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Six Leaders Made Honorary Members of NMSU's Sam Steel Society

LAS CRUCES - Six leaders have been named honorary members of the Sam Steel Society at New Mexico State University.


They are Mike Cerletti, head of NMSU's hotel, restaurant and tourism management department; Elizabeth McNew, contributor and scholarship supporter; J. B. Pruett, president of Northrise Corporation in Las Cruces; Adrian Richard "Dickie" Ogaz, Garfield farmer and cooperator with the Chile Pepper Task Force; Lewis Holland, former associate dean of NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics; and Tamara Hurt, certified public accountant and scholarship supporter.

Jerry G. Schickedanz, dean and chief administrative officer for NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, presented the honorary memberships Dec. 14.

The society honors the memory of Sam Steel, who would have been the university's first graduate had he not been killed just months before his graduation in 1893.

Cerletti served as New Mexico's first tourism secretary and was president and manager of Rancho Encantado, a full-service ranch resort in Santa Fe. Cerletti has also served as president
and co-founder of Southwest Hospitality Management Group and president and managing partner of Las Posadas De Santa Fe. He is leading efforts to remodel laboratories and kitchens for students in NMSU's hospitality program.

McNew graduated from NMSU in 1932 with a degree in home economics. Along with her late husband, distinguished plant pathologist George McNew, she is a primary supporter of the Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science Scholarship at NMSU.

Pruett, a 1962 animal science graduate of NMSU, has explored a variety of business and career ventures. He served as an instructor at NMSU and worked as a beef cattle specialist with the Colorado Cooperative Extension Service. In 1988, he was named president of Wooten Construction Company. In 1998, he became president of Northrise Corporation, a facilities development firm, and received the Skill, Integrity and Responsibility Award from the New Mexico Branch of General Contractors.

Ogaz was been a farmer in the Hatch Valley for nearly 40 years. He serves as a member of the New Mexico Chile Commission, the American Soil Conservation Service and the New Mexico Crop Improvement Association. He serves on the boards of the Caballo Soil and Water Conservation District and Sierra County County Fair Association. He was a founding member of the Southern New Mexico State Fair. He also serves his community as president of the Derry/Arrey Community Center.

Holland has served as a consultant for the Ford Foundation's education in animal husbandry program in Mexico and as a research consultant for NMSU in Paraguay. Graduating from NMSU in 1949 with a degree in animal husbandry, he joined the NMSU animal science faculty in 1959 and was named Outstanding Teacher in 1964. Along with colleagues at NMSU, Holland helped create more drought-tolerant cattle.

Hurt, of Deming, was named NMSU's outstanding agriculture graduate in 1983 when she earned a degree in agricultural economics and agricultural business. She is a member of the New Mexico Society of CPAs and the Luna County Farm and Livestock Bureau's board of directors. In honor of her late husband Ernest (Ernie) Hurt, she established the Hurt Memorial Endowed Scholarship for NMSU agricultural economics and agricultural business students.