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First NMSU Founder's Award presented to Gerald Thomas

New Mexico State University's first Hiram Hadley Founder's Award of Excellence was presented today to NMSU President Emeritus Gerald W. Thomas.

"Hiram Hadley was a great educational leader and builder and so has been Gerald Thomas," NMSU President William B. Conroy said in presenting the award during a meeting of the university's Board of Regents.

Under Thomas' leadership as president from 1970 to 1984, "our university went through an unparalleled period of growth and development," Conroy said.

The award recognizes Thomas for "his key leadership in the development of a major comprehensive university in the spirit of NMSU's founding leader." Hadley was the university's first president, 1888 to 1894.

Since retiring from the presidency, Thomas has served as consultant for the Consortium for International Development, several universities and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He also served a six-year term on the New Mexico State Board of Education.

His latest book, "The Academic Ecosystem," is an issue-oriented, century-long history of the university.