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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Mexico leaders to be honored at NMSU

Community leaders and New Mexico State University faculty and staff will be honored for outstanding service at the annual College of Agriculture and Home Economics Awards Day to be held in the Gerald Thomas Hall Auditorium April 19.


The awards presentation, which begins at 10:30 a.m., will recognize members of the community who have worked very closely with the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

"Members of the community that contribute so much to the college are very important to us," said Elizabeth Rios-Crabb, assistant to the dean.

Dave Salopek, a Dona Ana County pecan producer, will be named Leyendecker Agriculturist of Distinction for 2007, an honor that the college has awarded since 1962. Salopek's portrait will be placed alongside those of former Agriculturists of Distinction in Gerald Thomas Hall.

President of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association and Secretary of the Western Pecan Growers Association, Salopek maintains close ties with NMSU, allowing plant and environmental science professors Ted Sammis and William Lindeman to use his orchard for research.

Johnny Reid, of Loving, N.M., will be the 29th recipient of the NM Outstanding Leadership Award. A lifelong rancher and farmer, his portrait will be placed with those of former winners in Gerald Thomas Hall.

Reid has a long history of serving his community, having served as Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor for 21 years. For more than 20 years, he has served on numerous boards and councils, including the Southeastern New Mexico Agricultural Research Association Board at the Agriculture Research Center in Artesia.

Jose 'Buddy' Viramontes will receive the Fabian Garcia Founder's Award of Excellence. The owner of Ag Market Resources and a sales representative for Shell Chemical, Viramontes serves as a liason between NMSU and New Mexico growers.

Mike Cerletti, currently serving as Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Tourism, will receive the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Industry Award.

College of Agriculture and Home Economics alumna Lillian Duran, assistant principal at Mesilla Park Elementary School, will be named Outstanding Alumni in Family and Consumer Science.

Pecos Valley farmer Morgan F. Nelson will be awarded the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching Delegate Award. In 1983, Nelson was named Agriculturist of Distinction.

Awards Day also recognizes employees who have demonstrated outstanding service to the college.

"NMSU recognizes employees who have served the college from five to 35 years or more. These individuals are important; they make our day-to-day lives better through their efforts," Rios-Crabb said.

The Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition Program (ICAN), a statewide extension program designed to enhance healthy food choices, food preparation skills and food buying strategies among limited resource families will receive the Team Award.

Associate professor of plant and environmental science April Ulery will receive the North American College and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award.

Raul Valdez, interim department head of fishery and wildlife science will receive the Distinguished Service Award, sponsored by Charles Tharp Farms.

Janie B. Wesson, a long-time employee at the Agricultural Science Center in Artesia will be named winner of the Off-Campus Distinguished Service Award, sponsored by Malone Farms.

William Lindemann, professor of plant and environmental science will receive the Distinguished Research Award, sponsored by the Mobley family.

Three awardees will receive Kringle the Cat awards for the amount of $1,000. Linda Meyer, a plant and environmental sciences employee will receive the On-Campus Distinguished Staff Award, Clint Loest, assistant professor of animal and range sciences will win the Distinguished Teaching Award and Wendy Hamilton, extension department head for staff development will receive the Distinghished Extension Award.

The awards presentation will be immediately followed by a luncheon for awardees and their guests. For more information, contact Rios-Crabb at (505) 646-3748.