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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU establishing Memorial Wall

New Mexico State University is moving forward with a plan to establish a Memorial Wall to honor students, faculty and staff who have lost their lives while they were members of the campus community.

PHOTO'S CUTLINE. (NMSU photo by PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME or Courtesy photo)

ject has received support from the Board of Regents and commitments of funding from the university administration and the Associated Students of NMSU, which together have agreed to contribute $50,000 toward the effort.

"The impetus for the construction of a Student, Faculty and Staff Memorial on the central campus has been from the students," said Robert Peterson, a major gifts officer for NMSU's Advancement Office, who is leading the fund-raising efforts. "The death of a member of our campus community often leaves us grasping for ways to remember them. If we develop a memorial, we will not have to re-invent a way to celebrate a person's life. There will already be a pre-established manner in which to reach out and a permanent way to honor their contributions to NMSU."

Yolanda Harris, the mother of NMSU student Zach Harris, who died in a car accident last August, said the memorial would mean a lot to her family and her son's friends.

"The project would bring a lot of comfort to my family," she said. "A permanent memorial would validate his existence and his life."

The location being recommended for the memorial is immediately south of the College of Health and Social Services building. The memorial will adjoin the International Mall and be nestled between walkways that provide access to the Health and Social Services building and the Clara Belle Williams and Speech buildings.

The project's initial design concept was led by Ernesto Alvelais, a former ASNMSU vice president, and developed by Sam Meraz, of NMSU's Office of Facilities Planning and Construction. This initial design has a park-like setting and a curved wall area that could bear the names of those who have lost their lives while at NMSU. Additional input will be sought as the design concept is further developed.

"Students will benefit from this memorial. It offers them a way to remember and honor our fallen students," said ASNMSU President Austen Fulmer. "Whether you know a lost student or not, they are a part of NMSU. This also is important to the Las Cruces community. Students, faculty and staff serve this area, so when we lose someone who has contributed to the community, we should respect and honor their service."

The NMSU Board of Regents approved the project in May 2004 and the university will contribute $25,000. In March, the ASNMSU Senate approved a $25,000 one-time allocation to support the wall.

Alumni are also contributing to the project, including Deby Fowler-Wiest, who received her bachelor's degree in accounting in 1980. Fowler-Wiest said she remembers losing one of her business professors, Patricia Christmore, to cancer and thinks this wall will benefit the campus community. Fowler-Wiest, president and general manager of Concrete Designs in Tucson, Ariz., has offered to coordinate the design and use of ornamental precast concrete to add value and appeal to the project. She also has pledged at least $3,000 to the project.
The project is expected to cost about $170,000, Peterson said.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the memorial wall can contact Peterson at (505) 646-4358 or Peterson@nmsu.edu.