering. Ulysses McElyea Sr. was inducted into the NMSU Sociedad de Ingenieros in 1992. That same year he was named an Honorary New Mexico Rancher by the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

He received a chemical engineering degree in 1936 from NMSU (then the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts). After teaching science at Las Cruces High School, he earned a degree in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University. Following service in World War II, he returned to the Las Cruces area where he farmed with his father and established a veterinary clinic.
Rita A. Popp
May 12, 1999