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New Mexico State University

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Kidd gift to fund literacy chair at NMSU

Carlsbad banker Don Kidd and his wife, Sarrah, have given a major gift to New Mexico State University to establish the Don and Sarrah Kidd Endowed Chair in Literacy in the College of Education.

Don and Sarrah Kidd of Carlsbad have created an endowed chair in literacy at New Mexico State University's College of Education. (Courtesy Photo)

The chair will attract and reward high quality teaching, research, service and outreach to New Mexico's public schools by a faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The chair also will collaborate with the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy whose focus is adult literacy.

"Learning to read was the best thing that ever happened to me," Don Kidd said. "Reading was always my way of dealing with a lack of formal education. If you can read, you can learn."

Kidd's appreciation for education fuels his desire to encourage others to take advantage of educational opportunities that come their way.

"Education is a little like money, it's not important unless you do not have any," Kidd said.

Kidd's interest in reading came early in life when an elementary school principal chose to have him read in the library during lunch as punishment when he misbehaved.

"Since then, reading has been my salvation," Kidd said. "Sarrah and I never dreamed we would be able to do this. If we were going to do it, we wanted it to have the most impact on the most people. You will never be lonely if you can read."

Kidd is president and chief executive officer of Western Commerce Bank in Carlsbad, N.M.; chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Western Bank in Alamogordo, N.M.; and president and chief executive officer of Western Bank in Clovis, N.M. Even before the establishment of the chair, he has been a tireless advocate for higher education in New Mexico.

"The only thing I am prouder of is the transfer scholarship we created," Kidd said.

Don and Sarrah have donated to several NMSU scholarships and in 1986 established the Don and Sarrah Kidd NMSU Scholarship Fund, which provides two transfer scholarships per year for students at NMSU-Carlsbad who will continue their education at NMSU's main campus in Las Cruces.

"We keep a list of every student we have been able to help," he said.

Kidd served three terms in the New Mexico Senate representing District 34 in Eddy, Lea and Otero counties. He was co-author of New Mexico's predatory lending law and has testified in state legislatures on mortgage lending abuses. He has said serving as co-sponsor of the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship is one of his most memorable accomplishments during his tenure in the Legislature.

From 1985 to 1991, Kidd served as a member of the NMSU Board of Regents. He also has been a supporter of the NMSU Art Gallery and KRWG-TV. He has been an NMSU Foundation Board member and a member of the NMSU Crimson Society. He is a member of the NMSU Pioneers and President's Associates.

Kidd is one of the founding directors and past chairman of the Western States School of Banking at the University of New Mexico and is a past president of the New Mexico Bankers Association. He is a past president of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and former chairman of the National Rural Development Association.

"We wanted to do something that will last for the state and the university," Kidd said. "Education and research will solve most of the problems of the world."